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Today in History

1867
US takes possession of Midway Atoll
1921
US Navy sailor and Emmy Award nominated actress, Nancy Kulp born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
1925
Comedian, actor, singer and dancer, Donald O'Connor born in Chicago, Illinois
1937
Toyota Motors Company formed
1960
Ballerina and actress, Emma Samms born in London, England
1963
Martin Luther King, Jr delivers his "I have a dream" speech from the Lincoln Memorial
1964
The Philadelphia race riot begins
1969
Golden Globe nominated actor and musician, Jack Black born in Hermosa Beach, California
388
Magnus Maximus, usurping Roman Emperor, executed by Theodosius
430
Death of St. Augustine of Hippo. The greatest of the Latin church fathers, his City of God was one of the pillars upon which the church of the Middle Ages was built.
865
Persian physician Rhazes, [Abu Bakr Mohammed ibn Zakarijja al-Razi] born
876
Death of King Louis the German
1378
The Ciompi march on the government of Florence, Italy
1413
St. Andrew's University, Scotland, chartered
1448
Francs-Archers, regular French infantry, created
1476
Japanese painter Motonoboe (Kano-school) born
1534
Founding of San Fransisco de Quito, Ecuador
1540
Death of Francesco Mazzola
1565
Pedro Menendez de Aviles arrives at Fort Caroline, which he re-names St. Augustine, Florida
1592
George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham born
1609
Henry Hudson discovered Delaware Bay.
1619
Election of Ferdinand II as Holy Roman Emperor
1630
Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts colony holds his first court session
1645
In Poland, King Vladislav IV convened the Conference of Thorn. Through it he sought to bring reunion among the 26 Catholic, 28 Lutheran and 24 Calvinist theologians in attendance. Discussions continued through November, but no satisfying theological fusion was achieved.
1648
Colchester surrenders to Fairfax
1654
Death of Count Axel Oxenstjerna of Sweden
1673
Composer Conrad Michael Schneider born
1700
Composer Carolomannus Pachschmidt born
1733
Pergolesi's comic opera "La serva padrona" ("The Maid Mistress") was premiered in Naples. Pergolesi staged a more serious opera the same night, and put the lighter work between the acts of the more somber work. Pergolesi's music would later inspire Stravinsky's "Pulcinella."
1749
German poet, novelist and dramatist, social philosopher Johann von Goethe (Faust) born
1749
German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt.
1774
Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint, was born in New York City.
1774
Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, 1st American Catholic saint (1975) born
1775
Composer Sophie Gail born
1794
Archbishop Johannes Zwijsen, (Utrecht Netherlands) born
1795
Belgian Bishop of Roermond Joannes A Paredis born
1801
French philosopher and mathematician, Antoine A Cournot (rule of Cournot) born
1811
Poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, eloped with Harriet Westbrook this day.
1826
Composer Walter Cecil Macfarren born
1827
Composer Teresa Milanollo born
1828
Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist and social reformer whose works emphasize Christian love and the teachings of Jesus. born
1829
Composer Albert Dietrich born
1830
The passenger-carrying, train locomotive, The Tom Thumb, was demonstrated for the first time at Baltimore, MD. It was the first locomotive of its kind built in America.
1831
Lucy Ware Webb Hayes, 1st lady (1877-81) born
1831
Composer Fredrick Vilhelm Ludvig Norman born
1833
Pre-Raphaelite painter and designer Edward Burne-Jones born
1840
Ira D. Sankey, Dwight Moody's song evangelist. During their revival crusades (from 1870), Sankey penned many hymn tunes; among the most enduring today are HIDING IN THEE ("O Safe to the Rock That is Higher Than I") and SANKEY ("Faith is the Victory"). born
1842
Flemish painter and graphic artist Willem Linnig jr. born
1850
Wagner's opera, Lohengrin, was performed for the first time.
1878
U.S. astrophysicist George Hoyt Whipple (Nobel prize winner 1934) born
1889
Actor Charles Boyer (Algiers, Fanny, Barefoot in the Park) born
1899
Actor Charles Boyer (Around the World in 80 Days, Barefoot in the Park, Casino Royale, The Mad Woman of Chaillot, Algiers) born
1903
Elizabeth Ann Seton born
1903
First U.S psychologist Bruno Bettelheim born
1905
Actor Sam Levene ( A Dream of Kings, Three Men on a Horse) born
1907
Two teens from Seattle, Jim Casey and Claude Ryan, start a local delivery service. They called it the American Messenger Company. Years later, the name was changed to United Parcel Service.
1916
Italy's declaration of war against Germany took effect during World War One.
1917
Ten suffragists were arrested as they picketed the White House.
