771: With the death of his brother Carloman, Charlemagne becomes sole ruler of the Frankish Empire.
1861: The U.S. Senate, voting 36 to 0, expels Sen. John C. Brekinridge of Kentucky because of his joining the Confederate Army.
1861: Queen Victoria of Britain forbids the export of gunpowder, firearms and all materials for their production.
1862: Winchester, Virginia, falls into Union hands, resulting in the capture of 145 Southern soldiers.
1863: Seven solid days of bombardment ends at Charleston, South Carolina. The Union fires some 1,307 rounds.
1872: The U.S. brigantine Marie Celeste is found adrift and deserted with its cargo intact, in the Atlantic Ocean between the Azores and Portugal.
1900: The French National Assembly, successor to the States-General, rejects Nationalist Gen. Auguste Mercier’s proposal to plan an invasion of England.
1914: The first seaplane unit formed by the German navy officially comes into existence and begins operations from Zeebrugge, Belgium.
1918: France cancels trade treaties in order to compete in the postwar economic battles.
1941: Operation Taifun (Typhoon), which was launched by the German armies on Oct. 2, 1941, as a prelude to taking Moscow, is halted because of freezing temperatures and lack of serviceable aircraft.
1942: U.S. planes make the first raids on Naples, Italy.
1947: Tennessee William’s play “A Streetcar Named Desire” premieres on Broadway starring Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy.
1950: The University of Tennessee defies court rulings by rejecting five Negro applicants.
1952: The Grumman XS2F-1 makes its first flight.
1959: Peking pardons Pu Yi, ex-emperor of China and of the Japanese puppet-state of Manchukuo.
1981: President Ronald Reagan broadens the power of the CIA by allowing spying in the United States.
1985: Robert McFarland resigns as national security advisor. Adm. John Poindexter is named to succeed him.
1991: The last American hostages held in Lebanon are released.
1992: U.S. President George H. W. Bush orders 28,000 troops to Somalia during the Somali Civil War.
Born on December 4
1584: John Cotton, English-born Puritan clergyman (“The Way of the Church of Christ in New England”).
1795: Thomas Carlyle, Scottish historian and essayist (“The French Revolution,” “Sartor Resartus”).
1835: Samuel Butler, English writer and painter (“Erewhon,” “The Way of All Flesh”).
1861: Lillian Russell, singer and actress.
1865: Edith Cavell, English nurse who tended to friend and foe alike during World War I.
1866: Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born painter.
1875: Rainer Maria Rilke, German poet.
1892: Francisco Franco, Spanish general and dictator who came to power as a result of the Spanish Civil War.
1924: Frank Press, geophysicist.
1937: Max Baer Jr., actor, screenwriter, director, producer; best know for his role as Jethro on “The Beverly Hillbillies” TV series.
1940: Gary Gilmore, American murderer who demanded his death sentence be carried out; he was the first prisoner executed in the U.S. following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the death penalty in Gregg v. Georgia.
1944: Chris Hillman, singer, songwriter, musician; performed with the bands The Byrds, The Hillmen, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Manassas.
1945: A. Scott Berg, Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer (“Lindberg,” 1998).
1949: Jeff Bridges, actor, producer; won Academy Award for Best Actor as Otis “Bad” Blake in “Crazy Heart” (2009).