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Today in History

1588
Thomas Hobbes, who wrote that legitimate political power must be representative and based on the consent of the people, born in Wiltshire, England
1614
Pocahontas marries John Rolfe
1900
Academy Award winning actor, Spencer Tracy born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1908
Academy Award winning actress, Bette Davis born in Lowell, Massachusetts
1910
Kissing on trains banned in France
1916
Academy Award winning actor, Gregory Peck born in La Jolla, California
1922
Skater, dancer, actress and singer, Gale Storm born Josephine Owaissa Cottle in Bloomington, Texas
1930
Mohandas Gandhi breaks British law by marching to the sea and making salt
1933
Soldier, actor, comedian, and impressionist, Frank Gorshin born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1937
National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State, General Colin Luther Powell born in New York City
1949
Electrical engineer, biomedical engineer, and astronaut, Dr Judith Resnik born in Akron, Ohio
823
Lothair I crowned Holy Roman Emperor
1208
Death of Quetzalcoatl
1270
Rebbenu Moses b. Nahman (Nahmanides), talmudist, dies
1328
Death of Sir Othon de Grandson
1355
Charles IV crowned Holy Roman Emperor
1419
Death of St. Vincent Ferrer
1494
The Santa Maria del Fiore church in Florence is struck by lightning
1534
Death of Jan Mathys
1588
English political philosopher, Thomas Hobbes born
1603
King James I of England also James VI of Scotland, leaves Edinburgh for London
1605
Stephen Bosckay is elected Prince of Transylvania
1605
Death of John Stowe
1614
American Indian princess Pocahontas married English colonist John Rolfe in Virginia.
1621
The "Mayflower" sailed from Plymouth, Massachusetts, on a return trip to England.
1649
Founder of Yale University, philanthropist, Elihu Yale born. Although born in America, Yale was taken to England by his family at the age of three, and he never returned.
1649
John Winthrop, colonizer and first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company dies.
1725
Italian adventurer Giovanni Casanova born
1726
Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence born
1784
Louis Spohr, a contemporary of Beethoven who was almost as big in his day, was born in the German town of Brunswick. He became a touring violin virtuoso, and married a harpist. He never stopped conducting and was a champion of Mozart's music.
1792
George Washington cast the first presidential veto, rejecting a congressional measure for apportioning representatives among the states.
1806
Isaac Quintard of Stanfield, Connecticut, patented the cider mill.
1856
Educator Booker T. Washington. He was the first president and principal developer of Tuskegee Institute. born
1869
Daniel Bakeman, the last surviving soldier of the Revolutionary War, died at the age of 109.
1874
Johan Strauss's Die Fledemaus premieres in Vienna.
1887
British historian Lord Acton wrote, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
1887
In Tuscumbia, Alabama, teacher Anne Sullivan taught her blind and deaf pupil, Helen Keller, the meaning of the word "water" as spelled out in the Manual Alphabet.
1892
Walter H. Coe of Providence, Rhode Island, patented gold leaf in rolls.
1895
Playwright Oscar Wilde lost his criminal libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry, who'd accused the writer of homosexual practices.
1900
Actor Spencer Tracy was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tracy received two consecutive Academy Awards for best actor.
1908
Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan born
1908
Actress Bette Davis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. She was is best known for her brilliant and intense characterizations of strong women.
1916
Actor Gregory Peck born
1920
Novelist Arthur Hailey born
1922
Actress Gale Storm born
1923
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, began the first regular production of "balloon" tires.
1926
Director Roger Corman born
1928
Singer (The Platters) Tony Williams born
1929
Actor Nigel Hawthorne born
1931
Country music producer Cowboy Jack Clement born
1932
Singer Billy Bland born
1933
The first operation to remove a lung was performed at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
1934
Impressionist Frank Gorshin born
1937
The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin L. Powell born
1939
Country singer Tommy Cash born
1941
Actor Michael Moriarty (Law & Order) born
1942
Singer Allan Clarke (The Hollies) born
1943
Actor Max Gail born
1946
Actress Jane Asher born
1946
Charles Ives, decades after he wrote his Third Symphony, the work was finally performed, and won him a Pulitzer. Ives, ever gracious, replied, "Prizes are for boys. I'm grown up!"
1946
Samuel Barber's Cello Concerto was premiered.
1949
Dr. Judith Resnik was born. Dr. Resnik was the second American woman in space. The 36-year-old mission specialist, died on board the space shuttle Challenger January 28, 1986.
1950
Singer Agnetha Faltskog (ABBA) born
1951
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death in New York for stealing atomic secrets for the Soviet Union
1955
Richard J. Daley was elected mayor of Chicago, Illinois, starting one of the most colorful political careers in history.
1957
Vickie Anne Thompson born in Norfolk, Virginia
1964
Army General Douglas MacArthur died in Washington, D.C. He was 84.
1965
"My Fair Lady" won the Academy Award for best picture, and one of its stars, Rex Harrison, was named best actor; Julie Andrews won best actress for "Mary Poppins."
1966
Musician (Pearl Jam) Mike McCready born
1967
Country singer Troy Gentry born
1968
Singer Paula Cole born
1968
Violence erupted in several American cities in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
1975
Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek died at age 87.
1976
Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes died of kidney failure during a flight from Acapulco, Mexico, to Houston. He was 72.
1983
France expelled about 50 Soviet diplomats and officials, accusing them of trying to steal military secrets. The Soviet embassy called the expulsions an unjustified political act.
1984
Basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the LA Lakers became the highest-scoring player in NBA history. He reached 31,419 career points in a game vs. the Utah Jazz. The record was previously held by Wilt Chamberlain.
1985
Japan notified the United States it would end all commercial whaling by 1988.
1985
Radio stations around the world interrupted their programming for a simultaneous Good Friday broadcast of "We Are The World." It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie and recorded by 46 artists for the Africa Relief Fund.
1986
An American soldier and a Turkish woman were killed in the bombing of the La Bell discotheque in West Berlin., The incident prompted the U.S. air raid on Libya a week later.
1987
President Reagan arrived in Canada for a summit with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
1987
Fox Broadcasting Company made its prime-time TV debut by airing the premiere episodes of "Married ... With Children" and "The Tracey Ullman Show" three times each.
1988
Governor Michael S. Dukakis won a solid victory in Wisconsin's Democratic presidential primary, while on the Republican side, Vice President George Bush overwhelmed his opposition.
1988
A 15-day hijacking ordeal began as gunmen forced a Kuwait Airways jumbo jet to land in Iran.
1989
Joseph Hazelwood, former captain of the Exxon Valdez supertanker that leaked nearly 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, surrendered to authorities in New York.
1989
The government of Poland signed an agreement restoring the independent labor movement Solidarity after a seven-year ban.
1990
The United States and the Soviet Union announced that President Bush and Soviet President Gorbachev would hold their first full-scale summit in the United States in late May-early June.
1991
Former Texas Sen. John Tower, his daughter and 21 other people were killed in a commuter plane crash near Brunswick, Georgia.
1991
The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on a mission that included the deploying of the second of NASA's Great Observatories.
1991
President Bush orders the US Air Force transport planes to drop supplies to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq.
1991
The government reported the nation's jobless rate surged to 6.8 percent in March.
1992
In Washington DC, a crowd estimated by authorities at half a million marched in support of abortion rights.
1992
Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton died in Little Rock, Arkansas, at age 74.
1992
A medical student (Suada Dilberovic) became the first fatality of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina as Serb nationalists began forcibly opposing the republic's secession from Yugoslavia.
1992
Peru's President Alberto Fujimori suspended his country's constitution and dissolved Congress.
1993
North Carolina defeated Michigan 77-to-71 to win its first NCAA basketball championship in eleven years.
1993
The European Community called for more and tighter sanctions on Serbia to try to force Belgrade's allies in Bosnia to accept a peace plan.
1994
President Clinton presided over a 90-minute town hall meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which he called himself the victim of "false charge" in connection with the Whitewater controversy.
1994
The Commerce Department reported that the Index of Leading Economic Indicators dropped one-tenth of one percentage point in February.
1995
The House of Representatives passed, 246-188, a tax-cut bill, the final major item in the Republican's "Contract With America."
1996
Accompanied by six children who survived the Oklahoma City bombing, President Clinton bowed his head in silent prayer at the site where 168 people were killed almost a year earlier.
1997
Allen Ginsberg, the counterculture guru who shattered conventions as poet laureate of the Beat Generation, died in New York City at age 70.
1998
In Leeds, England, environment chiefs from the world's top eight industrialized nations announced plans to curb the smuggling of hazardous waste, endangered species and substances that damage the ozone layer.
1999
NATO missiles and aircraft blasted Serbian targets inside Yugoslavia for a 13th straight day.
1999
The United Nations suspended sanctions against Libya after Moammar Gadhafi surrendered two suspected Libyan intelligence agents for trial in the 1988 Pan Am bombing.
1999
In Laramie, Wyoming, Russell Henderson pleaded guilty to kidnapping and felony murder in the death of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student.
2000
Ending a two-year investigation, an independent counsel cleared Labor Secretary Alexis Herman of allegations that she'd solicited $250,000 in illegal campaign contributions.
2000
Yoshiro Mori took over as Japan's new prime minister, succeeding Keizo Obuchi, who'd been felled by a stroke.
2001
A Dutch driver is convicted of manslaugher and sentenced to 14 years in prison for the deaths of 58 Chinese immigrants who suffocated in his truck in Dover, England.
2005
Owner of Wendy's chili finger still not found
2005
Nigerian Housing Minister fired in anti-corruption drive
2005
Maiyo and Romanova triumph in Charleston's Cooper River Bridge Run
2005
India-China border talks resume
2005
Triple limb-reattachment fails - boy loses foot
2005
Abu Ghraib prison camp struck by tractor bomb
2005
UK Prime Minister sets General Election date
2005
Arinze and Tettamanzi equal favorites as new Pope
2005
China responds to US plan for import quotas
2005
China censors, arrests Catholics in wake of Pope's death
2005
Talk-therapy can make a difference in early treatment of severe depression
2005
Miles-long queue to view Pope John Paul one last time
2005
China to sell warships to Pakistan
2005
Jeter saves the day for the Yankees
2005
Taiwan’s Blue Camp pays respects on the thirtieth anniversary of the passing of Chiang Kai-shek
2005
National Conference in the Norwegian Socialist Left Party
2005
National Conference in the Norwegian Centre Party
2005
Advocacy groups complain about 4parents.gov sex-ed website
2006
Six Papuans reported camping on Australian island
2006
Apple releases program to limit iPod volume
2006
University of Florida wins NCAA basketball championship
2006
U.S. jury decision moves Moussaoui closer to execution
2006
Homeland Security spokesman arrested for trying to seduce a minor
2006
Australian PM announces $1.8 billion mental health plan
2006
Guinea's PM fired by President
2006
Thaksin departure doesn't signal end to Thai political crisis
2006
Cats could play significant role in transmitting bird flu to humans, say Dutch researchers
2006
Apple unveils "Boot Camp" allowing Windows to work on Macs
2006
Interview with Glen Stollery of ScienTOMogy.info
2007
MLB: White Sox defeat Indians 4-3 following hit batter
2007
Retired hockey enforcer Tie Domi to sue coach of son's team
2007
British navy personnel back home
2007
Keith Richards denies reports that he snorted his father's ashes
2007
MLB: Pirates complete sweep of Astros
2007
NCAA Football: Grambling State legend Eddie Robinson dies
2007
OECD releases report on New Zealand's environmental performance
2007
NHL: Carolina's postseason hopes end
2007
Cruise ship sinks off Greek coast, two missing
2007
UEFA Cup: quarter-final first leg round up
2007
MLB: Twins defeat Orioles 7-2, sweep series
2008
FA Cup: Portsmouth defeat West Brom, advance to final
2008
Family of 'murdered' UK teenager reacts to death
2008
Steve Sinnott, leader of the National Union of Teachers, dies aged 56
2008
Grand National won by 'Comply or Die'
2008
Olympic torch arrives in London
2008
MLS: Toronto FC at D.C. United
2008
Independent presidential candidates debate this weekend
2008
Woolly mammoth demise may have been result of climate change and overhunting
2008
Bristol Central Library closed after fire
2009
Massive ice shelf expected to break away from Antarctica
2009
Welsh University announces intelligent robot conducting biology experiments
2009
Five children found dead in Graham, Washington
2009
North Korea launches rocket
2010
South African government appeals for calm after death of white supremacist
2010
38 people die in suicide attack during political rally in Pakistan
2010
Gunmen kill 25 in Iraqi village
2010
Pakistan: Peshawar hit by triple bomb blasts
2011
UN attacks Gbagbo military positions in Ivory Coast
2011
Serial killer suspected loose in New York, more bodies found
2012
netball ANZ Championship kicks off
2012
Last Ottoman dies, aged 91
2012
Former US Sheriff of the Year jailed in drugs-for-sex case
2013
Could an unmarked grave in Winchester contain the remains of King Alfred?

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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