Posts Tagged ‘Alaska

30
Mar
09

On This Day, March 30: Alaska

March 30, 1867

Seward’s Folly

U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s folly,” “Seward’s icebox,” and President Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden.”

The czarist government of Russia, which had established a presence in Alaska in the mid-18th century, first approached the United States about selling the territory during the administration of President James Buchanan, but negotiations were stalled by the outbreak of the Civil War. After 1865, Seward, a supporter of territorial expansion, was eager to acquire the tremendous landmass of Alaska, an area roughly one-fifth the size of the rest of the United States. He had some difficulty, however, making the case for the purchase of Alaska before the Senate, which ratified the treaty by a margin of just one vote on April 9, 1867. Six months later, Alaska was formally handed over from Russia to the United States. Despite a slow start in U.S. settlement, the discovery of gold in 1898 brought a rapid influx of people to the territory, and Alaska, rich in natural resources, has contributed to American prosperity ever since.

“Seward’s Folly.” 2009. The History Channel website. 30 Mar 2009, 05:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4875.

On This Day

1533 – Henry VIII divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

1814 – The allied European nations against Napoleon marched into Paris.

1822 – Florida became a U.S. territory.

1855 – About 5,000 “Border Ruffians” from western Missouri invaded the territory of Kansas and forced the election of a pro-slavery legislature. It was the first election in Kansas.

1870 – Texas was readmitted to the Union.

1905 – U.S. President Roosevelt was chosen to mediate in the Russo-Japanese peace talks.

1941 – The German Afrika Korps under General Erwin Rommel began its first offensive against British forces in Libya.

1950 – U.S. President Truman denounced Senator Joe McCarthy as a saboteur of U.S. foreign policy.

1972 – The British government assumed direct rule over Northern Ireland.

1981 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded in Washington, DC, by John W. Hinckley Jr. Two police officers and Press Secretary James Brady were also wounded.

March 30, 1870

15th Amendment adopted

Following its ratification by the requisite three-fourths of the states, the 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution. Passed by Congress the year before, the amendment reads, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” One day after it was adopted, Thomas Peterson-Mundy of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, became the first African American to vote under the authority of the 15th Amendment.

In 1867, the Republican-dominated Congress passed the First Reconstruction Act, over President Andrew Johnson’s veto, dividing the South into five military districts and outlining how new governments based on universal manhood suffrage were to be established. With the adoption of the 15th Amendment in 1870, a politically mobilized African-American community joined with white allies in the Southern states to elect the Republican Party to power, which brought about radical changes across the South. By late 1870, all the former Confederate states had been readmitted to the Union, and most were controlled by the Republican Party, thanks to the support of African-American voters.

In the same year, Hiram Rhoades Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, became the first African American ever to sit in Congress. Although African-American Republicans never obtained political office in proportion to their overwhelming electoral majority, Revels and a dozen other African-American men served in Congress during Reconstruction, more than 600 served in state legislatures, and many more held local offices. However, in the late 1870s, the Southern Republican Party vanished with the end of Reconstruction, and Southern state governments effectively nullified the 14th and 15th Amendments, stripping Southern African Americans of the right to vote. It would be nearly a century before the nation would again attempt to establish equal rights for African Americans in the South.

“15th Amendment adopted.” 2009. The History Channel website. 30 Mar 2009, 05:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4876.

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27
Mar
09

On This Day, March 27: Alaskan Earthquake

March 27, 1964

Earthquake rocks Alaska

The strongest earthquake in American history, measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale, slams southern Alaska, creating a deadly tsunami. Some 125 people were killed and thousands injured.

The massive earthquake had its epicenter in the Prince William Sound, about eight miles northeast of Anchorage, but approximately 300,000 square miles of U.S., Canadian, and international territory were affected. Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, sustained the most property damage, with about 30 blocks of dwellings and commercial buildings damaged or destroyed in the downtown area. Fifteen people were killed or fatally injured as a direct result of the three-minute quake, and then the ensuing tsunami killed another 110 people. The tidal wave, which measured over 100 feet at points, devastated towns along the Gulf of Alaska and caused carnage in British Columbia, Canada; Hawaii; and the West Coast of the United States, where 15 people died. Total property damage was estimated in excess of $400 million. The day after the quake, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Alaska an official disaster area.

“Earthquake rocks Alaska.” 2009. The History Channel website. 27 Mar 2009, 04:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4868.

