A Brief History
This article presents a chronological list of notable events that happened on May 13th. For each date below, please click on the date to be taken to an article covering that date’s event.
On May 13, 1862, a black African-American slave, Robert Smalls, serving as a ship’s pilot on the CSS Planter, a Confederate armed steamship, managed to steal the ship and turn it over to US Navy forces outside Charleston, South Carolina.
On May 13, 1958, George de Mestral of Switzerland trademarked his 1948 invention, Velcro.
On May 13, 1958, George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer trademarked Velcro, and the company called Velcro is based in the United Kingdom.
On May 13, 1958, Australian adventurer and master of WTF, Frederick Benjamin “Ben” Carlin completed a most unlikely circumnavigation of the Earth, accomplished over a 10 year period and in an amphibious vehicle, a World War II amphibious version of the American Jeep!
On May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turkish member of the Grey Wolves (ultranationalist Turkish neo-fascist organization), attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II by shooting the pontiff four times with a 9mm Browning semi-automatic pistol.
On May 13, 1985, the MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia was the scene of a chaotic and tragic ending for the cult led by John Africa.
On May 13, 1998, Jakarta (or Djakarta) Indonesia experienced race riots directed against the ethnic Chinese minority.
On May 13, 2016, while the US Department of Justice and numerous commercial entities waged culture war with the State of North Carolina about a state law recently enacted that requires persons of a biological or “birth” gender to use the rest room or locker room of the gender listed on their birth certificate, many other government entities from states to cities to school districts have gone the other way.
On Saturday, May 13, 2017, the Ultimate Fighting Championship event they call UFC 211 (the 211th such event) took place in Dallas, Texas, and featured two major championship/title fights, for the men’s Heavyweight (265 pounds) Title and women’s Strawweight (115 pounds) Title.
On May 13, 2019, we celebrated National Apple Pie Day, the most American of desserts.
On May 13, 2023, Americans could celebrate the annual National Train Day, a day invented by Amtrak back in 2008, but cancelled in 2016!
Question for students (and subscribers): Which event that occurred on today’s date would you like to learn more about? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Andrews, John and Matt Baker. Timeline of World History. Thunder Bay Press, 2020.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.