Celebrations Today – March 30
Holidays and observances
- Christian feast day:
- Earliest day on which the first day of Hocktide can fall, while April 3 is the latest; observed on the second Monday after Easter. (Hungerford, England; popular in medieval England)
- Land Day (Palestine)
- National Doctors’ Day (United States)
- Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Liberation Day (Trinidad and Tobago)
Celebrations Today – USA: March 30
National Doctors Day
National I Am in Control Day
National Pencil Day
National Take a Walk in the Park Day
National Turkey Neck Soup Day
National Knights of Columbus Founders Day
National Smoke and Mirrors Day
National Texas Love the Children Day
National Vietnam Veterans Day
Today in US History: March 30
Secretary of State William H. Seward,
Brady National Photographic Art Gallery (Washington, D.C.), photographer, circa 1860-1865.
Selected Civil War Photographs
On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward agreed to purchase Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars. Critics attacked Seward for the secrecy surrounding the deal, which came to be known as “Seward’s folly.” The press mocked his willingness to spend so much on “Seward’s icebox” and Andrew Johnson‘s “polar bear garden.”
Under the aegis of explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering, Russia established a presence in Alaska in the early eighteenth century. Russia initially approached the United States about selling the territory during President James Buchanan‘s administration, but the Civil War stalled negotiations. Seward, secretary of state under presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, supported American expansion and was eager to acquire Alaska. However, convincing skeptics that Alaska was an important addition to the United States was a challenge. Thanks to strong support by Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, then chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate approved the treaty by a vote of 37-2 on April 9, 1867. Nonetheless, the appropriation of money needed to purchase Alaska was delayed by more than a year due to opposition in the House of Representatives. The House finally approved the appropriation on July 14, 1868, by a vote of 113-48.
The discovery of gold in the late 1890s increased Alaska’s value as a U.S. possession and boosted its population. In 1912, the region was granted territorial status. During World War II, Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands of Agattu, Attu, and Kiska in 1942. Although the islands were retaken by U.S. troops within a year, the threat to Alaska prompted the construction of the Alcan Highway and an increased military presence in the region.
Alaskans approved statehood in 1946 and adopted a state constitution in 1955. On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower announced Alaska’s entrance into the Union as the 49th state.
Seward, Alaska, 1915.
Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991
The town of Seward, Alaska, located on the Kenai Peninsula at the head of Resurrection Bay, was founded in 1903 as a supply base for the construction of a railway to the Yukon Valley.
- Read “The Lure of Gold,” an American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940 interview with an Alaska gold rush prospector.
- To find federal legislation, proclamations, and other documents concerning the early history of Alaska, search on Alaska in The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920. This search will retrieve another gem: The Harriman Alaska Expedition: Chronicles and Souvenirs May to August 1899, with photographs by Edward S. Curtis, paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, notes on the region’s indigenous trees from pioneering forester Bernhard E. Fernow, and essays by conservationists George B. Grinnell, John Burroughs, and John Muir.
- View the Library of Congress exhibition In the Beginning Was the Word: The Russian Church and Native Alaskan Cultures.
- Explore Meeting of Frontiers, a bilingual, multimedia English-Russian digital library that tells the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West, the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
Today in History – March 30-External Links
Today’s Weather in History
Today in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
Today’s Document from the National Archives
Today’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
Today in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – Today’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
Today in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia