December 5th in History

This day in historyDecember 5 is the 339th day of the year (340th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 26 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 63 BC,  Cicero gives the fourth and final of the Catiline Orations.

In 633,  Fourth Council of Toledo takes place.

In 1082,  Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona is assassinated.

In 1408,  Emir Edigu of Golden Horde reaches Moscow.

In 1484,  Pope Innocent VIII issues the Summis desiderantes affectibus, a papal bull that deputizes Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany.

In 1492,  Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

In 1496,  King Manuel I of Portugal issues a decree of expulsion of “heretics” from the country.

La Verendrye explored the area from Lake Superior to the mouth of the Saskatchewan River. He also reached North Dakota and his sons reached Wyoming.

In 1749,  Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye, Canadian commander and explorer (b. 1685) dies. He was a French Canadian military officer, fur trader and explorer. In the 1730s he and his four sons opened up the area west of Lake Superior and thus began the process that added Western Canada to the original New France in the Saint Lawrence basin. He was also the first European to reach North Dakota and the upper Missouri River. In the 1740s two of his sons crossed the prairie as far as Wyoming and were the first Europeans to see the Rocky Mountains north of New Mexico.

In 1757,  Seven Years’ War: Battle of LeuthenFrederick II of Prussia leads Prussian forces to a decisive victory over Austrian forces under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine.

In 1766,  In London, James Christie holds his first sale.

In 1770,  James Stirling, Scottish mathematician and surveyor (b. 1692) dies. He was a Scottish mathematician. The Stirling numbers, Stirling permutations, and Stirling’s approximation are named after him. He also proved the correctness of Isaac Newton‘s classification of cubics.

In 1775,  At Fort Ticonderoga, Henry Knox begins his historic transport of artillery to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Phillis Wheatley frontispiece.jpgIn 1784,  Phillis Wheatley, Senegalese-American slave and poet (b. 1753) dies. She was both the second published African-American poet and first published African-American woman. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent. The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) brought her fame both in England and the American colonies; figures such as George Washington praised her work. During Wheatley’s visit to England with her master’s son, the African-American poet Jupiter Hammon praised her work in his own poem. Wheatley was emancipated after the death of her master John Wheatley. She married soon after. Two of her children died as infants. After her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into poverty and died of illness, quickly followed by the death of her surviving infant son.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In 1791,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian pianist and composer (b. 1756) dies. Researchers have posited at least 118 causes of death, including acute rheumatic fever, streptococcal infection, trichinosis, influenza, mercury poisoning, and a rare kidney ailment. He baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era.

Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his death. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons.

He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, and his influence on subsequent Western art music is profound; Beethoven composed his own early works in the shadow of Mozart, and Joseph Haydn wrote that “posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years.”

In 1815,  Foundation of Maceió, Brazil.

In 1831,  Former U.S. President John Quincy Adams takes his seat in the House of Representatives.

In 1847,  Jefferson Davis is elected to the U.S. senate, his first political post.

In 1848,  California Gold Rush: In a message to the United States Congress, U.S. President James K. Polk confirms that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California.

In 1865,  Chincha Islands War: Peru allies with Chile against Spain.

In 1876,  The Brooklyn Theater Fire kills at least 278 people in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1916,  British premier H. H. Asquith resigns from his post.

In 1920,  Dimitrios Rallis forms a government in Greece.

Study of a Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol, facing left, 1886. Musée d’Orsay

In 1926,  Claude Monet, French painter (b. 1840) died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the age of 86.  He was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris. Monet’s ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene many times in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. From 1883 Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property, and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life.

In 1932,  German-born Swiss physicist Albert Einstein is granted an American visa.

In 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 made the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcohol illegal in the United States.)

In 1934,  Abyssinia Crisis: Italian troops attack Wal Wal in Abyssinia, taking four days to capture the city.

In 1936,  The Soviet Union adopts a new constitution and the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic is established as a full Union Republic of the USSR.

In 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.

In 1941,  World War II: Great Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.

