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Today in History

1777
The physicist who discovered electric current can create magnetic fields, Hans Christian Ørsted born in Rudkøbing, Denmark
1935
Social Security begins in the US
1941
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame songwriter, guitarist and singer, David Crosby born in Los Angeles, California
1945
V-J Day — Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous photo shot in Times Square
1945
Grammy Award winning comedian, singer, magician and actor, Steve Martin born in Waco, Texas
1950
Award winning cartoonist and creator of The Far Side, Gary Larson born in Tacoma, Washington
1966
Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy award winning actress, Halle Berry born in Bedford, Ohio
1987
Heisman Trophy winning NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow born in Makati City, Philippines
2003
Most extensive power blackout in North American history hits seven states and Ontario province.
1040
Duncan I, King of Scotland killed by MacBeth
1415
Henry V and his army lands in France, at about 6
1424
Scots take the English town of Verneuil by trickery
1447
The Meeting at Broletto Field re-establishes the commune in Florence
1464
Pope Pius II dies at Ancona leading a crusade against the Turks
1498
Columbus lands at the mouth of the Orinoco River, Venezuela
1552
Philosopher Fra Paolo Sarpi, [Paulus Venetus] born
1559
Tristan de Luna y Arellano enters Pensacola Bay, Florida
1619
New "blue laws" enacted in Virginia
1642
Cosimo III de' Medici, monarch of Florence (1670-1723) born
1675
Composer Johann Georg Christian Storl, composer born
1688
Frederik Willem I, king of Prussia (bodyguard of giants) born
1714
French painter Claude-Joseph Vernet born
1737
Mathematician Charles Hutton born
1742
French ballerina Marie Allard,(Auguste Vestris) born
1810
Samuel S. Wesley, (grandson of Methodist hymnwriter Charles Wesley) is born. He also was a sacred composer and penned over 130 original hymn tunes. The best remembered of these today is AURELIA, to which is sung "The Church's One Foundation." born
1814
A comic opera by Rossini, "Turk in Italy," was premiered at La Scala. Rossini was then 22. Rossini achieved his first success with one-act comedies in his late teens. His first two full-length operas were the drama "Tancredi" and the comedy "L'Italiana in Algeri."
1840
Pioneer psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing born
1842
Seminole War ends; Indians removed from Florida to Oklahoma
1846
Henry David Thoreau jailed for tax resistance.
1848
English devotional writer Sarah Flower Adams dies at the age of 43. In 1845 she published The Flock at the Fountain, a catechism containing hymns for children. One of those hymns remains popular to this day: "Nearer, My God, To Thee."
1848
The Oregon Territory was established.
1860
Naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton born
1863
Writer Ernest Thayer ("Casey at the Bat") born
1867
English novelist John Galsworthy born
1876
The first "Ring" Cycle at Bayreuth continued with "Die Walkyre," and the first reviews began to appear in print. Wagnerites in London and Paris hailed the operas. But even the most diehard Wagner fans reported that the Bayreuth theater could be more comfortable.
1888
Oliver B. Shallenberger, of Rochester, PA, received a patent for the electric meter.
1899
Composer Jaroslav Jeremias born
1900
International forces -- including 2,000 US Marines -- entered Beijing to put down the Boxer Rebellion, which was aimed at purging China of foreigners.
1900
Composer Shalva Mikhailovich Taktakishvili born
1901
Educator, Publisher, phonetic speller James Pitman (Bath England) born
1903
Actor Millard Mitchell (12 O'Clock High, Gunfighter) born
1903
John Ringling North circus director born
1907
Songwriter Stanley Adams born
1917
China declared war on Germany and Austria during World War One.
1920
Actor Nehemiah Persoff (Al Capone, Yentl) born
1925
Newspaper columnist Russell Baker born
1926
Singer Buddy Greco born
1926
Actress Alice Ghostley (Bewitched, Designing Women) born
1929
Bishop of Exeter Hewlett Thompson born
1930
Earl Weaver (baseball analyst: ABC's Monday Night Baseball, playoffs, World Series; autobiography: It's What You Learn After You Know It All that Counts) born
1935
Congress passed the Social Security Act and President Roosevelt immediately signed it into law.
1938
LPGA golfer Betsy Cullen born
1940
Singer Dash Crofts born
1941
President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued the Atlantic Charter, a statement of principles that renounced aggression.
1941
Singer Connie Smith, (Dream Painter, New Horizons) born
1941
Rock singer David Crosby born
1944
Jockey Robyn Smith Astaire, wife of Fred Astaire born
1945
Comedian-actor Steve Martin (Parenthood, Jerk, Roxanne) born
1945
Actress Brenda Benet (Lee-Days of Our Lives, Beach Ball) born
1945
President Truman announced that Japan had accepted terms for unconditional surrender, ending World War II.
