• In 1888, Marie Drake, author of the lyrics to Alaska's Flag, the state song, was born.
• In 1929, The Japanese freighter Meyio Maru was wrecked on Ugamak Island in the Aleutians.
• In 1939, A "Bone-Dry" bill was introduced in the Alaska Territorial House, prohibiting the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquor in Alaska.
• In 1939, The first annual President's Birthday Ball in McGrath reported to President Franklin D. Roosevelt that $23 was raised in the fight against infantile paralysis.
• In 1959, Acting Governor Hugh Wade reluctantly signed the pay bill, giving legislators an annual salary of $3,000, plus $40 a day during session for expenses.
• In 1975, For the second time in 6 years, Anchorage voters approved unification of the City & Borough governments.
In the nation
• In 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his party - giving rise to the term "gerrymandering."
• In 1847, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio.
• In 1861, President-elect Lincoln departed Springfield, Ill., for Washington.
• In 1937, a sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
• In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and Life magazine canceled plans to publish what had turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
• In 1989, The Rev. Barbara C. Harris became the first woman consecrated as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, in a ceremony held in Boston.
• In 1993, President Clinton announced his choice of Miami prosecutor Janet Reno to be the nation's first female attorney general, after two earlier candidates stumbled because they'd hired illegal aliens.
• In 1998, Attorney General Janet Reno asked for an independent prosecutor to investigate whether Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt had misled Congress in connection with an Indian casino controversy. (The counsel, Carol Elder Bruce, found no wrongdoing on Babbitt's part.) Skier Jonny Moseley won the first U.S. gold medal at Nagano, in men's moguls freestyle; Picabo Street won the women's super-G.
In the world
• In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.
• In 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II.
• In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.
• In 1986, Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was released by the Soviet Union after nine years of captivity as part of an East-West prisoner exchange.
• In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.
• In 2002, Israel attacked Palestinian security headquarters in Gaza City in response to unprecedented Palestinian rocket fire and a shooting attack on Israeli civilians. Argentina fully uncoupled the peso from the U.S. dollar for the first time in more than a decade.