Today in History for Feb. 12:
In 1554, Lady Jane Grey, who had been queen of England for nine days, was beheaded after being charged with high treason.
In 1793, Spain agreed to pay compensation for the seizure of British ships at Nootka, B.C.
In 1809, two men who would go down in history were born -- Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.
In 1816, St. John's, Nfld., was nearly wiped out by a fire.
In 1818, Chile officially proclaimed its independence, more than seven years after initially renouncing Spanish rule.
In 1908, the first around-the-world automobile race began in New York. Six cars -- three French, one American, one Italian and one German -- were entered in the race that ended in Paris on July 26. The American car won.
In 1909, the United States' oldest civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was founded.
In 1912, Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, abdicated, marking the end of the Qing Dynasty.
In 1914, ground was broken for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. (The cornerstone was laid on this date one year later.)
In 1917, Prime Minister Robert Borden arrived in London to sit as a member of the British war cabinet.
In 1949, Ottawa announced that a vast radar network would be built across Northern Canada. It led to the creation of the Distant Early Warning Line -- or DEW Line.
In 1954, the operations of a black-market baby ring were disclosed by Montreal police. More than 1,000 illegitimate babies were said to have been smuggled from the Montreal area for adoption in the U.S.
In 1954, the first suggestion that cancer could be linked to smoking was put forward after a study by a British government advisory panel.
In 1970, a three-month-old baby was the recipient of Canada's first successful liver transplant, at Montreal's Notre-Dame Hospital.
In 1973, the first American prisoners from the Vietnam war were released.
In 1990, Quebec elected its first New Democrat MP when consumer advocate Phil Edmonston won a byelection in the riding of Chambly.
In 1990, hundreds of homes were evacuated in Hagersville, Ont., when a massive fire started at a tire dump.
In 1993, the murder of a two-year-old British toddler shocked the world. James Bulger was lured away from his mother at a Liverpool shopping mall and beaten to death on nearby railway tracks. Two 10-year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, were convicted of abduction and murder. They were released from prison in June 2001 and given new identities and moved to secret locations.
In 1994, in Toronto, Victoria Matthews was consecrated as the first female bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.
In 1994, after a long battle with Lou Gehrig's disease, Sue Rodriguez died at her Victoria-area home at age 43. Rodriguez, who took her fight for a legal assisted suicide to court three times, took her life with the help of an unidentified doctor.
In 1999, the U.S. Senate declined to remove President Bill Clinton from office. Following a trial, the Senate rejected one article of impeachment passed by the House and split evenly on the second.
In 2000, cartoonist and ``Peanuts'' creator Charles Schulz died of colon cancer at the age of 77. Schulz had recently announced his retirement, and his final ``Peanuts'' strip appeared the day after his death.
In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled peer-to-peer file sharing Internet service Napster must soon stop the massive trade in copywrited music.
In 2002, the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic began in The Hague. (In 2006, Milosevic died in his prison cell before the trial could be concluded.)
In 2003, Defence Minister John McCallum said Canada would send 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to provide stability and security in the capital Kabul.
In 2004, four men were charged in a 42-count indictment alleging they had run a steroid-distribution ring that provided performance-enhancing drugs to dozens of athletes in the NFL, the major leagues and track and field. (All four later pleaded guilty to steroids-related charges, and two of them, personal trainer Greg Anderson and Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative founder Victor Conte, served several months in prison.)
In 2006, Rodney McDonald was elected leader of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative Party in Halifax, replacing John Hamm.
In 2008, Australia offered a landmark apology to aboriginal people for laws and policies that degraded the indigenous people.
In 2008, General Motors Corp. reported a record US$38.7-billion loss, the largest annual loss for an automotive company.
In 2009, a Canadian-built Bombardier Dash 8 commuter plane crashed into a home near Buffalo, N.Y., killing 50 people including one on the ground. One Canadian was among the dead.
