This Day In History – October 12th
COLUMBUS ARRIVES IN AMERICAS. ‘COLUMBUS DAY’ BECOMES OFFICIAL HOLIDAY – OCTOBER 12, 1492
Artwork by Dioscoro Teofilo Puebla Tolin
Many countries in the New World and elsewhere celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, which occurred on October 12, 1492, as an official holiday. The event is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Dia de la Raza in many countries in Latin America, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Dia de la Hispanidad, Fiesta Nacional in Spain, Dia del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) in Argentina and as Dia de las Americas (Day of the Americas) in Uruguay. These holidays have been celebrated unofficially since the late 18th century, and officially in various areas since the early 20th century.
A lookout on the Pinta, Rodrigo de Triana (also known as Juan Rodriguez Bermeo), spotted land about 2 a.m. on the morning of October 12, 1492. Columbus called the island (in what is now The Bahamas) San Salvador; the natives called it Guanahani. Exactly which island in the Bahamas this corresponds to is an unresolved topic; prime candidates are Samana Cay, Plana Cays, or San Salvador Island (so named in 1925 in the belief that it was Columbus’s San Salvador). [Source]
FIRST OKTOBERFEST IS HELD – OCTOBER 12, 1810
Photograph by Reuters/Michael Dalder
Oktoberfest is a 16–18 day beer festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world’s largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event.
Only beer which is brewed within the city limits of Munich is allowed to be served in this festival. Upon passing this criterion, a beer is designated Oktoberfest Beer. Oktoberfest Beer is a registered Trademark by the Club of Munich Brewers. Large quantities of German beer are consumed, with almost 7 million liters served during the 16 day festival in 2007.
Photograph by Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n”.
Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.
“The festival was eventually prolonged and moved ahead to September to allow for better weather conditions. Today, the last day of the festival is the first Sunday in October. In 2006, the Oktoberfest extended two extra days because the first Tuesday, October 3, was a national holiday. Over the past 200 years, Oktoberfest was canceled 24 times due to cholera epidemics and war.” [Source]
Photograph by Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
HEAD OF JAPANESE SOCIALIST PARTY IS ASSASSINATED – OCT. 12, 1960
Photograph by YASUSHI NAGAO
Inejiro Asanuma (December 27, 1898 – October 12, 1960) was a Japanese politician, and head of the Japanese Socialist Party. Asanuma was noted for speaking publicly about Socialism and economic and cultural opportunities. His support of the Chinese Communist Party was criticized both from the right and by his colleagues.
Asanuma was assassinated by 17-year-old Otoya Yamaguchi, an extreme rightist, at a televised rally for the upcoming Lower-house election. Yamaguchi rushed and fatally stabbed Asanuma, and was subdued moments later. The entire incident was captured on camera. [Source]
VOSKHOD 1 ACHIEVES MULTIPLE FIRSTS IN MANNED SPACEFLIGHT – OCTOBER 12, 1964
Voskhod 1 (Ascent 1 or Dawn 1) was the seventh manned Soviet space flight. It achieved a number of “firsts” in the history of manned spaceflight, being the first space flight to carry more than one crewman into orbit, the first flight without the use of spacesuits, and the first to carry either an engineer or a physician into outer space. It also set a manned spacecraft altitude record of 336 km (209 mi).
The three spacesuits for the Voskhod 1 cosmonauts were omitted; there was neither the room nor the payload capacity for the Voskhod to carry them. The original Voskhod had been designed to carry two cosmonauts, but Soviet politicians pushed the Soviet space program into squeezing three cosmonauts into Voskhod 1. The only other space flight in the short Voskhod program, Voskhod 2, carried two suited cosmonauts — of necessity, because it was the flight on which Alexei Leonov made the world’s first walk in space.
As part of its payload Voskhod 1 carried a ribbon off a Communard banner from the Paris Commune of 1871 into orbit. [Source]
Photograph by NASA
MARGARET THATCHER ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT BY IRA – OCT. 12, 1984
Photograph by D444n
The Brighton hotel bombing happened on 12 October 1984 at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, England. The bomb was planted by Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member Patrick Magee, with the intention of assassinating Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet who were staying at the hotel for the Conservative Party conference. Patrick Magee had stayed in the hotel under the false name of Roy Walsh during the weekend of 14–17 September 1984. During his stay, he planted the bomb (fitted with a long-delay timer made from video recorder components) under the bath in his room, number 629.
The bomb detonated at 2:54 a.m on 12 October. Thatcher was still awake at the time, working on her conference speech for the next day in her suite. It badly damaged her bathroom but left her sitting room and bedroom unscathed. Thatcher and her husband Denis escaped injury.
The bomb failed to kill Thatcher or any of her government ministers. Five people, however, were killed, including Conservative MP Anthony Berry and Parliamentary Treasury Secretary John Wakeham’s wife Roberta. Sir Donald Maclean and his wife, Muriel, were in the room in which the bomb exploded. Lady Maclean was gravely injured in the explosion and later died of her injuries while Sir Donald was seriously injured. The other people killed by the blast were Eric Taylor and Jeanne Shattock. Several more, including Margaret Tebbit—the wife of Norman Tebbit, who was then President of the Board of Trade—were left permanently disabled. Thirty-four people were taken to the hospital and recovered from their injuries.
