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5 Fun Facts About January 19 In Alaska History

---Learn Every Day: AK Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ak To: 618-270-4005---

1. On January 19, 1968, the oil tanker SS Manhattan made history by becoming the first vessel to transit the Northwest Passage, a sea route that had eluded explorers and mariners for centuries. The Manhattan was escorted by icebreakers from the US and Canadian governments and demonstrated the growing interest in using Arctic waters for commercial shipping.

2. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a grueling 1000-mile race through the Alaskan wilderness, kicked off on January 19, 1973, with a ceremonial run in Anchorage. The race commemorates the historic serum run of 1925, when a relay of dog sled teams delivered diphtheria antitoxin to the remote town of Nome, Alaska, saving countless lives.

3. On January 19, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground on Bligh Reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in US history. The resulting oil spill killed thousands of birds, fish, and other wildlife and caused long-lasting damage to the region's ecosystem.

4. In 2019, on January 19, a powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near Anchorage, Alaska, causing widespread damage to buildings, roads, and infrastructure. Despite the intensity of the quake, there were no fatalities reported.

5. January 19 is also celebrated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, in honor of the civil rights leader and his contributions to racial equality and social justice. In Alaska, King's legacy is commemorated with public gatherings, speeches, and events that bring together people of all races and backgrounds to honor his message of peace and unity.
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