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Today in History

1903
Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first powered heavier than air flights in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
1905
Deadliest sniper in the history of warfare, Simo Häyhä born in Rautjärvi, Finland
1929
Pulitzer prize winning journalist William Safire born in New York City
1935
Maiden flight of the Douglas DC-3 airplane
1969
US Air Force's Project Blue Book terminated
1974
Golden Globe award nominated actress, Sarah Paulson born in Tampa, Florida
546
Totila, King of the Ostrogoths, takes Rome
693
Death of St. Begga
779
Death of St. Sturm
942
Assassination of William "Longsword," Duke of Normandy
1187
Death of Pope Gregory VIII
1187
Election of Pope Clement III
1223
Crusaders gathered to free Burriana, Spain, from the Moors
1273
Death of Rumi
1399
Tamerlanes Mongols destroy army of Mahmud Tughluk, Sultan of Delhi, at Panipat.
1526
Ferdinand (Hapsburg) of Austria elected King of Bohemia; birth of Austria-Hungary
1531
The Inquisition is established in Portugal
1538
Pope Paul III excommunicates England's King Henry VIII (2nd time)
1559
Consecration of Archbishop Parker
1562
Death of Adrian Willaert, composer
1619
Prince Rupert RUPERT OF THE RHINE, or RUPERT OF THE PALATINATE. He was the most talented Royalist commander of the English Civil War (1642-51). born
1632
Anthony Ö Wood, antiquarian, writer born
1749
Gabrielle-milie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Chtelet French mathematician and physicist who was the mistress of Voltaire. born
1760
American Revolutionary War soldier Deborah Sampson, who fought as a man under the alias Robert Shurtleff born
1777
France recognized American independence.
1778
Sir Humphry Davy, discovered several chemical elements born
1791
New York City traffic regulation creates the 1st one-way street
1797
Joseph Henry. One of the first great American scientists after Benjamin Franklin. He aided Samuel F.B. Morse in the development of the telegraph and discovered several important principles of electricity, including self-induction, a phenomenon of primary importance in electronic. born
1807
Poet John Greenleaf Whittier (Barbara Frietchie, Maud Miller, Snowbound; Quaker: devoted to the abolitionist cause in U.S.) born
1830
South American patriot Simon Bolivar died in Colombia.
1853
Brahms played his own early piano works in a concert setting off the great war of the critics. Critics who were fond of traditional music hailed Brahms as the next great composer.
1895
George L. Brownell of Worcester, MA received a patent for his paper-twine machine.
1896
Conductor Arthur Fiedler He was maestro of the Boston Pops Orchestra for 50 seasons and the best-selling classical conductor of all time; his recordings with the Pops sold some 50,000,000 discs. born
1903
Orville and Wilbur Wright went on the first successful manned, powered-airplane flights, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1903
Erskine Caldwell, U.S. novelist (Tobacco Road, God's Little Acre) born
1904
Paul Cadmus, painter and etcher born
1908
Nobel prize-winning atomic scientist Willard Libby He discovered of Carbon-14, the method, although unreliable at times, for dating ancient plant, animal and mineral remains. born
1910
Trumpeter and composer Sy (Melvin) Oliver ( Easy Does It, Swing High, Well, Git It, Opus No. 1) born
1915
Actress Joan Woodbury (The Time Travelers, Northwest Trail, Song of the Gringo, Bulldog Courage) born
1917
Comedian Gene Rayburn (The Steve Allen Show, Tonight; TV game-show host: Match Game, Make the Connection, Break the Bank; TV panelist: The Name's the Same) born
1925
Colonel William "Billy" Mitchell was convicted at his court-martial of insubordination.
1927
U.S. Secretary of State Kellogg suggests a worldwide pact renouncing war.
1929
Newspaper columnist William Safire born
1930
Actor Armin Mueller-Stahl born
1930
Magazine publisher Robert Guccione born
1930
The critic Philip Heseltine also known as the composer Peter Warlock committed suicide turning on the gas in his apartment while his girlfriend was away.
1935
First flight of the Douglas DC-3 from the Santa Monica Airport in California. This iconic airliner served as a transport in WW2 and as both a transport and gunship in Korea and Vietnam. Many continue service in various capacities such as cargo and passenger service throughout the world
1936
Singer-actor Tommy Steele born
1936
Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen kidded around with his pal, Charlie McCarthy, for the first time on radio. The two debuted on "The Rudy Vallee Show" on NBC.
