History: October 13

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October 13

539BC The Persian armies of Cyrus the Great capture Babylon.

0054 Nero (above) becomes the new emperor of Rome, succeeding his great uncle, Roman Emperor Claudius I, who dies after eating poisoned mushrooms as a result of a plot inspired by his wife.

1307 Members of the Knights of Templar are arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the order of King Philip the Fair of France.

1601 Death: Tycho Brahe, astronomer.

1670 Slavery is banned in Virginia for Negroes who arrive in the American colonies as Christians. This law is repealed in 1682.

1775 The Continental Congress authorizes the construction of two warships, the USS Hancock and the USS Boston, thus instituting an American naval force.

1776 US Revolutionary War: The Battle of Lake Champlain ends in defeat for General Benedict Arnold.

1792 President George Washington lays the cornerstone for the White House.

1795 Death: William Prescott, American soldier. "...In 1774 he was appointed to command a regiment of minutemen, with which he marched, on 19 April, 1775, to Lexington, to oppose the expedition that was sent out by General Thomas Gage. Before Prescott arrived the British had retreated, and he then proceeded to Cambridge, where he entered the provincial army, the majority of his officers and men volunteering to serve with him during his first campaign. On 16 June, 1775, he was ordered to Charlestown with 1,000 men, and directed to throw up works on Bunker Hill. On arriving at the ground, it was perceived that the neighboring elevation, called Breed's Hill, was a more suitable station, and on it the defenses, consisting of a redoubt and breastwork, were erected during the night. The following day a large British force commanded by General William Howe attacked the Americans, and, after the latter had repelled two assaults, and had exhausted their ammunition, succeeded in dislodging them. In this battle, which owes its importance to the fact that it demonstrated the ability of the provincials successfully to oppose British regulars, Bancroft says that "no one appeared to have any command but Colonel Prescott," and that "his bravery could never be enough acknowledged and applauded..."

1812 War of 1812: At the Battle of Queenston Heights, a Canadian and British army defeat an American army invading Canada.

1843 B'nai B'rith (Sons of the Covenant) is established in New York City by a group of German Jews. It is both the oldest and the largest of the Jewish fraternal organizations.

1845 A majority of the citizens of the independent Republic of Texas approve a proposed constitution, that when accepted by the Congress, will make Texas the 28th American state. Despite having fought a war to win their independence from their old colonial master, Mexico, the people of Texas had long been eager to become part of the United States. Under the leadership of the Republic's first president, Sam Houston, Texas had proclaimed its independence from Mexico in 1836, while simultaneously indicating a desire to be annexed to the United States. But while many Americans are willing to see the massive Texan Republic join their nation, Congress refuses at the urging of influential northern abolitionists who claim that Texas is controlled by a "slaveocracy conspiracy" of southerners. The political climate shifted in the favor of Texas with the presidential election of 1844, when the victory of James K. Polk was widely seen as a mandate from the people to bring Texas into the American fold. But before Polk could take office, President John Tyler beat him to the punch by securing a congressional resolution calling for annexation. With the strong approval of most Texans, Polk will sign the legislation making Texas an American state on 29 December 1845. Ominously, the Mexican minister had meanwhile warned the US that his nation would consider annexation an act of war and demanded his passport in preparation for departure. Mexico and the United States will be at war within a year. (Bradley)

1849 The California state constitution, which prohibits slavery, is signed in Monterey.

1860 The first aerial photo taken in the US, from a balloon, in Boston.

1882 Death: Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau, in Turin, Italy.

1884 Greenwich is adopted as the universal time meridian of longitude. Zero degrees between East and West. All standard times throughout the world are calculated from this.

1885 Birth: Harry Hershfield, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, cartoonist (Can You Top This?).

1895 Birth: Robert Wagner; Reichswehr officer who will participate in Hitler's Munich putsch. One of Hitler's earliest supporters, he will serve as party provincial boss of Baden, 1925-1945. In 1940, he will become chief of the civilian administration in Alsace, a position he will hold until the end of the war. He will be executed at Strasbourg on August 14, 1946.

1899 Boer War: Mafeking, defended by Baden-Powell until relieved 217 days later, is besieged by the Boers.

1904 Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams is published.

