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Today in History

1830
Joseph Smith Jr founds Mormon Church
1937
Grammy Award winning country music singer, guitarist and songwriter, Merle Haggard born in Bakersfield, California
1938
Teflon discovered by accident
1947
Drummer, producer, television and voice actor, John Ratzenberger born in Bridgeport, Connecticut
1952
Author, health advocate, dancer, singer, producer and actress, Marilu Henner born in Chicago, Illinois
1965
Early Bird, the first communications satellite, placed in geo-synchronous orbit
1966
Wrestler, actress, and bounty hunter, Tiffany Million born Sandra Lee Schwab in Richmond, California
648
BC
Earliest total solar eclipse chronicled by the Greeks
121
Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome born
1199
Death of Richard I "Lionheart" King of England
1203
Death of St. William of Aebelholt
1249
St. Louis IX, King of France, taken prisoner by the Muslims
1282
Welsh Parliament declares war on England
1286
Othon de Grandson returns to Gascony
1291
Acre besieged by Islam
1327
Petrarch meets Laura
1348
Death of Laura de Noves, Petrarch's inspiration, of plague
1415
Decree of Sacrosancta
1483
Raphael (who died the same day in 1520) born
1490
Death of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary
1528
Death of Albrecht Durer
1759
Handel presided over his last "Messiah" in London's Covent Garden. He would die a week and a day later.
1789
The U.S. Senate formally organized after achieving a quorum.
1810
Philip Henry Gosse, invented the institutional aquarium born
1823
Newspaper editor Joseph Medill born
1830
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, New York.
1862
The Civil War Battle of Shiloh began as the Confederates attacked Union forces in Tennessee.
1866
Muckraker Lincoln Steffens born
1868
Brigham Young marries number 27, his final wife.
1890
Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, pioneer aircraft manufacturer born
1892
Author, journalist and world traveler Lowell Thomas, who introduced the world to the exploits of British officer T.E. Lawrence, was born in Woodington, Ohio. His radio signoff: "So long until tomorrow." born
1892
Donald Wills Douglas, founded an aircraft company. born
1896
The first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece. The first gold medal was won by American James Connolly, who covered 44 feet, 11 and three-quarter inches in the triple jump.
1906
First animated cartoon is copyrighted.
1909
Explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson became the first men to reach the North Pole. (The claim, disputed by skeptics, was upheld in 1989 by the Navigation Foundation.)
1916
Charlie Chaplin, age 26, signed a movie contract with the Mutual Film Corporation. The contract for $675,000 a year would make him the highest-paid film star in the world.
1917
Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany.
1926
Four planes take off on 1st successful around-the-world flight.
1927
Jazz musician Gerry Mulligan born
1928
Geneticist James Watson born
1929
Composer-conductor Andre Previn born
1930
Bakery executive James Dewar invented a cream-filled sponge cake in order to use small baking pans that would otherwise remain in storage except for each year's brief strawberry shortcake season. The Twinkie was born.
1931
Actor Ivan Dixon born
1935
Harold "Bunny" Levitt dunked 499 consecutive free throws. On his 500th try, he missed. Then he threw 371 more shots without a miss. The Harlem Globetrotters offered $1,000 to anyone who could beat his record.
1937
Country singer Merle Haggard born
1937
Actor Billy Dee Williams born
1938
Actor Roy Thinnes born
1938
Du Pont researchers Roy Plunkett and Jack Rebok accidentally created the chemical compound that was later marketed as Teflon.
1942
Director Barry Levinson born
1944
Musician John Stax (The Pretty Things) born
1944
Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte born
1944
Singer Michelle Phillips born
1945
During World War II, the Japanese warship Yamato and nine other vessels sailed on a suicide mission to attack the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; the fleet was intercepted the next day.
1947
Actor John Ratzenberger born
1947
The first Tony Awards were presented at a dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria on Easter Sunday. The Tonys are named for Antoinette Perry, a stage actress dedicated to the theater.
1952
Actress Marilu Henner born
1953
Figure skater Janet Lynn born
1955
Actor Michael Rooker born
1955
Winston Churchill stepped down as British prime minister for the last time and was succeeded by Anthony Eden.
1956
Paramount Pictures signed Elvis Presley to a three-picture contract five days after his first screen test.
1958
Golf great Arnold Palmer won his first major, pro golf tournament by capturing the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Palmer defeated the defending champion, Dough Ford. Palmer was 28 years old and had been a pro since 1954.
1962
Musician Stan Cullimore (The Housemartins) born
1963
The United States and Britain signed an agreement under which the Americans would sell "Polaris" A-three missiles to the British.
1965
The United States launched the "Early Bird" communications satellite from Cape Kennedy, Florida. This was the world's first commercial communications satellite. It became operational on June 28.
1968
Federal troops and National Guardsmen were ordered out in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Detroit, as rioting continued over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
1969
Actress Ari Meyers ("Kate and Allie") born
1971
Igor Stravinsky died in New York. Stravinsky lived long enough to see musicologists name him one of the greatest figures of 20th century music. Since his death Stravinsky's reputation has grown even larger, because the newest generation of composers seems more influenced by him.
1972
Actor Jason Hervey ("The Wonder Years") born
1976
Actress Candace Cameron ("Full House") born
1983
Declaring that rock-and-roll bands attracted "the wrong element," Interior Secretary James Watt declined to invite the Beach Boys to perform in Washington at a Fourth of July celebration - a decision he later reversed.
1984
The space shuttle Challenger blasted off for the fifth time on a week-long mission. (Among the crew was pilot Francis R. "Dick" Scobee, who died in the Challenger disaster in 1986.)
1985
William J. Schroeder became the first artificial heart recipient to be discharged from the hospital as he moved into an apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.
1985
Gaafar Nimeiri, the president of Sudan, was overthrown in a coup.
1987
Sugar Ray Leonard upset Marvelous Marvin Hagler to become middleweight champion.
1987
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 24-hundred for the first time.
1987
Dodgers executive Al Campanis said on ABC's "Nightline" that blacks "may not have some of the necessities" to hold managerial jobs in major-league baseball.
1988
Tirza Porat, a 15-year-old girl, was killed in a West Bank melee, becoming the first Israeli civilian to die in the occupied territories since the start of the Palestinian uprising. (Although Arabs were initially blamed, the army concluded Tirza had been shot accidentally by a Jewish settler.)
1989
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev met with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in London, holding day-long talks that were characterized as argumentative, but friendly.
1990
Secretary of State James A. Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze concluded three days of talks in Washington, after which Shevardnadze personally delivered to President Bush a letter from Soviet President Gorbachev.
1991
Iraq's Parliament accepted a permanent cease-fire in the Gulf War
1992
The Supreme Court limited some undercover "sting" operations as it ruled that a Nebraska farmer had been entrapped by postal agents into buying mail-order child pornography.
1992
Science-fiction author Isaac Asimov died in New York at age 72.
1992
Ethnic warfare erupted in Bosnia-Herzegovina as the European Community recognized the former Yugoslav republic as an independent state.
1992
Elvis Presley fans began to vote in the nation's first-ever election for postage stamp art. Over 1 million postcard ballots showed the younger Elvis winning over the older by a 3-1 margin.
1993
A year after ethnic warfare erupted in Bosnia, the president of the Muslim-led government, Alija Izetbegovic, tried to rally his people with a televised address that likened the nationalism that had torn his country apart to Nazism.
1994
Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun announced his retirement after 24 years. Justice Blackmun wrote the Roe vs. Wade opinion on the constitutionality of abortion.
1994
The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed in a mysterious plane crash near Rwanda's capital - widespread violence erupted in Rwanda over claims the plane had been shot down.
1994
A Palestinian suicide-bomber killed seven Israelis in an attack on a bus in Afula.
1995
Senator Alfonse D'Amato apologized for lampooning O.J. Simpson trial judge Lance Ito for his earlier mocking.
1995
The Senate unanimously approved a $16 billion package of cuts in social programs.
1996
President Clinton was on hand at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to greet the arrival of 33 flag-draped caskets carrying the remains of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and other victims of a plane crash in Croatia.
1996
Actress Greer Garson died in Dallas at age 92. She is best known for her 1942 film "Mrs. Miniver," for which she won an Academy Award.
1996
A stolen truck carrying illegal immigrants overturned in
1997
A blizzard shut down much of the northern Plains.
1997
Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke died at age 84.
1997
NASA officials announced they were cutting short the 16-day mission of space shuttle "Columbia" by 12 days because of a deteriorating and potentially explosive power generator on board the spacecraft.
1998
Energy Secretary Federico Pena announced his resignation.
1998
Country singer Tammy Wynette died at her Nashville, Tenn., home at age 55.
1998
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 9,000 points for the first time.
