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Today in History

1865
Lee surrenders to Grant near Appomattox
1919
Electrical engineer and inventor of the ENIAC computer, J. Presper Eckert born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1926
Founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner born in Chicago, Illinois
1935
Comedian Avery Schreiber, born in Chicago, Illinois
1943
1945
US Atomic Energy Commission formed
1954
Actor Dennis Quaid born in Houston, Texas
1957
Suez Canal in Egypt opens to shipping
1965
Actress and super-model, Paulina Porizkova born in Prostějov
1974
Actress, glamour model and entrepreneur, Jenna Jameson born in Las Vegas, Nevada
1979
Youngest ever Emmy-nominee, actress Keshia Knight Pulliam born in Newark, New Jersey
193
In the Balkans, the distinguished soldier Septimius Seversus is proclaimed emperor by the army in Illyricum.
715
Constantine ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
1241
In the Battle of Liegnitz, Mongol armies defeat Poles and Germans.
1454
The city states of Venice, Milan and Florence sign a peace agreement at Lodi, Italy.
1649
James Scott Duke of Monmouth born
1682
French explorer Robert La Salle reached the Mississippi River.
1770
Captain James Cook discovers Botany Bay on the Australian continent.
1833
Peterborough, New Hampshire opened the first municipally supported public library.
1865
Erich Ludendorff, German general during World War I born
1865
The Civil War effectively came to an end today, as Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. The generous terms of the surrender allowed Confederate officers to keep their sidearms and all troops who owned their horses were permitted to take them home for the spring planting.
1872
S.R. Percy of New York City received a patent for dried milk.
1879
W.C. Fields (Claude William Dukinfield), comedian and actor born
1898
Paul Robeson, stage and screen actor best remembered for his role in Othello born
1903
Actor Ward Bond (Wagon Train, Gone with the Wind, Drums Along the Mohawk, It's a Wonderful Life, The Maltese Falcon, Mister Roberts, Rio Bravo, Tall in the Saddle, The Time of Your Life) born
1905
J. William Fulbright, U.S. senator from Arkansas who opposed the Vietnam War born
1905
The first aerial ferry bridge went into operation in Duluth, Minnesota.
1912
The Boston Red Sox defeated Harvard 2-0 on this, the day that Fenway Park was opened for the first time. The venerable ball park is still in use today and ranks as one of the most beautiful in the major leagues.
1916
Jazz musician Julian Dash born
1926
Hugh Hefner, founder and publisher of Playboy magazine born
1928
Mae West made her glamorous debut on Broadway in the classic production of "Diamond Lil".
1932
Singer Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes, Your True Love, Honey Don't, Pink Pedal Pushers, Shine Shine, Cotton Top, Restless; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987) born
1932
Naturalist Jim Fowler born
1933
Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo (Casino Royale, The Brain, Is Paris Burning, Swashbuckler, Le Magnifique, Love and the Frenchwoman) born
1935
Comedian Avery Schreiber born
1939
Singer Marian Anderson performed a concert at the Lincoln Memorial Washington DC after she was denied the use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
1939
Actress Michael Learned (The Waltons, All My Sons, Deadly Business, A Christmas Without Snow) born
1940
Germany invaded Denmark and Norway.
1942
American and Philippine defenders on Bataan capitulated to Japanese forces; the surrender was followed by the notorious "Bataan Death March" which claimed nearly ten-thousand lives.
1942
Country singer Margo Smith born
1942
Actor Brandon de Wilde (Shane, Hud, In Harm's Way, The Member of the Wedding, Goodbye My Lady, All Fall Down) born
1947
A series of tornadoes Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas claimed 169 lives.
1950
Bob Hope hosted a "Star-Spangled Review" this night on NBC-TV. Hope became the highest paid performer for a single show on TV to that time. The "Star-Spangled Review" was a musical special Hope's first television appearance.
1953
Country singer Hal Ketchum born
1954
Actor Dennis Quaid born
1955
Humorist Jimmy Tingle ("60 Minutes II") born
1957
Golfer Severiano Ballesteros born
1959
NASA announced the selection of America's first seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald Slayton.
1963
British statesman Winston Churchill was made an honorary US citizen.
1963
President Kennedy opened the baseball season by throwing out the first ball at Washington's new District of Columbia Stadium, now known as Robert F. Kennedy Stadium (RFK).
1965
The newly built Houston Astrodome featured its first baseball game, an exhibition between the Astros and the New York Yankees. President Lyndon B. Johnson attended the opening of the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The first indoor stadium was termed the "Eighth Wonder of the World". (The Astros won, 2-to-1.)
1965
"TIME" magazine featured a cover with the entire "Peanuts" gang on this day. It was a good day for Charlie Brown.
1965
Actress-model Paulina Porizkova born
1968
Murdered civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., is buried.
1969
Rock singer KevMart(Candlebox) born
1970
Paul McCartney announces official split of the Beatles.
1979
Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam born
1980
Actor Ryan Northcott born
1984
Actress Shirley MacLaine received her first Academy Award for the film, "Terms of Endearment", at the 56th annual Oscars presentation. MacLaine had been nominated five times over 26 years before winning the statuette.
1985
Tom Seaver broke a major-league baseball record that had been held by Walter Johnson as he started his 15th opening-day game.
1987
Dikye Baggett became the first person to undergo corrective surgery for Parkinson's disease. The procedure took place in Nashville, TN.
1989
Hundreds of thousands of people marched Washington DC, demanding continued safe and legal abortion and urging the Supreme Court to uphold its 1973 "Roe versus Wade" decision.