On This Day

1794 – The U.S. Congress and President Washington authorized the creation of the U.S. Navy.

1814 – U.S. troops under Gen. Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek Indians at Horshoe Bend in Northern Alabama.

1836 – The Mexican army massacred about 400 Texan rebels at Goliad, TX, under the order of Santa Anna.

1866 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson vetoed the civil rights bill, which later became the 14th amendment.

1901 – Filipino rebel leader Emilio Aguinaldo was captured by the U.S.

1904 – Mary Jarris “Mother” Jones was ordered by Colorado state authorities to leave the state. She was accused of stirring up striking coal miners.

1941 – Tokeo Yoshikawa arrived in Oahu, HI, and began spying for Japan on the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

1958 – Nikita Khrushchev became the chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.

1958 – The U.S. announced a plan to explore space near the moon.

1968 – Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth, died in a plane crash.

2004 – NASA successfully launched an unpiloted X-43A jet that hit Mach 7 (about 5,000 mph).

March 27, 1865

Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant meet

President Lincoln meets with Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman at City Point, Virginia, to plot the last stages of the war.

Lincoln came to Virginia just as Grant was preparing to attack Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s lines around Petersburg and Richmond, an assault that promised to end the siege that had dragged on for 10 months. Meanwhile, Sherman’s force was steamrolling northward through the Carolinas. The three architects of Union victory met for the first time as a group–Sherman and Lincoln had never met–to plot the final destruction of the Confederacy.

Lincoln came to Grant’s headquarters at City Point at the general-in-chief’s request. Lincoln boarded the River Queen with his wife Mary and son Tad on March 23, and the first family had a hectic visit. Lincoln went to the Petersburg lines and witnessed a Union bombardment and a small skirmish. He also reviewed troops, visited wounded soldiers, and then met with Grant and Sherman. Sherman had traveled from Goldsboro, North Carolina, to the coast before catching a steamer to Virginia. During the meeting, Lincoln expressed his concern that that Confederate armies might slip away. He was worried that Lee might escape Petersburg and flee to North Carolina, where he could join forces with Joseph Johnston to forge a new Confederate army that could continue the war for months. Grant and Sherman confidently assured the president that the end was in sight. Lincoln emphasized to his generals that any surrender terms must preserve the Union war aims of emancipation and a pledge of equality for the freed slaves.

After meeting the next day with Admiral David Dixon Porter, the three went their separate ways. In less than four weeks, Grant and Sherman had secured the surrender of the Confederacy.

“Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant meet.” 2009. The History Channel website. 27 Mar 2009, 04:37 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2148.

20
Jun
08

On This Day, 6-20-08: West Virginia

Oil flows in Alaska

With a flip of a switch in Prudhoe Bay, crude oil from the nation’s largest oil field begins flowing south down the Trans-Alaska pipeline to the ice-free port of Valdez, Alaska. The steel pipeline, 48 inches in diameter, winds through 800 miles of Alaskan wilderness, crossing three Arctic mountain ranges and hundreds of rivers and streams. Environmentalists fought to prevent its construction, saying it would destroy a pristine ecosystem, but they were ultimately overruled by Congress, who saw it as a way of lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil. The Trans-Alaska pipeline was the world’s largest privately funded construction project to that date, costing $8 billion and taking three years to build.

“Oil flows in Alaska.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jun 2008, 07:50 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6934.

 

0451 – Roman and Barbarian warriors brought Attila’s army to a halt at the Catalaunian Plains in eastern France.

1782 – The U.S. Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States.

1791 – King Louis XVI of France was captured while attempting to flee the country in the so-called Flight to Varennes.

1793 – Eli Whitney applied for a cotton gin patent. He received the patent on March 14. The cotton gin initiated the American mass-production concept.

1898 – The U.S. Navy seized the island of Guam enroute to the Philippines to fight the Spanish.

1923 – France announced it would seize the Rhineland to assist Germany in paying its war debts.

1941 – The U.S. Army Air Force was established, replacing the Army Air Corps.

1943 – Race-related rioting erupted in Detroit. Federal troops were sent in two days later to end the violence that left more than 30 dead.

1955 – The AFL and CIO agreed to combine names and a merge into a single group.

1967 – Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.

1997 – The tobacco industry agreed to a massive settlement in exchange for major relief from mounting lawsuits and legal bills.

