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Today in History

The Hobbit...
Death of Smaug
1776
Phi Beta Kappa founded
1890
Film maker Fritz Lang born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary
1899
Harmonica player, singer and songwriter, Sonny Boy Williamson II born Aleck Ford in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi
1901
Founder of Disney Studios, Disneyland, Disneyworld and creator of Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney born in Chicago, Illinois
1903
Award winning actor and singer who famously chose to quit smoking at the age of 106, Johannes Heesters born in Amersfoort, Netherlands
1906
Golden Globe Award winning director, Otto Preminger born in Wiznitz, Austria-Hungary
1932
Grammy Awad winning songwriter, musician and singer, Little Richard born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia
1933
Prohibition of alcohol in the US ends
1945
Flight 19 lost in the Bermuda Triangle
1958
UK begins subscriber trunk dialing
1968
Author, activist, comedian and actress, Margaret Cho born in San Francisco, California
2008
OJ Simpson sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery, kidnapping
304
Death of St. Crispina
532
Death of St. Sabas
1443
Pope Julius II, patron of Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael born
1484
The Pope sets severe penalties against German witches and magicians
1496
King Manuel I orders the expulsion of all Jews from Portugal
1560
Death of Francis II, King of France
1578
Francis Drake raids Valparaisio, South America
1758
The German composer Fasch died, while Mozart was still a child. Fasch's music fits in that fuzzy period between the very late Baroque and the earlier days of Haydn.
1776
The first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
1782
The first native US president, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, New York.
1782
Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States 1837-1841. born
1791
Mozart died at one o'clock in the morning. His friend Sussmayr wrote that shortly before Mozart had leafed through his own Requiem and said, "Didn't I tell you I wrote this for myself?" He was 35.
1792
George Washington was re-elected president; John Adams was re-elected vice president.
1830
``Symphonie Fantastique'' was premiered on this day in . Hector Berlioz was on stage as timpanist.
1839
General George A. Custer born
1848
President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in California, leading to the "gold rush" of 1848 and '49.
1861
In the U.S. Congress, petitions and bills calling for the abolition of slavery are introduced.
1876
The Stillson wrench was patented by D.C. Stillson of Somerville, MA this day it is a pipe wrench.
1890
Film director Fritz Lang. born
1894
Phillip K. Wrigley (corporate executive born
1902
South Carolina Senator, Strom Thurmond. born
1906
Otto Preminger (director born
1908
Numerals were used on football uniforms worn by college football players. The University of Pittsburgh (Panthers) proudly displayed their new numbers in a game with Washington and Jefferson.
1916
David Lloyd George replaces Herbert Asquith as the British Prime Minister.
1922
Composer musician Don Robertson born
1924
Actree Maggie (Margaret) Hayes born
1927
Leos Janacek's "Glagolitic Mass" was premiered.
1932
German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States.
1932
Singer 'Little' Richard (Pennimann) ( Good Golly Miss Molly, Tutti Frutti) born
1932
Auto racer Jim Hurtubise born
1933
National Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.
1934
Actor singer Larry Kert born
1934
Author Joan Didion (Run River) born
1935
Author Calvin Trillin born
1936
Bing Crosby took over as host of "The Kraft Music Hall" this day. Jimmy Dorsey (who would later be host, himself) led the Kraft Orchestra.
1938
Musician J.J. Cale born
1938
Auto racer J.D. (John Delphus) McDuffie born
1944
Actor Jeroen Krabbe born
1945
Golfer Pam Higgins born
1946
Tenor Jose Carreras born
1947
Pop singer Jim Messina (Your Mama Don't Dance) born
1947
Football quarterback Jim Plunkett born
1948
The first church service in sign language for the hearing impaired was broadcast from St. Matthew's Lutheran Church for the Deaf in Jamaica, Long Island. WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York aired the telecast.
1949
Hockey player Fred O'Donnell born
1949
PGA champion golfer Lanny Wadkins born
1950
Defensive tackle Steve Furness born
1951
The first push button-controlled garage opened in Washington, DC this day. A single attendant, without entering a car, could automatically park or return an auto in less than a minute.
