What Happened on May 13?

  • Jamestown was founded. (1607) It became the first permanent European settlement in America, despite terrible hardships, famine, and attacks by Native Americans which killed most of the settlers within the first year or so of their landing.

  • Pope John Paul II was shot. (1981) Turkish mercenary Mehmet Ali Agca shot the pope four times, and though he was critically wounded, he survived after emergency surgery. Agca claimed that the pope was a representation of capitalism, though the two actually became correspondents while Agca was in prison. When John Paul II was dying later, Agca sent him his best wishes.

  • Velcro® was registered as a trademark. (1958) Though people didn't like it initially because of its appearance, Velcro® became phenomenally popular after astronauts used it on their suits. The trademark has since become genericized, much like Xerox® or Frisbee®.

  • The First Fleet set sail from Britain. (1787) The First Fleet was a group of ships carrying criminals to the newly discovered island of Australia. The criminals became the first European citizens of the continent, and founded modern-day Australia.

  • Three children reported seeing "Our Lady of Fatima." (1917) The apparitions were accepted by the Catholic church, and thousands of people flocked to the area hoping to see the vision or to witness miracles.

  • The first Battle of the Sexes took place in sports. (1973) Tennis players Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court played in a $100,000 US Dollar (USD) prize match. Court eventually lost, and Riggs went on to challenge Billie Jean King, who famously beat him in September of that year.

  • British mystic Julian of Norwich is said to have received her visions. (1373) Venerated by many in the Anglican and Lutheran church, Julian of Norwich is also significant because of her Revelations of Divine Love which is believed to be the first book written in English by a woman.

  • The US declared war on Mexico. (1846) US President Polk declared war on Mexico after long-standing tensions over Texas came to a head. The war lasted for almost two years, with the US agreeing to pay $15 million USD for Texas.

  • Winston Churchill gave his "blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech. (1940) He had just come into office as the British Prime Minister when the pacifistic Neville Chamberlain resigned. The speech was one of several famous ones by Churchill, and set the tone for the British government's approach to the war.

  • The Cumberland Compact was signed in Tennessee. (1780) It was one of the earliest forms of state and local government, and set up a system of government for the Tennessee area, including a system of payment for government officials, who were paid in deer, otter, mink and raccoon skins.

Discussion Comments


In relation to the sixth bullet point, how often does it occur that men and women have serious sports competitions? I know that people get competitive every now and then, but back when it was new, it sure seemed a lot more personal.


I remember learning about the founding of Jamestown when I was in High School. It was interesting learning about all the settlements in America, and even more so, all the trials and tribulations that occurred.


Without a doubt, the sixth bullet point is a very interesting battle. Even though Margaret Court lost, the point caught my attention because it really shows how back then, women weren't "supposed" to play sports, if that makes sense. It was a masculine thing, and anyone who thought otherwise would be challenged.

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