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Today in History

Annual Geminid meteor shower (look south)
1769
Dartmouth College chartered
1925
Singer, dancer, Tony and Emmy award winning actor, Dick Van Dyke born in West Plains, Missouri
1929
Emmy and Tony Award winning actor Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer born in Toronto, Ontario
1941
Hungary and Romania declare war on US
1948
Guitarist, singer and activist, Ted Nugent born in Detroit, Michigan
1950
Fashion model, philanthropist, and Emmy Award nominated actress, Wendie Malick born in Buffalo, New York
1958
Figure skater and actress, Lynn-Holly Johnson born in Chicago, Illinois
1989
Award winning songwriter, guitarist, singer and actress, Taylor Swift born in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania
2000
Al Gore concedes to George W Bush
2003
Saddam Hussein captured
820
Murder of St. Kenelm, King of Mercia
1124
Death of Pope Colextus II
1204
Death of Maimonides
1250
Death of Frederick II, deposed Holy Roman Emperor
1294
Abdication of Pope Celestine V
1402
Emperor Go-Komatsu moves into the rebuilt Imperial Palace, Japan
1466
Donatello, Italian Renaissance sculptor, dies
1476
First item printed in England, a Papal Indulgence
1520
Pope Sixtus V born
1533
Erik XIV, Stockholm, King of Sweden born
1545
First meeting of the Council of Trent
1553
Henry IV, 1st Bourbon King of France born
1570
Peace of Stettin; Denmark recognizes Swedish independence;
1577
Sir Francis Drake of England set out with five ships on a nearly three-year journey that would take him around the world.
1585
William Drummond born
1623
Trial by jury established at Plymouth Colony
1640
Coronation of John IV as King of Portugal
1641
Death of St. Jane Frances de Chantel
1642
Dutch navigator Abel Tasman arrived in present-day New Zealand.
1769
Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, received its charter.
1797
Poer Heinrich Heine (The Lorelei, Atta Troll, A Midsummer's Night Dream, Germany A Winter's Tale, Romacero) born
1809
The first abdominal surgical procedure was performed - in Danville, Kentucky. The patient was Jane Todd Crawford and the operation was performed without the aid of an anesthetic.
1816
John Adamson, of Boston, MA, received a patent for a dry dock.
1816
The nation's first savings bank, the Provident Institution for Savings, opened in Boston.
1818
Mary Todd Lincoln born
1835
Clergyman Phillips Brooks, who wrote the Christmas carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem" born
1836
Mily Balakirev was born. Balakirev was one of "The Five," also known as "The Mighty Handful," the Russian composers who deliberately sought out a Russian alternative to the German way of composing a symphony. born
1844
The Hasty Pudding Club, a student body dramatic organization formed in 1770 at Harvard, gives its first theatrical production.
1862
An estimated 11,000 Northern soldiers were killed or wounded in a battle with Confederate troops outside Fredericksburg, Virginia.
1887
World War I hero Sergeant Alvin York born
1903
Flaminco guitarist Carlos Montoya born
1903
Wright brothers first airplane flight at Kittyhawk.
1910
Actor Van Heflin born
1913
Leonardo da Vinci's "La Gioconda" or, "Mona Lisa" for us art neophytes, was returned to the Louvre Museum in Paris after a two-year absence.
1914
Actor Larry (Klausman) Parks(The Jolson Story, Jolson Sings Again) born
1918
President Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.
1922
Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz (some sources 1920) born
1925
Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke born
1929
The Second Symphony of Arnold Bax was premiered by the Boston Symphony.
1930
Actor Robert Prosky born
1930
Country singer Buck White born
1930
One of the greatest choral works of all time was premiered Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms." It was commissioned by the Boston Symphony, but its world premiere in Boston was delayed when Serge Koussevitsky got sick, so the first performance wound up being in Brussels.
1934
Movie producer Richard Zanuck born
1941
Singer John Davidson born
1944
During World War Two, the US cruiser "Nashville" was badly damaged in a Japanese "kamikaze" suicide attack that claimed 138 lives.
1948
Country musician Ron Getman (The Tractors) born
1948
Singer Ted Nugent born
1948
Rock musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (The Doobie Brothers; Steely Dan) born
1949
Country singer-musician Randy Owen (Alabama) born
1949
The American League voted down a proposal to revive the spitball, which had been outlawed since 1920.
1951
After meeting with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Truman vows to purge all disloyal government workers.
1954
Country singer John Anderson born
1957
Actor Steve Buscemi born
1959
Actor Johnny Whitaker ("Family Affair") born
1961
Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses) passed away at the age of 101. The self-taught artist took up painting in her sixties and had her first showing in New York City at the age of eighty. Her style was nostalgic and primitive - mostly rural scenes: "The Old Oaken Bucket", "Christmas at Home", "The Quilting Bee".
1967
Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx born
1968
President Johnson and Mexico's President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz meet on a bridge at El Paso, Texas, to officiate at ceremonies returning the long-disputed El Chamizal area to the Mexican side of the border.
1973
Britain cuts work week to three days to save energy supply.
1978
The Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which went into circulation the following July.
1981
Actress Chelsea Hertford ("Major Dad") born
1981
Polish labor leader Lech Walesa is arrested and the government decrees martial law, restricting civil rights and suspending operation of the independent trade union Solidarity.
