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Today in History

30
BC
Death of Cleopatra
1907
Actor and comedian, Joe Besser born in St Louis, Missouri
1908
First Model T Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black - Henry Ford
1910
Actress Jane Wyatt born in Campgaw, New Jersey
1939
Academy Award winning film The Wizard of Oz premieres at the Strand Theater in New York City
1949
Composer, songwriter, lead singer and guitarist for Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler born in Glasgow, Scotland
1960
Communications satellite Echo I launched
1971
Actress Rebecca Gayheart born in Hazard, Kentucky
1972
Last U.S. ground troops out of Vietnam
1981
IBM introduces first PC (16-bit )
30
BC
Cleopatra commits suicide after Mark Antony's defeat at the battle of Actium
670
Irish abbot, St. Fiacre died. His life of severe denial attracted many. He was the founder of a hermitage in Kilkenny and of a monastery in France.
1253
Death of St. Claire of Assisi
1350
Death of Philip VI, King of France
1480
Ottoman troops behead 800 Christians for refusing to convert to Islam at the Battle of Otranto
1484
Death of Pope Sixtus IV at the age of 70. He was pope from 1471 to 1484.
1508
Ponce de Leon arrives in Puerto Rico
1515
Marriage of Christian II, King of Norway and Denmark, to Isabella
1552
Emperor Charles V grants religious freedom in treaty of Passau
1553
Pope Julius III orders all copies of the Talmud to be confiscated and burned.
1753
English artist Thomas Bewick, English artist (British Birds, Aesop's Fables) born
1762
George IV, king of England (1820-30) born
1774
English poet laureate Robert Southey born
1838
Joseph Barnby, English organist and choirmaster. He composed nearly 250 hymn tunes during his life. Of these the most enduring include LAUDES DOMINI ("When Morning Gilds the Skies"), LONGWOOD ("Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart"), MERRIAL ("Now the Day is Over") and ST. ANDREW ("We Give Thee But Thine Own"). born
1849
American painter Abbott Thayer, credited with noting camouflage in the animal world born
1851
Isaac Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine. He set up business in Boston with $40 in capital.
1859
Educator and poet Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote "America the Beautiful" born
1862
General John Hunt Morgan and his raiders capture Gallatin, Texas.
1862
Philanthropist Juluis Rosenwald born
1865
Joseph Lister became the first doctor to use disinfectant during surgery.
1867
President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
1876
Mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart born
1877
This is the birthday of the phonograph record. Edison drew a sketch of his idea, with a note to his mechanic, John Kreusi, "Make this." When the mechanic did, Edison recorded himself reciting the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb." It worked. "I was never so taken aback," Edison said.
1880
Christy Mathewson, Hall of Fame baseball pitcher born
1881
Movie producer Cecil B. DeMille born
1888
Bertha, wife of inventor Karl Benz, makes the first motor tour. Without her husband's knowledge, she borrowed one of his cars and traveled 180km to visit relatives for 5 days.
1898
A peace protocol was signed ending the Spanish-American War. The United States acquired Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, and annexed Hawaii.
1911
Comic actor Cantinflas (Mario Moreno) (Around the World in 80 Days, Pepe) born
1912
Actress Jane Wyatt (Father Knows Best` Spock's mother in "Star Trek") born
1915
The novel "Of Human Bondage," by William Somerset Maugham, was first published.
1919
Choreographer Michael Kidd (Milton Greenwald) born
1926
Actor-director John Derek born
1927
Country singer Porter Wagoner born
1929
Singer-musician Buck (Alvis Edgar) Owens born
1931
Author/screen writer William Goldman, (Marathon Man, The Princess Bride, All the President's Men) born
1933
Auto racer Parnelli (Rufus) Jones born
1934
Babe Ruth's final game at Fenway Park, 41,766 on hand.
1936
Padrewski recorded Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" for a movie of the same name. He bumped into Winston Churchill at the film studio working on a script. This can be described as a meeting of two world leaders because Padrewski once served for a while as premier of Poland.
