March 13th In History

This day in historyMarch 13 is the 72nd day of the year (73rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 293 days remaining until the end of the year.


In 624,  Battle of Badr: a key battle between Muhammad‘s army – the new followers of Islam and the Quraish of Mecca. The Muslims won this battle, known as the turning point of Islam, which took place in the Hejaz region of western Arabia.

In 874,  The bones of Saint Nicephorus are interred in the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople.

In 1138, Cardinal Gregorio Conti is elected Antipope as Victor IV, succeeding Anacletus II.

In 1519, Cortez lands in Mexico.

In 1591,  Battle of Tondibi: In Mali, Moroccan forces of the Saadi Dynasty led by Judar Pasha defeat the Songhai Empire, despite being outnumbered by at least five to one.

In 1607, The 12th recorded passage of Halley’s Comet occurs.

In 1639,  Harvard College is named for clergyman John Harvard.

In 1644, Rhode Island becomes a separate colony

In 1697,  Nojpetén, capital of the Itza Maya kingdom, fell to Spanish conquistadors, the final step in the Spanish conquest of Guatemala.

In 1781,  William Herschel discovers Uranus.

In 1809,  Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden is deposed in a coup d’état.

In 1845,  Felix Mendelssohn‘s Violin Concerto receives its première performance in Leipzig with Ferdinand David as soloist.

In 1852, The New York Lantern publishes the first cartoon showing the character “Uncle Sam,” based on a real U.S. officer who served in the war of 1812, Samuel Wilson.

In 1862,  American Civil War: The U.S. federal government forbids all Union army officers to return fugitive slaves, thus effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and setting the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 1865,  American Civil War: The Confederate States of America agree to the use of African American troops. Jefferson Davis signs the order.

In 1869, Arkansas legislature passes anti-Klan law.

In 1881,  Alexander II of Russia is killed near his palace when a bomb is thrown at him. (Gregorian date: it was March 1 in the Julian calendar then in use in Russia.)

In 1884,  The Siege of Khartoum, Sudan begins, ending on January 26, 1885.

In 1897,  San Diego State University is founded.

In 1900,  Second Boer War: British forces occupy Bloemfontein, Orange Free State.

Pach Brothers - Benjamin Harrison.jpgIn 1901,  Benjamin Harrison, American general and politician, 23rd President of the United States (b. 1833) dies. He was the 23rd President of the United States (1889–1893); he was the grandson of the ninth President, William Henry Harrison. Harrison had become a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian church leader and politician in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the American Civil War, he served the Union as a brigadier general; afterwards, he unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of Indiana but was later elected to the U.S. Senate by the Indiana legislature. Harrison, a Republican, was elected to the presidency in 1888, defeating the Democratic incumbent Grover Cleveland. Hallmarks of his administration included unprecedented economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff, which imposed historic protective trade rates, and the Sherman Antitrust Act; Harrison facilitated the creation of the National Forests through an amendment to the Land Revision Act of 1891. He also substantially strengthened and modernized the Navy, and conducted an aggressive hands on foreign policy. He fervently proposed, in vain, federal education funding as well as voting rights enforcement for African Americans during his administration. Due in large part to surplus revenues from the tariffs, federal spending reached one billion dollars for the first time during his term. The spending issue in part led to the defeat of the Republicans in the 1890 mid-term elections. Harrison was defeated by Cleveland in his bid for re-election in 1892, due to the growing unpopularity of the high tariff and high federal spending. He then returned to private life in Indianapolis but later represented the Republic of Venezuela in an international case against the United Kingdom. In 1900, he traveled to Europe as part of the case and, after a brief stay, returned to Indianapolis. He died the following year of complications from influenza.

