This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1899, a fire destroyed a major portion of Dawson City in Canada's Yukon Territory.

• In 1965, a Bureau of Commercial Fisheries vessel began a two-month voyage to explore potential bottom-fishing grounds along the Continental Shelf.

• In 1967, the Civil Aeronautics Board gave Alaska Airlines temporary permission to serve Sitka.

• In 1988, the first expedition to cross the Arctic on foot reached the North Pole.

In the nation

• In 1607, English colonists went ashore at present-day Cape Henry, Va., on an expedition to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere. (They later settled at Jamestown.)

• In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Bowling Green, Va., and killed.

• In 1961, Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit the first of a record 61 home runs in a single season.

• In 1968, the United States exploded beneath the Nevada desert a 1.3 megaton nuclear device called "Boxcar."

• In 1970, the Stephen Sondheim musical "Company" opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York.

• In 2000, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signed the nation's first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions.

• In 1997, in his Saturday radio address, President Clinton prepared for the opening of a community service summit by asking Congress to pay for a drive to ensure that every third-grader can read.

• In 2002, David Gunn, who had run transit systems in New York City and Washington, was named president of Amtrak, the troubled national rail passenger service.

In the world

• In 1937, planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

• In 1945, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France's Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.

• In 1964, the African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.

• In 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident happened at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire killed at least 31 people and sent radioactivity into the atmosphere.

• In 2002, Robert Steinhaeuser, an expelled student, went on a shooting rampage at a school in Erfurt, Germany, killing 17 people, including himself.

• In 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld paid a surprise visit to Iraq, where they embraced the country's fledgling leaders as independent.

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