[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

Day of the Americas in Honduras
1629
Author, physicist, astronomer, and discoverer of Saturn's rings, Christiaan Huygens born in The Hague
1865
President Abraham Lincoln shot in Ford's Theatre by John Wilkes Booth
1904
Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winning theater and film actor, Sir John Gielgud born in London, England
1912
RMS Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks
1934
Grammy Award winning singer and country music legend, Loretta Lynn born in Johnson County, Kentucky
1941
Baseball manager and record-breaking hitter, Pete Rose born in Cincinnati, Ohio
1941
Academy Award winning actress Julie Christie born in Assam, India
1949
Emmy Award winning actor John Shea born in North Conway, New Hampshire
1959
Comedian, screenwriter and Academy Award winning actress, Emma Thompson born in London, England
2003
Human genome sequence mapped
972
Marriage of Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor, to Theophano, Princess of the Eastern Roman Empire
1028
Coronation of Henry III, "the Black," as King of Germany
1291
A body of Templars make a night raid on the Moslem camp at the Siege of Acre. They are all killed.
1386
St. Mary's College, Oxford, England, opens
1471
Queen Margaret of England lands at Weymouth, too late to save Warwick and her Kingdom
1498
Vasco da Gama arrives at Malindi, East Africa
1543
Bartoleme Ferrelo returns to Spain after discovering the San Francisco Bay area
1578
Philip III, King of Spain born
1582
Founding of the University of Edinburgh
1608
Illiam Dhone, Manx patriot born
1611
"Telescope" named at a banquet given by Federico Cesi, Duke of Acquasparta
1621
The Protestant Union is dissolved
1629
Birth of Christian Huyghens
1629
Dutch physicist Christian Huygens, founder of the wave theory of light born
1660
King Charles II of England issues a General Amnesty to all save those whom Parliament would exempt
1759
George Frederick Handel died in London. Handel had led a performance of "Messiah" just eight days earlier, collapsing afterwards. Today Handel is a favorite son in the pantheon of British composers, but since he was a German emigre he is also honored that way in Germany.
1775
The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, was founded in Philadelphia. The first American abolition society was organized by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.
1828
The first edition of Noah Webster's "American Dictionary of the English Language" was published.
1843
Josef Lanner, as much a pioneer of the Viennese waltz as Johann Strauss was, died, he was 42.
1861
The flag of the Confederacy was raised over Fort Sumter, S.C., as Union troops there surrendered in the early days of the Civil War.
1865
President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington.
1866
Helen Keller's teacher Anne Sullivan was born on this day. Sullivan, who was nearly blind herself, succeeded in teaching the blind and deaf Keller to read, write and speak. born
1889
English historian Arnold Toynbee born
1894
A motion picture "peep show" device - the kinetoscope - invented by Thomas Edison went on display in New York City. It held 50 feet of film, about 13 seconds worth, and showed images of Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill.
1900
Veteran's Hospital at Fort Miley established.
1900
French President Emile Loubet opened the Paris International Exhibition; it covered 547 acres and was the biggest of its kind in European history.
1904
Actor Sir John Gielgud born
1907
Haitian dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier born
1910
President William Howard Taft set a precedent by throwing out the first baseball at the opening of the baseball season. Washington's Walter Johnson held the A's to one hit, winning 3-0.
1912
The British liner "Titanic" collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and began sinking. Rescue ships picked up 706
1925
Actor Rod Steiger born
1930
Actor Jay Robinson ("The Robe") born
1931
King Alfonso the 13th of Spain went into exile, and the Spanish Republic was proclaimed.
1932
Actor Anthony Perkins born
1933
Morton Subotnik was born in Los Angeles. Subotnik was an early experimenter with the use of tape recorders in making music.
1933
Singer-songwriter Buddy Knox born
1935
Babe Ruth played his first game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. He was playing for the old Boston Braves of the National League, the team that later moved to Milwaukee, then Atlanta. Ruth was in his last year in the major leagues.
1935
Country singer Loretta Lynn born
1939
The John Steinbeck novel "The Grapes of Wrath" was first published.
1939
The motion picture "Wuthering Heights," starring Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier, premiered in New York.
1940
Actress Julie Christie born
1940
Actress Hattie McDonald became the first African-American to win an Oscar. She won for supporting actress in "Gone with the Wind." McDonald made 14 films before her death in 1952.
1941
Baseball's all-time hit leader, Former Cincinnati Reds player-manager, Pete Rose born
1945
Musician Richie Blackmore(Deep Purple) born
1945
American planes firebombed Tokyo and damaged the Japanese Imperial Palace.
1949
Actor John Shea born
1949
Rock musician Dennis Bryon (Amen Corner) born
1952
Rock singer Jerry Knight (Raydio) born
1956
Ampex Corp. of Redwood City, California, demonstrated its first commercial videotape recorder. The machine had a price tag of $75,000. The early machines were too large to fit in a small room.
1959
Actress Emma Thompson born
1960
Actor Brian Forester born
1960
Actor Brad Garrett born
1960
The musical "Bye Bye Birdie" opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York City. Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke starred in the Broadway show which ran for 607 performances.
1963
Rock singer-musician John Bell (Widespread Panic) born
1966
Baseball player Greg Maddux born
1966
Baseball player David Justice born
1967
Rock musician Barrett Martin born
1968
Actor Anthony Michael Hall born
1968
The Matt Crowley play "The Boys in the Band" opened in New York.
1969
Rock musician Martyn Le Nobile (Porno for Pyros) born
1970
Baseball's Steve Avery born
1974
Rapper DaBrat born
1976
Stevie Wonder announced he signed a $13 million contract with Motown -- the most lucrative in music history at the time.
1977
Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") born
1981
The first test flight of America's first operational space shuttle, the "Columbia," ended successfully with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1984
In his weekly radio address, President Reagan announced he had ordered $32 million in emergency arms shipments for El Salvador.
1985
Jack C. Burcham became the fifth person to receive the "Jarvik 7" permanent artificial heart. (However, he died 10 days later at Humana Hospital Audubon in Louisville, Kentucky.)
1985
Bernhard Langer of West Germany won the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
1985
Geraldo Rivera and a camera crew went to the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, and a record audience watched as the long-sealed vault of racketeer Al Capone was opened. The vault contained nothing of value.
1986
Americans got first word of the US air raid on Libya (because of the time difference, it was the early morning of April 15th where the attack occurred.) U.S. warplanes struck Libya in the biggest U.S. air strike since the Vietnam War. Libya claimed 40 of its people were killed.
1986
French feminist author Simone de Beauvoir died in Paris at age 78.
1987
Secretary of State George P. Shultz met at the Kremlin with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who proposed the elimination of short-range nuclear missiles in East Germany and Czechoslovakia as part of an arms control agreement with the US.
1988
Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and the Soviet Union signed agreements providing for the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and creation of a non-aligned Afghan state.
1989
Testimony concluded in the Iran-Contra trial of former National Security Council staff member Oliver L. North.
1989
Former winery worker Ramon Salcido went on a rampage in Sonoma County, California, killing seven people, including his wife and four daughters; he was later sentenced to death.
1990
Lithuanian officials, facing a Kremlin deadline to back away from their declaration of independence, acknowledged that an economic blockade threatened by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev could result in huge layoffs.
1991
The final withdrawal of American combat troops from southern Iraq began, 88 days after the United States launched its massive offensive to drive Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait.
1992
Libya cut itself off from the world for 24 hours to mark the sixth anniversary of the US air raid, the same day the World Court rejected Libya's appeal to prevent sanctions against it for refusing to turn over suspects in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
1993
A government-funded study said that of 3,321 men surveyed, only 1.1 percent identified themselves as exclusively homosexual, a finding disputed by gay activists.
1993
British archaeologists unearthed a 7,000-year old seafarer's village on Dalma island in the United Arab Emirates. They said it was the first major settlement of the Ubaid period in that area.
1993
Millions of black workers in South Africa went on strike to protest the slaying of activist Chris Hani.
1993
Don Calhoun, an office supply salesman from Bloomington, IL, made a 79-foot basket at a Chicago Bulls-Miami Heat game and collected $1 million. He got his free ticket to the game from a friend and was chosen at random.
1994
Two American F-15 warplanes inadvertently shot down two US helicopters over northern Iraq, killing 26 people
1994
The chiefs of the nation's seven largest tobacco companies spent more than six hours being grilled by the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee about the effects of smoking.
1995
Actor-singer Burl Ives died in Anacortes, Washington, at age 85.
1995
The United Nations Security Council gave permission to Iraq, still under sanctions for its invasion of Kuwait, to sell $2 billion dollars worth of oil to buy food, medicine and other supplies. (Iraq rejected the offer.)
1996
Six people died and more than 30 were wounded in Pakistan when a powerful bomb went off at a cancer hospital built by former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan.
1996
Israel's four-day-old military campaign against Hezbollah guerrillas continued, with aircraft bombarding guerrilla strongholds in Beirut and southern Lebanon, provoking guerrilla vows to turn northern Israel into a "fiery hell."
1997
Attorney General Janet Reno rejected Republican calls to seek an independent counsel to investigate campaign fund-raising.
1997
James McDougal, who'd agreed to cooperate with Whitewater prosecutors investigating President and Mrs. Clinton, drew a three-year prison sentence for 18 felony fraud and conspiracy counts.
1998
Despite international pleas for leniency, the state of Virginia executed Angel Francisco Breard, a Paraguayan convicted of murder.
1998
President Clinton moderated a town meeting on race with an all-star panel of sports figures.
1998
The Grand Forks (North Dakota) Herald won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for public service; author Philip Roth received the Pulitzer fiction award, his first, for "American Pastoral."
1999
Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr told Congress the Watergate-era law that gave him the power to probe actions of executive branch officials was flawed and should be abolished.
1999
NATO mistakenly bombed a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees; Yugoslav officials said 75 people were killed.
1999
British entertainer Anthony Newley died in Jensen Beach, Florida, at age 67.
2000
On Wall Street, stocks plummeted in heavy trading, with the Dow industrials down 617 points and the Nasdaq composite index falling 355 points, capping one of the worst weeks ever for US stocks.
2000
In Washington, protesters dumped manure on Pennsylvania Avenue, seeking to disrupt meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
2001
After almost two weeks of intense searching, China ends the hunt for a pilot elevated to the status of national hero when his fighter jet crashed after a collision with a U.S. spy plane.
2005
When the dog bites the hand of a stranger
2005
Chinese authorities question genetically altered rice allegation
2005
Lawsuits filed against students accused of illegally sharing files over the Internet2
2005
German cannibal seeks review of manslaughter conviction
2005
U.S. Federal Agents arrest two Houston men in UN Oil for Food scandal
2005
Israeli paratroopers stop 15 year old Palestinian from detonating himself
2005
Killer virus sent worldwide
2005
China calls Japan's gas drilling plan 'a serious provocation'
2005
Slime-mold beetles named for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld
2005
Lib Dems launch manifesto
2005
Major 'Spiritual Life of College Students' study released by UCLA
2006
Australian PM faces inquiry into Iraqi kickbacks
2006
Grover Norquist attempts to trademark 'K Street Project'
2006
Forecast cloudy for COSMIC launch
2006
Explosion rocks Jama Masjid in India
2006
New Apple software lets Microsoft Windows boot on Macs
2006
Canada tests cow for mad cow disease
2006
Amber Alert canceled in Toronto
2006
Salon: Rumsfeld allowed Guantanamo abuse
2006
Egyptian official states Al-Qaeda explosives expert killed in airstrike
2006
Bear in Tennessee kills six-year-old girl
2007
NHL: Rangers edge Thrashers in goaltender duel
2007
Canada contributes weather station to NASA Mars mission
2007
Horse racing: Silver Birch wins the Grand National
2007
French presidential candidate Sarkozy accuses left parties of betraying left values
2007
Cricket World Cup: New Zealand vs South Africa
2007
Two suicide bombers attack US targets in Casablanca
2007
Canadian activist June Callwood dies at 82
2007
NHL: Penguins defeat Senators to even series
2007
Football: Watford fall to Manchester United in FA Cup
2007
NHL: Devils fall to Lightning, series tied at 1-1
2007
Explosion hits police station in Kerala, India
2007
NHL: Islanders steal one in Buffalo to even series at 1-1
2007
NASA: Series of errors led to loss of Mars Global Surveyor
2008
Large earthquake strikes coast off French Guiana
2008
Physicist John Wheeler dies at age 96
2008
Economic policy makers conclude Washington meetings
2008
NGOs in Taiwan to promote carbon-decreasing movements in different sectors before Earth Day
2008
Atlas rocket launches ICO G1 satellite
2008
Counting continues for Nepal's Constituent Assembly elections
2008
Indiana congressional candidate Tony Zirkle defends speech at Nazi meeting
2008
All confirmed dead on Kata Air An-32, Moldova asks for Russian investigatory help
2008
11 policemen dead after attack by Taliban
2008
Two British servicemen killed in roadside bombing
2009
Tamil protests underway in Oslo
2009
Eight year old Victoria Stafford of Ontario missing since Wednesday
2009
French fishermen blockade Channel ports
2009
BC election writ drops; referendum campaigns underway
2009
Minnesota court declares Franken winner; Coleman considers appeal
2009
Manitoba's flood creating hazardous conditions
2010
Vatican criticized for cardinal's claim of homosexuality and pedophilia link
2010
Officials: Two soldiers and over 30 insurgents killed in Pakistan
2010
Volcanic eruption starts on top of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
2010
Burial site for Polish president Lech Kaczynski draws objections
2010
6.9 magnitude earthquake hits western China
2010
Toyota to suspend sales of Lexus GX 460 over new safety fears
2010
One dead after apartment fire in Oxfordshire, England
2011
Scientists create schizophrenic brain cells
2011
Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction
2012
Tulsa shootings accused face multiple murder charges
2012
Zimmerman stands before judge for the Trayvon Martin shooting
2013
BBC to play 'four to five seconds' of Thatcher protest song

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.

Select a section