1862 Billy Barker struck gold in western Canada. (See June 17th entry.)
1939 German-Russian non-aggression treaty was announced.
1951 Construction of the first nuclear submarine was ordered.
1959 The Hawaiian Islands achieved American statehood.
Aloha\ Today is the anniversary of Hawaii’s admission as the fiftieth state—and the first state outside the North American mainland. Even though Captain James Cook named the island group the Sandwich Islands after his mentor the Earl of Sandwich, it was the Americans who overtook the Hawaiian Islands, replacing the royal family with a territorial government. It took almost a century before the islands achieved statehood and the right to an electoral vote in Federal elections.
On this date in 1939, the Soviet Union (which had been claiming to be the only true opponent of Nazism) and Nazi Germany (which had set itself up as the prime enemy of Communism) announced that they had agreed to a ten-year non-aggression treaty. It was signed formally three days later. The so-called non-aggression treaty proved to be the fuse that ignited the Second World War. In no time, the Nazis and the Communists greedily divided Poland between them. Not too long afterward, they fought each other.
Back on this day in 1951, the U. S. ordered the construction of the first nuclear-powered submarine. The same power used in the atomic bombs during the Second World War was ordered to be harnessed as an alternative energy source.
A British canal man and sailor named Billy Barker struck gold in western Canada on this day in 1862. When Barker arrived in British Columbia’s northern Cariboo mountains, a few thousand other adventurers had already staked their claims in the 1856 gold rush. He couldn’t find a plot anywhere near the big veins that were already discovered, so he decided to try his hand below the canyon on Williams Creek. Other prospectors gathered to laugh at Billy’s folly, as he dug deeper and deeper. Fifty-two feet later, he struck one of the area’s richest finds. It was worth $600,000 when gold was worth only $20 an ounce. Billy went through his fortune fairly quickly. So he dug up another strike equally as rich a few miles south. But his beautiful second wife frittered that fortune away. In the end, Billy Barker died penniless.