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Today in History

1724
Philosopher Immanuel Kant born in Königsberg, Prussia
1864
Coinage Act requires "In God We Trust" to be stamped on all US coins
1904
Physicist and director of the Manhattan Project, J. Robert Oppenheimer born in New York City
1906
Bronze Star decorated Naval officer, stage and screen actor Eddie Albert born in Rock Island, Illinois
1923
Secretary, pin-up girl, model, and actress, Bettie Mae Page born in Nashville, Tennessee
1926
Singer and actress Charlotte Rae born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1936
Academy Award winning actor and Grammy Award winning singer, Glen Campbell born in Delight, Arkansas
1937
Academy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Jack Nicholson born in Neptune City, New Jersey
1950
Grammy Award winning rock musician, Peter Frampton born in Beckenham, England
1967
Actress Sheryl Lee born in Augsburg, Germany
1970
First Earth Day
1993
Web browser Mosaic 1.0 released
536
Death of St. Agapetus, Pope
960
Coronation of Basil II as Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire
1073
Hildebrand of Soana elected Pope Gregory VII (the Great)
1233
Pope Gregory IX establishes the Order of Preachers as Inquisitors in France
1348
Edward III, King of England, retrieves the Garter of the Countess of Salisbury, and remarks "Shame be to him who thinks evil of it," thus beginning the Order of the Garter
1369
Hugues d'Aubriot founds the Bastille, Paris
1370
Construction of the Bastille begun
1418
Council of Constance, that re-united the Roman Catholic Church after the Great Schism, ended
1451
Spanish Queen Isabella I, who funded the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World born
1500
Pedro Alvarez Cabral sights Brazil, claims it for Portugal
1509
Henry the Eighth ascended the throne of England following the death of his father, Henry the Seventh.
1521
Defeat of the Revolt of the Comuneros
1529
Treaty of Saragossa. The treaty divided Spanish and Portuguese interests in the Pacific Ocean. Portugal regained control of the Moluccas in return for compensation.
1541
St. Ignatius of Loyola elected first General of the Jesuits
1592
Death of Bartolomeo Ammannati, sculptor and architect.
1707
English novelist Henry Fielding born
1724
Immanuel Kant born
1793
Philadelphia played host to the first circus attended by George Washington.
1793
U.S. President George Washington issued a Proclamation of Neutrality to ensure that the United States did not become involved in the war between France and Britain.
1834
The Quadruple Alliance was formed between Britain, France, Portugal and Spain, supporting Isabella II's claim to the Spanish throne against Don Carlos.
1838
The British steamship Sirius became the first to cross the Atlantic from Britain to New York on steam power only. The journey from Cork to New York took 18 days 10 hours.
1842
Cesar Franck was withdrawn from the Paris Conservatory by his father who decided to cancel Franck's composition studies and get his son to start earning a living from his keyboard training. Franck became an accomplished organist.
1864
By an act of Congress, the phrase "In God We Trust" was authorized to be stamped on all U.S. coins.
1870
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of Russia's 1917 Communist Revolution born
1876
An eight-team National League began its inaugural season of 70 games. The original eight teams: Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis.
1889
The Oklahoma Land Rush began at noon as thousands of homesteaders staked claims.
1898
The first shot of the Spanish-American War rang out as the USS Nashville captured a Spanish merchant ship off Key West, Florida.
1904
Pioneer nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer born
1906
Actor Eddie Albert born
1914
Babe Ruth made his professional pitching debut with the Baltimore Orioles. He shut out the Buffalo Bisons, 6-0.
1915
During World War I, German forces became the first to use poison gas on the Western Front.
1916
Violinist virtuoso Sir Yehudi Menuhin born
1922
Jazz bass player Charles Mingus born
1923
TV producer Aaron Spelling born
1925
Actor George Cole born
1926
Actress Charlotte Rae born
1930
The United States, Britain and Japan signed the London Naval Treaty, which regulated submarine warfare and limited shipbuilding.
1931
A contraption known as the autogyro landed on the lawn of the White House. President Herbert Hoover shook hands with the pilot, James G. Ray, and gave him a trophy.
1936
Singer Glen Campbell born
1937
Songwriter-musician Jack Nitzsche born
1937
Actor Jack Nicholson born
1939
Actor-writer Jason Miller born
1943
Singer Mel Carter born
1944
During World War Two, US forces began invading Japanese-held New Guinea with amphibious landings near Hollandia.
