Today in History

  • Monday, May 12, 2014 11:53am
  • Life

Today is Tuesday, May 13, the 133rd day of 2014. There are 232 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On May 13, 1914, heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis was born in Lafayette, Alabama.

On this date:

In 1607, English colonists arrived by ship at the site of what became the Jamestown settlement in Virginia (the colonists went ashore the next day).

In 1846, the United States declared that a state of war already existed with Mexico.

In 1917, three shepherd children near Fatima, Portugal, reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.

In 1918, the first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, were issued to the public. (On a few of the stamps, the biplane was inadvertently printed upside-down, making them collector’s items.)

In 1940, Britain’s new prime minister, Winston Churchill, told Parliament: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act. The musical play “The Pajama Game” opened on Broadway.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, were spat upon and their limousine battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1968, a one-day general strike took place in France in support of student protesters.

In 1973, in tennis’ first so-called “Battle of the Sexes,” Bobby Riggs defeated Margaret Court 6-2, 6-1 in Ramona, California. (Riggs had his standing challenge to female players accepted by Billie Jean King, who soundly defeated Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in September.)

In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.

In 1985, a confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped a bomb onto the group’s row house; 11 people died in the resulting fire that destroyed 61 homes.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated federal appeals Judge Stephen G. Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

Ten years ago: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited the Abu Ghraib (grayb) prison camp in Iraq, where he insisted the Pentagon did not try to cover up abuses there. During a campaign swing in West Virginia, President George W. Bush said he felt “disgraced” by the images of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners but reminded his listeners that actions of a handful of Americans should not sully the nation’s military. TV anchorman Floyd Kalber died in Burr Ridge, Illinois, at age 79. The multiple Emmy-winning NBC sitcom “Frasier” bowed out with an hour-long finale.

Five years ago: A judge in West Palm Beach sentenced two men to death for the drug-debt slaying of a family of four on the side of a Florida highway, including two young boys who died in their mother’s arms. Atlantis’ astronauts captured the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope for five days of repair work. Pittsburgh’ Adam LaRoche and Florida’s Ross Gload became the first baseball players to have home runs taken away following a video replay review.

One year ago: President Barack Obama tried to address a pair of brewing controversies, denouncing as “outrageous” the targeting of conservative political groups by the IRS but angrily denying any administration cover-up after the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012. The Associated Press sent a letter of protest to Attorney General Eric Holder after the Justice Department told the news agency it had secretly obtained two months of telephone records of AP reporters and editors. Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies who were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his clinic. (Gosnell is serving a life sentence.) Psychologist Joyce Brothers, 85, died in New York.

Associated Press

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