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.