1945
Country singer Cleve Francis born
1946
Movie director John Waters born
1950
Singer Peter Frampton born
1951
Rock singer-musician Paul Carrack (Mike and the Mechanics; Squeeze) born
1951
Rock musician (Kiss) (Paul) Ace Frehley born
1952
An atomic test conducted in Nevada became the first nuclear explosion shown on live network television.
1954
The televised Senate Army-McCarthy hearings began.
1954
Actor Joseph Bottoms born
1959
Actor Ryan Stiles ("The Drew Carey Show") born
1961
Comedian Byron Allen born
1964
Actor Chris Makepeace born
1964
President Johnson opened the New York World's Fair.
1964
Greville Wynn, British businessman imprisoned in Moscow in 1963 for spying was exchanged for Gordon Lonsdale, in prison in London.
1967
Country singer-musician Heath Wright (Ricochet) born
1967
Actress Sheryl Lee born
1967
Randy Matson set a world outdoor record in the shot put with a toss of 71 feet, 5 inches in College Station, Texas.
1969
British lone yachtsman Robin Knox-Johnston arrived at Falmouth after completing the first solo nonstop circumnavigation of the Earth in just 312 days.
1970
Millions of Americans concerned about the environment observed the first "Earth Day."
1971
Actor Ingo Rademacher ("General Hospital") born
1972
Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke walked and rode on the surface of the moon for seven hours, 23 minutes.
1979
Rock singer-musician Daniel Johns (Silverchair) born
1983
The West German magazine "Stern" announced a major historical find - the discovery of 60 volumes of personal diaries purported to have been handwritten by Adolf Hitler. However, the diaries turned out to be a hoax.
1984
A godson of Edward Elgar, breaking a silence of five decades, revealed that the 13th "Enigma" variation, the only one Elgar never publicly identified, was meant to portray Helen Jessie Weaver, a woman who was once engaged to Elgar.
1984
Britain severed diplomatic relations with Libya; the move came after the government of Moammar Gadhafi refused to cooperate with an inquiry into a shooting outside the Libyan embassy in London that left 12 people dead.
1985
The board of directors of CBS Inc. unanimously rejected Ted Turner's bid for a controlling interest, prompting the Atlanta cable and sports executive to launch an unsuccessful hostile takeover.
1985
Jose Sarney was sworn in as Brazil's first civilian president in 21 years.
1985
Washington and Lee University researchers reported that Martha Washington was worth 29,650 pounds when she and George were married. The 29,650 pounds was worth $5.9 million on their wedding day.
1986
Britain rounded up 21 Libyans -- all but one of them university students - and said it would expel them for what was termed "revolutionary activity."
1987
Joe Hunt, leader of a social and investment group called the "Billionaire Boys Club," was convicted by a jury in Santa Monica, California, of murdering Ron Levin, a con man whose body has never been found. (Hunt was sentenced to life in prison.)
1988
Secretary of State George P. Shultz, visiting the Soviet Union, met with President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who reportedly criticized the Reagan administration for its "confrontational" approach to US-Soviet relations.
1989
The Xinhua News Agency reported the first outbreak of violence stemming from China's pro-democracy protests, in the provincial capital of Xian.
1990
Pro-Iranian kidnappers in Lebanon freed American hostage Robert Pohill after nearly 39 months of captivity.
1990
Millions of Americans joined in a worldwide 20th anniversary celebration of the first Earth Day.
1991
Sixty people were killed when a strong earthquake shook Costa Rica and neighboring Panama, causing millions of dollars' worth of damage.
1991
The White House promised a full accounting of chief of staff John Sununu's travels as it sought to stem political fallout over reports of his extensive personal use of military jets.
1992
The Supreme Court heard arguments on Pennsylvania's restrictive abortion law (the court upheld most of the law's provisions the following June, but also reaffirmed a woman's basic right to an abortion).
1992
In Guadalajara, Mexico, more than 200 people were killed by a series of sewer explosions.
1992
Sixteen U.S. and Dutch parachutists were killed when their plane crashed at Perris Valley Airport in California.
1993
Govenor Guy Hunt, Alabama's first Republican governor since the Reconstruction, was removed from office after being convicted of felony ethics violations.
