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Today in History

1850
Novelist and short story author, Guy de Maupassant born in Ch√Ęteau de Miromesnil, Normandy
1858
First transatlantic telegraph cable completed
1906
Academy Award winning screenwriter, director, and actor, John Huston born in Nevada, Missouri
1930
First human to walk on the moon, test pilot, university professor and astronaut, Neil Armstrong born in Wapakoneta, Ohio
1946
Actress Loni Anderson born in Saint Paul, Minnesota
1962
Marilyn Monroe found dead
1981
President Reagan fires 11,359 air-traffic controllers
1983
Divestiture of AT&T
642
Death of St. Oswald, King of Northumbria, by the hand of Penda, King of Mercia
882
Death of Louis III, King of France
1192
Jaffa cavalry, defeated by Richard I, with 2000 infantry, 54 knights, and 15 horses
1305
Clement V elected Pope
1370
The Brigittine Order was approved by Pope Urban V
1391
Castilian sailors set fire to Barcelona's Jewish ghetto, killing 100
1503
Pope Alexander IV dines with Caesare Borgia and Cardinal Adriano Castellesi
1540
Joseph Scaliger, who proposed the Julian Day system of dating born
1583
First English settlement in the New World founded at St. John's Newfoundland
1604
John Eliot, "Apostle to the Indians," Bible translator born
1620
"Mayflower" and "Speedwell" sail from England
1633
George Abbot the Archbishop of Canterburry died at age 71.
1833
Chicago was incorporated as a village with a population of about 200.
1850
French novelist Guy de Maupassant (The Tellier House, Yvette, Toine, The Horla, The Diamond Necklace, The Umbrella, The Piece of String, A Woman's Life, Bel-Ami, Peter and John) born
1861
President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the first federal income tax three percent. (3% of incomes over $800). It was rescinded in 1872.
1864
During the Civil War, Union Admiral David G. Farragut is said to have given his famous order, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" as he led his fleet against Mobile Bay, Alabama.
1868
Henry H. Tweedy, congregational clergyman and theologian. He was professor of practical theology at Yale (1909-1937) and author of the hymn "Eternal God, whose power upholds" born
1884
The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor.
1889
Poet and critic Conrad Aiken (Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Selected Poems ) born
1900
Gustav Mahler completed his Fourth Symphony. Alma Mahler wrote that Mahler was "profoundly depressed" because composing the symphony had given his life meaning. Furthermore, she said he was always sad when he finished a symphony.
1906
Film director John Huston (Academy Award-winning director Treasure of Sierra Madre ; The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Prizzi's Honor) born
1911
Actor Robert Taylor (Spangler Brugh) (Magnificent Obsession, Quo Vadis, Billy the Kid, Bataan, Knights of the Round Table, The Night Walker, Death Valley Days) born
1914
The first electric traffic lights were installed, in Cleveland, Ohio. Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street in Cleveland, Ohio became the first intersection in the country to be equipped with an electric traffic light. The lighting ceremony occurred on this day.
1920
Leon Theremin gave the first public display of an electronic musical instrument at the Moscow Polytechnic Institute. He called it a Thereminovox but others came simply to call it the Theremin.
1921
The "New York World" published the first Pulitzer Prize cartoon ever awarded. "On The Road To Moscow," by Rollin Kirby, was the recipient of the prestigious journalism honor.
1921
KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh, PA did the first play-by-play broadcast of a baseball game. Harold Arlin described the action as the Pirates beat Philadelphia 8-5.
1923
Henry Sullivan became the first American to swim across the English Channel.
1924
The comic strip "Little Orphan Annie," by Harold Gray, made its debut.
1930
Former astronaut Neil A. Armstrong born
1934
Country singer Vern Gosdin born
1934
Actress Cammie King ("Gone with the Wind") born
1935
Actor John Saxon born
1935
Actor Zakes Mokae ("Outbreak") born
1936
Jesse Owens won his third gold medal by running a 200-meter race in 20.7 seconds at the Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany.
