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Today in History

1800
US Library of Congress established
1905
Pulitzer Prizes for both poetry and fiction, poet laureate Robert Penn Warren born in Guthrie, Kentucky
1934
Author, dancer, singer and Academy Award winning actress, Shirley MacLaine born in Richmond, Virginia
1940
Mystery novelist Sue Grafton born in Louisville, Kentucky
1941
Author, professor, Peace Corps official, investment banker and diplomat, Richard Holbrooke born in New York City
1942
Democratic leader and longest serving Mayor of Chicago, Richard M Daley born in Chicago, Illinois
1942
Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winning actress and singer, Barbra Streisand born in Brooklyn, New York
1955
Zen Buhddist priest, theater, television and Oscar nominated film actor, Michael O'Keefe born in Mount Vernon, New York
1967
Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov killed in Soyuz 1 when the parachute fails to open.
1974
Architectural artist Stephen Wiltshire MBE born in London, England
1991
WWI veteran Corporal Freddie Stowers posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor
455
Pope Leo decrees that this year Easter is to be observed on April 24th
624
Death of St. Milletus
709
Death of St. Wilfrid
858
Election of Nicholas I, "the Great," as Pope
1066
Halley's Comet appeared over England. A monk spotted it and predicted the destruction of the country. The battle of Hastings followed and thousands of English were killed in it.
1505
Amerigo Vespucci, Italian mapmaker, becomes citizen of Spain
1519
Envoys of Montezuma II attend the first Easter Mass in Central America
1546
English Navy Board chartered by King Henry VIII
1558
Mary Queen of Scots, aged 16, married the Dauphin of France, the future Francis II.
1567
Bothwell takes Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, to his castle of Dunbar
1576
St. Vincent de Paul born
1585
Election of Pope Sixtus V
1617
Assassination of Concino Concini, the Marechal d'Ancre
1620
John Graunt, statistician, founded the science of demography born
1629
Peace signed between England and France
1704
The Boston News Letter became the first American newspaper to be published on a regular basis.
1706
Padre Martini born
1766
Publisher Robert Thomas Grafton, Massachusetts. He was founder and editor of "The Farmer's Almanac". The first issue came out in 1793. born
1792
The national anthem of France, "La Marseillaise", was composed by Captain Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, an officer stationed in Strasbourg
1800
Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress in Washington DC, appropriating $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary."
1815
English novelist Anthony Trollope born
1833
Jacob Ebert of Cadiz, Ohio, and George Dulty of Wheeling, West Virginia, patented the soda fountain.
1866
Premiere of Max Bruch's Violin Concerto in G minor, No. 1, Opus 26
1877
Federal troops moved out of New Orleans, ending the North's military occupation of the South following the Civil War.
1893
Actor Leslie Howard born
1897
William W. Price began work at the Washington Star where he became the first regular White House reporter.
1898
Spain declared war on the United States after rejecting America's ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba.
1904
Artist Willem DeKooning born
1905
U.S. poet laureate Robert Penn Warren born
1915
The Ottoman Turkish Empire began the brutal mass deportation of Armenians during World War One.
1916
Some 1600 Irish nationalists launched the Easter Rising by seizing several key sites in Dublin, including the General Post Office. (The rising was put down by British forces several days later.)
1916
Critic Stanley Kauffmann born
1923
Actor J.D. Cannon born
1925
Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto received its American premiere with the Boston Symphony. This is one of the greatest violin concertos ever written because it dramatically shows off the soloist without the use of any cadenzas.
1934
Laurens Hammond of Chicago, Illinois, announced the development of the pipeless organ.
1934
Actress Shirley MacLaine born
1940
Author Sue Grafton born
1942
Actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand born
1942
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley born
1943
Country singer Richard Sterban (The Oak Ridge Boys) born
1945
Rock musician Doug Clifford (Creedence Clearwater Revival) born
1945
A new commissioner of baseball was named. He was Albert B. "Happy" Chandler.
1947
Rock musician Glenn Cornick (Wild Turkey) born
1950
The state of Jordan was formed by the union of Jordanian-occupied Palestine and the Kingdom of Transjordan.
