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Today in History

1887
Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan born in Erode, Tamil Nadu, India
1915
Fashion model and actress, Barbara Lillian Billingsley born in Los Angeles, California
1937
New York City's Lincoln Tunnel opens to traffic
1945
Award winning television journalist and correspondent, Lila Diane Sawyer born in Glascow, Kentucky
1949
Musician. singer and songwriter, Maurice Gibb born in the Isle of Man
1949
Singer and songwriter, Robin Gibb born in the Isle of Man
1997
Government backed paramilitary forces gun down 45 men, women and children during prayer meeting in Acteal, Mexico
2001
Richard Reid tries to detonate shoe bomb during flight from Paris to Miami
1057
Death of Ralph the Timid, Earl of Hereford
1095
Roger II Grand count of Sicily (1105-30) and king of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily (1130-54) born
1135
Coronation of King Stephen.
1178
ANTOKU TENNO, personal name TOKIHITO 81st emperor of Japan born
1216
The Dominican Order of Friars confirmed by the Pope
1440
Bluebeard, pirate, is executed
1551
Death of Richard Plantagenet, illegitimate son of Richard III
1617
Mustapha I becomes Ottoman Sultan
1696
Colonist James Oglethorpe. He colonized Georgia and founded the city of Savannah. born
1775
A Continental naval fleet was organized in the rebellious American colonies under the command of Ezek Hopkins.
1785
The American Continental Navy fleet was organized, consisting of two frigates, two brigs and three schooners. Sailors were paid eight dollars a month.
1807
Congress passed the Embargo Act, designed to force peace between Britain and France by cutting off all trade with Europe.
1808
A remarkable concert was staged by Beethoven. The four-hour event included the premiere of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies with the Fourth Piano Concerto in between. Some of Beethoven's vocal music was sung, too.
1856
Frank Kellogg, Secretary of State who tried to outlaw war born
1858
Opera composer Giacomo Puccini ( La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly) born
1862
Philadelphia A's manager Connie Mack, "Dean of Baseball" born
1864
Union General William T. Sherman sent President Abraham Lincoln this message: "I beg to present you as a Christmas present the city of Savannah."
1869
Pulitzer prize-winning poet Edwin Arlington Robinson born
1883
Composer Edgar Varese born
1885
Composer Deems Taylor born
1885
Conductor Andre Kostelanetz born
1894
Debussy's "Prelude for the Afternoon of a Faun" was premiered in Paris. Mallarme, whose poem inspired the work, said, "I didn't expect anything like that."
1894
French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.)
1894
The United States Golf Association was formed in New York City.
1907
Academy Award-winning actress Dame Edith Margaret (Peggy) Ashcroft (Passage to India) born
1910
Postal savings stamps were issued for the first time. They were discontinued in 1914.
1912
Former first lady Lady Bird (Claudia Alta) Johnson born
1917
Actor- Frankie (Johnson) Darro (Vanishing Legion, Westward the Women, Broadway Bill, Riding High, Black Gold, Irish Luck) born
1917
TV game show host Gene (Rubessa) Rayburn born
1918
The last of the food restrictions, that had been enforced because of the shortages during World War I, are lifted. Thoughts on American History.
1920
WEAF, in New York City, aired the first broadcast of a prize fight from ringside. The fight was broadcast from Madison Square Garden where Joe Lynch defeated Peter Herman to retain the bantamweight title.
1922
Actress Barbara Billingsley (Leave it to Beaver) born
1922
Former House Speaker Jim Wright born
1931
The U.S. Senate ratifies foreign debt moratorium.
1934
Auto racer David Pearson born
1936
Actor Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope, Popi, Freebie and the Bean, Foley Square, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, The Fan, Cuba, American Gigolo, The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three, Pocket Money, Born to Win) born
1937
Country singer Red Steagall born
1941
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington for a wartime conference with President Roosevelt.
1943
Sporting goods manufacturers received permission to use synthetic rubber for the core of baseballs.
1944
Baseball hall-of-famer Steve Carlton born
1944
Ordered to surrender by Nazi troops who had his unit trapped, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division replied with one word: "Nuts!"
1945
ABC News correspondent Diane Sawyer born
1946
Rock singer-musician Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) born
1948
Retired baseball player Steve Garvey born
1949
Brothers Robin and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees pop group. born
1951
Golfer Jan Stephenson born
1953
Actress BernNadette Stanis (Good Times) born
1956
Gorilla Colo (1st to be born in captivity. Born at Columbus, Ohio zoo) born
1956
The Columbus, Ohio zoo reports the first gorilla born in captivity.
1960
Rapper Luther Campbell born
1962
Actor Ralph Fiennes born
1966
The U.S. announces the allocation of 900,000 tons of grain to fight the famine in India.
1969
Actress Lauralee Bell ("The Young and the Restless") born
1972
Folk singer Joni Mitchell received a gold record for the album, "For the Roses."
1974
Actress Heather Donahue ("The Blair Witch Project") born
1975
Mike and Gloria Stivic (Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers) had a baby on "All In the Family" on CBS-TV.
1977
Three dozen people were killed when a 250-foot-high grain elevator at the Continental Grain Company plant in Westwego, Louisiana, exploded.