1937
Rock singer-musician Art Neville born
1937
Nat Stuckey (Got Leaving on Her Mind, Days of Sand and Shovels, She Wakes Me Every Morning with a Kiss, Young Love born
1938
Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Snell (800-meter run [1960, 1964] and 1500-meter run ) born
1939
The German pocket battleship "Graf Spee" was scuttled by its crew, ending the World War Two Battle of the River Plate off Uruguay.
1939
Singer Eddie Kendricks (The Temptations Get Next To You; solo: Keep on Truckin', Boogie Down, Shoeshine Boy) born
1944
Actor Bernard Hill (Mountains of the Moon, Shirley Valentine, Bellman and True, Drowning by Numbers, No Surrender, The Bounty, Gandhi) born
1944
The US Army announced it was ending its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.
1945
Actor Ernie Hudson (Tornado!, The Substitute, Congo, Wild Palms, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Ghostbusters series, Joy of Sex, The $5.20 an Hour Dream, Broken Badges) born
1945
Actor Christopher Cazenove (Iron Eagle 3, Three Men and a Little Lady, Windmills of the Gods, Mata Hari, Children of the Full Moon, Eye of the Needle, Zulu Dawn, Royal Flash, A Fine Romance, Dynasty) born
1946
Comedian-actor Eugene Levy born
1948
The Smithsonian Institution accepts the Wright brothers plane, the Kitty Hawk.
1951
Rhythm-and-blues singer Wanda Hutchinson (The Emotions) born
1953
Actor Bill Pullman born
1953
Actor Barry Livingston (My Three Sons, Sons and Daughters) born
1953
Country singer Sharon White (wife of Ricky Skaggs) born
1953
Following an earlier decision that favored CBS-TV, the wise minds at the Federal communications Commission changed opinions and decided to approve RCAs color television specifications.
1957
The United States successfully test-fired the "Atlas" intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
1958
Musician Mike Mills (Radio Free Europe,Talk About the Passion, So Central Rain, Seven Chinese Brothers, [Don't Go Back to] Rockville) born
1959
The film "On the Beach" premiered at the Astor Theatre in New York City and in 17 other cities. It was the first motion picture to debut simultaneously in major cities around the world.
1961
Pop singer Sarah Dallin (Bananarama) born
1965
Ending an election campaign marked by bitterness and violence, Ferdinand Marcos is declared president of the Philippines.
1969
The US Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
1974
Actor Giovanni Ribisi born
1975
Singer Bree Sharp born
1975
Lynette Fromme was sentenced in federal court in Sacramento, California, to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Ford.
1975
Actress Milla Jovovich born
1976
WTCG-TV, Atlanta, Georgia, owned by Ted Turner, changed call letters to WTBS, and was uplinked via satellite, to become the first commercial TV station to cover the entire U.S. WTBS started on four cable systems, available in 24,000 homes.
1986
Wayne "Danke Schoen" Newton won a $19.2 million judgment against NBC News, which had aired reports linking Newton to mob figures.
1986
Eugene Hasenfus, the American convicted by Nicaragua for his part in running guns to the Contras, was pardoned, then released.
1987
With election results showing him the winner, South Korea's president-elect, Roh Tae-woo, appealed for "national harmony" while his opponents claimed he'd won through fraud.
1988
In his first public statement since the US decided to open direct talks with the PLO, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir expressed shock, calling the US decision a "painful" blow.
1989
More than 100,000 Soviet citizens turned out to honor the late human rights advocate Andrei D. Sakharov, a day before he was buried in Moscow.
1990
President Bush pledged "no negotiation for one inch" of Kuwaiti territory would take place as he repeated his demand for Iraq's complete withdrawal.
1990
President Bush nominated former Tennessee Govenor Lamar Alexander to be secretary of education, succeeding Lauro Cavazos.
1992
President-elect Clinton tapped former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros to be housing secretary. President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies.
1993
So-called "suicide doctor" Jack Kevorkian was released from jail in Oakland County, Michigan, after promising not to help anyone end their lives for the time being.
