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Today in History

1791
1890
Sitting Bull killed while being arrested
1891
Canadian J. Naismith invents basketball
1892
Oil magnate and author, J Paul Getty born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
1907
Architect Oscar Niemeyer born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1919
Max Yasgur, the Bethel, NY dairy farmer who hosted the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair, born in New York City
1921
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame DJ, Alan Freed born in Windber, Pennsylvania
1933
Three time Emmy award winner, comedic actor Tim Conway born in Cleveland, Ohio
1948
Actress and comedienne, Melanie Chartoff born in New Haven, Connecticut
1976
Argo Merchant oil spill
37
The Roman emperor Nero (Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Aermanicus, also called (ad 50-54) Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, original name Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus the fifth Roman emperor (ad 54-68), stepson and heir of the emperor Claudius. born
687
Election of Sergius I as Pope
1025
Basil II is succeeded as emperor Constantine VIII, his brother and co-ruler.
1268
Death of Haakon IV "the Old," King of Norway
1485
Katherine of Aragon born
1562
Mary Stuart holds her second interview with John Knox
1643
Thomas Kingo. A clergyman and poet whose works are considered the high point of Danish Baroque poetry. born
1657
Michel-Richard Delalande He was the leading composer of sacred music in France in the early 18th century, one of the few composers who asserted any influence while Jean-Baptiste Lully lived. born
1788
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach died.
1791
The first ten amendments to the US Constitution -- the Bill of Rights -- went into effect following ratification by Virginia.
1793
Economist Henry C(harles) Carey. American economist and sociologist, often called the founder of the American school of economics, widely known in his day as an advocate of protectionism. born
1820
British theologian and preacher John Caird He was an exponent of theism in Hegelian terms. born
1832
Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel born
1852
Physicist Henri Becquerel. French physicist who discovered radioactivity through his investigations of uranium and other substances. In 1903 he shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Pierre and Marie Curie. born
1859
Polish linguist Ludwik Zamenhof, creator of the international language Esperanto born
1861
Charles Edgar Duryea, with his brother, invented 1st auto to be built and operated in US. born
1862
Nathan B. Forrest crosses the Tennessee River at Clifton with 2,500 men to raid the communications around Vicksburg.
1877
Patent granted to Mr. Edison for the phonograph.
1883
William A. Hinton, developer of the "Hinton Test" for diagnosing syphilis. born
1888
Playwright Maxwell Anderson born
1890
In an attempt to arrest Sitting Bull at his Standing Rock, South Dakota, cabin, shooting breaks out and Lt. Bullhead shoots the great Sioux leader. In the ensuing fracas eleven other tribe members were killed.
1892
Billionaire oilman John Paul Getty. American oil billionaire reputed to be the richest man in the world at the time of his death. He owned a controlling interest in Getty Oil Company and in nearly 200 other concerns. born
1903
Parliament places a 15-year ban on whale fishing in Norway.
1904
Tony Award-winning producer Kermit Bloomgarden (The Diary of Anne Frank) born
1911
Songwriter and bandleader Stan Kenton (Artistry In Rhythm; How High the Moon, September Song, Laura) born
1916
The French defeated the Germans in the World War One Battle of Verdun.
1918
Portuguese President Sidoni is assassinated.
1920
Baseball player Eddie Robinson born
1922
Disc jockey Alan Freed (WJW, Cleveland, WINS & WABC, New York: The Moondoggy Show; fired on air at WABC for alleged involvement in the payola scandal of the late 1950s) born
1924
Soviets warn the U.S. against repeated entry of ships into the territorial waters of the USSR.
1928
Country singer Ernest Ashworth born
1928
Ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson (Danny O'Day, Farfel the Dog) born
1932
Edna O'Brien Irish novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter whose work has been noted for its portrayal of women, evocative description, and sexual candour. born
1933
Actor-comedian Tim Conway born
1938
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington DC.
1938
Washington sends its fourth note to Berlin demanding amnesty for Jews.
1939
Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) born
1939
The motion picture "Gone With the Wind" had its world premiere in Atlanta.