1952
Raymond Burr made his television acting debut on Gruen Guild Playhouse in an episode titled "The Tiger."
1953
Actor-playwright Eric Bogosian born
1953
British statesman Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth the Second at Buckingham Palace.
1955
Actor Michael O'Keefe born
1957
Rock musician David J (Bauhaus) born
1961
Bob Dylan made his recording debut (and $50) playing harmonica on the title track of Harry Belafonte's "Midnight Special" album.
1962
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology achieved the first satellite relay of a television signal, between Camp Parks, California, and Westford, Massachusetts.
1963
Rock musician Billy Gould (Faith No More) born
1964
Rock musician Paul Ryder (Happy Mondays) born
1967
Rock musician Patty Schemel (Hole) born
1968
Rock musician Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) born
1968
Leftist students at Columbia University in New York began a week-long occupation of several campus buildings.
1970
The People's Republic of China launched its first satellite, which kept transmitting a song, "The East is Red."
1977
Actor Eric Balfour born
1980
The United States launched an abortive attempt to free the American hostages in Iran, a mission that resulted in the deaths of eight US servicemen.
1983
Austria's governing Socialists lost their absolute majority in Parliament during national elections, prompting Chancellor Bruno Kreisky to announce he would resign after 13 years in office.
1984
The government reported consumer prices had risen .2 percent in March 1984, leaving inflation for the year running at a moderate annual rate of five percent.
1985
The 69th annual Pulitzer Prizes were announced, with the fiction award going to Alison Lurie's "Foreign Affairs," the drama award to Stephen Sondheim and James Lupine's "Sunday in the Park with George."
1986
Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor, for whom King Edward the Eighth gave up the British throne, died in Paris at age 89.
1987
18 people, including 12 U.S. military personnel, were injured when a roadside bomb exploded in the Greek port of Piraeus; the guerrilla group November 17 claimed responsibility.
1987
Genetically altered bacteria, designed to prevent frost damage, was sprayed on a California strawberry field in the first test of such biotechnology in nature.
1988
Three sailors were killed and 22 injured when fire broke out aboard the submarine USS Bonefish off the Florida coast.
1988
Greek cycling champion Kanellos Kanellopoulos pedaled the human-powered aircraft Daedalus over the Agean Sea for nearly four hours.
1989
President Bush led a memorial service at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia for the 47 sailors killed in a gun-turret explosion aboard the USS Iowa.
1990
The space shuttle "Discovery" blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope is so powerful, it can see a dime, 25 miles away.
1990
Junk bond king, Michael Milken, pleaded guilty in what may have been one of the largest individual cases of fraud ever to rock Wall Street.
1990
East and West Germany agreed on July 2nd as the date for economic union, a prelude to full political unification.
1991
A Kurdish rebel leader announced the guerrillas had reached an agreement in principle with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to end the Kurd's two-week rebellion.
1992
President Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton made long-distance back-to-back appearances via satellite hookups before the National Association of Hispanic Journalists meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1993
The Irish Republican Army exploded a truck bomb in the City of London financial district, killing one man and causing millions of dollars' worth of damage.
1993
Former African National Congress president Oliver Tambo died in Johannesburg, South Africa, at age 75.
1994
Bosnian Serbs, threatened with NATO air strikes, grudgingly gave up their three-week assault on Gorazde, burning houses and blowing up a water treatment plant as they withdrew.
1995
A package bomb linked to the "Unabomber" exploded inside the Sacramento, California, offices of a lobbying group for the wood products industry, killing chief lobbyist Gilbert B. Murray.
1995
The U.N. tribunal for former Yugoslavia named Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and two of his senior aides as war crimes suspects.
1996
Negotiators for Congress and the White House agreed on a permanent budget for fiscal year 1996.
1996
The main assembly of the Palestine Liberation Organization voted to revoke clauses in its charter that called for an armed struggle to destroy Israel.
1997
The Senate voted 74-to-26 to approve the chemical weapons treaty, five days before the pact was to take effect.
