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This Day in History: August 13


1521 – After an extended siege, forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés capture Tlatoani Cuauhtémoc and conquer the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.

1779 – American Revolutionary War: The Royal Navy defeats the Penobscot Expedition with the most significant loss of United States naval forces prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

1831 – Nat Turner sees a solar eclipse, which he believes is a sign from God. Eight days later he and 70 other slaves kill approximately 55 whites in Southampton County, Virginia.

1898 – Spanish–American War: Spanish and American forces engaged in a mock battle for Manila, after which the Spanish commander surrendered in order to keep the city out of Filipino rebel hands.

1906 – The all black infantrymen of the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Regiment are accused of killing a white bartender and wounding a white police officer in Brownsville, Texas, despite exculpatory evidence; all are later dishonorably discharged.

1918 – Women enlist in the United States Marine Corps for the first time. Opha May Johnson is the first woman to enlist.

1942 – Major General Eugene Reybold of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizes the construction of facilities that would house the "Development of Substitute Materials" project, better known as the Manhattan Project.

1942 – Walt Disney's fifth full-length animated film, Bambi, was released to theaters.

1961 – East Germany closes the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin to thwart its inhabitants' attempts to escape to the West.

1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts are released from a three-week quarantine to enjoy a ticker tape parade in New York City That evening, at a state dinner in Los Angeles, they are awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Richard Nixon.

1979 – The roof of the uncompleted Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, collapses, killing five workers and injuring 16.

1997 – The first episode of the American animated series South Park premiered on Comedy Central.

2004 – Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, strikes Punta Gorda, Florida, and devastates the surrounding area.


1818 – Lucy Stone, American activist (d. 1893)

1851 – Felix Adler, German-American religious leader and educator (d. 1933)

1860 – Annie Oakley, American target shooter (d. 1926)

1899 – Alfred Hitchcock, English-American director and producer (d. 1980)

1912 – Ben Hogan, American golfer and sportscaster (d. 1997)

1919 – Rex Humbard, American evangelist and television host (d. 2007)

1929 – Pat Harrington, Jr., American actor (d. 2016)

1930 – Don Ho, American singer and ukulele player (d. 2007)

1933 – Joycelyn Elders, American admiral and physician, 15th Surgeon General of the United States

) (d. 2007)

1953 – Tom Cohen, American philosopher, theorist, and academic

1963 – Valerie Plame, American CIA agent and author

1972 – Kevin Plank, American businessman, founded Under Armour

1982 – Shani Davis, American speed skater


1991 – James Roosevelt, American general and politician (b. 1907)

1991 – Jack Ryan, American engineer (b. 1926)

1995 – Mickey Mantle, American baseball player and sportscaster (b. 1931)

2004 – Julia Child, American chef, author, and television host (b. 1912)

2007 – Brooke Astor, American philanthropist and author (b. 1902)

2010 – Edwin Newman, American journalist and author (b. 1919)

2012 – Helen Gurley Brown, American journalist and author (b. 1922)

2014 – Robert Bruce Smith, IV, American historian and educator (b. 1945)