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Today in History

Alewives run, Cape Cod
1827
John Walker sells first friction matches
1939
Academy Award winning film director, producer, and screenwriter, Francis Ford Coppola born in Detroit, Michigan
1939
Italy invades Albania
1951
Grammy Award winning songwriter and singer, Janis Ian born in New York City
1954
Stuntman, singer and actor, Jackie Chan born in Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
1964
IBM announces System/360
1969
Publication of RFC 1
30
By many scholars' reckoning, Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by Roman troops in Jerusalem.
451
Metz, France, plundered by Attila the Hun
1226
Death of St. Herman Joseph
1321
The Four Martyrs of Tana killed in Muslim India
1364
Deadline for David II, King of Scots, to persuade Scotland to accept Edward III, King of England, as King of Scots
1381
Second treaty of Guerande between Yann IV of Brittany and Charles VI of France
1498
The Ordeal by Fire in Florence
1498
Death of Charles VIII, King of France
1506
St. Francis Xavier born
1508
Death of St. Nilus of Sora
1521
Magellan lands at Cebu, Phillipines
1537
Furness Abbey surrenders to the King of England
1539
The Abbot of Glastonbury writes to Thomas Cromwell, excusing himself from attending the House of Lords
1593
John Samuels, his wife, and daughter, burned as witches
1614
Death of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known as "El Greco," painter
1628
Jonas Michaelius arrives in New Amsterdam as the first Dutch Reformed Church minister in the colonies
1652
Foundation of the City of Capetown, South Africa
1724
Good Friday, Bach's "St. John Passion" was first sung in Leipzig.
1770
English Lake Poet and philosopher William Wordsworth was born. He said, "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity." born
1787
17-year-old Beethoven newly-arrived in Vienna played piano for Mozart. "Keep your eyes on him," Mozart said. "Someday he'll give the world something remarkable."
1842
Richard Wagner fled Paris. So ended a wholly unsuccessful stay of nearly three years. Wagner left big debts behind him as usual.
1860
W.K. Kellogg, founded the cereal company. born
1862
Union forces under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates at Shiloh, Tennessee.
1888
P.F. Collier published a weekly periodical for the first time. "Collier's" became the publication's name at a later date. The magazine was popular for 69 years.
1897
U.S. journalist and broadcaster Walter Winchell was born in New York City. His newspaper columns and radio broadcasts containing news and gossip in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s gave him much influence. born
1908
Conductor Percy Faith born
1915
Jazz Singer Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan, nicknamed "Lady Day") in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. born
1920
Sitar player Ravi Shankar born
1927
An audience in New York saw an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover in the first successful long-distance demonstration of television.
1928
Actor James Garner (Baumgardner) born
1928
Movie director Alan J. Pakula born
1931
Former Defense Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers born
1932
Country singer Cal Smith born
1932
Satirist, Mark Russell born
1933
Actor Wayne Rogers born
1934
Actor Ian Richardson born
1935
Media commentator Hodding Carter born
1935
Country singer Bobby Bare born
1938
Former California Governor Jerry Brown born
1938
Jazz musician Freddie Hubbard born
1939
Television personality Sir David Frost born
1939
Italy invaded Albania, which offered only token resistance. (Less than a week later, Italy annexed Albania.)
1939
Movie director Francis Ford Coppola born
1940
Booker T. Washington became the first African-American to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp, a 10-cent stamp.
1943
Drummer Spencer Dryden (Jefferson Airplane) born
1945
During World War Two, American planes intercepted a Japanese fleet that was headed for Okinawa on a suicide mission. The 72,000-ton battleship Yamato, with its crew of 2,498, and four destroyers were sunk.
1946
Rock musician Bill Kreutzmann (The Grateful Dead) born
1947
Auto pioneer Henry Ford died in Dearborn, Michigan, at age 83.
1948
The World Health Organization was founded.
1949
The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific" opened on Broadway. The musical was based on the book tales of the South Pacific by James Michener. It ran for 1,925 performances and starred Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza.
1949
Singer John Oates born
1951
Country musician John Dittrich born
1951
Singer Janis Ian born
1952
Rock musician Bruce Gary (The Knack) born
1953
The UN General Assembly elected Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden to be secretary-general. The vote was 57 to one.
1954
Actor Jackie Chan born
1954
Football Hall-of-Famer Tony Dorsett born
1957
The last of New York's electric trolleys completed its final run from Queens to Manhattan.
