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This Day in History: December 13


1577 – Sir Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage.

1636 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes three militia regiments to defend the colony against the Pequot Indians. This organization is recognized today as the founding of the National Guard of the United States.

1769 – Dartmouth College is founded by the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, with a royal charter from King George III, on land donated by Royal governor John Wentworth.

1862 – American Civil War: At the Battle of Fredericksburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats Union Major General Ambrose Burnside.

1928 – George Gershwin's An American in Paris is first performed.

1938 – The Holocaust: The Neuengamme concentration camp opens in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg, Germany.

1962 – NASA launches Relay 1, the first active repeater communications satellite in orbit.

1972 – Apollo program: Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin the third and final extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or "Moonwalk" of Apollo 17. To date they are the last humans to set foot on the Moon.

1977 – Air Indiana Flight 216 crashes near Evansville Regional Airport, killing 29, including the University of Evansville basketball team, support staff and boosters of the team.

1988 – PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat gives a speech at a UN General Assembly meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, after United States authorities refused to grant him a visa to visit UN headquarters in New York.

2000 – The "Texas Seven" escape from the John B. Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas, and go on a robbery spree, during which police officer Aubrey Hawkins is shot and killed.

2003 – Iraq War: Operation Red Dawn: Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit.

2013 – Arapahoe High School Shooting - Student killed a girl in the hallway seeking for the librarian, who had demoted him on the debate team, before taking his own life.


1818 – Mary Todd Lincoln, American wife of Abraham Lincoln, 17th First Lady of the United States (d. 1882)

1887 – Alvin C. York, American colonel, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1964)

1902 – Talcott Parsons, American sociologist and academic (d. 1979)

1903 – Ella Baker, American activist (d. 1986)

1923 – Larry Doby, American baseball player and manager (d. 2003)

1925 – Dick Van Dyke, American actor, singer, and dancer

1934 – Richard D. Zanuck, American film producer (d. 2012)

1957 – Morris Day, American singer-songwriter and actor

1967 – Jamie Foxx, American actor, singer, producer, and screenwriter

1967 – NeNe Leakes, American actress and singer


1837 – Herman of Alaska, Russian missionary and saint (b. 1756)

1922 – Arthur Wesley Dow, American painter and photographer (b. 1857)

1924 – Samuel Gompers, English-American labor leader, founded the American Federation of Labor (b. 1850)

1934 – Thomas A. Watson, American assistant to Alexander Graham Bell (b. 1854)

1958 – Tim Moore, American actor (b. 1887)

1961 – Grandma Moses, American painter (b. 1860)

1986 – Ella Baker, American activist (b, 1903)

1992 – Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1899)

1995 – Ann Nolan Clark, American author and educator (b. 1896)

2006 – Lamar Hunt, American businessman, co-founded the American Football League and World Championship Tennis (b. 1932)