12 April It Happened Today

1817  Death of French astronomer Charles Messier.

1861  Confederate forces fire on the Union Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbour.

1913  Birth of American jazz bandleader Lionel Hampton.

1961  Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space.

1981 Death of US and world heavyweight champion Joe Louis.

1989  Death of welterweight and middleweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson.

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