On this day in history, October 13

The world’s tallest woman, Rumeysa Gelgi, with her mother, who she said was a huge support to her.

The world’s tallest woman, Rumeysa Gelgi, with her mother, who she said was a huge support to her.

Published Oct 13, 2023


Some of the more interesting things that happened on this day.

AD54 Roman emperor Claudius dies from poisoning under mysterious circumstances; his 17-year-old stepson Nero succeeds him.

1307 Hundreds of Knights Templar in France are arrested by agents of Phillip the Fair and tortured to extract a “confession” of heresy.

1881 Electricity comes to Cape Town with the installation of street lights in Adderly Street, once named Heerengracht after the canal (‘gracht’) which ran down its centre, and which had its origins in the rivers from Table Mountain. At the time the street was more of a wide walkway beside the canal, crossed by stone bridges. The present name honours British parliamentarian Charles Adderley who helped to prevent Cape Town from being turned into another penal colony.

1867 The first recorded discovery of diamonds in the colonial period of South Africa, with the very first being the Eureka diamond. By 1871, more diamonds were found near present-day Kimberley. This was followed by the discovery of gold, which changed South Africa’s agrarian economy to an industrialised one.

1884 The International Meridian Conference establishes the meridian of the Greenwich Observatory as the prime meridian.

1943 Italy declares war on Germany.

Former members of Uruguay's rugby team who survived a 1972 plane crash in the Chilean Andes hold a minute of silence after the unveiling of a plaque with pictures of family members and friends who died in the crash, in Santiago, Chile.

1972 A plane en route from Uruguay to Chile carrying the Old Christians Club rugby union team, crashes on a glacier in the Andes Mountains. Of the 45 on board, 28 survive the crash, but only 16 make it through the 2-month mountain ordeal in which the threat of death by starvation forces them to resort to cannibalism, and an avalanche kills 8 of them.

The Holy Shroud, a 14 foot-long linen revered by some as the burial cloth of Jesus, is shown at the Cathedral of Turin. Picture: Archives

1988 The Shroud of Turin, revered as Christ’s burial cloth, is shown to be a fake. But now the science seems to be turning. Could it have been a miracle all along?

A video image shows the Phoenix rescue capsule being prepped before it leaves the underground mine, removing Luis Urzua, the last of the 33 trapped miners in Copiapo, Chile. Picture: Reuters

2010 Miracle in the desert: All of Chile's 33 trapped miners are rescued from the bowels of the earth in a special capsule as an extraordinary two-month survival story, that many called a miracle, triggered wild celebrations. The daring rescue, which involved South African mining know-how, is televised live and watched around the world. One of the rescued men asked that both his wife and mistress be there to greet him on his return to the surface. The women came to blows after discovering that each was holding a vigil for the same man. “He is either very cheeky or very idiotic,” said one of his rescuers.

The last miner to be rescued, Luis Urzua, who is credited with organising the miners to ration food and save themselves, signals his joy next to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (right) at the end of the successful rescue operation. Picture: Reuters

2013 One hundred and nine people are killed in a stampede on a bridge in Madhya Pradesh, India.

2016 Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

2017 Archaeologists announce the discovery of the Arabic characters “Allah” and “Ali” on Viking costumes from a grave in Sweden.

2017 A hungry-bear crisis caused by overfishing leaves 2 people dead and 83 bears shot dead on Sakhalin Island, in Eastern Russia.

2018 Pope Francis defrocks two Chilean bishops for sexual abuse of minors.

2018 The oldest-known human remains from Poland, 115 000 years old, are found to be those of a Neanderthal child from Ciemna Cave who was eaten by a large bird.

The world’s tallest woman towers over her parents. Picture: Archives

2021 Rumeysa Gelgi, 24, of Turkey is confirmed as the world’s tallest living woman by Guinness World Records. She is 2.15m (7ft 0.7in).

2021 A bow-and-arrow terrorist attack kills five people and leaves two injured in Kongsberg, Norway.

2021 William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek, the TV series that became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon, becomes the oldest person to go into space, travelling aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket on a 10-minute flight. Blue Origin is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is in a race with other billionaires, like Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk, to popularise space travel and make it affordable.