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Today in History

1797
Author of Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley born in London, England
1835
Melbourne, Australia is founded
1842
75 cents a pound tariff set on opium
1893
Governor and Senator, Huey Pierce Long born in Winnfield, Louisiana
1908
Saxophone player and actor, Fred MacMurray born in Kankakee, Illinois
1930
Investor, businessman, and philanthropist, Warren Buffet born in Omaha, Nebraska
1939
Tony Award winning actress Elizabeth Ashley born in Ocala, Florida
1946
Star of Mod Squad, actress Peggy Lipton born in New York City
1956
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway opens
1960
Japan Stationery Co. sells first felt-tipped pen
1963
Washington-to-Moscow hot line connected
1966
Actress Michael Michele born in Evansville, Indiana
1972
Actress Cameron Diaz born in San Diego, California
1994
Civil rights activist Rosa Parks mugged in Detroit
410
Death of St. Pammachius
526
Death of Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths
580
Arabic prophet Mohammed founder (Islam) born
670
Death of St. Fiacre of Ireland
1125
Duke Lotharius of Supplinburg elected king of Germany
1146
European leaders outlaw crossbow intending to end war for all time
1181
Death of Pope Alexander III
1334
Pedro, the Cruel, King of Castilia & Leon born
1462
Election of Paul II as Pope
1464
Pietro Barbo elected to succeed Pope Pius II (Paul II)
1481
2 Latvian monarchs executed for conspiracy to Polish king Kazimierz IV
1483
Death of Louis XI, King of France
1540
Death of Guillaume Bude
1563
Jewish community of Neutitschlin Moravia expelled
1609
Flemish sculptor Artus I Quellinus "the Old" born
1617
Canonization of St. Rosa de Lima (Peru), first American Saint
1632
The creator of "Frankenstein," Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. born
1637
Unauthorized Puritan preacher was Anne Hutchinson tried in Massachusetts and banished.
1637
1st Congregational Church synod held, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1645
Treaty of peace between Dutch & Indians.
1682
William Penn sailed from England on this day. He later established the colony of Pennsylvania
1687
Composer Francesco Maria Vallara born
1693
Dutch composer and organist Jacobus Nozeman born
1748
Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David(Death of Marat) born
1767
Composer Christian Frederich Gottlieb Schwencke born
1820
George F. Root, American sacred music editor and composer. Root helped edit 75 musical collections, as well as composing several hundred original sacred melodies. One of these, JEWELS, is the tune to which is commonly sung the hymn, "When He Cometh." born
1835
Felix Mendelssohn took his post as music director of Leipzig. He was then 26. It was in Leipzig that the composer produced his Second Piano Concerto and started work on the Violin Concerto.
1856
Wilberforce University was established in Xenia, Ohio under auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1863, the university was transferred to the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
1862
The Union Army commanded by Maj. Gen. John Pope was defeated by Confederate troops in the second Battle of Bull Run.
1870
Educator Maria Montessori. born
1896
Character actor Raymond Massey was born in London, England. (The President's Plane is Missing, McKenna's Gold, How the West was Won. The Great Impostor, Battle Cry, The Naked and the Dead, East of Eden, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Dr.Kildare) born
1901
Civil rights leader Roy Wilkins (Executive Director of NAACP) born
1901
Journalist-author John Gunther born
1905
Ty Cobb appeared in his first major-league baseball game. He played for the Detroit Tigers.
1907
Actress Shirley Booth (Thelma Booth Ford) (Come Back Little Sheba, Hot Spell, The Matchmaker; Emmy Award-winner : Hazel; A Touch of Grace) born
1908
Actor Fred MacMurray My Three Sons, The Caine Mutiny, Egg and I, Above Suspicion, The Apartment, The Happiest Millionaire, The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber,The Miracle of the Bells) born
1912
Actress Joan Blondell (The Baron, The Champ, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Public Enemy) born
1918
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams born
1919
Country singer Kitty Wells born
1922
Opera singer Regina Resnik born
1922
The New Orleans Rhythm Kings recorded "Tiger Rag", one of the most familiar ragtime jazz tunes ever. It was released on General Records.
1928
Actor Bill Daily born
1935
Singer John Phillips born
1939
Actress Elizabeth Ashley born
1941
Actor Ben Jones ("The Dukes of Hazzard") born
1941
The World War Two siege of Leningrad began as Nazi forces took Mga. It was the start of a 900-day siege of Leningrad. When it ended, the Russian city lay in ruins and hundreds of thousands of people had died.
