Today in History: Alaska formally becomes part of the USA in 1867

Today in History: Alaska formally becomes part of the USA in 1867

The United States had purchased the large and sparsely populated territory of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than two cents an acre. The purchase was not seen as a positive acquirement by many American citizens who believed that adding Alaska to the US’s territory was a waste of taxpayers’ money. Many called the act, Seward’s folly after Secretary of State William H. Seward, who was responsible for making the purchase. Alaska was admitted to the Union as a state in 1959. October 18 is annually celebrated as Alaska Day in Alaska.

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Today in History: Hoover Dam goes online in 1936

Today in History: Hoover Dam goes online in 1936

83 years ago today, the Hoover Dam went fully online and began generating electricity. Construction began in 1930 and lasted almost 6 years. A total of 21,000 men were needed to build the world’s largest dam of its time. The $49 million project is also one of the largest manmade structures in the world.

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Today in History: KLM formed in 1919

Today in History: KLM formed in 1919

The official airline of the Netherlands, Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V. or KLM, is the oldest airline that still operates under its original name. The first flight of the airline took place on May 17, 1920 between London and Amsterdam in a leased airplane.

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Today in History: Air France formed in 1933

Today in History: Air France formed in 1933

The French airline was formed 86 years ago today and this is always a great reason to show another example of Air France’s wonderful poster art, incl. this beautiful work from 1947.

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Today in History: First Flight around the World in 1924

Today in History: First Flight around the World in 1924

95 years ago today, the first flight around the world was completed by the Americans Lowell H. Smith and Erik H. Nelson: after 176 days (starting on April 6) they had covered some 25,180 miles (42,398 km) in 57 stages and landed where they initially took off, in Seattle, Washington. Before the two Americans, five other nations had attempted the circumnavigation of the globe but none of them completed their journeys. Originally, 4 American airplanes departed Seattle but only two of them completed the entire trip. In preparation for flight, The U.S. Navy helped deliver spare engines and thousands of gallons of fuel to various places around the world. The crews arrived back in the United States in early September and then made several stops in larger cities before returning to Seattle.

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Today in History: Sequoia National Park is established in 1890

Today in History: Sequoia National Park is established in 1890

The park, situated in the southern Sierra Nevada in the state of California is famous for its giant sequoia trees,  including the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world.

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History: Concorde slashes Atlantic flight time in 1973

History: Concorde slashes Atlantic flight time in  1973

On this day, the Concorde made its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time. The French model of the supersonic airliner flew from the US capital, Washington, to Orly airport in Paris in three hours 32 minutes.

Concorde began commercial flights in January 1976 with London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio services. Regular flights to the US did not start for another three years as American aviation authorities were not willing to allow the plane to land at their airports. Concorde had an almost unblemished safety record until 25 July 2000, when an Air France model built in 1975 crashed shortly after taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. All 109 people on board were killed and there were also four fatalities on the ground. All Concordes were grounded while a full investigation took place and flights did not resume until November 2001. In April 2003 British Airways and Air France announced the plane would be retired due to falling passenger revenue and rising maintenance costs. Concorde’s final commercial flight was on 23 October 2003.

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