This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

• In 1909, Walter E. Clark was appointed the seventh and last governor of the District of Alaska by President William Taft. In 1912, he became governor of the territory of Alaska.

• In 1949, an ice jam caused the Yukon River to flood, marooning 182 people overnight on a small knoll near Fort Yukon.

• In 1963, two Swedish pilots completed the first voyage over the North Pole in a single-engine Piper Comanche, flying from Stockholm to Anchorage.

• In 1986, voters approved the Northwest Arctic Borough.

In the nation

• In 1861, North Carolina voted to secede from the Union.

• In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

• In 1939, trans-Atlantic mail service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Europe.

• In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.

• In 1988, Laurie Dann, 30, walked into a Winnetka, Ill., elementary school classroom, where she shot to death 8-year-old Nicholas Corwin and wounded several other children. After wounding a young man at his home, Dann took her own life.

• In 1993, an estimated 93 million people tuned in for the final first-run episode of "Cheers" on NBC.

• In 1998, the government unveiled the design for the new $20 bill, featuring a larger and slightly off-center portrait of Andrew Jackson. In Beverly Hills, Calif., Hollywood royalty bid farewell to Frank Sinatra, who had died almost a week earlier at age 82.

• In 2003, the Bush administration, concerned that a wave of attacks overseas could spread to the United States, raised the terrorism alert level to orange. The United States banned all beef imports from Canada after a lone case of mad cow disease was discovered in the heart of Canada's cattle country.

• In 2007, President Bush welcomed NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to his Crawford, Texas, ranch, to review strategy on a flurry of issues. A gunman fired nearly 300 shots during a rampage in Moscow, Idaho, that killed three people and wounded three others. (The shooter, Jason Hamilton, took his own life.)

In the world

• In 1902, the United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma.

• In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (Because of weather and equipment problems, Earhart set down in Northern Ireland instead of her intended destination, France.)

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