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Today in History

1862
Sinking of the ironclad USS Cairo
1893
Actor Edward G Robinson born in Bucharest, Romania
1897
Founding of Belo Horizonte, first planned city of Brazil
1901
First trans-Atlantic wireless message
1915
Legendary singer and Academy Award winning actor, Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra born in Hoboken, New Jersey
1924
US Representative and three term New York City Mayor Ed Koch born in Bronx, New York
1940
Humanitarian, actress and five-time Grammy Award winning singer, Dionne Warwick born in East Orange, New Jersey
1963
Independence Day in Kenya
1980
Apple Computer, Inc goes public
751
Death of St. Edburga of Minster
884
Carloman, king of France, dies, is succeeded by Charles the Fat who thus reunites the empire of Charlemagne
1154
Death of St. Vicelin
1189
Richard I "the Lion Hearted," leaves England on 3rd Crusade
1198
Abu'l-Walid ibn-Rushd [Averros] of Crdoba, philosopher, dies
1254
Election of Pope Alexander IV
1293
Murder of Khalil, Sultan of Egypt, by Baidara, his sucessor, who was also murdered
1574
Death of Selim II, "the Drunkard," Sultan of Turkey 1
1745
John Jay, first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court born
1787
Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the US Constitution.
1792
Beethoven had his first music lesson from Haydn. You've probably heard how Haydn and Mozart influenced each other but Haydn's influence can also be heard in Beethoven's music, especially the first symphony, which opens with a deliberately misleading sequence of chords.
1805
Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison born
1805
Henry Wells, founded American Express Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. born
1821
Gustave Flaubert, novelist, 'Madame Bovary' born
1850
The novel, "Wide, Wide World" by Elizabeth Wetherell, (whose real name was Susan Warner) was published. The book was the first best-seller in America. There were 14 editions printed during the first two years of publication.
1870
Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker sworn into the US House of Representatives.
1893
Actor Edward G. (Emmanuel Goldberg) Robinson (Little Caesar, Key Largo, Double Indemnity, Scarlet Street) born
1897
"The Katzenjammer Kids," the pioneering comic strip created by Rudolph Dirks, made its debut in the "New York Journal."
1899
George Grant of Boston, MA, patented the golf tee.
1900
Charles M. Schwab formed the United States Steel Corporation; bringing together John Pierpont Morgan and Andrew Carnegie to create one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world.
1901
Marconi receives 1st trans-Atlantic radio signal from England to US.
1913
Authorities in Florence, Italy, announced that the "Mona Lisa," stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911, had been recovered.
1913
CBS Newsman- Winston Burdett born
1915
Singer Frank Sinatra born
1917
Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Nebraska.
1918
Jazz singer Joe Williams born
1920
The great impresario Diaghilev made a telling comment about another Ravel work after it was performed. The work was "La Valse." Diaghilev said, "It is a masterpiece. But it is not a ballet. It is a painting of a ballet." "La Valse" evokes a grand ball, but the music gradually gets giddier.
1923
TV host Bob Barker born
1924
Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch born
1925
The first motel -- the "Motel Inn" -- opened in San Luis Obispo, California.
1937
Japanese aircraft sank the US gunboat "Panay" on China's Yangtze River. (Japan apologized, and paid two-point-two-million dollars in reparations.)
1938
Singer Connie (Franconero) Francis (Stupid Cupid, Where the Boys Are, Lipstick on Your Collar, I'll Follow the Boys) born
1940
Singer Dionne Warwick (Do You Know the Way to San Jose, Walk on By, I Say a Little Prayer, Promises, Promises, Anyone Who Had a Heart) born
1943
Jazz musician Grover Washington Junior born
1943
Rock singer-musician Dickie Betts (The Allman Brothers) born
1946
A United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Junior to be the site of the UN's headquarters.
1947
Actor Wings Hauser born
1947
The United Mine Workers union withdrew from the American Federation of Labor.
1952
Gymnast-turned-actress Cathy Rigby born
1958
Actress Sheree J. Wilson born
1959
Singer-musician Sheila E. born
1963
Kenya gained its independence from Britain.
1970
Actress Jennifer Connelly born
1975
Actress Mayim Bialik born
1975
Sara Jane Moore pleaded guilty to a charge of trying to kill President Ford in San Francisco the previous September. She is serving a life prison sentence.
1981
Martial law was imposed in Poland.
1984
The group known as Band Aid - 38 of Britain's top and rock musicians - recorded "Do They Know This is Christmas?" for Ethiopian famine victims. Despite best of intentions, much of the food raised never got to the starving Ethiopians. In fact, much of if was found rotting on docks, not fit for human consumption.
1985
248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland.
1987
Secretary of State George P. Shultz, during a visit to Denmark, urged US allies to increase spending on conventional forces, following the signing of a superpower intermediate-range missile ban treaty.
1988
Thirty-five people were killed in a triple train collision during morning rush-hour in south London.
1989
Amid international criticism, Britain forcibly removed 51 Vietnamese from Hong Kong and returned them to their homeland.
1989
in New York, hotel queen Leona Helmsley was sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion. (Helmsley served 18 months behind bars, plus a month at a halfway house and two months of house arrest.)
