This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, December 08, 2004

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, "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" premiered in Alaska in Anchorage area theaters.

In the nation

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

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

• In 1914, "Watch Your Step," the first musical revue to feature a score composed entirely by Irving Berlin, opened in New York.

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

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

• In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into U.S. law the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect at the start of 1994.

• In 1994, in Los Angeles, 12 alternate jurors were chosen for the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

• In 1999, a jury in Memphis, Tenn., hearing a lawsuit filed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s family found that the civil rights leader had been the victim of a vast murder conspiracy, not a lone assassin. A Russian diplomat was ordered to leave the U.S. after he was allegedly caught gathering information from the State Department with an eavesdropping device.

• In 2003, President Bush signed a $400 billion Medicare overhaul bill that included a prescription drug plan for the elderly. Congress approved legislation to stem the flood of unwanted junk e-mail known as "spam." U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow, R-S.D., resigned after being convicted in the traffic death of a motorcyclist, Randy Scott.

In the world

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

• In 1978, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir died in Jerusalem at age 80.

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