This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

• In 1938, Alaskindia post office was established at the Wrangell Institute. It was discontinued in 1945.

• In 1947, Anchorage voters approved an independent school district for their area.

• In 1962, the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center opened.

In the nation

• In 1607, English colonists arrived by ship at the site of what became the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. (The colonists went ashore the next day.)

• In 1846, the United States declared that a state of war already existed with Mexico.

• In 1918, the first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, were introduced with a face value of 24 cents. (On a few of the stamps, the biplane was printed upside-down; the "inverted Jenny," as it came to be called, instantly became a collector's item.)

• In 1954, President Eisenhower signed into law the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act.

• In 1985, a confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped an explosive onto the group's headquarters; 11 people died in the resulting fire.

• In 1998, President Clinton ordered harsh sanctions against an unapologetic India, which had gone ahead with a second round of nuclear tests despite global criticism.

• In 2003, a judge ruled that Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols should stand trial in state court on 160 counts of first-degree murder. (Nichols was later found guilty on 161 counts; the 161st count was for the fetus of a pregnant victim. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.) The government unveiled a new and more colorful version of the $20 bill.

In the world

• In 1917, three children near Fatima, Portugal, reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.

• In 1940, in his first speech as prime minister of Britain, Winston Churchill told the House of Commons, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

• In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, were spat upon and their limousine battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.

• In 1968, a one-day general strike took place in France in support of student protesters.

• In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter's Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.

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