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Today in History

1620
102 pilgrims aboard the Mayflower land in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts
1856
Discoverer of the electron and inventor of the mass spectrometer, Nobel Prize winning physicist JJ Thomson born in Manchester, England
1892
Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker premieres at Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia
1916
Pinup model and actress, Elizabeth Ruth "Betty" Grable born in St. Louis, Missouri
1933
Singer and blues guitarist, Lonnie Brooks born in Dubuisson, Louisiana
1943
Singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards born in Dartford, England
1946
Three time Academy Award winning producer and director, Steven Allan Spielberg born in Cincinnati, Ohio
1963
Golden Globe award winning actor, Brad Pitt born in Shawnee, Oklahoma
1987
Larry Wall releases version 1.0 of his "Practical Extraction and Report Language" (Perl)
761
Death of St. Winebald
1118
Saragossa taken by Alfonso "the Battler," King of Aragon
1127
Election of Conrad III as King of Germany
1378
Charles V confiscates the Duchy of John VI of Brittany
1398
Timur sacks Delhi
1610
Charles Du Fresne, sieur Du Cange, French scholar, philologist born
1619
Prince Rupert, Duke of Bavaria born
1621
The English House of Commons begins to assert its power, denying the King's right to imprison its members
1640
Archbishop Laud accused of Treason by the "Long Parliament"
1644
Antonio Stradivari born
1707
Clergyman Charles Wesley. He was an English clergyman, poet and hymn writer. With his elder brother John, they started the Methodist movement in England. born
1737
Antonio Stradivari died in Cremona. Stradivari lived more than 90 years and was building his famous violins to the very end.
1778
Clown Joseph Grimaldi (`greatest clown in history,'`king of pantomime' Joey the Clown; singer, dancer, acrobat) born
1786
German composer Carl Maria von Weber (opera Der Freischutz) born
1787
New Jersey became the third state to ratify the US Constitution.
1792
Beethoven's father died. Ludwig had just turned 12 years old.
1796
The "Monitor", of Baltimore, Maryland, was published as the first Sunday newspaper.
1819
Father Isaac Thomas Hecker. A Roman Catholic priest who founded the Paulist Fathers, a diocesan organization for missionary work in New York. born
1835
Clergymn Lyman Abbott. An American Congregationalist minister and a leading exponent of the Social Gospel movement. born
1856
English physicist Joseph J(ohn) Thompson. He helped revolutionize the knowledge of atomic structure by his discovery of the electron (1897). He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1906 and was knighted in 1908. born
1861
Edward MacDowell was born in New York. MacDowell was at one time considered America's greatest composer and some of his music is still occasionally performed today. born
1862
Grant announces the organization of his army. Sherman, Hurlbut, McPherson, and McClernand were to be Corps Commanders.
1862
The first orthopedic hospital was organized in New York City. It was called the Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled.
1865
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist in the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
1870
British short story writer (Hector Hugh Munro) Saki (The Rise of the Russian Empire, Reginald, The Chronicles of Clovis, Beasts & Super-beasts, The Square Egg) born
1879
Paul Klee, abstract artist (Twittering Machine) born
1886
Ty Cobb (TYRUS RAYMOND COBB). He is frequently considered the greatest offensive player in baseball history and generally regarded as the fiercest competitor in the game. During his 24-season playing career in the American League he played 3,000+ games with a .367 batting average. born
1890
Inventor Edwin Armstrong (EDWIN HOWARD ARMSTRONG). A radio pioneer who laid the foundation for much of modern radio and electronic circuitry, including the regenerative and superheterodyne circuits and the frequency modulation (FM) system. born
1892
Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite" publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia.
1907
Poet and dramatist Christopher Fry (Harris) (The Boy with a Cart, A Phoenix Too Frequent, The Lady's Not for Burning) born
1913
West German statesman Willy (Herbert Frahm) Brandt (Nobel Peace Prize-winner 1971) born
1915
President Wilson, a widower for one year, married the widow Edith Bolling Galt.
1915
In a single night, about 20,000 Australian and New Zealand troops slip away from Gallipoli, undetected by the Turks defending the peninsula.