1982
The Sentry armored car company in New York discovered the overnight theft of $11 million from its headquarters. It was the biggest cash theft in U.S. history.
1985
In a movie first, the murder mystery, "Clue" opened nationally. The film featured three different endings.
1985
France sues the U.S. over the discovery of an AIDS serum.
1987
Before leaving for Oslo, Norway, Secretary of State George P. Shultz told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Reagan administration would begin making funding requests for the proposed "Star Wars" defense system.
1988
PLO chairman Yasser Arafat addressed the UN General Assembly in Geneva, where it had reconvened after the US refused to grant Arafat a visa to visit New York.
1989
South African President F.W. de Klerk met for the first time with imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, at de Klerk's office in Cape Town.
1990
A final evacuation flight from Iraq arrived in Germany, carrying the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait and his staff, who had endured a 110-day Iraqi siege of their embassy.
1992
An Israeli border guard was kidnapped near Tel Aviv and later killed by the Hamas fundamentalist organization; the slaying prompted Israel to expel hundreds of Palestinians, sending them into Lebanese territory.
1993
The space shuttle "Endeavour" returned from its mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
1994
An American Eagle commuter plane carrying 20 people crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, killing 15.
1995
Chinese democracy activist Wei Jingsheng, who'd already spent 16 years in prison, was sentenced to 14 more years. (However, Wei was granted medical parole by Beijing, and allowed to travel to the US.)
1995
As President Clinton flew to Paris to attend the signing of the Bosnian peace accord, Congress gave him partial backing for his Bosnia policy.
1996
President Clinton nominated Bill Daley to be commerce secretary and Bill Richardson to be United Nations ambassador.
1996
The UN Security Council chose Kofi Annan of Ghana to become the world body's seventh secretary-general.
1996
Trade ministers from 28 countries meeting in Singapore endorsed a US-crafted trade pact to abolish import duties on computers, software and other high-tech products.
1997
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Los Angeles for the $1 billion Getty Center, one of the largest arts centers in the United States.
1997
Michigan Wolverine Charles Woodson was named winner of the Heisman Trophy, the first primarily defensive player so honored.
1998
Voters in Puerto Rico rejected US statehood.
1998
With a grave impeachment threat looming, President Clinton told a news conference in Jerusalem he would not resign, and insisted he did not commit perjury.
1999
In a spirited presidential campaign debate, Texas Govenor George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, fought over tax policy and farm subsidies, while McCain was pushed to defend his centerpiece campaign finance proposals.
1999
In his first major test on the road to peace with Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak won parliamentary backing for opening negotiations with Damascus.
2003
Saddam Hussein captured by U.S. forces in Tikrit
2005
Sydney racial violence continues
2005
No reprieve for Stanley Williams, Crips street gang founder
2005
Shots fired at Sydney church
2005
Haitian provisional government dismisses Supreme Court justices
2005
Council of Europe rapporteur says CIA abduction claim "credible"
2005
New Jersey apartment building collapses after explosion
2005
Mass graves found in Lebanon
2005
Journalist Gebran Tueni murdered
2005
Fires out at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal
2005
Business Brief for December 13, 2005
2005
Opposition leader jailed in Venezuela
2005
Guantanamo detainee David Hicks seeks UK passport
2005
US President Bush says 30,000 civilians killed in Iraq war
2006
New Zealand local loop unbundled
2006
U.S. Senator Tim Johnson hospitalized
2006
The results of the Antiquorum's auction of vintage and modern timepieces
2007
UK train driver cleared of manslaughter over 1989 rail collision
2007
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet formally
2007
Garry Kasparov will not run for Russian presidency
2007
American musician Ike Turner passes away at 76
2007
Climate Negotiations soon to conclude in Bali; UN "concerned by the pace of things"
2007
North Sea oil spill is Norway's second worst
2007
European leaders sign Lisbon Treaty
2007
Explicit Canadian workplace safety ads pulled from TV due to Christmas season
2007
Victoria Wyndham on Another World and another life
2007
Taipei IT Month exposed problems on traffic jams
2007
Saturn's rings are much older than previously thought
2007
EU may see no reason to go to next major emitters meeting
2007
Three UK residents to be released from Guantánamo
2008
Obama announces choice for Secretary of Housing
2008
White House considering auto rescue plan
2008
UN General Assembly approves measures to protect economic, social and cultural rights
2008
Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian released on bail
2008
Asbestos scare shuts down mail delivery in Christchurch, New Zealand
2009
Protesters arrested at climate change rally
2009
Government of Canada okays WIND Mobile launch, overturning CRTC decision
2009
Mark Ingram wins Heisman Trophy
2009
Joe McElderry wins UK X Factor final
2009
Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi assaulted
2009
North Korean weapons seized in Thailand
2009
Family of Amanda Knox plans for appeal in Italian court
2009
IOC posthumously awards its highest honor to late Vancouver Organizing Committee Chair
2010
Seventeen injured after coach overturns near Oxford, England
2011
Former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson announces presidential bid
2011
Two remanded after court appearance over Liam Aitchison murder
2012
Australia earns one medal on day three of IPC Nor-Am Cup
2012
Twelve countries compete on second day of Nor-Am Cup
2012
Australia takes podium for standing men's giant slalom on second day of IPC NorAm Cup

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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