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Today in History

79
Mount Vesuvius erupts, burying Pompeii
1814
British troops burn Washington
1912
Comedian and television host, Durward Kirby born in Covington, Kentucky
1947
Social activist and Academy Award nominated actress, Anne Archer born in Los Angeles, California
1948
Anna Fisher, the first mom in space, born in New York City
1949
Actor Joe Regalbuto born in Brooklyn, New York
1954
Communist Control Act goes into effect
1960
126.9°F below 0 at Vostok, Antarctica
1965
Academy and Golden Globe Award winning actress Marlee Matlin born in Morton Grove, Illinois
1988
Actor Rupert Grint born in Hertfordshire, England
1995
MS Windows 95 released
79
Long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash. An estimated 20-thousand people died.
410
Rome was overrun by the Visigoths, an event that symbolized the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
1113
Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, He conquered Normandy. born
1179
Saladin besieges the castle of Chastelet
1198
Alexander II, King of Scotland born
1210
Count of Holland Floris IV born
1236
Pope Gregory relieves the Stedingers of excommunication
1273
Coronation of Rudolph of Hapsburg as King of Germany
1313
Death of Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor
1349
6,000 Jews killed at Mainz
1456
Printing of the Gutenberg Bible completed
1524
Beginning of the Peasant's War
1531
Composer Ercole Bottrigari born
1542
In South America, Gonzalo Pizarro returns to the mouth of the Amazon River after having sailed the length of the great river as far as the Andes Mountains.
1565
Failure of the Rebellion of the Earl of Murray against Mary, Queen of Scots
1572
The slaughter of French Protestants at the hands of Catholics began in Paris. Known as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. The massacre continued throughout France and some 50,000 French Protestants (Huguenots) were slaughtered.
1579
Composer John Amner born
1585
Margaret Rohrfelder, Barbara Ulmer and Ursula Sailler, burned as witches.(burned at Waldsee, Germany)
1591
English poet Robert Herrick (Gather ye rosebuds) born
1669
Composer Alessandro Marcello born
1712
Dutch mathematician and astronomer Cornelis Douwes born
1759
Pioneer British abolitionist William Wilberforce born
1772
Grand duke of Luxembourg and king of Netherlands Willem I Frederik (1814-40) born
1780
King Louis XVI abolishes torture as a means to get suspects to confess.
1782
A letter was on its way from Leopold Mozart, desribing his son Wolfgang as lazy. Leopold and Wolfgang always had difficult relations. Leopold was sharply critical of his son to his face as well as to third parties.
1787
Antarctic explorer James Weddell, Ostend England born
1814
British troops under General Robert Ross capture Washington, D.C., which they set on fire in retaliation for the American burning of the parliament building in York (Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada. With Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's flagship unable to fight, an outmatched British flotilla faced the prospect of a remarkable victory. But Perry transferred his pennant to another ship and fought on.
1816
Sir Daniel Gooch, laid 1st successful trans-Atlantic cables born
1820
Composer Jacopo Tomadini born
1821
Composer Emmanuele Muzio born
1828
Brigadere General George Hume "Maryland" Steuart (Confederate Army) born
1837
Composer Theodore Dubois born
1839
Composer Eduard Napravnik born
1842
Flemish painter Edouard J A Agneessens (Slave Market) born
1869
Cornelius Swarthout received a patent for the waffle iron.
1872
English author and parodist Sir Max Beerbohm born
1880
Joshua Lionel Cowen, inventor of the electric toy train born
1886
William Francis Gibbs, naval architect, designed the Liberty ships born
1891
Thomas Edison files a patent for the motion picture camera. Unfortunately, the film was not patented for another 6 years.
1894
Congress passes the first graduated income tax law, which is declared unconstitutional the next year.
1895
Roman Catholic Cardinal Richard Cushing, archbishop of Boston born
1897
Country music publisher Fred Rose born
1898
Malcolm Cowley, poet and translator who wrote The Dream of the Golden Mountains born
1899
Author Jorge Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Borges, referred to as the "Blind Visionary", was a leader of the Ultraismo movement of literature in Latin America, which combined abstract images with surrealist thought. born
1909
Workers start pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.
1912
TV personality Durward Kirby born
1917
TV host Dennis James born
1925
Former education secretary Shirley Hufstedler born
1929
Yasir Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Movement born
1932
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the United States, traveling from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in just over 19 hours.