1939
Nylon yarn was sold to hosiery mills to make women's stockings; marking the first use of commercial yarn for apparel. The DuPont product enabled a record number of ladies' hose to go on sale for the first time in May, 1940. And it all started in nylon's hometown: Wilmington, Delaware.
1941
The first automobile licenses are issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. They are made from plastic.
1941
A musical standard was recorded on Victor Records. Lena Horne sang the torch classic that became her signature: "Stormy Weather."
1942
Singer Dave Clark (Group Pieces, Do You Love Me, Glad All Over, Everybody Knows, Red Balloon, Good Old Rock & Roll, Everybody Get Together) born
1943
Famed composer, blues singer, piano and pipe organ player, Fats (Thomas Wright) Waller, died at the age of 39 from pneumonia. He began playing piano at the age of six, recording songs by 16. A few of his many songs include On the Sunny Side of the Street, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Ain't Misbehavin', I've Got a Feeling I'm Fallin', Honeysuckle Rose, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter and It's a Sin to Tell a Lie.
1944
A single-engine plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller, a US Army major, disappeared over the English Channel while en route to Paris.
1946
Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) born
1946
Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh sends a note to the new French Premier, Leon Blum, asking for peace talks.
1948
A federal grand jury in New York indicted former State Department official Alger Hiss on perjury charges.
1948
President Nixon announces the third round of Vietnam withdrawals. While the military is responsible for fighting a war, its civilian superiors determine how it will be fought.
1949
Actor Don (Wayne) Johnson (Nash Bridges, Miami Vice, Harrad Experiment, A Boy and His Dog, The Long, Hot Summer, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Revenge of the Stepford Wives) born
1949
After a decade on radio, "Captain Midnight" was heard for the final time.
1954
Movie director Alex Cox ("Repo Man") born
1954
Actor Justin Ross born
1954
"Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter" was featured on Walt Disney's TV series for the first time. Crockett was played by Fess Parker. It wasn't long before the Davy Crockett craze brought a new number one song to the pop music charts. "Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier."
1955
Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) born
1960
Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) born
1961
Movie director Reginald Hudlin ("House Party") born
1961
Adolf Eichmann, the former German Gestapo official accused of a major role in the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews, is sentenced by a Jerusalem court to be hanged. Adolf Eichmann was the administrator of the so-called Final Solution and supervised the transportation of prisoners to concentration camps.
1962
The first record album to poke fun at a U.S. President became the #1LP in the country. Vaughn Meader's "The First Family" made the humorist a household word. The album stayed at #1 for three months.
1963
Actress Helen Slater born
1964
Canada's House of Commons approved dropping the "Red Ensign" flag in favor of a new design.
1965
1st rendevous in space
1965
The U.S. drops 12 tons of bombs on an industrial center near Haiphong.
1966
Movie producer Walt Disney died in Los Angeles.
1967
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the meat bill in the presence of Upton Sinclair the author of the controversial book "The Jungle."
1972
The Commonwealth of Australia orders equal pay for women.
1973
The American Psychiatric Association reversed its longstanding position and declared that homosexuality is not a mental illness.
1974
Bert Jones, quarterback of the Baltimore Colts, set an NFL record by completing seventeen consecutive passes in a game against the New York Jets.
1977
"Crowd-hyper" Kito Trawick (Ghostown DJs) born
1980
Yankees this day for somewhere between $1.3 and $1.5 million. He become the wealthiest player in the history of U.S. team sports.
1982
Teamsters Union President Roy Williams and four others were convicted in federal court of conspiring to bribe Senator Howard Cannon, D-Nev.
1986
Violinist Isaac Stern arrived in a horse-drawn carriage to cut the ribbon for the renovated Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1987
Gary Hart, who had dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination amid questions about his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, made a surprise return to the campaign, saying, "Let's let the people decide."
1988
US Ambassador Robert H. Pelletreau Junior telephoned the PLO's headquarters in Tunisia, one day after President Reagan authorized direct talks.
1989
Drug trafficker Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha was killed in northern Colombia following a shootout with police.
