On this Day in History: April 12

Today in history saw England and Scotland adopt the first version of the Union Flag, but it has changed since then. What else happened on April 12?

1606: The Adoption of the Union Flag

Union Flag 1606Three years after King James VI of Scotland became James I of England it was time to adopt a flag to unite the two countries. The first Union Flag was created, joining the English and Scottish crosses (St. George and St. Andrew). The Acts of the Union a century later and other changes over the years led to the Union Flag (also known as the Union Jack when on board a ship) becoming the flag that is known today in 1801.

1770: The Townshend Act Repealed by the British

The British government chose to work with the colonists in history today by repealing the hated Townshend Act. Passed in 1767, the act imposed import taxes on the majority of British products bought by the colonies, including tea, paper, and lead. The taxes raised were to fund the colonial governor salaries to keep them separate and less reliant on the people. In an act of defiance against the British, the colonials refused to import goods until the act was repealed. Anger among the colonials would lead to the Boston Massacre in 1770, and Britain had no choice but to act with the repeal.

1917: The Capture of Vimy Ridge

Today in history marks the day that Vimy Ridge was captured by the Canadians. It followed three days of intense war between the Canadians and the Germans, after numerous failed attempts by the British and French forces. Historians make a note of this battle, as it was the moment Canadians stepped out of the British shadows, doing something their commonwealth cousins had failed to do. 2017 marks the 100th year anniversary and cadets forces and military bases around Canada are memorializing the day.

1945: The Death of Franklin D. Roosevelt

On this day in history, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died at home. Just before his death, he complained of a pain in his head and collapsed. He was with his wife, two cousins and family dog. A doctor quickly came to the home and confirmed the president, who had served four office terms, had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and tried to revive him with adrenaline to the heart. It was all in vain, and he was pronounced dead hours later. Vice President Harry Franklin D RooseveltTruman took over as president.

1961: Russia Wins the Space Race

The Soviet Union became the first country to get a man in space, beating the Americans. Major Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin left Baikonur launch pad, Kazakhstan, orbited the Earth for 108 minutes and then returned to Earth. After this he was banned from more space missions, as the Russians viewed him as a valuable asset for propaganda. President Kennedy took the high road and congratulated his competition for the success.

Famous Birthdays on April 12

Muhammad at-Taqi, Muslim Shia Imam–812

French humanist Marc-Antoine de Muret–1526

Politician Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford–1550

Composer Pietro Nardini–1722

“The Great Compromiser” Henry Clay—1777

Washington Globe editor Francis Preston Blair—1791

Army physician John Shaw Billings—1838

Folk singer Tiny Tim—1936

The Hunt for Red October author Tom Clancy—1947

TV host David Letterman—1947

Romeo and Juliet actress Claire Danes—1979


Birthdays from HistoryNet.com, OnThisDay.com and FamousBirthdays.com

Featured image from Deposit Photos

First Union Flag: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Jack#/media/File:Union_flag_1606_(Kings_Colors).svg

Franklin D. Roosevelt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt#/media/File:Franklin_Roosevelt_Secretary_of_the_Navy_1913.jpg

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