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Today in History

1006
Brightest recorded supernova appears
1777
Mathematician, astronomer, and scientist, Karl Friedrich Gauss born in Brunswick, Germany
1926
Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning actress Cloris Leachman born in Des Moines, Iowa
1933
Songwriter, guitarist and Grammy Award winning singer, Willie Nelson born in Abbott, Texas
1940
Painter, writer and actor, Burt Young born in Queens, New York
1944
Oscar nominated actress, Jill Clayburgh born in New York City
1973
H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Richard Kleindienst resign. John Dean is fired.
1974
White House releases more than 1,200 pages of edited transcripts of the Nixon tapes
1982
Golden Globe nominated actress, Kirsten Dunst born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey
60
Probable Beltane sacrifice of "Lovernios the Druid" (Lindow Man I)
259
Death of Sts. Marian and James
311
Galerius Valerius Maximianus issued an edict under which Christians were legally recognized in the Roman Empire.
535
Theodahad, King of the Ostrogoths, has his wife Amalasuntha, daughter of Justinian, Emperor of the East, strangled
1006
Supernova observed by Chinese & Egyptians in constellation Lupus
1245
John of Plato Carpini arrives at Batu Khan's camp on the Volga
1250
Louis IX ransomed at Daimetta
1396
The French army sets forth for Budapest
1492
Decree expelling the Jews from Spain is publicly announced
1492
Columbus receives his commission of exploration from Spain
1524
Death of Pierre du Terrail, the Chevalier de Bayard, "Sans Peer Et Sans Reproche", from a musket ball in the back, in the assault on Bresica, Italy
1527
Treaty of Westminster
1539
Hernando de Soto, with 600 troops, lands in Florida
1544
Thomas, Baron Audley, English Lord Chancellor (1533-44), dies
1555
Death of Pope Marcellus II
1602
William Lilly, English astrologer, author, almanac compiler born
1611
Burning of Louis Gaufridi, for witchcraft at Aix-en-Provence
1623
Franois de Montmorency Laval, 1st Roman Catholic Bishop in Canada born
1629
John Endicott appointed as Governor of the Plantation of Massachusetts Bay
1777
German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss born
1789
George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States, taking office in New York.
1803
The United States more than doubled its land area by signing a treaty to buy all the French territory west of the Mississippi River for $15 Million.
1812
Louisiana became the 18th state of the Union.
1815
The central provinces were designated as the Kingdom of Poland, under Alexander of Russia.
1870
Hungarian composer Franz Lehar, who wrote the operetta "The Merry Widow" born
1888
Educator and poet John Crowe Ransom in Pulaski, Tennessee. Ransom was a leading theorist of the Southern literary renascence that began after Worl War I. born
1889
The first national holiday in the United States was celebrated. The citizens of the U.S. observed the centennial of George Washington's inauguration.
1900
The legendary engineer, John Luther "Casey" Jones of the Illinois Central Railroad in a wreck near Vaughan, Miss., after staying at the controls in an effort to save the passengers, died.
1900
Hawaii was organized as a US territory.
1909
Princess Juliana of the Netherlands born
1910
Actor Al Lewis born
1912
Actress Eve Arden (Eunice Quedens) Our Miss Brooks, Grease born
1922
Percy Grainger's mother jumped to death from the 18th story of a building in New York City. She left a note to her son that said, "You and I never loved one another anything but purely and right." The two were abnormally close, so there had been rumors of intimacy.
1926
Actress Cloris Leachman born
1933
Singer Willie Nelson born
1938
Talk show host Gary Collins born
1939
Baseball's "Iron Man," Lou Gehrig, played his last game with the New York Yankees.
1939
The New York World's Fair, billed as a look at "the world of tomorrow," officially opened.
1939
The first railroad car equipped with fluorescent lights was put into service. The train car was known as the "General Pershing Zephyr.""
1940
Actor Burt Young born
1940
Belle Martell was licensed in California by state boxing officials to be the first American woman, prize-fight referee.
1940
Paul Hindemith took a professorship at Yale. Hindemith was forced out of Nazi Germany, partly because his wife was Jewish and partly because the Nazis thought his music was too modern, no matter how Aryan it was.
1941
Charlie "Bird" Parker's first commercially recorded work was cut at Decca Records. The jazz great was the originator of the bebop style of modern jazz.
1943
Singer Bobby Vee born
1944
Actress Jill Clayburgh born
1944
The New York Giants (of baseball) defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers 26-8. They also set a major-league record for home runs driven in by a single team in a single game.
1945
As Russian troops approached his Berlin bunker, Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his wife of one day, Eva Braun.
1945
The debut of "Queen for a Day" was heard on Mutual Radio. The opening line "How would YOU like to be queen for a day?" was delivered by host Jack Bailey. The first "Queen": Mrs. Evelyn Lane.
1945
"Arthur Godfrey Time" made its debut on the CBS radio network.
1946
Sweden's King Carl Gustav XVI born
1947
President Truman signed a measure officially changing the name of Boulder Dam to Hoover Dam.
1948
The Organization of American States held its first meeting, in Bogota, Colombia.
1948
Actor Perry King born
1953
Singer Merril Osmond born
1954
Movie director Jane Campion ("The Piano") born
1959
Actor Paul Gross ("Due South") born
1961
Basketball player Isiah Thomas born
1962
Country musician Robert Reynolds (The Mavericks) born
1964
The FCC ruled that all TV receivers should be equipped to receive both VHF (channels 2-13) and the new UHF (channels 14-83).
1967
Rapper Turbo B (Snap) born
1969
Rock musician Clark Vogeler (Toadies) born
1970
President Nixon announced the US was sending troops into Cambodia, an action that sparked widespread protest.
1971
Rhythm-and-blues singer Chris "Choc" Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) born
1972
Rock singer J.R. Richards (Dishwalla) born
1973
Rhythm-and-blues singer Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) born
1973
President Nixon announced the resignations of his aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, along with Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst and White House counsel John Dean.
1975
Actor Johnny Galecki ("Roseanne") born
1975
South Vietnam unconditionally surrendered to North Vietnam. The communists occupied Saigon and re-named it Ho Chi Minh City.
1980
In London, armed gunmen seized the Iranian Embassy demanding the release of political prisoners in Iran. The siege lasted six days.
1982
Actress Kirsten Dunst born
1983
Death claimed ballet choreographer George Balanchine in New York at age 79, as well as blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters in Suburban Chicago at age 68.
1984
Country singer Tyler Wilkinson (The Wilkinsons) born
1984
President Reagan, nearing the end of his China visit, attended a farewell banquet in Beijing, then flew to Shanghai, where he addresses more than 1,000 students at Fudan University.
1985
President Reagan set out on a trip to Europe and an economic summit which was already overshadowed by his planned visit to a German military cemetery where Nazi SS troops were buried.
1986
The Soviet Union released a photograph of the damaged Chernobyl nuclear plant, and accused western news organizations of spreading false rumors of thousands of deaths, saying only two people had died.
1987
Pope John Paul II began a five-day visit to West Germany.
1987
President Reagan welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to the White House.
1987
Education Secretary William Bennett called for mandatory AIDS testing for several groups of people, including hospital patients and prison inmates.
1988
"Molloko," the first California condor chick to be conceived in captivity, was hatched at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
1988
General Manuel Noriega, waving a machete, vowed at a rally to keep fighting United States efforts to oust him as Panama's military ruler.
1989
500,000 people attended a papal mass in Madagascar where Pope John Paul II beatified Victoire Rasoamanarivo, a 19th century Madagascar woman.
1989
President Bush attended a parade in New York City celebrating the bicentennial of the American presidency.
1990
Hostage Frank Reed was released by his captives in Lebanon; he was the second American to be released in eight days.
1991
An estimated 125,000 people died as a cyclone struck Bangladesh.
1991
Former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
1992
As rioting in Los Angeles entered its second day, President Bush condemned the violence, and said the Justice Department would intensify its investigation of police conduct in the beating of Rodney King.
1992
NATO appointed U.S. Gen. John Shalikashvili as the new commander of its forces in Europe.
1993
Top-ranked women's tennis player Monica Seles was stabbed in the back during a match in Hamburg, Germany, by a man who described himself as a fan of second-ranked German player Steffi Graf. (The man, convicted of causing grievous bodily harm, was given a suspended sentence.)
1994
Some 100,000 men, women and children fleeing ethnic slaughter in Rwanda crossed into neighboring Tanzania.
1995
President Clinton announced he would end U.S. trade and investment with Iran, denouncing the Tehran government as "inspiration and paymaster to terrorists.""
1995
More than 10,00 soldiers, students and children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the end of the war.
1996
President Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres signed an accord in Washington extending US help to Israel in countering terrorism.
1997
The Senate approved the nomination of Alexis Herman to be labor secretary.
1997
ABC TV aired the "coming out" episode of the situation comedy "Ellen" in which the title character, played by Ellen DeGeneres, acknowledges her homosexuality.
1997
President Clinton reopened the newly renovated Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
1999
A bomb exploded at a gay pub in London, killing three people and injuring more than 70.
1999
The Rev. Jesse Jackson met with three U.S. soldiers being held prisoner by Yugoslavia.
2000
Hundreds of thousands participated in a gay-rights rally in Washington.
2005
Privatisation of Romanian power distributor completed
2005
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie in theaters
2005
Flood in Vojvodina worsens
2005
Romanian government asks kidnappers to release female journalist
2005
INTOSAI meets in Paro, Bhutan
2005
Partial local elections to be held in 26 Romanian towns
2005
Orange Romania reaches 5.29 million subscribers in first quarter of 2005
2005
EU accession treaty ratified by Romanian government
2005
Metro Cash and Carry to open new supermarket in Arad, Romania
2005
Heavy rain washes away highway in Alba county, Romania
2005
Hindu mythological theme park planned for banks of Ganges
2005
First photo of a planet that orbits another sun
2005
Taiwan Kuomintang Party leader Lien Chan meets Hu Jintao in a historical visit to China
2005
Pay-by-Plastic pumps up gas prices in U.S.
2005
Vindicated Thai GM activists face gaol all the same
2005
Violent rioting, deaths follow disputed election in Togo
2005
Food with cancer-causing dye recalled in Britain
2005
New drug from lizard's saliva
2005
Wal-Mart closes down unionized store
2006
Hawaii legislature reaches agreement to suspend gasoline price cap
2006
Kidnapped Indian engineer killed by Taliban
2006
Australian civil rights activists protest terror suspects' internment
2006
London hosts anti-racism concert ahead of local elections
2006
Trapped Australian miners found alive
2006
London Planetarium closes to make way for celebrity-themed show
2006
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith dies
2006
Ten people injured as elderly driver hits crowd at Australian show
2007
Microsoft Silverlight released into first test phase
2007
Daylight savings extended in New Zealand
2007
Queensland prisoners put to work manufacturing water tanks
2007
Report claims that Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer was poisoned
2007
Stephen McNeil becomes leader of the Nova Scotia Liberals
2007
Norway purchases Canadian oil sands company
2007
Ex-CIA Director George Tenet's memoir published
2007
Protests in Turkey over Presidential candidate
2007
Historic Georgetown library on fire
2007
Khamenei criticizes "materialistic values" for mistreatment of workers
2007
No un-Islamic hairdo, makeup, or ties for Iranian men
2008
2007/08 UEFA Champions League: Chelsea vs. Liverpool
2008
Livingstone brands Boris 'a joke' in London mayoral elections
2008
Indian heart disease 'more severe than in West'
2008
Dolphin dies during performance at theme park
2009
Mexico on path to decriminalize personal possession of drugs
2009
Car plows into crowd during Dutch Queen's Day celebrations
2010
UN official: DR Congo is ‘rape capital of the world’
2010
Belgium passes ban on full face veil
2010
Algerian driver released by hostage takers in Niger
2010
Taliban commander reportedly alive, despite claims of January death
2010
Controversial wind farm approved by US government
2010
Pakistani peace mediator killed in tribal area
2011
'Very dangerous' killer escapes South African hospital
2011
Egyptian politician ElBaradei says ousted President Mubarak must stand trial
2011
Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan dies in climbing accident
2011
Sixteen killed in Marrakech, Morocco bomb blast
2012
French journalists claim Gaddafi promised Sarkozy campaign €50 million
2012
Sharapova defeats Azarenka in Porsche Finale
2012
Australian billionaire announces replica Titanic
2012
St. Louis storm uproots tent; one dead, several injured

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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