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March 27, 2014

Today in History for Thursday, March 27, 2014

-- — Today is Thursday, March 27, the 86th day of 2014. There are 279 days left in the year.

Highlight in History

On March 27, 1964, a Good Friday, Alaska was hit by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake (the strongest on record in North America) and tsunamis that together claimed about 130 lives.

On this date

In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon (hwahn pahns duh LEE’-ohn) sighted present-day Florida.

In 1625, Charles I acceded to the English throne upon the death of James I.

In 1794, Congress approved “An Act to provide a Naval Armament” of six armed ships.

In 1884, the first telephone line between Boston and New York was inaugurated.

In 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Viscountess Chinda, planted in Washington the first two of 3,000 cherry trees given as a gift by the mayor of Tokyo.

In 1933, Japan officially withdrew from the League of Nations.

In 1942, American servicemen were granted free mailing privileges.

In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.

In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (gah-GAH’-rihn), the first man to orbit the Earth, died in a plane crash.

In 1977, 583 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on the Canary Island of Tenerife (ten-uh-REEF’).

In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm.

In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Viagra, made by Pfizer, saying it had helped about two-thirds of impotent men improve their sexual function.

Ten years ago

Nearly half a million people surrounded Taiwan’s presidential office and blocked major streets to protest their country’s disputed presidential election. Shizuka Arakawa of Japan was the surprise winner at the women’s world figure skating championships in Dortmund, Germany; Americans Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan placed second and third.

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