1938
Composer-musician-author Mason Williams born
1942
In the battle of the Eastern Solomons, the third carrier-versus-carrier battle of the war, U.S. naval forces defeat a Japanese force attempting to screen reinforcements for the Guadalcanal fighting.
1944
Rock musician Jim Capaldi (Traffic) born
1945
Rock musician Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) born
1948
Edith Mae Irby becomes the University of Arkansas' first African-American student.
1949
The North Atlantic Treaty went into effect.
1949
Actor Joe Regalbuto ("Murphy Brown") born
1951
US, sci-fi author Orson Scott Card Winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards for Ender's War born
1954
The Communist Control Act went into effect, virtually outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.
1956
Boxer Gerry Cooney born
1958
Actor Steve Guttenberg born
1959
Three days after Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first Chinese-American US Senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as the first Japanese-American US Representative.
1960
Baseball player Cal Ripken Junior born
1962
Talk show host Craig Kilborn ("The Late Late Show") born
1963
Rock singer John Bush (Anthrax) born
1965
Actress Marlee Matlin born
1968
France became the world's fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
1970
Country singer Kristyn Osborn (SheDaisy) born
1970
A bomb planted by anti-war extremists exploded at the University of Wisconsin's Army Math Research Center in Madison, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.
1971
Model Claudia Schiffer born
1972
Cornelius Cardew founded a consort that he called the "Scratch Orchestra." On this day "Scratch Orchestra" was performed at the Promos in London, playing a work by Cardew.
1973
Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle born
1973
Actor Barret Oliver (Never Ending Story, Secret Garden) born
1973
Actor Carmine Giovinazzo ("Shasta McNasty") born
1981
Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for shooting to death rock star John Lennon.
1983
Corazon Aquino, widow of Philippine opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., returned to her homeland for her husband's funeral, rejecting President Ferdinand E. Marcos' denial that his government had any part in Aquino's assassination.
1984
On the heels of the Republican convention, Democrat Walter F. Mondale said the proceedings had demonstrated that President Reagan represented the party of the rich, while Reagan questioned Mondale's commitment to a strong defense.
1985
Security police in South Africa reported arresting 27 anti-apartheid leaders as racial violence continued to rock the country.
1986
Financially troubled Frontier Airlines shut down, stranding thousands of passengers throughout the West.
1987
A federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled that public schools could require students to study textbooks not accepted by religious fundamentalists.
1987
A military jury in Quantico, Virginia, sentenced Marine Sergeant Clayton Lonetree to 30 years in prison for disclosing US secrets to the Soviet Union. (The sentence was later reduced; with additional time off for good behavior, Lonetree ended up serving eight years in a military prison.)
1988
Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis picked up the endorsement of the AFL-CIO while Republican nominee George Bush campaigned in California with President Reagan.
1989
Colombian drug lords declared "total war" on the government.
1989
Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti banned Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose from baseball for life after having been caught gambling.
1989
Voyager II flies past Neptune.
1990
Irish-British hostage Brian Kennan was released by his captors in Lebanon after being held more than four years.
1990
A Reno, Nevada, judge ruled that the British heavy metal rock band "Judas Priest" was not responsible for the deaths of two youths who shot themselves after listening to the band's music.
1990
Iraqi troops surrounded foreign missions in Kuwait. Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev sent a message to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein warning the Persian Gulf situation was "extremely dangerous.""
1991
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev resigned as head of the Communist Party, culminating a stunning Kremlin shakeup that followed the failed coup by hard-liners. In Moscow, thousands of people held a martyrs' funeral for three men killed fighting the coup.
1992
China and South Korea established diplomatic ties.
1992
Hurricane "Andrew" smashed into Florida with sustained winds of up to 145 mph, causing record damage; 55 deaths in Florida, Louisiana and the Bahamas were blamed on the storm.
1993
The Clinton administration unveiled its proposed revisions to wetlands policy, which would expand protection, but also give landowners some of the flexibility they had long sought.
1994
Israeli and PLO negotiators reached agreement on an accord to give the Palestinians control of health care, taxation, education and other services in West Bank areas still controlled by Israel.
1994
A Washington, D.C., superior court denied Benjamin Chavis's request to block his ouster as executive director of the NAACP.
1995
China expelled Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu, hours after convicting him of spying.
1995
Microsoft Corp. began selling its highly publicized Windows 95 personal computer software.
1995
Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt died. His photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse in New York's Times Square became one of the best known images of America's joy at Japan's surrender in World War II.
1996
Four women began two days of academic orientation at The Citadel; they were the first female cadets admitted to the South Carolina military school since Shannon Faulkner.
1997
Pope John Paul the Second offered tough challenges and affectionate encouragement to more than one million faithful attending Mass during closing World Youth Day ceremonies in Paris.
1998
The United States and Britain agreed to allow two Libyan suspects wanted in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 to be tried in a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands.
1998
A federal court rejected the Census Bureau's plans to use statistical sampling for the 2000 census, a decision later upheld by the Supreme Court.
1998
Actor E.G. Marshall died in Mount Kisco, New York, at age 84.
1999
The Federal Reserve raised borrowing costs for millions of Americans, increasing its target for the federal funds rate by a quarter point to 5.25 percent, and hiking the discount rate a quarter point to 4.75 percent.
2005
English FA rescinds red cards, FIFA backlash probable
2005
Update: U.S. Army intelligence had detected 9/11 terrorists year before, says officer
2005
Australian governments to partially fund Forbes conference
2005
Jetliner crash-lands in Peru
2005
Turkmen president bans recorded music in public
2005
Mixed success for Brampton Day at Ontario Place
2005
Canadian woman faces 234 counts of double-doctoring
2005
Google provides Gmail access to American cell phone customers
2005
Google Talk released in beta form
2005
Butter sculpture returns to Canadian National Exhibition
2005
Clothes from China piling up on European borders
2006
Allegations that New Zealand school administers corporal punishment
2006
India may pull peacekeeping troops out of Lebanon
2006
Local communities in the UK must "root out" extremism, says Ruth Kelly
2006
Ukraine celebrates Independence Day
2006
UK population exceeds 60 million for the first time
2006
8 Afghans killed in early morning raid
2006
Man arrested for broadcasting Hezbollah television in New York
2006
Netherlands flight alert suspects to be freed
2006
Confrontation between Greenpeace and fishermen off Marseille
2006
Ireland's Roscrea town centre evacuated
2006
France offers promised 2000 soldiers to the UN in Lebanon
2006
Pluto loses planet status
2007
Telephone network access on iPhone unlocked by teen
2007
Former Timberwolf Eddie Griffin dies at 25
2007
Squirrel banned from Finnish supermarket
2007
Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest
2007
Report: quarterback Michael Vick won't plead guilty to killing dogs
2007
Four-year-old boy attacked by Pit bull mix
2007
Friendly fire kills three UK soldiers in Afghanistan
2007
Research focuses on orchids mimicking female wasps
2007
Edinburgh Airport runway damage causes delays
2007
British driver admits driving at 172 mph
2007
Cricket: India beat England in second one-day international
2007
Further arrest made in connection with shooting of Rhys Jones
2007
Aunt hires prostitutes for 12-year-old nephew
2007
M5 motorway closed after shots fired at police car
2007
2-year-old dies in car in 100ºF heat with windows rolled up
2007
Police station attacked by car bomb in Basque Country, two officers injured
2007
Two-year-old punished in dryer
2008
Cuban athlete banned for life after attack on referee during Olympics
2008
Eight mountaineers missing on Mont Blanc in French Alps after avalanche
2008
Passenger plane traveling to Iran crashes in Kyrgyzstan, killing 68
2008
Afghan government: More than 90 civilians killed by US airstrike
2008
Beijing Olympics comes to a close
2008
Felipe Massa wins European Grand Prix
2009
Cricket: England regain Ashes in the Oval sunshine
2009
Rubens Barrichello wins European Grand Prix
2009
Coroner says Michael Jackson's death was due to sedative overdose
2009
Suspect in model Jasmine Fiore's murder found dead
2009
Christmas arrives early in Rochdale, Greater Manchester
2009
Calvin Harris knocks Michael Jackson off top spot in UK Album Chart
2009
Two firefighters killed in deadly blaze in Buffalo, New York
2010
School on Australia's Sunshine Coast makes staff redundant, requests they apply for 'new' jobs
2010
Hong Kong tourists held hostage in the Philippines, nine killed
2010
Atlantic storm Danielle strengthens to hurricane force
2011
Strauss-Kahn case dismissed
2011
Australian TV network sprung fabricating live crosses by rival
2012
Papua New Guinea represented by two Paralympians in London
2013
Transgender woman dies after beating in Harlem, New York
2013
Maroochydore to play Noosa in Sunshine Coast Rugby Union Grand Final
2013
Lebanon car bombings kill dozens outside mosques

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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