1963
Jack Nicklaus became the youngest golfer to win the "Green Jacket" at the Master's Tournament." The "Golden Bear" earned the win at one of golf's premier events at the age of 23.
1964
Rhythm-and-blues singer Mark Kibble (Take 6) born
1964
Actor Russell Crowe born
1966
The United States recovered a hydrogen bomb it had lost off the coast of Spain.
1969
The Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material.
1970
A U.S. court confirmed it had closed the investigation of Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, over the car crash in which Mary Jo Kopechne died at Cahappaquiddick in 1969.
1970
The Academy Award for best picture went to "Midnight Cowboy." John Wayne was named best actor for "True Grit," and Maggie Smith won best actress for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.""
1975
Rock singer Victoria Adams Beckham ("Posh Spice" of the Spice Girls) born
1976
China's leadership deposed Deputy Prime Minister Deng Xiaoping and appointed Hua Kuo-feng prime minister and first deputy chairman of the Communist Party.
1977
The Toronto Blue Jays played their inaugural regular-season game and the first American League game played outside the United States, Toronto beat the Chicago White Sox 9-5 at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
1980
President Jimmy Carter broke off diplomatic relations with Iran and ordered out all Iranian embassy staff because of the detention of the U.S. embassy hostages in Tehran.
1983
Crewmen of the shuttle Challenger performed a spacewalk, the first by U.S. astronauts in nine years.
1984
Former Sen. Frank Church of Idaho died in Bethesda, Maryland, at age 59.
1984
The Census Bureau reported Los Angeles had overtaken Chicago as the nation's "second city" in terms of population.
1985
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev declared a moratorium on deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles until November, a pledge rejected by the Reagan administration as "not enough.""
1986
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a criminal defendant wrongly denied the right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses is not always entitled to a new trial.
1987
Chicago Mayor Harold Washington handily won a second term, quashing a challenge by archrival Edward Vrdolyak.
1988
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Afghan leader Najibullah met in the Soviet Central Asian city of Tashkent, after which they issued a joint statement saying agreement was at hand on ending the civil war in Afghanistan and withdrawing Soviet troops.
1989
A Soviet nuclear-powered submarine, the Komsomolets, caught fire and sank in the Norwegian Sea, claiming 42 lives.
1989
One week after the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster, President Bush pledged federal assistance to help in the clean-up.
1990
The Scandinavian Star, a Bahamas-registered ferry operated by Da No Line, was struck by an arson fire en route from Norway to Denmark; 158 people were killed.
1990
Farm Aid IV was held in the Hoosier Dome. 45,000 people attended the 13-hour concert, which raised $1 million. Performers: Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Elton John.
1990
Former national security adviser John M. Poindexter was convicted of five counts at his Iran-Contra trial.
1991
U.S. military planes began air-dropping supplies to Kurdish refugees who were facing starvation and exposure in the snow-covered mountains of northern Iraq. The U.S. warned Iraq not to interfere with the relief effort.
1992
PLO chairman Yasser Arafat survived the crash-landing of his plane in the Libyan desert; three crew members were killed.
1992
Democrat Bill Clinton swept the New York, Kansas and Wisconsin primaries.
1992
"The Sacramento Bee," "The New York Times" and "Newsday" won two Pulitzer prizes each; playwright Robert Schenkkan was honored for "The Kentucky Cycle," novelist Jane Smiley for "A Thousand Acres."
1993
European warplanes began arriving in Italy in preparation for enforcing a no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1994
Civil war erupted in Rwanda, a day after a mysterious plane crash claimed the lives of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. In the months that followed, hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsi and Hutu intellectuals were slaughtered.
1995
President Clinton threatened to veto a lengthy list of bills passed by the Republican-controlled House if they were not modified in the Senate.
1995
During a prime-time television address, House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared the GOP's "Contract With America" was only a beginning.
1996
Celebrating Easter Mass under a glorious spring sky, Pope John Paul appealed for support for the "artisans" of peace in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and the Holy Land.
1997
The Pulitzer Prize for fiction went to Steven Millhauser for "Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer," but no award was given for drama. "The Times-Picayune" of New Orleans won two journalism Pulitzers, including the public service prize, for a series examining how overfishing and pollution are devastating the oceans.
1998
Mary Bono, the widow of entertainer-turned-politician Sonny Bono, won a special election to serve out the remainder of her husband's congressional term.
