Apr 13 2011

On This Day In History April 13

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

April 13 is the 103rd day of the year (104th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 262 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1742, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah premieres in Dublin, Ireland.

Nowadays, the performance of George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah oratorio at Christmas time is a tradition almost as deeply entrenched as decorating trees and hanging stockings. In churches and concert halls around the world, the most famous piece of sacred music in the English language is performed both full and abridged, both with and without audience participation, but almost always and exclusively during the weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas. It would surprise many, then, to learn that Messiah was not originally intended as a piece of Christmas music. Messiah received its world premiere on this day in 1742, during the Christian season of Lent, and in the decidedly secular context of a concert hall in Dublin, Ireland.

Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed by George Frideric Handel, and is one of the most popular works in the Western choral literature. The libretto by Charles Jennens is drawn entirely from the King James and Great Bibles, and interprets the Christian doctrine of the Messiah. Messiah (often but incorrectly called The Messiah) is one of Handel’s most famous works. The Messiah sing-alongs now common at the Christmas season usually consist of only the first of the oratorio’s three parts, with “Hallelujah” (originally concluding the second part) replacing His Yoke is Easy in the first part.

Composed in London during the summer of 1741 and premiered in Dublin, Ireland on 13 April 1742, it was repeatedly revised by Handel, reaching its most familiar version in the performance to benefit the Foundling Hospital in 1754. In 1789 Mozart orchestrated a German version of the work; his added woodwind parts, and the edition by Ebenezer Prout, were commonly heard until the mid-20th century and the rise of historically informed performance.

 1111 – Henry V is crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

1204 – Constantinople falls to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, temporarily ending the Byzantine Empire.

1256 – The Grand Union of the Augustinian order formed when Pope Alexander IV issues a papal bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae.

1598 – Henry IV of France issues the Edict of Nantes, allowing freedom of religion to the Huguenots. (Edict repealed in 1685.)

1612 – Miyamoto Musashi defeats Sasaki Kojiro at Funajima island.

1742 – George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah makes its world-premiere in Dublin, Ireland.

1796 – The first elephant ever seen in the United States arrives from India.

1829 – The British Parliament grants freedom of religion to Roman Catholics.

1849 – Hungary becomes a republic.

1861 – American Civil War: Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederate forces.

1868 – The Abyssinian War ends as British and Indian troops capture Magdala.

1870 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art founded.

1873 – The Colfax Massacre takes place.

1902 – James C. Penney opens his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

1909 – The Turkish military reverses the Ottoman countercoup of 1909 to force the deposal of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

1919 – The Establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.

1919 – Jallianwala Bagh massacre: British troops massacre at least 379 unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar, India. At least 1200 wounded.

1919 – Eugene V. Debs enters prison at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, for speaking out against the draft during World War I.

1941 – Pact of neutrality between the USSR and Japan is signed.

1943 – World War II: The discovery of a mass grave of Polish prisoners of war executed by Soviet forces in the Katyn Forest Massacre is announced, alienating the Western Allies, the Polish government in exile in London, from the Soviet Union.

1943 – The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth.

1944 – Diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the Soviet Union are established.

1945 – World War II: German troops kill more than 1,000 political and military prisoners in Gardelegen Germany.

1945 – World War II: Soviet and Bulgarian forces capture Vienna, Austria.

1948 – The Hadassah medical convoy massacre: In an ambush, 79 Jewish doctors, nurses and medical students from Hadassah Hospital and a British soldier are massacred by Arabs in Sheikh Jarra near Jerusalem.

1953 – CIA director Allen Dulles launches the mind-control program MKULTRA.

1958 – During the Cold War, American Van Cliburn wins the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

1960 – The United States launches Transit 1-B, the world’s first satellite navigation system.

1963 – At the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier becomes the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for Lilies of the Field.

1970 – An oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13 explodes, putting the crew in great danger and causing major damage to the spacecraft while en route to the Moon.

1972 – The Universal Postal Union decides to recognize the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate Chinese representative, effectively expelling the Republic of China administering Taiwan.

1972 – Vietnam War: The Battle of An Loc begins.

1974 – Western Union (in cooperation with NASA and Hughes Aircraft) launches the United States’ first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite, Westar 1.

1975 – Bus massacre in Lebanon: Attack by the Phalangist resistance kill 26 militia members of the P.F.L. of Palestine, marking the start of the 15-year Lebanese Civil War.

1976 – The United States Treasury Department reintroduced the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson’s 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.

1984 – India moves into Siachen Glacier thus annexing more territory from the Line of Control.

1987 – Portugal and the People’s Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau would be returned to China in 1999.

1992 – The Great Chicago Flood.

1997 – Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win The Masters Tournament.

Holidays and observances

  * Christian Feast Day:


       Pope Martin I

       April 13 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

  * Jefferson’s Birthday (United States)

  * New Year festivals in South and Southeast Asian cultures. (see April 14):

       Cambodian New Year (Cambodia)

       First day of Songkan (Laos)

       First day of Songkran (Thailand)

1 comment

  1. TMC

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