1937
Comedian, Red Skelton, got his first taste of network radio on this night, as he appeared on the Rudy Vallee Show on NBC.
1939
Actor George Hamilton born
1941
Singer Jennifer Warren (Up Where We Belong [w/Joe Cocker]) born
1944
Joseph P. Kennedy Junior, eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England.
1949
The former president of Brazil, Fernando Collor de Mello born
1950
Singer Kid Creole born
1953
Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.
1954
Jazz musician Pat Metheny born
1954
Actor Sam J. Jones born
1955
President Eisenhower raises minimum wage from 75 cents to $1 an hour.
1956
Country singer Danny Shirley (Confederate Railroad) born
1959
First ship firing of a Polaris missile, Observation Island.
1960
The first balloon satellite -- the "Echo One" -- was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral.
1961
Pop musician Roy Hay (Culture Club) born
1962
One day after launching Andrian Nikolayev into orbit, the Soviet Union also sent up cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; both men landed safely Aug.15.
1963
Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot born
1966
The last tour for the Beatles began this day at the International Amphitheater in Chicago; and John Lennon apologized for boasting that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. London's "Catholic Herald" said Lennon's comment was "arrogant ... but probably true."
1967
"Fleetwood Mac" made their stage debut at the National Blues Festival in Great Britain.
1969
The Boston Celtics basketball team was sold for $6,000,000. It was the highest price paid for a pro basketball team to that date.
1971
Tennis player Pete Sampras born
1972
The last American combat ground troops left Vietnam
1973
Jack Nicklaus won his 14th major golf title, breaking a record held for nearly 50 years by Bobby Jones. Nicklaus won the PGA Championship for the third time.
1975
Rock musician Bill Uechi (Save Ferris) born
1977
The space shuttle "Enterprise" passed its first solo flight test by taking off atop a Boeing 747, separating, and then touching down in California's Mojave Desert.
1978
Pope Paul the Sixth, who had died August sixth at age 80,
1980
Actress Dominique Swain born
1982
Terry Felton of the Minnesota Twins set a major-league record for rookie pitchers. He went 0-for-14. Guy Morton of the Cleveland Indians had lost 13 games, but won his 14th, in 1914.
1983
President Reagan opened a drive for Hispanic political support as he denounced Cuba's communist government in a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Tampa, Florida.
1984
Luis Aparicio and Don Drysdale, who began the playing careers on the same day in 1956, were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
1984
The 23rd Olympic Games ended in Los Angeles with a record attendance of 5.5 million people despite a Soviet-led boycott.
1985
The world's worst single-aircraft disaster occurred as a crippled Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people.
1986
Rod Carew became the first player in the history of the California Angels franchise to have his uniform number retired. Number 29 played for the Angels for seven years.
1986
NASA announced it had selected a new rocket design for the space shuttle aimed at correcting the flaws believed responsible for the Challenger disaster.
1987
President Reagan addressed the nation on the Iran-Contra affair, saying his former national security adviser, John Poindexter, was wrong not to have told him about the diversion of Iran arms-sale money.
1988
The Last Temptation of Christ, the controversial film directed by Martin Scorsese, opened this day in nine cities despite objections by some Christians and various religious groups who felt the film was sacrilegious.
1990
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein sought to tie any withdrawal of his troops from Kuwait to an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
1990
Air Force Staff Sergeant John Campisi of West Covina, California, died after being hit by a military truck in Saudi Arabia, becoming the first U.S. casualty of the Persian Gulf crisis.
1991
The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., began hosting a two-day reunion of former Negro League players.
1991
A letter from Lebanese kidnappers was made public; it offered to trade the release of Western hostages for the freedom of ''all detainees'' worldwide.
1992
After 14 months of negotiations, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced in Washington that they had concluded the North American Free Trade Agreement, which would create the world's largest trading bloc.
1992
Avant-garde composer John Cage died in New York at age 79
1993
President Clinton signed a relief package for the flooded Midwest.
1993
Pope John Paul the Second began his third US visit in Denver with a welcome by President Clinton.
