April 12th

2009
American cargo ship captain Richard Phillips was rescued from Somali pirates by U.S. Navy snipers who shot and killed three of the hostage-takers.
Maersk Alabama hijacking
2004
Barry Bonds hit his 660th home run to tie Willie Mays for third on baseball's career list. (Bonds is now the career leader in home runs.).
List of milestone home runs by Barry Bonds
2002
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez resigned under pressure from the country's divided military. (He was returned to office two days later.).
Evo Morales
1999
U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright found President Bill Clinton in contempt of court for giving "intentionally false" testimony in a lawsuit filed by Paula Jones about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Susan Webber Wright
1988
The Last Emperor receives nine Academy Awards. Bernardo Bertolucci's biopic about Puyi, the last Emperor of China, was the first film to be awarded all the Oscars it was nominated for.
60th Academy Awards
1983
Harold Washington was elected Chicago's first African-American mayor.
Harold Washington
1981
The Space Shuttle blasts off into space for the first time. Two astronauts took off for Space Shuttle Columbia's first orbital test flight.
Space Shuttle Columbia
1980
US Olympic Committee endorses a boycott of the Moscow Olympic games.
1984 Summer Olympics boycott
1961
Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space. The Soviet Cosmonaut orbited the Earth aboard the Vostok-3KA spacecraft (Vostok 1 mission). The first human spaceflight took 108 minutes from launch to landing.
Vostok 1
1945
President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
1937
The first aircraft jet engine is successfully tested. Sir Frank Whittle invented and tested the engine, only a few months before German engineer Hans von Ohain ran his jet engine, which was to power the first ever all-jet aircraft.
History of the jet engine
1927
Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek begins counter revolution in Shanghai.
Shanghai massacre
1877
The catcher for Harvard's baseball team, James Tyng, wore a modified fencing mask behind the plate. It is believed to be the first time a catcher's mask was used during a game.
1861
The American Civil War begins. The bombardment of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina marked the beginning of hostilities. The conflict was sparked by deepening economic, social and political differences between the southern and northern states, which was most palpably embodied by the dispute about the legitimacy of slavery. The southern (pro-slavery) states, surrendered in 1865, ending the war.
American Civil War
1811
1st US colonists on Pacific coast arrive at Cape Disappointment (Washington).
Spanish expeditions to the Pacific Northwest
1606
England's King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag, which combined the flags of England and Scotland.
Union Jack
1204
4th Crusade occupies & plunders Constantinople.
Fourth Crusade