Today in History
December 4

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. Breckinridge 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 a lack of serviceable aircraft.
1942   Carlson’s patrol, also known as The Long Patrol, during the Guadalcanal Campaign ends.  [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
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 him.
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 an Academy Award for Best Actor as Otis “Bad” Blake in Crazy Heart (2009).

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