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Today in History

1831
HMS Beagle leaves Plymouth harbor
1845
Ether first used as anesthetic in childbirth
1901
Tony Award winning dancer, singer, stage and screen actress, Marlene Dietrich born in Berlin, Germany
1904
Peter Pan premieres in London
1943
Author and Emmy Award winning journalist, Cokie Roberts born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs in New Orleans, Louisiana
1955
Author and news commentator, Barbara Olson born in Houston, Texas
1956
Keel plate of the first super carrier USS Kitty Hawk laid in Camden, New Jersey
388
Death of St. Fabiola
537
Justinian dedicates Hagia Sophia
1253
William of Rubruck and Bartholomew of Cremona arrive at the Court of Mangu Khan of the Mongols
1512
The laws of Burgos give New World natives legal protection against abuse and authorize Negro slavery.
1558
Queen Elizabeth of England issues a Proclaimation forbidding any other kind of worship other that that used at the close of the reign of Henry VIII
1571
Johannes Kepler, discovered planets travel in eliptical orbits. born
1585
Death of Pierre de Ronsard, poet
1587
Coronation of Sigsimund III as King of Poland
1773
English engineer George Cayley, father of the science of aerodynamics born
1822
Scientist Louis Pasteur in Dole, France. He developed the pasteurization process and rabies vaccination. born
1829
Hinton Helper, southern abolitionist who wrote The Impending Crisis. born
1831
Naturalist Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the HMS "Beagle." (Darwin's discoveries during the voyage helped formed the basis of his theories on evolution.)
1845
Dr. Crawford Williamson Long used anesthesia for childbirth for the first time, when he delivered his own child in Jefferson, Georgia.
1875
Wagner dreamed that the Queen of Prussia was his mother.
1879
Actor Sydney Greenstreet (Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Across the Pacific, Passage to Marseilles, Malaya) born
1900
Militant prohibitionist Carry Nation carried out her first public smashing of a bar, at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas.
1900
The New York Tribune published a review of Puccini's new opera. "Silly and inconsequential incidents and dialogues," the Tribune critic reported speaking of "La Boheme."
1901
Actress Marlene (Maria von Losch) Dietrich (The Blue Angel, Morocco, Kismet, Destry Rides Again, Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution) born
1903
The barbershop quartet favorite, "Sweet Adeline", was sung for the first time -- in New York City. The song was composed by Henry Armstrong with the words of Richard Gerard. The title of the song came from a theatre marquee that promoted the great operatic soprano, Adelina Patti.
1911
Comedienne Anna Russell born
1913
Charles Moyer, president of the Miners Union, is shot in the back and dragged through the streets of Chicago.
1915
Physician William H. Masters (Human Sexual Response, On Sex and Human Loving) born
1915
In Ohio, iron and steel workers go on strike for an eight hour day and higher wages.
1916
Actor and musician Oscar Levant (An American in Paris, The Bandwagon, Romance on the High Seas) born
1926
Child psychologist Lee Salk born
1927
The musical play "Show Boat," with music by Jerome Kern and libretto by Oscar Hammerstein the Second, opened at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York.
1932
Actress Inga Swenson born
1932
Radio City Music Hall opened in New York. It was the largest indoor theatre in the world. The gala grand opening show was a six-hour extravaganza that lost half a million dollars within three weeks.
1933
PGA golf champion Dave Marr born
1935
Fashion and perfume designer Bernard Lanvin born
1939
Vicious earthquakes take 11,000 lives in Turkey.
1939
"The Glenn Miller Show", also known as "Music that Satisfies", started on CBS radio. The 15-minute, twice-a-week show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes and was heard for nearly three years.
1940
Jockey Jerry Lambert born
1940
Singer Al Jolson and actress Ruby Keeler were divorced after 12 years of marriage.
1941
Japanese war planes bombed Manila in the Philippines, even though it had been declared an "open city."
1941
Baseball player Phil Gagliano born
1941
Actor John Amos (Good Times, Die Hard 2 to America, Future Cop) born
1943
Baseball player Roy White born
1943
ABC News correspondent Cokie Roberts born
1944
Singer Tracy Nelson born
1944
Amy Beach died. She was the first woman in the United States to have a symphony performed, and it is still performed to this day.