1946
Actor Antonio Fargas born
1946
Actress Susan Saint James born
1946
Singer-musician Larry Graham born
1947
Pakistan became independent of British rule.
1947
Author Danielle Steel (Vanished, Wanderlust, Daddy) born
1950
"Far Side" cartoonist Gary Larson born
1950
Rock singer-musician Terry Adams (NRBQ) born
1951
Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst died in Beverly Hills, California.
1953
Film composer James Horner ("Titanic") born
1953
The whiffle ball was invented.
1956
Actress Jackee Harry born
1959
Basketball star Magic Johnson born
1959
The first meeting to organize the American Football League was held.
1961
Actress Susan Olsen (The Bradys, The Brady Bunch Hour, The Brady Bunch) born
1962
Robbers held up a US mail truck in Plymouth, Massachusetts, making off with more than one and a-half million dollars.
1965
Actress Emmanuelle Beart ("Mission born
1966
Actor David Hallyday (He's My Girl) born
1968
(or 1966) Actress, Miss World contestant Halle Berry born in Bedford, Ohio
1968
Actress Catherine Bell ("JAG") born
1969
British troops arrived in Northern Ireland to intervene in sectarian violence between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
1971
Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals pitched a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was the first no-hitter against the Pirates since 1955.
1973
The U-S bombing of Cambodia came to a halt, marking the official end to 12 years of American combat in Indochina.
1980
Workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, went on strike, which would later result in the creation of the Solidarity labor movement.
1981
Pope John Paul II left a Rome hospital, three months after being wounded in an attempt on his life.
1983
Actress Mila Kunis ("That 70's Show") born
1984
The Soviet Union denounced President Reagan's off-the-record joke, made three days earlier, about bombing Russia. One commentator called it "a sacred dream which popped up on the surface."
1985
Vice President Bush led a celebration aboard the aircraft carrier Enterprise marking the 40th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.
1986
U.S. officials announced that members of Mexico's police force had abducted, interrogated and tortured Victor Cortez Jr., a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
1987
The government reported that America's merchandise trade deficit had soared to $15.7 billion in June 1987.
1988
President Reagan arrived in New Orleans on the eve of the Republican national convention that would nominate his vice president, George Bush, to be its choice to succeed him.
1989
South African President P.W. Botha announced his resignation after losing a bitter power struggle within his national party.
1990
Interrupting his vacation, President Bush returned to Washington, where he told reporters he saw no hope for a diplomatic solution to the Persian Gulf crisis, at least until economic sanctions forced Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.
1991
Freed American hostage Edward Tracy returned to the United States, arriving in Boston, where he was reunited with his sister, Maria Lambert.
1991
The Justice Department accused General Electric of fraud for billing the Pentagon $30 million for the non-existent sale of F-16 parts to the Israeli military.
1991
President Bush expressed ''100 percent'' support for United Nations efforts to mediate a settlement to the Middle East hostage crisis.
1992
Federal judge John J. Sirica, who had presided over the Watergate trials of the 1970's, died in Washington DC at age 88.
1992
The White House announced that the Pentagon would begin emergency airlifts of food to Somalia to alleviate mass deaths by starvation.
1993
Pope John Paul the Second denounced abortion and euthanasia as well as sexual abuse by American priests in a speech at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver.
1993
A jury in New York acquitted Washington lawyer Robert Altman of fraud charges for dealings linked to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
1994
Eight children who were left alone died in an early morning house fire in Carbondale, Illinois.
1994
The notorious international terrorist known as "Carlos the Jackal" was captured in Sudan. He was extradited to France the next day.
1994
Rain turned the final full day of Woodstock '94 in Saugerties, New York, into a mudbath.
1995
Shannon Faulkner officially became the first female cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carolina's state military college. (However, Faulkner quit the school less than a week later, citing the stress of her court fight, and her isolation among the male cadets.)
1996
The Republican national convention in San Diego nominated Bob Dole for president and Jack Kemp for vice president in an evening that featured a talk-show-style testimonial by Elizabeth Dole, who strolled the convention floor with a wireless microphone.
1996
In Peru, 35 people were electrocuted when a stray rocket during a fireworks show knocked down a high-tension line.
1997
An unrepentant Timothy McVeigh was formally sentenced to death for the Oklahoma City bombing.
1997
Two cosmonauts (Vasily Tsibliyev and Alexander Lazutkin) made it safely home to Earth after a luckless six-month mission aboard the Mir space station.
