#TodayInHistory – January 134 min read
January 13 – Some important events on this day
532 👉🏼 Nika riots begin in Constantinople, revolt against Emperor Justinian I, prompted by chariot racing
1099 👉🏼 Crusaders set fire to Mara, Syria
1128 👉🏼 Pope recognizes Knights Templar
On this day, Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar, declaring it to be an army of God.
Led by the Frenchman Hughes de Payens, the Knights Templar organization was founded on the same year. Its self-imposed mission was to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to and from the Holy Land during the Crusades, the series of military expeditions aimed at defeating Muslims in Palestine. For a while, the Templars had only nine members, mostly due to their rigid rules. In addition to having noble birth, the knights were required to take strict vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. In 1127, new promotional efforts convinced many more noblemen to join the order, gradually increasing its size and influence.
By the time the Crusades ended unsuccessfully in the early 14th century, the order had grown extremely wealthy, provoking the jealousy of both religious and secular powers. In 1307, King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V combined to take down the Knights Templar, arresting the grand master, Jacques de Molay, on charges of heresy, sacrilege and Satanism. Under torture, Molay and other leading Templars confessed and were eventually burned at the stake. Clement dissolved the Templars in 1312.
The modern-day Catholic Church has admitted that the persecution of the Knights Templar was unjustified and claimed that Pope Clement was pressured by secular rulers to dissolve the order. Over the centuries, myths and legends about the Templars have grown, including the belief that they may have discovered holy relics at Temple Mount, including the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant or parts of the cross from Christ’s crucifixion. The imagined secrets of the Templars have inspired various books and movies, including the novel and film The Da Vinci Code.
1610 👉🏼 Galileo Galilei discovers Callisto, 4th satellite of Jupiter
1785 👉🏼 John Walter publishes 1st issue of “The Times” of London
1842 👉🏼 Dr. William Brydon, a surgeon in the British Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War, becomes famous for (reputedly) being the sole survivor of an army of 16,500 when he reaches the safety of a garrison in Jalalabad.
1902 👉🏼 Textile workers strike in Enschede, Netherlands (until 1st June)
1908 👉🏼 Henri Farman becomes the first person to fly an observed circuit of more than 1km, winning the Grand Prix d’Aviation.
1908 was a year of aviation records for British-French aviator Henri Farman. In the picture above he has just won the Grand Prix d’Aviation for the first officially observed circular flight of 1km, on this day. For his efforts he won 50,000 francs.
The Wright brothers refused to participate in the competition – though they had flown significantly larger distances in the years before, European aviators and newspapers were skeptical of their claims.
Farman also completed the first observed 2km circuit flight on 21 March, and may also have been the first person to carry a passenger in flight in the same month. In October 1908 he completed the first cross-country flight in Europe, from Châlons to Reims.
1930 👉🏼 “Mickey Mouse” comic strip 1st appears
1943 👉🏼 Adolf Hitler declares “Total War” against the Allies
1962 👉🏼 Chubby Checker’s song “The Twist”, credited with starting the Twist dance craze, goes to #1 in the charts two years after first reaching number one spot.
When American rock artist Chubby Checker released his catchy pop song The Twist in 1960, few could have imagined that it would be responsible for a dance craze that would sweep the Western world in the early 1960s.
The dance itself had existed in its modern form since at least the late 1950s. Checker released his single in 1960 and it eventually claimed the top spot on September 19, 1960. Over the next two years, the craze took hold, and the song emerged as a number #1 again on this day.
The Twist was a watershed moment for rock’n’roll as the sight of celebrities doing the dance helped popularize it with adults – making them more accepting of the genre that their kids were going crazy for.
1970 👉🏼 Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu flees Biafra into exile, leaving his deputy Philip Effiong to surrender to the Nigerian army, unofficially ending the Nigerian Civil War
2000 👉🏼 Microsoft chairman Bill Gates steps aside as chief executive and promotes company president Steve Ballmer to the position
2001 👉🏼 Earthquake measuring magnitude 7.6 strikes El Salvador, killing more than 840 people
2020 👉🏼 Oldest material existing on earth at 7.5 billion years old revealed by scientists studying the Murchison meteorite that fell to earth in Australia in 1960s