1945
28 nations signed an agreement creating the World Bank.
1945
Foreign ministers of Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union agree on a plan to take over Korea for five years.
1946
The American team won the Davis Cup for the first time since 1938.
1947
Football player Bob McKay born
1947
The children's television program "Howdy Doody," hosted by Bob Smith, made its debut on NBC. It showed under the title "Puppet Playhouse." It was aired for 13 years.
1948
Actor Gerard Depardieu (A Pure Formality, My Father the Hero, Cyrano deBergerac, Jean DeFlorette, The Return of Martin Guerre, Tartuffe, Choice of Arms, Loulou, Going Places, The Holes) born
1949
Indonesia attains independence from the Netherlands.
1951
A Crosley automobile, with a steering wheel on the right side, became the first such vehicle placed in service for mail delivery. It was used in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1952
Singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff born
1952
Baseball pitcher Craig Reynolds born
1952
Rock musician David Knopfler (Dire Straits) born
1952
Actress Tovah Feldshuh (Holocaust, The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal, Brewster's Millions, Blue Iguana, A Day in October) born
1953
Broadcast journalist Arthur Kent born
1956
Segregation on Tallahassee, Florida buses is outlawed.
1962
Country musician Jeff Bryant (Ricochet) born
1968
The U.S. agrees to sell fifty F-4 Phantom jets to Israel.
1968
"The Breakfast Club" signed off for the last time on ABC radio, after 35 years on the air.
1968
"Apollo Eight" and its three astronauts made a safe, nighttime splashdown in the Pacific.
1969
Libya, Sudan and the United Arab Republic announce a political, economic and military agreement in Tripoli.
1970
"Hello, Dolly!" closed on Broadway after a run of 2,844 performances.
1971
Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Woodstock of Charles Schulz' famous "Peanuts" comic strip made the cover of "Newsweek" magazine.
1972
Musician Matt Slocum (Six Pence None The Richer) born
1972
Death of Lester B. Pearson (born 1897), Canadian statesman and prime minister from 1963-68. He wins the Nobel Peace Price in 1957 for his efforts to resolve the Suez Crisis in 1956.
1973
Singer Olu born
1973
Actor Wilson Cruz ("My So-Called Life") born
1979
Soviet forces seized control of Afghanistan. President Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and executed, was replaced by Babrak Karmal.
1983
President Reagan takes all responsibility for the lack of security in Beirut that allowed a terrorist on a suicide mission to kill 241 Marines.
1984
Four Polish officers are tried for the slaying of Reverend Jerzy Popieluszko.
1984
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the woman most admired by the American people, according to a Gallup Poll. It marked the third consecutive year that the `Iron Lady' received that honor.
1985
Palestinian guerrillas opened fire inside the Rome and Vienna airports; a total of twenty people were killed, including five of the attackers, who were slain by police and security personnel.
1986
Corazon Aquino, President of the Philippines, was named "TIME" magazine's Man of the Year. The only other women who had been so named were Queen Elizabeth II in 1952; and the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Warfield Simpson, in 1936.
1987
Scores of Palestinian prisoners appeared before Israeli military courts in the first trials of several hundred protesters arrested in the "intefadeh," or uprising, in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
1988
Hundreds of residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, paid silent tribute to five of the Americans killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, as coffins containing the victims' remains began their journey home.
1989
President Bush, on a visit to Beeville, Texas, told a gathering he was determined to bring deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega to justice "for poisoning the children of the United States" with illegal drugs.
1989
Romanias National Salvation Front names a new government headed by President Ion Iliescu, a day after announcing the execution of Nicolae Ceausescu.
1990
The government reported that orders to manufacturers for "big ticket" durable goods plummeted ten and a-half percent the previous month.
1990
Gennady I. Yanayev was approved as the Soviet Union's first vice president on the last day of a stormy, ten-day session of the Congress of People's Deputies.
1992
The United States shot down an Iraqi fighter jet during what the Pentagon described as a confrontation between a pair of Iraqi warplanes and US F-16 jets in UN-restricted airspace over southern Iraq.
