Year
1793
Month Day
July 13

Charlotte Corday assassinates French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat

Jean-Paul Marat, one of the most outspoken leaders of the French Revolution, is stabbed to death in his bath by Charlotte Corday, a Royalist sympathizer.

Originally a doctor, Marat founded the journal L’Ami du Peuple in 1789, and its fiery criticism of those in power was a contributing factor to the bloody turn of the Revolution in 1792. With the arrest of the king in August of that year, Marat was elected as a deputy of Paris to the Convention. In France’s revolutionary legislature, Marat opposed the Girondists–a faction made up of moderate republicans who advocated a constitutional government and continental war.

By 1793, Charlotte Corday, the daughter of an impoverished aristocrat and an ally of the Girondists in Normandy, came to regard Marat as the unholy enemy of France and plotted his assassination. Leaving her native Caen for Paris, she had planned to kill Marat at the Bastille Day parade on July 14 but was forced to seek him out in his home when the festivities were canceled. On July 13, she gained an audience with Marat by promising to betray the Caen Girondists. Marat, who had a persistent skin disease, was working as usual in his bath when Corday pulled a knife from her bodice and stabbed him in his chest. He died almost immediately, and Corday waited calmly for the police to come and arrest her. She was guillotined four days later.

READ MORE: 8 Things You May Not Know About the Guillotine 

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Sandra Bland dies in jail after traffic stop confrontation

On July 10, 2015, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia pulls over a 28-year-old Black woman, Sandra Bland, for failing to signal a lane change. After a heated encounter, he arrests her and takes her to a nearby jail. Three days later, on the morning of July 13, she is found dead in ...read more

Black Lives Matter

The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter first appears, sparking a movement

Outraged and saddened after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who killed a Black teenager in 2012, Oakland, California resident Alicia Garza posts a message on Facebook on July 13, 2013. Her post contains the phrase "Black lives matter," which soon becomes a ...read more

John F. Kennedy nominated for presidency

In Los Angeles, California, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts is nominated for the presidency by the Democratic Party Convention, defeating Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. The next day, Johnson was named Kennedy’s running mate by a unanimous vote of the convention. ...read more

Largest tank battle in history ends

The Battle of Kursk, involving some 6,000 tanks, two million men, and 5,000 aircraft, ends with the German offensive repulsed by the Soviets at heavy cost. In early July, Germany and the USSR concentrated their forces near the city of Kursk in western Russia, site of a ...read more

Henry Ford II fires Lee Iacocca

On July 13, 1978, Ford Motor Company chairman Henry Ford II fires Lee Iacocca as Ford’s president, ending years of tension between the two men. Born to an immigrant family in Pennsylvania in 1924, Iacocca was hired by Ford as an engineer in 1946 but soon switched to sales, at ...read more

In a This Day in History video, learn that on July 13, 1985, the sixteen hour concert, Live Aid, was broadcasted around the world. Rock Musician Bob Geldof created the concert in attempt to raise money to relieve hunger in Africa. Live Aid was officially opened in London by Prince Charles and Princess Diana; the concert took place simultaneously in Philadelphia. Over a billion people watched some of rock's biggest acts: Queen, Mick Jagger, David Bowe, Madonna, and Ozzy Osborne. Live Aid raised over $125 million and Geldof was knighted by the Queen for his part.

Live Aid concert raises $127 million for famine relief in Africa

On July 13, 1985, at Wembley Stadium in London, Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially open Live Aid, a worldwide rock concert organized to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans. Continued at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia (where Joan Baez famously kicked it ...read more

George Wallace criticizes President Nixon’s handling of the war

Former Alabama Governor George Wallace criticizes President Richard Nixon for his handling of the war and says he favors an all-out military victory if the Paris talks fail to produce peace soon. Wallace had run unsuccessfully against Nixon as a third party candidate in the 1968 ...read more

First World Cup

On July 13, 1930, France defeats Mexico 4-1 and the United States defeats Belgium 3-0 in the first-ever World Cup football matches, played simultaneously in host city Montevideo, Uruguay. The World Cup has since become the world’s most watched sporting event. After football ...read more

"Ghost" opens in theaters

On July 13, 1990, the romantic-thriller Ghost, starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg, opens in theaters across the United States. The film, about a woman who communicates with her murdered husband through a psychic, was a box-office hit and received multiple ...read more

Last woman hanged for murder in Great Britain

Nightclub owner Ruth Ellis is convicted of murdering boyfriend David Blakely on July 13, 1955. Ellis was later executed by hanging and became the last woman in Great Britain to be put to death. Ellis was born in Rhyl, Wales, in 1926. She left school as a young teenager, had a ...read more

Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance

On July 13, 1787, Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance, structuring settlement of the Northwest Territory and creating a policy for the addition of new states to the nation. The members of Congress knew that if their new confederation were to survive intact, it had to resolve ...read more