Today in History

LOTR...
The ring comes to Bilbo
1823
Chile abolishes slavery
1897
Distinguished Flying Cross decorated aviation pioneer and activist for womens' rights, Amelia Earhart born in Atchison, Kansas
1936
Actress and comedienne, Ruth Buzzi born in Westerly, Rhode Island
1951
Singer and actress, Lynda Carter born in Phoenix, Arizona
1968
Tony Award winning actress and singer, Kristin Chenoweth born in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
1969
Pop singer and actress, Jennifer Lopez born in New York City
1974
Supreme Court orders Nixon to turn over 64 White House tapes
1990
Iraqi forces gather on the Kuwait/Iraq border
459
Death of St. Simon Stylites
478
Death of St. Lupus, who turned Attila from Troyes, France
1148
The 2nd Crusade arrives before Damascus
1187
Toron falls to Saladin
1221
The defeat of the 5th Crusade
1307
A General Chapter meeting of the Templars is held in Paris
1505
Portuguese destroy the city of Kilwa, East Africa
1534
Jacques Cartier discovers St. Laurence River; claims Canada for France
1567
Forced abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots
1567
James VI proclaimed King of Scotland
1568
Death of Don Carlos "the Mad" of Spain
1679
New Hampshire became a royal colony of the British crown.
1701
French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac landed at the present site of Detroit and founded Fort Detroit.
1739
Benedetto Marcello died in Brescia. Nobody remembers Marcello today, but he was evidently quite respected in his day, because the tombstone is still there, and it calls him "the Michelangelo of music."
1783
South American revolutionary and statesman Simon Bolivar (Caracas, Venezuela) He freed 6 Latin American republics from Spanish rule. born
1793
The first copyright law was instituted in France.
1802
French novelist Alexandre Dumas the Elder, author of "The Three Musketeers," born
1842
Ambrose Bierce Ohio, writer (Nuggets & Dust) born
1847
Mormon leader Brigham Young and his followers arrived the valley of the Great Salt Lake present-day Utah.
1862
The eighth president of the United States, MartVan Buren, died Kinderhook, New York.
1866
Tennessee became the first state to be readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.
1880
Ernest Bloch was born in Geneva. In 1902 he completed a Symphony in C-sharp-minor that sounds a little like the music of Richard Strauss. In 1905 he finished a tone poem about springtime that was indebted to Debussy. born
1896
The first national convention of the People's Party met in St. Louis, Missouri. The party nominated William Jennings Bryan for president.
1897
Amelia Earhart born in Atchison, Kansas. She became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937
1915
Eastland Chicago River; 812 died.
1916
John D MacDonald novelist born
1920
Feminist and former US Representative Bella Abzug. born
1920
Broadway producer Alexander H. Cohen born
1923
The Treaty of Lausanne, which settled the boundaries of modern Turkey, was concluded Switzerland.
1929
President Hoover proclaimed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy.
1929
Movie director Peter Yates ("Bullitt") born
1930
Actress Jacqueline Brookes born
1935
Political cartoonist Pat Oliphant born
1936
Actor Mark Goddard born
1936
The hottest day for Kansas was recorded today. It was 121F near Alton, Kansas.
1936
On this day Nebraska recorded its hottest temperature of 118F at Minden.
1936
Comedian Ruth Buzzi born
1937
The state of Alabama dropped charges against five black men accused of raping two white women the "Scottsboro Case."
1938
Instant coffee was invented.
1938
Richard Strauss was in his seventies when he conducted an operatic premiere in his home town for the first time. Munich audiences loved Strauss, but Nazis authorities were less pleased when they heard "Friedenstag" on this day. "Friedenstag" means "Day of Peace."
1940
Actor Dan Hedaya born
1942
Actor Chris Sarandon born
1946
The U. S. Conducted the first underwater test of an atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
1947
Actor Robert Hays born
1949
Actor Michael Richards ("Seinfeld") born
1951
Actress Lynda Carter born
1952
Movie director Gus Van Sant ("To Die For", "Psycho") born
1956
The first guided missle ship was launched.
1957
Country singer Pam Tillis born
1959
During a visit to the Soviet Union, Vice President Richard M. Nixon got into a "Kitchen Debate" with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a US exhibition.
1963
Jockey Julie Krone, the only woman to ride winning horse in a Triple Crown race when she captured Belmont Stakes aboard Colonial Affair in 1993; entered 1996 as all-time winningest female jockey with 3,016 wins. born
1963
Basketball player Karl Malone, 9-time All-NBA 1st team (1989-97) with Utah; member of the 1992 and '96 Olympic Dream Teams; league MVP in 1997 born
1964
Baseball player Barry Bonds, 3-time NL MVP, twice with Pittsburgh (1990,92) and once with San Francisco (1993); NL's HR and RBI leader in 1993; became only second player to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in same season in 1996. born
1965
Actor Kadeem Hardison born
1968
Actor John P. Navin Junior born
1969
The "Apollo Eleven" astronauts -- two of whom had been the first men to set foot on the moon -- splashed down safely the Pacific.
1970
Actress Jennifer Lopez ("Selena") born
1974
The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Nixon had to turn over subpoenaed White House tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor.
1975
An Apollo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific, completing a mission which included the first-ever docking with a Soyuz capsule from the Soviet Union.
1979
A Miami jury convicted Theodore Bundy of first-degree murder in the slayings of Florida State University sorority sisters Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy.
1982
Actress Anna Paquin ("The Piano") born
1984
After 14 years and four Super Bowl championships with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Terry Bradshaw retired from the National Football League. Bradshaw, age 35, was forced to the sidelines by an elbow injury.
1984
President Reagan told a news conference he had "no plan" for a tax increase the following year despite Democratic presidential nominee Walter F. Mondale's assertion that one was inevitable.
