It happened today – this day in history – March 13

1639: Cambridge College, Massachusetts, is renamed Harvard.

1781: William Herschel sees what he thinks is a comet but is actually the discovery of the planet Uranus.

1865: Confederate president Jefferson Davis signs a bill authorising the use of slaves as soldiers in the American Civil War.

1868: The Senate begins the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.

1875: Royal Engineers and Old Etonians draw 1-1 in the FA Cup final at Kennington Oval. Engineers win the replay 2-0.

1877: Chester Greenwood patents earmuffs, having invented them at the age of 15.

1881: Tsar Alexander II of Russia is assassinated by members of far-left terror group ‘People’s Will’ who throw a bomb at him in St Petersburg.

1884: The Siege of Khartoum, Sudan, begins by Mahdist forces.

1900: British troops occupy Bloemfontein during the Boer War.

1901: Death of former US president Benjamin Harrison, aged 67.

1905: Mata Hari first performs her dance act at the Guimet Museum, Paris.

1918: Leon Trotsky gains control of the Red Army.

1921: Mongolia declares independence from China.

1930: Clyde Tombaugh announces the discovery of Pluto at Lowell Observatory in Arizona.

1933: Joseph Goebbels becomes Nazi Germany’s Minister of Information and Propaganda.

1935: Driving tests are introduced in Britain.

1938: Austria is annexed into Nazi Germany in a process known as the Anschluss.

1940: Finland and Russia sign a ceasefire.

1943: Nazis liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Kraków, Poland. On the same day, Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt on a flight from Smolensk to Rastenburg.

1948: Ireland beats Wales, 6-3 at Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast, to clinch the Five Nations Rugby Championship and first Grand Slam.

1961: Three men and two women go on trial at the Old Bailey charged with plotting to pass secrets to the Russians. On the same day, The Elgins audition for Motown Records. They soon change their name to The Temptations. Also, Floyd Patterson KOs Ingemar Johansson in Round 6 for the heavyweight boxing title.

1964: Turkey threatens to attack Cyprus.

1965: Eric Clapton quits The Yardbirds over the band’s musical direction. He hated their hit single For Your Love, which he considered too pop. He is replaced by Jeff Beck on the recommendation of friend, session guitarist Jimmy Page.


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1967: Hundreds of students at the London School of Economics stage a sit-in over disciplinary action taken against two union officials. On the same day, at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, six members of Sounds Incorporated record the horn parts for the Beatles song Good Morning Good Morning.

1969: Apollo 9 returns to Earth.

1970: Tom King trebles the Tory majority in the Bridgewater by-election – the first time 18 year-olds are allowed to vote.

1979: A coup on the Caribbean island of Grenada topples Prime Minister, Sir Eric Gairy.

1980: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy is sentenced to death in Illinois.

1982: The Ice Dance Championship at Copenhagen is won by Britain’s Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

1983: Singles chart:

  1. Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler
  2. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics
  3. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  4. Rock The Boat – Forrest
  5. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye – Bananarama
  6. Speak Like A Child – The Style Council
  7. Africa – Toto
  8. High Life – Modern Romance
  9. She Means Nothing To Me – Phil Evrely and Cliff Richard
  10. Rip it Up – Orange Juice
1983: U2 – War

Album chart:

  1. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  2. The Hurting – Tears For Fears
  3. Hotline – Various Artists
  4. War – U2
  5. Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics
  6. Dazzle Ships – OMD
  7. True – Spandau Ballet
  8. Thunder And Lightning – Thin Lizzy
  9. Jane Fonda’s Workout – Jane Fonda
  10. Toto IV – Toto

1987: John Gotti, boss of the Gambino crime family, is acquitted of racketeering.

1991: Exxon pays $1-billion dollars in fines and cleanup costs for the Valdez tanker oil spill.

1996: Lone gunman Thomas Hamilton goes on a shooting spree at a school in Dunblane, Scotland, killing 16 children aged between five and six years-old and their teacher before turning the gun on himself.

1998: Reggae and ska artist Judge Dread (Alex Hughes) dies after collapsing as he walked off stage in Canterbury.

2005: Terry Ratzmann shoots and kills six members of the Living Church of God and the minister at Sheraton Inn in Brookfield, Wisconsin before killing himself.

2008: Michael Jackson refinances his Neverland ranch after being told that if he failed to pay $25m he owed on the California property, it would be auctioned within a week.

2013: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected the new pope, taking the papal name Pope Francis.

2015: Cyclone Pam causes widespread damage in Vanuatu and the South Pacific.

2018: US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is sacked by Tweet from Donald Trump.

2019: Australian cardinal George Pell is sentenced to six years in prison for sexual abuse. On the same day, British MPs vote to reject a no-deal Brexit, defeating Theresa May’s government 321 votes to 278.

2020: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates steps down from the company’s board to focus on philanthropic activities. On the same day, the British football league is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, Breonna Taylor, 26, is shot and killed by police executing a no-knock warrant on her flat with a battering ram in Louisville, Kentucky.

2021: Death of world champion boxer Marvin Hagler aged 66 and Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker aged 97.

2022: Just 40 days after announcing his retirement, record breaking American Football quarterback Tom Brady announces he will play at least one more season in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the same day, actor William Hurt dies aged 71 from prostate cancer.

2023: Vinyl records outsell CDs in the US for the first time since 1987.

Adam Clayton

BIRTHDAYS: Mike Stoller, songwriter, 91; Neil Sedaka, songwriter, 85; Candi (Canzetta) Staton, singer, 84; Bill Curbishley, manager of The Who, 82; William H. Macy, actor, 74; Joe Bugner, boxer, 74; Glenne Headly, actress, 69; Dana Delany, actress, 68; Adam Clayton, bassist (U2) 64; Annabeth (Anne Elizabeth) Gish, actress, 53; Common (Lonnie Rashid Lynn) rapper/actor, 52; Edgar Davids, Dutch footballler, 51; David Draiman, singer (Disturbed) 51; Harry Melling, actor, 35; Tyrone Mings, footballer, 31; Ruben Neves, footballer, 27.

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