History: February 12

February 12

1541 Santiago, Chile is founded. "...capital of Chile and of Metropolitana de Santiago region...The city was founded and named Santiago de Nueva Estremadura on Feb. 12, 1541, by Pedro de Valdivia. Laid out according to Valdivia’s plan in a gridiron pattern between the hill of Santa Lucía and the Mapocho, a mountain torrent, Santiago has spread over a broad valley plain and is today one of the largest cities in South America. Low foothills encompass the valley, and the snowcapped Andes, forming a superb backdrop, rise in the eastern distance..."

1567 Birth: Thomas Campion, English physician, composer, poet.

1584 Birth: Casparus Barleaus, Flemish theologist, poet; Muiderkring.

1585 Birth: Caspar Bartholin, in Malmo, Denmark (now part of Sweden), physician, theologian, writer on anatomy.

1637 Birth: John Swammerdam, anatomy, entomologist, author; Bible of nature.


1663 Birth: Cotton Mather. "American Congregational minister and author, supporter of the old order of the ruling clergy, who became the most celebrated of all New England Puritans. He combined a mystical strain (he believed in the existence of witchcraft) with a modern scientific interest (he supported smallpox inoculation). The son of Increase Mather and the grandson of John Cotton and Richard Mather, Cotton Mather lived all his life in Boston. He entered Harvard at the age of 12, easily passing entrance requirements to read and write Latin and to "decline the Greek nouns and verbs." He devoted himself unremittingly to study and prayer. At 18 he received his M.A. degree from the hands of his father, who was president of the college. He preached his first sermon in his father's church in August 1680 and in October another from his grandfather John Cotton's pulpit. He was formally ordained in 1685 and became his father's colleague. He devoted his life to praying, preaching, writing, and publishing and still followed his main purpose in life of doing good. His book, Bonifacius, or Essays to Do Good (1710), instructs others in humanitarian acts, some ideas being far ahead of his time: the schoolmaster to reward instead of punish his students, the physician to study the state of mind of his patient as a probable cause of illness. He established societies for community projects. He joined his father in cautioning judges against the use of "spectre evidence" (testimony of a victim of witchcraft that he had been attacked by a spectre bearing the appearance of someone he knew) in the witchcraft trials and in..."

1688 Glorious Revolution: James II arives in France as Prince William of Orange and Princess Mary become King and Queen of England.


1733 Georgia is founded by James Oglethorpe, at the site of Savannah.

1768 Birth: Francis II, in Florence, Italy, last Holy Roman emperor, 1792-1806.

1771 Death: Adolf Frederik, king of Sweden, 1751-70.


1772 French explorer Yves de Kerguelen happens upon the Kerguelen Archipelago, India.

1787 Death: Ruggiero Boscovich, in Italy, physicist, astronomer, philosopher, at 75.


1791 Birth: Peter Cooper, industrialist, philanthropist; Cooper Union.

1793 The first US fugitive slave law is passed, requiring non-slave states to return escaped slaves to their 'owners.'


1804 Death: Immanuel Kant, German philosopher; Zum ewigen Frieden. "...Immanuel Kant is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him....A large part of Kant's work addresses the question "What can we know?" The answer, if it can be stated simply, is that our knowledge is constrained to mathematics and the science of the natural, empirical world. It is impossible, Kant argues, to extend knowledge to the supersensible realm of speculative metaphysics. The reason that knowledge has these constraints, Kant argues, is that the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind's access to the empirical realm of space and time..."


1809 Birth: Abraham Lincoln. "...Born near Hodgenville, Ky. on February 12, 1809, Lincoln was the central figure of the Civil War, and is regarded by many historians and laymen as not only the foremost of our presidents but also the greatest American of all time. With scant formal education, from a poor family, this frontier lawyer held the nation together through the worst crisis in its history. A leader of weaker will or fainter vision might well have failed either to win the Civil War or end the institution of slavery. With good reason, he is viewed as the savior of the American union and the "Great Emancipator." Lincoln was horn into an obscure backwoods family who moved to Indiana when he was 7. His mother died 2 years later and his father married a widow, Sarah Bush Johnston, who exerted a good influence on the boy. Though his education was limited to a few months in a 1-teacher school, Lincoln avidly read books such as the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress and Weemss Life of Washington. Growing to a muscular 6'4", he supported himself by manual labor until he was 21, when he settled in New Salem, Ill. There he continued his self-education while serving as storekeeper, militia captain in the Black Hawk War, and postmaster. In 1832, he lost a race for the state legislature but won a seat as a Whig 2 years later, serving 4 terms and gaining statewide popularity for his homespun wit and integrity..."

