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This Day in History: July 12

Events

1562 – Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatán, burns the sacred books of the Maya.

1776 – Captain James Cook begins his third voyage.

1804 – Former United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton dies a day after being shot in a duel.

1812 – War of 1812: The United States invades Canada at Windsor, Ontario.

1862 – The Medal of Honor is authorized by the United States Congress.

1943 – World War II: Battle of Prokhorovka: German and Soviet forces engage in one of the largest tank engagements of all time.

1967 – The Newark riots begin in Newark, New Jersey.

1973 – A fire destroys the entire sixth floor of the National Personnel Records Center of the United States.

2007 – U.S. Army Apache helicopters perform airstrikes in Baghdad, Iraq; footage from the cockpit is later leaked to the Internet.

Births

1817 – Henry David Thoreau, American philosopher and author (d. 1862)

1821 – D. H. Hill, American general and academic (d. 1889)

1854 – George Eastman, American businessman, founded Eastman Kodak (d. 1933)

1884 – Louis B. Mayer, Belarusian-American film producer, co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (d. 1957)

1895 – Buckminster Fuller, American architect and engineer, designed the Montreal Biosphère (d. 1983)

1895 – Oscar Hammerstein II, American director, producer, and songwriter (d. 1960)

1908 – Milton Berle, American comedian, actor, and singer (d. 2002)

1909 – Joe DeRita, American actor (d. 1993)

1909 – Herbert Zim, American naturalist, author, and educator (d. 1994)

1917 – Andrew Wyeth, American painter (d. 2009)

1928 – Elias James Corey, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate

1934 – Van Cliburn, American pianist and composer (d. 2013)

1937 – Bill Cosby, American actor, producer, and screenwriter

1971 – Kristi Yamaguchi, American figure skater

1977 – Brock Lesnar, American mixed martial artist and wrestler

Deaths

1804 – Alexander Hamilton, American general, economist, and politician, 1st United States Secretary of the Treasury (b. 1755)

1849 – Dolley Madison, American wife of James Madison, 4th First Lady of the United States (b. 1768)

1892 – Alexander Cartwright, American firefighter, invented baseball (b. 1820)

1944 – Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., American general and politician, Governor of Puerto Rico (b. 1887)

1973 – Lon Chaney, Jr., American actor (b. 1906)

1996 – John Chancellor, American journalist (b. 1927)

2011 – Sherwood Schwartz, American screenwriter and producer (b. 1916)