On This Day in History December 5

December 5 – Events:

  • 63 BC – Cicero reads the last of his Catiline Orations.
  • 663 – Fourth Council of Toledo takes place.
  • 771 – Charlemagne becomes the sole King of the Franks after the death of his brother Carloman.
  • 1082 – Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona is assassinated.
  • 1360 – The French Franc is created.
  • 1408 – Emir Edigu of Golden Horde reaches Moscow.
  • 1484 – Pope Innocent VIII issues the Summis desiderantes, a papal bull that deputizes Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany and leads to one of the severest witch hunts in European history.
  • 1492 – Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola.
  • 1496 – King Manuel I of Portugal issues a decree of expulsion of “heretics” from the country.
  • 1590 – Niccolò Sfondrati becomes Pope Gregory XIV.
  • 1746 – Revolt in Genoa against the Spanish rule.
  • 1757 – Seven Years’ War: Battle of Leuthen – Frederick II of Prussia leads Prussian forces to a decisive victory over Austrian forces under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine.
  • 1766 – In London, James Christie holds his first sale.
  • 1775 – At Fort Ticonderoga, Henry Knox begins his historic transport of artillery to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • 1776 – In the Apollo Room of the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia, students from the College of William and Mary meet for the first time founding Phi Beta Kappa, the first scholastic fraternity in the United States.
  • 1815 – Foundation of Maceió in Brazil.
  • 1831 – Former US President John Quincy Adams takes his seat in the House of Representatives.
  • 1847 – Jefferson Davis is elected to the US senate, his first political post.
  • 1848 – California Gold Rush: In a message before the U.S. Congress, US President James K. Polk confirms that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California.
  • 1865 – Chincha Islands War: Peru allies with Chile against Spain.
  • 1892 – Sir John Thompson becomes the fourth Prime Minister of Canada.
  • 1893 – First appearance of an electric car.
  • 1914 – The Italian Parliament proclaims the neutrality of the country.
  • 1920 – Dimitrios Rallis forms a government in Greece.
  • 1926 – Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin premieres.
  • 1932 – German-born Swiss physicist Albert Einstein is granted an American visa.
  • 1933 – Prohibition in the United States ends: Utah becomes the 36th U.S. state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus establishing the required 75% of states needed to enact the amendment (this overturned the 18th Amendment which had outlawed alcohol in the United States).
  • 1934 – Abyssinia Crisis: Italian troops attack Wal Wal in Abyssinia, taking four days to capture the city.
  • 1936 – The Soviet Union adopts a new constitution and the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic is established as a full Union Republic of the USSR.
  • 1941 – World War II: In the Battle of Moscow Georgy Zhukov launches a massive Soviet counter-attack against the German army, with the biggest offensive launched against Army Group Centre.
  • 1941 – World War II: Great Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.
  • 1943 – World War II: U.S. Army Air Force begin attacking Germany’s secret weapons bases in Operation Crossbow .
  • 1944 – World War II: Allied troops occupy Ravenna.
  • 1945 – Flight 19 is lost in the Bermuda Triangle.
  • 1952 – Great Smog of 1952: A cold fog descends upon London, combining with air pollution and killing at least 12,000 in the weeks and months that follow.
  • 1955 – The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge and form the AFL-CIO.
  • 1955 – E.D. Nixon and Rosa Parks lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • 1957 – Sukarno expels all Dutch people from Indonesia.
  • 1958 – Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.
  • 1958 – The Preston bypass, the UK’s first stretch of motorway, opens to traffic for the first time. It is now part of the M6 and M55 motorways.
  • 1964 – Vietnam War: For his heroism in battle earlier in the year, Captain Roger Donlon is  awarded the first Medal of Honor of the war.
  • 1969 – Life Magazine reports the My Lai Massacre .
  • 1970 – Premiere of Dario Fo’s Morte accidentale di un anarchico.
  • 1976 – The United Nations General Assembly adopts Pakistan’s resolution on security of non-Nuclear States.
  • 1977 – Egypt breaks diplomatic relations with Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq and South Yemen. The move is in retaliation for the Declaration of Tripoli against Egypt.
  • 1978 – The Soviet Union signs a “friendship treaty” with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
  • 1979 – Sonia Johnson is formally excommunicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for her outspoken criticism of the church concerning the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
  • 1983 – Dissolution of the Military Junta in Argentina.
  • 1983 – ICIMOD established and inaugurated with its headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal, and legitimized through an Act of Parliament in Nepal in the same year. 
  • 1993 – The mayor of Wien (Vienna), Helmut Zilk, is wounded by a letter bomb.
  • 1995 – The Sri Lankan government announces the conquest of Tamil stronghold of Jaffna.
  • 2005 – The Lake Tanganyika earthquake causes significant damage, mostly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • 2005 – The Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in the United Kingdom, and the first civil partnership is registered there.
  • 2006 – Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrows the government in Fiji.
  • 2007 – Westroads Mall massacre: A gunman opens fire with a semi-automatic rifle at an Omaha, Nebraska mall, killing eight people before taking his own life.

