This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

In Alaska:

• In 1877, General Orders were issued by the Army, withdrawing all troops from Alaska.

• In 1902, underwater prospector W.A. Boyce was trapped in a 2,000 pound diving bell for half an hour. While being lowered, the derrick toppled over and the bell's air valve snapped. Boyce was rescued due to heroic efforts and vowed to try again.

• In 1903, Ralph J. Rivers, who became an Alaska legislator, attorney general, and the first member of Congress, was born in Seattle.

• In 1949, Lt. Gov. Steve McAlpine was born in Yakima, Wash.

In the nation:

• In 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto died while searching for gold along the Mississippi River.

• In 1832, the first Democratic National Convention got under way, in Baltimore.

• In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

• In 1924, 14-year-old Bobby Franks was murdered in a "thrill killing" committed by Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb, two students at the University of Chicago.

• In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

• In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

• In 1968, the nuclear-powered U.S. submarine Scorpion, with 99 men aboard, was last heard from. The remains of the sub were later found on the ocean floor 400 miles southwest of the Azores.

In the world:

• In 1840, New Zealand was declared a British colony.

• In 1892, the opera "I Pagliacci," by Ruggiero Leoncavallo, was first performed, in Milan, Italy.

• In 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during national elections by a suicide bomber.

• In 1995, former Secretary of Defense Les Aspin died at a Washington D.C. hospital after suffering a massive stroke; he was 56.

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