This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1910, the schooner Lizzie S. Sorrenson, engaged in whaling in Southeast Alaska, was struck and sunk by a whale.

• In 1957, Mike Stepovich of Fairbanks was nominated by President Eisenhower to be the 15th governor of Alaska. He was the last territorial governor before statehood, taking office on April 8.

In the nation

• In 1775, Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys captured the British-held fortress at Ticonderoga, N.Y.

• In 1865, Union forces captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Irwinville, Ga.

• In 1869, a golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States.

• In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover was given the job of FBI director.

• In 1994, the state of Illinois executed serial killer John Wayne Gacy for the murders of 33 young men and boys.

• In 1996, two Marine helicopters collided in the dark and crashed in a swamp at Camp Lejeune, N.C., during a U.S.-British training exercise, killing 14 people.

• In 2001, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to withhold some back U.N. dues until the United States was reinstated on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The Justice Department handed over thousands of documents it said should have been provided to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh's attorneys - because of the blunder, McVeigh's execution, set for May 16, was postponed. Boeing chose Chicago as the site for its new headquarters, replacing Seattle. The World Wrestling Federation announced it would fold the upstart XFL football league.

• In 2005, a federal bankruptcy judge approved United Airlines' plan to terminate its employees' pension plans.

In the world

• In 1774, Louis XVI ascended the throne of France.

• In 1933, the Nazis staged massive public book burnings in Germany.

• In 1940, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned, and Winston Churchill formed a new government.

• In 1968, preliminary Vietnam peace talks began in Paris.

• In 1978, Britain's Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon announced they were divorcing after 18 years of marriage.

• In 1994, Nelson Mandela took the oath of office to become South Africa's first black president.

• In 2005, cheered by tens of thousands in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, President Bush urged the spread of democracy across the former communist world and beyond. Germany dedicated its new national Holocaust memorial. Gunmen kidnapped the governor of Iraq's Anbar province; the governor (Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi) was later killed.

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