This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1901, the city of Nome was incorporated as a first class municipality.

• In 1918, Thomas Riggs Jr. took office as governor of the territory of Alaska.

• In 1960, two 9-year-old boys safely escaped from a drifting ice floe in Cook Inlet after a hair-raising ride on an outgoing tide.

• In 1976, Nome edged out Bethel to win the ninth Annual Native Youth Olympics in Anchorage.

In the nation

• In 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

• In 1862, Union volunteers led by James J. Andrews stole a Confederate train near Marietta, Ga., but were later caught. (This episode inspired the Buster Keaton comedy, "The General.")

• In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.

• In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight.

• In 1983, Chicagoans went to the polls to elect Harold Washington the city's first black mayor.

• In 1985, Sen. Jake Garn of Utah became the first senator to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off.

• In 1996, President Clinton named U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor to succeed the late Ron Brown as commerce secretary.

• In 2001, the 24 crew members of a U.S. spy plane arrived in Hawaii after being held for 11 days in China. Cincinnati Mayor Charles Luken declared a state of emergency amid the worst outbreak of racial violence in the city since the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

• In 2005, President Bush visited soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, marking the two-year anniversary of the end of Saddam Hussein's regime.

In the world

• In 1606, England's King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag (also referred to as the Union Jack), which combined the flags of England and Scotland.

• In 1934, "Tender Is the Night," by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published.

• In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting Earth once before making a safe landing.

• In 2001, the Philippine military rescued U.S. hostage Jeffrey Schilling from Muslim rebels who had threatened to behead him.

• In 2005, three men with suspected al-Qaida ties, already in British custody, were charged with a years-long plot to attack the New York Stock Exchange and other East Coast financial institutions.

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