Today in History: Trans-Alaska oil pipeline completed in 1977

Today is Wednesday, May 31, the 151st day of 2017. There are 214 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 31, 1977, the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making despite objections from environmentalists and Alaska Natives, was completed. (The first oil began flowing through the pipeline 20 days later; today the pipeline carries an average of 1.8 million barrels of oil a day, according to the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers website.)

On this date:

In 1790, President George Washington signed into law the first U.S. copyright act.

In 1889, some 2,200 people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, perished when the South Fork Dam collapsed, sending 20 million tons of water rushing through the town.

In 1910, the Union of South Africa was founded.

In 1916, during World War I, British and German fleets fought the naval Battle of Jutland off Denmark; there was no clear-cut victor, although the British suffered heavier losses.

In 1935, movie studio 20th Century Fox was created through a merger of the Fox Film Corp. and Twentieth Century Pictures.

In 1949, former State Department official and accused spy Alger Hiss went on trial in New York, charged with perjury (the jury deadlocked, but Hiss was convicted in a second trial).

In 1961, South Africa became an independent republic as it withdrew from the British Commonwealth.

In 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust.

In 1970, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Peru claimed an estimated 67,000 lives.

In 1985, 88 people were killed, more than 1,000 injured, when 41 tornadoes swept through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Ontario, Canada, during an 8-hour period.

In 1994, the United States announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.

In 2005, breaking a silence of 30 years, former FBI official W. Mark Felt stepped forward as “Deep Throat,” the secret Washington Post source during the Watergate scandal.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, under international pressure to take tough action against global warming, called for a world summit to set a long-term global strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In a breach of security, detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared on the website of the architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush attended the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Five years ago: Democrat John Edwards’ campaign finance fraud case ended in a mistrial when jurors in Greensboro, North Carolina, acquitted him on one of six charges but were unable to decide whether he’d misused money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress while he ran for president. (Prosecutors declined to retry Edwards on the five unresolved counts.) President Barack Obama welcomed his predecessor back to the White House for the unveiling of the official portraits of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush.