Today in History: Dec. 5

This lithograph shows a boomtown in the South of Californias Mother Lode country, 1856, Columbia, Calif. At that time this probably was the biggest town in California with 25,000 to 45,000 miners and tradesmen and was bidding strongly to be the State capital. Columbia was not far from Sutters Mill in Coloma where James Wilson Marshall, a young wheelwright, discovered the first gold. Gold was first discovered, Jan. 24, 1848. (AP Photo)
In 1848, President James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of ’49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California. (AP Photo) (AP)
FILE- In this April 16, 2017 file photo, the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy's legendary flight performance squadron, fly in formation over Cinderella Castle and the 'Partners' statue at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in Bay Lake, Fla. Florida emergency officials said Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, they had no way of tracking how many residents from the Carolinas had escaped to Florida this week. But some hotels were offering special discounts for evacuees and Florida ports were opening their terminals to cruise ships making unexpected ports of call.(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
In 1901, movie producer Walt Disney was born in Chicago. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File) (AP/Joe Burbank)
albert einstein
In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States. (AP Photo, File) (AP)
The Liederkranz Society Club in Milwaukee has a ceremony before the kegs got tapped to get beer flowing after it became legal again following the end of prohibition, April 6, 1933.  (AP Photo)
In 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment. (AP Photo) (AP)
Newt Gingrich
On Dec. 5, 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File) (AP)
Nelson Mandela
Five years ago: Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black president, died at age 95. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File) (AP/Jerome Delay)
John Conyers
One year ago: Democratic congressman John Conyers of Michigan resigned from Congress after a nearly 53-year career, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job amid the sexual misconduct allegations sweeping through the nation’s workplaces. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) (AP/Alex Brandon)
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This lithograph shows a boomtown in the South of Californias Mother Lode country, 1856, Columbia, Calif. At that time this probably was the biggest town in California with 25,000 to 45,000 miners and tradesmen and was bidding strongly to be the State capital. Columbia was not far from Sutters Mill in Coloma where James Wilson Marshall, a young wheelwright, discovered the first gold. Gold was first discovered, Jan. 24, 1848. (AP Photo)
FILE- In this April 16, 2017 file photo, the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy's legendary flight performance squadron, fly in formation over Cinderella Castle and the 'Partners' statue at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in Bay Lake, Fla. Florida emergency officials said Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, they had no way of tracking how many residents from the Carolinas had escaped to Florida this week. But some hotels were offering special discounts for evacuees and Florida ports were opening their terminals to cruise ships making unexpected ports of call.(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
albert einstein
The Liederkranz Society Club in Milwaukee has a ceremony before the kegs got tapped to get beer flowing after it became legal again following the end of prohibition, April 6, 1933.  (AP Photo)
Newt Gingrich
Nelson Mandela
John Conyers

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2018.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 5, 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.

On this date:

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

In 1782, the eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, New York; he was the first chief executive to be born after American independence.

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

In 1792, George Washington was re-elected president; John Adams was re-elected vice president.

In 1848, President James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of `49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.

In 1901, movie producer Walt Disney was born in Chicago.

In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States.

In 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.

In 1945, five U.S. Navy torpedo bombers mysteriously disappeared after taking off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a training mission with the loss of all 14 crew members; “The Lost Squadron” contributed to the legend of the Bermuda Triangle.

In 1952, the Great Smog of London descended on the British capital; the unusually thick fog, which contained toxic pollutants, lasted five days and was blamed for causing thousands of deaths.

In 1977, Egypt broke diplomatic relations with Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq and South Yemen in the wake of criticism that followed President Anwar Sadat’s peace overtures to Israel.

In 1988, a federal grand jury in North Carolina indicted PTL founder Jim Bakker and former aide Richard Dortch on fraud and conspiracy charges. (Bakker was convicted on all counts; Dortch pleaded guilty to four counts and cooperated with prosecutors in exchange for a lighter sentence. Bakker was initially sentenced to 45 years in prison; the term was eventually reduced to eight years, and he served a total of about five.)

Ten years ago: The Labor Department reported that an alarming half-million jobs had vanished in Nov. 2008 as unemployment hit a 15-year high of 6.7 percent. A judge in Las Vegas sentenced O.J. Simpson to 33 years in prison (with eligibility for parole after nine) for an armed robbery at a hotel room. (Simpson was released to parole on Oct. 1, 2017.) Death claimed actresses Nina Foch at age 84 and Beverly Garland at age 82.

Five years ago: Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black president, died at age 95.

One year ago: Democratic congressman John Conyers of Michigan resigned from Congress after a nearly 53-year career, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job amid the sexual misconduct allegations sweeping through the nation’s workplaces. In a bitterly contested runoff election, Atlanta voters narrowly chose Keisha Lance Bottoms as the city’s next mayor; a result that would be upheld after a recount requested by rival Mary Norwood. The International Olympic Committee barred Russia and its sports leaders from the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea after concluding that members of the Russian government concocted a doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games; some Russians would be able to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

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© 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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