This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1867, the United States formally took possession of the territory of Alaska with the raising of the 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 of 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 in front of the Sitka Pioneer Home was unveiled and dedicated. It was sculpted by Victor Alonzo Lewis. The model was "Skagway Bill" Fonda.

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

• In 1997, a monument honoring American servicewomen, past and present, was dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery. The Florida Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians 7-4 in Game 1 of the World Series.

• In 2006, the Dow Jones industrial average passed 12,000 for the first time before pulling back to close at 11,992.68.

In the world

• In 1685, King Louis the XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau, revoking the Edict of Nantes that had established legal toleration of France's Protestant population, the Huguenots. The French Parliament recorded the new edict four days later.

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

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

• In 1962, Dr. James D. Watson of the United States and Drs. Francis Crick and 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 1977, West German commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa jetliner on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, freeing all 86 hostages and killing three of the four hijackers.

• In 2002, the Vatican demanded that America's Roman Catholic bishops revise their hard-line crackdown policy on sexually abusive priests.

• In 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, visiting Tokyo, said the U.S. was willing to use its full military might to defend Japan in light of North Korea's nuclear test.

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