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Today in History

1777
Bennington Battle Day in Vermont (...but the battle actually took place in nearby Walloomsac, New York)
1812
General William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit without a fight to the British Army
1892
Cartoonist and creator of Felix the Cat, Otto Messmer born in West Hoboken, New Jersey
1898
Roller Coaster patented
1933
Inventor, real estate mogul, dancer and actress, Julie Newmar born in Los Angeles, California
1946
Golden Globe Award winning actress Lesley Ann Warren born in New York City
1947
Lawyer, Senator from Illinois and US Ambassador, Carol Moseley Braun born in Chicago
1952
Writer and actor, Reginald VelJohnson born in Queens, New York
1958
Grammy Award winning actress and singer, Madonna Louise Ciccone born in Bay City, Michigan
1993
The Debian distribution is announced
1153
Death of Bernard de Tremelai, 4th Master of the Templars
1327
Death of St. Roc
1397
Albrecht II von Habsburg, king of Bohemia/Hungary/Germany born
1419
Death of Wenceslaus, King of Germany
1513
Henry VIII of England and Emperor Maximilian defeat the French at Guinegatte, France, in the Battle of the Spurs.
1532
Treaty of Union between Brittany and France
1534
Abbot Whiting of Glastonbury hires James Renynger as music- master and organist for the Abbey
1550
Dutch lawyer/pastor/vicar Carolus Gallus born
1645
Jean de la Bruyere, French writer and moralist famous for his work Characters of Theophratus born
1650
Charles II, King of England and Scotland, signs the National Covenant of Scotland
1777
France declares a state of bankruptcy.
1777
At the Battle of Bennington, New England's minute men rout British regulars.
1780
American troops are badly defeated by the British at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina.
1812
American General William Hull surrenders Detroit without resistance to a smaller British force under General Issac Brock.
1815
St. John Bosco, Italian educator. Poverty among the children in the city of Turin led him in 1859 to establish the Society of St. Francis of Sales (the Salesians). Bosco was canonized by Pius XI in 1934. born
1829
The original "Siamese twins," Chang and Eng Bunker, arrived in Boston aboard the ship "Sachem" to be exhibited to the Western world.
1845
The French physicist Gabriel Lippman, inventor of color photography born
1852
Adolf von Schlatter, Swiss Protestant New Testament scholar. His 1921 History of Christ maintained that the success of any systematic theology had to be based on a foundation of solid biblical exegesis. born
1858
Telegraphed message from Britain's Queen Victoria to President Buchanan was transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable.
1861
Union and Confederate forces clash near Fredericktown and Kirkville, Missouri.
1861
President Lincoln prohibited the states of the Union from trading with the seceding states of the Confederacy.
1862
Basketball and Football Hall of Famer- Amos Alonzo Stagg born
1863
Gabriel Pierne. He would become one of the minor "fin de siecle" French composers. Some of his harp music is still performed today. born
1868
Bernard McFadden, publisher responsible for the magazine True Story born
1875
Death of early 19th century Presbyterian revivalist Charles G. Finney, 82. Converted at 29, he led revivals for several years before affiliating with Oberlin College in 1835, where he spent the rest of his professional life.
1884
Hugo Gernsback, responsible for science fiction becoming an independent literary form. born
1892
Harold Foster, cartoonist, created "Prince Valiant", known for it's fine drawing and historical detail. born
1894
Labor leader George Meany born
1904
Wendell Stanley, biochemist, first to crystallize a virus (Nobel '46) born
1913
Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin born
1914
Liege, Belgium, falls to the German army.
1915
Singer Al Hibbler born
1923
Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres born
1925
Actor Fess Parker born
1928
Actress Ann Blyth born
1930
Actor Robert Culp born
1930
Sportscaster Frank Gifford born
1935
Actress Julie Newmar born
1936
Actress Anita Gillette born
1936
Nazi Olympics opened with a fanfare by Richard Strauss. Strauss stayed in Germany during World War Two. Afterwards, his supporters said he had not been a political person.
