This Day in History

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1778, Captain James Cook sighted and named Cape Elizabeth at the entrance to Cook Inlet.

• In 1913, John F.A. Strong took office in Juneau as the second governor of the territory of Alaska.

• In 1971, the ferry Malaspina, responding to a mayday signal, saved the lives of 70 people from seven nations aboard the Norwegian motor vessel, Meteor.

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 1904, 100 years ago, jazz musician, singer and composer Thomas "Fats" Waller was born in New York City. He died in 1943 at the age of 39).

• In 1999, Presidential friend and fund-raiser Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and agreed to cooperate in an investigation of illegal Asian donations to the Democrats. Susan Lucci won a Daytime Emmy Award for best actress on her 19th try.

• In 2003, Christie Whitman resigned as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Ruben Studdard edged Clay Aiken to win the second "American Idol" competition on Fox.

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

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