1993
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in Washington, D.C., to honor the victims of Nazi extermination. Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was on hand to help open the memorial.
1994
Richard M. Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, died at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, four days after suffering a stroke. He was 81.
1995
At least 2,000 Rwandan refugees were massacred by Rwandan troops at a camp in Kibeho.
1996
Homemaker-humorist Erma Bombeck died in San Francisco at age 69 from kidney failure.
1996
After eleven days of focusing on Hezbollah guerrillas, Israeli warplanes turned to a new target in Lebanon, attacking the heavily fortified base of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
1997
President Clinton flew over the flooded town of Grand Forks, North Dakota.
1997
A jury of seven men and five women were selected in Denver to hear the murder case against Timothy J. McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing
1997
In Peru, government commandos stormed the Japanese ambassador's residence, ending a 126-day hostage crisis; all 14 Tupac Amaru rebels were killed, 71 hostages were rescued.
1998
A young woman charged along with her high school sweetheart with murdering their newborn at a Delaware motel pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Amy Grossberg was later sentenced to two and a-half years in prison; Brian Peterson received a lesser sentence of two years because he'd cooperated with authorities.
1999
At Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., investigators found a powerful bomb made from a propane tank, heightening suspicions that gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed 13 people before killing themselves, intended to destroy the school, and may have had help in assembling their arsenal.
1999
NATO warplanes struck directly against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, destroying his luxurious mansion.
2000
In surreal pre-dawn raid, armed immigration agents seized Elian Gonzalez from the safety of his relatives' home in Miami. The frightened Elian was reunited with his father at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington.
2000
Broadway producer Alexander Cohen died in New York at age 79.
2005
Ecuador's ousted President granted asylum in Brazil
2005
Last 10 days of online voting for Chatterbox Challenge
2005
Koizumi offers apologies for Japan's past
2005
Radioactive soil from Maine reactor refused at landfill in Utah
2005
Proposed bill could force federal weather data offline
2005
Advertising contract scandal could bring down Canadian government
2005
Bodies of 12 young people found in Colombia
2005
NASA study: warming and snow melt chokes sea life 1000 miles distant
2005
Work begins on world's longest underwater pipeline
2005
Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund gains 2.4% in first quarter
2005
Motorola to launch iTunes mobile phone
2005
Wendy’s finger pointer gets fingered for crime
2005
Third concert date for U2 in Dublin
2005
Creative Technology sees profits drop 72%, but sales soar
2005
Same-sex marriage bill passes in Spanish Congress of Deputies
2006
Woman arrested for heckling Chinese President Hu at White House
2006
PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future
2006
BJP leader Pramod Mahajan shot at in Mumbai
2006
Jawad al-Maliki named Iraqi prime minister
2007
Motorsport: Rick Kelly wins V8 Supercars Round 3 at Pukekohe NZ
2007
Sarkozy and Royal go ahead to second round
2007
High turnout observed in French presidential election
2007
Egyptian-Canadian sentenced to 15 years for espionage
2007
Football: Cristiano Ronaldo takes home both PFA awards
2007
Football: Internazionale clinch Serie A title
2008
German football: Lahm's contract offer withdrawn; Schlaudraff to Hannover
2008
1200 schools may be closed by UK teachers strike
2008
Georgian spy plane shot down
2008
Five injured after explosion in UK pub
2008
UK Independence Party gains first MP
2008
Hillary Clinton threatens to 'totally obliterate' Iran if it attacks Israel
2008
China, France attempt to repair relations in wake of protests
2008
US President Bush meets with Canadian and Mexican leaders
2009
Mountaineers 'Climb Up' for AIDS funding
2009
Earth Day celebrated around the globe
2009
Tonga renews emergency regulations
2010
Belgian prime minister offers resignation
2010
Train derails in South Africa; at least two dead
2010
Three dead, over 70 injured in Bangkok blasts
2010
US Treasury unveils new $100 note
2011
Netanyahu pushed previous prime minister Olmert to attack Iran, according to Wikileaks cables
2011
UK newspapers face libel, privacy action over murder coverage
2011
All US states could have smoke-free laws by 2020
2011
Amazon server outage affects Reddit, other websites
2012
Florida judge awards Zimmerman $150,000 bond in Trayvon Martin shooting
2012
U.S. Constitution Party nominates former Congressman Virgil Goode for president
2012
News briefs: April 21, 2012

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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