1990
Humorist John Henry Faulk, who'd challenged 1950's blacklisting in the entertainment industry, died in Austin, Texas, at age 76.
1990
The baseball season opened a week late because of a labor dispute.
1991
The 1991 Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded to John Updike for "Rabbit at Rest"; the drama prize went to Neil Simon for "Lost in Yonkers." In journalism, The Des Moines Register received the gold medal for public service for its series about rape victim Nancy Ziegenmeyer, who'd allowed her name and pictures to be used.
1992
Former Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega was convicted Miami of eight drug and racketeering charges.
1993
The Reverend BenjamChavis was chosen to head the NAACP, succeeding BenjamHooks.
1994
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali ordered UN troops to use "all available means" to roll back Serb military gains the Muslim enclave of Gorazde.
1994
The space shuttle Endeavour blasted off on an eleven-day mission that included mapping the Earth's surface three dimensions.
1995
Alberto Fujimori was re-elected president of Peru.
1995
Two suicide bombings on buses in the Gaza Strip killed seven Israelis and an American college student.
1995
Women's rights supporters rallied near the US Capitol to protest violence against women.
1996
In a dramatic shift of purse-string power, President Clinton signed a line-item veto bill into law.
1996
Dan Rostenkowski, the once-powerful House Ways and Means chairman, pleaded guilty to two mail fraud charges in a deal that brought with it a 17-month prison term.
1998
More than 150 Muslims died a stampede which occurred on the last day of the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
1998
The National Prisoner of War Museum opened Andersonville, Georgia, the site of the infamous Civil War prison camp.
1999
down by members of his own Presidential Guard.
1999
A judge ordered the federal government to pay $909 million to Glendale Federal Bank in California for breach of contract (the ruling stemmed from a 1996 Supreme Court decision that said the government broke its contract with Glendale and two other thrifts when it changed the rules on how they must count their assets).
2000
President Eduard Shevardnadze won a second term as leader of Georgia.
2000
Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori fell just shy of the majority needed to avoid a runoff for an unprecedented third term.
2000
Vijay Singh won the Masters, closing with a 3-under 69 for a three-stroke victory over Ernie Els.
2005
Pope's Brazilian cousins lament his death
2005
Angola: Marburg virus still spreading, 180 dead
2005
Who's the richest entertainer in Australia? The Wiggles of course!
2005
Mozilla Foundation prepares third Firefox security update
2005
Future British monarch Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker Bowles
2005
UN forced to cut food rations to a million Sudanese
2005
MSN Encarta introduces wiki-like enhancements
2005
Bush EPA nominee abandons insecticide-on-children study after Senate hearing
2005
Drug-resistant infections on the rise in American hospitals
2005
Toronto prepares for Monday transit strike
2005
Time Warner/Comcast bid to snap up Adelphia cable service
2005
U.S. Postal rate increase proposed
2005
Gaza cease fire rocked by latest killing of youths
2005
Chinese rioters storm Japanese embassy in Beijing
2005
Hundreds arrested following pro-democratic rally in Nepal
2006
British FBI-style agency launched
2006
Tennessee hit with second wave of tornadoes; 12 dead
2006
Former Colombian intelligence official claims Colombia had a plan to kill Chavez
2006
Row ensues as CalMac starts Sunday ferry crossing service to Lewis and Harris
2007
MLB: Twins turn the tables on White Sox
2007
Cricket World Cup: New Zealand vs Ireland
2007
MLB: Upcoming Tribe home games moved to Milwaukee
2007
Iraqis demonstrate on fourth anniversary of Baghdad's fall
2007
Football: Sunderland lead Championship after 2-1 win
2007
Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales to lead development of 'code of conduct' for bloggers
2007
NHL: Teams ready for Stanley Cup Playoffs
2008
Olympic torch faces protests in San Francisco
2008
Apple's iTunes replaces Wal-Mart as No. 1 U.S. music seller
2008
Death of 4000th U.S. soldier in Iraq shines spotlight on gays in the military
2008
Sulfur Dioxide levels in Hawaii remain high
2008
Flickr launches video-sharing service
2008
France recalls Íngrid Betancourt mission
2008
UEFA Champions League: April 9, 2008
2008
The Simpsons taken off Venezuelan TV after being called unsuitable
2008
Survey: Big Ben is the most popular UK landmark
2008
Judge in Gambian court warns media not to cover case
2008
Norfolk youths banned from buying eggs and ketchup
2009
Election in Moldova instigates rioting mob demanding recount
2009
Fiji court rules interim regime unlawful
2009
Indonesian court jails Garuda pilot over air disaster
2009
Jews around the world recite special sun blessing
2009
Missouri town re-elects deceased mayor
2009
18-year US media ban on covering return of fallen soldiers lifted
2009
Transgender woman hired as city manager for Lake Worth, Florida
2009
US crew retakes ship hijacked by pirates; captain held hostage
2010
Red Shirts cause state of emergency in Thai capital
2010
Iran tests new centrifuges
2010
Qatari diplomat detained on Las Vegas bound flight
2010
German Physical Society demands nuclear disarmament
2010
Obama, Medvedev sign treaty cutting nuclear stockpiles
2010
British Airways and Iberia sign merger deal
2011
White farmer who beat Mugabe in court over land seizures, dies
2011
Bailout signals Lisbon's capitulation to financial markets
2011
Seven dead after gunman opens fire in Netherlands shopping centre
2011
Nitrite poisoned milk kills three babies, sickens 35 in China
2011
Gbagbo forces reported to have gained ground in Ivorian city of Abidjan
2011
US government shutdown averted in last-minute deal
2012
France fears serial killer responsible for recent murders

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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