This Day in History

Posted: Friday, January 02, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1917, a fire wiped out much of the business district in Valdez.

• In 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower approved the new 49-star American flag design, with the 49th star for Alaska.

• In 1966, St. Michael's Greek-Russian Orthodox Church was destroyed by a fire that wiped out much of Sitka's business district.

• In 1969, an early morning fire destroyed the broadcast facilities and the record library of KIFW-AM in Sitka.

In the nation

• In 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

• In 1900, Secretary of State John Hay announced the "Open Door Policy" to facilitate trade with China.

• In 1929, the United States and Canada reached agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls.

• In 1935, Bruno Hauptmann went on trial in Flemington, N.J., on charges of kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was found guilty, and executed.)

• In 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

• In 1965, the New York Jets signed University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath for a reported $400,000.

• In 1974, President Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph (however, federal speed limits were abolished in 1995).

• In 1983, the musical play "Annie," based on the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip, closed on Broadway after a run of 2,377 performances.

In the world

• In 1492, the leader of the last Arab stronghold in Spain surrendered to Spanish forces loyal to King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I.

• In 1942, the Philippine capital of Manila was captured by Japanese forces during World War II.

• In 1999, a U.N.-chartered cargo plane carrying nine people was downed in Angola's central highland war zone; there were no survivors.

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