This Day In History, August 12th

What happened on this day in history: Cleopatra dies in 30 B.C.E., The Wizard of Oz premieres in 1939, and more.

30 B.C.E.: Cleopatra Dies By Suicide

This Day In History August 12

Wikimedia CommonsThe Death of Cleopatra by Reginald Arthur. 1892.

Egyptian queen Cleopatra takes her own life after her forces are defeated by her Roman political rival, Octavian.

According to legend, her husband Mark Antony died first after he stabbed himself, thinking Cleopatra was already dead. He told her to make peace with Octavian, but after the Roman leader refused her advances, she made a poisonous asp bite her and died rather than submit to Octavian’s forces.

1895: Minnie Dean Is Executed

New Zealand serial killer Minnie Dean is hanged after being convicted of infanticide. Earlier that year, she was seen boarding a train with a baby and a hatbox, then leaving the train without the baby and a suspiciously heavy hatbox, according to railroad porters. Police soon dug up her garden and found the bodies of three children. Dean is the only woman to be executed in the history of New Zealand.

1939: The Wizard Of Oz Premieres

The Wizard Of Oz

MGMThough it struggled to break even during its theatrical run, the film has since become one of the most enduring classics in the history of American cinema.

The world premiere of the classic film The Wizard of Oz takes place in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Based on L. Frank Baum’s bestselling novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the movie delighted audiences everywhere with its vivid technicolor scenes and musical numbers like Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow.” According to the Library of Congress, The Wizard of Oz is the most-seen film in movie history.

1967: Buford Pusser’s Wife Is Murdered

Buford Pusser’s wife, Pauline, is murdered while investigating a disturbance out of town. Buford Pusser was a sheriff in Tennessee known for his crackdowns on crime and corruption. After his wife was fatally shot while tagging along on her husband’s work call, Pusser became hell-bent on getting revenge.

Pusser identified four people responsible for the attack, and as time passed, three would die under mysterious circumstances. He would never be connected to any of their deaths. Pusser joined his wife in 1974 after dying in a car crash.

1990: History’s Most Complete Tyrannosaurus Rex Fossil Is Discovered

T-Rex Sue

Wikimedia Commons“Sue” the Tyrannosaurus rex in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.

Explorer Sue Hendrickson comes across the most complete fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered during a commercial excavation trip in Faith, South Dakota. Named “Sue” after its finder, this T. rex is around 40 feet long and 13 feet tall, and it likely weighed around 18,000 pounds when it roamed the Earth. More than 90 percent of Sue’s remains have been found, and the creature is displayed in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.