This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1901, the Nome Nugget, the state's oldest continuously published newspaper, was established as a semi-weekly.

• In 1916, the Bank of Alaska opened its doors at Anchorage. It was later to become the National Bank of Alaska.

• In 1949, the first radio beam air navigation system was put into operation at Ketchikan.

In the nation

• In 1896, the Supreme Court endorsed "separate but equal" racial segregation with its Plessy v. Ferguson decision, a ruling that was overturned 58 years later with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

• In 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, Calif. She reappeared a month later, claiming to have been kidnapped.

• In 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority was created.

• In 1951, the United Nations moved out of its temporary headquarters in Lake Success, N.Y., for its permanent home in Manhattan.

• In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a North American F-86 Canadair over Rogers Dry Lake, Calif.

• In 1969, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10.

• In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

• In 1999, Georgette Smith, a Florida woman left paralyzed from the neck down after being shot by her elderly mother, won the right to be taken off life support. Smith died the next day, shortly after being taken off a ventilator. Her mother, Shirley Egan, was later acquitted of attempted murder.)

• In 2003, "Les Miserables" closed on Broadway after more than 16 years and 6,680 performances.

In the world

• In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded.

• In 1804, 200 years ago, the French Senate proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte emperor.

• In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces finally occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle that claimed some 20,000 lives.

• In 1994, Israeli troops completed their withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as Palestinian authorities took over.

• In 1999, two Serb soldiers held as prisoners of war by the U.S. military were turned over to Yugoslav authorities.

• In 2003, a Hamas suicide attacker disguised as an observant Jew killed seven Israeli bus passengers. Belgian voters gave Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt's coalition of socialists and liberals another four years in office. Pope John Paul II celebrated his 83rd birthday with an open-air Mass and requests for prayers so he could continue his papacy.

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