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This Day in History: August 12


1851 – Isaac Singer is granted a patent for his sewing machine.

1898 – An Armistice ends the Spanish–American War.

1898 – The Hawaiian flag is lowered from ╩╗Iolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the flag of the United States to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawaii to the United States.

1914 – World War I: The United Kingdom declares war on Austria-Hungary; the countries of the British Empire follow suit.

1944 – Waffen-SS troops massacre 560 people in Sant'Anna di Stazzema.

1944 – Nazi German troops end the week-long Wola massacre, during which time at least 40,000 people were killed indiscriminately or in mass executions.

to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces.

1948 – USS Nevada is struck from the naval record.

1950 – Korean War: Bloody Gulch massacre—American POWs are massacred by North Korean Army.

1958 – Art Kane photographs 57 notable jazz musicians in the black and white group portrait "A Great Day in Harlem" in front of a Brownstone in New York City.

1960 – Echo 1A, NASA's first successful communications satellite, is launched.

1964 – South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country's racist policies.

1977 – The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.

1990 – Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton found to date, is discovered by Sue Hendrickson in South Dakota.

1992 – Canada, Mexico and the United States announce completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

1994 – Major League Baseball players go on strike. This will force the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.


1852 – Michael J. McGivney, American priest, founded the Knights of Columbus (d. 1890)

1856 – Diamond Jim Brady, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1917)

1880 – Christy Mathewson, American baseball player and manager (d. 1925)

1881 – Cecil B. DeMille, American director and producer (d. 1959)

1910 – Jane Wyatt, American actress (d. 2006)

1929 – Buck Owens, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Buckaroos) (d. 2006)

1930 – George Soros, Hungarian-American businessman and investor, founded the Soros Fund Management

1932 – Charlie O'Donnell, American radio and television announcer (d. 2010)

1933 – Parnelli Jones, American race car driver and businessman

1951 – Willie Horton, American murderer

1963 – Sir Mix-a-Lot, American rapper, producer, and actor

1971 – Pete Sampras, American tennis player

1972 – Del the Funky Homosapien, American rapper and producer (Hieroglyphics, Deltron 3030, and Gorillaz)


1891 – James Russell Lowell, American poet and critic (b. 1819)

1944 – Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., American lieutenant and pilot (b. 1915)

1982 – Henry Fonda, American actor, singer, and producer (b. 1905)

1988 – Jean-Michel Basquiat, American painter (b. 1960)

1989 – William Shockley, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)

1992 – John Cage, American composer and theorist (b. 1912)

2007 – Merv Griffin, American actor, singer, and producer, created Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (b. 1925)

2009 – Les Paul, American guitarist and songwriter (b. 1915)

2012 – Joe Kubert, Polish-American illustrator, founded The Kubert School (b. 1926)

2013 – Pauline Maier, American historian and academic (b. 1938)

2014 – Lauren Bacall, American model, actress and singer (b. 1924)