This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1906, the first message over telegraph cable between Juneau and Wrangell was sent.

• In 1939, buffalo in the Big Delta were reported to be "raiding" an airfield at night and destroying freight in the process. The animals were under the jurisdiction of the Alaska Game Commission.

• In 1964, a fire in Juneau destroyed the Salvation Army Store and the Harbor Leather Co.

• In 1973, the U.S. Army at Fort Wainwright agreed to sell electricity to the Golden Valley Electrical Association.

• In 1978, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued temporary regulations permitting subsistence hunting, fishing, and trapping in 14 of the 15 national monuments created by President Jimmy Carter earlier in the month.

• In 1979, the Alaska Supreme Court upheld the ritual of potlatch when it reversed the conviction of a man who transported a moose out of season to a traditional funeral potlatch in Minto, northwest of Fairbanks.

In the nation

• In 1620, Pilgrims aboard the "Mayflower" went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Mass.

• In 1914, the first feature-length silent film comedy, "Tillie's Punctured Romance," was released.

• In 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.

• In 1994, a firebomb exploded on a crowded New York City subway train, injuring 48 people. (Unemployed computer programmer Edward Leary was later convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 94 years in prison.)

In the world

• In 1898, scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered the radioactive element radium.

• In 1945, Gen. George S. Patton died in Heidelberg, Germany, of injuries from a car accident.

• In 1948, the state of Eire (formerly the Irish Free State) declared its independence.

• In 1988, 270 people were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pam Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, sending wreckage crashing to the ground.

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