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Today in History

1890
Author HP Lovecraft born in Providence, Rhode Island
1911
First commercial around-the-world telegram
1921
Author Jacqueline Susann born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1940
Winston Churchill asserts, ''Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.''
1946
Newcaster Connie Chung born Constance Yu-Hwa Chung in Washington DC
1948
Songwriter and lead singer for Led Zeppelin, Robert Anthony Plant born in West Bromwich, England
1975
Viking 1 Mars probe launched
651
Death of St. Oswin, King of Deria (England)
684
Death of St. Philibert
917
A Byzantine counter-offensive is routed by Syeon at Anchialus, Bulgaria.
1153
Death of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, at 9
1191
Richard I, King of England, commands the execution of 2500 Muslim prisoners beneath the walls of Acre
1205
Henry crowned Emperor of Rumania
1384
Gerhard Groote, founder of Brethren of the Common Life dies
1517
Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, cardinal and viceroy of Naples (1571-75) born
1526
Church historian and humanist Peter Opmeer, (Historia Martyrum) born
1561
The composer and singer Jacopo Peri. born
1591
Robert Herrick born
1597
First Dutch East India Company ships return from the Far East
1611
Palestrina's contemporary Tomas Luis de Victoria died in Madrid at the age of 62
1612
Execution of the Lancashire Witches
1619
The first group of twenty Africans is brought to Jamestown, Virginia.
1625
French playwright Thomas Corneille born
1636
Roger Williams draws up covenant for Providence Plantations
1667
John Milton publishes Paradise Lost, an epic poem about the fall of Adam and Eve.
1702
Russian general-fieldmarshal Stepan F graaf Apraksin born
1710
English mathematician Thomas Simpson(rules of Simpson) born
1720
Composer Bernard de Bury born
1741
Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering discovered what is now Alaska.
1745
Francis Asbury born
1756
Composer Bernardo Bitton born
1785
Oliver Hazard Perry US Naval hero ("We have met the enemy") born
1794
American General "Mad Anthony" Wayne defeats the Ohio Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in the Northwest territory, ending Indian resistance in the area.
1833
Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States in North Bend, Ohio. born
1847
General Winfield Scott wins the battle of Churubusco on his drive to Mexico City. The Mexican War gave future civil war generals their first taste of combat.
1866
The National Labor Union advocated an eight hour workday. Industry, however, did not heed the request. Workers commonly worked 10 or 12 hour days -- or more.
1866
President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over, even though the fighting had stopped months earlier.
1881
Poet Edgar Guest born
1882
The "1812" Overture was first performed on the occasion of the dedication of the Cathedral of the Redeemer in the Kremlin. The "1812" turned out to be a piece of such vigor that it became one of the most popular of all classics.
1886
Paul Tillich, theologian and philosopher who wrote Systematic Theology born
1890
Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft (The Color out of Space) born
1907
Actress Shirley Booth (Hazel, A Touch of Grace) born
1914
German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War One.
1918
Britain opened its offensive on the Western front during World War One.
1920
Pioneering American radio station EightMK in Detroit (later WWJ) began daily broadcasting.
1921
Author Jacqueline Susann (Valley of the Dolls) born
1923
The first American dirigible, the Shenandoah, was launched at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on this day.
1931
Boxing promoter Don King (shocking hairstyle) born
1935
Country singer Justin Tubb born
1939
Tarzan got married. Johnny Weissmuller married Beryl Scott.
1939
Orrin Tucker's Orchestra recorded Oh, Johnny, Oh, Johnny,Oh!, on Columbia Records.
1940
Exiled Russian Leon Trotsky is assassinated in Mexico City, with an ice pick to the back of the head, by one of Stalin's hired assassins (Frank Jackson).
1940
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force, saying, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
1941
Adolf Hitler authorizes the development of the V-2 missile.
1942
Singer-musician Isaac Hayes born
1944
Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi born
1946
Former CBS anchorwoman Connie Chung born
1947
Musician Jimmy Pankow (Chicago) born
1948
Rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) born
1949
Cleveland's Indians and Chicago's White Sox played at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland before the largest crowd to see a nighttime major-league baseball game: 78,382.
1952
Country singer Rudy Gatlin born
1952
Singer-songwriter John Hiatt born
1953
Actor-director Peter Horton born
1953
The Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
1954
"Today" show weatherman Al Roker born
1955
Actor Jay Acovone born
1955
Hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.
1956
Actress Joan Allen born
1964
President Johnson signed a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure.
1965
Rapper KRS-One born
1968
The Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring" liberalization drive of Alexander Dubcek's regime.
1971
The Cambodian military launches a series of operations against the Khmer Rouge. As the war in Vietnam wound down with the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, the war in neighboring Cambodia was going from bad to worse.
1971
Actor Jonathan Ke Quan ("Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom") born
1975
Rock singer Monique Powell (Save Ferris) born
1977
The US launched "Voyager Two," an unmanned spacecraft carrying a 12-inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature.
1982
President Reagan announced that a contingent of U.S. Marines would join French and Italian troops as peace-keepers in Beirut.
1983
The Commerce Department announced it was lifting export license requirements for the sale of heavy-duty pipe-laying equipment to the Soviet Union, a move that had been approved the day before by President Reagan.
1984
Republicans opened their 33rd national convention in Dallas as they prepared to nominate President Reagan and Vice President George Bush for a second term in office.
