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Today in History

Lyrid meteor shower from the Comet Thatcher
1792
Tiradentes in Brasil
1836
1915
Sculptor, artist, writer and actor, Anthony Quinn born in Chihuahua, Mexico
1926
Queen Elizabeth II born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London
1932
Director, screenwriter and actress, Elaine May born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1954
USAF/CIA planes land French troops at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam
1958
Model and Golden Globe Award winning actress, Andie MacDowell born in Gaffney, South Carolina
1970
Poker player, comedian and actress, Nicole Sullivan born in Manhattan, New York
753
BC
According to the Roman historian Varro, Romulus founded the city of Rome
341
Death of St. Simon Barsabba'e
586
Death of Leovigild, King of the Visgoths
1073
Death of Pope Alexander II
1097
Adhemar and Raymond's armies of the 1st Crusade arrive in Constantinople
1109
Death of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury
1142
Peter Abelard, French theologian dies
1393
John Capgrave born
1509
Henry the VIII became King of England when his father, Henry the VII, died. Shortly afterward, he married his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon.
1618
Pedro Paez discovers the source of the Blue Nile
1641
The House of Commons, in defiance of the House of Lords, passes a Bill of Attainder against the Earl of Strafford
1649
The Maryland Toleration Act, which provided for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.
1782
Friedrich Froebel, inventer of the first kindergarten. He founded the first kindergarten in 1837 in Blankenburg, Germany. born
1789
John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.
1795
Haydn was introduced to King George the Third. It was reported that the King said, "You've written a great deal." Haydn said, "Yes, Sire, a great deal more than is good!" To which the King said, "Oh, no, the world contradicts that."
1816
Charlotte Bronte, the author of Jane Eyre, in Thornton, England. She wrote in the preface of "Jane Eyre,"; "Conventionality is not morality." born
1816
English novelist Charlotte Bronte born
1830
James Starley, English inventor of the geared bicycle born
1836
An army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring the independence of Texas. The 900 Texans caught the 1,200 Mexicans taking a siesta. The entire confrontation took only 18 minutes.
1838
Naturalist John Muir born
1855
The first railroad train crossed the first railroad bridge over the Mississippi, between Rock Island, IL, and Davenport, IA. A river pilot damaged it two weeks later and Abraham Lincoln represented the railroad.
1862
Congress establishes US Mint in Denver, Colorado.
1864
German sociologist Max Weber born
1895
Woodville Latham demonstrated the first use of a moving picture projected on a screen in New York City.
1910
Author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Connecticut.
1913
The zipper was patented by Swedish engineer Gideon Sunback. He improved on an 1813 design of Whitcomb Judson called a clasp-locker, which often jammed. Zippers were first used in World War I and appeared on civilian clothes in the 1920's.
1915
Ice skater Werner Groebli ("Mr. Frick") born
1915
Actor Anthony Quinn born
1918
Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the "Red Baron," was killed in action during World War I. He is credited with having shot down 80 Allied planes.
1926
Britain's Queen Elizabeth the Second, born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in London. Although today is her birthday, it is always celebrated in June at the Trooping of the Colours.
1930
Italian actress Silvana Mangano born
1932
Actress-comedian-writer Elaine May born
1935
Actor-turned-talk show host Charles Grodin born
1939
Singer-songwriter Ernie Maresca born
1940
The quiz show that asked the "$64 question," "Take It or Leave It," premiered on CBS Radio.
1947
Singer-musician Iggy Pop born
1948
Singer-songwriter Paul Davis born
1949
Actress Patti LuPone born
1951
Actor Tony Danza born
1955
The Jerome Lawrence-Robert Lee play "Inherit the Wind," loosely based on the Scopes trial of 1925, opened at the National Theater in New York.
1956
Leonard Ross, age 10, became the youngest prizewinner on a big time quiz program. The youngster won $100,000 on "The Big Surprise" for knowing about his specialty -- stocks.
1958
Actress Andie MacDowell born
1959
Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) born
1959
Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) born
1960
Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.
1963
Actor John Cameron Mitchell ("Party Girl") born
1967
A Greek army coup in Athens sent King Constantine into exile in Italy.
1968
Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) born
1969
Japanese marathon runner Yoshiaki Unetani won the Boston Marathon finishing first in a record field of 1,152.
1970
Comedian Nicole Sullivan ("MAD TV") born
1972
Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke explored the surface of the moon in an electric car (LEM). (The car is still up there along with some expensive tools and film that we forgot to bring home.)
1975
Nguyen Van Thieu resigned as president of South Vietnam after denouncing the United States as untrustworthy. His replacement, Tran Van Huong, prepared for peace talks with North Vietnam as communist forces advanced on Saigon.
1977
The musical play "Annie" opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,377 performances.
1980
Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon; she was later exposed as a fraud.
1983
Former first lady Betty Ford, undergoing treatment at Long Beach Memorial Naval Hospital in California, disclosed in a statement that she was addicted to alcohol as well as a drug she had been taking for arthritis.
1984
The head of the Centers for Disease Control said he believed a virus discovered in France was the cause of the disease AIDS.
1985
The president-elect of Brazil, Tancredo de Almeida Neves, died after an illness that had prevented his swearing-in the previous month as the country's first civilian president in two decades.
1986
A vault in Chicago's Lexington Hotel that was linked to Al Capone was opened during a live TV special hosted by Geraldo Rivera; aside from a few bottles and a sign, the vault was empty.
1986
The United States, Britain and France vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the U.S. air raid on Libya.
1987
The Senate panel investigating the Iran-Contra affair voted to grant limited immunity to President Reagan's former national security adviser, Rear Admiral John M. Poindexter.
