On Jan. 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state as President Dwight Eisenhower signed a proclamation.
On this date:
In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X.
In 1777, Gen. George Washington's army routed the British in the Battle of Princeton, N.J.
In 1861, more than two weeks before Georgia seceded from the Union, the state militia seized Fort Pulaski at the order of Gov. Joseph Brown. The Delaware House and Senate voted to oppose secession from the Union.
In 1870, groundbreaking took place for the Brooklyn Bridge.
In 1911, the first postal savings banks were opened by the U.S. Post Office. (The banks were abolished in 1966.)
In 1938, the March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was established by President Franklin Roosevelt, who himself had been afflicted with the crippling disease.
In 1949, in a pair of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court said that states had the right to ban closed shops.
In 1967, Jack Ruby, the man who shot and killed presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, died in a Dallas hospital.
Ten years ago: A Boeing 737 owned by Egyptian charter tour operator Flash Airlines crashed into the Red Sea, killing all 148 people aboard, most of them French tourists.
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