This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1901, Fred Welty and Ernest Johns of Mary's Igloo reached Nome after being caught without provisions in a three-day blizzard. They reported that horses had eaten their tent.

• In 1939, a diphtheria epidemic closed Juneau schools and children were not allowed to leave their homes or yards.

• In 1959, the Legislative Council recommended an annual salary of $3,000 for Alaska lawmakers, plus $40 per day for expenses during session.

• In 1979, a fire swept through a Fairbanks mobile home after owner tried to thaw the pipes with a weed burner. The U.S. Department of Commerce decided to return management of seven marine mammals to the state of Alaska.

In the nation

• In 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

• In 1793, Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard, using a hot-air balloon, flew between Philadelphia and Woodbury, N.J.

• In 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union.

• In 1861, the Star of the West, a merchant vessel bringing reinforcements to Federal troops at Fort Sumter, S.C., retreated after being fired on by a battery in the harbor.

• In 1972, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, speaking by telephone from the Bahamas to reporters in Hollywood, said a purported biography of him by Clifford Irving was a fake.

• In 1987, the White House released a memorandum prepared for President Reagan in January 1986 that showed a definite link between U.S. arms sales to Iran and the release of American hostages in Lebanon.

• In 1997, a Comair commuter plane crashed 18 miles short of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, killing all 29 people on board.

• In 2002, the Bush administration and the auto industry agreed to promote development of pollution-free cars and trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

• In 2006, confirmation hearings opened in Washington for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. "The Phantom of the Opera" leapt past "Cats" to become the longest-running show in Broadway history.

In the world

• In 1945, during World War II, American forces began landing at Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines.

• In 1957, Anthony Eden resigned as British prime minister; he was succeeded by Harold Macmillan.

• In 1964, anti-U.S. rioting broke out in the Panama Canal Zone, resulting in the deaths of 21 Panamanians and three U.S. soldiers.

• In 1968, the Surveyor 7 space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of the American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.

• In 2002, a U.S. military tanker plane crashed in western Pakistan, killing all seven Marines on board. Two Islamic militants stormed an Israeli army post near the Gaza Strip, killing four soldiers before being shot dead in a gun battle.

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