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Today in History

1429
Joan of Arc relieves the Siege of Orleans
1770
Captain James Cook lands at Botany Bay
1854
Founder of topology, Jules Henri Poincaré born in Nancy, France
1899
Sign painter, composer, and pianist, Duke Ellington born in Washington, DC
1923
Teacher, artist, musician, photographer, actor and director of The Empire Strikes Back, Irvin Kershner born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1945
Dachau concentration camp liberated by US
1954
Writer, actor and comedian, Jerry Seinfeld born in New York City
1955
Golden Globe nominated actress Kate Mulgrew born in Dubuque, Iowa
1958
Actress Eve Plumb born in Burbank, California
1958
Oscar nominated actress Michelle Pfeiffer born in Santa Ana, California
1970
Golden Globe Award winning actress Uma Thurman born in Boston, Massachusetts
1986
LA Public Library fire destroys 400,000 books
1992
Rodney King verdict touches off riots in LA
998
Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor, takes the Palace of St. Angelo, Italy
1109
Death of St. Hugh of Cluny
1111
Death of St. Robert of Molesme
1187
King Guy of Jerusalem sends an embassy to Count Raymond
1289
Tripoli taken by Quala'un, Sultan of Egypt
1380
Death of St. Catherine of Siena
1429
Joan of Arc entered the besieged city of Orleans to lead a victory over the English.
1535
John Houghton, Prior, executed for refusing to recognize Henry VIII
1553
Flemish woman introduces practice of starching linen into England
1624
Cardinal Richelieu appointed Chief Minister of the Royal Council of France
1628
Sweden and Denmark signed a defense treaty against the Duke of Wallenstein, bringing Sweden into the Thirty Year War.
1706
Electors of Bavaria and Cologne were outlawed by the Holy Roman Empire.
1769
The first Duke of Wellington, victor of the Battle of Waterloo, was born in Dublin as Arthur Wellesley.
1781
The French fleet under Admiral Suffren prevented Britain from seizing the Cape of Good Hope.
1813
A patent for rubber was awarded to J.F. Hummel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1818
Alexander II, Tsar of Russia, born; he emancipated the serfs in 1861 but severe repression of political opposition led to his assassination in 1881.
1826
A liberal constitution was promulgated in Portugal for a hereditary monarchy.
1830
Adolph Sutro, SF mayor, built Cliff House, railways, tunnels. born
1848
Pope Pius IX dissociated himself from the Italian national movement.
1859
Austrian forces crossed the Sardinian front.
1861
Maryland's House of Delegates voted against seceding from the Union.
1862
New Orleans fell to Union forces during the Civil War.
1863
Publisher William Randolph Hearst. The American newspaper publisher who built up the nation's largest newspaper chain and whose methods profoundly influenced American journalism. He developed a sensational style of journalism featuring banner headlines and lavish illustrations. born
1864
Theta Xi, a professional fraternity, was founded in Troy, New York.
1879
The British conductor Thomas Beecham was born, the heir to the Beecham's liver pill fortune. Beecham was so rich he more or less bought an orchestra to learn to conduct. His fame is partly the result of the accident of his living in one of the recording capitals of the world. He founded the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947 and did much to promote the works of Delius, Sibelius and Richard Strauss
1885
Women were admitted for the first time to examinations at England's Oxford University.
1894
Several hundred unemployed men known as "Coxey's Army" swarmed into Washington to ask Congress for help.
1895
Malcolm Sargent, the British conductor, who had the misfortune to spend most of his career in Beecham's shadow, was born. He was in charge of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (1942-1948) and of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1950-1957).
1899
Band leader and composer Duke Ellington (Edward Kennedy Ellington) born in Washington, DC. He was one of the most influential forces in jazz history, producing about 2,000 works.
1901
Japanese emperor Hirohito 1901 American occupation, Hirohito renounced his divinity and most of his powers. born
1907
Movie director Fred Zinnemann, director of such films as "High Noon" and "From Here to Eternity." born
1909
Actor Tom Ewell born
1913
Swedish-born engineer Gideon Sundback of Hoboken, New Jersey, patented the improved version of the zipper; naming it the "separable fastener."
1916
The Easter Rising in Dublin collapsed as Irish nationalists surrendered to British authorities.
1916
Singer Don Mills (The Mills Brothers) born
1916
After a siege of 143 days, the British surrendered Kut-el-Amara to the Turks.
1918
Germany's main offensive on the Western Front in World War I ended.
1919
Actress Celeste Holm born
1925
Musician Danny Davis (The Nashville Brass) born
1927
Construction of the "Spirit of St. Louis" was completed. B.F. Mahoney was the 'mystery man' behind the Ryan company that built Lindbergh's plane.
1928
A British ultimatum forced Egypt to provide freedom of public meetings.
1928
Rhythm-and-blues singer Carl Gardner (The Coasters) born
1931
Singer-musician Lonnie Donegan born
1933
Poet Rod McKuen born
1933
Actor Keith Baxter born
1934
Bluesman Otis Rush born
1936
Actor Lane Smith. born
1936
Symphony conductor Zubin Mehta born
1941
The Boston Bees agreed to rename the National League team, The Braves, the name they used prior to 1935.
