Home Today's History Lesson TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON: APRIL 13



1981 – Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke received a Pulitzer Prize for her feature about an 8-year-old heroin addict named “Jimmy.” Cooke relinquished the prize two days later after admitting she had fabricated the story.

0989 – The Byzantine emperor Basil II uses 6,000 Russians to help him defeat Bardas Phocas at Abydos in Anatolia ending the threat to Constantinople

1059 – Papal bull “In nomine Domini” (In the Name of the Lord) issued by Pope Nicholas II establishing popes elected by Bishops and Cardinals not appointed by their predecessor

1111 – After months of controversy Pope Paschal II crowns Henry V, the King of Germany and Italy, as the Holy Roman Emperor

1204 – The Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople.

1250 – The Seventh Crusade is defeated in Egypt, Louis IX of France is captured.

1556 – Portuguese converted Christian Marranos who revert to Judaism burned by order of Pope

1598 – King Henry IV of France signed the Edict of Nantes which granted political rights to French Protestant Huguenots.

1759 – The French defeated the European allies in Battle of Bergen.

1775 – Lord North extended the New England Restraining Act to South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The act prohibited trade with any country other than Britain and Ireland.

1796 – The first known elephant to arrive in the United States from Bengal, India.

1829 – The English Parliament granted freedom of religion to Catholics.

1849 – The Hungarian Republic was proclaimed.

1860 – The first mail was delivered via Pony Express when a westbound rider arrived in Sacremento, CA from St. Joseph, MO.

1861 – After 34 hours of bombardment, the Union-held Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederates.

1868 – Abyssinian War ends as British and Indian troops capture Magdala and Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II commits suicide

1873 – Colfax Massacre in Grant Parish Louisiana (60 blacks killed)

1883 – US prospector Alfred Packer convicted of manslaughter though accused of cannibalism

1909 – In Constantinople the primarily Albanian First Army Corps seizes the parliament building and telegraphs offices, forcing the Ottoman statesman Hilmi Pasha to resign

1911 – The US House of Representatives votes to institute direct elections of senators to Congress, a step towards direct democracy

1916 – The first hybrid, seed corn was purchased for 15-cents a bushel by Samuel Ramsay.

1919 – Amritsar massacre: British troops massacre at least 379 unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar, India.

1926 – Cyclists without bicycle-tax-stamp rounded up in Amsterdam

1934 – 4.7 million US families report receiving welfare payments

1941 – German troops captured Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1943 – World War II: The discovery of a mass grave of Polish prisoners-of-war executed by Soviet forces in the Katy Forest Massacre was announced in Germany, driving a wedge between the Western Allies, the Polish government-in-exile in London, and the Soviet Union.

1944 – Transport No. 71 departs Drancy (France) internment camp, taking 1,500 French Jews to Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi German occupied Poland; up to 1,260 killed upon arrival, an estimated 130 survived

1945 – German troops massacre more than 1000 political and military prisoners in Gardelegen Germany. The atrocity is discovered two days later by American forces.

1946 – Eddie Klepp, a white pitcher signed by defending Negro League champ Cleveland Buckeyes, is barred from field in Birmingham, Alabama

1949 – Philip S. Hench and associates announced that cortizone was an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

1953 – CIA director Allen Dulles launches the mind control program MKULTRA.

1954 – Robert Oppenheimer accused of being a communist

1959 – A Vatican edict prohibited Roman Catholics from voting for Communists.

1960 – Navy’s navigation satellite, Transit, placed into orbit from Cape Canaveral, FL and demonstrates ability to launch another satellite

1961 – The U.N. General Assembly condemned South Africa due to apartheid.

1962 – In the U.S., major steel companies rescinded announced price increases. The John F. Kennedy administration had been applying pressure against the price increases.

1964 – Sidney Poitier became the first black to win an Oscar for best actor. It was for his role in the movie “Lilies of the Field.”

1970 – An oxygen tank exploded on Apollo 13, preventing a planned moon landing.

1972 – The first strike in the history of major league baseball ended. Players had walked off the field 13 days earlier.

1975 – An attack by unidentified gunmen on a church in Ain El Remmeneh followed by an attack on a bus that killed 17 Palestinian civilians, Lebanon marks the beginning of a 15 year civil war.

1980 – US and its allies boycott the Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest against Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan

1981 – Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke received a Pulitzer Prize for her feature about an 8-year-old heroin addict named “Jimmy.” Cooke relinquished the prize two days later after admitting she had fabricated the story.

1984 – U.S. President Reagan sent emergency military aid to El Salvador without congressional approval.

1987 – Portugal and the People’s Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau would be returned to the latter in 1999.

1990 – The Soviet Union accepted responsibility for the World War II murders of thousands of imprisoned Polish officers in the Katyn Forest. The Soviets had previously blamed the massacre on the Nazis.

1994 – Presidential guard at Kigali, Rwanda, chops 1,200 church members to death

1997 – Tiger Woods became the youngest person to win the Masters Tournament at the age of 21. He also set a record when he finished at 18 under par.

1998 – Dolly, the world’s first cloned sheep, gave natural birth to a healthy baby lamb.

1999 – Jack Kervorkian was sentenced in Pontiac, MI, to 10 to 25 years in prison for the second-degree murder of Thomas Youk. Youk’s assisted suicide was videotaped and shown on “60 Minutes” in 1998.

2002 – Twenty-five Hindus were killed and about 30 were wounded when grenades were thrown by suspected Islamic guerrillas near Jammu-Kashir.

2012 – North Korean long range rocket testing ends in failure after the rocket broke up after launch

2013 – 20 civilians are killed by the government bombing of Saraqib, Idlib

2015 – Migrant ship carrying around 550 sinks off the Libyan coast, about 400 drown

2020 – NY Governor Andrew Cuomo says “I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart,” about the COVID-19 pandemic in New York as death toll passes 10,000

2021 – Voice actor Hank Azaria who is white apologizes for voicing Indian character Apu on “The Simpsons” for 30 years

2023 – American F.B.I. arrests 21-year-old member of Massachusetts Air National Guard for leaking classified documents, including national security secrets, on an online gaming chat group

REFERENCE: history.net, onthisday.com, thepeopleshistory.com, timeanddate.com, scopesys.com, on-this-day.com