1809 Birth: Charles Darwin, in Shrewsbury, England, author, scientist, naturalist, author; Origin of species, Ascent of Man.

1818 Birth: Otto Ludwig, German writer; Die Heiterethei.

1818 Chile proclaims independence from Spain.

1821 The Mercantile Library of the City of New York opens.

1828 Birth: George Meredith, in England, poet, novelist; Shaving of Shagpat.

1832 Ecuador annexes the Galapagos Islands.


1850 The original manuscript of George Washington's Farewell Address is sold to a private collector for $2,300.

1861 Birth: Lou Salom‚ Russian-German author; Im Kampf um Gott.

1861 State troops seize US munitions in Napoleon, Alaska.

1867 Birth: Hedwig Courts Mahler, German author; That Kriegsbraut.


1873 The US Congress abolishes bimetal coins and authorizes $1 and $3 gold coins.

1877 Alexander Graham Bell's new invention, the telephone, is publicly demonstrated with a hookup between Boston and Salem, Massachusetts; the first news dispatch by telephone.

1879 The first artificial ice rink in North America opens at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

1880 Birth: John L. Lewis, US union leader; United Mine Workers, 1920-60.


1882 Birth: Walter Vaes, Flemish etcher, painter.


1884 Birth: Max Beckmann, German painter, graphic artist. "...If Beckmann (1884-1950) is the German painter of the catastrophic first half of the twentieth century, he earned his title the hard way. He painted from the center of the inferno. While Beckmann was a man of his time, he did not fit his time, either in the largeness of his artistic ambition or in the variety and complexity of his approach.


As exhibition curator Robert Storr observes, Beckmann "painted the enigmas and the contradictions of the twentieth century in ways that resonate profoundly in the unsettled reality of the twenty-first century. He painted pictures about human passions and predicaments which are impossible to ignore". Beckmann's astonishing talent for the representation of beauty was manifest early on in his Young Men by the Sea (1905). This classical composition of naked youths, deep in meditation while one plays the flute, could be a rendition of the Greek gods. With its "noble simplicity and quiet grandeur" it is a brilliant expression of the Germanic vision of Classical Greece, made famous by Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Wolfgang Goethe in the late eighteenth century. The painting brought him gold and glory and a winter's study in Florence. But it was two other German thinkers of the nineteenth century who more profoundly influenced Beckmann's thinking about the purpose of art...."


1885 Birth: Julius Streicher (above, bottom row, fourth from the left), one of Hitler's earliest comrades-in-arms. Provincial party boss of Franconia, owner and publisher of the hate-sheet, Der Sturmer (Hotspur). Streicher will be the most rabid and pornographic propagandist of "demonic" anti-Semitism. In 1940, he will be relieved of all offices, but remain publisher of "Der Sturmer." Will be sentenced to death and executed at Nuremberg in 1946. Note: It is said that a few weeks before Streichers execution, a young American guard at Nuremberg noticed that the prisoner was busy studying English. When he asked Streicher why he was spending his last days learning a new language, Streicher replied that he had heard tell that English is the language spoken in heaven. The guard, while expressing no opinion as to whether or not English is the language of choice in heaven, nevertheless did express some doubt that Streicher would ever find himself at the Pearly Gates. The guard inquired, "Suppose you go to the other place?" "That's OK," Streicher declared, "I already know how to speak French."

1893 Birth: Marcel G.J. Minnaert, Dutch astronomer.


1893 Birth: General Omar Nelson Bradley, thought by some to have been America's best WW2 general. "...During the tumultuous battles of the Second World War many outstanding military leaders possessed both the vitality and the tactical knowledge needed to conquer their adversary and achieve ultimate victory. One of those leaders was Omar Nelson Bradley - an American general who graduated from West Point in 1915, and rapidly advanced during WW2...Bradley commanded American soldiers in North Africa and Sicily, while later advancing to command the US Army Group, which consisted of four field Armys, the largest number of soldiers ever to serve under one field commander. Omar Nelson Bradley was born on February 12, 1893, in Clark, Missouri, to the parents of John Smith Bradley and Sarah Elizabeth Bradley. In fact, the young Bradley remained the couple's only surviving child, after the death of Omar's younger brother, Raymond Bradley, in 1900. His father, John, was a schoolteacher who earned $40 a month - a condition that placed the family near the poverty level. With a schoolteacher for a father, however, Bradley was able to receive a superior education. Throughout primary school Bradley maintained on overall grade average of 98.66 percent, thus encouraging his parents to skip the young Bradley one grade level. The early years of Bradley's life were consumed by hunting and baseball. The former was actually used to supplement the family's merger income. For instance, Bradley "killed and dressed rabbits and sold them for five cents a piece." One need only be presented with this to see that Bradley was an extremely responsible youth. After the tragic and sudden death of John Bradley of pneumonia in 1908, a deeply depressed Omar Bradley became alienated and withdrawn from his peers. His self-esteem was not helped by a move to Moberly, Missouri, in the middle of his junior year of high school. He was often referred to as a "loner"or "outsider" during his years at Moberly. The young Bradley however, managed to excel both academically as well as..."