Susan B Anthony c1855.pngIn 1906,  Susan B. Anthony, American activist (b. 1820) dies. She was an American social reformer who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker family committed to social reform, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856 she became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1851 she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who became her lifelong co-worker in social reform activities, primarily in the field of women’s rights. In 1852 they founded the New York Women’s State Temperance Society after Anthony was prevented from speaking at a temperance conference because she was a woman. In 1863 they founded the Women’s Loyal National League, which conducted the largest petition drive in the nation’s history up to that time, collecting nearly 400,000 signatures in support of the abolition of slavery. In 1866 they initiated the American Equal Rights Association, which campaigned for equal rights for both women and African Americans. In 1868 they began publishing a women’s rights newspaper called The Revolution. In 1869 they founded the National Woman Suffrage Association as part of a split in the women’s movement. In 1890 the split was formally healed when their organization merged with the rival American Woman Suffrage Association to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association, with Anthony as its key force. In 1876 Anthony and Stanton began working with Matilda Joslyn Gage on what eventually grew into the six-volume History of Woman Suffrage. The interests of Anthony and Stanton diverged somewhat in later years, but the two remained close friends.

In 1920,  The Kapp Putsch briefly ousts the Weimar Republic government from Berlin.

In 1921,  Mongolia is proclaimed an independent monarchy, ruled by Russian military officer Roman von Ungern-Sternberg as a dictator.

In 1925, a law went into effect in Tennessee prohibiting the teaching of evolution.

In 1930,  The news of the discovery of Pluto is telegraphed to the Harvard College Observatory.

In 1933,  Great Depression: Banks in the U.S. begin to re-open after President Franklin D. Roosevelt mandates a “bank holiday“.

In 1934, John Dillinger and his gang robbed the First National Bank in Iowa. Baby Face Nelson was waiting outside in a getaway car. When a woman customer ran out of the bank and said “They’re robbing the bank”, Nelson responded “You’re telling me”.

In 1938,  World News Roundup is broadcast for the first time on CBS Radio in the United States.

In 1938,  Clarence Darrow, American lawyer and author (b. 1857) dies. He was an American lawyer, leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and prominent advocate for Georgist economic reform. He defended teenage thrill killers Leopold and Loeb in their trial for murdering 14-year-old Robert “Bobby” Franks (1924). Some of his other cases included defending Ossian Sweet, and John T. Scopes in the Scopes “Monkey” Trial (1925), in which he opposed William Jennings Bryan (statesman, orator, and three-time presidential candidate). Called a “sophisticated country lawyer”, his wit made him one of the most famous American lawyers and civil libertarians.

In 1940,  The Russo-Finnish Winter War ends.

In 1941, Hitler issues an edict calling for an invasion of the U.S.S.R.

In 1942, Julia Flikke of the Nurse Corps becomes the first woman colonel in the U.S. Army. Women’s History.

In 1943,  The Holocaust: German forces liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Kraków.

In 1943, Hitler escapes an assignation attempt when a parcel bomb on the planes he is flying in fails to detonate.

Stephen Vincent Benét Yale College BA 1919.jpgIn 1943,  Stephen Vincent Benét, American author (b. 1898) dies of a heart attack in New York City. He was an American author, poet, short story writer, and novelist. Benét is best known for his book-length narrative poem of the American Civil War, John Brown’s Body (1928), for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929, and for two short stories, “The Devil and Daniel Webster” (1936) and “By the Waters of Babylon” (1937). In 2009, The Library of America selected Benét’s story “The King of the Cats” (1929) for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American Fantastic Tales, edited by Peter Straub. He was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for Western Star, an unfinished narrative poem on the settling of the United States. The title of Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century, is taken from the final phrase of Benét’s poem “American Names”. The full quotation, “I shall not be there/I shall rise and pass/Bury my heart at Wounded Knee,” appears at the beginning of Brown’s book. Although Benet’s poem is not about the plight of native Americans, Wounded Knee, (a village on a reservation in South Dakota) was the location of last major confrontation between the U.S. Army and American Indians. The event is known formally as the Wounded Knee Massacre, as more than 150, largely unarmed, Sioux men, women, and children were killed that day. He adapted the Roman myth of the rape of the Sabine Women into the story “The Sobbin’ Women”. It was adapted as the movie musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. His play John Brown’s Body was staged on Broadway in 1953, in a three-person dramatic reading featuring Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson, and Raymond Massey, and directed by Charles Laughton. Benét fathered three children: Thomas, Stephanie, and Rachel. His brother, William Rose Benét, was a poet, anthologist and critic who is largely remembered for his desk reference Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia (1948). His sister Laura Benét was also an author.

