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.
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
1842 Arthur Sullivan
1717 Maria Theresa
Austrian wife of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Deaths On This Day – May 13
2001 R. K. Narayan
1977 Mickey Spillane
1975 Bob Wills
1930 Fridtjof Nansen
Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian, Nobel Prize laureate
1832 Georges Cuvier