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Today in History

1822
Union Army General and 18th US President, Ulysses S Grant born in Point Pleasant, Ohio
1900
Cartoonist animator, and creator of Woody Woodpecker, Walter Lantz born in New Rochelle, New York
1922
Actor Jack Klugman born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1927
Civil rights leader Coretta Scott King born in Heiberger, Alabama
1932
DJ and voice actor, Casey Kasem born Kemal Amin Kasem in Detroit, Michigan
1937
First US Social Security payment made
1939
Actress Judy Carne born Joyce Botterill in Northampton, England
1948
Motel owner, musician, singer and co-founder of the B-52's, Kate Pierson born in Weehawken, New Jersey
1959
Actress and Grammy Award winning singer, Sheena Easton born in Bellshill, Scotland
1960
Independence Day in Togo
1961
Independence Day in Sierra Leone
2006
Groundbreaking for Freedom Tower at the former World Trade Center site in New York
1124
Death of Alexander I, King of Scotland
1172
Henry II, King of England, leaves Ireland
1174
Marie of Champagne issues a "responsum" to the inquiry "Can real love exist between married people?" The answer was "No."
1278
Death of St. Zita
1404
John "the Fearless" becomes Duke of Burgundy
1509
Pope Julius II excommunicated the Italian state of Venice.
1521
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.
1605
Death of Pope Leo XI
1646
Charles I flees Oxford
1667
John Milton sells the copyright for "Paradise Lost" for 10 pounds
1737
English historian Edward Gibbon author of "Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire." born
1759
Author Mary Godwin born
1791
Samuel F.B. Morse, American artist and inventor of magnetic telegraphy born
1805
A force led by US Marines captured the city of Derna, on the shores of Tripoli.
1810
Ludwig van Beethoven gave the world a romantic piece for piano, with the dedication, "For Therese, as a remembrance." But today nobody remembers Therese. The publisher couldn't read Beethoven's handwriting and to this day the piece is known as "Fur Elise."
1822
Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th president of the United States born in Point Pleasant, Ohio
1850
The American-owned steamship "The Atlantic" began regular trans-Atlantic passenger service. It was the first U.S. vessel to challenge what had been a British monopoly.
1865
The steamer "Sultana" exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee, killing more than 1400 Union prisoners of war.
1880
Francis Clarke and M.G. Foster patented the electrical hearing aid.
1882
Ralph Waldo Emerson died in Concord, Massachusetts, one month before his 70th birthday and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery beside Thoreau and Hawthorne.
1896
Wallace Carothers, inventor of nylon born
1897
Grant's Tomb (famed of song & legend) is dedicated.
1900
Woody Woodpecker creator Walter Lantz born
1903
Jamaica Race Track opened this day in Long Island, New York. Among the spectators were Lillian Russell and "Diamond" Jim Brady.
1904
English poet C. Day Lewis born
1922
Actor Jack Klugman born
1927
Civil rights activist Coretta Scott King born
1932
Actress Anouk Aimee born
1932
Former football coach Chuck Knox born
1932
American poet Hart Crane, returning from Mexico where he had gone on a Guggenheim Fellowship, drowned after jumping from a steamer while en route to New York; he was 32.
1932
Announcer Casey Kasem born
1937
CBS News correspondent Phil Jones born
1937
The first Social Security payment was made in the United States.
1938
Geraldine Apponyi was the first American woman to become a Queen as she married King Zog of Albania on this day.
1939
Actress Judy Carne born
1941
Opera singer Judith Blegen born
1944
Rhythm-and-blues singer Cuba Gooding born
1945
The Allies rejected peace offers by German SS chief Heinrich Himmler, insisting on unconditional surrender.
1946
The first commercial, carrier ship to be equipped with radar, the SS African Star, was placed in service.
1947
Singer Ann Peebles born
1947
It was "Babe Ruth Day" at Yankee Stadium as baseball fans, not just in New York, but across the country as well, honored the ailing star.