1997
The prosecution and defense presented opening statements in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh.
1997
Comedian Pat Paulsen died in Mexico at age 69.
1998
After a month of confrontation, Russian lawmakers caved in to President Boris Yeltsin, approving acting prime minister Sergei Kiriyenko, 35, as premier despite doubts about his relative youth and inexperience. (Kiriyenko was fired just four months later.)
1999
On the second day of a NATO summit, the alliance ran into objections from Russia and questions among its own members about enforcing an oil embargo against Yugoslavia by searching ships at sea.
2000
A teen-age gunman opened fire at Washington's National Zoo, wounding seven children.
2000
In a statement about the disappearance of a laptop computer with highly sensitive documents, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced a five-point plan to help guard against such lapses in the future.
2005
Romanian reporters call for release of hostages in Iraq
2005
5-year-old girl arrested and handcuffed by Florida police
2005
British government considering new nuclear power stations
2005
Barry Prime changes mind about Swim Ireland
2005
Bush nomination to UN post faces bi-partisan problems
2005
NYSE to merge with Archipelago; NASDAQ to buy Instinet
2006
By-elections fail to provide way out of Thai political crisis
2006
Oil prices drive new investment in clean technology
2006
Explosions rock Egyptian resort town of Dahab
2006
Microsoft and EU face off in Luxembourg court
2006
Tennis player Rafael Nadal crowned "King of Clay"
2006
Linux distributors agree on standard for desktop software
2006
112 year old joke fools political activists and the Associated Press
2006
World leaders condemn deadly explosions in Egypt
2006
Indian Supreme Court verdict:AMU to remain a minority institution
2007
Newly discovered extra-solar planet may be Earth-like
2007
Entire fossilized forest found in Illinois, USA
2007
Turkey's governing party names Abdullah Gül as presidential candidate
2007
Cricket World Cup - 1st Semi-Final: Sri Lanka vs New Zealand
2007
Inmates take over Indiana prison, two employees injured
2007
Football: Manchester United defeat AC Milan in Champions League
2007
Canada's Liberals put forward Afghanistan motion
2007
9 US soldiers killed in Iraq bombing; 20 others wounded
2007
Thailand orders Ample Rich directors to pay US$616 million taxes
2007
20 tons of cocaine seized by US Coast Guard
2008
Republic of Molossia hosts state visit
2008
Ukranian manufacturer preparing to sell Adolf Hitler dolls
2008
UK teachers strike in first national teachers strike in 21 years
2008
Earth Day marked in various ways
2008
US claims North Korea helped Syria build reactor bombed by Israel
2008
US Senate unanimously passes genetic nondiscrimination bill
2009
Spain's unemployment rate surpasses 17 percent
2009
Four bombings over two days leave more than 130 dead in Iraq
2009
Outbreak of swine flu in Mexico kills at least twenty, infects 1,000
2010
US state of Arizona signs into law controversial immigration bill
2010
Six policemen killed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
2010
Illinois Fair Map Amendment could die before appearing on ballot
2010
New York man pleads guilty in New York City subway bomb plot
2010
Zeus botnet trojan horse is back
2010
Two children killed in fire in Derbyshire, England; man arrested
2010
Somali al-Shabaab group seizes three towns
2010
US indicts eleven alleged pirates from Somalia
2010
Iranian president Ahmadinejad in Zimbabwe for trade fair
2011
Sherpa mountaineer Nawang Gombu, first to summit Mount Everest twice, dies
2011
Tornadoes damage hundreds of Missouri homes, force closure of airport
2011
U.S. Coast Guard investigation finds 'poor safety culture' contributed to Deepwater Horizon disaster
2011
California employees owe state US$13.3 million in unpaid loans
2011
'Apple's data is dirtiest,' says Greenpeace
2011
Massachusetts study finds links between bullying and family violence
2011
Qur'an-burning pastor jailed after mosque protest barred
2012
Noted magic dealer pleads guilty to US federal charges
2013
Man drowns in Texas lake after falling from boat

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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