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Today in History

1392
April Fool's Day
1883
Silent film actor, "The Man of a Thousand Faces", Lon Chaney Sr born in Colorado Springs, Colorado
1885
Circus elephant trainer, pilot and screen actor, Wallace Beery born in Kansas City, Missouri
1926
Sci-fi author Anne McCaffrey born in Cambridge, Massachusetts
1932
Dancer, singer and Golden Globe Award winning actress, Debbie Reynolds born in El Paso, Texas
1938
Animal rights activist, fashion model and actress, Ali MacGraw born in Pound Ridge, New York
1938
Aerospace engineer and actor, John Quade born in Kansas City, Kansas
1945
Invasion of Okinawa begins
1952
Academy Award nominee, dancer and actress, Annette O'Toole born in Houston, Texas
1960
First weather satellite launched
1968
Actress Traci Lind born in Louisville, Kentucky
1976
Apple Computer founded
9
Tigremas, Ard-Righ of Ireland, proclaims the wearing of the "Nine Colors"
568
Lombards assembled to cross the Alps to Italy
1132
Death of St. Hugh of Grenoble
1204
Death of Elanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and England
1282
Death of the IlKhan Abaqa, in Hamadan
1375
St. Catherine of Siena receives the Stigmata
1389
Treaty of Zurich
1401
Conway Castle taken by Welsh rebels
1406
Death of Robert II, King of Scotland
1548
Parliament orders "The Book of Common Prayer" printed in English
1548
Death of Sigsimund I, King of Poland
1572
The "Sea Beggars" take Briel from the Spanish
1578
William Harvey born
1611
Galileo received in Audience by Pope Paul V
1778
Oliver Pollock, a New Orleans businessman, creates the dollar sign '$'
1789
The U-S House of Representatives held its first full meeting, in New York City. Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first House Speaker.
1815
German military theorist Prince Otto von Bismarck born
1829
The Harmonicon proclaimed that a certain symphony was "infinitely too lengthy" and predicted that would therefore, quote, "fall into disuse." (Beethoven's Symphony No. 3: Eroica)
1831
Berlioz left Rome to return to France claiming he intended to murder his fiancee for allegedly seeing another man. The deed was never done.
1853
Cincinnati, Ohio, became the first US city to pay its firefighters a regular salary.
1866
Italian pianist and composer Ferruccio Busoni born
1873
Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff born Novgorod Province, Russia. He was the last great figure of the tradition of Russian Romanticism and also a leading piano virtuoso of the day.
1883
Actor Lon Chaney, The man of a thousand faces born
1909
Society pianist Eddie Duchin born
1918
Toward the end of World War I, the Royal Air Force was founded. Two months later, Britain began bombing industrial targets in Germany from bases in France.
1920
Actor Toshiro Mifune born
1922
Writer William Manchester ("Death of a President") born
1928
Actor George Grizzard born
1929
Actress Jane Powell born
1930
Cosima Wagner died in Bayreuth at the age of 92, fully 47 years after Wagner's death.
1930
Actress Grace Lee Whitney born
1932
Actor Gordon Jump born
1932
Actress Debbie Reynolds born
1933
Nazi Germany began persecuting Jews with a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.
1934
Country singer Jim Ed Brown born
1934
Actor Don Hastings ("As the World Turns") born
1938
Actress Ali MacGraw born
1939
Rhythm-and-blues singer Rudolph Isley (The Isley Brothers) born
1939
The United States recognized the Franco government in Spain following the end of the Spanish civil war.
1945
American forces swarmed ashore on the Japanese island of Okinawa, to begin what would be one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II.
1946
Tidal waves struck the Hawaiian islands, resulting in more than 170 deaths.
1946
Rock musician Ronnie Lane (Faces) born
1946
Singer Arthur Conley born
1947
David Eisenhower born
1947
Greece's King George the Second died.
