On this day, May 13

Pope John Paul II meets the man who tried to assassinate him. Picture: Reuters

Pope John Paul II meets the man who tried to assassinate him. Picture: Reuters

Published May 13, 2024


1559 The corpse of Anabaptist and religious reformer David Jorisz is exhumed 3 years after his death and burned in Basel because he was declared a heretic after his death.

1637 Cardinal Richelieu of France creates the table knife to cure dinner guests of the habit of picking their teeth with their knife-points. Later, King Louis XIV banned pointed knives at his table to reduce violence.

1767 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Apollo et Hyacinthus, written when he was 11 years old, premières in Salzburg,

1787 Eleven ships full of convicts leave Portsmouth to set up a penal colony in Australia. They resupply at Cape Town.

1835 King Hintsa ka Phalo of the Xhosa nation is killed by British troops during the sixth (of nine) frontier wars.

1912 The Royal Flying Corps, forerunner of the Royal Air Force, is established.

1917 Three children report seeing the miracle Our Lady of Fátima, in Fátima, Portugal.

1940 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill tells the House of Commons: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’

1950 The first Formula One motor race is held at Silverstone, England. Giuseppe Farina wins in an Alfa.

1958 The trade mark Velcro is registered.

1981 Pope John Paul II is shot twice at close range, by Mehmet Ali Ağca, while riding in an open vehicle in St Peter’s Square in Rome. The pontiff recovered, held a meeting with the would-be killer and then publicly forgave him.

1993 A gas explosion kills 53 Secunda miners.

1995 Alison Hargreaves is the first woman to climbs Mt Everest without oxygen or help from sherpas.

2019 A study of the moon, published in the journal, Nature Geoscience, shows it is still shrinking with recent moonquakes as it cools.

2000 A Dutch fireworks factory explodes in Enschede, killing 22 people, wounding 950 others, and causing €450 million in damage.

2020 Every African country records cases of Covid-19 as The Kingdom of Lesotho becomes the last country on the continent to record a case.

May 12, 2024, Graphics show birthdays and anniversaries on each day for the week. This week features Narendra Modi of India, the first Giro d’Italia cycling tour, the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, North London football team Arsenal, the first Sino-Soviet summit in 30 years, same-sex marriages in the U.S. and Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France