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Today in History

1883
The volcano at Krakatoa, Java erupts with a force of 1,300 megatons, destroying two thirds of the island and killing over 36,000 people
1908
36th US President and designer of the Great Society civil reforms, Lyndon Baines Johnson born in Stonewall, Texas
1912
Tarzan of the Apes published
1943
Golden Globe Award winning actress Tuesday Weld born in New York City
1947
Fashion model, Bond girl and actress, Barbara Bach born in Queens, New York
1952
Emmy Award winning actor and comedian, Paul Reubens born in Peeskill, New York
1955
Academy Award nominated actress Diana Scarwid born in Savannah, Georgia
1990
Stevie Ray Vaughn killed in helicopter crash
2003
Mars makes what will be its closest approach to Earth for the next 60,000 years
413
Athenian army besieging Syracuse fails to retreat because of an eclipse; later trapped & destroyed
543
Death of St. Caesarius of Arles
824
Death of Pope Eugenius II
1172
Marguerite, wife of Henry Plantagenet, "the Young King," crowned Queen of England
1189
King Guy of Jerusalem lays siege to Acre
1270
Death of King Louis IX (St.) of France
1521
Josquin des Prez died. Josquins compositions were known all over Europe. Everyone from Rabelais to Martin Luther wrote favorably of him. Almost a hundred motets by Josquin have survived. They show a stronger sense of harmony than is apparent in older music.
1529
Henry VIII, King of England, accedes to the Peace of Cambrai
1545
Duke of Parma, general and diplomat Alessandro Farnese born
1549
Defeat of Kett's Rebellion
1562
Composer Hans Leo Hassler born
1576
Death of Tiziano Vecelli, known as "Titian," painter
1583
Composer Simon Besler born
1587
John White sails for England from Roanoke Island
1590
Death of Pope Sixtus V
1630
Dutch flower painter Maria van Oosterwijck born
1635
Death of Lope de Vega
1648
Death of St. Joseph Calasanz
1650
Composer Johann Samuel Welter born
1650
1st English expedition to cross the Alleghenies leaves Ft. Henry, Va.
1660
John Milton's books were burned in London because of the author's attacks on King Charles II.
1748
An opera on the story of Pygmalion, composed by Rameau, was premiered in Paris on this date. It's a Greek tale about a sculptor who falls in love with a statue he has made of a beautiful young woman. Aphrodite brings the statue to life for him.
1752
Dutch theologist Herman Muntinghe, (History of Mankind) born
1770
German philosopher Georg Hegel (dialectic) born
1770
The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was born in Stuttgart.
1789
The French National Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
1809
Hannibal Hamlin, (R) 15th Vice President of the U. S. (1861-65) born
1828
Uruguay was formally proclaimed independent at preliminary peace talks between Brazil and Argentina.
1847
Flemish theologist and bishop of Bridge, Gustave J Waffelaert born
1858
The first cabled news dispatch was sent to and published by The New York Sun newspaper. The story was about China meeting the peace demands of England and France.
1858
Mathematician Giuseppe Peanoin Cuneo born
1859
Colonel Edwin L. Drake drilled the first successful oil well in the United States near Titusville, Pennsylvania. The drilling had reached 69 feet, 6 inches when a dark film floating on the water below the derrick floor was noticed.
1865
Charles Gates Dawes, (R) 30th Vice President of the U. S. (1925-29, Nobel Prize winner in 1925) born
1871
Novelist Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carie, American Tragedy) born
1874
German chemist Karl Bosch (BASF, Nobel Prize winner of 1931) born
1877
English auto maker Charles Rolls born
1882
Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn born
1883
The island volcano Krakatoa blew up; the resulting tidal waves in Indonesia's Sunda Strait claimed some 36,000 lives in Java and Sumatra.
1884
Actor Harry Antrim, (Miracle on 34th St, Devil's Doorway) born
1889
Boxer Jack Dempsey was defeated for the first time in his career as George LaBlanche used the "pivot" punch to knock out Dempsey. The punch was later banned from boxing.
1889
Charles G. Conn of Elkhart, Indiana, received a patent for the metal clarinet.
1892
Fire seriously damaged New York's original Metropolitan Opera House, located at Broadway and 39th Street.
1894
Congress passed the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which contained a provision for a graduated income tax that was later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
1899
Actor Byron Foulger (River's Edge, Up in Smoke) born
1899
English historical novelist Cecil Scott Forester (Horatio Hornblower) born
1908
Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th president of the United States born
1910
Nobel Peace laureate Mother Teresa born
1912
The book "Tarzan of the Apes" was first published by writer Edgar Rice Burroughs.
1921
J.E. Clair, who owned the Acme Packing Company, bought a pro football franchise for Green Bay, Wisconsin. He decided to pay tribute to those who packed the meat at his processing plant by naming the team the Green Bay Packers.
1927
Cajun-country singer Jimmy C. Newman born
1928
The Kellogg-Briand Pact, outlawing war as a means to settle international disputes, was signed by 15 nations in Paris. World War II began scarcely 11 years later.
1937
Actor Tommy Sands born
1937
Bluegrass singer-musician J.D. Crowe born
1938
At a poetry reading by Archibald MacLeish, another poet, in a fit of jealousy, set fire to some papers in order to disrupt the recital. That jealous poet, incidentally, was Robert Frost.
1939
Adolf Hitler served notice on England and France that Germany wanted Danzig and the Polish Corridor.
1942
Musician Daryl Dragon (The Captain and Tennille) born
1943
Actress Tuesday Weld born
1944
Rock singer-musician Tim Bogert born
1945
Actress Marianne Sagebrecht born
1945
American troops began landing in Japan following the surrender of the Japanese government in World War Two.
1947
Ex-porn star Harry Reems ("Deep Throat") born
1947
Actress Barbara Bach born
1949
Country musician Jeff Cook (Alabama) born
1952
Actor Paul Reubens born
1953
Singer Willy DeVille born
1953
Rock musician Alex Lifeson (Rush) born
1955
Actress Diana Scarwid born
1962
Writer-producer Dean Devlin ("Independence Day") born
1962
The United States launched the "Mariner Two" space probe, which flew past Venus the following December.
1965
Rock musician Mike Johnson (Dinosaur Jr.) born
1967
Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, was found dead in his London flat from an overdose of sleeping pills.
1968
Rap musician Bobo (Cypress Hill) born
1970
Rock musician Tony Kanal (No Doubt) born
1972
U.S. warplanes began bombing Haiphong, North Vietnam's major port.
1975
Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia's 3,000-year-old monarchy, died in Addis Ababa at the age of 83 almost a year after he was overthrown in a military coup.
1976
Actress Sarah Chalke ("Roseanne") born
1979
British war hero Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed off the coast of Ireland in a boat explosion claimed by the Irish Republican Arms
1979
Rock musician Jon Siebels (Eve 6) born
1981
Divers off Massachusetts began work to recover a safe found aboard the remains of the luxury liner Andrea Doria which sank in 1956.
1984
President Ronald Reagan announced that a schoolteacher would be the first "citizen astronaut" to fly aboard the space shuttle. (The eventual choice, Christa McAuliffe, died in the Challenger disaster in January 1986.)
1984
"The Menetta Lane Theater" in Greenwich Village opened. It was the first new off-Broadway theater to be built in 50 years in New York City. The ribbon cutting was done by "America's First Lady of the Stage," Helen Hayes.
1984
A new face joined the group of journalists on CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" program. Diane Sawyer became the fifth reporter on the always top-rated TV newsmagazine. Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Harry Reasoner and Ed Bradley welcomed Sawyer to the show.
1985
The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a seven-day mission that included the launch of three satellites, and the retrieval, repair and redeployment of another.
1985
Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger canceled the Army's $1.8 billion "Sergeant York" weapon system as ineffective.
1986
President Reagan's chief spokesman, Larry Speakes, said the administration was worried about new terrorists plots by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but refused to say whether there was evidence to back up that concern.
1986
Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros earned career win number 250 by leading the Astros to a 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
1987
A Soviet Foreign Ministry official said his country was studying a proposal by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to dismantle his country's 72 aging "Pershing One-A" missiles if the superpowers destroyed all their intermediate-range weapons.
1988
Tens of thousands of civil rights marchers gathered in Washington DC on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
1989
The first U.S. commercial satellite rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida -- a Delta booster carrying a British communications satellite.
1990
52 Americans reached freedom in Turkey after they were allowed to leave Iraq; three young men originally in the group, however, were detained by the Iraqis. In Washington, the State Department ordered the expulsion of 36 Iraqi diplomats.
1991
Warning of impending "catastrophe," Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev threatened to resign unless the Soviet Union's splintering republics could at least preserve a military and economic alliance.
1991
In a split vote, the American Bar Association gave Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas a "qualified" rating.
1991
The Soviet republic of Moldavia declared its independence. The European Community recognized Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as independent nations.
1992
President Bush ordered federal troops to Florida for emergency relief in the wake of Hurricane "Andrew."
1992
Serbian leaders at the Yugoslav peace conference pledged to close the prisoner-of-war camps, end "ethnic cleansing" and work toward peace.
1992
Canada's Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a law that would have prevented a man from claiming the Nazi Holocaust was a hoax.
1993
The U.N. Security Council suspended a crippling, 2.5-month-old oil embargo and other economic sanctions against Haiti to spur the country's return to democracy. The sanctions were reimposed the following October.
1994
The State Department said the United States and Cuba had agreed to resume talks on Cuban migration with the hope of stemming the flow of refugees headed toward Florida.
1995
American and Chinese officials agreed to begin planning a fall summit between President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
1996
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the Democratic convention in Chicago, forcefully making her husband's case for re-election while rebutting her Republican critics.
1996
California Governor Pete Wilson signed an executive order aimed at halting state benefits to illegal immigrants.
1996
Actor Greg Morris ("Mission his Las Vegas home; he was 61.
1997
Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy was charged with seeking and accepting more than 35-thousand dollars in trips, sports tickets and favors from companies that did business with his agency. (Espy is scheduled to go to trial 10/1/98.)
1997
Israel lifted a month-long blockade of Bethlehem that was imposed after a suicide bombing July 30th that killed 16 people.
1998
Two suspects in the bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya were sent to the United States to face charges that could carry the death penalty.
1999
The Federal Communications Commission announced new government wiretapping rules intended to help law enforcement authorities keep pace with advances in phone technology. (However, a federal appeals court later threw out some of the new rules, citing privacy concerns.)
2005
Writers meet weekly at Ashland Underground
2005
Swedish Wikipedia reaches 100,000 articles
2005
Two arrests made in Zotob worm attack
2005
UK study claims men have higher average I.Q. than women
2005
Lance Armstrong disputes French doping results
2005
Shoppers World hosts arts event
2005
Wine cork prevents fuel leak on train
2005
Afghani heroin shipment shot down in Tajikistan
2006
Canadian soldiers kill Afghan police officer
2006
Eleven year-old boy arrested on suspicion of assaulting a four year-old boy in East Yorkshire
2006
British soldier shot and killed in southern Afghanistan
2006
Guantanamo inmate Murat Kurnaz transferred to Germany and released
2006
Chad orders oil companies out of the country
2006
5 Afghans, Canadian soldier injured in mortar attack
2006
National Geographic reporter faces espionage charges in Sudan
2006
Tropical Storm Ernesto nears the US Coast
2006
Deadline to release Muslim prisoners passes, Gaza-held journalists released
2006
Afghanistan sees worst days of violence since 2001
2007
MLB: Houston Astros fire manager Phil Garner and GM Tim Purpura
2007
Nick Hogan, son of wrestling star Hulk Hogan 'seriously injured' in vehicle accident
2007
Gift of footballs from United States offends Afghans inadvertently
2007
Serbian firefighters shot at from Kosovo
2007
Cricket: England beat India in third one-day international
2007
Hot air balloon fire kills two, injures eleven in Canada
2007
U.S. Open Day 1 Report
2007
Greece on fire, death toll exceeds 60
2007
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns
2007
Opium production in Afghanistan reaches record highs
2007
Prescott to stand down as UK MP
2007
Italian political leader threatens forcible rebellion against government
2007
Finland offers helicopters, personnel to assist Greece with forest fires
2007
Horse flu spreads in Australia
2008
Oldest Catholic boarding school in Australia at centre of child-sex claims
2008
No assassination plot against US presidential candidate Barack Obama
2008
Kevin Duckworth, former NBA All-star and Trail Blazer dies age 44
2008
Canadian military exercise NANOOK travels through uncharted waters
2008
Australian Police alerted to child-sex claims at St Stanislaus in 1997
2008
World Bank says more people are poor, but fewer are in extreme poverty
2008
Israeli-American activist arrested for entering Gaza Strip
2009
Police remove valuables from unlocked cars
2009
Air France passenger jet intercepted by Indian Air Force
2009
Sergey Mikhalkov, Russian writer, dies at 97
2009
Extrasolar planet will most probably fall into its star
2009
Cast of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing announced
2010
Federal Aviation Administration proposes US$24.2m fine against American Airlines
2010
Apple to hold media event on September 1, may update iPods and Apple TV
2010
Airliner crashes in China, 42 killed
2011
Australia's Channel Nine Network sacks two journalists for faking footage
2012
Australians make Paralympic Village uniquely their own
2012
Athletes prepare for Summer Paralympics at the Paralympic Fitness Centre
2012
Tropical Storm Isaac creates worries across US gulf states
2013
Iraq: Shootings, bombings kill dozens in Baghdad, Baquba, Qiyara, Madaen

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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