1989
A popular uprising that resulted in the downfall of Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu began as demonstrators gathered in Timisoara to prevent the arrest of the Reverend Laszlo Tokes, a dissident clergyman.
1990
European Community leaders wrapped up a historic summit in Rome committed to creating a politically unified federation.
1990
With one month left before a U.N. deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait, Iraq gave no indication it was prepared to pull out.
1991
At least 464 people were left dead or missing when an Egyptian-registered ferry sank in the Red Sea.
1992
President-elect Clinton concluded a two-day conference on the economy, saying the nation must tame "the monster of spiraling health care costs" if it was ever to slash the huge budget deficit.
1992
IBM announced it would eliminate 25,000 more employees in the coming year.
1993
Defense Secretary Les Aspin announced his resignation, citing "personal reasons."
1993
In Geneva, 117 countries completed the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, agreeing on a reform package intended to kick-start the global economy.
1993
John Williams made his final appearance as the conductor of the Boston Pops this week. On this night Williams conducted Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" and the "Hallellujah Chorus" from "Messiah," among other things.
1994
President Clinton, in a 12-minute prime-time address, presented a package of tax cuts for middle-income families raising children, and outlined deep reductions in government programs to help pay for them.
1995
President Clinton defied a deadline for turning over a former aide's Whitewater notes, prompting a deeply divided Senate investigative committee to vote to challenge him in federal court. (The White House agreed six days later to turn over the notes.)
1995
French rail workers voted to end a three-week-old strike.
1996
Boeing Company announced plans to pay $13.3 billion to acquire rival aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas Corporation.
1997
Over Republican objections, President Clinton appointed Bill Lann Lee acting assistant attorney general for civil rights.
1998
President Clinton concluded his three-day Middle East journey on a disappointing note as Israel refused to resume the West Bank troop withdrawals called for under the Wye River peace accord; nevertheless, Clinton declared his trip a success.
1999
With President Clinton's close mediation, Syria reopened peace talks with Israel in Washington.
2005
Violence cuts short visit of Dominican Republic president
2005
Business Brief for December 15, 2005
2005
Mozilla, Internet Explorer adopt universal RSS symbol
2005
White supremacist New Zealanders provoked by Sydney riots
2005
Constitutional challenge to secret trials in Australian courts
2005
British scientists claim warmest yet in Northern Hemisphere
2005
Peru-Chile rivalry erupts into Cyberspace
2005
NYC transit strike looming
2006
South Korea says North Korea will test more nuclear bombs
2006
Court of Appeal upholds Ontario's talks with Caledonia
2006
Four dead, more than a million in U.S. without power after Pacific Northwest storm
2006
Five prostitutes found dead in U.K. brings fears of "Ipswich Ripper"
2006
Regazzoni dies in road accident
2006
Ed Stelmach sworn in as new Alberta premier
2007
Taipei International Travel Fair: Taiwanese government promote premiums on tourism industry
2007
Trans-Atlantic 'air rage' incident ends safely
2007
Tropical Storm Olga causes many deaths in Caribbean
2007
"Bali Roadmap" agreed on, applauded
2008
Somali parliament rejects president's dismissal of prime minister
2008
Thai opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva elected as new Prime Minister
2008
U.S. Supreme Court requests reconsideration of habeas petitions of Gitmo captives
2008
Ferry sinks in northern Philippines, 28 dead
2009
Maori flag to fly along side the New Zealand Flag on Waitangi day
2009
At least 22 killed in blast in central Pakistan
2009
WHO: Polio reemerging in Africa
2009
Two killed as Islamic militants storm Philippine jail
2009
At least eight die in Afghan capital suicide bombing
2009
Guantanamo inmates to be transferred to Illinois
2009
Cyclone Mick wreaks havoc on Fiji
2010
Julian Assange held while Sweden appeals bail
2010
Police officer and community support officer stabbed in west London, England
2010
Home destroyed by fire in Geneva, Florida
2010
Many unaccounted for in Christmas Island boat incident
2011
Authorities blockade Chinese town rebelling over land dispute

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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