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Today in History

1913
Ford introduces the moving assembly line
1918
Independence Day in Iceland
1924
National corn-husking contest held in Iowa
1935
Academy Award winning screen writer, director and actor, Woody Allen born Allan Stewart Konigsberg in Brooklyn, New York
1940
Grammy and Emmy Award winning actor and comedian, Richard Pryor born in Peoria, Illinois
1945
Grammy, Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony Award winning singer and actress, Bette Davis Midler born in Honolulu, Hawaii
1955
Seamstress Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.
1957
Actor, stuntman and puppeteer, Deep Roy born Mohinder Purba in Nairobi, Kenya
1958
Singer and actress, Charlene Tilton born in San Diego, California
1960
Supermodel and actress, Carol Alt born in Queens, New York
1970
Author, actress and comedienne, Sarah Silverman born in Bedford, New Hampshire
659
Death of St. Eloi
1083
Princess Anna Commena of Byzantium born
1135
Death of Henry I, King of England
1170
Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, returns to England from exile
1372
Geoffrey Chaucer left England for Rome on a Royal mission
1590
Edmund Spenser's "Faerie Queene" is registered for publication
1615
The first Bach or at least, the first musical Bach we know died. Hans Bach is considered the patriarch of a family that produced so many musicians over so many generations (The Bach came much later) that in those days the family name was actually used as a synonym for musician.
1640
Portugal regains independence after 60 years of Spanish rule
1741
Samuel Kirkland Congregational minister to the Indians of the Six Nations (the Iroquois League) and negotiator of the Oneida Alliance with the colonists during the U.S. War of Independence born
1742
Empress Elisabeth orders expulsion of all Jews from Russia.
1743
Martin Heinrich Klaproth German chemist who discovered uranium (1789), zirconium (1789), and cerium (1803). born
1824
The presidential election was turned over to the US House of Representatives when a deadlock developed between John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford and Henry Clay. (Adams ended up the winner.)
1861
The U.S. gunboat Penguin seizes the Confederate blockade runner Albion carrying supplies worth almost $100,000.
1862
President Lincoln gives the State of the Union message to the 37th Congress.
1878
The first telephone is installed in the White House.
1879
Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, "H.M.S. Pinafore" opened this day. Arthur Sullivan conducted the orchestra while William Gilbert played the role of a sailor in the chorus and in the Queen's Nay-vee.
1881
Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan Earp are exonerated in court for their action in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz.
1886
Detective novelist Rex Stout (mystery writer) born
1887
Sherlock Holmes 1st appears in print
1898
Actor Cyril Ritchard born
1899
Robert Welch founder of John Birch Society. born
1904
Former United Mine Workers president W.A. "Tony" Boyle born
1909
The Pennsylvania Trust Company, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania became the first bank in the nation to offer a Christmas Club account. It encouraged customers to set aside money for holiday.
1911
Baseball manager Walter Alston (LA Dodgers) born
1911
Baseball owner Calvin Griffith (Senators, Twins) born
1912
Baseball player Cookie (Harry) Lavagetto born
1913
Continuous moving assembly line introduced by Ford (a new
1913
Actress Mary Martin (South Pacific, Peter Pan) born
1913
The first drive-in automobile service station opened, in Pittsburgh.
1917
Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town near Omaha, Nebraska.
1923
Former CIA director Stansfield Turner born
1924
The play, "Lady Be Good" opened in New York City. George Gershwin wrote the music while Fred and Adele Astaire were well-received by the show's audience for their dancing talents.
1926
Actor Robert Symond born
1929
Actor Dick (Schulefand) Shawn (Bewitched) born
1929
BINGO invented by Edwin S Lowe.
1934
Josef Stalin aide, Sergei Kirov, is assassinated in Leningrad.
1934
Singer Billy Paul (Me and Mrs. Jones) born
1935
Comedian-film maker (Allen Konigsberg) Woody Allen born
1935
Soul singer Lou Rawls (You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine) born
1939
Singer Dianne Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) born
1939
PGA golfer Lee Trevino (US Open 1968,71). born
1940
Comedian-actor Richard Pryor (Stir Crazy, Blue Collar, The Richard Pryor Show) born
1942
Nationwide gasoline rationing went into effect in the United States.