1921
Actress Nancy Kulp (The Beverly Hillbillies, The Bob Cummings Show, The Brian Keith Show, The Three Faces of Eve) born
1922
The first-ever radio commercial aired on station WEAF in New York City (the ten-minute advertisement was for the Queensboro Realty Company, which had paid a fee of 100 dollars).
1924
Actress Peggy Ryan (Jenny-Hawaii Five-0) born
1925
Country singer Billy Grammer born
1925
Actor-dancer Donald O'Connor born
1930
Actor Ben Gazzara born
1940
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen born
1943
Actor David Soul born
1943
Baseball manager Lou Piniella born
1947
Actress Alice Playten born
1947
Legendary bullfighter Manolete was mortally wounded by a bull during a fight in Linares, Spain; he died the following day at age 30.
1951
Singer Wayne Osmond (The Osmonds) born
1953
Campus Crusade for Christ was incorporated in Los Angeles by founder Bill Bright. Today, CCC is an evangelical organization training Christian leaders in over 90 countries around the world.
1957
Actor Daniel Stern born
1958
Figure skater Scott Hamilton born
1959
Bohuslav Martinu died in Switzerland. He was 69 years old and suffering from stomach cancer. Martinu was a prolific Czech composer whose best music is very good. His Double Concerto is an interesting piece for piano and two string orchestras.
1960
Actress Emma Samms born
1963
200,000 people participated in a peaceful civil rights rally in Washington DC, where Dr. Martin Luther King Junior delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
1965
Country singer Shania Twain born
1968
The Democratic party nominated Hubert Humphrey for president as thousands of anti-Vietnam war demonstrators battled police in the streets and parks of Chicago.
1969
Actor Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills 90210, Sister Kate, Calendar Girl, Tombstone, The Boy Who Could Fly) born
1971
Olympic swimmer Janet Evans born
1973
More than 520 people died as an earthquake shook central Mexico.
1978
Rock singer-musician Max Collins (Eve 6) born
1981
John W. Hinckley Junior pleaded innocent to charges of attempting to kill President Reagan (he was later acquitted by reason of insanity).
1982
Country singer LeAnn Rimes born
1984
Actor Michael Galeota born
1984
Former Wall Street Journal reporter R. Foster Winans Jr. and two others were indicted in New York in an alleged stock fraud scheme based on insider trading. (Winans was later convicted of conspiracy and fraud and sentenced to 18 months in prison
1985
About 1,000 people gathered in Augusta, Maine, to attend a memorial service for Samantha Smith, the young peace advocate who had died with her father in a plane crash.
1986
Soviet spy Jerry Whitworth was sentenced in San Francisco to 365 years in prison and fined $410,000.
1987
Movie director John Huston died in Middletown, Rhode Island, at age 81.
1987
A fire damaged the Arcadia, Florida, home of Ricky, Robert and Randy Ray, three hemophiliac brothers infected with the AIDS virus whose court-ordered school attendance sparked a local uproar. (The Ray family moved to Sarasota.)
1988
Seventy people were killed when three Italian stunt planes collided during an air show at the US Air Base in Ramstein, West Germany, sending flaming debris into the crowd of spectators.
1988
More than 50 people were killed in the Philippines in an unsuccessful coup attempt against President Corazon Aquino.
1989
Jim Bakker's fraud and conspiracy trial opened in Charlotte, North Carolina, with opening arguments from the prosecution and defense.
1990
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, saying he sympathized with his foreign captives, pledged to free detained women and children.
1990
A fourth and fifth college student victims of an apparent serial killer were found near the University of Florida at Gainesville.
1990
Iraq declared Kuwait the 19th province of Iraq, renamed Kuwait City Kadhima and created a new district named after Saddam Hussein.
1990
Twenty seven people were killed and more than 350 injured when a tornado struck Will County, southwest of Chicago.
1991
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev ordered a shake-up of the KGB and had his cabinet sacked in the wake of the failed hard-liners' coup attempt.
1991
A New York subway operator was charged with manslaughter after his train derailed, killing 5 people and injuring 133.
1992
Veteran Representative Nicholas Mavroules, D-MA, pleaded innocent to federal charges of racketeering, tax evasion and accepting bribes.
1992
The US government mounted two huge relief operations, rushing food and drinking water to hurricane-ravaged Florida while US cargo planes landed in Somalia with tons of food for African famine victims.
1993
The Bosnian Parliament ordered President Alija Izetbegovic back to talks on ending 17 months of war with demands to squeeze out more territory for the Muslim-led government.
1994
A Drug Enforcement Administration plane crashed in a remote area of Peru's cocaine-producing jungle, killing five U.S. agents.
1995
Chase Manhattan and Chemical Bank announced a $10 billion deal creating the biggest bank in the nation.
1995
California Gov. Pete Wilson formally entered the GOP presidential race.
1995
A mortar shell tore through a crowded market in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, killing 38 people and triggering NATO airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs.
1996
Democrats nominated President Clinton for a second term at their national convention in Chicago.
1996
The troubled 15-year marriage of Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially ended with the issuing of a divorce decree.
1997
US troops became more deeply embroiled in a violent power struggle among Bosnian Serbs, firing tear gas and warning shots to fend off rock-hurling Serb mobs.
1997
After nearly a year of legal challenges, California's affirmative action ban, Proposition 209, became law.
1998
President Clinton, speaking in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, said he'd become such an expert in asking forgiveness in recent days that it was now "burned in my bones." But he still stopped short of offering a direct apology for the Monica Lewinsky affair.
1999
Three crewmen aboard the Mir space station returned safely to Earth after bidding farewell to the 13-year-old Russian orbiter. (The Russian government had planned to abandon Mir this year because of a shortage of funds, but has since extended its mission.)
2005
Service cutoff extended for unresponsive U.S. VoIP users
2005
First suicide attack since Israeli pullout occurs in Beersheba
2005
First encyclopedic dictionary of the Black Sea released
2005
Hawaii, US beats Curacao in Little League World Series Championship
2005
Mandatory evacuation declared in New Orleans, US
2005
Australian MPs demand Islamic headscarf ban in schools
2006
PlayStation 3 will be used to help cure cancer and Alzheimer's
2006
49 dead after Comair regional jet crashes in Kentucky
2006
Multiple bombs set off in Turkish resort
2006
Pakistan on high alert as violence spreads in Balochistan
2006
TV3 banned from New Zealand Parliament for three days
2006
Ministry of Defence names dead British soldier
2006
South Dakota killer wants to drop death sentence appeals
2006
Iraq; Another day of violence in Baghdad and the south
2006
Austrian teenager mourns captor's suicide
2006
Afghanistan: 17 killed, 47 injured in Afghan suicide attack on market
2006
Russian fire-fighting helicopter crashes in Antalya, Turkey
2006
Pentagon considers using non-nuke ICBMs for preemptive strikes against alleged "terrorists"
2006
Amnesty: "looming human rights crisis" in Darfur
2007
English Premier League 2007/08: Kieron Dyer suffers suspected broken leg
2007
Obesity rates rise across most of the U.S.
2007
Horse flu damage spreads
2007
Idaho senator arrested for disorderly conduct
2007
Glasgow factory firm lands fine of £400,000
2007
Australians enjoy second lunar eclipse for 2007
2007
Black boxes retrieved from lost Indonesian airliner after eight months
2007
Emergency inspections ordered on all Boeing 737s in aftermath of China Airlines explosion
2007
Families angered at £400,000 fine imposed on Stockline Plastics
2007
Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable cruise missile
2007
AllOfMP3.com to reopen soon
2007
Sweden suspends commercial flights to Iraq amid allegations of attempted shootdown
2007
Carling Cup: Match abandoned after player collapses
2007
UEFA Champions League 2007/08: Liverpool complete safe passage
2007
Law will delay University of Minnesota strike
2007
Sen. Larry Craig claims innocent of lewd conduct
2007
Greek opposition attacks government on wildfires tragedy
2007
UEFA Champions League 2007/08: Rangers through after tense draw
2007
Horse racing in NSW, Queensland cancelled indefinitely
2007
European football: Sevilla player dies after collapsing during game
2008
Pakistan's governing coalition breaks apart
2008
WWE wrestler John Cena undergoes neck surgery after injury
2008
Australian school at center of child-sex allegations pulls newsletter mentioning 'Penthouse' as recommended reading
2008
Phil Hill, first American to win the Formula One championship, dies at age 81
2008
UK house prices have fallen 10.5% this year, says Nationwide Building Society
2008
73M-year-old fossilized fish found in Canada
2009
Sheep sells for £231,000 at auction
2010
Air Berlin to code-share with American Airlines and Finnair by November
2010
Glenn Beck to hold controversial 'Restoring Honor' rally at Lincoln Memorial
2010
Oil-eating microbe found in the Gulf of Mexico
2011
Tropical Storm Irene passes over New York
2012
Preparedness for Paralympic Games differs between National Paralympic Committees
2012
IPC criticizes US Paralympic coverage
2012
International Paralympic Committee holds first press conference
2012
Maria Lourdes Sereno becomes the first female Philippine Chief Justice
2012
makes five Paralympic Games for Côte d'Ivoire
2013
UN observers in Syria fired upon as report alleges US warplanes readying attack

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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