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Today in History

Christmas Day
1223
First Nativity scene
1776
Washington crosses the Delaware
1818
First performance of Silent Night
1868
President Andrew Johnson pardons Confederate soldiers
1899
Oscar winning actor and film legend, Humphrey Bogart born in New York City
1907
Grammy Award winning singer, Cabell "Cab" Calloway III born in Rochester, New York
1914
German and British troops cease fire
1918
Soldier, revolutionary and third president of Egypt, Muhammad Anwar Al Sadat born in Mit Abu al-Kum, Egypt
1924
Paratrooper, boxer, and prolific screenwriter, Rod Serling born in Syracuse, New York
1939
First radio broadcast of A Christmas Carol
1939
First Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
1946
Singer, songwriter, author, and businessman, James William "Jimmy" Buffett born in Pascagoula, Mississsippi
1949
Singer, Academy and Golden Globe Award winning actress, Sissy Spacek born in Quitman, Texas
1954
Academy Award winning songwriter, musician and singer, Annie Lennox born in Aberdeen, Scotland
1977
Menachem Begin meets with Anwar Sadat
438
Publication of the Theodosian Code
496
Baptism of Clovis, King of France
800
Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor
820
Assassination of Leo V, Emperor of Byzantium
875
Coronation of Charles "the Bald" as Emperor of the Franks
967
Coronation of Otto II as Holy Roman Emperor
1000
Stephen crowned as Hungary's first King
1066
William the Conqueror was crowned King William I of England.
1075
Pope Gregory VII kidnapped while saying Mass
1223
St. Francis of Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes, in Greccio, Italy.
1583
Orlando Gibbons, whom Glenn Gould regarded as the greatest composer of all time, was baptized. By the age of 19 he was earning money for compositions. He was one of England's most prominent organists from the age of 21.
1621
The Plymouth Colony bans card-playing
1635
Death of Samuel de Champlain, explorer
1642
British mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton born
1776
General George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey.
1818
"Silent Night" was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria: composed by organist Franz Gruber and Father Joseph Mohr.
1821
American Red Cross founder Clara Barton born
1868
President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion that resulted in the Civil War.
1870
Richard Wagner hired an orchestra to play music on Cosima's 33rd birthday. The music was the "Siegfried Idyll." She was sleeping upstairs until the orchestra began performing on the lower stairs.
1876
Founder of the Republic of Pakistan Mohammed Ali Jinnah born
1887
Hotel Magnet Conrad Hilton born
1892
English author (Cicily Fairfield) Rebecca West (The Meaning of Treason, A Train of Powder, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, The Birds Fall Down) born
1893
Robert "Believe It or Not" Ripley born
1895
Foster father Cal Farley Founder of Cal Farley's Boys Ranch born
1896
John Philip Sousa wrote the melody to a song that had haunted him for days. On Christmas Day, that melody was finally titled, "The Stars and Stripes Forever."He had hoped the song would be a ballad - but alas, another march.
1899
Actor Humphrey Bogart (The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Caine Mutiny, The Barefoot Contessa, Tokyo Joe, Key Largo) born
1906
Producer Lord Grade born
1907
Singer and band leader Cab (Cabell) Calloway (`Highness of Hi-De-Ho': Minnie the Moocher) born
1913
Singer Tony Martin born
1914
Singer (Alvin Morris) Tony Martin (It's a Blue World, To Each His Own, Kiss of Fire) born
1917
The play, "Why Marry?", opened at the Astor Theatre in New York City. Jesse Lynch Williams won a Pulitzer the following year making ; "Why Marry?" the first dramatic play to win a Pulitzer Prize.
1918
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (Nobel Peace Prize winner with Israel's Menachim Begin in1978) born
1924
Scriptwriter Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Planet of the Apes, Seven Days in May) born
1926
Hirohito became emperor of Japan, suceeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito (Hirohito was formally enthroned almost two years later).
1928
Actor Dick Miller born
1931
New York's Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire opera over radio for the first time: "Hansel and Gretel" by Engelbert Humperdinck.
1937
Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of "Symphony of the Air" over NBC radio.
1939
The Charles Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol", was read by Lionel Barrymore on "The Campbell Playhouse" on CBS radio. The reading of the tale became an annual radio event for years to come.
1941
British Hong Kong surrendered to advancing Japanese forces.
