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This Day in History: September 12


1609 – Henry Hudson begins his exploration of the Hudson River while aboard the Halve Maen.

1814 – Battle of North Point: an American detachment halts the British land advance to Baltimore in the War of 1812.

1847 – Mexican–American War: the Battle of Chapultepec begins.

1857 – The SS Central America sinks about 160 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, drowning a total of 426 passengers and crew, including Captain William Lewis Herndon. The ship was carrying 13–15 tons of gold from the California Gold Rush.

1919 – Adolf Hitler joins the German Workers' Party (later the Nazi Party).

1938 – Adolf Hitler demands autonomy and self-determination for the Germans of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

1940 – An explosion at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Kenvil, New Jersey kills 51 people and injures over 200.

1942 – World War II: RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian POWs is torpedoed off the coast of West Africa and sinks with a heavy loss of life.

1942 – World War II: First day of the Battle of Edson's Ridge during the Guadalcanal Campaign. U.S. Marines protecting Henderson Field on Guadalcanal are attacked by Imperial Japanese Army forces.

1943 – World War II: Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, is rescued from house arrest on the Gran Sasso in Abruzzi, by German commando forces led by Otto Skorzeny.

1944 – World War II: The liberation of Serbia from Nazi Germany continues. Bajina Bašta in western Serbia is among those liberated cities. Near Trier, American troops enter Germany for the first time.

1952 – Strange occurrences, including a monster sighting, take place in Flatwoods, Wes


1953 – U.S. Senator and future President John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island.

1962 – President John F. Kennedy, at a speech at Rice University, reaffirms that the U.S. will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

1964 – Canyonlands National Park is designated as a National Park.

1966 – Gemini 11, the penultimate mission of NASA's Gemini program, and the current human altitude record holder (except for the Apollo lunar missions)

1983 – A Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford, Connecticut, United States, is robbed of approximately US$7 million by Los Macheteros.

1984 – Dwight Gooden sets the baseball record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie with 246, previously set by Herb Score in 1954. Gooden's 276 strikeouts that season, pitched in 218 innings, set the current record.

1992 – NASA launches Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47 which marked the 50th shuttle mission. On board are Mae Carol Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese citizen to fly in a US spaceship, and Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space.

1994 – Frank Eugene Corder crashes a single-engine Cessna 150 into the White House's south lawn, striking the West wing and killing himself.

2003 – The United Nations lifts sanctions against Libya after that country agreed to accept responsibility and recompense the families of victims in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

2003 – Iraq War: In Fallujah, U.S. forces mistakenly shoot and kill eight Iraqi police officers.

2008 – The 2008 Chatsworth train collision in Los Angeles between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train kills 25 people.

2011 – The 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City opens to the public.


1880 – H. L. Mencken, American journalist and critic (d. 1956)

1913 – Jesse Owens, American sprinter and long jumper (d. 1980)

1922 – Jackson Mac Low, American poet, playwright, and composer (d. 2004)

1981 – Jennifer Hudson, American singer and actress


1927 – Sarah Frances Whiting, American physicist and astronomer (b. 1847)

2003 – Johnny Cash, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (b. 1932)

2009 – Norman Borlaug, American agronomist and humanitarian, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)