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This Day In History: Dec. 5

This Day in History

1492: Christopher Columbus, on his first voyage to the New World, lands on the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
1775: The first Phi Beta Kappa chapter is founded, at the College of William and Mary.
1933: Prohibition ends with the ratification of the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th Amendment.
1955: The AFL-CIO is created by the merger of the nation's 2 largest labor organizations, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
1978: The U.S. spacecraft Pioneer Venus 1 reaches Venus and begins mapping its surface.
1988: Evangelist Jim Bakker and a top aide are indicted for defrauding contributors to his PTL ministry.
1994: The START I Treaty, reducing the number of nuclear warheads held by the U.S. and the USSR by about 25 percent, comes into force.
1996: Pres. Bill Clinton announces his choice of Madeleine Albright as secretary of state, making her the highest-ranking woman government official in U.S. history.
2003: A Chechen suicide bomber kills 45 and injures more than 150 on a commuter train in Yessentuki, Russia.

Today's Birthdays

1782: Martin Van Buren, 8th president of the United States (Kinderhook, NY; died 1862)
1830: Christina Rossetti, poet (Britain; died 1894)
1839: George Armstrong Custer, cavalry officer (New Rumley, OH; died 1876)
1867: Józef Klemens Pilsudski, Polish revolutionary, independence fighter, and dictator (Zulow—near present-day Vilnius, Lithuania; died 1935)
1890: Fritz Lang, pioneering film director whose works included M and Metropolis (Vienna, Austria-Hungary; died 1976)
1901: Walt Disney, animator/filmmaker and builder of an entertainment empire (Chicago, IL; died 1966). Werner Heisenberg, German physicist and Nobel laureate (Würzburg, Germany; died 1976)
1902: Strom Thurmond, SC senator (Edgefield, SC; died 2003)
1906: Otto Preminger, director (Austria; died 1986)
1925: General Anastasio Somoza Debayle, Nicaraguan president (Leon, Nicaragua; died 1980)
1932: Little Richard (Penniman), singer/songwriter (Macon, GA)
1934: Joan Didion, writer (Sacramento, CA)
1935: Calvin Trillin, writer (Kansas City, MO)
1936: Ismail Merchant, Indian-born film producer (Bombay—now Mumbai, India; died 2005)
1946: José Carreras, opera singer (Barcelona, Spain)
1947: Jim Messina, singer/songwriter (Maywood, CA)
1952: Michael Dorn, actor (Luling, TX)
1968: Margaret Cho, comedian (San Francisco, CA)
1985: Frankie Muniz, actor (Ridgewood, NJ)

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