Today in History: 12-05-14


Today is Friday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2014. There are 26 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black
president and was a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation, died at age 95.
On this date:
In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of
William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
In 1782, the eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, New York;
he was the first chief executive to be born after American independence.
In 1791, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria, at age 35.
In 1831, former President John Quincy Adams took his seat as a member of the U.S. House of
In 1848, President James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of ’49 by confirming that gold had been
discovered in California.
In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the
United States.
In 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment
to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.
In 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the
AFL-CIO under its first president, George Meany.
In 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union announced a bilateral space agreement on exchanging
weather data from satellites, mapping Earth’s geomagnetic field and cooperating in the experimental
relay of communications.
In 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.
Ten years ago: Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying unarmed Iraqis to work at a U.S. ammo dump near Tikrit,
killing 17. Egypt freed an Israeli Arab man convicted of spying in exchange for Israel’s release of six
Egyptian students who were suspected of trying to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
Five years ago: A jury in Perugia, Italy convicted American student Amanda Knox and her former Italian
boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, of murdering Knox’s British roommate, Meredith Kercher, and sentenced
them to long prison terms. (Knox has been in the United States since 2011 after an appeals court
overturned her conviction, which was later reinstated; Sollecito continues to appeal his conviction;
both maintain their innocence.) A nightclub blaze in Perm, Russia, killed more than 150 people. Spain
won the Davis Cup

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