In 1948, Honda Motors Opens.

In 1954,  Battle of Điện Biên Phủ: Viet Minh forces attack the French.

In 1957,  Cuban student revolutionaries storm the presidential palace in Havana in a failed attempt on the life of President Fulgencio Batista.

In 1962,  Lyman Lemnitzer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers a proposal, called Operation Northwoods, regarding performing terrorist attacks upon Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The proposal is scrapped and President John F. Kennedy removes Lemnitzer from his position.

In 1963,  Police in Phoenix, Arizona arrest Ernesto Miranda and charge him with kidnap and rape. His conviction is ultimately set aside by the United States Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona

In 1964, American Kitty Genovese is murdered.

In 1969,  Apollo program: Apollo 9 returns safely to Earth after testing the Lunar Module.

In 1974, Americans breathed a sigh of relief after the Arab Oil Embargo against the US was lifted.

In 1979,  The New Jewel Movement, headed by Maurice Bishop, ousts Prime Minister Eric Gairy in a nearly bloodless coup d’etat in Grenada.

In 1980, Henry Ford II resigns as chairman, leaving Ford without a family member at the helm.

In 1980, the Ford Motor Co. is found not guilty in Winimac, Ind. of reckless homicide in the 1978 deaths of 3 women killed in a Ford Pinto (the first criminal trial of a U.S. corporation in a product defect case).

In 1985,  The Kenilworth Road riot takes place at an association football match at Kenilworth Road in Luton, England with disturbances before, during and after an F.A. Cup 6th Round tie between Luton Town F.C. and Millwall F.C..

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the new, and as it turned out, last leader of the Soviet Union.

In 1986, The Philippine government confirmed it had discovered a bank account containing $800 million, in the name of exiled President Ferdinand Marcos and within days, hundreds of millions more were discovered. When the presidential palace was opened to the public, the people saw many expensive possessions including hundreds of pairs of shoes owned by First Lady Imelda Marcos.

In 1988,  The Seikan Tunnel, the longest undersea tunnel in the world, opens between Aomori and Hakodate, Japan.

In 1991,  The United States Department of Justice announces that Exxon has agreed to pay $1 billion for the clean-up of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

In 1992,  the Democrat controlled U.S. House of Representatives, trying to weather a politically embarrassing firestorm, voted unanimously to publicly identify 355 current and former members who had overdrawn their accounts at the House bank.

In 1992,  An earthquake registering 6.8 on the Richter scale kills over 500 in Erzincan, eastern Turkey.

In 1996,  Dunblane massacre: in Dunblane, Scotland, 16 Primary School children and one teacher are shot dead by a spree killer, Thomas Watt Hamilton who then committed suicide.

In 1997,  India‘s Missionaries of Charity chooses Sister Nirmala to succeed Mother Teresa as its leader.

In 1997,  The Phoenix lights are seen over Phoenix, Arizona by hundreds of people, and by millions on television.

In 2003,  Human evolution: The journal Nature reports that 350,000-year-old footprints of an upright-walking human have been found in Italy.

In 2008,  Gold prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange hit $1,000 per ounce for the first time.

In 2012,  At least 28 people are killed in a bus crash in a motorway tunnel near the town of Sierre in the Swiss canton of Valais.

In 2013,  Pope Francis is elected in the papal conclave to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.

In 2016,  An explosion occurs in central Ankara, Turkey, with at least 37 people killed and 127 wounded.

In 2016,  Three gunmen attack two hotels in the Ivory Coast town of Grand-Bassam, killing at least 18 people and injuring 33 others.

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