Today in History

1718
New Orleans, Louisiana founded
1835
Life on the moon reported by New York Sun
1930
Academy Award winning actor Sean Connery born in Edinburgh, Scotland
1944
Allied forces liberate Paris
1950
President Truman orders US Army to seize control of the railroads to avert a strike
1954
Guitarist, singer and songwriter, Elvis Costello born Declan Patrick MacManus in London, England
1958
Film director Tim Burton born in Burbank, California
1961
Bob Hope Congressional Medal of Honor Society Entertainer's Award winner, Billy Ray Cyrus born in Flatwoods, Kentucky
1964
Actress Joanne Whalley born in Salford, England
291
BC
Poison gas was used in warfare by the Chinese.
383
Gratian, Roman Emperor, slain at Lugdunum
608
Boniface IV became Pope
716
Siege of Constantinople begins
1213
Archbishop Langton meets with the Barons and prelates of England and thus sets in motion the Magna Charta
1218
The fleet of the 5th Crusade finally breaks thru to Damietta
1248
King Louis IX of France and the 7th Crusade set out
1282
Death of St. Thomas de Cantilupe
1282
Death of St. Thomas of Hereford
1284
Birth of Edward II, King of England
1330
Death of Douglas, " The Good Sir James," in Spain
1346
Death of John "the Blind", King of Bohemia, at Crecy
1482
Death of Margaret, Queen to Henry VI of England
1530
Birth of Ivan IV "the Terrible," Czar of Russia born
1537
The Honourable Artillery Company chartered in England
1539
The Abbey of Glastonbury, England dissolved as Catholic institution
1558
Marriage of Francis II, King of France, to Mary, Queen of Scots
1560
Protestantism formally effected in Scotland
1580
Antonio, claimant to the Portuguese throne, routed by the Spanish
1609
Galileo presents his 30X telescope to the Venetian Senate
1635
Great Colonial Hurricane strikes New England
1664
Leids regent Johan van de Bergh born
1718
Hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana, with some of them settling in present-day New Orleans.
1718
ComposerJohann Jacob Rowalt born
1724
English painter of animals George Stubbs (House Frightened by Lion) born
1744
German philosopher, theologist and poet Johann G von Herder born
1758
Composer Franz Teyber born
1786
[Charles] Louis I, (Augustus), King of Bavaria born
1814
British forces destroyed the U.S. Library of Congress this day and all of the 3,000 books held there.
1819
Allan Pinkerton, founder of the private detective agency born
1823
Major General John Newton (Union volunteers), died in 1895 born
1825
Uruguay declared its independence from Brazil.
1830
An opera inspired a revolt when a Belgian crowd rioted against Dutch rule. They had just finished attending a performance of an opera by Auber about the revolution in Neopolitan times past.
1836
Author Bret (Francis) Harte (The Luck of Roaring Camp, The Outcasts of Poker Flat, How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar) born
1840
Joseph Gibbons of Albion, Michigan patented the seeding machine.
1841
Swiss surgeon Theodor Kocher, Thyroid specialist and winner of Nobel Prize in 1909. born
1845
Ludwig II, Known as the Mad king of Bavaria (1864-86) born
1846
French poetess Louise J Gautier born
1860
US actor George Fawcett (Intolerance) born
1870
Richard Wagner and Cosima Liszt were married in Lucerne, Switzerland. They had been living together for years and already had children. The marriage took place on the birthday of King Ludwig, the Bavarian monarch who had a crush on Wagner.
1875
Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim across the English Channel, traveling from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in 22 hours.
1910
Dancer-actress Ruby Keeler born
1913
Former US arms control director Eugene V. Rostow born
1916
The National Park Service was established within the Department of the Interior.
1916
Actor Van Johnson born
1917
Actor-producer Mel Ferrer born
1919
Former Alabama Governor George C. Wallace born
1920
The first airplane flight from New York to Alaska arrived in Nome.
1921
The United States signed a peace treaty with Germany.
1923
Game show host Monty Hall born
1925
Sleeping Car Porters Union founded and organized by A. Phillip Randolph.
1927
Althea Gibson, 1st black tennis champion (in a major event) born
1929
Graf Zeppelin passes over San Francisco, headed for Los Angeles after trans-Pacific voyage from Tokyo.
1930
Actor Sean Connery born
1930
Actor Page Johnson born
1931
Talk show host Regis Philbin born
1933
Actor Tom Skerritt born
1933
Jazz musician Wayne Shorter born
1936
Movie director Hugh Hudson born
1938
Actor David Canary born
1939
Movie director John Badham born
1941
Filmmaker Marshall Brickman born
1942
Rhythm-and-blues singer Walter Williams (The O'Jays) born
1943
US forces overran New Georgia in the Solomon Islands during World War Two.
1944
During World War Two, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation.
1944
Actor Anthony Heald born
1947
Actress Anne Archer born
