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Today in History

1942
Author, singer and raconteur, Garrison Keillor born in Anoka, Minnesota
1944
IBM unveils first program-controlled calculator, the Harvard Mark I
1955
Actor Wayne Knight born in Cartersville, Georgia
1975
Academy Award winning actress, Charlize Theron born in Benoni, South Africa
1976
Viking 2 enters Mars orbit
1988
Rioting in New York's Tompkins Square Park when police attempt to force out homeless
461
Execution of Majorian, Roman Emperor
768
Stephen III was named pope. He served until 772.
1106
Death of Henry IV, King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor
1316
John XXII, born Jacques d'Euse, was elected pope. He served until 1334. He put the papal finances on a sound basis and strengthed the hierarchy.
1391
A mob frees the arrested ringleaders of Barcelona's ghetto fire
1495
Diet of Worms abolishes private warfare in Holy Roman Empire
1547
St. Cajetan of Thiene died. He was the co-founder of the Oratory of Divine Love.
1566
Reports of UFO's sighted over Basel, in Switzerland
1598
Georg Stiernhielm, the "Father of Swedish poetry" born
1635
Death of Freidrich von Spee, reformist theologian
1779
Carl Ritter, the German joint founder of modern geographical science. born
1782
The Order of the Purple Heart was established by Gen. George Washington to honor Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War. The Badge of Military Merit was only awarded to three Revolutionary War soldiers. It was re-instituted in 1932 to recognize those wounded in action.
1783
John Heathcoat, invented lace-making machinery born
1789
The US War Department was established by Congress.
1814
Pope Pius VII restored Jesuits to full legal validity.
1823
Rufus C. Burleson, Baptist clergyman and president of Baylor University and founder of Waco University. born
1868
The composer Granville Bantok was born
1876
The World War I Dutch spy and courtesan known as Mata Hari (Margaret Gertrude Zelle) born
1882
The famous feud between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky broke out. By the time it ended, about 100 men, women and children had been either killed or wounded.
1883
An intense hailstorm killed 21 head of cattle near Gray, Iowa.
1885
Actress Billie Burke (The Wizard of Oz, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Father of the Bride, Topper) born
1886
Louis Alan Hazeltine, invented the neutrodyne circuit, making commercial radio possible. born
1888
Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a patent for the revolving door.
1890
American author, Kirby Page born
1903
British archaeologist and anthropologist Louis Leakey born
1904
American statesman and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Ralph J. Bunche born
1911
Film director Nicholas Ray born
1912
The Progressive Party nominated Theodore Roosevelt for president.
1912
The career of Serge Prokofiev took a great leap forward when the 21-year-old composer played the solo role in his First Piano Concerto. Moscow audiences mostly liked it.
1921
Karel Husa, the Czech composer was born. born
1925
Songwriter Felice Bryant born
1926
Writer-producer Stan Freberg born
1928
New bills, one third smaller than previously, were issued by the U.S. Treasury Dept.
1929
Former baseball player Don Larsen. In 1956, he became the first, and only, pitcher to hurl a perfect game in World Series play. The Yankees won the series over the Brooklyn Dodgers, 4-3. born
1934
The US Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling striking down the government's attempt to ban the controversial James Joyce novel "Ulysses."
1937
Bluesman Magic Slim born
1939
Actress Verna Bloom born
1939
Singer Ron Holden born
1941
Television station WNBT, Channel 4 in New York City, broadcast the first audience participation show. Studio guests played charades as part of the fun.
1942
Humorist Garrison Keillor born
1942
U.S. Marines launched America's first offensive in World War II, landing on the Pacific island of Guadalcanal.
1942
Singer B.J. (Billy Joe) Thomas born
1943
Singer Lana Cantrell born
1944
Actor John Glover born
1944
Actor David Rasche born
1945
Football hall-of-famer Alan Page born
1947
The balsa wood raft "Kon-Tiki," which had carried a six-man crew 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean, crashed into a reef in a Polynesian archipelago.
