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On this day in history - May 13

What Happened On This Day – May 13

  • 1989 Thousands of students begin a hunger strike on Tiananmen Square in Beijing

    The non-violent occupation of the square was part of anti-corruption and pro-democracy demonstrations. Some 3000 unarmed civilians were killed when the army cracked down on the protesters on June 3-4, 1989.

  • 1981 Pope John Paul II survives an assassination attempt

    Turkish right-wing extremist Mehmet Ali Ağca fired two shots at John Paul II on St. Peter's Square. The Pope was seriously wounded but survived thanks to a 5-hour operation and went on to visit his attacker in prison.

  • 1950 The first Formula One World Championship season kicks off

    Giuseppe Farina won the first FIA World Championship of Drivers for the Alfa Romeo team.

  • 1940 Igor Sikorsky pilots his VS-300 helicopter's maiden flight

    The helicopter was the first successful model to use the single vertical tail rotor that most helicopters feature today.

  • 1909 The Giro d'Italia cycle race is held for the first time

    The Giro is considered one of the world's most important cycle races. Luigi Ganna won the first edition, which went from Milan to Naples and back.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
May 13

  • 1964 Stephen Colbert

    American comedian, actor, talk show host

  • 1950 Stevie Wonder

    American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer

  • 1914 Joe Louis

    American boxer

  • 1842 Arthur Sullivan

    English composer

  • 1717 Maria Theresa

    Austrian wife of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
May 13

  • 2001 R. K. Narayan

    Indian author

  • 1977 Mickey Spillane

    American mobster

  • 1975 Bob Wills

    American singer-songwriter

  • 1930 Fridtjof Nansen

    Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian, Nobel Prize laureate

  • 1832 Georges Cuvier

    French biologist