This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2008

In Alaska

• In 1898, the Juneau Courthouse and Jail, on the site of the present State Office Building, burned to the ground.

• In 1900, the steamer Walcott, a former Revenue cutter, was wrecked in Shelikof Strait (north of Kodiak).

• In 1959, Japan Air Lines made its test Tokyo-Seattle run, stopping over - for refueling only - in Anchorage.

• In 1969, a Fairbanks group formed by oil and gas lease brokers claimed their clients were unfairly deprived of a chance to get rich quick when Natural Resources Commissioner Thomas Kelly classified 3 million acres of North Slope land for competitive lease sale.

• In 1979, cleanup efforts began on a 25,000-gallon oil spill at the Louisiana-Pacific pulp mill at Ward Cove, Ketchikan.

• In 2000, an Alaska Airlines jet plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 people aboard.

In the nation

• In 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of all the Confederate armies.

• In 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, Explorer I.

• In 1971, astronauts Alan Shepard Jr., Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.

• In 2003, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair met at the White House; Bush said he would welcome a second U.N. resolution on Iraq but only if it led to the prompt disarming of Saddam Hussein. Pushing for a new resolution, Blair called confronting Iraq "a test of the international community."

• In 2007, President Bush, visiting Wall Street, delivered his "State of the Economy" speech, in which he took aim at lavish salaries and bonuses for corporate executives. Delaware Sen. Joe Biden formally launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Nine blinking electronic devices planted around Boston threw a scare into the city in what turned out to be a marketing campaign for a late-night cable cartoon.

In the world

• In 1606, Guy Fawkes, convicted of treason for his part in the "Gunpowder Plot" against the English Parliament and King James I, was executed.

• In 1917, during World War I, Germany served notice it was beginning a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

• In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt devalued the dollar in relation to gold.

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