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Today in History

1884
Ball-bearing roller skates patented
1902
Kindergarten teacher, child and animal welfare advocate, actress Margaret Hamilton born in Cleveland, Ohio
1906
Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, developer of the first compiler for a programming language, born in New York City
1912
55th Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Tip O'Neill born in North Cambridge, Massachusetts
1922
Golden Globe Award winning actor and stand-up comedian, Redd Foxx born John Elroy Sanford in St Louis, Missouri
1926
Mountaineer, photographer, diver and Nobel Prize winning physicist, Henry Way Kendall born in Boston, Massachusetts
1934
Blues singer and harmonica player, Junior Wells born in Memphis, Tennessee
1942
Philanthropist, sports announcer and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker, Dick Butkus born in Chicago, Illinois
1952
Jet pilot and actor, Michael Dorn born in Luling, Texas
1961
Independence Day in Tanzania
1962
Author and Emmy Award winning actress, Felicity Huffman born in Bedford, New York
1973
London premiere of rock opera Tommy
1990
Lech Wałęsa elected president of Poland
297
Martyrdom of Sts. Hipparchus and Philotheus
861
Murder of Mutawakkil, Caliph of Baghdad
1165
Death of Malcolm IV, King of Scotland
1212
Coronation of Frederick II as King of Germany
1292
Death of Sa'di, Persian poet
1437
Death of Sigsimund, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Germany and Lombardy, and Emperor of Rome
1469
Death of Fra Filippo Lippi
1482
Frederick "the Wise," Elector Palantine of the Rhine born
1502
King Henry VII grants patent to Co. of Adventurers to the New World
1561
Sir Edwin Sandys Opponent of King James I of England and a founder of the colony of Virginia born
1565
Death of Pope Pius IV
1575
Augustine Baker English Benedictine monk who was an important writer on ascetic and mystical theology. born
1594
Gustavus II of Sweden born. Sweden had become the strongest power in Europe at the time of his death in 1632.
1608
English poet John Milton in London. One of the greatest poets of the English language, best known for his epic poem "Paradise Lost." Also a noted historian, scholar and civil servant for the Parliamentarians. born
1640
Banishment of Hugh Bewitt from the Massachusetts Colony for declaring himself free of Original Sin
1641
Death of Anthony Van Dyck, painter
1793
Noah Webster establishes New York's 1st daily newspaper.
1809
William Barret Travis, Commander of the Texas troops at the battle of the Alamo born
1847
English comedian and singer George Grossmith (created many of the chief characters in the original productions of Gilbert and Sullivan light operas) born
1848
Journalist Joel Chandler Harris, author of the "Uncle Remus" stories born
1854
Alfred, Lord Tennyson's famous poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," was published in England.
1882
The composer Joaquin Turina born
1886
American businessman and inventor Clarence Birdseye (process for freezing foods) born
1898
Circus clown Emmett Kelly born
1905
Screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo (member of the Hollywood Ten) born
1907
Christmas seals went on sale for the first time Wilmington, Delaware, post office; proceeds went to fight tuberculosis.
1909
Actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. born
1916
Actor Kirk Douglas born
1920
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Wilson.
1925
Actress Dina Merrill born
1926
American nuclear physicist Henry Way Kendall (Shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for Physics with Jerome Isaac Friedman and Richard E. Taylor for being the first researchers to obtain experimental evidence for the existence of the subatomic particles known as quarks) born
1928
Actor Dick Van Patten born
1929
American film director and actor John Cassavetes born
1930
Actor-writer Buck Henry born
1933
Talk show host Morton Downey Junior born
1934
Actress Dame Judi Dench born
1934
Blues musician Junior Wells. born
1940
British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War Two.
1941
China declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy.
1941
Actor Beau Bridges born
1942
Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus born
1942
The Aram Khachaturian ballet "Gayane," featuring the surging "Saber Dance," was first performed by the Kirov Ballet.
1943
Rock singer-musician Rick Danko (The Band) born
1945
Actor Michael Nouri born
1947
Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (Democrat, South Dakota) born
1950
Harry Gold gets 30 years imprisonment for passing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II.
1950
Singer Joan Armatrading born
1952
Actor Michael Dorn born
1953
Actor John Malkovich born
1955
Sugar Ray Robinson knocks out Carl Olson to regain world middleweight boxing title.
1956
Country singer Sylvia born
1957
Singer Donny Osmond born
1958
Robert H.W. Welch Junior and eleven other men met in Indianapolis to form the anti-Communist John Birch Society.
1958
Rock musician Nick Seymour (Crowded House) born
1961
Actor Joe Lando born
1965
Nikolai V. Podgorny replaced Anastas I. Mikoyan as president of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
1969
Actress Allison Smith born
1972
Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) born
1974
White House aide John Ehrlichman testified at the Watergate trial that President Nixon was responsible for the cover-up.
