Today in History — May 12, 2018

Published May 12, 2018 at 4:00pm

Today in History

Today is Saturday, May 12, the 132nd day of 2018. There are 233 days left in the year.

Today's Highlights in History:

On May 12, 1943, during World War II, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered. The two-week Trident Conference, headed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, opened in Washington.

On this date:

In 1012, Pope Sergius IV died, ending a nearly three-year papacy; he was succeeded by Pope Benedict VIII.

In 1780, during the Revolutionary War, the besieged city of Charleston, South Carolina, surrendered to British forces.

In 1870, an act creating the Canadian province of Manitoba was given royal assent, to take effect in July.

In 1932, the body of Charles Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old kidnapped son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, was found in a wooded area near Hopewell, New Jersey.

In 1937, Britain's King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey; his wife, Elizabeth, was crowned as queen consort.

In 1949, the Soviet Union lifted the Berlin Blockade, which the Western powers had succeeded in circumventing with their Berlin Airlift.

In 1958, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to create the North American Air Defense Command (later the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD).

In 1967, "Are You Experienced," the debut album of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was released in Britain by Track Records. Procol Harum's debut single "A Whiter Shade of Pale" was released in the United Kingdom on the Deram label. English poet laureate John Masefield died in Abingdon at age 88.

In 1978, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that hurricanes would no longer be given only female names.

In 1982, in Fatima, Portugal, security guards overpowered a Spanish priest armed with a bayonet who attacked Pope John Paul II. (In 2008, the pope's longtime private secretary revealed that the pontiff was slightly wounded in the assault.)

In 1997, Australian Susie Maroney became the first woman to swim from Cuba to Florida, covering the 118-mile distance in 24 1/2 hours.

In 2003, the Texas House ground to a standstill after 51 Democratic lawmakers left the state in a dispute over a Republican congressional redistricting plan. (The Democrats returned four days later from Oklahoma, having succeeded in killing the bill.)

Ten years ago: A devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake in China's Sichuan province left more than 87,000 people dead or missing. Irena Sendler, credited with saving some 2,500 Jewish children from the Holocaust, died in Warsaw, Poland, at age 98. Pop artist Robert Rauschenberg died on Captiva Island, Florida, at age 82. Indians second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera turned the 14th unassisted triple play in major league history during the second game of a doubleheader against Toronto, which won the match, 3-0, in 10 innings. NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon would succeed Conan O'Brien as host of "Late Night."

Five years ago: Pope Francis gave the Catholic Church new saints, including hundreds of 15th-century martyrs who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, as he led his first canonization ceremony before tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square. Nineteen people were wounded in a gang-related shooting during a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans. Serena Williams kept her No. 1 ranking and added career title No. 50 as she beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Madrid Open; Rafael Nadal won his fifth title since returning from a knee injury by beating Stanislas Wawrinka (vah-VRINK'-ah) 6-2, 6-4.

One year ago: Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack that locked up computers and held users' files for ransom at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies. A gunman killed Kirkersville, Ohio, Police Chief Steven Eric DiSario as well as two employees at a nearby nursing home before taking his own life; authorities said one of the employees was the gunman's ex-girlfriend. Pope Francis urged Catholics to "tear down all walls" and spread peace during a visit to Fatima, Portugal, as he marked the 100th anniversary of one of the most unique events of the 20th-century Catholic Church: the visions of the Virgin Mary reported by three illiterate shepherd children.

Today's Birthdays: Critic John Simon is 93. Composer Burt Bacharach is 90. Actress Millie Perkins is 80. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jayotis Washington is 77. Country singer Billy Swan is 76. Actress Linda Dano is 75. Actress Lindsay Crouse is 70. Singer-musician Steve Winwood is 70. Actor Gabriel Byrne is 68. Actor Bruce Boxleitner is 68. Singer Billy Squier is 68. Blues singer-musician Guy Davis is 66. Country singer Kix Brooks is 63. Actress Kim Greist is 60. Rock musician Eric Singer (KISS) is 60. Actor Ving Rhames is 59. Rock musician Billy Duffy is 57. Actor Emilio Estevez is 56. Actress April Grace is 56. Actress Vanessa A. Williams is 55. TV personality/chef Carla Hall is 54. Country musician Eddie Kilgallon is 53. Actor Stephen Baldwin is 52. Actor Scott Schwartz is 50. Actress Kim Fields is 49. Actress Samantha Mathis is 48. Actress Jamie Luner is 47. Actor Christian Campbell is 46. Actress Rhea Seehorn is 46. Actor Mackenzie Astin is 45. Country musician Matt Mangano (The Zac Brown Band) is 42. Actress Rebecca Herbst is 41. Actress Malin (MAH'-lin) Akerman is 40. Actor Jason Biggs is 40. Actor Rami Malek (RAH'-mee MA'-lihk) is 37. Actress-singer Clare Bowen is 34. Actress Emily VanCamp is 32. Actor Malcolm David Kelley is 26. Actor Sullivan Sweeten is 23.

Thought for Today: "Dissent is not sacred; the right of dissent is." — Thurman Arnold, American lawyer (1891-1969).