1951
Actress Morgan Brittany born
1952
"The Abbott and Costello Show" started a 52-episode, syndicated run on TV this day. Comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello became such big hits that those same 52 episodes were run over and over on local and network TV for years.
1953
Mutual Radio broadcast "The Green Hornet" for the final time this day. The show left the air after 15 years on Mutual, NBC and ABC. "The Green Hornet" reappeared in 1966; this time on TV.
1955
The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO under its first president, George Meany.
1955
A bus boycott begins under the leadership of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama.
1963
Actress Carrie Hamilton born
1963
Country singer Ty England born
1965
Rock singer-musician John Rzeznick (The Goo Goo Dolls) born
1967
Country singer Gary Allan born
1968
Comedian-actress Margaret Cho born
1983
More than a dozen people were killed when a car bomb shattered a nine-story apartment building in mostly Muslim west Beirut, Lebanon.
1984
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, at age 37, was the oldest player in the National Basketball Association. He decided to play just one more year by signing with the Los Angeles Lakers for $2 million this day. Other NBA greats who played for 16 seasons include John Havlicek of Boston, Dolph Shayes of Philadelphia, Paul Ilas of Seattle and Elvin Hayes of Houston.
1984
Iran's official news agency quoted the hijackers of a Kuwaiti jetliner parked at Tehran airport as saying they would blow up the plane unless Kuwait released 14 imprisoned extremists.
1985
Walter Pleate, the nation's oldest military veteran, died at the age of 108. He was one of a dozen living veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898).
1985
Actor Frankie Muniz ("Malcolm in the Middle") born
1985
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 1,500 for the first time, then fell back to end the day at 1,482.91.
1986
The Soviet Union said it would continue to abide by the SALT II treaty limits on nuclear weapons despite the decision by the United States to exceed them, but warned that Washington was making a big mistake.
1987
FBI agents searched a federal prison where Cuban inmates had peacefully ended an eleven-day hostage siege the day before. The agents reported finding bottle bombs and thousands of homemade machetes, but no booby-traps or bodies.
1988
A federal grand jury in North Carolina indicted PTL founder Jim Bakker and former aide Richard Dortch on fraud and conspiracy charges. (Bakker was convicted of all counts; Dortch pleaded guilty to four counts and cooperated with prosecutors in exchange for a lighter sentence.)
1988
Actor Ross Bagley born
1989
East Germany's former leaders, including ousted Communist Party chief Erich Honecker, were placed under house arrest.
1989
Israeli soldiers killed five heavily armed Arab guerrillas who crossed the border from Egypt, reportedly to launch a terrorist attack commemorating the anniversary of the Palestinian uprising.
1990
The State Department said Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had accepted the idea of direct high-level U.S.-Iraqi talks to resolve the Gulf crisis.
1990
President Bush, on a visit to Argentina, said he was "not optimistic" that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would withdraw from Kuwait without a fight.
1991
Richard Speck, who murdered eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966, died a day short of his 50th birthday.
1991
British media magnate Robert Maxwell disappeared while on his yacht off the Canary Islands.
1991
Samuel K. Skinner was named White House chief of staff by President Bush, succeeding John H. Sununu.
1992
Russian President Boris Yeltsin narrowly kept the power to appoint Cabinet ministers, defeating a constitutional amendment that would have put his team of reformers under the control of Russia's Congress.
1993
A Palestinian boarded a bus and opened fire with an assault rifle in the first major attack in Israel since the signing of a peace pact with the PLO; the gunman killed a reservist before being gunned down.
1994
Newt Gingrich was elected the first Republican speaker of the House in four decades.
1994
President Clinton, on a whirlwind visit to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Budapest, Hungary, urged European leaders to "prevent future Bosnias."
1995
Former South Korean president Roh Tae-woo, four aides and a dozen top businessmen were indicted in a bribes-for-favors scandal.