1943
Actress Hanna Schygulla (Dead Again, The Summer of Miss Forbes, Forever, Lulu, Casanova, Delta Force) born
1945
Actor Gary Sandy (WKRP in Cincinnati, All That Glitters, Troll, Hail) born
1946
Singer Jimmy Buffett (Margaritaville, Come Monday, Changes in Latitudes - Changes in Attitudes; main `Parrot Head') born
1946
Football Hall-of-Famer Larry Csonka born
1946
Comedian W.C. Fields died in Pasadena, California, at age 66.
1948
Singer Barbara Mandrell (CMA Entertainer of the Year 1980, 1981; Female Vocalist of the Year 1979) born
1949
Actress Sissy (Mary) Spacek (Coal Miner's Daughter, Missing, The River, Carrie) born
1950
Dick Tracy got married on Christmas Day. The comic strip hero married Tess Truehart.
1954
Singer Annie Lennox born
1954
Reggae singer-musician Robin Campbell (UB40) born
1954
Country singer Steve Wariner born
1957
Singer Shane McGowan (Transmetropolitan, Streams of Whiskey, Dark Streets of London, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, Dirty Old Town, Sally MacIennane, A Pair of Brown Eyes) born
1958
Baseball outfielder Ricky Henderson born
1968
Actress Klea Scott born
1971
Rock musician Noel Hogan (The Cranberries) born
1977
Comedian Sir Charles Chaplin died in Switzerland at age 88.
1982
Country singer Alecia Elliott born
1987
Authorities recaptured Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, who had escaped two days earlier from the federal prison in Alderson, West Virginia, where she was serving a life sentence for her attempt on the life of President Ford.
1988
Christmas services were held in Lockerbie, Scotland, where residents mourned the loss of 270 lives in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 with relatives of the victims.
1989
Former baseball manager Billy Martin died in a traffic accident in Fenton, New York.
1989
Ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising.
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev won sweeping new powers from the Congress of People's Deputies.
1990
Romania's former monarch, King Michael, arrived on his first visit to his homeland since Communist rulers forced him to abdicate four decades earlier -- but he was deported by the new Bucharest government less than 12 hours later.
1991
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a Communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.
1992
US Marines delivered wheat to a refugee camp in Bardera, Somalia, setting off a small riot among the Somalis; American and French troops also took control of Hoddur.
1993
Full-fledged Christmas celebrations returned to Bethlehem for the first time since the Palestinian uprising began six years earlier.
1993
In London, an unidentified 59-year-old woman who'd been implanted with donated eggs gave birth to twins in a case that sparked controversy.
1994
Pope John Paul the Second, in his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" message, bemoaned "selfishness and violence" around the world.
1994
A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at a Jerusalem bus stop, injuring a dozen other people.
1995
Singer Dean Martin died at his Beverly Hills home at age 78.
1995
An ailing Pope John Paul the Second cut short his traditional Christmas greetings, telling crowds he was fighting to regain his health.
1996
Peruvians held candles high and prayed outside the Japanese ambassador's residence, where leftist rebels freed one hostage for health reasons, but continued to hold more than 100 others.
1997
Richard Bliss, a field technician for Qualcomm Incorporated accused of spying in Russia, arrived in San Diego after Russian authorities were persuaded to let him return home (however, Russia says its investigation of Bliss continues).
1997
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld announced plans to fold his highly successful NBC sitcom "Seinfeld" at the end of the current season.
1998
British mogul Richard Branson, American millionaire Steve Fossett and Per Lindstrand of Sweden gave up their attempt to make the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight seven days into their journey, ditching off Hawaii.
1999
Space shuttle "Discovery's" astronauts finished their repair job on the Hubble Space Telescope.
1999
A Cuban airplane crashed in northern Venezuela, killing all 22 aboard.
2005
Australian troops receive Christmas show in Iraq
2005
Fiesta Season begins in Colombia
2005
Armenian Journalists Facing Prison Sentences in Turkey
2005
Australian wheat to lose out in Iraqi market grab
2005
Apaches accuse Prescott Bush of robbing Geronimo's grave
2005
Cheney-Rumsfeld "Cabal" alleged in the USA
2005
War between top lawyers in Greece
2005
Taxi driver stabbed to death in Nova Scotia
2005
United States 2003 National Adult Literacy Survey released
2006
India wins its first cricket Test in South Africa
2006
James Brown dies of pneumonia
2007
Google Taiwan: Building knowledge sharing center-stage with innovations
2007
No injuries after Antarctica research station support plane crashes
2007
Israel says cluster bomb use was legal
2007
Leaders throughout the world deliver Christmas messages
2008
Apartment gas blast in Yevpatoria, Ukraine
2008
FDA says Coca-Cola's Diet Coke Plus is misbranded
2009
Over twenty dead after multiple bomb attacks in Iraq

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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