In 2010, 24-year-old Canadian Cpl. Joshua Caleb Baker died and four other soldiers were hurt in a shooting range accident during normal training near Kandahar, Afghanistan. Baker, from Edmonton, served with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, 4th Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. (Maj. Christopher Lunney was demoted one rank to captain and given a severe reprimand after pleading guilty to negligent performance of duty. Warrant officer Paul Ravensdale was found guilty of four charges but acquitted of manslaughter and issued a six-month suspended sentence, fined $2,000 and demoted to sergeant - a symbolic consequence as he was retired at the time of the ruling.)
In 2010, a Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador judge approved a $17.5-million settlement in the class-action suit over errors in breast cancer testing conducted in the province between 1997 and 2005.
In 2010, hockey great Wayne Gretzky lit the outdoor cauldron and officially launched the 21st Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Tragedy struck the Games hours earlier, when 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed after he crashed into a steel pillar during a training run in Whistler.
In 2015, Al-Jezeera journalist and Canadian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, who has spent more than a year in a Cairo prison, was ordered released on bail by an Egyptian court about an hour after the start of a retrial on widely-denounced terror-related charges. (In August, he was sentenced to three years in prison but in late September Fahmy was among 100 prisoners who were pardoned by Egypt's president and ordered released. He arrived back in Canada on Oct. 11.)
In 2016, Pope Francis met with Patriarch Kirill in Cuba in the first-ever meeting between a pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a historic development in the 1,000-year schism that has divided Christianity.
In 2018, Marty Allen, the baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows and talk shows for decades, died at age 95.
In 2019, Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould quit the federal cabinet days after allegations became public the Prime Minister's Office pressured the former justice minister to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. Wilson-Raybould released a letter that did not say exactly why she was quitting. It did say she would continue to serve as M-P for the riding of Vancouver-Granville. Trudeau said her resignation surprised and disappointed him.
In 2020, newspaper columnist Christie Blatchford died of cancer in a Toronto hospital at the age of 68. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remembered Blatchford as a relentless storyteller with a wicked sense of humour and said she will be missed.
In 2020, two hereditary chiefs from the Wet'suwet'en First Nation launched a constitutional challenge against the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline, in the hopes that a Federal Court would declare Canada has a constitutional duty to meet international greenhouse gas emission targets.
In 2020, the Assembly of First Nations filed a federal class-action lawsuit seeking damages for thousands of children and their families affected by federal child-welfare policies on reserves. AFN national chief Perry Bellegarde asserted that Canada's child-welfare system discriminated against First Nations kids, causing them and their families harm and suffering.
In 2021, the Department of National Defence said military police opened an investigation in 2015 into Gen. Jonathan Vance's conduct while he was serving in Italy the previous year. No charges were ever laid. The Defence Department said the investigation was launched before Vance's appointment as defence chief in July 2015. The government agency didn't reveal the specific allegations that were investigated.
In 2022, Canada shuttered its embassy in Kyiv and relocated its diplomatic staff to a temporary office in the western part of the country amid fears of a war with Russia.
In 2022, Ivan Reitman, the influential Canadian filmmaker and producer behind beloved comedies from "Animal House" to "Ghostbusters," died at age 75. Reitman passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Montecito, Calif.
In 2023, the U.S. military shot down a fourth high-altitude object in just over a week -- this time closer to heavily populated areas in southern Ontario and the U.S. East Coast. Defence Minister Anita Anand said a "high-altitude object'' was detected in U.S. airspace over Lake Huron. Anand said Norad launched Canadian and U.S. aircraft to investigate and the object was taken down in U.S. airspace by U.S. aircraft.
In 2023, Billy Two Rivers, a retired Mohawk wrestler, politician and activist, died at the age of 87. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake announced his death. Two Rivers rose to fame as a wrestler in the 1950s, and spent nearly a quarter of a century in the ring before he turned to politics. He also served 10 consecutive terms on the Kahnawake council. The council said Two Rivers stayed active in his later years, acting in several movies and TV shows and remaining a prominent advocate for the promotion of the Mohawk language.
The Canadian Press