This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2006

In Alaska

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• 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 in Wrangell.

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

• 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 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 1949, the National Basketball Association was formed as a merger of the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League.

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

• In 1993, the Senate voted 96-3 to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

• 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 Vermont summer home.

• In 1996, at the Atlanta Olympics, the U.S. men's 400-meter relay, without Carl Lewis, failed to win the gold medal, finishing behind Canada. The American women's 400 and 1600 relays and the men's 1600 all won gold. The U.S. men's basketball "Dream Team" beat Yugoslavia 95-69 to win the gold.

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

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

• In 2001, U.S. Fulbright scholar John Tobin was released from a Russian prison after serving half of a one-year drug sentence and winning parole.

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