December 5 – Birthdays:

  • 1377 – Jianwen Emperor of China (d. 1402)
  • 1443 – Pope Julius II (d. 1513)
  • 1495 – Nicolas Cleynaerts, Flemish grammarian (d. 1542)
  • 1537 – Ashikaga Yoshiaki, Japanese shogun (d. 1597)
  • 1539 – Fausto Paolo Sozzini, Italian theologian (d. 1604)
  • 1547 – Ubbo Emmius, Dutch historian and geographer (d. 1625)
  • 1595 – Henry Lawes, English composer (d. 1662)
  • 1661 – Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, English statesman (d. 1724)
  • 1687 – Francesco Geminiani, Italian violinist and composer (d. 1762)
  • 1782 – Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States (d. 1862)
  • 1803 – Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev, Russian poet (d. 1873)
  • 1820 – Afanasy Fet, Russian poet (d. 1892)
  • 1822 – Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, American college president (d. 1907)
  • 1829 – Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, French Canadian politician (d. 1908)
  • 1830 – Christina Rossetti, English poet (d. 1894)
  • 1839 – George Armstrong Custer, American general (d. 1876)
  • 1841 – Marcus Daly, American mining tycoon (d. 1900)
  • 1855 – Clinton Hart Merriam, American ornithologist (d. 1942)
  • 1859 – John Jellicoe, British admiral (d. 1935)
  • 1863 – Paul Painlevé, French mathematician (d. 1933)
  • 1867 – Józef Pilsudski, Polish revolutionary and statesman (d. 1935)
  • 1867 – Antti Aarne, Finnish folklorist (d. February 2, 1925)
  • 1868 – Arnold Sommerfeld, German physicist (d. 1951)
  • 1869 – Ellis Parker Butler, American author (d. 1937)
  • 1870 – Vítezslav Novák, Czech composer (d. 1949)
  • 1871 – Bill Pickett, American rodeo performer (d. 1932)
  • 1872 – Harry Nelson Pillsbury, American chess player (d. 1906)
  • 1875 – Sir Arthur Currie, Canadian soldier (d. 1933)
  • 1879 – Clyde Cessna, American airplane manufacturer (d. 1954)
  • 1886 – Rose Wilder Lane, American writer and reporter, daughter of ‘Little House’ books writer Laura Ingalls Wilder (d. 1968)
  • 1890 – David Bomberg, English painter (d. 1957)
  • 1890 – Fritz Lang, Austrian-born film director (d. 1976)
  • 1892 – Ferdinand Schörner, German field marshal (d. 1973)
  • 1895 – Elbert Frank Cox, American mathematician (d. 1969)
  • 1896 – Carl Ferdinand Cori, Austrian-born biochemist, Nobel laureate (d. 1984)
  • 1897 – Nunnally Johnson, American screenwriter and producer (d. 1977)
  • 1898 – Josh Malihabadi, Urdu poet of India and Pakistan (d. 1982)
  • 1898 – Grace Moore, American soprano (d. 1947)
  • 1899 – Sonny Boy Williamson II, American blues musician (d. 1965)
  • 1901 – Walt Disney, American animated film producer (d. 1966)
  • 1901 – Milton H. Erickson, American psychiatrist (d. 1980)
  • 1901 – Werner Heisenberg, German physicist, Nobel laureate (d. 1976)
  • 1902 – Strom Thurmond, American politician (d. 2003)
  • 1903 – Johannes Heesters, Dutch singer and actor
  • 1903 – Cecil Frank Powell, English physicist, Nobel laureate (d. 1969)
  • 1905 – Gus Mancuso, American baseball player (d. 1984)
  • 1906 – Otto Preminger, Austrian-born film director, producer, and actor (d. 1986)
  • 1907 – Giuseppe Occhialini, Italian physicist (d. 1993)
  • 1910 – Abraham Polonsky, American screenwriter (d. 1999)
  • 1911 – Wladyslaw Szpilman, Polish pianist (d. 2000)
  • 1914 – Hans Hellmut Kirst, German author (d. 1989)
  • 1917 – Ken Downing, English racing driver (d. 2004)
  • 1921 – Alvy Moore, American actor (d. 1997)
  • 1925 – Anastasio Somoza, President of Nicaragua (d. 1980)
  • 1927 – Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand
  • 1932 – Sheldon Lee Glashow, American physicist, Nobel laureate
  • 1932 – Little Richard, American singer and pianist
  • 1934 – Joan Didion, American writer
