This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1939, U.S. Treasury Secretary Morgenthau asked Congress for funds to establish a Coast Guard airbase in Alaska.

• In 1961, the Hood Bay salmon cannery, owned by the community of Angoon, was destroyed by fire.

• In 1959, Humble Oil well at Bear Creek broke the record for the deepest exploration well ever drilled in Alaska - 14,261 feet.

• In 1968, ARCO and Humble Oil hit oil at Prudhoe Bay.

• In 1985, a huge energy zone 400,000 miles from Earth was identified as the power source for the northern and southern lights. The invisible egg-shaped zone of electrically charged particles is 20 to 30 times the size of Earth and is always on the side of the Earth facing away from the sun.

In the nation

• In 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur led a successful raid into Tripoli Harbor to burn the U.S. Navy frigate "Philadelphia," which had fallen into the hands of pirates.

• In 1862, during the Civil War, some 14,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered at Fort Donelson, Tenn. (Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's victory earned him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender Grant.")

• In 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organized in New York City.

• In 1948, NBC-TV began airing its first nightly newscast, "The Camel Newsreel Theatre," consisting of Fox Movietone newsreels.

• In 1961, the United States launched the Explorer 9 satellite.

• In 1968, the nation's first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated, in Haleyville, Ala.

• In 1993, prices fell as Wall Street reacted unfavorably to President Clinton's economic austerity plan previewed in a White House address the night before.

In the world

• In 1918, Lithuania proclaimed its independence.

• In 1923, the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt.

• In 1945, American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II.

• In 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

• In 1977, Janani Luwum, the Anglican archbishop of Uganda, and two other men were killed in what Ugandan authorities said was an automobile accident.

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