1916
Actress Pinup Girl Betty (Ruth Elizabeth) Grable born
1917
Actress Lynn (Marjorie Bitzer) Bari (The Young Runaways,Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops, Sunny Side of the Street, The Bridge of San Luis Rey) born
1917
Actor Ossie Davis (A Raisin in the Sun, Grumpy Old Men, Evening Shade) born
1919
Jazz singer Anita (Colton) O'Day (Chickery Chick, Boogie Blues; films: The Gene Krupa Story, Jazz on a Summer's Day, Zigzag, The Outfit) born
1920
Conductor Arturo Toscanini made his first recording for Victor Records in Camden, New Jersey.
1924
Pope Pious denounces the Bolshevik regime in the Soviet Union.
1927
Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark (U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon Johnson [1967-1969]) born
1932
Actor Roger Smith born
1932
Beau Jack defeated Tippy Larkin in New York City to win the World Lightweight Boxing Championship.
1933
Blues musician Lonnie Brooks born
1935
A $1 silver certificate was issued. It was the first currency to depict the front and back sides of the Great Seal of the United States.
1940
Adolf Hitler signed a secret directive ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. (Operation "Barbarossa" was launched in June 1941.)
1941
Defended by 610 fighting men, the American-held island of Guam fell to more than 5,000 Japanese invaders in a three-hour battle.
1943
Rock singer-musician Keith Richards born
1944
The Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained.
1946
Football player and coach Greg Landry born
1947
Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List born
1950
Movie director Gillian Armstrong ("My Brilliant Career") born
1950
Movie reviewer Leonard Maltin born
1951
North Koreans give the Allies a list of 3,100 POWs.
1955
Actor Ray Liotta (Unforgettable, Operation Dumbo Drop, Corrina, Corrina, Goodfellas, Field of Dreams, Dominck & Eugene, Something Wild, The Lonely Lady, Our Family Honor, Casablanca) born
1956
"To Tell the Truth," one of America's great panel shows debuted on CBS-TV. Bud Collyer hosted the program which enjoyed a 10-year run. The show made stars of panelists: Phyllis Newman, Orson Bean, Kitty Carlisle (Hart), Sam Levinson, Tom Poston, Milt Kamen and Bess Myerson.
1956
Japan is admitted to the UN.
1957
The motion picture "The Bridge on the River Kwai" premiered at the RKO Palace Theater in New York.
1957
The Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, went on line. (It was taken out of service in 1982.)
1963
Actor Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, Seven, Legends of the Fall, A River Runs Through It, Thelma and Louise, Cutting Class, Head of the Class, Dallas) born
1966
Country singer Tracy Byrd born
1969
Singer Tiny Tim, 44, married 17-year-old Miss Vicky Budinger on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show."
1969
Britain's Parliament abolished the death penalty for murder.
1970
An atomic leak in Nevada forces hundreds to flee the test site.
1971
Tennis player Arantxa Sanchez Vicario born
1972
The United States began its heaviest bombing of North Vietnam at that time during the Vietnam War. (The bombardment ended 12 days later.) President Nixon declares that the bombing of North Vietnam will continue until an accord can be reached.
1972
Helen Reddy received a gold record for the song that became an anthem for women's liberation, "I Am Woman". The song had reached number one on December 9, 1972.
1978
Actress Katie Holmes ("Dawson's Creek") born
1980
Singer Christina Aguilera born
1980
Former Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin died at age 76.
1984
Christopher Guest of "Saturday Night Live" and actress Jamie Lee Curtis were married in the Los Angeles home of comedian Rob Reiner.
1987
Ivan F. Boesky was sentenced to three years in prison for plotting Wall Street's biggest insider-trading scandal. (Boesky served about two years of his sentence).
1987
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was married in a traditional Islamic ceremony to businessman Asif Ali Zardari.
1988
PLO chairman Yasser Arafat met in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss how to continue the momentum gained by the first US - PLO dialogue.
1989
Robert E. Robinson, an attorney and alderman in Savannah, Georgia, was killed by a mail bomb similar to a device that had claimed the life of a federal judge in Alabama two days earlier. (Walter Leroy Moody Junior was later convicted of both bombings, and is on Alabama's death row.)
1990
In Baghdad, the ruling Revolutionary Command Council said Iraq was "ready for the decisive showdown."
1990
Less than a month before a U.N. deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, President Bush told reporters he believed Americans would support a military strike, if one proved necessary.
1992
The UN Security Council unanimously denounced Israel's deportation of more than 400 Palestinians and demanded their immediate return. Kim Young-sam was elected South Korea's first civilian president in three decades.
