Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 5 December
National day of Thailand.
1766: James Christie, founder of the auctioneers, 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1933: Prohibition in America was repealed after 12 years by the 21st amendment.
1934: Soviet Union executed 66 people charged with plotting against Stalin government.
1936: Soviet Union adopted new constitution under a Supreme Council.
1941: Britain declared war on Hungary, Romania and Finland after their refusal to withdraw from the war against the Soviet Union.
1945: Five United States Navy bombers took off from Fort Lauderdale on a training flight. No trace of them, or of an aircraft sent to look for them, or their 27 crew members, was ever 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 (STD).
1958: Britain’s first stretch of motorway, the eight-mile Preston bypass section of the M6, was opened.
1962: United States 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: United Kingdom withdrew from membership of Unesco.
1990: Ministry of Defence agreed to publish secret submarine routes to protect Clyde fishermen.
1993: The mayor of Vienna, Helmut Zilk, was wounded by a letter bomb.
1994: A 1904 Steiff teddy bear fetched a world record price of £110,000 at Christie’s in London.
1995: The Sri Lankan government announced the conquest of Tamil stronghold of Jaffna.
2005: The Civil Partnerships Acts, allowing same-sex weddings in Britain, came into force.
2005: The Lake Tanganyika earthquake caused significant damage, mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
2006: Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrew the government in Fiji.
2007: A gunman opened fired with a semi-automatic rifle at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, killing eight people before taking his own life.
2010: The Harlem Globetrotters played their famous “Four Point Game” against the Generals.
2013: Conservative Chancellor George Osborne announced that the tax disc to show motorists have paid vehicle excise duty was to be replaced with an electronic system.
Hanif Kureishi CBE, writer, 60; Amy Acker, actress, 38; José Carreras, operatic tenor, 68; Christopher Guard, actor, 61; John Home Robertson, MP 1983-2001, 66; Frankie Muniz, actor, 29; Ronnie O’Sullivan, snooker player, 39; Little Richard, rock’n’roll singer/pianist, 82; Keith Robertson, Scottish rugby player and coach, 60; Adam Thorpe, playwright and novelist, 58; Lanny Wadkins, golfer, 65; Paula Patton, actress, 39; Ross Barkley, footballer, 21; Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, skier, 51; Ian McGregor, Scottish media relations consultant, writer and broadcaster, 58; James Lee Burke, author, 78; Adrian Street, wrestler, 74.
Births: 1782 Martin van Buren, eighth United States president; 1830 Christina Rossetti, poet; 1839 George Custer, American cavalry commander; 1859 Admiral Jellicoe, naval commander; 1879 Clyde Cessna, American aircraft manufacturer; 1890 Fritz Lang, film director; 1901 Walt Disney, cartoonist, film producer; 1902 Emeric Pressburger, film producer; 1905 Otto Preminger, film director; 1924 George Savalas, Greek-American actor; 1938 JJ Cale, musician.
Deaths: 1560 Francis II, king of France; 1770 James Stirling, Scottish mathematician; 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer; 1899 Sir Henry Tate, philanthropist, founder of the Tate Gallery in London; 1926 Claude Monet, French painter, one of founders of Impressionist movement; 1973 Sir Robert Watson Watt, physicist, Brechin-born inventor of radar; 2013 Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa 1994-99.