Today in History: May 13

Today is Wednesday, May 13, the 133rd day of 2015. There are 232 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 13, 1940, in his first speech as British prime minister, Winston Churchill told Parliament, “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

On this date:

In 1607, English colonists arrived by ship at the site of what became the Jamestown settlement in Virginia (the colonists went ashore the next day).

In 1846, the United States declared that a state of war already existed with Mexico.

In 1918, the first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, were issued to the public. (On a few of the stamps, the biplane was inadvertently printed upside-down, making the “Inverted Jenny” collector’s items.)

In 1935, T.E. Lawrence was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in Dorset, England; he died six days later.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act. The musical play “The Pajama Game” opened on Broadway.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, were spat upon and their limousine battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1968, a one-day general strike took place in France in support of student protesters.

In 1973, in tennis’ first so-called “Battle of the Sexes,” Bobby Riggs defeated Margaret Court 6-2, 6-1 in Ramona, California. (Billie Jean King soundly defeated Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in September.)

In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.

In 1985, a confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped a bomb onto the group’s row house; 11 people died in the resulting fire that destroyed 61 homes.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated federal appeals Judge Stephen G. Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

In 2000, explosions at a fireworks warehouse in the Netherlands killed 23 people and injured nearly 1,000 others. (A suspect was found guilty of causing the blasts, but his conviction was overturned.)

Ten years ago: The Pentagon proposed the most sweeping changes to its network of military bases in modern history, a plan that would close 33 major facilities in 22 states and reconfigure hundreds of others. The president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, praised the dedication of Mexicans working in the United States, saying they were willing to take jobs that “even blacks” wouldn’t do, a statement that prompted criticism in the United States. Government troops in Uzbekistan put down an uprising they blamed on Islamic militants; opponents said the troops fired into crowds and killed hundreds of people.

Five years ago: Three Pakistani men who authorities say supplied funds to would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad were arrested in a series of raids in New England. President Barack Obama met with police officers who responded to the attempted car-bombing, greeting them at the New York Police Department’s high-tech Real Time Crime Center.

One year ago: A mine fire in Soma, Turkey, killed 301 workers. A European court, in an important test of the “right to be forgotten,” ruled that Google had to amend some of its search results at the request of ordinary people when they showed links to outdated, irrelevant information. Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in a wide-ranging bribery case (he has remained free pending an appeal).

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Buck Taylor is 77. Actor Harvey Keitel is 76. Author Charles Baxter is 68. Actor Franklyn Ajaye is 66. Actress Zoe Wanamaker is 66. Singer Stevie Wonder is 65. Actress Leslie Winston (TV: “The Waltons”) is 59. Producer-writer Alan Ball is 58. Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman is 54. Actor-comedian Stephen Colbert is 51. Rock musician John Richardson (The Gin Blossoms) is 51. Actor Tom Verica is 51. Country singer Lari White is 50. Singer Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish) is 49. Actress Susan Floyd is 47. Contemporary Christian musician Andy Williams (Casting Crowns) is 43. Actress Samantha Morton is 38. Rock musician Mickey Madden (Maroon 5) is 36. Actor Iwan Rheon is 30. Actress-writer-director Lena Dunham is 29. Actor Robert Pattinson is 29. Actress Candice Accola is 28. Actor Hunter Parrish is 28. Folk-rock musician Wylie Gelber (Dawes) is 27. Actress Debby Ryan is 22.

Thought for Today: “What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar.” — Thomas R. Marshall, U.S. vice president (1854-1925). (To which American humorist Franklin P. Adams replied, “What this country really needs is a good five-cent nickel.”)