HomeToday in HistoryWhat Happened on May 13

What Happened on May 13

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Thousands of students begin a hunger strike on Tiananmen Square in Beijing
The non-violent occupation of the square was part of anti-corruption and pro-democracy demonstrations. Some 3000 unarmed civilians were killed when the army cracked down on the protesters on June 3-4, 1989.

Pope John Paul II survives an assassination attempt
Turkish right-wing extremist Mehmet Ali Ağca fired two shots at John Paul II on St. Peter’s Square. The Pope was seriously wounded but survived thanks to a 5-hour operation and went on to visit his attacker in prison.

The first Formula One World Championship season kicks off
Giuseppe Farina won the first FIA World Championship of Drivers for the Alfa Romeo team.

The Giro d’Italia cycle race is held for the first time
The Giro is considered one of the world’s most important cycle races. Luigi Ganna won the first edition, which went from Milan to Naples and back.

  • 1964 Stephen Colbert
    American comedian, actor, talk show host
  • 1950 Stevie Wonder
    American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer
  • 1914 Joe Louis
    American boxer
  • 1842 Arthur Sullivan
    English composer
  • 1717 Maria Theresa
    Austrian wife of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
  • 2001 R. K. Narayan
    Indian author
  • 1977 Mickey Spillane
    American mobster
  • 1975 Bob Wills
    American singer-songwriter
  • 1930 Fridtjof Nansen
    Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1832 Georges Cuvier
    French biologist
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