This Day in History

Posted: Friday, December 08, 2006

In Alaska

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• 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 the nation

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

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

• In 1986, House Democrats selected majority leader Jim Wright to be the chamber's 48th speaker, succeeding Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill.

• 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, which went into effect at the start of 1994.

• 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 2005, a Southwest Airlines jet slid off the runway and onto a busy street during a snowstorm in Chicago, killing a boy in a car.

In the world

• In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of original sin from the moment of her own conception.

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

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

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