1993
The United States and Germany pledged close cooperation to help Boris Yeltsin through Russia's political and economic crises in a two-hour meeting in Oggersheim between Vice President Al Gore and Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
1994
Former US president Jimmy Carter arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina on a private mission to seek an end to 32 months of war.
1995
A powerful fertilizer bomb was found outside an Internal Revenue Service office in Reno, Nev., but fizzled before its lit fuse could do much damage.
1995
The Dow industrials dropped 101.52 points, its biggest one-day loss in four years, amid investor worries over the budget stalemate between Congress and President Clinton.
1996
Aides to President Clinton disclosed that Asian-American businessman Charles Yah Lin Trie, who delivered $460,000 in questionable donations to the Clintons' legal defense fund, had been to the White House at least 23 times since 1993.
1996
The school board of Oakland, California, voted to recognize "Ebonics" as a language in a decision that set off a firestorm of controversy (the board later modified its stance).
1996
FBI agent Earl Edwin Pitts was arrested, accused of selling secrets to the Russians. (Pitts was sentenced in June 1997 to 27 years in prison after admitting that he'd conspired and attempted to commit espionage.)
1997
Onetime dissident Kim Dae-jung of South Korea was elected the country's president.
1997
Fired California highway employee Arturo Reyes Torres shot and killed four people at a maintenance yard before being killed by police.
1997
President Clinton extended indefinitely the deadline for withdrawal of US troops helping with the UN peacekeeping effort in Bosnia.
1997
Comedian Chris Farley was found dead in his Chicago apartment; he was 33.
1998
South Carolina carried out the nation's 500th execution since capital punishment resumed in 1977.
1998
The House debated articles of impeachment against President Clinton. US and British forces blasted Iraq with a third day of airstrikes.
1999
In St. Martinville, La., Cuban inmates who'd held a jail warden and six others hostage for almost a week surrendered.
1999
After living atop an ancient redwood in Humboldt County, California, for two years, environmental activist Julia "Butterfly" Hill came down, ending her anti-logging protest.
1999
French film director Robert Bresson died in Paris at age 98.
2005
President Alvaro Uribe asks Washington to stop meddling
2005
Australia's Howard calls for nativity scenes
2005
London bomb survivors launch campaign for public inquiry
2005
Approval down for President Pacheco
2005
German hostage freed in Iraq
2005
Israeli PM Sharon suffers 'mild stroke'
2005
Dick Cheney makes surprise Iraq visit
2005
Kwaśniewski to end his term within 5 days
2005
San Diego ends Colts' bid for perfect season
2006
Australia reclaim Ashes in Perth
2006
Minimum wage to be increased in New Zealand
2006
Airplane crashes into flats in South Africa
2006
Four shot in restaurant in Alabama, US
2006
Emergency declared in US state of Washington, eight additional casualties, many still without power
2006
Man arrested over prostitutes' murders in Great Britain
2006
E-Passport cloned in five minutes
2007
Israel Journal: The Holy Land has an image problem
2007
Russia makes first nuclear fuel shipments to Iran
2007
Free speech restricted in New Zealand with passing of Bill, say opponents
2007
Brazilian-Argentine rocket successfully launched
2007
Nick Clegg is new leader of UK Liberal Democrat party
2007
Musharraf lifts emergency rule in Pakistan
2007
Grand Central Railway launches direct train service linking London with north east England
2007
BBC Radio 1 reverses "faggot" ruling hours after initial ban
2007
Dad sells $90 video game for $9000 after catching son smoking pot
2008
Yahoo! to purge personal data after 3 months
2008
Illinois court rejects attempt to have governor removed from office
2008
US, UK investigators collaborating after US 777 incident similar to London crash
2008
Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US's first face transplant
2008
French appeals court confirms Volvo guilty over death crash
2008
Twin bomb blasts in 2 Philippine malls kill 6, injure 38
2008
Philippine shipwreck kills man; rescue boat also rescued
2009
Canadian woman gives birth while sitting on toilet
2009
Russian ICBM test launch failed again
2010
UN convoy attacked by gunman in Ivory Coast as peacekeeping forces ordered to leave country
2010
Don Van Vliet, best known as 'Captain Beefheart', dies aged 69
2011
Aidan Burley MP sacked following Nazi pics furore
2012
Journalists escape after being kidnapped in Syria
2012
Hackers target Westboro Baptist Church website, Twitter account

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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