In 1943,  World War II: U.S. Army Air Force begins attacking Germany’s secret weapons bases in Operation Crossbow.

In 1945,  Flight 19 is lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

ShoelessJoeJackson.jpgIn 1951,  Joseph Jefferson “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, American baseball player and manager (b. 1887) dies of a heart attack. He nicknamed “Shoeless Joe”, was an American outfielder who played Major League Baseball in the early part of the 20th century. He is remembered for his performance on the field and for his alleged association with the Black Sox Scandal, in which members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox participated in a conspiracy to fix the World Series. As a result of Jackson’s association with the scandal, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Major League Baseball’s first commissioner, banned Jackson from playing after the 1920 season despite exceptional play in the 1919 World Series, leading both teams in a statistical category and setting a series record. Since then, Jackson’s guilt has been fiercely debated with new accounts claiming his innocence beckoning Major League Baseball to reconsider his banishment. As a result of the scandal, Jackson’s career was abruptly halted in his prime, ensuring him a place in baseball lore forever.

Jackson played for three Major League teams during his 12-year career. He spent 19081909 as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics and 1910 with the minor league New Orleans Pelicans before joining the Cleveland Naps at the end of the 1910 season. He remained in Cleveland through the first part of the 1915; he played the remainder of the 1915 season through 1920 with the Chicago White Sox.

Jackson, who played left field for most of his career, currently has the third-highest career batting average in major league history. In 1911, Jackson hit for a .4008 average. It is still the sixth-highest single-season total since 1901, which marked the beginning of the modern era for the sport. His average that year also set the record for batting average in a single season by a rookie. Babe Ruth said that he modeled his hitting technique after Jackson’s.

In 1952,  Great Smog: A cold fog descends upon London, combining with air pollution and killing at least 12,000 in the weeks and months that follow.

In  1955,  The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge and form the AFL–CIO.

In 1955,  E. D. Nixon and Rosa Parks lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In 1957,  Sukarno expels all Dutch people from Indonesia.

In 1958,  Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the United Kingdom by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.

In 1958,  The Preston By-pass, the UK’s first stretch of motorway, opens to traffic for the first time. (It is now part of the M6 and M55 motorways.)

In 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.

In 1969,  The four node ARPANET network is established.

In 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.

In 1978,  The Soviet Union signs a “friendship treaty” with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

In 1983,  Dissolution of the Military Junta in Argentina.

In 1993,  The mayor of Vienna, Helmut Zilk, is injured by a letter bomb.

In 1995,  Sri Lankan Civil War: The Sri Lankan government announces the conquest of the Tamil stronghold of Jaffna.

In 1998,  Albert Gore, Sr., American lawyer and politician (b. 1907) dies three weeks shy of his 91st birthday. He was an American politician, serving as a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party from Tennessee. Gore and his wife Pauline LaFon Gore had two children: daughter Nancy LaFon Gore (born in 1938 and died of lung cancer in 1984) and a son Albert Gore Jr. in 1948. Al Gore, Jr. would follow in his father’s political footsteps in the Democratic Party representing Tennessee as a U.S. Representative and Senator, and later serving as Vice President of the United States.

In 2004,  The Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in the United Kingdom, and the first civil partnership is registered there.

In 2005,  The Lake Tanganyika earthquake causes significant damage, mostly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In 2006,  Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrows the government in Fiji.

In 2007,  Westroads Mall shooting: A gunman opens fire with a semi-automatic rifle at an Omaha, Nebraska, mall, killing eight people before taking his own life.

In 2012,  At least 8 people are killed and 12 others injured after a 5.6 earthquake strikes Iran‘s South Khorasan Province.

In 2013,  Militants attack a Defense Ministry compound in Sana’a, Yemen, killing at least 56 people and injuring 200 others.

In 2014,  The first flight test of NASA‘s Orion spacecraft launches successfully.

In 2016, The Tennessee Republican party elected Scott Golden to the position of Executive Committee Chairman.

In 2017,  The International Olympic Committee bans Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics for doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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