1781: At the Second Battle of Ushant, the French fleet is defeated by a British fleet. Leading the British fleet is the famous HMS Victory.
1787: Almost a week after Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S Constitution, Pennsylvania becomes the second state.
1862: During the American Civil War, the USS Cairo hits a mine and sinks to the bottom of the Yazoo River. This ship would go down in history as the very first ironclad vessels to be sunk by a controlled mine during war.
1866: On this day, one of the worst mining disasters in history happens when the Oaks explosion killed over three hundred and sixty miners and rescuers.
1870: The second African-American United States Congressman is elected to office: Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina.
1911: Calcutta is no longer the capital city of India when Delhi is made the capital.
1935: Heinrick Himmler begins the Lebensborn Project.
1939: At the Battle of Tolvajarv, Soviet forces are defeated by Finnish forces.
1940: As a result of a German air raid, over seventy people are killed at the Marple Hotel in Sheffield.
1941: Four Filipino fighter pilots fight off over fifty Japanese Zero fighters while they are raiding Bantangas Field in the Philippines
1941: India declares war on Japan.
1941: Romania declares war on the U.S.
1941: The U.K declares war on Bulgaria.
1941: Hungary declares war on the U.S.
1941: At a Reich Chancellery meeting, Adolf Hitler calls for the extermination of all Jews.
1942: Operation Winter Storm is begun by Nazi forces as they try to relieve troops that have been encircled by the Soviets at the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII.
Famous Birthdays on December 12
American singer and actor, Frank Sinatra is born in 1915.
American actress Jennifer Connelly is born in 1970.