This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1824, U.S. and Russia signed the Treaty of St. Petersburg.

• In 1878, Sheldon Jackson College opened in Sitka.

• In 1915, Leonhard Seppala won the All-Alaska Sweepstakes Race at Nome.

• In 1924, the Douglas Womens' Council decided to open a public library.

• In 1959, John Rader was appointed as the state's first attorney general. The Arctic Circle Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Atomic Energy Commission's plan to blast a harbor at Cape Thompson using nuclear explosives.

• In 1975, for the first time, Alaskan residents were able to watch live national TV news, when NBC began sending its nightly news program via satellite to Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage.

In the nation

• In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazano reached present-day New York harbor.

• In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.

• In 1964, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its new Mustang model at the New York World's Fair.

• In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

• In 1997, House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced he would borrow $300,000 from retired Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to pay a sanction imposed for violation of House rules.

• In 2002, a federal judge ruled the Justice Department couldn't interfere with Oregon's assisted-suicide law. (The law was ultimately upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.)

• In 2006, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was convicted of corruption (he was later sentenced to 6½ years in prison). Robert Cheruiyot and Rita Jeptoo pulled off a Kenyan sweep of the Boston Marathon.

In the world

• In 1521, Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms to face charges stemming from his religious writings. (He was later declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.)

• In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany in World War II.

• In 1961, about 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.

• In 1969, Czechoslovak Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek was deposed.

• In 1970, the astronauts of Apollo 13 splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft.

• In 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell ended his 10-day Middle East peace mission after failing to get the cease-fire he'd sought between Israel and the Palestinians.

• In 2006, a Palestinian suicide bomber struck a Tel Aviv restaurant during Passover, killing nine people; in a sharp departure from the previous Palestinian government's condemnations of bombings, the Hamas-led administration said the attack resulted from Israel's "brutal aggression." A bus crash in Mexico claimed 57 lives.

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