December 12 events in history

627 Battle of Nineveh: A Byzantine army under Emperor Heraclius defeats Emperor Khosrau II's Persian forces, commanded by General Rhahzadh
1098 First Crusade: Siege of Ma'arrat al-Numan – Crusaders breach the town's walls and massacre about 20,000 inhabitants. After finding themselves with insufficient food, they reportedly resort to cannibalism
1388 Mary of Enghien sells the lordship of Argos and Nauplia to the Republic of Venice
1408 The Order of the Dragon a monarchical chivalric order is created by Sigismund of Luxembourg, then King of Hungary
1781 American Revolutionary War: Second Battle of Ushant – A British fleet led by HMS Victory defeats a French fleet
1787 Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, five days after Delaware became the first
1862 USS Cairo sinks on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine
1870 Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina becomes the second black U.S. congressman, the first being Hiram Revels
1897 Belo Horizonte, the first planned city in Brazil, is founded
1901 Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal (the letter "S" in Morse Code), at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland
1911 Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India
1911 King George V and Mary of Teck are enthroned as Emperor and Empress of India
1915 President of the Republic of China, Yuan Shikai, announces his intention to reinstate the monarchy and proclaim himself Emperor of China
1917 In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founds Boys Town as a farm village for wayward boys
1918 The Flag of Estonia is raised atop the Pikk Hermann for the first time
1925 The Majlis of Iran votes to crown Reza Khan as the new Shah of Iran, starting the Pahlavi dynasty
1935 Lebensborn Project, a Nazi reproduction program, is founded by Heinrich Himmler
1936 Xi'an Incident: The Generalissimo of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek, is kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang
1937 Second Sino-Japanese War: USS Panay incident – Japanese aircraft bomb and sink U.S. gunboat USS Panay on the Yangtze River in China
1939 Winter War: Battle of Tolvajärvi – Finnish forces defeat those of the Soviet Union in their first major victory of the conflict
1939 HMS Duchess sinks after a collision with HMS Barham off the coast of Scotland with the loss of 124 men
1940 World War II: Approximately 70 people are killed in the Marples Hotel, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield, as a result of a German air raid
1941 World War II: Fifty-four Japanese A6M Zero fighters raid Batangas Field, Philippines. Jesús Villamor and four Filipino fighter pilots fend them off; César Basa is killed
1941 World War II: USMC F4F "Wildcats" sink the first 4 major Japanese ships off Wake Island
1941 World War II: The United Kingdom declares war on Bulgaria. Hungary and Romania declare war on the United States. India declares war on Japan
1941 Adolf Hitler declares the imminent extermination of the Jews at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery
1942 World War II: German troops begin Operation Winter Storm, an attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad
1942 A fire in a hostel in St. John's, Newfoundland, kills 100 people
1946 A fire at a New York City ice plant spreads to a nearby tenement, killing 37 people
1948 Malayan Emergency: Batang Kali Massacre – 14 members of the Scots Guards stationed in Malaya allegedly massacre 24 unarmed civilians and set fire to the village
1950 Paula Ackerman, the first woman appointed to perform rabbinical functions in the United States, leads the congregation in her first services
1956 Beginning of the Irish Republican Army's "Border Campaign"
1958 Guinea joins the United Nations
1963 Kenya gains its independence from the United Kingdom
1964 Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta becomes the first President of the Republic of Kenya
1969 Years of Lead: Piazza Fontana bombing – The offices of Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura in Piazza Fontana, Milan, are bombed
1979 Coup d'état of December Twelfth: South Korean Army Major General Chun Doo-hwan orders the arrest of Army Chief of Staff General Jeong Seung-hwa without authorization from President Choi Kyu-ha, alleging involvement in the assassination of ex-President Park Chung Hee
1979 President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq confers Nishan-e-Imtiaz on Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam
1979 The unrecognised state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia returns to British control and resumes using the name Southern Rhodesia
1983 The Australian Labor government led by Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating floats the Australian dollar
1984 Maaouiya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya becomes the third president of Mauritania after a coup d'état against Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla while the latter is attending a summit
1985 Arrow Air Flight 1285, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8, crashes after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland, killing all 256 people on board, including 236 members of the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division
1988 The Clapham Junction rail crash kills thirty-five and injures hundreds after two collisions of three commuter trains—one of the worst train crashes in the United Kingdom
1991 The Russian Federation gains independence from the USSR
2000 The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore
2001 Prime Minister of Vietnam Phan Văn Khải announces the decision on upgrading Phong Nha–Kẻ Bàng to the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, providing information on projects for the conservation and development of the park and revised maps
2012 North Korea successfully launches its first satellite, Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, using a Unha-3 carrier rocket
2012 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief took place at Madison Square Garden and was broadcast on 20 international television networks to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy