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This Day in History - February 13

February 13

167 – A disciple of St. John and Bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp, is martyred on the west coast of Asia Minor

1258 – Baghdad falls to the Mongols

1542 – Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, is beheaded for adultery

1599 – Pope Alexander VII is born

1601 – First East India Company voyage departs from London, lead by John Lancaster

1633 – Italian astronomer and mathematician Galileo arrives in Rometo to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory, which says the Earth revolves around the Sun.  He will face Roman Inquisition in April

1662 – Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, dies

1682 – Painter Giovanni Piazzetta is born

1689 – British Parliament adopts the Bill of Rights

1689 – Mary, the daughter of the deposed king, and her husband William of Orange are proclaimed joint sovereigns of Great Britain

1692 – In Scotland, 38 members of the MacDonald clan are murdered by soldiers from the Campbell clan for not pledging allegiance to William of Orange, in what is known as the Massacre of Glencoe, when in fact, they had pledged allegiance, but this had not been communicated to the Campbell clan

1728 – American minister Cotton Mather dies

1764 – Napoleon’s foreign minister, Charles de Talleyrand is born

1776 – Patrick Henry is named Colonel of the First Virginia battalion

1787 – Croatian physicist, astronomer and mathematician Ruder Boskovic dies

1822 – Missouri Lieutenant Governor William Ashley places an advertisement in the local paper asking for 100 “enterprising young men” to engage in fur trading in the Upper Missouri-which was responded to by men such as Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger and Mike Fink

1831 – Union General John Rawlins is born

1835 – Indian religious leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is born

1849 – English member of Parliament and Winston Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill is born

1862 – The Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee begins

1865 – The Confederacy approves the recruitment of slaves as soldiers if their owners approve

1866 – Jesse James holds up his first bank in Liberty, Missouri

1873 – Opera singer Feodor Chaliapin is born

1883 – German composer and director Richard Wagner dies

1892 – Painter Grant Wood is born

1902 – Novelist Georges Simenon is born

1905 – President Theodore Roosevelt gives a speech discussing America’s race problem to the New York City Republican Club

1910 – Physicist and co-inventor of the transistor, William Shockley is born

1915 – The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is founded

1919 – Singer Tennessee Ernie Ford is born

1920 – The League of Nations recognizes perpetual neutrality of Switzerland

1922 – Author Harold “Hal” Moore Jr. is born

1923 – American test pilot and first man to break sound barrier Charles “Chuck” Yeager is born

1933 – Actress Kim Novak is born

1935 – Bruno Hauptmann was found guilty in the murder of the Lindbergh kidnapping case and is sentenced to death

1936 – The first social security checks are mailed

1942 – Adolf Hitler’s Operation Sealion, the invasion of England, is cancelled

1945 – The Royal Air Force Bomber Command decimates the German city of Dresden with night raids from 873 bombers, while at the same time, Americans bombers are flying day raids.  The town was destroyed and this is the most controversial bombing incident of the war

1945 – USSR captures Budapest after a nearly 50-day battle with Germany in which 159,000 die

1946 – American politician Richard Blumenthal is born

1949 – A mob burns a radio station in Ecuador after the broadcast of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”

1950 – English singer, songwriter and producer Peter Gabriel is born

1951 – At the Battle of Chipyong-ni, in Korea, UN troops stop the Chinese

1953 – The Pope asks the US to grant clemency to convicted spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

1960 – France explodes its first atomic bomb

1965 – President Lyndon Johnson approves Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing campaign during Vietnam that had been under discussion for a year

1968 – The US sends 10,500 more combat troops into Vietnam

1970 – GM is reportedly redesigning cars to run on unleaded fuel

1972 – Enemy attacks in Vietnam decline as the US continues its devastating bombing strategy

1974 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who won the Nobel Prize for literature, is deported from the Soviet Union

1974 – English singer, songwriter, producer and actor Robbie Williams is born

1982 – Tom Luther gives a 21-year old, Mary, a ride in Breckenridge, Colorado, rapes her and beats her with a claw hammer.  While in custody, Luther tells an inmate that “the next girl won’t live. They’ll never find her body.”  Within months of his release, he goes on to kill Cher Elder, stab another woman, and raped and beat a hitchhiker.  Luther blames the attacks on the fact that the women reminded him of his abusive mother.  A judge refused to allow the jury to consider Luther’s previous statements, where he admits to being a danger to society, and as such, he is only given 48-year sentence for second-degree murder

1983 – 74 people die when a cinema catches fire in Turin, Italy

1984 – Konstantin Chernenko is selected to succeed Yuri Andropov as Party General Secretary in the Soviet Union

1991 – Sotheby’s announces the discovery of a long-lost manuscript of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  The document had been missing for more than a century

1991 – Two “smart bombs” kill at least 408 in Baghdad

1998 – Austrian ski racer Hermann Maier suffers one of the most dramatic crashes in skiing history when he catapults 30 feet in the air, lands on his helmet and rams through two safety fences at an estimated 80 mph during the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.  Miraculously, he only suffered minor injuries and walked away from the crash, and went on to win gold medals several days later

2000 – Charles Schulz’ last “Peanuts” comic strip is published for the last time

2002 – The French judge, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, is accused of throwing the pairs skating decision to the Russians at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City

2002 – American singer, songwriter and musician Waylon Jennings dies

2004 – The universe’s largest known diamond is discovered as a dwarf star about 50 light-years away from Earth and was nicknamed “Lucy” after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

2008 – Actor Mel Gibson completes his DUI probation

2008 – Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologizes to Indigenous Australians for “stolen generations” where 10-30 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Islander children were removed from their families


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the owner of Madison's Media, Madison's CPC and the Chief Administrative Officer for Lanterns. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and has two adult children. Writers seeking additional exposure: Ask how you can contribute!


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