This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2005

In Alaska

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

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

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

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 20-30 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 1945, American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II.

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

In 1995, four people were killed when tornadoes tore through rural north Alabama.

In 2000, Lucy Edwards, a former Bank of New York executive, and her husband, Peter Berlin, pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to laundering billions from Russian bankers in one of the biggest such schemes in U.S. history.

In 2004, a confident John Kerry launched a full-throttle attack on President Bush's economic policies, mostly ignoring his Democratic rivals on the eve of the Wisconsin primary. The Walt Disney Co. rejected a takeover bid by Comcast Corp.

In the world

In 1918, Lithuania proclaimed its independence.

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

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.

In 1994, at least 217 people were killed when a powerful earthquake shook Indonesia's Sumatra island.

In 1995, in a dark and defensive address to his nation, Russian President Boris Yeltsin berated his military leaders for big losses and human rights abuses in Chechnya, but insisted Russia had to use force to defend its unity.

In 1998, a China Airlines Airbus trying to land in fog near Taipei, Taiwan, crashed, killing all 196 people on board and six people on the ground.

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