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Today in History

LOTR...
Funeral of King Theoden
1492
Christopher Columbus sets sail from Spain. They were hoping to find a water passage to Cathay
1940
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Martin Sheen born Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez in Dayton, Ohio
1950
Actress Jo Mari Payton born in Albany, Georgia
1950
Film director John Landis born in Chicago, Illinois
1958
Nuclear submarine USS Nautilus crosses under arctic ice cap
1981
US air traffic controllers go on strike
1422
Death of Henry V, King of England
1460
James II, King of Scotland, killed at Roxburgh Castle
1480
Turks give up their unsuccessful Siege of Rhodes
1492
Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain with a convoy of three small ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, accompanied by fewer than 100 crewmen. They left Spain half an hour before sunrise to begin the search for a water passage to Cathay.
1530
Florence capitulates to the Imperial Army
1530
Defeat, and execution, of Francesco Ferrucci
1546
Etienne Dolet, printer, is hanged and burnt for blasphemy, sedition and heresy
1553
Mary Tudor, Queen of England, enters London
1554
Writing of the earliest letter known to have been closed with sealing wax, from London to the Rheingrave Philip Francis von Daun, in Germany by his agent in England, Gerrard Herman
1576
Construction begins on Uranibourg Observatory, Hveen Island, Denmark
1610
Henry Hudson enters Hudson's Bay
1746
English architect James Wyatt chiefly remembered for his Romantic country houses, especially the extraordinary Gothic Revival Fonthill Abbey. born
1770
Frederick William III king of Prussia from 1797 to his death in 1840. born
1778
The La Scala opera house in Milan opened. The first opera performed there ("Europe riconosciuta") was by Antonio Salieri.
1801
Sir Joseph Paxton English landscape gardener and designer of hothouses, who was the architect of the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. born
1808
Hamilton Fish U.S. secretary of state (1869-77) who skillfully promoted the peaceful arbitration of explosive situations with Great Britain and Latin America. born
1811
Elisha Graves Otis, inventor of the safe elevator. born
1821
Uriah Smith Stephens American utopian reformer who was instrumental in founding the Knights of Labor, the first national labour union in the United States. born
1884
The composer Louis Gruenberg was born.
1900
World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle (journalist Prize-winning reporter ; managing editor: Washington Daily News) born
1900
John T. Scopes (high school teacher Scopes Monkey Trial: convicted of teaching evolution in Tennessee school) born
1902
Martin Noth German biblical scholar who specialized in the early history of the Jewish people. born
1902
Ray Bloch (orchestra leader Sullivan Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Larry Storch Show) born
1905
Margaret E. Kuhn ("MAGGIE"), U.S. activist was the vivacious cofounder (1970) of the Gray Panthers. born
1905
Actress Dolores del Rio (Flying Down to Rio, Journey into Fear, Flaming Star, Accused) born
1914
Germany declared war on France. The following day, Britain declared war on Germany and World War I was underway.
1918
Musician Les Elgart (lead trumpet, bandleader Les and Larry Elgart) born
1920
Author P.D. James born
1921
Broadway composer Richard Adler born
1923
Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th president of the United States, following the death of Warren G. Harding.
1924
Singer Gordon Stoker (The Jordanaires) born
1924
Author Leon Uris (Exodus, Mitla Pass; screenplay at the O.K. Corral) born
1925
Rev. Billy Sol Hargis (evangelist) born
1926
Singer Tony Bennett born
1927
Actor Gordon Scott (Werschkul) (Gladiator of Rome, Tarzan and the Trappers, Sampson and the 7 Miracles of the World) born
1931
Actor Alex Cord born
1933
The world-famous Mickey Mouse Watch was introduced on this day. The timepiece sold for $2.75. A Mickey Mouse Clock sold for $1.50. Today, new models sell for $25 or more and the original watches and clocks are worth hundreds of dollars.
1936
The State Department urged Americans in Spain to leave because of that country's civil war.
1940
Actor Martin Sheen born
1941
Lifestyle expert Martha Stewart born
1941
Singer Beverly Lee (The Shirelles -I Met Him on a Sunday, Dedicated to the One I Love, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Mama Said, Soldier Boy) born
1943
General George S. Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. (Patton was later ordered by General Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second, similar episode.)
1948
Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist, publicly accused former State Department official Alger Hiss of having been part of a Communist underground, a charge Hiss denied.
1949
The National Basketball Association was formed.
1950
Waldemar Cierpinski East German runner, the second marathon runner (after Abebe Bikila) to win two Olympic gold medals. born
1950
Movie director John Landis (Thriller video, Twilight Zone The Movie, Beverly Hills Cop 3, The Blues Brothers, Coming to America, National Lampoon's Animal House, Oscar, Three Amigos,Trading Places) born
1950
Actress JoMarie Payton born
1952
Actor Jay North, television's "Dennis the Menace" born
1957
Pablo Casals got married to Martita Montanez in Puerto Rico. Casals was 80; his bride, 20. Casals once compared a cello to "a beautiful woman who grown not older but younger with time, more slender, more supple, more graceful...."
1958
The nuclear-powered submarine "Nautilus" became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater.
1959
Comedienne/actress Victoria Jackson (Saturday Night Live, The Pick-Up Artist, Family Business) born
1959
Actor John C. McGinley born
1963
Rock singer James Hetfield (Metallica) born
1963
Rock singer-musician Ed Roland (Collective Soul) born
1963
The Beatles made their final appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England on this day. The group was about to leave its hometown behind for unprecedented world-wide fame and fortune.
1963
The Beach Boys' song, Surfer Girl, was released on Capitol Records this day. It became one of their biggest hits. Surfer Girl made it to number seven on the hit music charts (9/14/63).
1963
Hello Fadduh! (A Letter from Camp) was released this day on Warner Brothers Records. It went to number two on the pop charts (8/24/63).
1963
The college football all-stars defeated the Green Bay Packers by a 20-17 score. It was a major upset since the college upstarts had been the heavy (50-1) underdogs.
1966
Country musician Dean Sams (Lonestar) born
1966
Comedian Lenny Bruce died of a morphine overdose on this day.
1970
Actress Brigid Conley Walsh. born
1971
Hip-hop artist Spin (Salt-N-Pepa) born
1981
US air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from President Reagan they would be fired.
1982
Singer Holly Arnstein (Dream) born
1983
Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn resigned after 14 years on the job. Initially, he had been asked to take the job for six months or so.
1984
At the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, Mary Lou Retton won the gold medal in the individual all-around event in women's gymnastics by scoring a perfect 10 on the vault in her final routine.
1985
In South Africa, thousands of chanting mourners, defying a government decree banning mass funerals, buried 11 victims of rioting in the eastern Cape township of Zwide.
1986
In Lebanon, a statement purportedly from Islamic Jihad threatened the lives of American hostages saying they would be killed unless the group's demands were met.
1987
The Iran-Contra congressional hearings ended, with none of the 29 witnesses tying President Reagan directly to the diversion of arms-sales profits to Nicaraguan rebels.
1988
The Soviet Union released Mathias Rust, the young West German pilot who had landed a light plane in Moscow's Red Square in May 1987.
1989
Hashemi Rafsanjani was sworn in as president of Iran.
1989
Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon suspended their threat to execute another American hostage, three days after the purported hanging of Lt. Col. William R. Higgins.
1990
The prime ministers of East and West Germany agreed to move up unification to early fall and rescheduled all-German elections from December 2 to October 14.
1990
A day after Iraq invaded Kuwait, thousands of Iraqi soldiers pushed to within a few miles of the border with Saudi Arabia, heightening world concerns that the invasion could spread.
1991
Secretary of State James A. Baker III met with King Hassan II of Morocco. Baker asked the monarch for his help in gaining Palestinian participation in a Middle East peace conference.
1991
Japanese Finance Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto publicly apologized, but refused to resign, for involvement in loans worth $10 million to three friends.
1992
The U.S. Senate voted to sharply restrict, and eventually end, U.S. testing of nuclear weapons.
1992
Millions of South African blacks joined a nationwide strike against white-led rule.
1992
Russia and Ukraine agreed to put the disputed Black Sea Fleet under joint command for three years.
1993
A U.S. federal court ruled that John Demjanjuk, whose conviction on charges he was death camp guard "Ivan the Terrible" was overturned earlier by the Israeli Supreme Court, should be allowed to return to the U.S..
1993
The body of basketball star Michael Jordan's father, James Jordan, was found in a South Carolina creek, eleven days after he was slain; his remains weren't identified until August 13th.
1993
The Senate voted 96-to-3 to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
1994
Arkansas carried out the nation's first triple execution in 32 years.
1994
President Clinton told a prime-time news conference he would sign either of two Democratic health plans before Congress.
1994
Stephen G. Breyer was sworn in as the Supreme Court's newest justice in a private ceremony at Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's Vermont summer home.
1995
A Palestinian, Eyad Ismoil, was flown to the United States from Jordan to face charges he'd driven a bomb-laden van into New York's World Trade Center. (The 1993 explosion killed six people and injured more than 1,000.)
1996
At the Atlanta Olympics, the US men's 400-meter relay, without Carl Lewis, failed to win the gold medal, finishing behind Canada. The American women's 400 and 16-hundred relays, and the men's 16-hundred, all won gold. The US men's basketball "Dream Team" beat Yugoslavia, 95-to-69, to win the gold.
1997
Iran's new president, moderate Muslim cleric Mohammad Khatami, took office with a message of peace to the world but said his country opposes the "high-handedness of certain big countries," a reference to the United States.
1998
The White House played down the possibility that President Clinton would reverse previous statements and admit to a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky when he testified before a grand jury.
1999
Congressional Republicans, shrugging off a presidential veto threat, nailed down the details of an agreement for a ten-year, $792 billion tax cut.
1999
Arbitrators ruled the government had to pay the heirs of Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder $16 million for his movie film that captured the assassination of President Kennedy.
1999
The first issue of Talk magazine hit newsstands.
2000
George W. Bush accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the party's convention in Philadelphia, presenting himself as an outsider who would return "civility and respect" to Washington politics.
2005
Spiders' egg case silk gene found
2005
Two-story building in Lynn, Massachusetts catches fire
2005
German Adidas buys American Reebok
2005
Albanian girl murdered in tangle of crime
2005
Brain dead woman gives birth
2005
Man charged over London bombings
2005
The San Diego Zoo gets a new baby giant panda
2005
Canada's new governor general announced
2005
Speeding ticket paid with 12,000 pennies
2005
Prominent Iranian judge assassinated
2005
New 'Mighty Mouse' from Apple debuts
2005
United States Homeland Security network monitors suspicious activity
2005
Ceremony takes place for decommissioned Royal Navy flagship
2005
Freman Hendrix eclipses Kwame Kilpatrick in Detroit mayoral race
2005
Football CL: Second qualifying round final results
2006
Ordinance in Chicago requiring "big box" stores to pay higher wages passes
2006
New Zealand policeman charged with drunk driving
2006
FDA to move on approval of over-the-counter sale of "Plan B" birth control
2006
Capitol Hill fries and toast French again
2006
Hezbollah leader both threatens Tel Aviv and offers ceasefire
2006
"No H5N1 virus" found in blood tests of suspected human Bird Flu cluster
2006
Fears raised of Iraq Civil War
2006
Citywide strike being discussed in Buffalo, N.Y.
2007
Community of Christ sues over RLDS church name
2007
Australian state of Victoria swears in new cabinet
2007
US stock markets fall amid credit fears
2008
Wisconsin gunman named, could be charged in two states
2008
Falcon 1 rocket fails during third launch attempt
2008
Fifteen killed in Somalia bombing
2008
Taipei Computer Applications Show launched in Taipei World Trade Center
2008
British man dies five days after wife in honeymoon shooting
2008
Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn dies aged 89
2008
UN renews Darfur peacekeeping mission
2008
At least seven mountaineers die while climbing K2
2009
Israel evicts two Palestinian families from their homes
2009
One shop defies court order, one shop returns to work in Dublin Thomas Cook occupation
2009
Dublin travel agents occupy offices against closure
2009
Plane carrying sixteen people vanishes over Papua, Indonesia
2009
Nigerian victory marred by deaths in custody
2009
England remembers Bobby Robson
2010
Illinois jurors begin fifth day of deliberations in Blagojevich corruption trial
2010
Northern lights may appear across Canada and northern U.S. late Tuesday night
2010
Emergency spacewalks planned to fix International Space Station
2010
Waters on trial for House ethics charges
2010
FBI asks Wikimedia Foundation to remove seal from websites, Wikimedia declines
2010
Suicide bomber kills five Afghan children
2012
Cyclist Sean Finning last competitor named to Australia's Paralympic team
2013
Sunshine Coast Rugby Union round 19: Fraser Coast score three tries in twenty minutes in loss to University

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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