This Day in History

Posted: Monday, April 21, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1925, Morris W. Griffith, U.S. Marshall at Nome, died suddenly.

• In 1959, Russia's Literary Gazette reported that Soviet engineers were studying the idea of building a bridge from Siberia to Alaska. The bridge could carry railroad tracks and atomic pumps to divert warm ocean currents toward the Arctic Ocean to warm up the area's climate.

• In 1979, The Alaska House of Representatives failed to pass a bill by Anchorage Representative Terry Martin restricting abortions for the poor.

In the nation

• In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, which provided for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.

• In 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

• In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

• In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Conn.

• In 1940, the quiz show that asked the "$64 question," "Take It or Leave It," premiered on CBS Radio.

• In 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke explored the surface of the moon.

• In 1977, the musical play "Annie" opened on Broadway.

• In 1992, Robert Alton Harris became the first person executed by the state of California in 25 years as he was put to death in the gas chamber for the 1978 murder of two teen-age boys.

• In 1993, An 11-day siege at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville ended after rioting inmates reached an agreement with prison officials.

• In 1998, Astronomers announced in Washington they had discovered possible signs of a new family of planets orbiting a star 220 light-years away, the clearest evidence to date of worlds forming beyond our solar system.

In the world

• In 1838, John Muir, famed naturalist who explored much of Southeast Alaska, was born in Scotland.

• In 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the "Red Baron," was killed in action during World War I.

• In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.

• In 2002, In a huge upset in French politics, extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen qualified to face incumbent Jacques Chirac in the runoff for French president. (Chirac ended up winning.)

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