ON THIS DAY MAY 13
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, premieres in Salzburg,
1787 Eleven ships full of convicts (the ‘First Fleet’), leave Portsmouth to establish a penal colony in Australia. They stopped at Cape Town to resupply.
1835 King Hintsa ka Phalo of the Xhosa nation is killed by British troops.
1912 The Royal Flying Corps, forerunner of the Royal Air Force, is established.
1917 Three children report first seeing Our Lady of Fátima, in Fátima, Portugal.
1940 In his first speech as 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. Giuseppe Farina wins.
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. Two others were also wounded. An escaped terrorist already under sentence of death, Ali Ağca was immediately arrested and convicted of attempted murder. The Pope recovered, held a private meeting with the would-be killer and then publicly forgave him.
1993 An underground gas explosion kills 53 miners at Secunda.
1995 Alison Hargreaves becomes the first woman to climb Everest without oxygen or sherpas.
2000 A Dutch fireworks factory explodes in Enschede, killing 22 people, wounding 950 others, and causing €450 million in damage. 2019 Victor Vescovo makes the deepest dive ever to the bottom of the Mariana trench at 10 927m, and finds a plastic bag. | THE HISTORIAN