1937
Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the first school to institute graduate study courses in traffic engineering and administration.
1939
The famous vaudeville house, Hippodrome, in New York City, was used for the last time
1939
Actress Carole Shelley born
1939
Country singer Billy Joe Shaver born
1940
Movie director Bruce Beresford ("Driving Miss Daisy") born
1942
Don Wyrtzen, contemporary Christian songwriter. Among his most enduring sacred compositions are "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" and "Worthy is the Lamb." born
1943
Football player Woody Peoples born
1943
A bomb hit La Scala, damaging the hall but not the stage. The Allies said they did not intentionally bomb artistic or cultural centers.
1945
Actor Bob Balaban born
1945
Ballerina Suzanne Farrell born
1945
Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese on Corregidor on May 6, 1942, is released from a POW camp in Manchuria by U.S. troops.
1946
Actress Lesley Ann Warren born
1948
Baseball legend Babe Ruth died in New York at age 53.
1949
Margaret Mitchell, the 49-year-old author of Gone With the Wind, died in a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was taken after being struck by a taxi. She was on her way to see a movie at the time. The cab driver was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
1950
Rock singer-musician Joey Spampinato (NRBQ) born
1952
Actor Reginald VelJohnson born
1952
Baseball player Al [Alfred Willis] Holland born
1953
T-V personality Kathie Lee Gifford born
1953
Rhythm-and-blues singer J.T. Taylor born
1954
Movie director James Cameron ("Titanic") born
1954
"Sports Illustrated" was first published by Time Incorporated.
1956
Adlai E. Stevenson was nominated for president at the Democratic national convention in Chicago.
1957
Rock musician Tim Farriss (INXS) born
1958
Singer Madonna born
1958
Actress Angela Bassett born
1959
Actress Laura Innes ("E-R") born
1960
Actor Timothy Hutton born
1960
Britain granted independence to the crown colony of Cyprus.
1960
A world record for a successful free fall was set by Joseph Kittinger. What Mr. Kittinger did was quite amazing. He dropped from an altitude of 84,700 feet - more than 16 miles - before opening his parachute over New Mexico.
1967
Actor Donovan Leitch born
1972
Country singer Emily Erwin (The Dixie Chicks) born
1972
African-American Methodist clergyman from Dominica, West Indies, Philip A. Potter, 51, was named general secretary of the World Council of Churches. Serving until 1984, Potter gave strong spiritual guidance to the work of the WCC.
1977
The "King of Rock and Roll," Elvis Presley, died at Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 42.
1986
House and Senate conferees on Capitol Hill approved sweeping legislation to extensively restructure the federal income tax law.
1987
Thousands of people worldwide began a two-day celebration of the "harmonic convergence," which heralded what believers called the start of a new, purer age of humankind.
1987
156 people were killed when Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed while trying to take off from a Detroit airport; the sole survivor was four-year-old Cecelia Cichan.
1988
Vice President George Bush tapped Indiana Senator Dan Quayle to be his running mate.
1989
A rare prime-time lunar eclipse occurred over most of the United States, although clouds spoiled the view for many.
1990
President Bush met with Jordan's King Hussein in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he urged the monarch to close Iraq's access to the sea through the port of Aqaba.
1990
In Iraq, President Saddam Hussein issued a statement in which he repeatedly called Bush a "liar" and said the outbreak of war could result in "thousands of Americans wrapped in sad coffins."
1991
Pope John Paul II began the first-ever papal visit to Hungary.
1991
In Moscow, Alexander Yakovlev, a top adviser to Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, resigned from the Communist Party, warning that hard-liners were plotting ''a party and state coup.''
1992
On the eve of the Republican national convention in Houston, President Bush and party officials were heatedly denying a "New York Times" report that a confrontation with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was being motivated by political concerns.
1993
President Clinton opened his campaign for health care reform with a speech to the nation's governors in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
1993
Actor Stewart Granger died in Santa Monica, California, at age 80.
1993
New York police rescued business executive Harvey Weinstein from a covered 14-foot-deep pit, where he'd been held nearly two weeks for ransom.
1994
President Clinton and other top Democrats were scouring the House of Representatives for converts in hopes of reviving a stalled anti-crime bill.
1995
The government more than doubled its estimate of rapes or attempted rapes in the United States each year, to 310,000, a finding that was praised by leaders of women's groups.
1996
A jubilant Bob Dole set out from the Republican convention, promoting his tax-cut plan as a boon to working families.
1997
Thousands of Elvis Presley fans thronged Graceland on the 20th anniversary of his death.
1997
Two cosmonauts just returned from Mir (Vasily Tsibliyev and Alexander Lazutkin) held a news conference in which they rejected criticism that they were to blame for troubles aboard the aging, problem-plagued space station.
1998
Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland united in uncomprehending grief over the car bomb slaughter of 29 people in Omagh a day earlier.
1998
A day before President Clinton was to face a criminal grand jury concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, his lawyer said, "The truth is the truth, and that's how the president will testify."
1999
Four months after two gunmen sent them fleeing in horror, students reclaimed Columbine High School in Colorado for the start of the school year.
1999
The quiz show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" began a limited two-week run on ABC.
1999
Vladimir Putin won confirmation as Russia's prime minister, the fifth since early 1998.
1999
Republican Lamar Alexander folded his presidential campaign.
2005
Babies on U.S. no-fly lists holding up passengers
2005
Earthquake strikes northeast Japan, shakes Tokyo
2005
New record time spent in space
2005
Brazilian shot by police on London Underground was not acting suspiciously
2005
Taizé ecumenical community founder Frère Roger assassinated
2005
Spanish helicopter crash in Afghanistan kills 17
2005
Plane carrying 160 crashes in Venezuela
2005
CNN headquarters infected with computer worm, exaggerates global threat
2005
Somalia food hijackers make new demands
2006
Three Mexican fishermen spend 9 months at sea
2006
6 Canadian soldiers injured in Afghan attack
2006
United Airlines Flight 923 makes emergency landing at Logan International Airport
2006
Fire in Amherstburg, Ontario dies down
2006
Arrest made in JonBenet Ramsey murder case
2006
Google launches free city wide Wi-Fi in Mountain View, California
2006
Astronomers to vote on potential new planets
2006
UK seeks pardon for executed World War I soldiers
2006
Four Lotto 649 winners share jackpot
2006
New Zealand 'Boobs on Bikes' parade approved
2007
Zimbabwe man steals bus for transport to pick up driving licence
2007
Major earthquake strikes Peru followed by multiple large aftershocks
2007
Hurricane Dean is upgraded to a Category 2 storm
2007
Jose Padilla found guilty of supporting terrorism
2007
Scotland loses to India in one-day international cricket match
2007
Large earthquake strikes the Solomon Islands
2007
Balloons let loose for triple murder victim
2008
Dorival Caymmi, Brazillian singer and songwriter, dies aged 94
2008
Russia follows Georgia in signing peace plan
2008
Usain Bolt sets new world record in 100m sprint
2009
Tennis: Andy Murray wins Montreal Masters 2009
2009
Pakistan to Turkey container train service launched
2009
Fighter jets collide, crash into houses near Moscow
2009
UK assumes direct rule over the Turks and Caicos Islands
2009
Four injured after three earthquakes strike Sumatra, Indonesia
2010
South Korean president proposes a reunification tax
2010
Apple manager charged with taking over US$1 million in kickbacks from suppliers
2010
US president Barack Obama backs mosque near Ground Zero site
2010
Boeing 737 crash-lands in Colombia; at least one killed
2010
Former first lady of India Janaki Venkataraman dies at 89
2010
Runaway train causes chaos on London Underground
2010
Hong Kong 'tutor king' applies for bankruptcy
2011
Japan to use renewable energy
2011
Up to 74 reported dead after Iraq bombings
2013
Ryanair sack, sue pilot over participation in safety documentary

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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