1985
The machine that revolutionized the world's offices, the original Xerox 914 copier, was formally presented to the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History. The invention of Chester Carlson, it was introduced to the world in March 196
1986
Postal employee Patrick Henry Sherrill went on a rampage at a post office in Edmond, Oklahoma, shooting 14 fellow workers to death before killing himself.
1986
The U.S. Census Bureau reported the nation's population at 240,468,000 and the median age had reached an all-time high of 31 years.
1987
A federal appeals court in Washington rejected Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North's argument that the independent counsel investigating the Iran-Contra affair was operating under an invalid Justice Department regulation.
1988
Eight British soldiers were killed by an Irish Republican Army land mine that destroyed a military bus near Omagh, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.
1989
Video executive Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty, were shot to death in their Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion by their sons, Lyle and Erik. The brothers' first murder trials ended in hung juries; they face re-trial.
1989
British conservationist George Adamson, 83, was shot and killed by bandits in Kenya.
1989
51 people died when a pleasure boat sank in the Thames River in London.
1990
Ending administration resistance to the term, President Bush declared that Americans and other foreigners held by Iraq are "hostages" and warned that he would hold Iraq responsible for their "safety and well-being."
1991
More than 100,000 people rallied outside the Russian parliament building as protests against the Soviet coup increased. President Bush said he would never deal with the coup leaders.
1992
The early hours of August 20th, the Republican national convention in Houston renominated President Bush and Vice President Quayle. On the evening of the 20th, Bush delivered a hard-hitting speech in which he attacked the Democrats and promised to seek across-the-board tax cuts if re-elected.
1993
Conjoined twins Angela and Amy Lakeberg were separated at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in an operation that sacrificed Amy, since the sisters shared a common heart and liver tissue. (Although the separation appeared to be successful, Angela died in June 1994.)
1994
Benjamin Chavis Jr. was fired as head of the NAACP after a turbulent 16-month tenure.
1995
The remnants of an American peace delegation headed home from Bosnia-Herzegovina with the bodies of three diplomats killed in an accident.
1995
In northern India, 348 people were killed when a passenger train rammed another that had stopped on the tracks after hitting a cow.
1996
Susan McDougal was sentenced in Little Rock, Arkansas, to two years in prison in a Whitewater fraud case.
1996
President Clinton approved the first minimum-wage increase in five years, raising the hourly minimum by 90 cents to $5.15 per hour over 13 months.
1997
United Parcel Service drivers put away their picket signs, put on their brown shirts and shorts, and called on customers again as the delivery giant began to sluggishly recover from its costly strike.
1998
Retaliating 13 days after the deadly embassy bombings in East Africa, US forces launched cruise missile strikes against alleged terrorist camps in Afghanistan and what was described as a chemical plant in Sudan.
1998
Monica Lewinsky went before a grand jury for a second round of explicit testimony about her White House trysts with President Clinton.
1999
The CIA pulled the security clearances for former Director John Deutch for keeping secret files on an unsecured home computer.
1999
Three Japanese banks announced a broad alliance plan that would create the world's largest banking group with assets of well over $1 trillion.
2005
Attempt to reopen Western Australia's biggest beef processor
2005
Daily Mail: Scotland Yard offered Menezes family US$1m
2005
Croatian singer beaten in Belgrade
2005
CBC lockout enters sixth day
2005
Indonesian blackout caused by lack of generation capacity
2005
Document reveals U.S., Taliban discussed bin Laden assassination
2005
At least 13 killed in shootings at polling stations in Pakistan
2006
South Carolina attracting Republican hopefuls
2006
American athlete Marion Jones tests positive for EPO
2006
JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect on his way to America
2006
"Jihad" Jack Thomas acquitted of terrorism conviction
2006
UK soldier killed in southern Afghanistan
2006
400 Australian soldiers sent to Afghanistan
2006
Volcano eruption in Ecuador kills six and destroys several small villages
2006
Polish peace activist imprisoned
2006
Pair taken off plane because of "suspicious" behaviour
2006
Australia's "most powerful" windfarm approved
2007
U-17 FIFA World Cup:Germany and Colombia draw in goalfest
2007
Sex toy 'armed' robber jailed
2007
Woman dies when pet camel tries to mate with her
2007
China Airlines plane catches fire at Japanese airport
2007
Triathletes from Belgium and Luxembourg compete in championship race
2007
Election complaint against Fred Thompson
2007
Miles Levin - Teen Blogger Dies before 19th Birthday
2007
Volatile stock market, credit woes persist
2007
Police station attacked following illegal rave
2007
Benfica sacks head coach after first match of the season
2008
President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia dies at age 59 following stroke
2008
Olympic highlights: August 20, 2008
2008
United States Senator Lieberman to speak at Republican party convention
2008
British celebrity Jade Goody diagnosed with cancer
2008
Over one hundred die in Madrid plane crash
2008
Claim of 'Bigfoot' dead body is a hoax
2008
Former communist leader Hua Guofeng dies age 87
2009
Fern Britton may appear on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing
2009
Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released on compassionate grounds
2009
Formula 1 new team USF1 sponsored by YouTube co-founder
2009
Six bomb attacks kill 95 in Baghdad
2010
Scientists conclude that the universe may expand forever
2010
US food regulators recall 380 million eggs after salmonella outbreak
2011
Red Arrows pilot killed at Bournemouth air display
2012
Sydney welcomes home the Australian Olympic Team
2013
First couples celebrate same-sex marriage in New Zealand
2013
Pakistani Prime Minister agrees to put all state executions on hold

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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