Today in History: Nelson Mandela dies at 95, Gingrich becomes Speaker of the House, and more
Today is Saturday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2015. There are 26 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 5, 1945, five U.S. Navy torpedo bombers mysteriously disappeared after taking off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a training mission (designated as Flight 19) with the loss of all 14 crew members; "The Lost Squadron," as it came to be known, later contributed to the legend of the Bermuda Triangle.
On this date:
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 1831, former President John Quincy Adams took his seat as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1848, President James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of '49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.
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 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO under its first president, George Meany.
In 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union announced a bilateral space agreement on exchanging weather data from satellites, mapping Earth's geomagnetic field and cooperating in the experimental relay of communications.
In 1979, feminist Sonia Johnson was formally excommunicated by the Mormon Church because of her outspoken support for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
In 1984, the action comedy "Beverly Hills Cop," starring Eddie Murphy, was released by Paramount Pictures.
In 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.
In 2013, Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa's first black president and was a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation, died at age 95.
For more on Nelson Mandela, scroll through the gallery below:
Ten years ago: The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed in Baghdad with gruesome testimony from witnesses who offered accounts of killings and torture. French engineer Bernard Planche was kidnapped in Baghdad (he was later freed). Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied the United States was engaged in torture or lesser forms of cruel treatment against terror suspects. ABC News named Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff co-anchors of "World News Tonight," replacing the late Peter Jennings. Edward L. Masry, the personal-injury lawyer portrayed by Albert Finney in the Oscar-winning movie "Erin Brockovich," died in Thousand Oaks, California, at age 73.
Five years ago: On the eve of talks with six world powers, Iran announced that it had produced its first batch of locally mined uranium ore for enrichment. The Kennedy Center Honors paid tribute to Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Merle Haggard, Broadway composer Jerry Herman and dancer Bill T. Jones. Serbia celebrated its first Davis Cup title, becoming only the second unseeded nation to win the trophy when Viktor Troicki beat Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to complete a 3-2 comeback win over France. Football player-turned-sportscaster Don Meredith, 72, died in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
One year ago: President Barack Obama announced his choice of Ashton Carter to be the new U.S. secretary of defense. NASA's newest space vehicle, Orion, accomplished its first test flight, shooting out more than 3,600 miles from Earth for a hyperfast, hot return. Rolling Stone magazine issued an apology casting doubt on its story of a young woman who said she'd been gang-raped at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia, saying it had since learned of "discrepancies" in her account.
For more on Ashton Carter, scroll through the gallery below:
Today's Birthdays: Singer Little Richard is 83. Author Joan Didion is 81. Author Calvin Trillin is 80. Actor Jeroen Krabbe (yeh-ROHN' krah-BAY') is 71. Opera singer Jose Carreras is 69. Pop singer Jim Messina is 68. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim Plunkett is 68. World Golf Hall of Famer Lanny Wadkins is 66. Actress Morgan Brittany is 64. Actor Brian Backer is 59. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Art Monk is 58. Country singer Ty England is 52. Rock singer-musician John Rzeznik (REZ'-nihk) (The Goo Goo Dolls) is 50. Country singer Gary Allan is 48. Comedian-actress Margaret Cho is 47. Writer-director Morgan J. Freeman is 46. Actress Alex Kapp Horner is 46. Rock musician Regina Zernay (Cowboy Mouth) is 43. Actress Paula Patton is 40. Actress Amy Acker is 39. Actor Nick Stahl is 36. Rhythm-and-blues singer Keri Hilson is 33. Actor Gabriel Luna is 33. Actor Frankie Muniz is 30. Actor Ross Bagley is 27.
Thought for Today: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." — Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788-1860).
More from AOL.com:
Duggar Family reportedly in turmoil over Jill and Jessa's TLC special: It's 'turning into a circus'
British bombers hit oil field targets in Syria for second time
32 Azeri workers die in fire on Caspian Sea oil platform