This Day in History

Posted: Friday, December 19, 2008

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

• In 1949, fire destrobyed the Father Duncan Memorial Church in Metlakatla. It was one of the largest churches in Alaska.

• In 1960, a fire destroyed the Lowe Trading Post in Dillingham, with damages estimated at $200,000.

• In 1973, a federal district judge released $130 million, the first cash payment under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and ordered hearings on creating a 13th regional Native corporation.

In the nation

• In 1777, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pa., to camp for the winter.

• In 1907, 239 workers died in a coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pa.

• In 1957, Meredith Willson's musical play "The Music Man" opened on Broadway.

• In 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States.

• In 1986, Lawrence E. Walsh was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra affair.

• In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was later acquitted by the Senate). Two days after his confession of marital infidelity, Bob Livingston told the House he wouldn't serve as its next speaker. President Clinton halted airstrikes against Iraq after a fourth day of attacks.

• In 2003, design plans were unveiled for the signature skyscraper - a 1,776-foot glass tower - at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.

• In 2007, President George W. Bush signed legislation increasing fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles and requiring wider use of ethanol. An explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Jacksonville, Fla., killed four workers. Rescuers found Frederick Dominguez and his three children, who had been lost in the mountains for three days during a snowstorm, in a northern California ravine.

In the world

• In 1813, British forces captured Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.

• In 1843, "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.

• In 1932, the British Broadcasting Corporation began transmitting overseas with its Empire Service to Australia.

• In 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.

• In 1972, Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, winding up the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.

• In 1997, a SilkAir Boeing 737-300 plunged from the sky, crashing into an Indonesian river and killing all 104 people aboard.

• In 2003, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi agreed to halt his nation's drive to develop nuclear and chemical weapons.

• In 2007, an express train derailed in southern Pakistan, killing at least 40 people. Former Hyundai CEO Lee Myung-bak won South Korea's presidency.

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