1942
Country musician Casey Van Beek (The Tractors) born
1943
Rock musician John Densmore (The Doors) some sources 1945 born
1943
Ending a "Big Three" meeting in Tehran, President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Russian Premier Josef Stalin pledged a concerted effort to defeat Nazi Germany.
1945
Actress-singer Bette Midler (The Rose, From a Distance, Beaches) born
1945
Burl Ives made his concert debut this night. He appeared at New York's Town Hall.
1946
Singer Gilbert O'Sullivan (Alone Again Naturally). born
1948
Baseball player George Foster born
1950
British composer, EJ Moeran, died. He drowned at the age of 50.
1951
Actor Treat Williams born
1953
Walter Alston was named manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers on this, his 42nd birthday. He became the dean of baseball managers before retiring in 1976.
1955
Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, defied the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white man aboard a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus. Mrs. Parks was arrested, sparking a year-long boycott of the buses by blacks.
1956
Country singer Kim Richey. born
1958
The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Flower Drum Song" opened on Broadway.
1959
Actress Charlene Tilton (Dallas) born
1959
Representatives of 12 countries, including the United States, signed a treaty in Washington setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free from military activity.
1960
Actress-model Carol Alt born
1965
An airlift of refugees from Cuba to the United States began in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland.
1968
"Promises, Promises" opened on Broadway. The play ran for 1,281 performances; earning $35,000 in profits each week of 1969. Dionne Warwick had a hit version of the title song.
1969
The US government held its first draft lottery since World War Two.
1971
John Lennon's "Happy Christmas" released
1972
Actor Ron Melendez born
1973
David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, died in Tel Aviv at age 87.
1973
'The Golden Bear', Jack Nicklaus, won the Walt Disney World Open Golf Tournament and became the first golfer to win $2 million in career earnings.
1975
Gospel singer Sarah Masen born
1975
On her 30th birthday, Bette Midler had an emergency appendectomy.
1980
George Rogers, of the University of South Carolina, was named the Heisman Trophy winner. He went on to achieve great success for the Washington Redskins.
1981
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar surpassed Oscar Robertson as pro basketball's second all-time leading scorer (second only to Wilt Chamberlain). Kareem got to the total of 26,712 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 117-86. Chamberlain's record fell in 1984, when Kareem's scores reached 31,259. Kareem wound up his career in 1989 with 38,387 points.
1986
Lt. Col. Oliver North pleads the fifth amendment before a Senate panel investigating the Iran Contra arms sale.
1986
On this day, the world's most expensive hotel suite (to that date) was offered to visitors at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The eight-room accommodations included four fireplaces, three bedrooms and a library with secret passage. All this, and much more, for a mere $20,000 a night.
1986
President Ronald Reagan said he would welcome the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Iran-Contra affair, if such a move were recommended by the Justice Department.
1987
NASA announced that four companies -- Boeing Aerospace, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, General Electric's Astro-Space Division and Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International -- had been awarded contracts to help build a space station.
1988
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev won nearly unanimous approval for a more dynamic political structure from the Supreme Soviet, which voted itself out of existence in favor of a new Congress of People's Deputies.
1988
Actress Ashley Monique Clark ("The Hughleys") born
1988
Carlos Salinas de Gortari was sworn in as president of Mexico.
1989
East Germany's Parliament abolished the Communist Party's constitutional guarantee of supremacy.
1989
A historic meeting took place between Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev and Pope John Paul the Second. They met at the Vatican and announced agreement to establish diplomatic ties. Gorbachev renounced more than 70 years of oppression of religion in the Soviet Union.
1989
Dissident elements in the Philippine military launched an unsuccessful coup against Corazon Aquino's government.
1990
British and French workers digging the Channel Tunnel between their countries finally met after knocking out a passage in a service tunnel.
1990
Iraq accepted a U.S. offer to talk about resolving the Persian Gulf crisis.
1991
Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly for independence from the Soviet Union.
1991
Kidnappers in Lebanon pledged to release American hostage Joseph Cicippio within 48 hours.
1991
The space shuttle Atlantis safely returned from a shortened military mission.
1992
Mineola, New York, Amy Fisher was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison for shooting and seriously wounding Mary Jo Buttafuoco.
1992
President Boris Yeltsin survived an impeachment attempt by hard-liners at the opening of the Russian Congress.