1990
President Bush announced that he and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev would hold a summit the following February in Moscow.
1990
Lauro Cavazos resigned as secretary of education.
1991
Russian President Boris Yeltsin won landslide approval in the Russian legislature for his new commonwealth, while Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev edged closer to resigning, saying, "The main work of my life is done."
1992
At least 2,200 people were killed in an earthquake that struck the Flores Island region of Indonesia.
1992
President-elect Clinton tapped Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty to be his chief of staff, and Democratic national chairman Ron Brown to be commerce secretary.
1992
The University of Miami quarterback Gino Torretta won the Heisman Trophy.
1993
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chief Yasser Arafat failed to resolve disputes over a plan to start withdrawing Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and Jericho before a deadline.
1993
In Russian parliamentary elections, ultranationalist parties gained strong support, causing concern among foreign governments.
1994
The Brazilian Supreme Court acquitted former President Fernando Collor de Mello of the corruption charges that forced him to resign in 1992.
1994
IBM stopped shipments of personal computers with Intel's flawed Pentium chip, saying the processor's problems were worse than earlier believed.
1995
Two French airmen shot down over Bosnia arrived home after nearly four months as captives of the Bosnian Serbs.
1995
By only three votes, the Senate killed a constitutional amendment giving Congress authority to outlaw flag burning and other forms of desecration against "Old Glory."
1996
Hollywood power broker Michael Ovitz resigned as Walt Disney Company's number-two executive.
1997
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the international terrorist known as "Carlos the Jackal," went on trial in Paris on charges of killing two French investigators and a Lebanese national. (Ramirez was convicted, and is serving a life prison sentence.)
1998
Former U-S Representative Morris K. Udall died in Washington D-C at age 76.
1998
The House Judiciary Committee approved a fourth and final article of impeachment, this one accusing President Clinton of abuse of power.
1998
President Clinton began a three-day visit to the Middle East aimed at rescuing the Wye River peace accords.
1998
Florida Governor Lawton Chiles died in Tallahassee at age 68.
1999
Author Joseph Heller, whose darkly comic first novel "Catch-22" defined the paradox of the no-win dilemma and added a phrase to the American language, died in East Hampton, New York, at age 76.
2005
Missed field goal gives Dallas important victory
2005
Demonstration in Hong Kong denounces WTO
2005
Gorillaz Nominated for 5 Grammy Awards
2005
French police detain 20 terror suspects in dawn raid
2005
Internet company offers organs from executed Chinese prisoners
2005
Tramlink fan site closes news section
2005
Indianapolis remains undefeated with win in Jacksonville
2005
Californian Governor denies clemency for Stanley Tookie Williams
2005
Protesting Chinese villagers killed in confrontation with police
2005
Strong earthquake strikes Afghanistan, no immediate report of damage
2005
Violence at Cronulla Beach as 5000 people gather
2005
Business Brief for December 12, 2005
2006
Male models win The Amazing Race
2006
New Zealand ex-politician gives valedictory speech
2006
Australian Labor Party leader urges supporters to "take a cold shower" over poll results
2006
Convicted sex offenders in US targeted for on-line identity registration
2006
Student commits suicide at school near Philadelphia, U.S.A.
2006
Eritrea declares its coastline a protected area
2006
International response to demolition of Hare Krishna property in Kazakhstan
2007
Central banks announce joint efforts to provide liquidity
2007
UK police officers will vote on right to strike
2007
New outbreak of H5N1 Avian Flu virus reported in Poland
2007
Greenhouse-gas emission targets may come later says Ban Ki-moon
2008
US automaker bailout deal fails to pass Senate
2008
Zoo elephants live shorter lives than their wild counterparts, report warns
2008
FIA lays out cost cutting measures for Formula One
2008
German internet watchdog to remove URLs to 'Virgin Killer' from search engines
2008
Market maker Bernard L. Madoff arrested in $50B 'giant Ponzi scheme'
2008
Mugabe declares Zimbabwe cholera crisis under control
2008
23 Australians arrested in global child porn network
2008
Human remains in mass grave confirm Argentina secret death camp
2009
Benet Academy, Illinois boys basketball team defeats Naperville North after scoring crucial three-pointer
2009
Protesters serenade Lockheed Martin outside firm's UK HQ
2009
Red Cross appeals for US$33 million in food relief for Zimbabwe
2009
Indonesian court overturns Garuda pilot's conviction over air disaster
2009
Pakistani PM: Anti-Taliban offensive in South Waziristan is over
2009
Hawaiian Representative Neil Abercrombie resigns
2010
US suspects North Korea and Burma participating in 'covert military' activities
2010
Man found dead after Stockholm explosion
2010
UK petrol prices rise to record 121.76p
2010
British soap opera Coronation Street celebrates 50 years on air
2011
Scottish police charge two over Liam Aitchison murder
2011
Illinois court clears man of 1992 rape, murder of eleven-year-old
2012
Japanese skiers compete at IPC Nor-Am Cup Super G
2012
Canadian skiers compete at IPC Nor-Am Cup Super G
2012
Australian skiers compete at IPC Nor-Am Cup Super G
2012
North Korea successfully launches long range rocket

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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