This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2002

In Alaska

• In 1741, Vitus Bering, early Russian explorer, died on Bering Island after his ship was cast ashore following his second voyage to Alaska.

• In 1900, the steamer City of Topeka was wrecked on Sullivan Island near Haines, but was later salvaged.

• In 1967, Atlantic Richfield's discovery well struck oil and natural gas in Prudhoe Bay.

• In 1978, the Fairbanks City Council voted to do away with the small zoo at Alaskaland.

• In 1979, the movie "Star Trek" premiered in Alaska in Anchorage theaters.

In the Nation

• In 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

• In 1776, George Washington's retreating army during the American Revolution crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

• In 1863, President Lincoln announced his plan for the reconstruction of the South.

• In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.

• In 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan.

• In 1982, a man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up with explosives he claimed were inside a van. After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer was shot to death by police; it turned out there were no explosives.

• In 1987, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

• In 1993, President Clinton signed into U.S. law the North American Free Trade Agreement.

• In 2001, The U.S. Capitol was reopened to tourists after a two-month security shutdown. Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch was awarded the Heisman Trophy.

In the world

• In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

• In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa (Taiwan) as the Communists pressed their attacks.

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