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5 Fun Facts About May 24 In Alaska History

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1. In 1844, the Russian-American Company, which had governed Alaska for over 70 years, officially declared the establishment of the town of Sitka on May 24. Sitka would serve as the capital of the Alaska Territory when it was purchased by the United States in 1867.

2. On May 24, 1922, the USS Peary, a destroyer stationed in Alaska, successfully rescued five stranded members of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition who had been stranded on an ice floe for six months. The rescue was hailed as a heroic feat of navigation and survival.

3. In 1941, the first flight of the Lend-Lease program took place on May 24, when a plane loaded with supplies for the Soviet Union departed from Alaska en route to Siberia. The program would run throughout World War II, providing crucial war materials to allied nations.

4. May 24, 1989 marked the day that the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound. The spill was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, spilling over 10 million gallons of crude oil into the pristine waters of Alaska.

5. In 2006, on May 24, Mount Cleveland, an active volcano in the Aleutian Islands, erupted for the first time in over 10 years. The eruption was relatively small, but it served as a reminder of the active and dynamic nature of Alaska's geological landscape.
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