This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1938, the steamer Tongass, of the Alaska Transportation Company, arrived in Juneau on her first Alaska voyage.

• In 1959, U.S. Senator E.L. "Bob" Bartlett (D-Alaska) called for a full-scale investigation of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's plans to take over 1,600 acres of land for a nuclear experiment.

• In 1969, the Alaska State Senate passed an amendment to the State Constitution allowing 18-year olds to vote. A team of scientists from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute began their investigation of auroral radio noises, under contract with the U.S. Army.

In the nation

• In 1759, composer George Frideric Handel died in London.

• In 1775, the first American society for the abolition of slavery was organized by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.

• In 1828, the first edition of Noah Webster's "American Dictionary of the English Language" was published.

• In 1865, President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington. (Lincoln died the following morning.)

• In 1902, James Cash Penney opened his first store, called "The Golden Rule," in Kemmerer, Wyo.

• In 1939, the John Steinbeck novel "The Grapes of Wrath" was first published.

• In 1981, the first test flight of America's first operational space shuttle, the Columbia, ended successfully with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

• In 1994, the chiefs of the nation's seven largest tobacco companies spent more than six hours being grilled by the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee about the effects of smoking.

• In 1999, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr told Congress the Watergate-era law that gave him the power to probe actions of executive branch officials was flawed and should be abolished.

• In 2003, assailants armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun opened fire at John McDonogh High School in New Orleans, killing one youth and wounding three others.

In the world

• In 1904, British actor Sir John Gielgud was born in London.

• In 1912, the British liner Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and began sinking.

• In 1931, King Alfonso XIII of Spain went into exile, and the Spanish Republic was proclaimed.

• In 1994, two American F-15 warplanes inadvertently shot down two U.S. helicopters over northern Iraq, killing 26 people, including 15 Americans.

• In 1999, NATO mistakenly bombed a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees; Yugoslav officials said 75 people were killed. British entertainer Anthony Newley died in Jensen Beach, Fla., at age 67.

• In 2003, Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit fell with unexpectedly light resistance, the last Iraqi city to succumb to overpowering U.S.-led ground and air forces. U.S. commandos in Baghdad captured Abul Abbas, leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner "Achille Lauro" in 1985. (Abbas died last month while in U.S. custody.) Four Islamic militants were convicted in a deadly bombing outside the U.S. Consulate in Pakistan.

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