One of her biographers wrote that Thatcher’s “coolness, in the immediate aftermath of the attack and in the hours after it, won universal admiration. Her defiance was another Churchillian moment in her premiership which seemed to encapsulate both her own steely character and the British public’s stoical refusal to submit to terrorism”. Immediately afterwards her popularity soared to near-Falklands levels.
In September 1986, Patrick Magee, then aged 35, was found guilty of planting the bomb, detonating it, and of five counts of murder. Magee received eight life sentences: seven for offences relating to the Brighton bombing, and the eighth for a separate bombing conspiracy. The judge recommended that he serve a minimum term of thirty-five years. Later Home Secretary Michael Howard increased this minimum to “whole life”. He was released from prison, however, in 1999, having served only fourteen years (including the time before his sentencing), under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. [Source]
Photograph by Tagishsimon
WORLD POPULATION REACHES 6 BILLION – OCTOBER 12, 1999
The United Nations Population Fund designated October 12, 1999 as the approximate day on which world population reached six billion following the birth of Adnan Mevic, the first son of Fatima Helac and Jasminko Mevic, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. It was officially designated The Day of Six Billion.
The child was born weighing 3.5 kilograms in the Kosevo hospital in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He had been proclaimed by the United Nations Population Fund and welcomed by the secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, as the six billionth baby. He was born on the designated day two minutes after midnight. [Source]
AL-QAEDA SUICIDE ATTACK ON USS COLE – OCTOBER 12, 2000
Photograph by PH2 Leland Comer (US Navy)
On 12 October 2000, while at anchor in Aden, the Cole was attacked by Al-Qaeda suicide bombers, who sailed a small boat near the destroyer and detonated explosive charges. The blast created a hole in the port side of the ship about 40 feet (12 m) in diameter, killing 17 crew members and injuring 39. The ship was under the command of Commander Kirk Lippold.
Cole was returned to the United States aboard the Norwegian heavy-lift vessel MV Blue Marlin owned by Offshore Heavy Transport of Oslo, Norway.
The U.S. government offered a reward of up to US$5 million for information leading to the arrest of people who committed or aided in the attack on Cole. Al-Qaeda was suspected of targeting Cole because of the failure of a 3 January 2000 attack on USS The Sullivans, one of the 2000 millennium attack plots. On 4 November 2002, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, a suspected al-Qaida operative, who is believed to have planned the Cole attack, was killed by the CIA using an AGM-114 Hellfire missile launched from an MQ-1 Predator drone. [Source]
Photograph by PM 2nd Class James Elliott (US Navy)
2002 BALI BOMBINGS – OCTOBER 12, 2002
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia, killing 202 people, (including 88 Australians, and 38 Indonesian citizens). A further 240 people were injured.
The attack involved the detonation of three bombs: a backpack-mounted device carried by a suicide bomber; a large car bomb, both of which were detonated in or near popular nightclubs in Kuta; and a third much smaller device detonated outside the United States consulate in Denpasar, causing only minor damage.
Various members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group, were convicted in relation to the bombings, including three individuals who were sentenced to death. Abu Bakar Bashir, the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, was found guilty and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment. However Bashir only served 18 months of his 2.5 year imprisonment, because of his indirect involvement with the incident. Bashir is now serving 15 years convicted for helping to organise and fund the Jihadi training camp.
On 9 November 2008, Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and Huda bin Abdul Haq were executed by firing squad on the island prison of Nusakambangan at 00:15 local time (17:15 UTC). On 9 March 2010, Dulmatin, nicknamed “the Genius” – believed to be responsible for setting off one of the Bali bombs with a mobile phone – was killed in a shoot-out with Indonesian police in Jakarta.
There were many acts of individual heroism. Kusitino ‘Kossy’ Halemai, a Wallis and Futuna-born Australian citizen who was managing the Bounty Hotel in Kuta at the time of the attacks, sheltered survivors in the immediate aftermath of the blasts. He was singled out for praise with the award of Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2005.
Husband and wife team Richard B Poore and wife Gilana Poore who organised a makeshift triage area in the Bounty Hotel’s reception area were also honoured with an OAM in 2005 and 2006.
James Parkinson, an emergency nurse, worked alongside Doctor Hogg from Wollongong in the Denpasar Sanglah Hospital running the trauma centre for the bombing victims. After disappearing in Africa and Europe for three years, the Governor General’s department finally tracked him down and awarded Parkinson the Order of Australia Medal in 2005. [Source]
Memorial in Bali – Photograph by Jonathan Liem
Bali Memorial in Melbourne, Australia – Photograph by Peter Ellis
Memorial in Kings Park, Perth, Australia – Photograph by Moondyne
Bali Memorial in London, England – Photograph by Dan Tobias