This Day in History

Posted: Friday, April 14, 2006

In Alaska

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

• In 1959, U.S. Sen. 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 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 1956, Ampex Corp. demonstrated the first successful commercial videotape recorder, the VRX-1000 (later renamed the Mark IV), at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention in Chicago.

• 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 1986, Americans got first word of a U.S. air raid on Libya (because of the time difference, it was the early morning of April 15 where the attack occurred.)

• In 2005, the House passed and sent to President Bush legislation making it tougher to erase obligations in bankruptcy. The Oregon Supreme Court nullified nearly 3,000 marriage licenses issued to gay couples a year earlier by Portland's Multnomah County. Yankees right fielder Gary Sheffield got into a brief scuffle with a fan at Fenway Park during New York's 8-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

In the world

• 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 1996, Israel's 4-day-old military campaign against Hezbollah guerrillas continued, with aircraft bombarding guerrilla strongholds in Beirut and southern Lebanon, provoking guerrilla vows to turn northern Israel into a "fiery hell."

• In 2001, the 24 crew members of the U.S. spy plane who were held in China for 11 days landed at their home base, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington state, where they were greeted by thousands of friends, family members and other well-wishers.

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