January 12 is the 12th day in the Gregorian calendar.
1528 – Gustav I of Sweden becomes King of Sweden.
1709 - Little Ice Age: Two-month freeze begins in France - Atlantic coast and Rhine River freeze, crops fail and at least 24,000 Parisians die.
1875 - Kwang-su becomes Emperor of China.
1898 - Ito Hirobumi begins his third term as Prime Minister of Japan.
1908 - Long distance radio messages are sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
1926 - Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll start their radio program Sam 'n' Henry, predecessor of Amos 'n' Andy; probably the first sitcom.
1940 - World War II: Russia bombs cities in Finland.
1945 – World War II: The Soviet Union begins a major offensive in Eastern Europe against the Nazis.
1964 - The rebels in Zanzibar start an uprising and then proclaim a republic.
1966 - Lyndon B. Johnson declares that the United States must remain in South Vietnam until the Communist aggression there ends.
1966 - The TV version of Batman, Batman the TV series debuts on the ABC television channel.
1966 - All action units belonging to the Pancasila Front came to the DPR-GR demanding Tritura.
1969 - Hard rock band Led Zeppelin releases their first album.
1970 - Biafra surrenders, ending Nigeria's civil war.
1976 - The UN Security Council voted 11-1 to allow the Palestine Liberation Organization to participate in Security Council debates (without voting rights).
1991 – Persian Gulf War: A US Congressional act grants approval to the use of military force to force Iraq out of Kuwait.
1992 - In the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000, a fictional computer, is supposed to be activated on this date.
1998 - 19 European countries agree to ban human cloning.
2010 - Haiti's earthquake with an epicenter near the city of Léogâne 7.0 on the Richter Scale affects 3 million people, an estimated 230,000 people die, 300,000 people are injured and 1,000,000 people are left homeless.
2015 - Football player Cristiano Ronaldo was named the world's best player for the 3rd time.
1893 - Hermann Göring, Nazi official (d. 1946)
1893 - Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi official (d. 1946)
1899 - Paul Hermann Müller, chemist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1948 (d. 1965)
1916 – Pieter Willem Botha, president of South Africa
1944 - Joe Frazier, boxing champion
1970 - Denny Kantono, men's doubles badminton player from Indonesia
1987 - Ricky Harun, Indonesian actress
1987 - Naya Rivera, American actress, model, and singer.
1992 - PAGE 9000, fictional computer
1992 - Mao Kobayashi, Japanese gravure idol
1993 - Aika Mitsui, Japanese Singer
1993 - D.O, actor and member of boyband EXO
1993 - Zayn Malik, British singer, former One Direction member
1995 - Laurel McGoff, American Reality Show Contestant
1998 - Nathan Gamble, American Actor
1519 - Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 1459)
1976 - Agatha Christie, writer (b. 1890)
2003 - Maurice Gibb, singer and bass player in the Bee Gees (b. 1949)
2004 – Uta Hagen, German-American actress (b. 1919)
2004 – Ron O'Neal, American actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1937)
2005 – Charlotte MacLeod, Canadian-American writer (b. 1922)
2005 – Conroy Maddox, British painter and educator (b. 1912)
2005 – Rudolph Moshammer, German fashion designer (b. 1940)
2005 – Jesús Rafael Soto, Venezuelan sculptor and painter (b. 1923)
2006 – Henri Colpi, French director and screenwriter (b. 1921)
2006 – Jim Gary, American sculptor (b. 1939)
2006 – Shelley Winters, American actress (b. 1920)
2007 – Vassilis Photopoulos, Greek painter, director, and set designer (b. 1934)
2008 – Judah Folkman, American physician, biologist, and academic (b. 1933)
2009 – Jan Kaplický, Czech architect, designed the Selfridges Building (b