1949
Actor John Savage born
1949
Rock singer-actor Gene Simmons born
1949
Country singer-musician Henry Paul (Blackhawk) born
1950
President Truman ordered the Army to seize control of the nation's railroads to avert a strike.
1951
Rock singer Rob Halford born
1954
Rock singer Eyvis Costello born
1958
Movie director Tim Burton born
1961
Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus born
1961
Actress Ally Walker ("Profiler") born
1962
Rock musician Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) born
1964
Actress Joanne Whalley-Kilmer born
1964
Actor Blair Underwood born
1964
The Beatles received a gold record for their hit single, A Hard Day's Night. It was the third gold record of the total of 18 they would receive.
1965
The Society for Investigation of Unexplained was founded.
1966
Rap DJ Terminator X (Public Enemy) born
1969
Country singer Jo Dee Messina born
1978
Actor Kel Mitchell born
1981
The US spacecraft "Voyager Two" came within 63,000 miles of Saturn's cloud cover, sending back pictures of and data about the ringed planet.
1985
Samantha Smith, the schoolgirl whose letter to Yuri V. Andropov resulted in her famous peace tour of the Soviet Union, was killed with her father in an airliner crash in Maine.
1987
Saudi Arabia denounced Iran's government as a "group of terrorists," and said its forces would deal firmly with any Iranian attempts to attack the Saudis' Muslim holy places or vast oil fields.
1988
In his sharpest attack yet on the Reagan administration's drug policies, Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis criticized US dealings with Panama's military leader, General Manuel Noriega, saying they were "criminal."
1989
Congressman Barney Frank, (D-Massachusetts), acknowledged hiring a male prostitute as a personal employee, then firing him after suspecting the aide was selling sex from Frank's apartment.
1990
The United Nations authorized military action to enforce a trade embargo imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait.
1991
Thousands of abortion foes rallied at a stadium in Wichita, Kansas, where six weeks of anti-abortion protests led by Operation Rescue resulted in more than 2,600 arrests.
1991
The Soviet republic of Byelorussia declared independence.
1991
Norway and Denmark formally recognized the independent Baltic republics.
1991
Carl Lewis ran a world-record 9.86 seconds in the 100-meter dash in Tokyo. That beat the previous record, 9.90, set by Leroy Burrell at the U.S. Championships two months earlier in New York City.
1992
Hurricane "Andrew" thrashed the Louisiana coast.
1992
President Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton appeared separately before the American Legion in Chicago; Bush cited his World War Two military service while Clinton sought to bury the controversy over his Vietnam-era draft status.
1992
Researchers reported that cigarette smoking significantly boosts the risk of developing cataracts, a leading cause of blindness.
1992
Right-wing extremists, egged on by Berlin residents, set fire to a hostel for Vietnamese asylum seekers during a third night of violence against foreigners.
1993
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time high of 3,652.09.
1993
The United States applied limited sanctions against China and Pakistan after concluding the Chinese had sold missile technology to the Pakistanis.
1993
Amy Biehl, a Fulbright scholar from Newport Beach, California, was slain by a mob in South Africa.
1993
Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in connection with a number of terrorists activities, including the bombing of the World Trade Center.
1994
The Senate passed a $30 billion crime bill, 61-38, handing a major victory to President Clinton, who praised what he called a bipartisan spirit among both Democrats and Republicans.
1995
Senator Bob Packwood, R-Oregon, reversed his position and called for public hearings in the sexual harassment allegations against him.
1995
Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu, safely back on U.S. soil after two months in Chinese detention, said the spying case against him was "all lies" and vowed to seek compensation from China.
1996
President Clinton began a whistlestop train trip in Huntington, West Virginia, that would take him to the Democratic national convention in Chicago.
1997
The tobacco industry agreed to an $11.3 billion settlement with the state of Florida.
1997
Dow Corning Corporation offered $2.4 billion to settle claims from more than 200,000 women with illnesses related to silicone breast implants.
1998
Retired Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell died in Richmond, Virginia, at age 90.
1999
The FBI, reversing itself after six years, admitted that its agents might have fired some potentially flammable tear gas canisters on the final day of the 1993 standoff with the Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas, but said it continued to believe law enforcement agents did not start the fire which engulfed the cult's compound.