1896 Volkishness: Guido von Linz writes an anti-Semitic article entitled "Die Juden als Staat und Nation" in Karl Wolf's East German Review. (Roots)

1900 Birth: Ferenc Kormendy, Hungarian-US author; Budapest Kaland.

1908 A pistol shot begins the Around the World Automobile Race, from Times Square, New York City, to Paris, by way of Alaska and Siberia. George Schuster will prevail after 88 days behind the wheel.

1909 The NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is formed.

1912 The Emperor of China, Henry P'u-i, abdicates as China becomes a republic and embraces the Gregorian calendar.


1915 The cornerstone is laid for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

1915 Birth: Andrew J. Goodpaster, US general; will be supreme commander of NATO-Europe.

1918 Birth: Julian S. Schwinger, US physicist.

1919 Weimar: Karl Radak, a member of the German Bolshevik delegation, is arrested in the Bolshevik propaganda office in Berlin. Police discover documents detailing an outline plan for a general Communist offensive to take place in the spring. According to this plan, The Red Army is to march through Poland into Germany to join up with a simultaneous German Communist insurrection. (Topitsch)

1919 The first clash between Polish forces and the Red Army takes place at Bereza Kartuska.

1921 Soviet troops invade Georgia.

1921 Winston Churchill takes the post of minister of Colonization for Great Britain.

1925 The first federal arbitration law is approved by the US Congress.

1925 Estonia bans the communist Party.


1926 The League of Nations prepares to admit Germany in accordance with the Locarno Treaty.

1927 The British expeditionary army lands in Shanghai.


1930 Birth: Arlen Specter, Senator-R-Pennsylvania.

1931 Weimar: The eight Catholic bishops of Bavaria, organized in the Bavarian (Freising) Bishops Conference under the chairmanship of Cardinal Faulhaber, the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, strictly prohibits all Catholic priests from taking part whatsoever in the National Socialist movement. Nazi party formations with flags are also prohibited from attending services "since such parades in churches would make the people think that the Church had come to terms with National Socialism."

1932 The Communistic Party in Holland forms the Unemployed Combat Committee.

1933 Birth: Juanita Coulson, sci-fi author; Web of Wizardry, Space Trap.

1934 The Austrian Heimwehr (Homeguard) stages a coup d'etat. Communists are attacked, and the Socialist Schutzbund (Protection Force) is disarmed. More than 100 are killed.

1934 France is hit by a general strike against fascist and royalists.


1935 The great airship, USS Macon, crashes into the Pacific Ocean.

1936 Hitler speaks at the funeral of Gustloff Schwerin: "And now on foreign soil National Socialism has gained its first conscious martyr -- a man who did nothing save to enter the lists for Germany which is not only his sacred right but his duty in this world: a man who did nothing save remember his homeland and pledge himself to her in loyalty. He, too, was murdered, just like so many others. Even at the time when, on January 30, three years ago, we had come into power, precisely the same things happened in Germany, at Frankfurt on the Oder, at Kpenick, and again at Brunswick. The procedure was always the same: a few men come and call someone out of his house and then stab or shoot him down..."

1938 A meeting between Hitler and Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg at Obersalzberg leads to a greater Nazi role in Austrian government and public life.


1940 Holocaust: The first forced deportations of German Jews take place. (Goebbels)

1941 WW2: General Erwin Rommel arrives in Tripoli to take command of the German Afrika Korps.

1941 WW2: General Zhukov is appointed Chief of the Soviet General Staff and Deputy Commissar for Defense.

1941 WW2: The Jewish Council for Amsterdam is established under Ascher-Cohen.

1942 Birth: Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister.


1942 WW2: Three German battle cruisers escape by way of the English Channel to Brest in Northern Germany.


1942 WW2: Hitler speaks at the funeral of Dr. Fritz Todt: "The German Reich's auto roads are, in the planning of their layout and the execution, the work of this quite unique technical, and in addition, also artistic, talent. We can no longer think of the German Reich without these roads..."


1942 Death: Grant Wood, US painter; American Gothic. See Also: 1850, 1930.

1945 Holocaust: Professor von Verschuer informs the general administration of the KWG that the contents of the KWI of Anthropology have been sent by truck from Berlin to the West. Before or after this move, all incriminating documents (correspondence with Dr. Mengele, expert reports, memoranda) are destroyed. (Science)

1945 Death: Wally van Hall, banker, Nazi resister, executed at 39.

1945 San Francisco is selected for the site of the UN Conference.


1946 Birth: Ever Meulen [Eddy Vermeulen], designer; children stamps 1992.

1947 A fireball and meteorite are observed during the late afternoon in eastern Siberia.

1949 An unidentified aircraft bombs Jerusalem.

1950 Albert Einstein declares that he is against the development of the hydrogen bomb.

1950 Senator Joe McCarthy claims to have a list of 205 communist government employees, but never shows it to anyone.

1953 The Willys-Overland Company, which brought America the Jeep, celebrates its golden anniversary. The original design for an all-terrain troop transport vehicle - featuring four-wheel drive, masked fender-mount headlights, and a rifle rack under the dash - was submitted to the US Armed Forces by the American Bantam Car Company in 1939. The Army loved Bantam's design, but the production contract was ultimately given to Willys-Overland on the basis of its similar design and superior production capabilities. Mass production of the Willys Jeep began after the US declaration of war in 1941. By 1945, 600,000 Jeeps had rolled off the assembly lines and onto battlefields in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The name Jeep is supposedly derived from the Army's request to car manufacturers to develop a 'General Purpose' vehicle. Gee Pee turned to Jeep somewhere along the battle lines. The Willys Jeep became a cultural icon in the US during WW2, as images of GIs in Gee Pees liberating Europe saturated the newsreels in movie theaters across the country. Unlike the Hummer of recent years, the Jeep was not a symbol of technological superiority but rather of the courage of the American spirit, a symbol cartoonist Bill Mauldin captured when he drew a weeping soldier firing a bullet into his broken down Willys Jeep. In 1945, Willys-Overland introduced the first civilian Jeep vehicle, the CJ-2A. (Bradley)

1953 The Soviet Union breaks off relations with Israel after terrorists bomb the Soviet legation in Tel Aviv.

1955 President Eisenhower sends the first US advisors to South Vietnam.

1955 The Soviets decide on Baikonur, Kazachstan, as the site for their secret space center.

1961 Venera 1 escapes the pull of the Earths gravity well over the USSR and heads toward the planet Venus.

1973 116 freed United States POWs are flown from Hanoi to the Philippines; the first American prisoners of war in North Vietnam to be released. 

1976 Workmen engaged in reconstruction at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, find a rose, sealed up in a wall 800 years earlier and still intact.

1979 The USSR launches its first oceanographic satellite; Kosmos 1076.

1980 The International Olympic Committee rejects a US proposal to postpone or cancel the 1980 Summer Games or move the site from Moscow as a protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

1986 The governments of Lady Thatcher and Francois Mitterand sign the Treaty of Canterbury, permitting the construction of the Channel Tunnel.

1991 Iceland recognizes Lithuania's recently declared independence.

1992 US President George H. Bush formally announces he is running for reelection.

1993 About 5,000 demonstrators march on Atlanta's State Capitol to protest the Confederate symbol on the Georgia state flag.


1994 Death: Donald Judd, US furniture maker, architect, artist, at 65.

1994 Edvard Munch's painting The Cry is stolen.

1996 Republican presidential hopeful Bob Dole wins the Iowa caucuses, with former Nixon speech writer Pat Buchanan a close second.

1997 The Democrats' fundraising scandal continues to grow as the Washington Post reports that the Chinese government may have channeled money to the Democratic National Committee in order to influence the Clinton administration.

1997 South Korea announces that a secretary with North Korea's ruling Workers (Communist) Party, Jang Yop, had sought asylum at the South Korean consulate in Beijing, China; the highest-level official ever to defect from North Korea.

1999 The US Senate acquits President Clinton of impeachment charges.


2001 NASA's NEAR spacecraft lands on the asteroid Eros.


2002 Algerian pilot Lofti Raissi, who had been accused of training September 11 suicide hijackers, is granted his freedom after being bailed at an extradition hearing.

2002 The war crimes trial of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic begins at the Hague in the Netherlands.

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2003 British MP Clare Short declares that Britain should not join a unilateral American attack on Iraq without UN authorization.

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