1999
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic declared a unilateral cease-fire in his campaign to crush rebels in Kosovo; Western leaders called the move a sham and pledged to press ahead with airstrikes.
2000
The father of Elian Gonzalez, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, arrived in the United States to press for the return of his six-year-old son to Cuba.
2000
A private company mapping the human genetic blueprint announced it had decoded all of the DNA pieces that make up the genetic pattern of a single human being.
2001
Algerian Ahmed Ressam is convicted of terrorism for bringing a car loaded with explosives into the United States as part of an alleged plan to bomb buildings during millennium celebrations.
2005
NASA's Mars rovers exceed all expectations
2005
Brazil organizes Summit of South American and Arab Countries
2005
51 suspects named by UN for war crimes in Darfur
2005
ACLU: Gen. Sanchez possibly perjured himself at 2004 Senate inquiry
2005
British journalists on trial in Zimbabwe
2005
Bomb explodes on historic Kashmir bus route
2005
ABC to move Internet news network back to U.S. TVs
2005
Harvard University divests $4.4m of PetroChina stock
2005
'Great' title for John Paul?
2005
Dmitri Young hits three home runs in Tigers' opener
2005
US Highway Administration releases interim report on Boston's Big Dig: press release claims tunnel safe, but report does not
2005
Google Maps incorporates satellite images
2005
First female boxing death occurs in US sanctioned match
2005
North American citizens dealt passport requirement
2005
Nigeria destroys illegal small arms
2005
Toronto transit union threatens strike for Monday
2005
Prince Rainier III of Monaco has died
2005
Space Shuttle Discovery resumes rollout to launch pad
2005
Iraq elects Kurdish president, Saddam said to be shaken
2005
Japan announces moon program
2005
Canada presses Iran for an international investigation into Kazemi death
2005
Militants attack Kashmir bus route safe house
2005
Businesses shy to adopt Windows XP SP2
2005
Swift mission measures distance to star explosions
2005
16 dead after U.S. helicopter crashes in Afghanistan
2005
Study: cognitive therapy as good as medication, but lasts longer
2006
Swan in Fife, Scotland dies with H5N1 bird flu virus infection
2006
German soccer player gets preliminary injunction against far-right party
2006
Jimmy Rollins' hitting baseball streak ends at 38
2006
Duke lacrosse season ends, coach resigns
2006
Mckinney apologizes for confrontation with security guard
2007
US Defense Secretary evaluates Iraq and the political climate
2007
Overcrowded Montreal hospital asks public to stay away
2007
Thailand bans YouTube over videos insulting king
2007
NHL: Penguins defeat Senators in thrilling finish
2007
PlayStation 3 banned in British prisons
2007
UK naval crew describe their capture and detention by Iran
2007
Small earthquake reported in Solomon Islands
2007
Football: Everton defeat Fulham 4-1 at Goodison Park
2007
Tennis: Philippines beats New Zealand in opening singles at Davis Cup
2007
NFL: Former 1st pick Carr signs with Panthers
2007
NFL: Ricky Williams applies for reinstatement
2007
Forty Hells Angels locations in Canada raided by police
2008
English Premier League: Week 33 round-up
2008
Charles Manson releases album under free license
2008
Snow falls over much of UK
2008
Hollywood legend Charlton Heston dies at age 84
2008
Mugabe's party calls for recount of Zimbabwe presidential votes
2008
Blast kills 12 people, including senior Sri Lankan minister
2008
2007/08 FA Cup: Cardiff joins Portsmouth in Cup final
2008
Felipe Massa wins Bahrain Grand Prix
2008
Protests surround London Olympic torch relay
2009
Manitoba volunteers go to war against Red River flooding
2009
Italian police find 24 children living in Rome's sewers
2009
Major magnitude 6.3 earthquake strikes central Italy
2009
Jenson Button wins half of the Malaysian Grand Prix points
2009
Asian countries call for global currency
2009
Six-year-old Egyptian boy contracts bird flu
2010
UK Prime Minister announces date for general election
2010
Toyota fined $16 million by US government over recalls
2010
Heavy earthquake hits Sumatra, Indonesia
2010
Officials: Maoist rebels kill at least 70 Indian soldiers
2010
25 dead after mine explosion in West Virginia
2011
Disputed Ivory Coast president Gbagbo negotiating surrender
2012
U.S. Coast Guard unleashes cannon fire on abandoned Japanese ship

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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