1987
Special occasion stamps were offered for the first time by the U.S. Postal Service. "Happy Birthday," "Get Well" and other messages were offered.
1988
Tennessee Senator Al Gore gave up his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, telling his supporters, "There will be other days for me and for the causes that matter to us."
1989
Tens of thousands of people crowded into Beijing's Tiananmen Square, cheering students who waved banners demanding greater political freedoms.
1990
Pope John Paul II was greeted by hundreds of thousands of people as he visited Czechoslovakia to help celebrate the nation's peaceful overthrow of Communism.
1991
U.S. Marines in northern Iraq began building the first safe-haven settlement for Kurdish refugees. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf arrived at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida to a hero's welcome.
1992
Robert Alton Harris became the first person executed by the state of California in 25 years as he was put to death in the gas chamber for the 1978 murder of two teen-age boys.
1993
Bernard Haitink guest-conducted the Boston Symphony in "Four Sea Interludes from 'Peter Grimes'"; the American premiere of "Some Days" by Turnage; and the Brahms First Symphony.
1993
An 11-day siege at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville, Ohio, ended after rioting inmates reached an agreement with prison officials.
1994
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $28 billion "Get tough on crime" bill by a vote of 285-141.
1994
Eddie Murray, of the Cleveland Indians, hit home runs from both sides of the pale for a record 11th time. Mickey Mantle held the record at 10.
1995
The FBI arrested former soldier Timothy McVeigh at an Oklahoma jail where he'd spent two days on minor traffic and weapons charges; he was charged in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing two days earlier.
1996
President Clinton and Boris Yeltsin traded warm compliments and played down nagging differences, insisting their election-year summit in Moscow was not being influenced by presidential politics.
1996
Oddsmaker Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder died at age 76.
1996
The Olive Tree coalition, including many former communists, won more than a third of all the seats in the lower house of the Italian parliament.
1997
Inder Gujral was sworn in as India's new prime minister.
1997
Police in Franklin, New Jersey, arrested two teen-agers they say lured two pizza deliverymen to an abandoned house before opening fire, killing both men. (Both suspects are awaiting trial.)
1997
The swollen Red River, which had flooded 75 percent of Grand Forks, North Dakota, reached a projected crest of 54 feet, 26 feet above flood stage.
1998
Astronomers announced in Washington they had discovered possible signs of a new family of planets orbiting a star 220 light-years away, the clearest evidence yet of worlds forming beyond our solar system.
1999
Actor and bandleader Charles "Buddy" Rogers died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at age 94.
1999
A day after the mass killing at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., investigators continued their work, while memorial services were held across the city and dozens of counselors offered support to grieving students, parents, friends and family.
2000
The lower house of the Russian parliament overwhelmingly approved the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which would oblige Russia to end all nuclear test explosions.
2005
Iran shuts down Al-Jazeera bureau
2005
Advocate poll: GLAAD support not unanimous in U.S. gay commmunity
2005
Melbourne's tram-driving teen faces more charges
2005
Fatal dog mauling owner pleads “Not Guilty”
2005
Iraqi PM Allawi survives fifth attempted assassination
2005
France still a hot topic on college campuses
2005
Major US bankruptcy reform bill signed into law
2005
Civil unrest forces out Ecuador's president
2005
Breakthrough in talks between Philippine government, Muslim rebels
2005
New England Senators brawl over imported pharmaceuticals
2005
Partnership for a Drug-Free America study finds 1 in 5 teens abused prescription drugs
2006
Kucinich asks Bush about alleged US support for armed insurgency in Iran
2006
Nepal's King Gyanendra cracks down on protests; 3 dead
2006
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II turns 80
2006
7.7 magnitude earthquake strikes Kamchatka peninsula
2006
King of Nepal to restore democracy
2006
Condoleezza Rice will visit Greece and Turkey
2006
Nigeria announces clearing of Paris Club debt
2006
Employees of Mumbai's bus service BEST announce indefinite strike
2006
Pakistan says senior al-Qaeda official killed in shootout
2006
Oil prices surge over $75 a barrel to a record high
2007
Strong 6.3 magnitude earthquake reported in Papua New Guinea
2007
Heineken Cup Semi Finals
2007
Space tourist returns to Earth after 14 day trip
2007
Cricket World Cup: England vs West Indies
2007
Blue Angels navy plane crashes in South Carolina
2007
Kent Hovind's April appeal denied
2007
Pigs fed contaminated pet food; meat sold to consumers
2008
Evacuated Bristol families return home
2008
Australian Bureau of Statistics faces budget cut
2008
British foreign secretary: 'President Mugabe persists in his ambition to steal the election'
2008
Pope concludes visit to US with Mass at Yankee Stadium
2008
Pyrotechnics at Ecuador nightclub rock concert trigger 15-fatality fire
2009
Northern Cyprus opposition party wins elections
2009
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to run for governor of California
2009
Modern technology maps new sections of the Great Wall of China
2009
Discovery of smallest exoplanet yields 'extraordinary' find
2009
Coleman appeals Franken victory in Minnesota Senate race
2010
Death toll from Chinese earthquake passes 2,000
2010
US Supreme Court overturns ban on videos depicting animal cruelty
2010
Ash-triggered flight disruptions cost airlines $1.7 billion
2010
Former IOC President Samaranch dies at 89
2011
Riot at Sydney, Australia's Villawood Detention Centre continues
2011
France, Italy, UK sending military advisers to Libya; photojournalists killed in Misrata
2011
Security forces open fire on anti-government protestors in Syria
2013
Maroochydore defeat University in week five of Sunshine Coast Rugby Union

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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