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What Happened on September 13?

  • New York City was temporarily declared the capital of the United States. (1788) The Congress of the Confederation set a date for the first presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention and named New York City the nation's capital. Washington DC, the nation's current capital, was founded in 1790.

  • Henry Bliss became the first person in the US recorded to have died in a car crash. (1899) Bliss had just stepped off a streetcar when he was hit by a taxicab in New York City, crushing his chest and head; he died the next day.

  • The hottest temperature in world history was recorded. (1922) The temperature in Al 'Aziziyah, Libya, hit 136.04 degrees Fahrenheit (about 57.8 degrees Celsius) — in the shade. It remains the hottest temperature on record.

  • A peace accord was struck between Palestine and Israel. (1993) Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader, signed the "Declaration of Principles" agreement and shook hands on the lawn at the White House in Washington DC

  • Margaret Chase Smith became the first woman to serve in both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. (1948) Smith was elected to the US Senate on this day representing Maine. She was serving in the US House of Representatives for Maine at the time. She also was the first woman in Maine elected to either governing body.

  • A railroad worker in Vermont survived an accident in which a 3-foot (about 0.91-meter) iron spike impaled his head. (1848) Phineas Gage's survival and subsequent behavioral changes inspired a great deal of research into the brain and psychology. He died many years later in 1860. His skull with the iron bar impaling it is on display at the Warren Museum at Harvard University.

  • An Australian woman who claimed her baby had been killed by a dingo was put on trial for the child's murder. (1982) Lindy Chamberlain was found guilty of murdering her 9-week-old daughter and sentenced to hard labor and life in prison.

  • The New England Patriots team and the team's coach were fined for spying. (2007) The team was fined $250,000 US Dollars (USD) and the coach, Bill Belichick, was fined $500,000 USD for spying on the New York Jets.

  • English explorer Henry Hudson arrived at what is known today as the Hudson River. (1609) Hudson was exploring the 315 mile (507 km) river for the Dutch East India Company. The river later was named after him.

  • The highest point in the eastern Alps was ascended for the first time. (1850) The Piz Bernina mountain stands 13,284 feet (about 4,049 meters) high and was named by Johann Coaz, the hiker who made the first ascent.

Discussion Comments

By clintflint — On Sep 21, 2013
@bythewell - Well, there was a lot of contention, because it was both an honor and a nuisance to have the capital in your state.

I don't think they ever would have kept it in New York though, because being a port city just makes it too vulnerable. We don't really think that way these days, because we can fly everywhere anyway, but back then they would have been well aware of the strategic disadvantages of keeping your seat of government somewhere vulnerable to an attack from the ocean.

I think they ultimately decided to create Washington DC because it was in a relatively neutral position though, between several states. That way no one was going to be particularly advantaged or disadvantaged.

I mean, if you live in the same state with the government you are going to have much more of an advantage to getting your voice heard than if you live somewhere that is a months journey away. That is the kind of thing they needed to consider back then.

By bythewell — On Sep 20, 2013

I'm kind of surprised that they didn't just keep New York as the capital. I mean, it makes sense. It was big even then, and it was an extremely busy harbor as well, so they must have known it was only going to get bigger.

On top of that, it was where all the new people came into the US, so it might have made sense to make it the capital, because it would have been the city the most people in the world would have been familiar with.

I don't know what happened that they changed it to Washington instead, but I wonder if there was any contention over it.

By pleonasm — On Sep 20, 2013

I wonder if anyone had actually died in a car accident before that time. It seems odd that there were enough cars around for there to be street cars and taxi cabs, but that there had never been a fatal accident before. I suspect that there probably were, but they weren't recorded officially for whatever reason.

In fact I had heard that early cars were extremely dangerous because of the headlights. They didn't have the technology that we do, so they just used very bright lights to light the road and it would blind oncoming traffic to such an extent that it could be fatal.

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