1940
Country songwriter Bobby Braddock born
1943
Country singer Sammi Smith (Help Me Make It Through the Night, So Long Charlie Brown, What a Lie, You Just Hurt My Last Feeling) born
1946
Actress Erika Slezak born
1946
Actress Loni Anderson born
1947
Rock singer Rick Derringer born
1950
Actress Holly Palance born
1953
Singer Samantha Sang born
1954
The Boxing Hall of Fame inducted the first boxers. Among those first inducted were: John L. Sullivan, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Gentleman Jim Corbett, Joe Louis, and Henry Armstrong.
1956
Actress-singer Maureen McCormick born
1957
"American Bandstand," hosted by Dick Clark, made its network debut on ABC.
1959
Rock musician Pat Smear (Foo Fighters) born
1961
Actress Tawney Kitaen born
1961
Country musician Mark O'Connor born
1962
Actress Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Mortenson), 36, was found dead in her Los Angeles home; her death was ruled a "probable suicide" from an overdose of sleeping pills.
1963
The United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union signed a treaty outlawing nuclear tests in the Earth's atmosphere, in space or under the sea.
1964
Rapper MCA (The Beastie Boys) born
1966
Actor Jonathan Silverman born
1968
Country singer Terri Clark born
1969
The US space probe "Mariner Seven" flew by Mars, sending back photographs and scientific data.
1970
Actress Josie Bissett (Melrose Place, The Hogan Family, Mikey, All-American Murder, Book of Love) born
1974
President Nixon admitted ordering the Watergate investigation halted six days after the break-in. Nixon said he expected to be impeached.
1974
The comic strip "Tank McNamara" premiered in 75 newspapers. Jeff Miller and Bill Hinds created the 6-foot, 4-inch, 225-pound former defensive tackle of the "State University Sand Crabs.""
1975
Singer Stevie Wonder signed the recording industry's largest contract (to that date) -- $13 million over a seven-year period.
1981
The federal government began firing air traffic controllers who had gone out on strike.
1984
Actor Richard Burton died at a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, at the age of 58.
1984
Joan Benoit won the first women's Olympic marathon this day at the Summer Games, held in Los Angeles
1986
Actor Brendon Ryan Barrett ("Soul Man") born
1986
It was revealed that artist Andrew Wyeth had, over a 15-year period, secretly created 240 drawings and paintings of a woman named Helga Testorf, a neighbor in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
1987
President Reagan announced his administration had reached a "general agreement" with leaders of Congress on a new Central America peace plan. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega offered to discuss the US proposal.
1988
Treasury Secretary James A. Baker the Third announced he was resigning to take over the presidential election campaign of Vice President George Bush. Nicholas F. Brady was nominated to take Baker's place at Treasury.
1989
Five Central American presidents began meeting in Honduras to discuss a timetable for dismantling Nicaraguan Contra bases.
1989
The world's largest hamburger was served. It was cooked and served at the Outagamie County Fair in Seymour, Wisconsin. The burger weighed 5,520 pounds and was 21 feet in diameter.
1990
An angry President Bush again denounced the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, telling reporters, "This will not stand. This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.""
1990
The United States sent a Marine company into Monrovia, Liberia's capital, to evacuate U.S. citizens because of a rebel threat to arrest Americans in order to provoke foreign intervention in the country's civil war.
1990
The world's tallest cake was completed. The cake was baked and served at the Shiawassee County Fair in Corunna, Michigan. The cake was 101 feet tall.
1991
Democratic congressional leaders formally launched an investigation into whether the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign had secretly conspired with Iran to delay release of American hostages until after the presidential election.
1991
Iraq admitted it misled U.N. inspectors about secret biological weapons and also admitted to extracting plutonium from fuel at a nuclear plant.
1992
Federal civil rights charges were filed against four Los Angeles police officers acquitted of California state charges in the videotaped beating of Rodney King; two were later convicted.
1992
Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger called for a war crimes investigation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1993
Japan's Cabinet resigned, paving the way for the end of 38 years of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party.
1993
The US House of Representatives passed President Clinton's budget plan by a close vote of 218-to-216.
1994
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington chose Kenneth W. Starr to take over the Whitewater investigation from Robert Fiske.
1994
Angered by riots, Cuban President Fidel Castro threatened to let Cubans leave without restriction for the first time since the 1980 Mariel refugee exodus.
1995
Secretary of State Warren Christopher arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, to ''build a bridge of cooperation.'' (Christopher was the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Vietnam since the war and the first ever to go to Hanoi.)
