This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, August 03, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1784, the first Russian colony in Alaska was established on Kodiak Island.

• In 1870, the first lease of the Pribilof Islands was signed by the Alaska Commercial Co. and the U.S. Treasury Department.

• In 1879, Alaska's first Presbyterian Church was dedicated at Wrangell.

• In 1908, the first automobile in Fairbanks arrived, a Pope-Toledo, for a Mr. David Laite.

• In 1959, the last stragglers of the second group of Michigan 59'ers homesteaders arrived in Willow, undecided whether to join the Detroit 59'ers in the Susitna Valley near Talkeetna or to find another settlement.

• In 1959, Anchorage police were asked to be on the lookout for an escaped goose with an unfriendly disposition.

In the nation

• In 1923, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th president of the United States, following the death of Warren G. Harding.

• In 1949, the National Basketball Association was formed.

• In 1958, the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater.

• In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from President Reagan they would be fired, which they were.

• In 1987, the Iran-Contra congressional hearings ended, with none of the 29 witnesses tying President Reagan directly to the diversion of arms-sales profits to Nicaraguan rebels.

• In 1994, Stephen G. Breyer was sworn in as the Supreme Court's newest justice in a private ceremony at Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's summer home in Vermont.

In the world

• In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, on a voyage that took him to the present-day Americas.

• In 1914, Germany declared war on France.

• In 1936, the State Department urged Americans in Spain to leave because of that country's civil war.

• In 1943, Gen. George S. Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. Patton was later ordered by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second, similar episode.

• In 1980, closing ceremonies were held in Moscow for the 1980 Summer Olympic Games, which had been boycotted by dozens of countries, including the United States.

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