1909 Birth: Herblock (Herbert Lawrence Block), multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist.

1915 WW1: The largest Zeppelin raid of the war kills 59 people in London.

1918 WW1: Lance Corporal Hitler is blinded in a gas attack near Werwick and is taken to an army hospital at Pasewalk near Berlin. After several weeks, his eyesight will slowly returns. One of his doctors, Dr. Edmund Forster (above), will later achieves notoriety by passing himself off as 'Hitler's First Psychiatrist.' Note: One can't help but wonder how he figured that to be a plus.

1925 Birth: Lenny Bruce, comedian; will be arrested on obscenity charges stemming from his cutting edge stand-up act.

1925 Birth: Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Conservative MP, former British Prime Minister (1979-1990), first UK woman Prime Minister. Will be known as the Iron Lady.

1933 The AFL votes to approve participation in the boycott of German products and services.

1936 Holocaust: Special courts are set up by the German Ministry of Justice to try cases covered by the Nuremberg Laws.

1937 Germany guarantees Belgian independence.


1938 The Italian government, under pressure from the Nazis, announces that no new business licenses of any kind will be issued to Jews.

1938 Chamberlain declares to the House of Commons that "The Munich Agreement does not permit us to diminish our efforts towards the realization of our military program."

1938 Volkishness: The Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire and the Holy Lance (Reichskleinodien and Helige Lanz) are transported by train under heavy armed guard from Vienna to Nuremberg. (Spear)

1939 Diary of Leon Gladun: News arrived today that 30 noncommissioned officers are departing for home. Who knows maybe I too will be at home shortly? We got supper late today--and then kipiatok and baked pumpkin suddenly appeared and I really ate my fill.

1942 WW2: In the first of four attacks, two Japanese battleships sail down the slot and shell Henderson field on Guadalcanal, in an unsuccessful effort to destroy the American Cactus Air Force.

1943 Italy: Italy declares war on Germany. Note: It is an interesting fact that Italy, in both WW1 and WW2, finished the war on the opposite side from which it began the war.

1944 Diary of Leon Gladun: (Italy) At 04:00 we leave Cassette. We are indeed bound for a sector in the middle of the front between Eighth Army and Fifth Army. We sleep near Assisi. Arrived at a place called Autria near the city of Arezzo. We wait here for two days for further orders.

1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: In a foregone conclusion, the Allied Control Council--with the power to reduce or commute sentences--rejects all appeal in the Major War Criminals Trial. (Maser II)

1953 The burglar alarm using ultrasonic or radio waves is patented by Samuel Bagno.

1957 The German Democratic Republic recalls the East German Mark and issues new currency.

1964 Voskhod 1 returns to Earth.

1969 Soyuz 8 is launched.

1978 Tiros N, the US's 1st 3rd generation weather satellite, is launched.

1981 Vice President Hosni Mubarak is elected president of Egypt.

1982 The International Olympics Committee (IOC) restores 2 gold medals from the 1912 Olympics to Jim Thorpe.

1983 The Space Shuttle Challenger, carrying seven, which is the largest crew to date, lands safely at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

1987 The US Navy's first use of trained dolphins in Persian Gulf.

1987 Costa Rican President Oscar Arias wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

1988 The Bishop of Turin, Italy announces that the Shroud of Turin, long believed to be Christ's burial sheet, does not withstand scientific testing. It dates back only to 1280, and not to the time of Jesus' crucifixion (ca. AD 30-33).

1989 Death: Jay Ward, animator, at 69.

1997 In Black Rock Desert in Nevada, RAF pilot Andy Green sets supersonic speeds of 763mph in his car, Thrust SSC.

2000 The UK daily newspaper The Mirror reports that Toni Braxton had pulled out of this years US Mobo awards after one of her breast implants had exploded. A spokesman for her Arista label said ' We don't comment on our artistes personal lives'. (Bradley)

2000 The British embassy in Yemen is bombed as the Middle East conflict spirals towards all-out war.

2001 Afghanistan's rulers Taliban assess the damage after a seventh straight night of US bombing raids as they reject US President George Bush's 'second chance' offer to surrender terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden.

2001 This day in Afghanistan.

2001 In a statement broadcast on Qatar's al-Jazeera television network Al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Bu Ghaith, warns Americans and Britons, especially Muslims, children and 'all those who oppose US policy, not to ride planes or live in high buildings.'






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