A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.
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 Senator 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, Va., falls into Union hands, resulting in the capture of 145 Southern soldiers.
1863 Seven solid days of bombardment ends at Charleston, S.C. 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 General 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 October 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. Admiral John Poindexter is named to succeed.
1991 The last American hostages held in Lebanon are released.
1992 US Pres. 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 US following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the death penalty in Gregg v. Georgia.
1944 Chris Hillman, singer, songwrier, 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).>