13 December 1943

World War II: The Massacre of Kalavryta by German occupying forces in Greece.

The Massacre of Kalavryta occurred during World War II, specifically in December 1943, when German occupying forces carried out a brutal reprisal against the Greek town of Kalavryta and its surrounding villages. This atrocity was part of a series of reprisals by Axis forces in response to the Greek resistance activities against the German occupation.

On December 13, 1943, German troops entered Kalavryta in search of members of the Greek resistance. They rounded up the male population, accused them of supporting the resistance, and herded them into the local school. The German soldiers then set fire to the town, destroying many buildings. Subsequently, the men were shot, and the entire male population of Kalavryta was systematically killed.

The exact number of victims is uncertain, but it is estimated that over 500 men and boys were executed in Kalavryta and its surrounding areas. The massacre was a horrific event that left a lasting scar on the local community and became a symbol of the brutality of the German occupation in Greece during World War II.

After the war, efforts were made to remember and commemorate the victims of the Kalavryta massacre. The town has since built a memorial dedicated to the victims, and every year on December 13, ceremonies are held to honor the memory of those who lost their lives in this tragic event. The massacre remains a somber reminder of the human cost of war and occupati

13 December 1988

PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat gives a speech at a UN General Assembly meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, after United States authorities refused to grant him a visa to visit UN headquarters in New York.

[rdp-wiki-embed url=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat’]

13 December 1959

Archbishop Makarios III becomes the first President of Cyprus.

On 18 September 1950, Makarios, only 37 years old, was elected Archbishop of Cyprus. In this role he was not only the official head of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus, but became the Ethnarch, de facto national leader of the Greek Cypriot community. This highly influential position put Makarios at the centre of Cypriot politics.

During the 1950s, Makarios embraced his dual role as Archbishop and Ethnarch with enthusiasm and became a very popular figure among Greek Cypriots. He soon became a leading advocate for enosis, and during the early part of the decade he maintained close links with the Greek government. In August 1954, partly at Makarios’ instigation, Greece began to raise the question of Cyprus at the United Nations, arguing for the principle of self-determination to be applied to Cyprus. This was viewed by advocates of enosis as likely to result in the voluntary union of Cyprus with Greece following a public referendum.

However, the British government was reluctant to decolonise the island which had become their new headquarters for the Middle East. In 1955, a pro-enosis organization was formed under the banner of Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston, or EOKA. This was a typical independence movement of the period. Makarios undoubtedly had common political ground with EOKA and was acquainted with its leader, the Greek soldier and politician George Grivas, but the extent of his involvement is unclear and disputed. In later life he categorically denied any involvement in the violent resistance undertaken by EOKA.

On 20 August 1955, Greece submitted a petition to the United Nations requesting the application of the principle of self-determination to the people of Cyprus. After that, the colonial government of Cyprus enforced the anti-sedition laws for the purpose of preventing or suppressing demonstrations in favor of union with Greece; but the archbishop defied them and continued demanding self-determination for Cyprus.

In October 1955, with the security situation deteriorating, the British governor, Sir John Harding, opened talks on the island’s future. By this stage, Makarios had become closely identified with the insurgency, and talks broke up without any agreement in early 1956. Makarios, characterized in the British press as a crooked Cypriot priest and viewed with suspicion by the British authorities, was intercepted by Special Branch officers while attempting to board a flight at Nicosia airport. The joint police/military plan, codenamed Operation Apollo, saw Makarios exiled to Mahe Island in the Seychelles on 9 March 1956, as a ‘guest’ of Sir William Addis, Governor & Commander-in-Chief of the Seychelles. The Archbishop and his staff were flown to Aden and then on to Mombasa. At the Kenyan port the party were embarked in the East African Naval Vessel “Rosalind”, escorted by the frigate HMS Loch Fada. The flotilla arrived in Port Victoria on 14 March.

In the latter years of the 1950s, the Turkish Cypriot community first began to float the idea of Taksim or partition, as a counterweight to the Greek ideal of enosis or union. Advocates of Taksim felt that the Turkish Cypriot community would be persecuted in a Greek Cyprus, and that only by keeping part of the island under either British or Turkish sovereignty could the safety of the Turkish Cypriots be guaranteed. In this way the Cyprus dispute became increasingly polarized between two communities with opposing visions of the future of the island.