1943
Cartoonist Robert Crumb born
1943
Skier Jean-Claude Killy born
1945
General Douglas MacArthur arrived in Japan, and set up Allied occupation headquarters.
1947
Actress Peggy Lipton born
1951
Actor Timothy Bottoms born
1954
Actor David Paymer born
1963
The "Hot Line" communications link between Washington and Moscow went into operation.
1963
Actor Michael Chiklis ("The Commish") born
1965
After 40 years in baseball, Casey Stengel announced his retirement.
1966
Actress Michael Michele born
1967
The US Senate confirmed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the first black justice on the US Supreme Court.
1971
Country singer Sherrie Austin born
1972
Actress Cameron Diaz born
1973
TV personality Lisa Ling ("The View") born
1979
Hurricane "David" devastated the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica as it began a rampage through the Caribbean and up the eastern US seaboard that claimed some 1,100 lives.
1980
Rock singer-musician Aaron Barrett (Reel Big Fish) born
1982
PLO leader Yasir Arafat bid an emotional farewell to Beirut and left for Greece. Carrying a large olive branch, Arafat began his last day in Beirut with a farewell courtesy call on the headquarters of the People's Socialist Party.
1983
Guion S. Bluford Junior became the first black American astronaut to travel in space, blasting off aboard the "Challenger."
1984
President Ronald Reagan, along with Red Barber, Bill Stern, Graham McNamee, Don Dunphy and Ted Husing were inducted into the Sportscasters Hall of Fame, in ceremonies at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
1984
Following 3 postponements over 2 months, the space shuttle Discovery finally blasted off on its maiden voyage, deploying the first of 3 communications satellites from its cargo bay after several hours in orbit.
1985
Residents of Florida and Louisiana continued to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Elena, which was packing winds of 100 mph as it approached the Gulf Coast.
1986
Soviet authorities arrested Nicholas Daniloff, the Moscow correspondent for "US News and World Report," after he was handed a package by a Russian acquaintance. (He was later released.)
1986
Franco Zefferelli's movie, "Otello," a presentation of Verdi's opera, was itself first presented at the Vienna Opera.
1987
A redesigned.space shuttle booster, created in the wake of the "Challenger" disaster, roared into life in its first full-scale test-firing near Brigham City, Utah.
1987
Actor Cameron Finley born
1988
Top aides to Republican presidential nominee George Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis met in Washington without reaching agreement on a schedule for debates in the fall.
1989
A federal jury in New York found so-called hotel queen Leona Helmsley guilty of income tax evasion. Helmsley served her sentence at a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, and was released in January 1994.
1990
U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar arrived in Jordan to try to mediate the Persian Gulf crisis. President Bush told a news conference that a "new world order" could emerge from the Gulf crisis.
1991
Azerbaijan declared its independence, joining the stampede of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.
1992
The television series "Northern Exposure" won six Emmy Awards, including best drama series, while "Murphy Brown" received three Emmys, including best comedy series, in a ceremony marked by satirical jabs directed at Vice President Dan Quayle.
1992
15 or more people were killed and 31 wounded when an artillery shell exploded in a crowded Sarajevo market.
1993
Israel's Cabinet approved a framework for Palestinian autonomy in the occupied territories.
1993
Robert Malval was installed as prime minister of Haiti during a ceremony at the Haitian Embassy in Washington.
1993
"The Late Show with David Letterman" premiered on CBS TV.
1994
Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus in 1955 helped touch off the civil rights movement, was robbed and beaten in her Detroit apartment by Joseph Skipper.(Joseph Skipper later pleaded guilty to assault and robbery and was sentenced to prison.)
1994
The Lockheed and Martin Marietta corporations agreed to a merger that would create the largest U.S. defense contractor.
1995
At a lavish opening ceremony in Beijing, organizers of the largest women's conference ever vowed to fight to fight for empowerment and equality.
1995
The West pounded the Bosnian Serbs with artillery and air attacks in hopes of bludgeoning them into serious peace talks.
1996
A commercial expedition to raise part of the sunken British luxury liner "Titanic" ended in failure. Nylon lines being used to lift a 21-ton section of the hull snapped, sending the section back to the bottom of the North Atlantic.
1996
President Clinton and Vice President Gore, following their renominations at the just-concluded Democratic national convention in Chicago, set out with their wives on a bus caravan through America's heartland.
1997
Philip Noel Johnson, an armored car driver believed to have stolen $22 million, was arrested at the Texas border. Johnson later pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping, money laundering and interfering with interstate commerce.
