On this day: Oliver Tambo arrived in South Africa

On this day Oliver Tambo, president of the ANC, arrived in South Africa after having been in exile. Picture: Getty
On this day Oliver Tambo, president of the ANC, arrived in South Africa after having been in exile. Picture: Getty
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries.

13 December

1577: Francis Drake set out from Plymouth in the Pelican (later the Golden Hind) that was to take him round the world, returning on 26 September, 1580.

1789: Austrian Netherlands declared independence as Belgium.

1843: Six thousand copies of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol were sold on the first day of publication.

1847: Wuthering Heights, by Ellis Bell (Emily Brontë) was published, as was Agnes Grey, by Acton Bell (Anne Brontë).

1867: First-ever terrorist bomb outrage by Irish on mainland Britain when, attempting to rescue a confederate from Clerkenwell jail, London, Fenians blew up a row of houses, killing 12 and injuring 120 others.

1878: London’s Holborn Embankment was illuminated by electric street lighting, the first in Britain.

1884: Installation of the first coin-operated weighing machine, patented by Percy Everitt.

1903: Ice-cream cones (or moulds) were patented by Italo Marcione of New York.

1916: About 9,000 Austro-Hungarian troops were killed in avalanche in the Alps.

1937: Japanese troops took Nanking City in China amid scenes of extreme brutality. It is estimated 40 million died in Japan’s occupation of Manchuria.

1944: A Japanese suicide plane crashed into United States cruiser Nashville, killing 133 of its crew.

1967: Military government in Greece crushed counter-coup, and King Constantine fled to Rome with his family.

1973: A three-day working week was ordered by the government because of an Arab oil embargo and the coal miners’ slow-down.

1989: Nelson Mandela visited president FW de Klerk to discuss prospects for negotiating an end to South Africa’s racial conflict.

1990: ANC president Oliver Tambo arrived in South Africa after 30 years in exile.

2001: The Indian parliament in New Delhi was attacked by five Islamist terrorists, one wearing an explosive vest. Fifteen people were killed.

2003: Saddam Hussein was captured near Tikrit.

2006: The Baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was declared extinct.

2010: Experts from the University of Texas revealed that sleep-deprived bees were sloppier and less precise when at work.


Tony Curran, Scottish actor, 45; Steve Buscemi, actor, 57; Brian Wilson, journalist, MP 1987-2005, 66, Howard Brenton, playwright, 72; Anouska Hempel (Lady Weinberg), actress, hotelier and designer, 73; Prince Karim, Aga Khan, 78; Robert Lindsay, actor, 65; Christopher Plummer, actor, 85; Taylor Swift, singer/songwriter, 25; Dick Van Dyke, actor, 89; Paula Wilcox, actress, 65; Jamie Foxx, actor, singer, 47; Rickie Fowler, golfer, 26; Wendie Malick, actress, 64; Sara Cox, radio presenter, 40; Sascha Kindred OBE, paralympic swimmer, 37; Nick McCarthy, musician (Franz Ferdinand), 40; Jeff Baxter, musician (Steely Dan; Doobie Brothers), 66.


Births: 1816 Ernst Werner von Siemens, engineer; 1906 Sir Laurens van der Post, writer, explorer, conservationist; 1934 Richard Darryl Zanuck, film producer.

Deaths: 1466 Donatello, sculptor; 1721 Alexander Selkirk, Scottish sailor and castaway who was the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe; 1784 Dr Samuel Johnson, writer, critic and lexicographer; 1944 Wassily Kandinsky, artist; 1998 Lord Grade, film and television producer.