This Day in History

Posted: Friday, November 19, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1900, the Military Department of Alaska was established by the Secretary of War.

• In 1905, a new record for telegraphic service to Nome was established, when a local businessman received a message from New York that had been sent just under six hours earlier.

• In 1907, the power house of the Citizens Light and Power Co. of Ketchikan was destroyed by fire.

• In 1959, Gov. Bill Egan left the state for a Seattle hospital stay in wake of recent gall bladder surgery. A million-dollar budget for Alaska parks and monuments was recommended to President Eisenhower.

• In 1979, a Fairbanks woman who was injured when her waterbed rolled, pinning her to the floor for 11 hours, received $150,000 from the manufacturer.

In the nation

• In 1807, Robert E. Lee, the commander in chief of the Confederate armies, was born in Stratford, Va.

• In 1809, author Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston.

• In 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union.

• In 1944, the federal government relinquished control of the nation's railroads following settlement of a wage dispute.

• In 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television for the first time, with permission from President Eisenhower.

• In 1970, President Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court. The nomination was defeated because of controversy over Carswell's past racial views.

• In 1977, in one of his last acts of office, President Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D'Aquino, an American who had made wartime broadcasts for Japan.

• In 1981, the United States and Iran signed an agreement paving the way for the release of 52 Americans held hostage for more than 14 months.

• In 1994, President Clinton visited quake-stricken Los Angeles, where he pledged fast and aggressive federal help. Figure skater Tonya Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, surrendered to authorities in Portland, Ore., after being charged with conspiring to attack skater Nancy Kerrigan.

• In 1999, President Clinton delivered his State of the Union address, in which he proposed to protect Social Security by using huge budget surpluses and announced the government would sue the tobacco industry for smokers' health costs. Hours earlier, at the president's impeachment trial in the Senate, White House Counsel Charles Ruff opened the defense with ringing statements of Clinton's innocence.

• In 2003, the Oakland Raiders won the AFC title game, beating the Tennessee Titans 41-24. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the NFC Championship game, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10. At the Golden Globe Awards, "Chicago" won best musical-comedy and "The Hours" claimed best drama.

In the world

• In 1736, James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, was born in Scotland.

• In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il Trovatore" premiered in Rome.

• In 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India.

• In 2003, President Fidel Castro and millions of other Cubans voted in parliamentary elections where all 609 candidates ran uncontested.

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