This Day in History

Posted: Friday, February 16, 2007

In Alaska

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

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

• In 1996, 11 people were killed in a fiery collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a Maryland commuter train in Silver Spring, Md.

• In 1997, U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., the chairman of the House committee investigating campaign fundraising activities, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that his probe would be far broader than originally anticipated.

• In 2002, President Bush, en route to a three-nation tour of Asia, stopped off at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, where he told hundreds of cheering U.S. soldiers that "America will not blink" in the fight against terrorism and Osama bin Laden. Authorities in Noble, Ga., arrested Ray Brent Marsh, who'd been operating a crematory where hundreds of decomposing corpses were found stacked in storage sheds and scattered in the woods behind it. (Marsh later pleaded guilty and is serving a 12-year sentence.)

• In 2006, President Bush said he was satisfied with Vice President Dick Cheney's explanation about his shooting accident; Texas authorities said they had closed their investigation without filing any charges.

In the world

• In 1918, Lithuania proclaimed its independence, which lasted until World War II (it again declared independence in 1990).

• In 1923, the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's recently unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt by English archaeologist Howard Carter.

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

• 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 1987, John Demjanjuk went on trial in Jerusalem, accused of being "Ivan the Terrible," a guard at the Treblinka Nazi concentration camp. (Demjanjuk was convicted, but the conviction ended up being overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.)



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