Today in history

By The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Dec. 4, the 339th day of 2016. There are 27 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 4, 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.

On this date:

In 1619, a group of settlers from Bristol, England, arrived at Berkeley Hundred in present-day Charles City County, Virginia, where they held a service thanking God for their safe arrival.

In 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his Continental Army officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

In 1816, Gioachino Rossini’s opera “Otello,” an adaptation of the Shakespeare play which preceded Giuseppe Verdi’s “Otello” by 71 years, premiered in Naples, Italy.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson left Washington on a trip to France to attend the Versailles (vehr-SY’) Peace Conference.

In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations by a vote of 65-7.

In 1956, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins gathered for the first and only time for a jam session at Sun Records in Memphis.

In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard on a two-week mission. (While Gemini 7 was in orbit, its sister ship, Gemini 6A, was launched on Dec. 15 on a one-day mission; the two spacecraft were able to rendezvous within a foot of each other.)

In 1977, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, ruler of the Central African Empire, crowned himself emperor in a lavish ceremony. (Bokassa was deposed in 1979; he died in 1996 at age 75.)

In 1984, a five-day hijack drama began as four armed men seized a Kuwaiti airliner en route to Pakistan and forced it to land in Tehran, where the hijackers killed American passenger Charles Hegna. (A second American, William Stanford, also was killed during the siege.)

In 1986, both houses of Congress moved to establish special committees to conduct their own investigations of the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1991, Associated Press correspondent Terry Anderson, the longest held of the Western hostages in Lebanon, was released after nearly seven years in captivity. The original Pan American World Airways ceased operations.

In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began speeding toward the red planet on a 310 million-mile odyssey. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)

Ten years ago: Lacking the Senate votes to keep his job, embattled U.N. Ambassador John Bolton offered his resignation to President George W. Bush, who accepted it. Justin Barker, a white student at Jena (JEE’-nuh) High School in Louisiana, was beaten allegedly by six black classmates, five of whom were charged with attempted murder, a decision that sparked civil rights protests. (The charges were later reduced, with one student pleading guilty to battery and the others accepting plea deals resulting in probation.) Truck driver Tyrone Williams was convicted at his retrial in Houston of the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants crammed into a sweltering tractor-trailer. (Williams initially received multiple life sentences, but was later resentenced to nearly 34 years in prison.) NASA announced plans to build an international base camp on the moon.

Five years ago: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s party hung onto its majority in Russia’s parliamentary election, but faced accusations from opponents of rigging the vote. Rafael Nadal recovered from a terrible start and beat Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (0) to give Spain its fifth Davis Cup title. After going more than two years and 26 tournaments without a victory, Tiger Woods won the Chevron World Challenge. Former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn, 58, died in Orinda, California.

One year ago: Germany stepped up its contribution to the fight against the Islamic State group, with lawmakers voting in favor of sending reconnaissance jets, a tanker plane and a frigate to provide broad noncombat support to the U.S.-led coalition. President Barack Obama signed legislation reviving the federal Export-Import Bank five months after Congress allowed it to expire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that an outbreak of E. coli linked to Chipotle had expanded to nine states, with a total of 52 reported illnesses. Actor Robert Loggia, 85, died in Los Angeles.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Wink Martindale is 83. Pop singer Freddy Cannon is 80. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 79. Actress Gemma Jones is 74. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 74. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 72. Musician Terry Woods (The Pogues) is 69. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 68. Actor Jeff Bridges is 67. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington Collins Band) is 65. Actress Patricia Wettig is 65. Actor Tony Todd is 62. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 61. Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 61. Rock musician Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 57. Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 54. Actress Marisa Tomei is 52. Actress Chelsea Noble is 52. Actor-comedian Fred Armisen is 50. Rapper Jay-Z is 47. Actor Kevin Sussman is 46. Actress-model Tyra Banks is 43. Country singer Lila McCann is 35. Actress Lindsay Felton is 32. Actor Orlando Brown is 29.

Thought for Today: “Many are called but few get up.” — Oliver Herford, American author (1863-1935).

By The Associated Press