1948
Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff born
1949
Jazz musician Gil Scott-Heron born
1952
Rock musician Billy Currie (Ultravox) born
1953
Actress Annette O'Toole born
1953
Movie director Barry Sonnenfeld born
1960
The first weather satellite, "TIROS-One, (Television & Infra-Red Observation Satellite)" was launched from Cape Canaveral.
1963
The daytime drama "General Hospital" premiered on ABC TV.
1968
Country singer Woody Lee born
1970
President Nixon signed a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television, to take effect after January first, 1971.
1975
Tennis player Magdalena Maleeva born
1982
Actor Sam Huntington ("Jungle 2 Jungle") born
1982
The United States formally transferred control of the Panama Canal Zone to the government of Panama.
1987
In his first major speech on the AIDS epidemic, President Reagan told doctors in Philadelphia, "We've declared AIDS public health enemy number one."
1988
Independent Counsel James C. McKay said there was insufficient evidence to warrant a criminal indictment of Attorney General Edwin Meese the Third in connection with the Iraq-Jordan pipeline plan or his investment in telephone company stock.
1988
Jim Jordan, old-time radio's "Fibber McGee," died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 91.
1989
Alaska Governor Steve Cowper announced that a "strike force" of state officials and local fishermen were taking over some of the cleanup operations following the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill.
1990
More Soviet military vehicles rolled through the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, a day after Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev warned the Baltic republic to annul its declaration of independence.
1991
The US Supreme Court ruled, 7-to-2, that trial prosecutors violate the Constitution if they bar prospective jurors for racial reasons even when the defendant and the excluded jurors are of different races.
1991
Duke defeated the University of Kansas 72-to-65 to win the NCAA college basketball championship.
1991
Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham died at age 96.
1992
President Bush pledged the United States would help finance a 24 billion-dollar international aid fund for the former Soviet Union.
1992
The House ethics committee publicly identified 22 current and former lawmakers as the worst offenders in the House bank overdraft controversy.
1993
In an impassioned plea for Russian aid, President Clinton told newspaper editors in Annapolis, Maryland, that America should help "not out of charity" but as a crucial investment in peace and prosperity.
1994
The government reported the nation's unemployment rate for March remained unchanged from February, at 6.5 percent.
1995
More than 1500 mourners attended a vigil for Mexican-American singer Selena in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she'd been shot to death the day before.
1995
United Nations peacekeepers officially took over from the US-led multinational force in Haiti.
1995
With US Defense Secretary William Perry looking on, Ukraine began the process of dismantling its nuclear missiles.
1996
Baseball umpire John McSherry died after collapsing during a season opener between the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos.
1996
In a case that sparked an uproar reminiscent of the Rodney King case, two Riverside County, California, sheriff's deputies were videotaped repeatedly clubbing a Mexican man and woman after a 70-mile highway chase involving a pickup truck suspected of sneaking across the border.
1997
Federal authorities cautioned that thousands of schoolchildren across the nation might have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus by eating frozen strawberries imported from Mexico and processed in the US.
1998
US District Judge Susan Webber Wright dismissed Paula Jones' lawsuit against President Clinton, saying her claims of sexual harassment fell "far short" of being worthy of trial.
1999
A New Jersey man was arrested and charged with originating the "Melissa" e-mail virus. (David L. Smith later pleaded guilty to various state and federal charges.)
1999
The United States branded as an illegal abduction the capture of three US Army soldiers near the Macedonian-Yugoslav border; President Clinton demanded their immediate release.
1999
Canada created a new territory, Nunavut, as a means of providing autonomy for the Inuit people.
2000
President Clinton, speaking at a fund-raiser for his wife's Senate campaign, accused New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of enlisting a "right-wing venom machine" against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
2000
Michelle Kwan won her third World Figure Skating title.
2001
A U.S. Navy surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter over the South China Sea, then made an emergency landing on China's Hainan island.
2001
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was arrested on corruption charges after a 26-hour armed standoff with the police at his Belgrade villa.