Makarios was released from exile after a year, although he was still forbidden to return to Cyprus. He went instead to Athens, where he was rapturously received. Basing himself in the Greek capital, he continued to work for enosis. During the following two years he attended the General Assembly of the United Nations where the Cyprus question was discussed and worked hard to achieve union with Greece.

Under the premiership of Constantine Karamanlis in Greece, the goal of enosis was gradually abandoned in favour of Cypriot independence. Negotiations in 1958 generated the Zurich Agreement as a basis for a deal on independence, and Makarios was invited to London in 1959 to fine-tune the plan. Makarios at first refused to accept the plan. The reversal of his pro-enosis stance, and his eventual agreement to sign the conditions for the independence of Cyprus, have been attributed to moral persuasion on behalf of the Greek and British governments.

On March 1, 1959, the archbishop returned to Cyprus to an unprecedented reception in Nicosia, where almost two-thirds of the adult Greek Cypriot population turned out to welcome him. Presidential elections were held on 13 December 1959, in which Makarios defeated his rival, lawyer Ioannis Clerides, father of future president and Makarios ally Glafkos Clerides, receiving two-thirds of the vote. Makarios was to become the political leader of all Cyprus as well as the communal leader of the Greek Cypriots.

13 December 1642

Abel Tasman reaches New Zealand.

Abel Janszoon Tasman 1603 – 10 October 1659) was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the Dutch East India Company. He was the first known European explorer to reach the islands of Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) and New Zealand, and to sight the Fiji islands.

Portrait of Abel Tasman, his wife and daughter. Attributed to Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp, 1637.
Abel Jans Tasman was born in 1603 in Lutjegast, a small village in the province of Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands. The oldest available source mentioning him dates 27 December 1631 when, as a seafarer living in Amsterdam, the 28-year-old became engaged to marry 21-year-old Jannetje Tjaers from the Jordaan district of the city. In 1633 he sailed from Texel to Batavia in the service of the Dutch East India Company, taking the southern Brouwer Route. Tasman took part in a voyage to Seram Island; the locals had sold spices to other European nationalities than the Dutch. He had a narrow escape from death, when in an incautious landing several of his companions were killed by people of Seram. In August 1637 he was back in Amsterdam, and the following year he signed on for another ten years and took his wife with him to Batavia. On 25 March 1638 he tried to sell his property in the Jordaan, but the purchase was cancelled. In 1639 he was second-in-command of an exploration expedition in the north Pacific under Matthijs Quast. The fleet included the ships Engel and Gracht and reached Fort Zeelandia and Deshima.

In August 1642, the Council of the Indies, consisting of Antonie van Diemen, Cornelis van der Lijn, Joan Maetsuycker, Justus Schouten, Salomon Sweers, Cornelis Witsen, and Pieter Boreel in Batavia despatched Tasman and Franchoijs Visscher on a voyage of which one of the objectives was to obtain knowledge of “all the totally unknown provinces of Beach”. This expedition used two small ships, the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen.

13 December 1642

Abel Tasman arrives in New Zealand.

Abel Tasman was the first European to ‘discover’ New Zealand in 1642. His men were the first Europeans to have a confirmed encounter with M?ori. Born at Lutjegast, The Netherlands, Tasman went to sea in the service of the Dutch East India Company, receiving his first command in 1634. After patrolling the waters of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) searching for smugglers and rebels, in 1642 he was appointed to head an expedition to the ‘still unexplored South- and East-land, which had been partly discovered by Dutch mariners. The company wanted to find out whether any exploitable southern lands existed or whether there was a sea passage across the Pacific to Chile. Tasman was given two small ships for the expedition.

The expedition departed from the company’s base at Batavia (Jakarta) in August 1642. After sailing west to Mauritius they turned south before being forced back by the cold to the 45th parallel. Continuing eastwards they sighted the mountains of a land that Tasman named Tasmania after the governor general of Batavia. The expedition was deemed a success although it was felt that Tasman could have made more effort to investigate more fully the lands he had discovered.

By 1653 Tasman retired. He remained in Batavia where he owned a substantial amount of land. He captained a small cargo ship, of which he was a part-owner. Tasman died in October 1659, survived by his second wife, Jannetje, and his daughter, Claesjen.