1998
A federal court in Richmond, Virginia, ruled that the Food and Drug Administration had no authority to regulate tobacco, striking down FDA rules making it harder for minors to buy cigarettes; the Clinton administration said it would appeal.
1999
Death claimed former AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland at age 77
1999
Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Pee Wee Reese died at age 81.
1999
Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush won the Iowa straw poll.
2000
On the opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, President Clinton offered a review of his years in office, and exhorted delegates to propel Al Gore on the road to succeed him.
2005
TSA cuts US airport security screening personnel
2005
Paula Abdul cleared of sex scandal after 'American Idol' inquiry
2005
David Lange, former New Zealand prime minister, dies at 63
2005
Controversial cancer test gains support
2005
Mother's plea to U.S. president gains widespread attention
2005
Kurmanbek Bakiev sworn in as president of Kyrgyzstan
2005
Cypriot plane with 121 on board crashes in Greece
2006
Fresh pictures of Castro and Chavez shown in Cuban media
2006
UN sponsored ceasefire in Israel-Lebanon begins
2006
Colombo land mine explosion kills seven
2006
Court date "as needed" for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal
2006
Ariel Sharon's condition worsens
2006
Tamil Tigers say Sri Lanka's government bombed orphanage
2006
Speculation grows in race to succeed Kofi Annan
2006
Fire interrupts TNA wrestling PPV; one worker hurt
2006
Nigeria hands over disputed area to Cameroon
2006
Virginia incumbent, Senator George Allen, accused of racism by Democratic hopeful
2006
Erroneous newspaper report garners publicity for Moon landing tapes
2006
Wellington, New Zealand university student missing
2006
PepsiCo names Nooyi CEO as Reinemund retires
2006
British soldier released after serving 12 years of life sentence for Cyprus killing
2006
Controversial blog Liverpool Evil Cabal closes
2006
Australian government announces measures to reduce fuel costs
2006
Toronto AIDS conference opens without Canadian Prime Minister
2006
Economist reports Saudi oil production can continue unabated
2006
Two Fox News journalists kidnapped in Gaza
2006
Suspected low pathogenic H5N1 Bird Flu virus found in the United States
2007
Russian train derails after bomb blast, terrorism suspected
2007
National Express awarded contract to operate services on major UK rail route
2007
World Deaf Swimming Championships Day 3: "Bad weather" and "New Record Day of Belarus"
2007
5.3 magnitude earthquake rocks Hawaii hours before expected hurricane
2007
Cargo Vessel grounded South of Gibraltar
2007
Don Imus reaches settlement with CBS, sued by Rutgers member
2007
At least 175 killed, 200 injured in northwestern Iraq
2007
Nokia issues BL-5C battery warning, offers replacement
2007
Mathematics summer school in Turkey threatened by authorities
2007
Hurricane Flossie threatens Big Island of Hawaii with winds, rain
2008
Russian troops advance into Georgia, violating truce
2008
Dead body left in UK hospital alongside living patients for seven hours
2008
Pakistan's Musharraf will resign within days, say reports
2008
US Court of Appeals upholds free licenses
2008
Olympic highlights: August 14, 2008
2008
Ariane 5 rocket launches Superbird 7 and AMC-21 satellites
2008
U2 fan ordered to destroy CDs
2009
Aerosmith cancel remaining tour dates after on stage accident
2009
Hurricane Guillermo forms in Pacific Ocean
2009
Spanish economy contracts 1% in second quarter
2009
Guitarist Les Paul dies at 94
2009
Hong Kong's recession ends, economy grows 3.3%
2009
BBC newsreader sacked after conviction for wounding teenager
2010
US professional wrestler Lance Cade dies aged 29
2010
7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Mariana Islands
2010
Australian rules football: Gippsland Football League finals take shape two weeks out
2010
Former US Representative Dan Rostenkowski dies aged 82
2010
Manmohan Singh becomes the third longest serving Prime Minister of India
2010
US warns Pakistan to stop press intimidation
2010
Iran to launch its first nuclear power plant
2011
New drug may treat virtually all viral infections
2011
Thirty injured as bus crashes in Belfast, Northern Ireland
2011
Corruption threatens Brazil's Olympics and World Cup
2011
Texas continues to suffer record-breaking drought
2011
Jersey knife attack kills six
2011
Texas governor Rick Perry enters presidential race
2012
Reform Party of the United States nominates fitness model Andre Barnett for president
2012
Students from Liceo María Luisa Bombal of Rancagua, Chile detained after taking control of school
2013
Ryanair threaten legal action after documentary on fuel policy, safety

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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