This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1867, the United States formally took possession of the territory of Alaska with the raising of a flag at New Archangel, now Sitka.

• In 1880, the 160-acre townsite of Harrisburgh was staked out by founders Richard Harris and Joe Juneau. The town's name was changed to Juneau in December 1881.

• In 1898, the Cape Nome Mining District was organized at Anvil Creek.

• In 1946, the first mass air movement of Naval dependents to Alaska, nicknamed the "Baby Special," took 11 Navy wives and 10 children to their families in Dutch Harbor and Adak.

• In 1949, the Prospector Memorial statue, sculpted by Victor Alonzo, was unveiled and dedicated in front of the Sitka Pioneer Home. "Skagway Bill" Fonda was its model.

• In 1964, two Sitka landmarks, St. Michael's Cathedral and the Russian Mission Building, were officially recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

In the nation

• In 1648, Boston shoemakers were authorized to form a guild to protect their interests; it's the first American labor organization on record.

• In 1892, the first long-distance telephone line between New York and Chicago was officially opened (it could only handle one call at a time).

• In 1968, the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended Tommie Smith and John Carlos for giving a "black power" salute as a protest during a victory ceremony in Mexico City.

• In 1969, the federal government banned artificial sweeteners known as cyclamates because of evidence they caused cancer in laboratory rats.

• In 1996, Democratic Party fundraiser John Huang was relieved of his duties following days of attacks by the Republicans over what they called improper and possibly illegal contributions.

• In 2001, CBS News announced that an employee in anchorman Dan Rather's office had tested positive for skin anthrax. Four disciples of Osama bin Laden were sentenced in New York to life without parole for their roles in the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

In the world

• In 1962, Dr. James D. Watson of the U.S., and Dr. Francis Crick and Dr. Maurice Wilkins of Britain, were named winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for their work in determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA.

• In 1898, the American flag was raised in Puerto Rico shortly before Spain formally relinquished control of the island to the United States.

• In 1940, Britain reopened the Burma Road linking Myanmar with China, three months after closing it.

• In 1944, Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II.

• In 2005, tropical storm Wilma strengthened into a hurricane as it continued on a path toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, then south Florida.

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