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United States

This tag is associated with 161 posts

February 3, 1998 – US Marine jet severed ski-lift cable in Italy


On February 3, 1998, a U.S. Marine jet flying low over the town of Cavalese in the Italian Alps severed a ski-lift cable, sending a tram crashing to the ground and killing 20 people. Cavalese is located in the Dolomite Mountains, about 20 miles northeast of Trento, Italy. In 1976, 42 people there, including 15 … Continue reading

February 2, 1812 – Russians established Fort Ross in California


Staking a tenuous claim to the riches of the Far West, Russians established Fort Ross on the coast north of San Francisco. As a growing empire with a long Pacific coastline, Russia was in many ways well positioned to play a leading role in the settlement and development of the West. The Russians had begun … Continue reading

January 31, 1950 – Truman announced development of H-bomb


On June 31, 1950, U.S. President Harry S. Truman publicly announced his decision to support the development of the hydrogen bomb, a weapon theorized to be hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. Five months earlier, the United States had lost its nuclear supremacy when the Soviet … Continue reading

January 28, 1986 – The space shuttle Challenger exploded after liftoff


At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Christa McAuliffe is on her way to becoming the first ordinary U.S. civilian to travel into space. McAuliffe, a 37-year-old high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire, won a competition that earned her a place among the seven-member crew … Continue reading

January 23, 1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell becomes first woman in US to receive a medical degree


At a graduation ceremony at a church in Geneva, New York on January 23, 1849, Geneva Medical College bestows a medical degree upon Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to receive one. Despite the near-uniform opposition of her fellow students and medical professionals, Blackwell pursued her calling with an iron will and dedicated … Continue reading

January 20, 1981 – Iran Hostage Crisis ended


Minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, the 52 U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran, were released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis. On November 4, 1979, the crisis began when militant Iranian students, outraged that the U.S. government had allowed the ousted shah of Iran to travel … Continue reading

January 5, 1933 – Golden Gate Bridge is born


On January 5, 1933, construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages. Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, a plan … Continue reading

January 4, 1965 – L.B.J. envisions a Great Society in his State of the Union address


On January 4, 1965, in his State of the Union address, President Lyndon Baines Johnson lays out for Congress a laundry list of legislation needed to achieve his plan for a Great Society. On the heels of John F. Kennedy’s tragic death, Americans had elected Johnson, his vice president, to the presidency by the largest popular vote in the … Continue reading

January 1, 1863 – Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation


On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation. Attempting to stitch together a nation mired in a bloody civil war, Abraham Lincoln made a last-ditch, but carefully calculated, decision regarding the institution of slavery in America. By the end of 1862, things were not looking good for the Union.  The Confederate Army had overcome Union troops in significant battles … Continue reading

December 31, 1999 – Panama Canal turned over to Panama


On December 31, 1999, the United States, in accordance with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, officially hands over control of the Panama Canal, putting the strategic waterway into Panamanian hands for the first time. Crowds of Panamanians celebrated the transfer of the 50-mile canal, which links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and officially opened when the SS Arcon … Continue reading

December 21, 1988 – Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland


On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members aboard, as well as 11 Lockerbie residents on the ground. A bomb hidden inside an audio cassette player detonated in the cargo area when the plane was at an altitude … Continue reading

December 18, 1865 – Slavery abolished in America with adoption of 13th Amendment


Following its ratification by the requisite three-quarters of the states earlier in the month, the 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Before the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and other leaders of the anti-slavery Republican Party sought not to … Continue reading

December 17, 1903 – The Wright brothers make the first sustained, controlled flights in a powered aircraft.


Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight. Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in aviation after learning of … Continue reading

December 16, 1773 – The Boston Tea Party


In Boston Harbor, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three British tea ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor. The midnight raid, popularly known as the “Boston Tea Party,” was in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by … Continue reading

December 13, 1925 – Dick Van Dyke, American actor, singer, and dancer was born


Richard Wayne Van Dyke was born on December 13, 1925 in West Plains, Missouri. He went on to become an actor, comedian, writer, singer, and dancer, whose award-winning career has spanned seven decades. He grew up in Danville, Illinois. His family line traces back to Mayflower passenger John Alden.He is the older brother of actor Gerry Van Dyke. His … Continue reading

December 12, 1953 – Charles (Chuck) Yeager becomes the first person to travel two and a half times the speed of sound


Charles Elwood “Chuck” Yeager was born on 13 February 1923 in Myra, West Virginia. After joining the army at age 16 and training as an aircraft mechanic, he was then selected for flight training. His service record during WWII was impeccable, becoming an “ace-in-a-day” after shooting down five enemy aircraft in a single mission. Yeager … Continue reading

December 9, 1941 – Australia formally declares war on Japan


On the morning of 7 December 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. This one act changed the direction of World War II. Despite the success of the Japanese in their aim of crippling the US navy, the … Continue reading

December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor bombed


At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow … Continue reading

December 6, 1907 – 361 miners are killed in the US’s worst coal mining disaster


West Virginia, USA, once had the reputation for the highest mine death rate of any of the states. Large scale coal operations began in Marion County, WV, in the 1880s. Between 1890 and 1912, regulation of mining conditions in West Virginia was poor, and the state’s mining industry saw numerous deadly coal mining accidents. The … Continue reading

December 1, 1955 – Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man


Rosa Parks’ stand off with an Alabama bus driver in 1955 turned into a wider movement that fought against segregation and inequality. African-Americans had wilfully violated the segregation of public transport before Rosa Parks, even in her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, where 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested nine months earlier for the same crime of … Continue reading

November 26, 1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes modern Thanksgiving holiday


President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. The tradition of celebrating the holiday on Thursday dates back to the early history of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as “Lecture Day,” a midweek church meeting where topical sermons were presented. … Continue reading

November 23, 1936 – First issue of “Life” is published


On November 23, 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published, featuring a cover photo of the Fort Peck Dam’s spillway by Margaret Bourke-White. Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous … Continue reading

November 22, 1963 – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated


John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on … Continue reading

November 19, 1863 – Abraham Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address


On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In fewer than 275 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg, fought … Continue reading

November 13, 1982 – Vietnam Veterans Memorial Dedicated in US


Near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C. after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in … Continue reading

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