This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, July 16, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1741, Vitus Bering made his first landfall in Alaska on Kayak Island.

• In 1934, two U.S. Army observation planes made the first landing on the airfield in Juneau.

• In 1937, the Coast Guard cutter Haida arrived at Juneau to take permanent station.

• In 1946, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management was established.

• In 1969, Anchorage area residents watched live television coverage of the launch of Apollo 11 through a mobile satellite ground station installed for the occasion by the Department of Defense.

In the nation

• In 1790, the District of Columbia was established as the seat of the U.S. government.

• In 1862, David G. Farragut became the first rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

• In 1935, the first parking meters were installed, in Oklahoma City.

• In 1945, the United States exploded its first experimental atomic bomb, in the desert near Alamogordo, N.M.

• In 1951, the novel "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger was first published.

• In 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy on the first manned mission to the surface of the moon.

• In 1973, during the Senate Watergate hearings, former White House aide Alexander P. Butterfield publicly revealed the existence of President Nixon's secret taping system.

• In 1981, singer Harry Chapin was killed when his car was struck by a tractor-trailer on New York's Long Island Expressway.

• In 1996, President Clinton told the National Governors Association he was granting states new powers to deny benefits to recipients who refuse to move from welfare to work. Russian President Boris Yeltsin met a day late with Vice President Al Gore, easing some of the concerns about his fragile health.

• In 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died when their single-engine plane, piloted by Kennedy, plunged into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

In the world

• In 1918, Russia's Czar Nicholas II, his empress and their five children were executed by the Bolsheviks.

• In 1979, Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq.

• In 2001, South Asian nuclear rivals India and Pakistan failed to reach an accord on their half-century dispute over Kashmir, ending a landmark three-day summit on a solemn note. Russia and China signed their first friendship treaty in more than half a century. Jacques Rogge was elected to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch as president of the International Olympic Committee.

• In 2005, a suicide bomber blew up a fuel tanker near a Shiite mosque in Musayyib, Iraq, killing nearly 100 people.

More than a week after the London terror bombings, British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned that an "evil ideology" of Islamic extremism was bent on spreading terror through the West. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the long-awaited sixth book in J.K. Rowling's fantasy series, officially went on sale.

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