December 13 events in history

1294 Saint Celestine V resigns the papacy after only five months; Celestine hoped to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit
1545 The Council of Trent begins
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
1642 Abel Tasman reaches New Zealand
1643 English Civil War: The Battle of Alton takes place in Hampshire
1758 The English transport ship Duke William sinks in the North Atlantic, killing over 360 people
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
1867 A Fenian bomb explodes in Clerkenwell, London, England, killing six
1937 Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Nanking – The city of Nanjing, defended by the National Revolutionary Army under the command of General Tang Shengzhi, falls to the Japanese. This is followed by the Nanking Massacre, in which Japanese troops rape and murder hundreds of thousands of civilians
1938 The Holocaust: The Neuengamme concentration camp opens in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg, Germany
1939 World War II: Battle of the River Plate – Captain Hans Langsdorff of the German Deutschland-class cruiser (pocket battleship) Admiral Graf Spee engages with Royal Navy cruisers HMS Exeter, HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles
1941 World War II: The Kingdom of Hungary and Kingdom of Romania declare war on the United States
1943 World War II: The Massacre of Kalavryta by German occupying forces in Greece
1949 The Knesset votes to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem
1959 Archbishop Makarios III becomes the first President of Cyprus
1960 While Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visits Brazil, his Imperial Bodyguard seizes the capital and proclaims him deposed and his son, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, Emperor
1962 NASA launches Relay 1, the first active repeater communications satellite in orbit
1967 Constantine II of Greece attempts an unsuccessful counter-coup against the Regime of the Colonels
1968 Brazilian President Artur da Costa e Silva issues AI-5 (Institutional Act No. 5), enabling government by decree and suspending habeas corpus
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
1974 Malta becomes a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations
1977 A DC-3 aircraft chartered from the Indianapolis-based National Jet crashes near Evansville Regional Airport, killing 29, including the University of Evansville basketball team, support staff and boosters of the team
1979 The Canadian Government of Prime Minister Joe Clark is defeated in the House of Commons, prompting the 1980 Canadian election
1981 General Wojciech Jaruzelski declares martial law in Poland to prevent dismantling of the communist system by Solidarity
1985 Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashes in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, killing all 256 passengers and crew
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
1989 The Troubles: Attack on Derryard checkpoint – The Provisional Irish Republican Army launches an attack on a British Army temporary vehicle checkpoint near Rosslea, Northern Ireland. Two British soldiers are killed and one badly wounded
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
2001 Sansad Bhavan, the building housing the Indian Parliament, is attacked by terrorists. Twelve people are killed, including the terrorists
2002 European Union enlargement: The EU announces that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members from May 1, 2004
2003 Iraq War: Operation Red Dawn – Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit
2011 A murder–suicide in Liège, Belgium, kills six and wounds 125 people at a Christmas market