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This Day in History - December 13

December 13

1577 – Francis Drake sets out for Plymouth, England on a mission to raid Spanish holdings and to explore the Pacific Ocean

1585 – Scottish poet William Drummond is born

1621 – The first American furs to be exported leave for England aboard Robert Cushman’s Fortune

1642 – Dutch navigator Abel Tasman discovers New Zealand

1776 – American General Charles Lee leaves his army in search of women at Widow White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge, New Jersey

1789 – The National Guard is created in France

1797 – German poet, satirist and journalist Heinrich Heine is born

1798 – Mountain man trailblazer Joseph Reddeford Walker is born

1812 – The last bit of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Armee reach Kovno, Poland

1814 – General Andrew Jackson declares martial law in New Orleans, Louisiana as British troops disembark at Lake Borne, resulting in the Battle of New Orleans

1818 – Wife of President Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, is born

1835 – Episcopal clergyman who wrote the lyrics for “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Phillip Brooks is born

1838 – Botanist who developed the first successful fungicide, Alexis Millardet is born

1862 – The Battle of Fredericksburg ends with slaughter of Union troops at Marye’s Heights

1890 – Playwright, actor, director and journalist Marc Connelly is born

1902 – The Committee of Imperial Defense hold its first meeting in London

1908 – The Dutch capture two Venezuelan Coast Guard ships

1911 – American poet and author Kenneth Patchen is born

1915 – Novelist Kenneth Millar aka Ross Macdonald is born

1916 – An avalanche kills hundreds of Austrian soldiers near Italy’s Mount Marmolada, while the Austrians and Italians were fighting in World War I.  Several avalanches will go on to kill an estimated 10,000 soldiers over a period of a few days, and some claim the avalanches were caused purposefully to use as a weapon, despite there being little evidence to substantiate that claim

1918 – President Woodrow Wilson arrives in France to negotiate peace for World War I and to promote his plan for a League of Nations

1923 – Director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, Sir Terence Beckett is born

1923 – Physicist Phillip Anderson is born

1925 – Actor, singer, producer Dick Van Dyke is born

1934 – Academy Award-winning film producer, Richard Zanuck is born

1937 – The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China

1940 – Adolf Hitler makes preparations for Operation Martita, the German invasion of Greece

1941 – British forces launch an offensive in Libya

1942 – Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels records in a journal, his disdain for the Italian’s treatment of Jews in Italian-occupied territories, stating they are “extremely lax”

1945 – France and Britain agree to quit Syria and Lebanon

1948 – Musician Jeff Baxter is born

1948 – Singer, songwriter, musician and actor Ted Nugent is born

1951 – After meeting with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Harry S. Truman vows to purge all disloyal government workers

1951 – Foreign Service Officer John S. Service is dismissed from the Department of State due to questions involving his loyalty to the US

1954 – Country singer, musician John Anderson is born

1967 – Actor and singer Jamie Foxx is born

1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexico’s President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz meet on a bridge at El Paso, Texas, to officiate at ceremonies returning the disputed El Chamizal area to the Mexican side of the border

1972 – Astronaut Gene Cernan becomes the last man to set foot on the moon

1973 – Great Britain cuts the workweek to three days to save energy

1974 - North Vietnamese General Tran Van Tra orders 7th Division and 3rd Division to attack Phuoc Long Province, north of Saigon

1981 – Polish labor leader Lech Walesa is arrested and martial law is declared, restricting civil rights and suspending operation of the independent trade union Solidarity

1985 – Frances sues the US over the discovery of an AIDS serum

1989 – Singer, actress Taylor Swift is born

2000 – Vice President Al Gore concedes the presidential election to Texas Governor George W. Bush

2000 – Seven convicts break out of a maximum-security prison in South Texas.  The group, dubbed the “Texas Seven,” had been on a crime spree in which they robbed stores and killed a police officer.  After the viewing of America’s Most Wanted, police were able to locate the men from viewer tips.  One man committed suicide when surrounded by the police, and the remaining men were indicted, convicted and sentenced to death for capital murder

2001 – Terrorists attack the Parliament of India Sansad, killing 15

2003 – Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.


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