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Today in History: April 12

A look at what happened on this day in history.

Today is Thursday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2018.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

On this date:

In 1606, England’s King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag, which combined the flags of England and Scotland.

In 1776, North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress authorized the colony’s delegates to the Continental Congress to support independence from Britain.

In 1934, “Tender Is the Night,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published in book form after being serialized in Scribner’s Magazine.

In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.

In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.

In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, charged with contempt of court and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”)

In 1975, singer, dancer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker, 68, died in Paris.

In 1983, Chicagoans went to the polls to elect Harold Washington the city’s first black mayor.

In 1985, Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, became the first sitting member of Congress to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off.

In 1988, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to Harvard University for a genetically engineered mouse, the first time a patent was granted for an animal life form.

In 1990, in its first meeting, East Germany’s first democratically elected parliament acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, and asked the forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.

Ten years ago: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama conceded that comments he’d made privately during a fundraiser about bitter working class voters who “cling to guns or religion” were ill chosen. Actors, relatives and politicians gathered at a church in Los Angeles to mourn Charlton Heston, one of the last lions of Old Hollywood who died April 5 after battling Alzheimer’s disease. Boston College won the NCAA hockey championship, 4-1, over Notre Dame.

Five years ago: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting South Korea, delivered a stark warning to North Korea not to test-fire a mid-range missile while tamping down anxiety caused by a new U.S. intelligence report suggesting significant progress in the communist regime’s nuclear weapons program. Guan Tianlang, a 14-year-old from China, made history as the youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event; despite being the first player at Augusta National to get hit with a one-shot penalty for slow play, Guan made the cut under the 10-shot rule at the Masters. American chess grandmaster Robert Byrne, 84, died in Ossining, New York.

One year ago: The United States and China struck what appeared to be an unusual bargain as President Donald Trump said he wouldn’t label China a currency manipulator and voiced confidence Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) would help him deal with North Korea’s mounting threat. Embattled Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly began a vacation after reports emerged of settlements reached with five women to keep quiet about harassment accusations.

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© 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.