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Today in History

1853
India's first passenger rail opens
1866
Statesman, journalist, poet, and champion for Puerto Rican independence, José de Diego born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
1889
Director, musician, stunt man and comedic actor, Sir Charlie Chaplin born in London, England
1911
Singer and actress, Christine McIntyre born in Nogales, Arizona
1921
Writer, dramatist, raconteur and Academy Award winning actor, Peter Ustinov born in London, England
1927
Actress, singer and comedienne, Edie Adams born in Kingston, Pennsylvania
1930
Jazz flautist Herbie Mann born in Brooklyn, New York
1935
Pop singer Bobby Vinton born Stanley Robert Vintula, Jr in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
1947
600 killed in Texas City, Texas fire
1947
Bernard Baruch coins the term "Cold War"
1972
Apollo 16 launched from Cape Canaveral
69
Defeated by Vitellius' troops at Bedriacum, Otho commits suicide.
556
Pelagius I begins his reign as Catholic Pope.
1065
The Norman Robert Guiscard takes Bari, ending five centuries of Byzantine rule southern Italy.
1660
Hans Sloane, founder of British Museum born
1705
Queen Anne of England knights Isaac Newton.
1746
Bonnie Prince Charles is defeated at the battle of Culloden
1786
Sir John Franklin, arctic explorer who discovered the North-West Passage. born
1789
President-elect Washington left Mount Vernon, Virginia, for his inauguration in New York.
1818
U.S. Senate ratifies Rush-Bagot amendment to form an unarmed U.S.-Canada border.
1854
San Salvador is destroyed by an earthquake.
1862
Confederate President Jefferson Davis approves conscription act for white males between 18 and 35.
1862
A bill ending slavery the District of Columbia became law.
1864
Flora Batson, soprano baritone singer born
1867
Wilbur Wright, designer, builder and flyer of first airplane born
1871
John Millington Synge, dramatist and poet Playboy of the Western World born
1889
Charlie Chaplin, silent movie actor best remembered for his character "Little Tramp." born
1912
Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.
1917
Vladimir Ilyich Lenreturned to Russia after years of exile.
1918
Actor-comedian Spike Milligan born
1920
Actor Barty Nelson born
1921
Actor-director-author Peter Ustinov born
1922
Annie Oakley shoots 100 clay targets a row, to set a women's record.
1924
Composer and conductor Henry Mancini ( Moon River). 1927 Actor Peter Mark Richman born
1929
Actress-singer Edie Adams born
1930
Jazz musician Herbie Mann born
1935
Singer Bobby Vinton born
1940
Queen Margrethe the Second of Denmark born
1942
The Island of Malta is awarded the George Cross recognition for heroism under constant German air attack. It was the first such award given to any part of the British Commonwealth.
1944
The destroyer USS Laffey survives horrific damage from attacks by 22 Japanese aircraft off Okinawa.
1945
US troops reached Nuremberg, Germany, during the Second World War.
1945
His first speech to Congress, President Truman pledged to carry out the war and peace policies of his late predecessor, President Roosevelt.
1945
American troops enter Nuremberg, Germany. The Nuremberg Trial brought high-ranking Nazis to justice.
1947
Singer Gerry Rafferty born
1947
Financier and presidential confidant Bernard M. Baruch said a speech at the South Carolina statehouse: "Let us not be deceived - we are today the midst of a cold war."
1947
A lens which provides zoom effects is demonstrated New York City.
1947
America's worst harbor explosion occurred Texas City, Texas, when the French ship "Grandcamp" blew up; another ship, the "Highflyer," exploded the following day. The blasts and resulting fires killed 576 people.
1947
Basketball Hall-of-Famer (Lew Alcindor) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar born
1950
Actor David Graf born
1953
Actor Jay O. Sanders born
1954
Actress Ellen Barkin born
1962
Walter Cronkite succeeded Douglas Edwards as anchorman of "The CBS Evening News."
1963
Singer Jimmy Osmond born
1964
Rock singer David Pirner (Soul Asylum) born
1965
Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence born
1965
Actor Jon Cryer born
1966
Rock musician Dan Rieser (Marcy Playground) born
1968
The Pentagon announces the "Vietnamization" of the war; troops will begcoming home.
1972
Actor Peter Billingsley ("A Christmas Story") born
1972
Two giants pandas arrive the U.S. from China.
1972
Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon.
1976
Actor Lukas Haas born
1977
The ban on women attending West Point is lifted.
1989
Spain's ambassador to Lebanon (Pedro Manuel de Aristegui) was killed by shellfire that broke out between Christian militiamen and an alliance of Syrian and Muslim gunners.