1992
The Senate Ethics Committee started an investigation into allegations that Oregon Senator Bob Packwood sexually harassed women who worked for him. He denied it, but a large number of women came forward with similar stories, and ultimately he resigned from the Senate.
1993
Eighteen people were killed when a Northwest Airlink commuter plane crashed in Minnesota.
1993
Crystal Records issued a new recording of Barber's "Summer Music" for winds, performed by the Westwood Wind Quartet. Barber's "Summer Music" is one of the composer's most inventive pieces but isn't very well known to classical fans.
1994
Rapper Tupac Shakur was convicted in the November of 1993 sexual assault of a woman at his New York City hotel suite.
1994
Former TV evangelist Jim Bakker spent his first full day of freedom after time in prison, a halfway house and house arrest for bilking followers of his PTL ministry.
1994
The Senate gave final congressional approval to a world trade agreement, passing the 124-nation General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 76-24.
1995
The NATO alliance chose Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana to be its new secretary general.
1995
Tens of thousands of people in Dublin, Ireland, warmly welcomed President Clinton to his ancestral homeland.
1996
The Arab League held an emergency meeting in Cairo, after which it warned Israel that peace efforts would be endangered if Israel insisted on expanding Jewish settlements.
1997
A 14-year-old youth opened fire on a prayer circle at Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky, killing three fellow students and wounding five; Michael Carneal later pleaded guilty but mentally ill, and is to be sentenced December 1998.
1997
An international conference on reducing greenhouse gases opened in Kyoto, Japan.
1998
Exxon agreed to buy Mobil for $73.7 billion. Cuba's Communist Party recommended that December 25th be re-established as a permanent holiday.
1999
President Clinton addressed a World Trade Organization conference in Seattle, where he defended his administration's policies in the face of sometimes violent street demonstrations.
1999
An international team of scientists announced it had mapped virtually an entire human chromosome.
1999
On World AIDS Days, United Nations officials released a report estimating that 11 million children worldwide had been orphaned by the pandemic.
2005
Co-creator of Berenstain Bears dies at 82
2005
US Gross Domestic Product grew during third quarter of 2005
2005
Orrin Hatch accidentally compares Iraq to Vietnam
2005
Iraqi rebels seize control of Ramadi's inner city
2005
No final embrace for condemned man
2005
Former UK Law Lord urges de-proscription of Iranian opposition group MEK
2005
Australian drug trafficker to be executed in Singapore tomorrow
2005
First quantum byte created
2005
Hostage standoff in North Reading, Massachusetts ends in tragedy
2005
Bush speaks of goals for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, decries calls for timetable
2005
Rebels launch assault in Ramadi
2005
First face transplant performed on French woman
2006
Great white sharks to be protected in New Zealand
2006
U.S. warns of al Qaeda threat to stock trading and banking websites
2006
Sri Lanka Defence Secretary escapes suicide attack
2006
Marine Corps F-18 crashes in California
2006
Wikipedia again blocked in China
2006
Western New York prepares for winter storm
2006
Australia win first 2006-07 Ashes Test
2006
"Super typhoon" triggers fatal mudslides in Philippines
2007
Venezuela to vote over constitutional reform on Sunday
2007
ETA fighters kill Spanish guard in southern France
2007
Five tourists die in car crash in South African park
2007
Festival of Cabaret – preview
2007
Amtrak train smashes freighter in Chicago
2007
Blast in a coal mine in Donetsk, Ukraine
2008
Hillary Clinton nominated as US Secretary of State
2008
Vodafone begins 3G activation, services in NSW fail
2008
British charities form fund recovery group
2008
Space Shuttle Endeavour lands in California
2008
India's Home Minister quits as first political fallout of Mumbai attacks
2009
Somali pirates seize Greek-owned tanker
2009
4-year-old boy killed by dog in Liverpool, England
2010
Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner dies aged 87
2010
Latest 'CableGate' disclosures hint at US diplomatic tactics in Spain and beyond
2011
Early returns in Egyptian polls show victory for Islamist parties
2011
Hungary bans homelessness
2011
A portrait of Scotland: Gallery reopens after £17.6 million renovation
2011
Campaign manager: 100 percent chance Buddy Roemer will run for Americans Elect presidential nomination
2011
Queensland parliament passes Civil Partnership Bill
2012
Bird flu outbreak kills birds in Krasnodar region

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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