1974
Rapper Canibus born
1976
Rock musician Eric Zamora (Save Ferris) born
1979
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the religious broadcaster, died in New York City at age 84.
1987
On the second day of their White House summit, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev grappled with differences over Afghanistan and cutbacks in long-range nuclear arms.
1988
In the wake of the Armenian earthquake that claimed tens of thousands of lives, countries around the world began sending emergency supplies and offering pledges of relief funds.
1989
President Bush's national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, and Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger began a surprise visit to Beijing, six months after China's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
1990
Lech Walesa won Poland's first direct presidential vote.
1990
The first American hostages to be released by Iraq began arriving in the United States.
1992
Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation. (The couple's divorce became final August 28th, 1996.)
1992
Russian President Boris Yeltsin suffered a defeat when the Russian Congress rejected his reform-minded nominee for prime minister.
1992
Former CIA spy chief Clair George was convicted of lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair (however, he was pardoned by President Bush).
1993
Astronauts aboard the space shuttle "Endeavour" completed repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope.
1993
The Air Force destroyed the first of 500 "Minuteman Two" missile silos marked for elimination under an arms control treaty.
1993
Scientists at Princeton University in New Jersey produced a controlled fusion reaction equivalent to 3 million watts.
1994
President Clinton fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after learning she'd told a conference that masturbation should be discussed in school as a part of human sexuality.
1994
Representatives of the Irish Republican Army and the British government opened peace talks in Northern Ireland.
1995
Congressman Kweisi Mfume (Democrat, Maryland) was chosen to become the new head of the NAACP.
1996
More than four months after the Olympic bombing, the FBI posted a $500,000 reward.
1996
Archaeologist and anthropologist Mary Leakey died in Kenya at age 83.
1996
The United Nations gave Iraq the go-ahead to resume oil exports for the first time since 1990 to buy food and medicine.
1997
Confronting her critics, Attorney General Janet Reno traded testy remarks with House Republicans on the House committee investigating campaign fund-raising as she defended her decision not to seek an independent counsel for fund-raising calls made by President Clinton and Vice President Gore.
1998
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee drew up four articles of impeachment against President Clinton, all stemming from his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and long campaign to cover it up.
1999
In Worcester, Mass., six firefighters who had died in a warehouse blaze were honored as fallen heroes by thousands of their brethren from around the world.
2005
Iranian president says move Israel to Europe
2005
Virginia dangerous dog law bill ready for Assembly debate
2005
Australian Senate agrees ban on tertiary-sector mandatory student unions
2005
South Carolina says final goodbyes to former Governor Campbell
2006
Six-Party talks to resume on North Korea's nuclear program
2006
Rice offers to talk with Iran and Syria
2006
Egyptian Muslim theologians change course on female circumcision
2006
Taco Bell pulls green onions from all U.S. and Canadian stores
2006
African refugees allege forced labour by Turkish police
2006
Carter: Race relations in Palestine are worse than apartheid
2006
US House of Representatives passes India nuclear bill
2006
Radiation that killed ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko found in Germany
2006
Listeners call for tattooing of Muslims in America, supporting comedy skit
2006
Cuban leader Fidel Castro congratulates Hugo Chavez
2006
Gallup poll: Islamophobia prevalent in United States
2006
Customer says Verizon confuses dollars and cents
2006
Fiji loses rights to host World Netball Championships next year
2007
Sex tape starring former 'American Idol' finalist Jessica Sierra leaked to porn company
2007
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is first sophomore to win Heisman
2007
National Express take over operation of major UK rail route from GNER
2007
Robert Pickton found guilty of 6 counts of second degree murder
2007
2007/08 FA Premier League: Middlesbrough vs. Arsenal
2007
Four people shot outside New Life Church in Colorado Springs, USA
2007
Leaders declare new era of EU-African relations
2007
CIA chief to testify before Congress on interrogations
2007
British Prime Minister calls for the immediate release of 5 Britons kidnapped in Iraq
2007
Space Shuttle Atlantis launch delayed until 2008
2007
India vs Pakistan 3rd Test: Ganguly smashes first Test double ton
2008
US Supreme Court dismisses appeal on Obama's citizenship
2008
IWF reverses censorship of Wikipedia
2008
Governor of Illinois arrested on suspicion of corruption
2008
Quebec's Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term
2008
Two-plane crash in Florida kills four
2008
Alleged 9-11 conspirators will confess and plead guilty
2009
Brown, Coakley win Massachusetts Senate seat primaries amid low voter turnout
2011
Jakarta court jails six for Java bombings
2011
Four dead as Mexico gunmen attack ambulance
2012
Three dead after setting themselves on fire in Tibet

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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