1942
The Japanese army captured the town of Lashio, cutting off the Burma Road between China and India.
1943
Country singer Duane Allen (The Oak Ridge Boys) born
1944
U.S. forces attacked Truk in the Caroline Islands, dropping over 800 tons of bombs.
1945
American troops liberated 32,000 prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp near Munich.
1946
Anglo-U.S. committee advised against the partition of Palestine.
1946
28 former Japanese leaders were indicted as war criminals.
1947
Singer Tommy James born
1947
Middle distance runner Jim Ryun born
1954
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld born
1954
Ernest Borgnine made his network television debut in "Night Visitor" on Ford Theatre on NBC-TV.
1955
Actress Kate Mulgrew born
1957
Actress Michelle Pfeiffer born
1957
Actor Daniel Day-Lewis born
1958
Actress Eve Plumb ("The Brady Bunch") born
1960
Rock musician Phil King (Lush) born
1961
ABC-TV's "Wide World of Sports" made its debut. The show, featuring Jim McKay as host, along with Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, Al Michaels, Jack Whitaker and Heywood Hale Brun and others, was not an immediate hit.
1963
Country singer Stephanie Bentley born
1968
Singer Carnie Wilson (Wilson Phillips) born
1970
Actress Uma Thurman born
1970
Tennis player Andre Agassi born
1970
Rapper Master P born
1971
Mark Nash (PFR) born
1972
Country singer James Bonamy born
1972
In Burundi, the deposed King Ntare V was killed in an abortive coup.
1973
Rock musician Mike Hogan (The Cranberries) born
1974
President Nixon announced he was releasing edited transcripts of some secretly made White House tape recordings related to the Watergate scandal.
1979
Jaime Roldos of the Concentration of Popular Forces party was elected president of Ecuador.
1980
Sir Alfred Hitchcock, British-born film director best known for his suspense thrillers, notably ``Psycho,'' died.
1981
Truck driver Peter Sutcliffe admitted in a London court to being the "Yorkshire Ripper," the killer of 13 women in northern England during a five-year period.
1981
In a whites-only election, the National Party was returned to power in South Africa but with a reduced majority.
1983
Harold Washington was sworn in as the first black mayor of Chicago.
1984
President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, flew 600 miles from Beijing to central China, where they saw farms, peasant villages and an archeological site.
1984
Actor Zane Carney ("Dave's World") born
1985
The space shuttle "Challenger" lifted off with seven astronauts and a "mini-zoo" of monkeys and rats aboard.
1986
The Soviet Union appealed to the West for help in fighting a reactor fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that had sent a radioactive cloud across northeastern Europe.
1987
Ronnie DeSillers, a seven-year-old liver transplant recipient whose story had prompted thousands of Americans, including President Reagan, to lend support, died at a Pittsburgh hospital while awaiting a fourth transplant.
1988
The first condor conceived in captivity was born at San Diego Wild Animal Park.
1988
McDonald's announced it would open its first restaurants in Moscow.
1989
In a sign that student demonstrators in Beijing had gained influence, China's government conducted informal talks with leaders of the democracy protests, and then televised the discussions.
1989
14 Liverpool football supporters were sentenced to jail terms for their part in the 1985 Heysel stadium tragedy in Belgium.
1990
Wrecking cranes began tearing down the section of the Berlin Wall surrounding the Brandenburg Gate, the wall's most famous section.
1990
The space shuttle Discovery landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a mission which included the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope.
1991
More than 100 people were killed when an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale rocked Soviet Georgia, destroying hospitals, schools, factories and 17,000 homes.
1991
U.S. troops continued airlifting Iraqi refugees from a camp in southern Iraq to Saudi Arabia.
1992
Rioting erupted in Los Angeles after a jury in Simi Valley, California, acquitted 4 white policemen of nearly all charges in the beating of black motorist Rodney King. A total of 54 people died in the 3 days of unrest.
1992
Exxon executive Sidney Reso was kidnapped outside his Morris Township, New Jersey, home by Arthur Seale, a former Exxon security official, and Seale's wife, Irene; Reso died in captivity.
1993
Britain's Queen Elizabeth the Second announced that for the first time, Buckingham Palace would be opened to tourists to help raise money for repairs at fire-damaged Windsor Castle.
1993
Alfred Brendel gave a recital in Chicago. It's an all-Beethoven, all-sonata program... five sonatas mostly from the middle years, including the "Pastoral."
1993
In Costa Rica, 18 Supreme Court justices were freed after being held captive by gunmen for three days.
1994
Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the terror of ethnic massacres in Rwanda were pouring into Tanzania.
1994
Israel and the PLO signed an agreement in Paris granting Palestinians broad authority to set taxes, control trade and regulate banks under self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.
1995
Rescue workers in Oklahoma City continued the grim task of searching for bodies and pulling debris from the bombed-out Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, where the remains of more than 120 of the 168 victims had been removed.
1996
Former CIA Director William Colby was missing and presumed drowned by authorities in Maryland after an apparent boating accident; his body was later recovered.
