Today in history
On Oct. 13, A.D. 54, Roman Emperor Claudius I died after being poisoned by his wife, Agrippina.
In 1775 the Continental Congress ordered construction of a naval fleet, thereby launching the Navy.
In 1792 the cornerstone of the executive mansion, later known as the White House, was laid during a ceremony in the District of Columbia.
In 1843 the Jewish organization B’nai B’rith was founded in New York. In 1845 Texas ratified a state constitution.
In 1925 Margaret Thatcher, who would become Britain’s prime minister, was born in Grantham, England.
In 1943 Italy declared war on Germany, its former Axis partner.
In 1944 American troops entered Aachen, Germany. Also in 1944 British and Greek advance units landed at Piraeus during World War II. In 1962 “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee opened on Broadway.
In 1974 longtime television host Ed Sullivan died in New York; he was 72. In 1981 voters in Egypt participated in a referendum to elect Vice President Hosni Mubarak the new president, one week after the assassination of Anwar Sadat.
In 1987 Costa Rican President Oscar Arias was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts on behalf of a Central American peace plan.
In 1988 Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was named recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature.
In 1990, at the start of a three-day conference in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, the crown prince of Kuwait promised greater democracy for the emirate if it were freed from Iraqi occupation. Also in 1990 Le Duc Tho, co-founder of the Vietnamese Communist Party, died in Hanoi; he was 79.
In 1991 the Senate Judiciary Committee heard conflicting testimony from friends and associates of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, the University of Oklahoma law professor who had accused Thomas of sexually harassing her. In 1993 the U.N. Security Council voted to reimpose sanctions on Haiti unless military leaders there stopped violating a U.N.brokered accord. Also in 1993 a German who had stabbed tennis star Monica Seles received a suspended jail term.
In 1994 pro-British Protestant paramilitaries in Northern Ireland announced a cease-fire matching the Irish Republican Army’s 6-week-old truce. Also in 1994 Japanese novelist Kenzaburo Oe won the Nobel Prize in literature.