December 5

1484: Pope Innocent VIII issues a bill deploring the spread of witchcraft and heresy in Germany.

1776: Phi Beta Kappa is organized as the first American college Greek letter-fraternity, at William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Viginia.

1791: Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies in Vienna.

1861: In the U.S. Congress, petitions and bills calling for the abolition of slavery are introduced.

1862: Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s cavalry suffers a setback in an engagement on the Mississippi Central Railroad at Coffeeville, Mississippi.

1864: Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood sends Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry and a division of infantry toward Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

1904: The Japanese destroy a Russian fleet at Port Arthur in Korea.

1909: George Taylor makes the first manned glider flight in Australia in a glider that he designed himself.

1912: Italy, Austria and Germany renew the Triple Alliance for six years.

1916: David Lloyd George replaces Herbert Asquith as the British prime minister.

1921: The British empire reaches an accord with the Irish revolutionary group Sinn Fein; Ireland is to become a free state.

1933: The 21st Amendment ends Prohibition in the United States, which had begun 13 years earlier.

1934: Italian and Ethiopian troops clash at the Ualual on the disputed Somali-Ethiopian border.

1936: The New Constitution in the Soviet Union promises universal suffrage, but the Communist Party remains the only legal political party.

1937: The Lindberghs arrive in New York on a holiday visit after a two-year voluntary exile.

1945: Four TBM Avenger bombers disappear approximately 100 miles off the coast of Florida.

1950: Pyongyang in Korea falls to the invading Chinese army.

1953: Italy and Yugoslavia agree to pull troops out of the disputed Trieste border region.

1955: A bus boycott begins under the leadership of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama.

1966: Comedian and political activist Dick Gregory heads for Hanoi, North Vietnam, despite federal warnings against it.

1978: The Soviet Union signs a 20-year friendship pact with Afghanistan.

1983: A military junta dissolves in Argentina.

2006: Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrows the government in Fiji.

2007: A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle kills eight people at Westroads Mall, Omaha, Nebraska, before taking his own life.

Born on December 5

1782: Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States –– and the first born in the United States.

1839: George Armstrong Custer, Union cavalry leader who met his fate at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

1890: Fritz Lang, film director (“Metropolis,” “M”).

1901: Walt Disney, animator and creator of an entertainment empire.

1931: James Cleveland, considered the “King of Gospel.”

1932: Richard Wayne Penniman [Little Richard], singer, musician; important influence on rock ’n’ roll.

1934: Joan Didion, essayist and novelist (“Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” “Play it as it Lays”).

1935: Calvin Trillin, journalist and writer.

1947: Jim Plunkett, pro football quarterback.

1963: Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, first to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping.

1969: Morgan J. Freeman, film director; his “Hurricane Streets” (1997) was the first narrative film to win three awards at the Sundance Film Festival; produced MTV reality shows (“16 and Pregnant,” “Teen Mom”).

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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