Today in History: October 12, “Gang of Four” arrested in China


In 1492 (according to the Old Style calendar), Christopher Columbus’ expedition arrived in the present-day Bahamas.

In 1792, the first recorded U.S. celebration of Columbus Day was held to mark the tricentennial of Christopher Columbus’ landing.

In 1870, General Robert E. Lee died in Lexington, Virginia, at age 63.

In 1933, bank robber John Dillinger escaped from a jail in Allen County, Ohio, with the help of his gang, who killed the sheriff, Jess Sarber.

In 1971, the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon nominated House minority leader Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to succeed Spiro T. Agnew as vice president.

In 1976, it was announced in China that Hua Guofeng had been named to succeed the late Mao Zedong as chairman of the Communist Party, and that Mao’s widow and three others, known as the “Gang of Four,” had been arrested.

In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher escaped an attempt on her life when an Irish Republican Army bomb exploded at a hotel in Brighton, England, killing five people.

In 1986, the superpower meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, ended in stalemate, with President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev unable to agree on arms control or a date for a full-fledged summit in the United States.

In 2000, 17 sailors were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen.

In 2002, bombs blamed on al-Qaida-linked militants destroyed a nightclub on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians and seven Americans.

In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace Prize for sounding the alarm over global warming.

In 2011, a Nigerian al-Qaida operative pleaded guilty to trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab defiantly told a federal judge in Detroit that he had acted in retaliation for the killing of Muslims worldwide.

In 2012, the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for fostering peace on a continent long ravaged by war.

In 2017, the Trump administration said it would immediately halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law.

In 2018, Roelof “Pik” Boetha, the last foreign minister of South Africa’s apartheid era, died at age 86.

In 2021, the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets said Kyrie Irving could not play or practice with them until he could be a full participant; New York City required professional athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to play or practice in public venues.


Former Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, is 91.

Singer Sam Moore (formerly of Sam and Dave) is 88.

Broadcast journalist Chris Wallace is 76.

Actor-singer Susan Anton is 73.

Pop/rock singer/songwriter Jane Siberry is 68.

Actor Hiroyuki Sanada is 63.

Actor Carlos Bernard is 61.

Jazz musician Chris Botti is 61.

R&B singer Claude McKnight (Take 6) is 61.

Rock singer Bob Schneider is 58.

Actor Hugh Jackman is 55.

R&B singer Garfield Bright (Shai) is 54.

Country musician Martie Maguire (Courtyard Hounds, The Chicks) is 54.

Actor Kirk Cameron is 53.

Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller is 46.

Rock singer Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory) is 44.

Actor Brian J. Smith is 42.

Actor Tyler Blackburn is 37.

Actor Marcus T. Paulk is 37.

Actor Ito Aghayere is 36.

Actor Josh Hutcherson is 31.