1995
President Clinton announced the foreign policy team for his second term, including Madeleine Albright as the first female secretary of state; William Cohen as defense secretary; and Anthony Lake as CIA director.
1995
In the first hint of movement at the budget talks, White House officials and Democratic congressional leaders said they were preparing a seven-year budget-balancing plan.
1997
The World Trade Organization rejected American claims that the Fuji film company had conspired with the Japanese government to keep Eastman Kodak products out of Japan.
1997
The space shuttle "Columbia" returned from a 16-day mission that had been marred by the bungled release of a satellite.
1998
James P. Hoffa claimed the Teamsters presidency after challenger Tom Leedham conceded defeat in the union's presidential election.
1998
Former Senator Albert Gore Sr., father of the vice president, died at his home in Carthage, Tennessee; he was 90.
1999
AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney welcomed the collapse of World Trade Organization talks in Seattle and the failure to agree on a new round of negotiations, telling CBS' "Face the Nation," "No deal is better than a bad deal."
1999
Cuban President Fidel Castro demanded that the United States return 5-year-old Elian Gonzalez, who was rescued at sea, to his father in Cuba within 72 hours.
2005
Business Briefs for December 5, 2005
2005
New bird flu outbreaks reported in Europe
2005
H.H. Prince Karim Aga Khan IV visits Pakistan
2005
UN accuses US of wholesale rights violations in Iraq
2006
New Zealand runs low on 20 cent coins
2006
Clinton meetings fuel speculation over presidential bid
2006
Australia wins dramatic second Ashes Test
2006
BSE Sensex hits all-time high of 14,000
2006
Prime Minister Blair flies to Washington
2006
NASA unveils plans for moon base
2006
Chess champion is "Fritzed" by computer
2006
Former Senator John Edwards takes major step towards running for U.S. president
2007
Court finds South Yorkshire Chief Constable guilty of speeding
2007
US military confirms authenticity of Standard Operating Procedures for Guantanamo Bay
2007
Taiwanese consumer laptop market faces change following ASUStek winning sustainability award
2007
Former 'Top Model' contestant Whitney Cunningham defends plus size models, celebrates the "regular woman"
2007
American poker player Chip Reese dies at age 56
2007
Taiwanese coalitions argue over ex-President's monument
2007
Opening positions spark debate at Global Climate Change Conference
2007
US Senate committee investigates credit card practices
2007
Bayern defender Ismael set to join Hanover
2007
GOES-12 weather satellite fails during adjustment
2007
US Supreme Court considers appeal from foreign terrorist suspects
2007
Nine killed in Omaha, Nebraska mall shooting
2007
Study finds burning your food could cause some cancers
2007
BC design club president comments on Olympic mascots; sales brisk
2007
"Dead" canoeist arrested after being missing for over 5 years
2008
Lockerbie convict's family among protesters for justice in Edinburgh
2008
Solar car travels around the world
2008
Canadian Parliament suspended until late January
2008
Car bomb kills seventeen in Pakistan
2008
University's lion mascot out like a lamb after DUI
2008
US November job losses reach 34-year high
2009
Professional wrestler Eddie Fatu dies age 36
2009
State of the health care system in Sierra Leone critical
2009
Vyacheslav Tikhonov, Russian actor most famous for Stirlitz, dies at 81
2009
Final draw sets groups for FIFA World Cup 2010
2010
Much of inland New South Wales, Australia affected by flooding
2010
UK Parliament to vote on tuition fee rise on Thursday
2011
Human Rights Watch report talks of South Africa's LGBT people 'in constant fear'
2011
Scotland: Northern Constabulary launch murder investigation over teen death
2011
Finnish trio shot dead in Brazil
2011
Gbagbo appears at international court for alleged crimes against humanity
2012
UK police charge presenter Stuart Hall over indecent assault allegations
2012
Clashes in Egypt between supporters and opponents of president Morsi turn deadly
2012
Copper Mountain and Vail face poor snow conditions ahead of IPC Nor-Am Cup

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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