This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

• In 1915, the ore reduction mills of the Alaska Gastineau Mining Co. in Thane started operating.

• In 1968, the tanker Rebecca was seized by State Troopers north of Kenai for pumping ballast that led to a 200-300 yard oil slick.

• In 1985, unidentified amber lights appeared in the western sky above Anchorage at about 9 p.m. Spectators and officials could not explain the source of the lights.

In the nation

• In 1803, Congress voted to accept Ohio's borders and constitution.

• In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr, accused of treason, was arrested in the Mississippi Territory, in present-day Alabama. (Burr was acquitted at trial.)

• In 1846, the Texas state government was formally installed in Austin, with J. Pinckney Henderson taking the oath of office as governor.

• In 1878, Thomas Edison received a U.S. patent for "an improvement in phonograph or speaking machines."

• In 1881, Kansas prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.

• In 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order that gave the military the authority to relocate and intern U.S. residents, including citizens, of Japanese ancestry.

• In 1983, 13 people were found shot to death at a gambling club in Seattle's Chinatown in what became known as the "Wah Mee Massacre." (Two Chinese immigrants were convicted of the killings and sentenced to life in prison.)

• In 1998, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan set out for Iraq on a last-chance peace mission, saying he was "reasonably optimistic" about ending the standoff over weapons inspections without the use of force.

• In 2003, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt announced his second candidacy for president with a pledge to repeal most of President Bush's tax cuts.

• In 2007, hundreds of gay couples were granted the same legal rights, if not the title, as married couples as New Jersey became the third state to offer civil unions.

In the world

• In 1942, Japanese warplanes, attacking in two waves, raided the Australian city of Darwin; at least 243 people were killed.

• In 1945, during World War II, some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they commenced a successful month-long battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.

• In 1959, an agreement was signed by Britain, Turkey and Greece granting Cyprus its independence.

• In 1998, at the Nagano Olympics, Austrian Hermann Maier won the men's giant slalom while Hilde Gerg of Germany won the women's slalom.

• In 2003, an Iranian military plane carrying 275 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards crashed in southeastern Iran, killing all on board.

• In 2007, three-way talks between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli and Palestinian leaders, initially billed as a new U.S. push to restart peace efforts, ended with little progress other than a commitment to meet again.

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