1993
Zubin Mehta and the Chicago Symphony reprised their program of Webern and Schubert, which was notably mainly for the presentation of Webern's early "Passacaglia," which showed what kind of music he might have composed if he had never gone into 12-tone.
1993
Fox Television outbid CBS for the National Football Conference TV package.
1994
Six shots were fired at the White House by an unidentified gunman.
1994
North Korea shot down a US Army helicopter which had strayed north of the demilitarized zone the co-pilot, Chief Warrant Officer David Hilemon, was killed; the pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Hall, was captured and held for nearly two weeks.
1995
Angry voters handed Russian President Boris Yeltsin a stinging rebuff as Communists and right-wing nationalists scored big wins in parliamentary elections on a platform of rolling back democratic reforms.
1996
Peruvian guerrillas took hundreds of people hostage at the Japanese embassy in Lima (all but 72 of the hostages were later released by the rebels; the siege ended April 22nd, 1997, with a commando raid that resulted in the deaths of all the rebels, two commandos and one hostage).
1996
Six Red Cross workers were slain by gunmen in Chechnya. Kofi Annan of Ghana was appointed United Nations secretary-general.
1997
The United States and 33 other countries signed a convention in Paris aimed at eradicating bribery in international business.
1997
President Clinton's panel on race relations met at Annandale High School in Virginia.
1998
House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston shocked fellow Republicans by admitting he'd had extramarital affairs.
1998
The United States hit Iraq with a second wave of punishing airstrikes. Republicans advanced the impeachment case against President Clinton to the House floor for a debate the following day.
1999
The U.N. Security Council ended a yearlong deadlock and voted to send weapons inspectors back to Iraq and consider suspending sanctions if Baghdad cooperated.
1999
President Clinton signed a law letting millions of disabled Americans retain their government-funded health coverage when they take a job.
2005
EU reaches budget deal
2005
Sinn Fein expels Denis Donaldson for spying
2005
English edition of Wikipedia is now larger than the Spanish Encyclopedia ESPASA
2005
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security visit Dartmouth student over library book
2005
Imitation gun pointed at Australia swimmers during training
2005
Cold cases in West Australia examined for Murdoch link
2006
Scientist: Sulfur remedy for greenhouse effect backed by data
2006
Indian Army celebrates Victory Day on 35th Anniversary of Bangladeshi Liberation
2006
Red Cresent workers kidnapped as Blair visits Iraq
2006
Time magazine's Person of the Year is "you"
2006
Melbourne Victory clinch A-League premiership
2007
Africans win the ING Taipei International Marathon
2007
Flight attendant Todd Herzog wins $1 million on 'Survivor: China'
2007
Data for 3 million UK driving candidates lost
2007
Putin will accept prime minister position if Medvedev wins
2007
US presidential candidate Ron Paul breaks online fundraising record
2007
Climate Conference in Bali concluded; opinions on outcome differ
2008
US Supreme Court allows 'light' cigarettes lawsuits
2008
South Korean actress Ok So-ri gets suspended term for adultery
2008
OPEC cuts production by 2.2 million barrels a day
2008
New Zealand Government to repeal Electoral Finance Act
2008
People bid farewell to elderly Shinkansen super-express in Japan
2008
Rudd heckled over 5% climate target
2008
Iraqi journalist arrested after throwing shoes at George W. Bush
2008
Somali pirates hijack Indonesian tugboat and Turkish container ship
2008
Zimbabwe Air Marshal shot
2009
Irish bishop resigns over child abuse scandal
2009
Yegor Gaidar, Russian economist and politician, dies at 53
2009
UK experiences first widespread snow of 2009
2009
Bombings in Iraq kill eight; many wounded
2009
Suspected US drone strikes kill twelve in western Pakistan
2009
EU, Microsoft agree on browser ballot
2010
Australian Federal Police say Wikileaks committed no crime
2010
North Korea warns of 'self-defensive blows,' nuclear war, if military exercises take place
2010
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange granted bail, set free
2010
UK Royal Mail announces record 5p increase in stamp prices
2011
Former French president Jacques Chirac found guilty of corruption
2011
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley endorses Mitt Romney for U.S. president
2011
Iceland formally recognises Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders

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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