1993
The launch of space shuttle "Discovery" was scrubbed at the last second.
1993
President Clinton lifted a ban on rehiring air traffic controllers fired for going on strike in 1981.
1994
Woodstock '94 opened in Saugerties, New York, marking the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel, New York.
1994
Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, already sworn in during a private ceremony, took a public oath at the White House.
1994
In baseball's eighth work stoppage since 1972, players went on strike rather than allow team owners to limit their salaries.
1995
In a methodical, daylong procession, Republican presidential candidates courted Ross Perot's followers at a United We Stand America conference in Dallas.
1996
The Republican Party opened its 36th national convention in San Diego by celebrating Bob Dole as a tested, trustworthy leader who would lower taxes and bring compassionate conservatism to the White House.
1997
Steel workers approved a contract ending a ten-month strike against Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation.
1997
Two New York City police officers were placed in desk jobs as authorities investigated the charges of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who accused police of sodomizing him with the wooden handle of a toilet plunger after he was arrested in a nightclub fight.
1997
A flash flood in Arizona's Lower Antelope Canyon claimed the lives of 11 hikers.
1998
Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion as restitution to Holocaust survivors to settle claims for their assets.
1999
Los Angeles County prosecutors charged white supremacist Buford O. Furrow with murder and five counts of attempted murder, all filed as hate crimes, in the wounding of five people at a Jewish community center and the shooting death of a Filipino-American mail carrier. (Federal prosecutors already had charged Furrow in the postman's slaying.)
2000
The Russian nuclear submarine "Kursk" and its 118-man crew were lost during naval exercises in the Barents Sea.
2000
Evander Holyfield won a 12-round unanimous decision over John Ruiz in Las Vegas for the vacant WBA heavyweight title.
2000
Actress Loretta Young died at age 87.
2005
Julian McGauran makes rude gesture to Australian Senate
2005
British Airways strike grounds flights at Heathrow
2005
Israel bans nonresidents from Gaza
2005
Pro-democracy demonstrations erupt in Maldives
2005
Iran stands firmly against nuclear agency resolution
2005
Prices at the pump spike overnight in U.S.
2005
Former Japanese prime minister Hashimoto indicated his retirement
2006
Security Council backs ceasefire in Israel-Lebanon conflict
2006
British Muslims warn Prime Minister Tony Blair over foreign policy
2006
Chinese wiki conference occurs in Shanghai
2006
Gevaert and Hellebaut win golden medal at European athletics championships
2007
Worshippers gunned down in Missouri Church
2007
Los Angeles Internatonal computer glitch causes four hour backup
2007
US Presidential elections: Mitt Romney wins Iowa straw poll
2008
Olympic highlights: August 12, 2008
2008
Russia withdraws from Georgia
2009
Remnants of Hurricane Felicia affect Hawaii
2009
President of Costa Rica contracts H1N1 swine flu
2009
Tourist plane crash in Papua New Guinea leaves thirteen dead
2010
Prospective Nobel Prize for Higgs boson work disputed
2010
Plants may adapt faster to climate change than previously thought, new study shows
2010
Early puberty for US girls raises health risk
2010
Ramadan begins today in India
2011
Three killed amongst Birmingham, England riots
2011
Australian politician Karen Overington dies aged 59
2011
Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko arrested on contempt of court charges
2011
School Principal found dead in Tennessee classroom; teen held by police
2011
Scientists use gene therapy, patients' own immune systems to fight leukemia
2012
Cities across Texas increase efforts to combat mosquitos
2012
Romney taps U.S. congressman Paul Ryan as presidential running mate
2013
Scottish politician David McLetchie dies at age 61
2013
Nelson Mandela's health showing 'slow but steady improvement'
2013
Dibaba’s comeback: Long-distance track star wins her first World Championship title since 2007
2013
Search continues for victims of Indonesian volcano eruption
2013
First Australian election debate: immigration policy, same-sex marriage
2013
Britain's most experienced astronaut retires after 26 years at NASA

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.

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