On this day: Prohibition in America repealed

Workmen unload crates of beer at a New York brewery shortly after the repeal of prohibition, which ran from 1920 to 1933. Picture: Getty
Workmen unload crates of beer at a New York brewery shortly after the repeal of prohibition, which ran from 1920 to 1933. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 5 December


National day of Thailand.

1766: James Christie, founder of the auctioneer, held his first sale in London.

1872: The American brig Mary Celeste (often called the Marie Celeste after a misspelling by a shipping clerk) was found abandoned, drifting in the Atlantic with a cargo of alcohol.

1913: Britain forbade sending arms to Ireland.

1922: Irish Free State came into existence as the Irish Constitution Bill became law.

1933: Prohibition in America was repealed after 12 years by the 21st amendment.

1941: Britain declared war on Hungary, Romania and Finland after their refusal to withdraw from the war against the Soviet Union.

1945: Five US Navy bombers took off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a training flight. No trace of them, or of an aircraft sent to look for them, or their 27 crew members, was found. The area where they were lost became known as the Bermuda Triangle.

1956: Miss Rose Heilbron, QC, was appointed Recorder of Burnley to become Britain’s first woman judge.

1956: British and French forces began withdrawal from Egypt in Suez War.

1958: The Queen dialled Edinburgh’s lord provost from Bristol to inaugurate the first direct dialled trunk call.

1958: Britain’s first stretch of motorway, the eight-mile Preston bypass section of the M6, was opened.

1962: US and Soviet Union agreed to co-operate in peaceful uses of outer space.

1977: Egypt broke diplomatic relations with five Arab nations which were hostile to president Anwar Sadat’s peace overtures to Israel.

1985: US withdrew from membership of Unesco.

1990: Ministry of Defence agreed to publish secret submarine routes to protect Clyde fishermen.

1994: A 1904 Steiff teddy bear fetched a world record price of £110,000 at Christie’s in London.

2005: The Civil Partnerships Acts, allowing same-sex weddings in Britain, came into force.

2007: A gunman killed eight people at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, before taking his own life.


Ronnie O’Sullivan, snooker player, 38; Amy Acker, actress, 37; Morgan Brittany, actress, 62; José Carreras, operatic tenor, 67; Christopher Guard, actor, 60; John Home Robertson, MP 1983-2001, 65; Hanif Kureishi CBE, writer, 59; Frankie Muniz, actor, 28; Little Richard, rock’n’roll singer/pianist, 81; Keith Robertson, Scottish rugby player and coach, 59; Adam Thorpe, poet, playwright and novelist, 57; Lanny Wadkins, golfer, 64.


Births: 1830 Christina Rossetti, poet; 1839 George Custer, American cavalry commander; 1879 Clyde Cessna, American aircraft manufacturer; 1890 Fritz Lang, film director; 1901 Walt Disney, cartoonist, film producer; 1902 Emeric Pressburger, film producer; 1906 Otto Preminger, film director; 1941 Sheridan Morley, author, broadcaster, playwright and critic.

Deaths: 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer; 1899 Sir Henry Tate, philanthropist, founder of the Tate Gallery in London; 1926 Claude Monet, painter, one of founders of Impressionist movement; 1973 Sir Robert Watson Watt, physicist, Brechin-born inventor of radar; 2007 Karlheinz Stockhausen, composer and conductor; 2012 Dave Brubeck, pianist and composer.