This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1778, Capt. James Cook sighted and named Mount Edgecumbe near present-day Sitka.

• In 1913, the first Alaska Territorial Legislature adjourned after 61 days.

• In 1927, the Alaska Legislature adopted the official flag of the territory, consisting of eight stars of gold on a field of blue, created by 13-year old Benny Benson.

• In 1959, Six men were arrested in Fairbanks for playing poker.

• In 1963, a fire swept the Cordova business district, causing more than $1 million in damages.

• In 1974, plans for the oil terminal at Valdez received the go-ahead.

• In 1979, the National Park Service announced its intent to ban all aircraft flying into Alaska monument lands for subsistence hunting and fishing.

• In 1984, President Ronald Reagan met Pope John Paul II in Fairbanks.

In the nation

• In 1863, Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was accidentally wounded by his own men at Chancellorsville, Va.; he died eight days later.

• In 1890, the Oklahoma Territory was organized.

• In 1957, crime boss Frank Costello narrowly survived an attempt on his life in New York; the alleged gunman, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, was acquitted at trial after Costello refused to identify him as the shooter.

• In 1960, convicted sex offender and best-selling author Caryl Chessman was executed at San Quentin Prison in California.

• In 1997, President Clinton and congressional Republicans came to terms on a plan to balance the budget over five years. A new national memorial honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt was officially opened in Washington.

• In 2002, the Rev. Paul Shanley, a priest at the epicenter of the clergy sex abuse scandal, turned himself in to authorities in San Diego to face charges in Massachusetts of raping boys during the 1980s. (Shanley was later convicted of repeatedly raping one boy, and was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison.)

In the world

• In 1936, "Peter and the Wolf," a symphonic tale for children by Sergei Prokofiev, had its world premiere in Moscow.

• In 1945, the Soviet Union announced the fall of Berlin, and the Allies announced the surrender of Nazi troops in Italy and parts of Austria.

• In 1965, the Early Bird satellite was used to transmit television pictures across the Atlantic.

• In 2002, Yasser Arafat emerged from his West Bank headquarters, hours after Israeli troops released the Palestinian leader from months of confinement.

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