1978
Actress Dina Meyer born
1985
Winnie Mandela of South Africa is put in jail for returning to her home in Soweto.
1986
Joe Paterno was named Sportsman of the Year by "Sports Illustrated"magazine. It marked only the second time a coach had won the honor.
1987
The Reagan administration criticized Israel's handling of the Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories, particularly the military's use of live ammunition against civilians.
1988
President-elect Bush appointed Dr. Louis W. Sullivan secretary of health and human services, Samuel K. Skinner transportation secretary and Manuel Lujan Junior interior secretary.
1989
Romania's hard-line Communist ruler, Nicolae Ceausescu, was toppled in a popular uprising.
1990
Twenty-one sailors returning from shore leave to the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga drowned when the Israeli ferry they were traveling on capsized.
1990
Lech Walesa took the oath of office as Poland's first popularly elected president.
1991
The body of Lieutenant Colonel William R. Higgins, an American hostage murdered by his captors, was found dumped along a highway in Lebanon.
1992
A Libyan Boeing 727 jetliner crashed, killing 157 people.
1992
President-elect Clinton chose Warren Christopher to be his secretary of state, and tapped Les Aspin to be defense secretary.
1993
Singer Michael Jackson, fighting back against child molestation allegations, issued a video statement in which he said he was "totally innocent of any wrongdoing."
1994
House Democrats chastised Speaker-to-be Newt Gingrich for accepting a $4.5 million book advance from Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
1994
North Korea handed over the body of American pilot David Hilemon, killed when his helicopter was shot down over the communist country three days earlier.
1995
The Senate approved a wide-ranging Republican plan to overhaul the nation's welfare system, 52-47, but without enough votes to override President Clinton's promised veto.
1995
Actress Butterfly McQueen, who'd played the slave Prissy in "Gone With the Wind," died at age 84.
1996
Peruvian guerrillas holding more than 360 hostages at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima freed all but 140 of their captives.
1996
Eight workers were killed in an explosion at the Wyman Gordon Forgings metal-fabricating plant in northwest Houston.
1997
During his visit to Bosnia, President Clinton thanked American troops and lectured the nation's three presidents to set aside their differences.
1997
Gunmen attacked an Indian village in southern Mexico, killing 45 people.
1997
Actress Hunter Tylo, whose pregnancy got her fired from TV's steamy soap "Melrose Place," was awarded $4.9 million by jurors who agreed she was wrongfully terminated.
1998
A third Chinese dissident (Qin Yongmin) was sentenced to prison for trying to organize an opposition party.
1999
An Algerian accused of trying to smuggle nitroglycerin and other bomb-making materials into the United States from Canada pleaded innocent in Seattle to all five counts of a federal indictment.
1999
Two astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery went on a spacewalk to replace broken instruments in the Hubble Space Telescope.
2005
Greenpeace activists clash with Japanese whaling fleet in Southern Ocean
2005
Japanese whaling ship to dock in Hobart
2005
Bird flu resistant to anti-viral drug
2005
Destroyed Kelso High School to be rebuilt
2005
US Senate blocks Alaska refuge drilling
2005
HIV vaccine trial ready to roll in Thailand
2005
Australian academic study supports nuclear power
2005
Station staff on the London tube to take industrial action over staffing levels
2005
Striking NYC transit workers will return to jobs
2005
Calpine declares bankruptcy, cites natural gas prices
2005
Australian States to launch high court battle against IR reforms
2005
Australian woman wins right to have dead husband's baby
2005
First charges laid over riot text messages
2005
Technology Brief for December 22, 2005
2005
Former Australian defence chief's son to be discharged from the Army
2005
Couples thrashed for sitting in a park in Meerut, India
2006
Minimum purchasing age of fireworks raised in New Zealand
2006
Travel chaos as fog descends on United Kingdom
2006
Rolling Stone prints story based on Wikipedia vandalism
2007
Open Source "TV Browser" project drops 16 channel listings in face of usage fees
2007
Oldest surviving US WWI veteran dies
2007
Preview of sex tape starring former 'American Idol' finalist Jessica Sierra is released
2007
Indian Air Force jet catches fire and crashes after refuelling at Biju Patnaik Airport
2007
Rajeev Bagga & Natalia Deeva named as "Deaf Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year"
2007
WHO says spread of Bird Flu among humans limited
2007
Sacha Baron Cohen retires Borat alter ego
2007
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair converts to Catholicism
2008
US drone strike kills eight in Pakistan's tribal region
2008
Continental 737 runs off runway at Denver International Airport
2008
UK legislation expands debt collectors' powers
2008
Russian flight returns to Athens after bomb threat
2009
Mexico City legalises gay marriages
2009
Clashes between herders and farmers in Nigeria kill thirty
2009
Serbia to apply to join the EU
2009
Scottish nurse loses appeal in murders of four patients in England
2009
US Senate advances health care reform bill
2009
China and Indonesia hail deal of Copenhagen summit
2010
British serial killer jailed for three prostitute murders
2011
Cypriot court clears all of wrongdoing in Greek air disaster
2011
Italian senate passes €30 billion austerity package
2011
Two politicians jailed for life over Rwandan genocide
2012
'Gangnam Style' YouTube view count passes one billion

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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