1985
About 100 Lebanese released from an Israeli military prison crossed the border into Lebanon; it was the second group of prisoners to be freed by the Israelis since a TWA jetliner was hijacked by Shiite Muslim extremists.
1986
Muslim captors release Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco
1986
A federal jury in San Francisco convicted former Navy radioman Jerry A. Whitworth of espionage for his role in a Soviet spy ring headed by John A. Walker Jr. (Whitworth was sentenced to 365 years in prison.)
1987
The re-flagged Kuwaiti supertanker "Bridgeton" sustained damage after hitting a mine the Persian Gulf.
1987
Hulda Crooks, a 91-year-old mountaineer from California, became the oldest woman to conquer Mount Fuji, Japan's highest peak.
1987
Actress Mara Wilson born
1988
On the campaign trail, Republican George Bush heard chants of "E-R-A," a reference to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, from members of a professional women's group in Albuquerque, while Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis was heckled by anti-abortion protesters in St. Louis.
1989
The Exxon Corporation estimated that its cleanup of the Alaskan oil spill would cost $1.28 billion dollars.
1989
President Bush reacted to reports that veteran U.S. diplomat Felix S. Bloch might have spied for the Soviet Union by saying he was "aggrieved" about the allegations.
1990
Iraq, accusing Kuwait of conspiring to harm its economy through oil overproduction, massed tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border.
1991
Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer died in Miami at age 87.
1991
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev announced a final agreement on a treaty designed to preserve the Soviet federation while giving more power to the republics.
1992
Members of POW-MIA families disrupted a speech by President Bush, prompting Bush to snap, "Would you please shut up and sit down?"
1993
Two Los Angeles police officers sentenced in Rodney King beating
1993
House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski denied allegations he'd received embezzled funds, saying he had engaged in "no illegal or unethical conduct."
1993
The Russian government announced it would invalidate billions of pre-1993 rubles.
1994
Miguel Indurain won his fourth consecutive Tour de France victory.
1994
Rwandan refugees began trickling home after Zaire reopened the border between the two countries; meanwhile, the first wave of a U.S. airlift arrived.
1995
A suicide bomber set off an explosion in a crowded commuter bus in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing six people.
1996
Two bombs blamed on Tamil separatists ripped through a commuter tranear Colombo, Sri Lanka, killing 64 civilians and wounding more than 400.
1997
Haley Barbour, countering Democrats, tells Senate inquiry that party did not accept illegal foreign campaign contributions while he was leader.
1997
Retired Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan died in Arlington, Virginia, at age 91.
1998
A gunman burst into the US Capitol, opening fire and killing two police officers before being shot and captured.
1999
President Clinton attacked the Republicans' $792 billion tax-cut plan in fund-raising speeches and his weekly radio address, saying it would "imperil the future stability of the country." House Majority Leader Dick Armey replied that the GOP plan would help fix an unfair tax system.
2000
President Clinton continued to mediate the Camp David Mideast summit, meeting with Israeli, Palestinian and US negotiators.
2000
Michael Stone, a pro-British paramilitary member, was freed from prison as part of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord after serving eleven years of a life sentence for murder.
2000
Georgia's Democratic former governor Zell Miller was appointed to the late Republican Paul Coverdell's Senate seat.
2005
Stock exchange merger could end San Francisco stock trading
2005
Inter Milan's tour of England back on
2005
NASA announces astronaut glove design contest
2005
Opposition parties rally in Baku for fair elections
2005
Lance Armstrong wins Tour de France for seventh time
2005
Critics honor 2004-best in U.S. TV
2005
World Health Organisation: China engaging in bird flu cover up
2005
Tsunami warning briefly issued for Indian Ocean after latest earthquake
2005
Australia wins first test of The Ashes series
2006
Atlantis departs hangar ahead of August 28 launch
2006
Two New Zealand children die in fire
2006
Pope calls for Middle East peace
2006
PCC promotes new wave of attacks in Brazil
2006
AMD joins forces with ATI
2006
Victoria Cross fetches record price at auction
2007
Major fire in Montreal, Canada, destroys several businesses
2007
U.S. minimum wage gets first federal boost in a decade
2007
Fish consumption by New Yorkers has led to high blood mercury levels
2007
Tour de France: Alexander Vinokourov fails blood test
2007
Cindy Sheehan arrested inside Rayburn Building in Washington DC
2007
Drew Carey to replace Bob Barker as host of "The Price is Right"
2007
Press conference to be held Thursday on new 'Star Trek 11' movie
2007
Bacterial meningitis possibly spread on AirTran flight
2007
Canada-wide manhunt for suspect in Ontario slayings
2007
UK government outlines plans for rail transport
2007
Libya frees foreign HIV medics
2008
African HIV prevalence may also be physiological
2008
Marathon runner addresses Toronto, bringing attention to autism
2008
Amy Winehouse wax model unveiled
2008
Iraq banned from participating in Beijing Olympics
2008
Turkish planes bomb PKK targets in northern Iraq
2008
Palestinian official newspapers: Israel uses super rats against Jerusalem Arabs
2008
Bus crash in Victoria, Australia injures twenty, some critical
2008
Two large earthquakes rattle Japan, Russia
2008
UK opposition leader David Cameron's bicycle was stolen
2009
Armenia to send military forces to Afghanistan
2010
Minor aftershock hits Pichilemu, Chile area
2010
Independent Wisconsin legislative candidate to sue over censorship of controversial description
2010
Matthew Edwards, honored Michigan police officer, shot and killed
2010
Four earthquakes hit the Philippines in quick succession
2010
Man disguised as Darth Vader robs bank
2010
Two NATO soldiers captured in Afghanistan
2012
Dozens die in Nigeria flooding
2012
Small Texas town hosts large baseball tournament

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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