This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, January 07, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1905, the Alaska Road Commission was created by an Act of Congress.

• In 1959, Ernest Gruening and E. L. (Bob) Bartlett were sworn in as U. S. senators and Ralph Rivers sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives.

• In 1959, 90 mph winds froze two Antarctic penguins in Anchorage's Arctic Health Research Center. Earlier plans to mate these penguins were abandoned, as it was discovered both were females.

• In 1976, the new Alaska Court and Office Building was dedicated in Juneau.

• In 1979, a Lockheed airliner crashed and burned on landing at a remote North Slope airstrip. All 15 passengers survived with no serious injuries.

In the Nation

• In 1789, the first U.S. presidential election was held. Americans voted for electors who, a month later, chose George Washington to be the nation's first president.

• In 1800, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, was born in Summerhill, N.Y.

• In 1927, commercial transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.

• In 1953, President Truman announced in his State of the Union address that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.

• In 1955, black singer Marian Anderson made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera."

• In 1959, the United States recognized Fidel Castro's new government in Cuba.

• In 1972, Lewis F. Powell Jr. and William H. Rehnquist were sworn in as the 99th and 100th members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

• In 1998, convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty when a jury deadlocked over his punishment.

In the World

• In 1610, the astronomer Galileo Galilei sighted four of Jupiter's moons.

• In 1942, the World War II siege of Bataan began.

• In 1979, Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.

• In 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan died in Tokyo at age 87; he was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.

• In 1993, U.S. forces in Somalia unleashed tank, helicopter and rocket fire on two clan camps in Mogadishu where snipers had been taking potshots at the troops. A preliminary report prepared for the European Community said about 20,000 women in Bosnia-Herzegovina might have been raped by Serb fighters.

• In 1998, the government of Canada apologized for past acts of oppression against the country's Native peoples.

• In 2002, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and nine U.S. senators swept into Bargam Air Base in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit and promised Afghan leaders their full support in rebuilding the shattered country. Yves Saint Laurent announced his retirement and closure of the fashion house he'd started 40 years earlier.

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