1998
President Clinton held a town meeting in Kansas City, Mo., on the future of Social Security.
1999
Yugoslav authorities sealed off Kosovo's main border crossings, preventing ethnic Albanians from leaving as the wave of refugees approached the half-million mark.
2000
Attorney General Janet Reno met in Washington with the father of Elian Gonzalez; Reno later told reporters that officials would arrange for Juan Miguel Gonzalez to reclaim his son, but she gave Elian's Miami relatives one more chance to drop their resistance and join in a peaceful transfer.
2001
Thousands of laid off workers and citizens call for the resignation of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and his government.
2001
Armed police break up protests in several Turkish cities after the lira falls sharply and prices soar.
2005
Tech heavyweights unite to offer $100 laptops to poor nations
2005
U.S. Baseball: Delgado starts off well with Marlins
2005
Italy urges pilgrims to avoid Rome city centre for Pope funeral
2005
Western Australia apologises to abused wards-of-state
2005
Bitmover ends free Bitkeeper, replacement sought for managing Linux kernel code
2005
FBI starts investigation of charges of shoddy work on new SF Bay bridge
2005
Hackers crack Sony PSP to allow Internet chat, web surfing
2005
Cricket: India beats Pakistan in Visakhapatnam ODI
2005
University of North Carolina wins basketball tournament
2005
Appeal launched for Australian citizen facing execution over marijuana charges
2005
Space shuttle Discovery photographed from ISS
2005
Separatists fail to stop re-opening of Kashmir bus service
2005
US House committee approves daylight saving time amendment
2005
At least four killed by bomb thrown from motorcycle in Cairo
2005
FDA mandates "black box" for Celebrex, pulls Bextra off market
2005
Ethiopia plans to expand country's Internet access
2005
ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings diagnosed with lung cancer
2006
Massachusetts lawmakers enact plan for universal health coverage
2006
Libby says Bush authorized NIE leaks
2006
Blair, Ahern unveil plan for Northern Ireland devolution
2006
Indian police break up hunger strike over dam project
2006
Dozens die in Iraq bombing, al-Sadr blames occupation forces
2006
Ship sinks off Djibouti, killing at least 109
2006
Semapedia introduced to Africa: Powered by "Made in Ghana" technology
2007
NHL: Datsyuk inks seven-year deal with Red Wings
2007
Rowing: Cambridge win the 153rd Boat Race
2007
Good Friday Appeal achieves fund-raising record
2007
Cricket World Cup: Bangladesh vs South Africa
2007
MLB: White Sox shut out Twins in below-freezing weather
2007
Condominiums and apartments at former mental hospital burn to the ground
2007
Felipe Massa will start from pole of Malaysian Grand Prix
2008
South Australian father and daughter in sexual relationship
2008
Feist leads Juno Award winners
2008
Princess Diana jury returns verdict of "unlawful killing"
2008
Olympic torch extinguished three times in Paris
2008
401 children from Texas sect compound taken into custody
2008
Former Managing Director of Gambian newspaper appears in court
2008
Nikolay Davydenko beats Rafael Nadal in Sony Ericsson Open
2008
Church of Scientology warns Wikileaks over documents
2009
46 illegal Afghan immigrants suffocate in truck in Pakistan
2009
Obama makes unannounced visit to Iraq
2009
Canadian light aircraft stolen; Wisconsin State Capitol evacuated
2009
Vermont legalizes same-sex marriage
2009
Scientist says he predicted Italy earthquake, was ignored
2010
US announces revised limits on use of nuclear weapons
2010
Naperville, Illinois welcomes home Olympic silver medalist Molly Schaus
2010
Two arrests at Liverpool airport after attempt to smuggle corpse onto flight
2011
U.S. budget crisis will cause personal budget crisis for U.S. troops
2011
Twelve dead at Brazilian school after man opens fire
2011
Body of missing student found in Bath, England
2011
At least fourteen dead after eating toxic fish in Madagascar
2011
Train crash in Netanya, Israel injures at least 50; no casualties
2011
Indian activist begins "fast-unto-death" hunger strike to end corruption
2011
Mother charged with hurting baby; Munchausen Syndrome by proxy?
2011
ACLU, EFF challenging US 'secret' court orders seeking Twitter data
2012
Military jet crashes in Virginia Beach, Virginia
2013
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: close Guantanamo Bay

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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