2001
Notre Dame won its first national championship in women's basketball, defeating Purdue, 66-64.
2005
US lowers bar in age discrimination suits
2005
Google starts prefetching top search results for Mozilla and Firefox browsers
2005
Metal press crushes Illinois worker
2005
Harvard hosts conference on technological future of news media
2005
Iraq: Uneven voter turnout elects women who push sharia law while anti-woman violence rages
2005
EU, Canada impose duties on some US goods in retaliation for Byrd Amendment
2005
Bus drivers to strike in Auckland
2005
Parents of Terri Schiavo to sell list of supporters to marketing firm
2005
Minutemen gather to patrol US-Mexican border in April
2005
Rural African school goes to Sweden for environment award
2005
MS-13 gang threatens the Arizona "minutemen"
2005
Zimbabwe election victory for Mugabe
2005
Witnesses saw truck "rev up and race" before recent Texas oil refinery blast
2005
The Vatican: Pope suffers from congestive heart failure
2005
FBI: Death of the Georgian Prime Minister was an accident
2005
Pope in medical crisis
2006
Death toll of Bahrain tourist boat capsizing rises to 57
2006
NZ Sky TV customers to get refund for satellite failure
2006
Iraq war vet claims atrocities by U.S. soldiers
2006
Donald Trump plans £300m "golfing paradise" for rural Scotland
2006
"The Simpsons Movie" hits theatres July 2007
2006
Auckland City Council acts to remove suspect chemicals in pre-school's soil
2006
Sun releases T1 source code
2007
Mouse makes nest in cash machine, eats money
2007
First Guantánamo Bay prisoner sentenced
2007
Strong earthquake near Solomon Islands, tsunami reported
2007
Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka vs West Indies
2007
NHL: Red Wings defeat Blue Jackets 4-1
2008
Media round-up: April Fools' Day 2008
2008
Portuguese football club Porto in match-fixing probe
2008
Moldovan parliament approves new government
2008
Peruvian necklace identified as oldest gold artifact in the Americas
2008
UEFA Champions League: April 1, 2008
2008
Coalition forces: Eleven 'suspected terrorists' captured
2008
Amber alert issued for missing Utah girl
2009
Australia flash flooding traps thousands
2009
'Guiding Light' to flicker out after 72 years on radio, TV
2009
G20 protester dies after collapsing
2009
FDA warning on pistachios after salmonella contamination
2009
Honda demonstrates mind-reading robotic technology
2009
Southern California auto maker announces fully-electric sedan
2009
Man arrested after crashing motorized bar stool while drunk
2009
US Justice Department to withdraw Stevens charges
2009
Guinea-Bissau to hold elections this June
2009
UN agency condemns new Afghan "Shia family law"
2009
US government files lawsuit against BP Exploration in Alaska
2009
State trooper, firefighter save truck driver after New Jersey crash
2009
General Motors automobile sales plunge by 45%
2009
Sixteen people feared dead after helicopter crash in North Sea
2009
ADP says US economy lost 742,000 jobs in March
2010
Obama lessens US ban on offshore drilling
2010
Rancagua, Chile Servicio Médico Legal boss, Juan Díaz, suspended on Juanita Carey case
2010
Large Hadron Collider reaches milestone
2011
Tonga: Four guilty over ferry disaster that killed 74
2011
Treasury reveals cost of carbon tax on Australian families
2011
More of Gaddafi's top officials defect
2011
Australia to lose $2 billion due to Japanese disasters
2011
Ohio man dies after sitting in chair for two years
2012
Roberto Córdova wins Concertación primary elections in Pichilemu, Chile
2012
News briefs: March 31, 2012
2012
Ex-KGB head Leonid Shebarshin dies at age 77
2013
Quakes push Canary Islands up eleven centimetres
2013
South Korean president responds to North Korea's nuclear constitution change
2013
Interview: University of Guam's Ron McNinch on North Korea's nuclear threats

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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