This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1919, the trading store of the Sons of Norway in Petersburg was destroyed by fire.

• In 1939, every house in Barrow was quarantined due to a measles epidemic. The population of Juneau was reported at 5,748. In 1930, it was 4,043. Fifteen cows arrived in Anchorage by air. They were the first of 45 cows being brought in by the Matanuska Valley Cooperative Association.

• In 1944, the first serious wreck on the Alaska Railroad occurred 45 miles from Fairbanks and sent 11 to the hospital.

In the nation

• In 1775, a Continental naval fleet was organized in the rebellious American colonies.

• In 1807, Congress passed the Embargo Act, designed to force peace between Britain and France by cutting off all trade with Europe.

• In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman sent a message to President Lincoln: "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah."

• In 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington for a wartime conference with President Roosevelt.

• In 1963, an official 30-day mourning period following the assassination of President Kennedy came to an end.

• In 1984, New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shot four youths on a Manhattan subway, claiming they were about to rob him.

• In 1994, House Democrats chastised speaker-to-be Newt Gingrich for accepting a $4.5 million book advance from Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

• In 1999, President Clinton urged Americans not to panic despite enhanced security measures prompted by fears of terrorism. An Algerian accused of trying to smuggle nitroglycerin and other bomb-making materials into the United States from Canada pleaded innocent in Seattle to all five counts of a federal indictment. Ahmed Ressam was convicted in April 2001 of terrorist conspiracy and eight other charges. Two astronauts from the shuttle Discovery went on a spacewalk to replace broken instruments in the Hubble Space Telescope.

• In 2003, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit California's central coast, killing two people. A federal judge ruled the Pentagon couldn't enforce mandatory anthrax vaccinations for military personnel.

In the world

• In 1894, French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.

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