1948
Rock singer Kate Pierson (The B-52's) born
1949
Musician Clive Taylor (Amen Corner) born
1949
Rhythm-and-blues singer Herbie Murrell (The Stylistics) born
1949
Actor Douglas Sheehan ("Knots Landing") born
1950
The Boston Celtics hired Arnold "Red" Auerbach to coach their losing team. In 16 seasons, he led them to 9 NBA championships.
1951
Rock musician Ace Frehley (KISS) born
1956
Rocky Marciano relinquished his crown as heavyweight boxing champ when he retired from boxing.
1959
Pop singer Sheena Easton born
1960
The submarine, Tullibee, was launched from Groton, Connecticut. It was the first sub to be equipped with closed-circuit television.
1962
Actor James Le Gros born
1965
Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow died in Pawling, New York, at age 57.
1965
Rock musician Rob Squires (Big Head Todd & the Monsters) born
1967
Expo '67 was officially opened in Montreal by Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
1968
Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" was released. It is widely associated with the film "The Graduate.""
1969
Singer Mica Paris born
1969
Bolivian President Rene Barrientos Ortuno was killed in a helicopter crash near the village of Arque. He had been president since 1964.
1973
During the Watergate scandal, Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray resigned.
1978
Convicted Watergate defendant John D. Ehrlichman was released from an Arizona prison after serving 18 months.
1978
Afghanistan's armed forces seized power, establishing a government based on Islamic principles. President Daoud was killed and new President Nur Mohammed Taraki proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
1979
Rock singer-musician Travis Meeks (Days of the New) born
1981
Beatle Ringo Starr married actress Barbara Bach at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. Paul McCartney and his wife Linda, George Harrison and Harry Nilsson were in attendance.
1982
The trial of John W. Hinckley Junior, who had shot four people, including President Reagan, began in Washington. (The trial ended with Hinckley's acquittal by reason of insanity.)
1983
President Reagan appeared before Congress to urge members to embrace his arms and economic program for Central America, saying the United States had a duty to save the region from the leftist revolution.
1983
Nolan Ryan (Houston Astros) struck out the 3,509th batter for his career to pass Walter Johnson as all time strike out king. The Astros won 4-2 over Montreal. Johnson's record had been on the books for 55 years.
1984
In a speech during his visit to China, President Reagan extolled the virtues of capitalism. However, Chinese television deleted Reagan's criticism of the Soviet Union and praise of freedoms in the United States.
1984
In London, the ten-day siege at the Libyan Embassy ended peacefully as the building's occupants left for home.
1985
President Reagan used his weekly radio address to say he was looking forward to his visit to Europe without mentioning his plans to visit the military cemetery at Bitburg, a decision which had sparked controversy.
1986
A video pirate calling himself Captain Midnight interrupted a movie on HBO with a printed message protesting de-scrambling fees. (He turned out to be John R. MacDougall of Florida, who was fined and placed on probation.
1987
Attorney General Edwin Meese barred Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from the United States, citing the alleged role of the former United Nations secretary-general in Nazi war crimes.
1988
The Senate approved a sweeping trade bill, 63-to-36, falling short of the two-thirds vote needed to override a threatened veto by President Reagan.
1989
More than 150,000 students and workers calling for democracy marched, cheered and sang through central Beijing.
1990
The aperture door of the Hubble Space Telescope was opened by ground controllers as the space shuttle Discovery, which had carried the Hubble into orbit, prepared to return home.
1991
A group of 250 Kurds became the first refugees to move into a new U.S.-built camp in northern Iraq.
1992
The new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed in Belgrade by the republic of Serbia and its lone ally, Montenegro. Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics won entry into the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
1992
A Zambian air force plane carrying Zambia's national football team crashed into the Atlantic off Gabon killing all 30 aboard.
1992
Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics won entry into the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
1993
After a hiatus of more than four months, Israeli and Arab delegates resumed Middle East peace talks in Washington DC.