1996
A bold bid to capture a skeptical public's attention, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole proposed a $548 billion tax cut.
1996
A jury in San Jose, California, recommended the death penalty for Richard Allen Davis, convicted of kidnapping and murdering 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma.
1997
President Clinton signed the budget-balancing and tax-cutting bills into law, calling the legislation "a true milestone for our nation."
1997
A two-man Russian crew blasted off for the Mir in a smooth launch that was upstaged by another breakdown aboard the aging space station, this time involving the oxygen generators.
1998
Marie Noe of Philadelphia was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, accused of smothering eight of her children to death between 1949 and 1968. (Noe later received 20 years' probation.)
1998
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein broke off cooperation with UN weapons inspectors and demanded the commission monitoring the weapons be reorganized.
1999
Richard Holbrooke won Senate confirmation as UN ambassador after a grueling 14-month battle.
1999
Republicans overcame solid Democratic opposition to narrowly win passage of a ten-year, $792 billion tax cut, first in the House, then in the Senate; President Clinton denounced the bill and promised a veto.
1999
Mark McGwire became the 16th member of the 500-home run club, hitting two homers -- numbers 500 and 501 -- in the St. Louis Cardinals' loss to San Diego.
2000
Actor Sir Alec Guinness died at a southern England hospital at age 86.
2000
President Clinton vetoed a Republican-sponsored tax cut for married couples, describing it as "the first installment of a fiscally reckless tax strategy."
2005
UN reports 'grim picture' of human rights in Burundi
2005
Baugur Group among others buy Illum Warehouse Denmark
2005
British Airways to fly to Iceland
2005
Stranded Russian minisub is trapped by 60 tonne anchor
2005
Four Israeli Arabs killed by Army deserter
2005
An angered Robert Novak exited set of CNN ''Inside Politics'' show
2005
U.S. to transfer some Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan
2005
Laboratory fire forces evacuation of Australian National University
2006
Flooding kills dozens in North Korea, leaves thousands more homeless
2006
Ugandan rebels agree to a ceasefire
2006
Australia cause South Africa heartbreak in Tri Nations rugby
2006
Swedish nuclear reactors shut down over safety concerns
2006
Israel detains Speaker of Palestinian parliament
2006
Mideast stance hurts Canada's PM Harper
2006
Apollo Moon landings tapes reported missing
2007
Mersey hospital takeover by the Australian government
2007
Thief force-fed fifty bananas to retrieve necklace
2007
Barry Bonds ties Hank Aaron's home run record
2007
Civil Rights lawyer Oliver Hill dies
2008
Tropical Storm Edouard moves on land along Texas coast
2008
Vitamin C can help prevent cancer say the National Institutes of Health
2008
South Korean scientists claim they have cloned pet dog
2008
United States charges eleven in credit card fraud case
2008
British schools to inform parents of overweight children
2008
NASA denies rumors of finding life on Mars
2008
American comedian Bernie Mac has pneumonia
2008
Microsoft study proves six degrees of separation
2008
John Gotti Jr. arrested on murder charges
2009
Canadian theatre producers sentenced for fraud
2009
British constable may be prosecuted for manslaughter
2009
Stage collapse at Canadian "Big Valley Jamboree" kills one, and seriously injures four others
2009
Brazilian environmentalists tell residents to urinate in shower to save water
2009
Four dead, at least 15 injured after gunman opens fire at fitness center in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania
2009
South Korean police battle striking workers
2010
Halifax bank: UK house prices rose 0.6% during July
2010
Three children die in Edinburgh house fire
2010
Naomi Campbell testifies against former Liberian president
2010
Two die in school bus accident in Missouri, several others injured
2010
Nigel Lythgoe to return as executive producer of 'American Idol'
2010
Black Eyed Peas to release new album, 'I Gotta Feeling' reaches six million downloads
2010
21 sites added to Unesco World Heritage list
2010
Mass panic as Zimbabwean officials fake air crash
2010
Magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea
2010
RAF UFO encounters may have been covered up by Churchill and Eisenhower
2010
Google to discontinue social networking application Google Wave
2010
Italian senate rejects no-confidence vote against minister
2011
Air France, pilots union, victims group criticise transatlantic disaster probe
2012
On the campaign trail, July 2012

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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