2005
Winners of international postcard-sized art exhibit announced
2005
German Constitutional Court green-lights early elections call
2005
Next generation DVD format war nearing deadline
2005
Protestors want 'carnival not confrontation' at Forbes conference
2005
US satellite radio provider Sirius unveils portable player
2005
US televangelist Pat Robertson apologizes for assassination remark
2005
Brampton, Canada and Marikina, Philippines seeing double as cities twin
2005
Americans are getting fatter, not-for-profit's report finds
2005
Authorities search for victims of Peruvian air crash
2005
George H. W. Bush to attend Sydney CEO conference
2005
RTÉ's Eddie Hobbs attracts massive audience
2005
Canadian city announces first Studios of Brampton tour
2006
8th case of mad cow disease found in Canada
2006
Air New Zealand Screen Awards winners announced
2006
Israel buys nuclear capable subs
2006
Tony Blair's eldest son admitted to hospital
2006
NASA announces official search for the missing Apollo tapes
2006
Dutch Ambassador to India expresses regret following Schiphol false-alarm
2006
Biggest free music event in Europe back in Liverpool
2006
63% of Israelis want Olmert to quit
2006
Venezuelan President Chavez in Beijing to boost trade
2006
Bodies of Afghan boy, Canadian soldier returned
2006
Liberal MP resigns as deputy foreign affairs critic
2006
Nigerian troops allegedly burned down slums after soldier's killing
2006
Security scare prompts UK-US flight to divert
2006
Texas man foils burglary in Britain
2006
Tony Blair's eldest son released from hospital
2006
Fire brings down two domes of historical Russian cathedral
2006
Wife of adulterous Czech PM joins rival political party
2006
Italy to take command of UNIFIL
2006
Portugal formally commits to participate in UN's force
2007
Unidentified plane reportedly shot down in Kodori gorge
2007
Rumors say Cuban President Fidel Castro has died
2007
UK company "seriously considering" GPS tracking devices in school uniforms
2007
72 hour Australia wide ban on horse movements
2007
Explosions in Hyderabad, India
2007
South African cricket team in Zimbabwe - 2nd ODI
2007
Forest fires burn on in Greece; death toll nears 50
2007
Trains collide in Serbia, two dead
2007
Six more arrests made in search for killer of Rhys Jones
2007
Efforts to salvage Indonesian naval vessel grounded off Queensland, Australia hampered by stormy weather
2007
New Zealand ATM gives out double the money
2007
Malaysian newspaper suspended due to offensive Jesus picture
2007
Scottish Premier League: Celtic thump Hearts 5-0
2007
Quebec City mayor dies unexpectedly
2008
Margaret Thatcher suffering from dementia, says daughter
2008
Gladys Powers, last female veteran of World War I dies age 109
2008
Pastor Michael Guglielmucci admits his cancer was a hoax; Videos being removed from YouTube
2009
Women in South Africa advancing in fields of science and technology
2009
Tropical Storm Ignacio forms over the Pacific
2010
President of East Timor pardons rebels who shot him
2010
New Zealand scientist Graham Liggins dies aged 84
2010
Spanish newspaper co-founder Carlos Mendo dies aged 77
2010
Astronomers discover large exo-solar system
2011
Trapped journalists in Libya freed
2011
Apple executive Steve Jobs resigns
2011
UK electoral commission asked to investigate News International payoffs
2011
Japan nuclear disaster: areas to remain off-limits for decades
2012
Sierra Leone sends lone athlete for the nation's second ever Paralympic Games
2013
Soldiers in Syria reportedly 'suffocated' while seizing chemicals, weapons in Damascus suburb

In the early days of Unix, a date-tagged list of historical events was used by system administrators to add some interest to the system's Message of the Day. Whenever users logged in they would be presented with the latest system notices, perhaps some mildly amusing quotes and one or two lines of historical events, based on the current date.

Today in History (UNIX calendar) uses some of the entries from the original library but is updated with current events as well. Instead of plain text, each entry is now formatted in HTML and each day may include one or more icons of historical figures or celebrities.

Other things unique to the UNIX calendar are references to dates found in fictional literature such as Lord of the Rings, perhaps undue emphasis on people and events that were part of popular culture in the 70's and technical minutiae about computers and operating systems that might not be found in other places.

In association with Amazon, this symbol is a link to related products at amazon.com. Any proceeds resulting from the sales of these products are used to defray the cost of maintaining the Today in History site and editorial efforts.

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