This Day in History

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2007

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In Alaska

• In 1799, Czar Paul I granted the first charter to the Russian-American Company to handle Russian activities in Alaska.

• In 1877, Dr. Sheldon Jackson arrived in Wrangell on his first visit to Alaska.

• In 1959, 40 high schoolers from Cordova to Bethel began the first summer science seminar ever held in Alaska. The three-week seminar was designed to increase interest in science by creating contact between high school students and working scientists.

• In 1971, record rainfall flooded Granite Creek and destroyed approaches to the Glenn Highway.

In the nation

• In 1821, Missouri became the 24th state.

• In 1846, President James Polk signed a measure establishing the Smithsonian Institution, named after English scientist James Smithson, whose bequest of $500,000 had made it possible.

• In 1949, the National Military Establishment was renamed the Department of Defense.

• In 1969, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were murdered in their Los Angeles home by members of Charles Manson's cult, one day after actress Sharon Tate and four other people were slain.

• In 1977, postal employee David Berkowitz was arrested in Yonkers, N.Y., accused of being "Son of Sam," the gunman responsible for six slayings and seven woundings. (Berkowitz is serving six consecutive 25-years-to-life sentences.)

• In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a measure providing $20,000 payments to Japanese-Americans who'd been interned during World War II.

• In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sworn in as the second female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the world

• In 1792, during the French Revolution, mobs in Paris attacked the Tuileries Palace, where King Louis the XVI resided. (The king was later arrested, put on trial for treason and executed the following January.)

• In 1921, Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio at his summer home on the Canadian island of Campobello.

• In 1944, American forces overcame remaining Japanese resistance on Guam in World War II.

• In 1997, U.S. envoy Dennis Ross met separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in an attempt to restart the Mideast peace process.

• In 2006, British authorities announced they had thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up 10 aircraft heading to the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage. A suicide bomber blew himself up among pilgrims outside Iraq's holiest Shiite shrine in Najaf, killing 35 people. Saomai, the most powerful typhoon to hit China in five decades, slammed into the country's southeastern coast; it ultimately killed at least 483 people.

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