1990
The Supreme Court rejected appeals by Dalton Prejean, a nearly retarded man condemned to die for the 1977 murder of a Louisiana state trooper (Prejean was executed the following month). The court also let stand a ban on school dances in the Bible Belt town of Purdy, Mo.
1991
President Bush announced that US forces would be sent into northern Iraq to assist Kurdish refugees.
1991
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev began a visit to Japan.
1991
Sir David Lean, director of the movies "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago," died in London at age 83.
1994
Bosnian Serbs downed a British Sea Harrier jet near Gorazde; the pilot ejected, and was rescued by Bosnian government troops.
1994
Ralph Ellison, author of "Invisible Man," died in New York at age 80.
1995
In his Easter Sunday message, Pope John Paul II sent a message of peace to victims of unrest, including the Palestinians and Kurds.
1996
President Clinton and his wife, Hillary, arrived in Japan for a three-day visit after a brief stopover in South Korea.
1996
Britain's Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced they were in the process of getting a divorce.
1998
Paula Jones announced she would ask an appeals court to reinstate her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton after it was thrown out by a federal judge.
1998
Tornadoes claimed eleven lives Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky.
1999
President Clinton defended NATO airstrikes against Serbian targets during visits to Michigan and Massachusetts, saying U.S. involvement in Kosovo was a moral imperative. Wayne Gretzky announced his retirement from hockey.
2000
The International Monetary Fund concluded a protest-marred opening session in Washington with a statement repeating past pledges to seek greater debt relief for the poorest countries and reform the IMF so it could better prevent financial crises.
2005
Deadly virus samples missing in Mexico/Lebanon
2005
Utah Man pleads guilty in wife's death
2005
BBC launches the Creative Archive
2005
AARP claims US prescription drug prices continue to rise
2005
Hungary rebukes other EU members for their negative stance towards Croatia
2005
Paris hotel fire kills 21
2005
Wendy's doubles reward for 'chili finger' info to US$100,000
2005
NRA meets in Houston--Beleaguered Tom DeLay will speak
2005
Holland park introduces special trail for elderly and impaired
2005
Senate unanimously confirms Michael Griffin as new NASA head
2005
Freelance reporter fired from Boston Globe for adding fictitious details to story
2005
Over a quarter of a billion camera phones sold in 2004
2005
"Levitra" ads pulled by FDA
2005
Second weekend of protests begins in China
2006
10-year-old Oklahoma girl found murdered
2006
Australian cheerleaders told to cover up
2006
Mumps outbreak strikes Iowa, midwest United States
2006
Australia could help discourage nuclear weapon proliferation: Opposition
2006
Police in Aruba make an arrest in Natalee Holloway case
2006
Antalya to host children from 40 countries
2006
Britain could face electricity blackouts
2006
Ecumenical Hellenism program's representatives visited U.S.A.
2006
10,000 refuse to pay U.S. taxes to protest Iraq war
2007
New Zealand's telecommunications ranks low in OECD
2007
Kenya's Cheruiyot and Russia's Grigoryeva capture Boston Marathon crowns
2007
33 dead, 15 injured in Virginia Tech shootings
2007
NHL: Lightning strikes as Jersey falls behind in series
2007
NHL: Sabres keep Islanders at bay to take series 2-1 series lead
2007
Cricket World Cup: Australia vs Sri Lanka
2007
Hawaii entertainer Don Ho dies at 76
2008
Former US president Carter meets with former deputy-PM for Hamas
2008
Disney animator Ollie Johnston dies at 95
2008
13 arrested in Rhys Jones murder investigation
2008
SecuTech Expo starts in Taipei, Taiwan for grasping global security industry
2008
Man falls down elevator shaft; woman breaks his fall
2008
Pope Benedict XVI visit to the United States begins
2008
Zimbabwe's election delay could have 'serious implications', warns UN Secretary-General
2008
Pegasus rocket launches C/NOFS satellite
2008
Stolen Generations used as medical guinea pigs, Australian inquiry told
2008
Family blames Scientology for daughter's death
2008
Plane crash in Congo kills at least 70
2009
Pacific Islands Forum condemns Fiji takeover
2009
Fire sensors removed from Polish hostel where fire broke out
2009
New York Governor introduces same-sex marriage bill
2010
United Nations: More people with access to cell phones than toilets in India
2010
US unveils revived space exploration program
2011
Mother of slain Army Ranger calls for removal of General McChrystal from committee
2011
Japanese nuclear plant operators ordered to compensate affected families amid calls for prime minister to resign
2011
Experts raise serious questions over safety of U.S. oil industry and warn another spill may be 'unavoidable'
2011
UK to ban export of lethal injection drugs to US
2011
Kentucky lawmaker in critical condition after fight in high school cafeteria
2012
News briefs: April 15, 2012
2013
Study: Taste of beer causes chemical reward in male brain

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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