  • 1934 – Nikos Kourkoulos, Greek actor, artistic director of the National Theatre of Greece (d. 2007)
  • 1935 – Calvin Trillin, American writer
  • 1935 – Yury Vlasov, Soviet weightlifter
  • 1936 – James Lee Burke, American writer
  • 1938 – J. J. Cale, American songwriter
  • 1940 – Boris Ignatyev, Russian footballer and manager
  • 1940 – Peter Pohl, Swedish writer
  • 1940 – Adrian Street, Welsh professional wrestler
  • 1943 – Eva Joly, Norwegian-born French magistrate
  • 1944 – Jeroen Krabbé, Dutch actor
  • 1945 – Serge Chapleau, French Canadian caricaturist
  • 1946 – José Carreras, Spanish tenor
  • 1947 – Bruce Golding, Jamaican politician
  • 1947 – Tony Gregory, Irish politician
  • 1947 – Jim Messina, American musician (Buffalo Springfield, Loggins and Messina)
  • 1947 – Jim Plunkett, former National Football League quarterback
  • 1949 – Ray Comfort, New Zealand evangelist
  • 1950 – Camarón de la Isla, Spanish flamenco singer (d. 1992)
  • 1950 – Osvaldo Golijov, Argentine-born composer
  • 1951 – Morgan Brittany, American actress
  • 1951 – Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven, Belgian artist
  • 1952 – Andy Kim, Canadian singer, songwriter
  • 1953 – Larry Zbyszko, American professional wrestler
  • 1956 – Klaus Allofs, German footballer
  • 1956 – Brian Backer, American actor
  • 1956 – Krystian Zimerman, Polish pianist
  • 1957 – Art Monk, American football player
  • 1958 – Dean Erickson, American actor
  • 1960 – Jack Russell, American singer (Great White)
  • 1962 – José Cura, Argentine tenor
  • 1963 – Doctor Dre, American radio personality
  • 1963 – Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, English ski jumper
  • 1963 – Carrie Hamilton, American actress (d. 2002)
  • 1965 – Johnny Rzeznik, American singer, songwriter and guitarist (Goo Goo Dolls)
  • 1965 – Wayne Smith, Jamaican reggae musician
  • 1966 – Patricia Kaas, French singer
  • 1967 – Gary Allan, American country musician
  • 1967 – Konstantin-Assen, Prince of Vidin, titular Bulgarian royal family
  • 1968 – Margaret Cho, American comedian and actress
  • 1968 – Lisa Marie, American model and actress
  • 1969 – Morgan J. Freeman, American film director
  • 1969 – Lewis Gordon Pugh, English swimmer, polar explorer and motivational speaker
  • 1970 – Kevin Haller, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1971 – Kali Rocha, American actress
  • 1972 – Cliff Floyd, American baseball player
  • 1972 – Mike Mahoney, American baseball player
  • 1972 – Angela Shelton, American actress & writer
  • 1973 – Shalom Harlow, Canadian supermodel and actress
  • 1973 – Luboš Motl, Czech physicist
  • 1973 – Danielle Winits, Brazilian Actress
  • 1974 – Charlie Batch, National Football League quarterback
  • 1975 – Ronnie O’Sullivan, English snooker player
  • 1975 – Paula Patton, American actress
  • 1976 – Amy Acker, American actress
  • 1976 – Xavier Garbajosa, French rugby union footballer
  • 1978 – Olli Jokinen, Finnish ice hockey player
  • 1978 – Marcelo Zalayeta, Uruguayan footballer
  • 1979 – Matteo Ferrari, Italian footballer
  • 1979 – Niklas Hagman, Finnish ice hockey player
  • 1979 – Evonne Hsu, Taiwanese singer
  • 1979 – Gareth McAuley, Northern Irish footballer
  • 1979 – Nick Stahl, American actor
  • 1980 – Shizuka Ito, Japanese voice actress (seiyu)
  • 1980 – Ibrahim Maalouf, Lebanese-born French trumpeter
  • 1981 – Leila Tong, Hong Kong actress
  • 1982 – Eddy Curry, American basketball player
  • 1982 – Trai Essex, National Football League defensive lineman
  • 1984 – Chris Solinsky, American distance runner
  • 1985 – Frankie Muniz, American actor
  • 1985 – Josh Smith, American basketball player
  • 1985 – Nico Verdonck, Belgian racing driver
  • 1988 – Ross Bagley, American actor
  • 1992 – Giorgio Cantarini, Italian actor

December 5 – Deaths:

  • 749 – Saint John of Damascus, theologian 
  • 1082 – Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona 
  • 1355 – John III, Duke of Brabant (b. 1300) 
  • 1560 – King Francis II of France (b. 1544) 
  • 1570 – Johan Friis, Danish statesman (b. 1494) 
  • 1624 – Gaspard Bauhin, Swiss botanist (b. 1560) 
  • 1654 – Jean François Sarrazin, French writer 
  • 1663 – Severo Bonini, Italian composer (b. 1582) 
  • 1749 – Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye, New French explorer and trader   (b. 1685) 
  • 1758 – Johann Friedrich Fasch, German composer (b. 1688)
  • 1770 – James Stirling, Scottish mathematician (b. 1692)
  • 1784 – Phillis Wheatley, African-American poet (b. 1753)
  • 1791 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer (b. 1756)
  • 1819 – Friedrich Leopold Graf zu Stolberg, German poet (b. 1750)
  • 1870 – Alexandre Dumas, père, French writer (b. 1802)
  • 1887 – Eliza Roxcy Snow, American poet (b. 1804)
  • 1891 – Emperor Pedro II of Brazil (b. 1825)
  • 1895 – Chief Gall, Sioux chief (b. 1840)
  • 1925 – Wladyslaw Reymont, Polish writer and Nobel laureate (b. 1867)
  • 1926 – Claude Monet, French impressionist painter (b. 1840)
  • 1931 – Vachel Lindsay, American poet (b. 1879)
  • 1940 – Mordechai Frizis, Jewish Greek military officer (b. 1893)
  • 1940 – Jan Kubelík, Austro-Hungarian-born Czechoslovak violinist (b. 1880)
  • 1950 – Shri Aurobindo, Indian guru (b. 1872)
  • 1951 – “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, American baseball player (b. 1889)
  • 1951 – Abanindranath Tagore, Indian writer (b. 1871)
  • 1953 – Jorge Negrete, Mexican singer and actor (b. 1911)
  • 1955 – Glenn L. Martin, American aviation pioneer (b. 1886)
  • 1963 – Karl Amadeus Hartmann, German composer (b. 1905)
  • 1963 – Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji, Indian Hindu mystic
  • 1963 – Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Prime Minister of Pakistan (b. 1892)
  • 1965 – Joseph Erlanger, American physiologist, Nobel laureate (b. 1874)
  • 1966 – Sylvère Maes, Belgian cyclist (b. 1909)
  • 1968 – Fred Clark, American actor (b. 1914)
  • 1969 – Claudius Dornier, German aircraft designer (b. 1884)
  • 1973 – Robert Watson-Watt, Scottish engineer, inventor of radar (b. 1892)
  • 1977 – Aleksandr Vasilevsky, Soviet military commander (b. 1895)
  • 1983 – Robert Aldrich, American film director (b. 1918)
  • 1984 – Adam Malik, Third Vice President of Indonesia (b. 1917)
  • 1986 – Sir Edward Youde, Governor of Hong Kong (b. 1924)
  • 1989 – Sir John Pritchard, English conductor (b. 1921)
  • 1991 – Robert Karvelas, American actor (b. 1921)
  • 1991 – Richard Speck, American mass murderer (b. 1941)
  • 1993 – Doug Hopkins, American guitarist and songwriter (Gin Blossoms) (b. 1961)
  • 1994 – Harry Horner, American art director (b. 1910)
  • 1995 – Lisa McPherson, Former Scientologist (b. 1959)
  • 1998 – Al Gore, Sr., American politician (b. 1907)
  • 2001 – Franco Rasetti, Italian physicist (b. 1901)
  • 2002 – Roone Arledge, American sports broadcasting pioneer (b. 1931)
  • 2002 – Ne Win, Burmese leader (b. 1911)
  • 2005 – Ed Masry, American lawyer (b. 1932)
  • 2005 – Kevin “Big Kev” McQuay, Australian businessman (b. 1949)
  • 2005 – Frits Philips, Dutch businessman (b. 1905)
  • 2006 – David Bronstein, Ukrainian-born chess grandmaster (b. 1924)
  • 2007 – Karlheinz Stockhausen, German composer (b. 1928)
  • 2007 – Andrew Imbrie, American composer (b. 1921)

December 5 – Holidays:

  • Roman festivals – Faunalia celebrated in honor of Faunus (according to Horace, Odes 3.18)
  • Austria – Krampus
  • Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands and the UK – Saint Nicholas Eve (whom Dutch speakers call Sinterklaas, which became in other languages Santa Claus)
  • Thailand – The King’s Birthday, National Day, Father’s Day
  • Saint Abercius
  • Day of the Ninja
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