1948
A new Olympic Games record was set when 83,000 spectators attended the final day of track and field events held in London, England. Gate receipts totaled more than $2 million.
1950
Country singer Rodney Crowell born
1954
Actress Caroline Aaron born
1954
England's Roger Bannister became the first man to run one mile in less than four minutes.
1955
Actor Wayne Knight born
1958
Rock singer Bruce Dickinson (formerly of Iron Maiden). born
1958
Marathon runner Alberto Salazar born
1959
The satellite Explorer-6 transmitted man's first view of the Earth from space.
1960
Actor David Duchovny ("The X-Files") born
1963
Jazz musician Marcus Roberts born
1963
Jacqueline Kennedy became the first wife of a president to give birth while he was in the White House since the days of Grover Cleveland. The infant died two days later.
1964
Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving President Johnson broad powers in dealing with reported North Vietnamese attacks on US forces.
1965
Country singer Raul Malo (The Mavericks) born
1967
Actress Charlotte Lewis born
1970
An attempt by black militant James David McClain to escape from his trial in Marin County, California, ended in a shootout with police that claimed the lives of McClain, two of three cohorts, and Judge Harold J. Daley, one of several hostages.
1970
Christine McVie joined "Fleetwood Mac" as the group's first female member. McVie was married to bass player John McVie. She quit touring with the group in 1991.
1971
Actress Sydney Penny born
1972
Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Gomez and Early Wynn were among the eight players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1974
Musician Peter Wolf married actress Faye Dunaway in Beverly Hills, California.
1974
French stuntman Philippe Petit walked a tightrope strung between the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center. The stunt caused a massive traffic jam on the street -- 1,350 feet below.
1975
Actress Charlize Theron ("Devil's Advocate") born
1976
Scientists in Pasadena, California, announced that the "Viking One" spacecraft had found the strongest indications to date of possible life on Mars.
1981
After 128 years of publication, "The Washington Star" ceased operation, leaving only "The Washington Post" to serve the nation's capital.
1983
Some 675,000 employees represented by three unions went on strike against American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Contract agreements were reached in the following weeks, the last one on Aug. 28.
1984
The U.S. women's basketball team won the gold medal at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, defeating the South Korean team 85-55.
1985
Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth announced the end of a two-day strike by major league baseball players.
1986
The Soviet Union announced it had granted political asylum to Edward Lee Howard, a CIA agent who had disappeared in September 1985.
1987
The presidents of five Central American nations, meeting in Guatemala City, signed an eleven-point agreement designed to bring peace to their region.
1987
"Back to the Beach" opened at theaters across the country. The film reunited Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, who played middle-aged parents with rebellious kids.
1988
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati signaled his government's acceptance of Iraq's modified peace proposal aimed at bringing about a cease-fire in the Persian Gulf.
1989
A plane carrying Representative Mickey Leland of Texas, and 15 others disappeared during a flight in Ethiopia. (The wreckage of the plane was found six days later with no survivors.)
1990
Desert Shield begin-US deploys troops to Saudi Arabia as President Bush ordered U.S. troops and warplanes to guard the oil-rich desert kingdom against a possible invasion by Iraq.
1991
Court rules Manuel Noriega, may access some secret US documents.
1991
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed to authorize Iraq to sell as much as $1.6 billion in oil over six months to pay for food, humanitarian supplies and war reparations. Iraq rejected the idea.
1991
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed to authorize Iraq to sell as much as $1.6 billion in oil over six months to pay for food, humanitarian supplies and war reparations; however, Baghdad rejected the resolution.
1992
The 39-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva produced the final draft of a treaty to ban chemical weapons, ending 24 years of talks.
1992
Jennifer Capriati won the gold medal in tennis at the Barcelona Olympics, beating Steffi Graf.
1992
The luxury liner "Queen Elizabeth 2" ran aground off Massachusetts.
