Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Today in History....December 5

* 771, Charlemagne becomes the sole King of the Franks after the death of his brother Carloman

* 1360, creation of the French franc

* 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

* 1766, in London, James Christie holds his first sale

* 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

* 1791, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria, at age
35

* 1848, in a message before the U.S. Congress, US President James K.
Polk confirms that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California and triggering the Gold Rush of '49

* 1893, first appearance of an electric car

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

* 1941, during World War II: In Battle of Moscow Zhukov launched a massive Soviet counter-attack against the German army, with the biggest offensive launched against Army Group Center. ALSO: Great Britain declares war to Finland, Hungary and Romania

* 1943, during World War II: U.S. Air force begins Operation Crossbow attacking Germany's secret weapons bases

* 1945, Flight 19 is lost in the Bermuda Triangle

* 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge and form the AFL-CIO

* 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

* 1977, Egypt breaks diplomatic relations with Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq and South Yemen. The move is in retaliation to the Declaration of Tripoli against Egypt

* 1978, the Soviet Union signs a 'friendship treaty' with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan

* 2002, Strom Thurmond, the oldest and longest-serving senator in history, celebrated his 100th birthday on Capitol Hill. (It was at this gathering that Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, in toasting Thurmond, seemed to express nostalgia for Thurmond's segregationist past; the resulting firestorm prompted Lott to resign his leadership
position.)

* 2003, suicide bombers, practitioners of that "religion of peace", kill at least 46 people in an attack on a train in southern Russia

* 2006, New York became the first city in the nation to ban artery-clogging trans fats at restaurants.

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