1993
US officials said that Strobe Talbott, who had served as the Clinton administration's chief Russia policy architect, would take over the number-two spot at the State Department.
1994
Four Roman Catholic priests - three French and a Belgian - were shot to death in their rectory in Algiers, a day after French commandos killed four radicals who had hijacked an Air France jet from Algiers to Marseille.
1995
Death of Ukraine-born Shura Cherkassky, one of the worlds last great romantic pianists. VNS/REUTERS/AP
1995
Israeli jeeps sped out of the West Bank town of Ramallah, capping a seven-week pullout giving Yasser Arafat control over 90 percent of the West Bank's one million Palestinian residents and one-third of its land.
1996
In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, about 60,000 opposition supporters defied riot police and rallied in celebration of an international report backing their triumph over Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in recent local elections.
1997
Billy Wright, Northern Ireland's most notorious Protestant militant, was shot to death by three members of the Irish National Liberation Army at the Maze Prison outside Belfast.
1998
Six inmates, including four convicted killers, escaped from Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Tennessee (all were recaptured by the end of next day).
1998
A week after she was born weighing just ten-point-three ounces, the smallest of the Houston octuplets (Chijindu Chidera) died from heart and lung failure.
1999
Former television executive Leonard H. Goldenson, who'd built ABC into a network powerhouse, died in Longboat Key, Florida, at age 94.
1999
Death of Curtis Mayfield, a prolific composer and singer whose songs evoked the struggle of African Americans. He was 57. VNS/REUTERS/AP
1999
Space shuttle "Discovery" and its seven-member crew returned to Earth after fixing the Hubble Space Telescope.
2000
National Hockey League as a player after over 3 years of retirement. He was the first owner-player in the modern era of pro sports. Lemieux had purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins during his retirement from playing.
2001
normal trade status with the United States.
2001
U.S. officials announced that Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners would be held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
2001
President Bush extended permanent normal trade status to China.
2001
India and Pakistan engaged in diplomatic tit-for-tat, ordering half of each other's embassy staffs sent home and banning overflights by each other's national airlines.
2005
Australia's richest man dies aged 68
2005
Record companies subpoenaed over digital music pricing
2005
Japan's population declines
2005
Actor Vincent Schiavelli dies in Sicily at age 57
2005
Data Retention Directive passed by EU Parliament
2005
New Zealand Christmas road toll is at ten
2005
Fire destroys a Social Security building in Brasilia
2005
Timekeeping will pause into the New Year with a 'Leap Second'
2005
Greek newspaper reports British spy involved in torturing 28 Pakistani citizens
2006
Iran parliament to review compliance with IAEA standards
2006
Blair flight overshoots runway
2006
Iranian president sends letter to Pope Benedict XVI
2006
European telescope searches for planets
2006
68 pieces of luggage found behind Texas pet store
2006
Former U.S. President Gerald Ford dies, aged 93
2006
Canadian gold-medalist arrested, charged with kidnapping
2006
Polar bears reviewed to become "threatened" species
2006
Surgeon declares that Fidel Castro does not have cancer
2007
Six dead in shooting near Seattle, United States
2007
President Bush signs Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008
2007
TWTC Nangang is constructed in Taipei, Taiwan
2007
2007-08 Aztec Cup Winter Cyber Games in Taiwan starts with charity and competitiveness
2007
Israel continues settlement expansion
2007
Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack
2007
US Presidential candidates offer condolences to family of Benazir Bhutto
2007
Feared toll of Indonesian floods, landslides up to 130; dozens missing as bridge swept away
2007
Tiger that escaped enclosure at San Francisco Zoo may have 'climbed' over wall
2008
Israeli air strikes hit government compounds in Gaza
2009
Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up airliner
2009
British Member of Parliament David Taylor dies
2009
Vietnam record drug seizure suspects convicted
2009
Deaths in Philippines ferry accidents
2009
German jet bound for US searched in Iceland after suitcase loaded without owner
2009
Beirut car bomb targets Hamas official
2009
Two arrested, 40 dead in Indian bridge collapse
2010
'Serious' terror threat in Mumbai; police hunt four suspected militants
2012
California judge disqualified from predatory lending case
2012
Nigeria fireworks fire kills one, injures dozens

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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