The year was 1913 and there was turbulence in the Balkans. Following a coup in the Ottoman Empire, the first Balkan War continued with allied Balkan states defeating the Ottoman Empire. The peace treaty, signed in London on May 30, redrew the map lines of southeastern Europe. In June, Bulgaria, unhappy with the new boundaries, attacked Greece and Serbia in a short-lived effort to gain control over Macedonia. The Treaty of Bucharest ended the second Balkan War giving control of Macedonia to the Greek and Serbian allies.Â
Tragedy struck on October 14 in Senghenydd, Wales, when an explosion ripped through a coal mine killing 439 men and boys in the worst coal mining disaster in Welsh history. The explosion left 205 widows and 542 children without a father.Â Postcards commemorating the disaster can be found online through the National Library of Wales.Â Wikipedia also lists the names of those killed in the disaster. The Coal Mining History Resource Center maintains a national database of mining deaths and injuries in the UK.
The following month, across the Atlantic a powerful storm dubbed the “Great Lakes White Hurricane” took 235 lives and caused up to forty shipwrecks. Most of the casualties came from large freighters wrecked on Lake Huron. The NOAA websiteÂ includes accounts describing thirty-five foot waves in succession, of the grisly sight of sailors washing up on Canadian shores following the storm, and in one interesting story where one of the “victims” walked in on his own funeral.
Earlier that year in March, a catastrophic flood had brought disaster to Dayton and other cities in the Miami River valley. The flood took more than 300 lives and caused more than 100 million dollars in damage. Photographs accompany the story of the flood and aftermath in Dayton in this article from the Dayton Metro Library.
In 1913, Thomas Woodrow WilsonÂ succeeded William Howard Taft in the presidency of the United States. During that first year in office, one of the most significant pieces of legislation passed was the Sixteenth Amendment, which provided for the creation of an income tax.Â
Crossword puzzles first came to fame in 1913 with the first publication of a puzzle by Arthur Wynne in the “New York World” on 21 December. They grew in popularity in the 1920s as they began appearing in other U.S. newspapers, eventually spreading across the ocean where they first appeared in the British “Pearson’s Magazine” in February 1922.Â
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