1993
The final performance of the current New York Philharmonic series, included the new Phillip Ramey horn concerto and the Haydn 69th Symphony, plus Ravel's "Rhapsody espagnole" and the short version of "Appalachian Spring." Leonard Slatkin conducted.
1994
Former President Richard M. Nixon was remembered at an outdoor funeral service attended by all five of his successors at the Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda, California.
1995
Former Orange County, California, Treasurer Robert Citron pleaded guilty to six counts of defrauding investors in the Orange County investment pool.
1996
Tens of thousands of refugees streamed home to southern Lebanon after a US-brokered cease-fire silenced the guns in the 16-day Israel-Hezbollah war. Events
1997
President Clinton, along with former presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter, helped polish gritty city streets in Philadelphia as they launched the three-day Summit for America's Future, a gathering on community service also attended by former President Gerald Ford and former first lady Nancy Reagan.
1997
Armed separatists took two hostages in West Texas, sparking a standoff with 300 police officers.
1999
A week after the Columbine High School massacre, President Clinton called for new gun control measures, saying, "People's lives are at stake here."
1999
Jazz trumpeter Al Hirt died in New Orleans at age 76.
2000
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani disclosed that he had prostate cancer (he later bowed out of the US Senate race against Hillary Rodham Clinton).
2005
Anthrax scare closes Michigan newspaper office
2005
Syria: Lebanon pullout is "full and complete", UN to verify
2005
Execution deadline for kidnapped journalists expires
2005
Children find human bones, develop interest in anatomy
2005
World's largest passenger airliner makes first flight
2005
Dutch mayors support legalisation of cannabis
2005
Bomb explosion kills two in Myanmar's second largest city
2005
Dorothy's dress from Wizard of Oz sells for £140,000
2005
Lebanon government wins ‘vote of confidence’
2005
New Italian goverment gets confidence from the House
2005
Boeing secures $11bn of aircraft deals
2005
Air alarm at White House, Bush moved to safety
2006
Maoists in Nepal declare three month ceasefire
2006
Australia to introduce universal health and welfare smartcard
2006
"Voxtel" company will be transformed into "Orange"
2006
US Federal Reserve ceases to publish M3 index
2006
Chickens at a Norfolk farm to be culled after testing positive for bird flu
2006
Family devastated by body mix-up
2006
Members of Granny Peace Brigade acquitted
2006
Israeli report: Iran acquired missiles capable of striking Europe
2006
Nintendo Revolution name revealed
2007
Arrest warrant issued for Richard Gere for kissing actress Shilpa Shetty
2007
Strong 6.3 earthquake reported in Sumatra, Indonesia
2007
Funeral held for two Lebanese youths found slain
2007
One killed in clashes over World War monument in Estonia
2008
Vandals deface family crypt of Pierre Elliott Trudeau
2008
National Hockey League playoff news: April 27, 2008
2008
Austrian man kept daughter prisoner in cellar for 24 years
2008
Wikimedia board of trustees announces restructure
2008
Lakshmi Mittal tops Sunday Times Rich List
2008
President of Afghanistan uninjured after assassination attempt
2008
Soyuz rocket launches GIOVE-B satellite
2008
Spectator killed and 10 injured in German airshow crash
2008
Owner and manager of Moroccan factory arrested over 55-fatality fire
2008
California wildfire forces evacuation of thousands
2008
Toronto transit workers ordered back to work
2008
Last Titan launch complex at Cape Canaveral demolished
2008
Large increase in number of foreclosures across US
2009
Jenson Button wins Bahrain Grand Prix
2010
Officials: US drone strike kills five in Pakistan
2010
Suicide bombing in Afghanistan kills three, 35 injured
2010
Smoke bomb thrown in Ukrainian parliament during naval base debate
2010
Snap election fails to end political deadlock in Nauru
2010
Gulf of Mexico oil spill expanding; submarines to try to stop leak
2011
U.S. President Barack Obama releases original birth certificate
2011
Dingoes attack toddler on Fraser Island
2012
Florida court blocks drug testing state workers

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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