 

West Virginia enters the Union

During the Civil War, West Virginia is admitted into the Union as the 35th U.S. state, or the 24th state if the secession of the 11 Southern states were taken into account. The same day, Arthur Boreman was inaugurated as West Virginia’s first state governor.

When Virginia voted to secede after the outbreak of the Civil War, the majority of West Virginians opposed the secession. Delegates met at Wheeling, and on June 11, 1861, nullified the Virginian ordinance of secession and proclaimed “The Restored Government of Virginia,” headed by Francis Pierpont. Confederate forces occupied a portion of West Virginia during the war, but West Virginian statehood was nonetheless approved in a referendum and a state constitution drawn up. In April 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the admission of West Virginia into the Union effective June 20, 1863.

“West Virginia enters the Union.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jun 2008, 07:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5109.

United States and Soviet Union will establish a “hot line”

To lessen the threat of an accidental nuclear war, the United States and the Soviet Union agree to establish a “hot line” communication system between the two nations. The agreement was a small step in reducing tensions between the United States and the USSR following the October 1962 Missile Crisis in Cuba, which had brought the two nations to the brink of nuclear war.

“United States and Soviet Union will establish a “hot line”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jun 2008, 07:53 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2704.

30
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-30-08: 15th Amendment

Japanese set up puppet regime at Nanking

On this day, Japan establishes its own government in conquered Nanking, the former capital of Nationalist China.

In 1937, Japan drummed up a rationale for war against Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist China (claiming Chinese troops attacked Japanese troops on maneuvers in a so-called “autonomous” region of China) and invaded northeastern China, bombing Shanghai and carving out a new state, Manchukuo.

Money and supplies poured into Free China from the United States, Britain, and France, until the Burma Road, which permitted free passage of goods into China from the West, was closed after a Japanese invasion of Indochina. Making matters more difficult, Chiang was forced to fight on two fronts: one against the Japanese (with U.S. help in the person of Gen. Joseph Stillwell, Chiang’s chief of staff), and another against his ongoing political nemesis, the Chinese Communists, led by Mao Tse-tung. (Although the United States advised concentrating on the Japanese first as the pre-eminent threat, Chiang was slow to listen.)

The Japanese proceeded to prosecute a war of terror in Manchukuo. With the capture of Nanking (formerly the Nationalist Chinese capital, which was now relocated to Chungking) by the Central China Front Army in December 1937, atrocities virtually unparalleled commenced. The army, under orders of its commander, Gen. Matsui Iwane, carried out the mass execution of more than 50,000 civilians, as well as tens of thousands of rapes. Nanking and surrounding areas were burned and looted, with one-third of its buildings utterly destroyed. The “Rape of Nanking” galvanized Western animus against the Japanese.

On March 30, 1940, Nanking was declared by the Japanese to be the center of a new Chinese government, a regime controlled by Wang Ching-wei, a defector from the Nationalist cause and now a Japanese puppet.

“Japanese set up puppet regime at Nanking.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Mar 2008, 02:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6758.

1492 – King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella signed a decree expelling all Jews from Spain.

1533 – Henry VIII divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

1814 – The allied European nations against Napoleon marched into Paris.

1867 – The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars.

1870 – Texas was readmitted to the Union.

1905 – U.S. President Roosevelt was chosen to mediate in the Russo-Japanese peace talks.

1950 – U.S. President Truman denounced Senator Joe McCarthy as a saboteur of U.S. foreign policy.

1972 – The Eastertide Offensive began when North Vietnamese troops crossed into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the northern portion of South Vietnam.

1993 – In the Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown hit his first home run.

1998 – Rolls-Royce was purchased by BMW in a $570 million deal.

King George endorses New England Restraining Act

Hoping to keep the New England colonies dependent on the British, King George III formally endorses the New England Restraining Act on this day in 1775. The New England Restraining Act required New England colonies to trade exclusively with Great Britain as of July 1. An additional rule would come into effect on July 20, banning colonists from fishing in the North Atlantic.

“King George endorses New England Restraining Act.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Mar 2008, 02:15 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=326.

15th Amendment adopted

Following its ratification by the requisite three-fourths of the states, the 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution. Passed by Congress the year before, the amendment reads, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” One day after it was adopted, Thomas Peterson-Mundy of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, became the first African American to vote under the authority of the 15th Amendment.

“15th Amendment adopted.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Mar 2008, 02:16 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4876.

President Reagan shot

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by a deranged drifter named John Hinckley Jr.

