This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward and Baron Stoecki of Russia signed the treaty selling the territory of Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million, a deal roundly ridiculed as "Seward's Folly."

• In 1916, on the 49th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase Treaty, delegate James Wickersham introduced the first Alaska statehood bill in the U.S. Congress.

• In 1917, Gov. John F. A. Strong signed a bill adding Lincoln's Birthday (Feb. 12) and Seward's Day (March 30) to the nine existing territorial holidays.

• In 1969, Gov. Jay Hammond prepared legislation to ban future offshore oil drilling permits in Alaska unless the Legislature and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game were assured proper environmental safeguards would be used.

In the nation

• In 1822, Florida became a U.S. territory.

• In 1842, Dr. Crawford W. Long of Jefferson, Ga., first used ether as an anesthetic during a minor operation.

• In 1870, the 15th amendment to the Constitution, giving black men the right to vote, was declared in effect.

• In 1870, Texas was readmitted to the Union.

• In 1964, John Glenn withdrew from the Ohio race for U.S. Senate because of injuries suffered in a fall.

• In 1981, President Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John W. Hinckley Jr. Also wounded were White House press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a District of Columbia police officer.

• In 1986, actor James Cagney died at his farm in Stanfordville, N.Y., at age 86.

• In 1993, the Clinton administration announced it was lifting virtually all export controls on non-military products to China and the former Soviet bloc.

• In 1999, a jury in Portland, Ore., ordered Philip Morris to pay $81 million to the family of a man who died of lung cancer after smoking Marlboros for four decades. The Supreme Court threw out the verdict in October 2003, saying it should be reviewed by lower courts to ensure it was not unconstitutionally excessive.

In the world

• In 1945, the Soviet Union invaded Austria during World War II.

• In 1979, Airey Neave, a leading member of the British parliament, was killed by a bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army.

• In 1993, Serbs and Croats signed a cease-fire to end their war in Croatia while Bosnian Muslims and Serbs continued to battle each other.

• In 1999, Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic insisted that NATO attacks stop before he moved toward peace, declaring his forces ready to fight "to the very end." NATO answered with new resolve to wreck his military with a relentless air assault.

• In 2002, the Queen Mother Elizabeth of England died in her sleep at Royal Lodge, Windsor, outside London. She was 101 years old.

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