1997
A worldwide treaty to ban chemical weapons went into effect.
1997
Astronaut Jerry Linenger and cosmonaut Vasily Tsibliyev went on the first US-Russian space walk.
1997
Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Mike Royko died in Chicago at age 64.
1997
Staff Sergeant Delmar Simpson, a drill instructor at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, was convicted of raping six female trainees. (He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and dishonorably discharged.)
1998
Israelis began marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of their country (although, according to the Western calendar, the anniversary fell on May 14th).
1998
The United States, Canada, and Mexico agreed to eliminate tariffs on items accounting for $1 billion in trade at a meeting in Paris of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
1999
The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived in Belgrade on a mission to win freedom for three American prisoners of war held by Yugoslavia.
1999
Yugoslavia filed World Court cases against 10 countries, including the United States, claiming their bombing campaign breached international law.
2000
Lennox Lewis knocked out Michael Grant in the second round at Madison Square Garden in New York to retain his WBC and IBF heavyweight titles.
2000
Tens of thousands of angry Cuban-Americans marched peacefully through Miami's Little Havana, protesting the gruesome raid in which armed federal agents yanked six-year-old Elian Gonzalez from the home of relatives.
2005
Romanian mining industry to receive 115 million euro in state aid
2005
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Latin America
2005
Ezer Weizman former Israeli president dies at the age of 81
2005
U.S. EPA submits 2003 greenhouse gas inventory to U.N.
2005
Exploding toads confuse scientists
2005
Harvard University officials update Agassiz Neighborhood Council about local construction in Cambridge, Massachusetts
2005
Swedish packaging company transfers production lines to Romania
2005
World's most expensive hotel-casino opens in Las Vegas
2005
Grenade attack on fellow soldiers puts sergeant on death row
2005
Putin pledges to help Palestinians
2005
New Italian goverment gets confidence from the Senate too
2006
City of Buffalo, N.Y. fighting lawsuit against hotel proposal
2006
U.S. members of congress arrested over Sudan protest
2006
Ayman al-Zawahiri appears in new videotape
2006
U.S. Web host target of denial-of-service attack
2006
British Home Secretary faces pressure to resign over foreign offender release crisis
2006
Taliban abducts Indian engineer
2006
Maoists in India kill 13 and free 25 hostages
2006
Zarqawi shows face in new video
2006
Shuttle will launch in July: NASA
2006
Sniper's tower attacked in Ramadi
2006
IAEA Iran report leaked
2006
Mujahideen Shura Council claims responsibility for various attacks in Iraq
2006
Spanish-language version of U.S. anthem stirs controversy
2006
Mexico on the verge of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs
2006
Peace activist claims Iran keen to compromise on nuclear issue, Cheney, Rumsfeld allegedly block negotiations
2006
Comedians lampoon Bush at White House Correspondents' Dinner
2007
BBC and ITV to provide free satellite TV in the UK
2007
New York state Governor Eliot Spitzer proposes legalization of same-sex marriages
2007
US: Melamine from contaminated pet food enters human food chain
2007
MLB: Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock killed in car accident
2007
Justin Trudeau wins Liberal Party nomination
2007
Shooter at Kansas City mall kills three
2007
Tanker truck fire causes collapse on Oakland Freeway
2007
a Jack Russell terrier named George saved five children at a carnival in New Zealand from an attack by two pit bulls. He charged at them and held them at bay long enough for the children to get away. Killed by the pit bulls, he was posthumously awarded the PDSA Gold Medal.
2007
Telecom New Zealand bounces gay e-mail
2008
Kimi Räikkönen wins Spanish Grand Prix
2008
US Dept. of Justice IP address blocked after 'vandalism' edits to Wikipedia
2008
Bush meets with President of Guatemala
2008
Microsoft's attempt to buy out Yahoo may never happen
2008
Pioneer chemist Albert Hofmann dies at age 102
2008
Philadelphia Flyers beat Montreal Canadiens, 3-2
2008
2007/08 UEFA Champions League: Manchester United vs. Barcelona
2009
French tourists killed in California bus rollover accident
2009
U.S. GDP sees worst drop in five decades
2009
At least 41 killed in bombings in Iraq
2009
Aurora Borealis caused by electrical space tornadoes
2009
Swine flu outbreaks appear globally; WHO raises pandemic alert level to 5
2009
India buys 250,000 OLPC laptops
2009
Iraqi based war video game pulled by publisher
2010
Sixteen-year-old boy charged with murder over use of Playstation in Chile
2010
Thai police, protesters in violent clashes; at least one dead
2010
US official warns of Hezbollah missile threat
2010
"Bigoted woman": controversial Gordon Brown remarks caught on air
2010
New Jersey students protest proposed budget cuts
2011
Deadly tornadoes rip through southern US, killing over 300
2011
Steve Jobs denies 'location-gate'
2011
Prince William marries Kate Middleton—live updates
2012
Signals indicate Texas economy continues to improve
2012
China sets up US$10 billion credit line with European nations
2013
Australian Jesse Williams drafted in fifth round by the NFL's Seattle Seahawks
2013
Prague explosion injures dozens

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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