The president had just finished addressing a labor meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel and was walking with his entourage to his limousine when Hinckley, standing among a group of reporters, fired six shots at the president, hitting Reagan and three of his attendants. White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and critically wounded, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the side, and District of Columbia policeman Thomas Delahaney was shot in the neck. After firing the shots, Hinckley was overpowered and pinned against a wall, and President Reagan, apparently unaware that he’d been shot, was shoved into his limousine by a Secret Service agent and rushed to the hospital.

“President Reagan shot.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Mar 2008, 02:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6852.

22
Feb
08

On This Day, 2-22-08: Popcorn

1630 – Quadequine introduced popcorn to English colonists at their first Thanksgiving dinner.

1819 – Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

1855 – The U.S. Congress voted to appropriate $200,000 for continuance of the work on the Washington Monument. The next morning the resolution was tabled and it would be 21 years before the Congress would vote on funds again. Work was continued by the Know-Nothing Party in charge of the project.

1859 – U.S. President Buchanan approved the Act of February 22, 1859, which incorporated the Washington National Monument Society “for the purpose of completing the erection now in progress of a great National Monument to the memory of Washington at the seat of the Federal Government.”

1860 – Organized baseball’s first game was played in San Francisco, CA.

1865 – In the U.S., Tennessee adopted a new constitution that abolished slavery.

1879 – In Utica, NY, Frank W. Woolworth opened his first 5 and 10-cent store.

1885 – The Washington Monument was officially dedicated in Washington, DC. It opened to the public in 1889.

1924 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge delivered the first presidential radio broadcast from the White House.

1956 – Elvis Presley entered the music charts for the first time. “Heartbreak Hotel” began its climb to the number one spot on the pop listing, reaching the top on April 11, 1956. It stayed at the top for eight weeks.

1973 – The U.S. and Communist China agreed to establish liaison offices.

1984 – The U.S. Census Bureau statistics showed that the state of Alaska was the fastest growing state of the decade with an increase in population of 19.2 percent.

1997 – Scottish scientist Ian Wilmut and colleagues announced that an adult sheep had been successfully cloned. Dolly, the first cloned sheep to be born was born in July 1996.

History that pops
The love of popcorn is nothing new. The history of popcorn consumption stretches back more than 5,000 years. Archaeologists and researchers believe that popcorn is the oldest of a group of five sweet corns that include Indian corn, pod corn, sweet corn and field corn. Popcorn was a new world food, originally grown in Mexico — popcorn ears, more than 5,600 years old, were found in the Bat Cave in New Mexico half a century ago — before spreading globally through India, China and Sumatra long before the first European explorers reached U.S. shores.

Originally throwing it on sizzling hot stones placed over an open fire was the method for popping corn. With no way to contain it, the popcorn would explode in various directions and anyone who wanted to eat it had to find it first.

Native Americans popped corn 2,000 years ago and Christopher Columbus observed West Indian natives wearing popcorn corsages. Popcorn also was used to decorate ceremonial headdresses and enterprising Native Americans sold popcorn to Columbus’s sailors.

Popcorn that is over 1,000 years old was discovered on the east coast of Peru. Preserved by the Peruvian Indians, this popcorn still pops a millennium or so later.

The Aztecs, according to (???????) Cortez, used popcorn to decorate their ceremonial garb as a symbol of goodwill and peace. The Aztecs also fashioned necklaces and other ornaments from popcorn to place on the statues of their deities, particularly that of the god Tialoc who represented rain, fertility and maize.

Ways of popping corn differed over the years. Eschewing throwing kernels on hot slabs, the Iroquois, in the 17th century, popped their corn in pottery containing heated sand. Other ancient poppers were made of soapstone, pottery and metal, some with tripod legs and some large clay containers with lids designed to be set right in the fire.

Popcorn was served at the first Thanksgiving feast, bought to the Pilgrims by Quadequine, a brother of Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe.
Colonials loved the dish so much, they used to serve it with sugar and cream for breakfast. Popcorn carts, invented in 1885, were so popular that crowds would follow them down the streets, watching the kernels develop.

And popcorn still is one of the most popular snacks. According to popcorn.org, over 17 billion quarts are consumed a year, with the average American eating approximately 59 quarts per person annually.

http://www.nwitimes.com/articles/2004/10/25/features/food/33a13ba2c668daf886256f31006a139e.txt




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