2013 History Events: What Happened in 2013

2013 was designated as the International Year of Water Cooperation as well as the International Year of Quinoa. The animated film Frozen was the highest-grossing film of the year. Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o won the Academy Award, Critics’ Choice Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress for her outstanding performance in 12 Years a Slave. Fun’s song We Are Young took home the Grammy Award for Song of the Year at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.

Pope Benedict XVI resigned as Pope of the Catholic Church on February 28, three weeks after announcing his resignation. After Pope Gregory XII in 1445, he became the first pontiff to renounce power in 600 years. Pope Benedict announced his retirement as the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, citing his advanced age as the reason. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the new pontiff, took the name Pope Francis two weeks later. After the death of Pope John Paul II on April 19, 2005, he was elected as the 265th Pope.

On April 15, two improvised bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon, killing three individuals and critically injuring over 260 others. One of the bombing suspects, Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, 19, was caught after a four-day manhunt. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his brother and a fellow suspect, died in a confrontation with law enforcement authorities. The world was in mourning on December 5th after the death of Nelson Mandela, the first South African president. Mandela was an outspoken advocate for equal rights, particularly in the face of South Africa’s apartheid state. Between 1994 through 1999, he was President of the United States.

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for their work to eliminate chemical weapons. Diana Nyad, 64, is the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without using a shark tank for protection.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 2013.


(February 07, 2013)
Mississippi was the last state in the United States to abolish slavery, having passed the Thirteenth Amendment in 1995 but failing to file the required papers.


(February 28, 1986)
Pope Benedict XVI resigns as Pope of the Catholic Church, the first since Pope Gregory XII in 1415.

(March 05, 2013)
Hugo Chávez, a Venezuelan politician who served as the country's populist president from 1999 to 2013, and whose chavismo philosophy was based on the socialist political programme of South American independence hero Simón Bolvar, died at the age of 58.

(March 13, 2013)
The archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church, succeeding Benedict XVI, who had resigned.

(April 04, 2013)
Roger Ebert, the most well-known film critic in the United States and the first person to win the Pulitzer Prize for film criticism (1975), died in Chicago.


(April 08, 2013)
Margaret Thatcher, the first woman prime minister of the United Kingdom (and Europe) (1979–90) and the first British prime minister to win three terms in the twentieth century, died in London.

(April 15, 2013)
Two homemade bombs were detonated amid a gathering of spectators near the finish line of the Boston Marathon; three persons were killed and more than 260 were injured in the terrorist attack.

(April 30, 2013)
Willem-Alexander was crowned King of the Netherlands after his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated after 33 years on the throne.

(Died on June 16, 2013)
Ottmar Walter, German footballer (b. 1924).

(June 19, 2013)
While on vacation in Rome, American actor James Gandolfini died of a heart attack. He was best known for his role as Mafia leader and family man Tony Soprano in the HBO drama series The Sopranos (1999–2007).


(July 20, 2013)
Helen Thomas, an American journalist who broke down several barriers for women journalists and was most recognised for her coverage of US presidents, died in Washington, D.C.

(August 15, 2013)
Smithsonian's Kristofer Helgen reports the discovery of the olinguito, the first new carnivorous species discovered in the Americas in 35 years. photo source:

(November 05, 2013)
The Mars Orbiter Mission, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched unmanned. photo source:

(November 08, 2013)
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, hits the Philippines' Visayas area, killing at least 6,340 people and leaving over 1,000 persons missing, as well as causing $2.86 billion in damage. photo source:

(November 15, 2013)
In North America, Sony released the PlayStation 4 and sold one million copies in less than 24 hours. photo source:


(December 05, 2013)
Nelson Mandela, a South African patriot and statesman who helped abolish the country's apartheid racial segregation regime and usher in a peaceful transition to majority rule, died at the age of 95. photo source:

(December 23, 2013)
Assault rifle inventor and designer Mikhail Kalashnikov died in Izhevsk, Russia. He created the AK-47 (automatic Kalashnikov Model 1947), which has become one of the most popular and widely used weaponry in the contemporary age. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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