1993
The public got its first glimpse inside Buckingham Palace as people were given the opportunity to tour the London home of Queen Elizabeth the Second. (Proceeds from ticket sales were earmarked to help repair fire damage at Windsor Castle.)
1994
The Tenth International Conference on AIDS opened in Yokohama, Japan.
1995
Ten days before he was to be put to death for the murder of a police officer, black activist and radio reporter Mumia Abu-Jamal won a reprieve from the original trial judge in Philadelphia.
1996
More than six million America Online customers worldwide were left stranded when the system crashed for almost 19 hours.
1996
A flash flood at a Pyrenees mountain campsite in Spain claimed at least 86 lives.
1996
NASA researchers formally presented their case for the existence of life long ago on Mars.
1997
A Russian capsule on a fix-it mission docked gingerly with the crippled Mir space station, bringing a new crew charged with salvaging the orbiting outpost.
1998
Terrorist bombs at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
1998
The Federal Aviation Administration, in a follow-up to the probe of the 1996 explosion that destroyed TWA Flight 800, ordered the inspection of Boeing 747 fuel tanks.
1999
The Southern Party held its inaugural rally in Flat Rock, N.C., pledging to work peacefully for a separate Southern nation. Wade Boggs became the first player to homer for his 3,000th hit.
1999
President Clinton, during a visit to his home state of Arkansas, promised to devote the rest of his presidency to erasing poverty.
2000
Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore selected Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman as his running mate; Lieberman
2005
America's atomic bombing commemoration held in Hiroshima
2005
Netanyahu quits over Israel's pullout plan
2005
Russian submarine rescued by Royal Navy
2005
Ibrahim Ferrer, Cuban singer, dies at 78
2005
England win second test of the Ashes series
2005
Larson B ice-shelf collapse reveals exotic organisms isolated for 10,000 years
2006
TVNZ allowed to show Rainbow Warrior court footage
2006
190 dead in Ethiopia floods
2006
Oil prices rise after Alaskan field shuts down
2006
British soldier killed in Afghanistan named
2006
Newsletter from Australian council causes confusion over by-election
2006
Israeli air strike killed one, not 40, in village; Lebanese PM says
2006
Rare photograph of Florence Nightingale on display
2006
5th Canadian soldier in a week killed in Afghanistan
2006
Lebanon: UN resolution won't end conflict
2006
Canadians are contacting PM Stephen Harper about the war in Afghanistan
2006
Strong earthquake hits near Vanuatu
2006
Study says dogs can smell lung and breast cancer
2007
Largest exoplanet so far is discovered
2007
UEFA Champions League 2007/08: Rangers, Copenhagen, Tampere and Dinamo Zagreb advance to 3rd Qualifying Round
2007
Foot-and-mouth source confirmed as research laboratory
2008
NFL: Brett Favre traded to the New York Jets
2008
Online buyers conned by fake Olympics ticket web sites
2008
Gunman charged with killing three in Wisconsin shooting
2008
Texas executes Mexican-born killer despite international appeals
2008
McCain ad questions Obama's benefit to families
2008
Alleged Anthrax killer Bruce Ivins reportedly made edits to Wikipedia
2008
Bin Laden's former driver convicted of supporting terrorism
2009
Eleven drown after Sudanese boat sinks
2009
Hurricane Felicia threatens Hawaii
2009
Police evict Vestas protesters
2009
Vestas Cowes rooftop occupiers: "Save the environment, scuttle a NIMBY"
2010
Welsh policemen smash 70-year-old's SUV windows
2010
Pakistani President met with protest on fifth day of UK tour
2010
US Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan
2010
Wildfires in Russia cover Moscow in smoke
2010
Revenge killings follow shooting of Karachi politician
2010
Hiroshima marks 65th atomic bombing anniversary
2010
Pressure mounts against Florida church plans to burn Qur'an
2011
38 killed after US helicopter crashes in Afghanistan
2012
Wildfires spread across parts of Oklahoma
2013
Deaflympics 2013: US swimmer breaks second world record
2013
Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott

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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