It happened today – this day in history – December 5

771: Charlemagne becomes the sole King of the Franks after the death of his brother Carloman.

1456: An earthquake strikes Naples, killing 35,000.

1492: Christopher Columbus discovers Hispaniola (Haiti).

1496: Jews are expelled from Portugal by order of King Manuel I.

1717: English pirate Blackbeard ransacks the merchant sloop “Margaret” and keeps her captain, Henry Bostock prisoner for eight hours. Bostock later provides the first description of Blackbeard’s appearance.

1791: Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies aged 35.

1792: George Washington is re-elected as president of the USA.

1804: Thomas Jefferson is re-elected as president of the USA.

1830: Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonique Fantastique” premieres in Paris. On the same day, poet Christina Rossetti is born in London.

1832: Andrew Jackson is re-elected as president of the USA.

1837: Hector Berlioz’s “Requiem” premieres.

1848: President James K. Polk triggers the Gold Rush of 1849 by confirming the discovery of gold in California.

1870: French author Alexandre Dumas dies aged 68.

1872: The Mary Celeste is discovered mysteriously abandoned by her crew in the Atlantic Ocean.

1890: The entire version of Hector Berlioz’s epic opera “Les Troyens” premieres in Karlsruhe, 21 years after the composer’s death.

1901: Walt Disney is born in Chicago.

1914: The Italian parliament proclaims the country’s neutrality.

1917: Austro-German Forces launch an offensive against the Italians on the western end of their line, around Asiago.

1925: Hans Luther is forced to resign as chancellor and head of the German Weimar government.

1926: French impressionist painter Claude Monet dies from lung cancer aged 86.

1932: Albert Einstein is granted a visa to enter America.

1933: Prohibition ends in the US when the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment.

1936: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan become constituent republics of the Soviet Union.

1941: A Soviet anti-offensive in Moscow drives out the Nazi army.

1945: Flight 19 the “Lost Squadron” of five torpedo bombers and 14 airmen is lost east of Florida in the Bermuda Triangle.

1947: Joe Louis beats Jersey Joe Walcott Walcott in 15 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.

1949: Ezzard Charles beats Jersey Joe Walcott Walcott for the heavyweight boxing title’

1950: Chinese forces fighting for their Korean comrades enter the North Korean capital of Pyongyang and push UN troops back. On the same day, Ezzard Charles KOs Nick Barone in Round 11 for the heavyweight boxing title.

1955: The Montgomery Improvement Association formed by Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Edgar Nixon to support the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama.


1957: New York becomes the first US city to legislate against racial or religious discrimination in housing market. On the same day, President Sukarno of Indonesia expels all Dutch people.

1958: Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by the Queen when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh. On the same day, 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.

1960: Ghana drops diplomatic relations with Belgium.

1965: The Beatles play in their home town for the last time when they appear at The Liverpool Empire.

1974: The final episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus airs on BBC TV.

1977: President Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt breaks all relations with Arab hardliners Syria, Libya, Algeria and South Yemen.

1979: Ireland premier Jack Lynch resigns.

1982: Singles chart:

  1. Beat Surrender – The Jam
  2. Mirror Man – The Human League
  3. Save Your Love – Renee and Renata
  4. Young Gun (Go For It) – Wham!
  5. Time (Clock Of The Heart) – Culture Club
  6. Truly – Lionel Richie
  7. Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange
  8. I Don’t Wanna Dance – Eddy Grant
  9. Rio – Duran Duran
  10. Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) – A Flock Of Seagulls
1982: Led Zeppelin – Coda

Album chart:

  1. The John Lennon Collection – John Lennon
  2. The Singles: The First Ten Years – ABBA
  3. Rio – Duran Duran
  4. Kid From Fame – The Kids From Fame
  5. Pearls II – Elkie Brooks
  6. Coda – Led Zeppelin
  7. 20 Greatest Love Song – Nat King Cole
  8. Heartbreaker – Dionne Warwick
  9. From The Makers Of.. – Status Quo
  10. Love Songs – Diana Ross

1987: Fat Larry James, drummer, singer and leader of Fat Larry’s Band dies of a heart attack aged 38.

1988: A Federal Grand Jury indicts televangelist Jim Bakker for fraud after he paid hush money to cover up an alleged rape.

1989: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher defeats Sir Anthony Meyer in the first challenge to her leadership of the Conservative Party. On the same day, the French TGV train reaches a world record speed of 482.4kph.

1991: Administrators are called in to try to salvage the Maxwell business empire, which is at least £1bn in debt.

1993: Astronauts begin to repair the Hubble telescope in space. On the same day, guitarist and songwriter Doug Hopkins of the Gin Blossoms dies aged 32 of self-inflicted gunshot wounds a day after sneaking out of rehab in Phoenix, Arizona.

1995: Sri Lankan troops drive Tamil Tiger guerrillas out of their heartland capital of Jaffna. Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) reveal that in the weeks before his death, Robert Maxwell had removed £350m from its pension fund without authority.

2003: Coldplay singer Chris Martin marries actress Gwyneth Paltrow in California.

2005: The Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in the UK.

2006: Lyrics handwritten by Sir Paul McCartney to an early version of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer sell for $192,000 (£97,000) at an auction in New York. On the same day, Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrows the government in Fiji. Also, Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy little black dress from the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is auctioned for charity for a record £467,200 at Christie’s in London.

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

2008: Human remains previously found in 1991 are finally identified by Russian and American scientists as those of Tsar Nicholas II. On the same day, O J Simpson is sentenced to 33 years in prison for kidnapping and armed robbery.

2012: Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck dies aged 91.

2013: Nelson Mandela dies aged 95.

2016: Malta becomes the first country in Europe to outlaw conversion therapy.

2017: Russia is banned from the next Winter Olympics in South Korea over state-sponsored doping.

2018: A letter by Albert Einstein from 1954 on the concept of religion sells for $2.9 million at Christie’s in New York.

2019: National strike in France as more than 800,000 people in 100 cities protest against proposed pension reform.

2020: Golfer/commentator Peter Alliss dies aged 89.

2021: Two hippos tests positive for COVID-19 at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium. On the same day, musician/singer and songwriter John Miles dies aged 72.

BIRTHDAYS: Jeroen Krabbé, actor, 78; José (Josep Maria) Carreras, tenor, 76; Kim Simmonds, guitarist (Savoy Brown), 75; Morgan Brittany (Suzanne Cupito) actress, 71; Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, ski jumper, 59; Margaret Cho, comedian, 54; Sajid Javid, politician, 53; Ronnie O’Sullivan, snooker champion, 47; Paula Patton, actress, 47; Frankie Muniz, actor, 37; Anthony Martial, footballer, 27.