Today in history – Alaska bought, Edison dies, Mason/Dixon line drawn

So many interesting events in history on this date – picking out just a few interesting is tough. So we’ll cover the purchase of Alaska, the death of Thomas Edison, and the drawing of the Mason/Dixon line. As always, information gathered from The History Channel’s Today in History section.

On Alaska:

On this day in 1867, the U.S. formally takes possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than 2 cents an acre. The Alaska purchase comprised 586,412 square miles, about twice the size of Texas, and was championed by William Henry Seward, the enthusiastically expansionist secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson.

On Mason and Dixon. And honestly, this was the most interesting bit to me in the history listing for today. I had no idea that line came about because a bunch of rich people were arguing over whose land was whose.

On this day in 1767, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete their survey of the boundary between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as areas that would eventually become the states of Delaware and West Virginia. The Penn and Calvert families had hired Mason and Dixon, English surveyors, to settle their dispute over the boundary between their two proprietary colonies, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

And finally, on Edison:

Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors in history, dies in West Orange, New Jersey, at the age of 84.

Born in Milan, Ohio, in 1847, Edison received little formal schooling, which was customary for most Americans at the time. He developed serious hearing problems at an early age, and this disability provided the motivation for many of his inventions.

. . .

Perhaps his greatest contribution to the modern industrial world came from his work in electricity. He developed a complete electrical distribution system for light and power, set up the world’s first power plant in New York City, and invented the alkaline battery, the first electric railroad, and a host of other inventions that laid the basis for the modern electric world. He continued to work into his 80s and acquired 1,093 patents in his lifetime. He died at his home in New Jersey on October 18, 1931.

[tags]Today in History, Edison’s death, Acquiring Alaska, About Mason and Dixon and their famous line[/tags]