1997
Americans (and others in the Western Hemisphere) learned of the deaths of Princess Diana, her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, in a car crash in a Paris traffic tunnel. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived. (Because of the time difference, it was the morning of August 31st in Paris when Diana was pronounced dead.)
1998
The largest union of U S West, the regional telphone service, ended a 15-day strike with a tentative agreement on a three-year contract.
1999
Residents of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a U.N.-sponsored ballot. (Afterward, pro-Indonesia militiamen reacted by going on a violent rampage that ended when international forces were sent in.)
2005
Suspects apprehended after car chase through Denver, US
2005
Sydney prepares for Forbes Conference and 30A protest
2005
At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
2005
Green Day dominates at MTV's Video Music Awards
2005
Louisiana locked down; New Orleans could become a "toxic soup"
2005
Protests over UK preparations to deport Kurd Iraqi asylum seekers
2006
U.S. calls for sanctions against Iran
2006
Canada's Defence Minister visits Canadian troops in Afghanistan
2006
Audience in Ireland watches circus acrobat fall to his death
2006
New Zealand police to trial tasers from Friday
2006
Thailand may create new province to honour King
2006
Rebel leader, 56 inmates escape from East Timorese jail
2006
27 die from pipeline explosion in Diwaniya, Iraq
2006
Canadian Prime Minister Harper plays small role in television show Corner Gas
2006
Tropical Storm Ernesto weakens
2006
Iraqi activist forced to change t-shirt with Arabic peace slogan
2006
Canadian Idol top four eliminations
2006
Jimmy Carter blasts Blair for "subservience" to Bush
2007
Three-year-old girl found unharmed at site of fatal shooting
2007
Two new cases of West Nile Virus reported in Indiana
2007
Horse flu infects Australian thoroughbreds
2007
Silent protest in Athens over recent fires
2007
'Mega Millions' lottery nears record high in US
2007
Canadian court clears Stephen Truscott of 1959 murder
2007
Immigration raid at Ohio poultry plant
2007
Iraqi peace talks to begin in Finland within days
2007
UEFA Champions League 2007/08: Group Stage Draw
2007
NHL: Vancouver Canucks showcase new uniform
2007
New species of dart frog discovered in Colombia
2007
Cricket: England defeats India in fourth one-day international
2007
Australian short-term inmates have their right to vote reinstated
2007
Nokia Inc. announces plans for iPhone rival
2007
YouTube access returns to Thailand
2007
Four Boeing 737's found with similar fault to China Airlines plane; inspection deadline shortened
2007
Suspected poisonous gas found in New York
2007
Peace activists propose 'Fast for Freedom'
2007
FIFA U17 World Cup: Germany eliminates Americans; sets up England quarter final
2008
South Ossetia says it will join North Ossetia-Alania as a federal subject of Russia
2008
Memorial for toddler who died under care of controversial '1 Mind Ministries' group
2008
Former head of comedy for the BBC, Geoffrey Perkins dies in a road accident age 55
2008
Barack Obama accepts US presidential nomination from the Democratic Party
2008
Hurricane Gustav batters Caribbean, threatens US Gulf Coast
2009
Girl found dead in truck in Northamptonshire, England
2009
Dalai Lama begins trip to Taiwan
2009
Yukio Hatoyama named as Japan's new Prime Minister
2009
Bodies found in trailer park in Brunswick, Georgia, US
2009
British TV and radio presenter Simon Dee dies at age 74
2010
Tobacco attracts predators with chemicals in response to caterpillars, a study finds
2010
Support for an Australian republic slips
2010
FIBA World Championship starts
2010
Young motorcycle racer Peter Lenz dies in race crash aged 13
2010
Teachers at Australian school shocked at no warning over redundancies, can apply before 'externals'
2010
Australian rules football: Gippsland Football League finals week one
2010
Six U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan over two days
2010
Didier Drogba withdraws from Cote D’Ivoire national football team
2011
South African police probe 'racist' image on Facebook
2012
South Korean men's national goalball team defeats Algeria 4-3
2012
Australia wins its first medal of the Paralympics with shooting bronze
2012
Australian shooters start their Paralympic campaign
2012
Egyptian President Morsi makes state visit to China
2012
Micronesia left behind by the Paralympic movement
2012
Kate Lundy watches Australian women qualify for the women's R2-10m air rifle final
2013
UK House of Commons vote against Syria intervention
2013
UK beer, soft drinks delivery drivers vote to strike

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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