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Today in History

1258
Mongols burn Baghdad to the ground
1763
France cedes Canada to Great Britain
1893
Comedian, singer, pianist, and Emmy Award winning actor, Jimmy Durante born in Brooklyn, New York
1906
Monster movie legend, actor Lon Chaney, Jr born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
1930
Actor Robert Wagner born in Detroit, Michigan
1937
Grammy Award winning musician, songwriter and singer, Roberta Flack born in Black Mountain, North Carolina
1940
Olympic Track and Field Gold Medalist Mary Rand born in Wells, England
1950
Nine-time Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Spitz born in Modesto, California
1996
IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeats chess master Garry Kasparov
543
Death of St. Scholastica
1162
Death of Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem
1221
Death of Muhammad Ala-ed-Din, Shah of Khwarizm
1258
Mongols sack Baghdad
1306
Murder of the Red Comyn
1354
"The Great Slaughter," A riot, in Oxford, England
1471
Death of Fredrick II, the "Iron" of Brandenburg
1480
The Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado occupies his Palace in Kyoto
1494
Founding of Aberdeen University
1495
Sir William Stanley, English lord chamberlain, executed
1519
Cortez sails from Cuba for Mexico
1543
Death of Johann Mayer, known as "Johann Eck"
1604
King James I orders that "a translation be made of the whole Bible"
1609
Sir John Suckling, English Cavalier poet, dramatist, courtier born
1623
Prince Charles of England, soon to be King Charles I, and George Villers, soon to be the Duke of Buckingham, set off in disguise for Madrid
1635
Letters Patent granted to a new French Academy, to write a French dictionary
1763
France ceded Canada to England under the Treaty of Paris, which ended the French and Indian War.
1775
Charles Lamb born
1814
Napoleon personally directs lightning strikes against enemy columns advancing toward Paris, beginning with a victory over the Russians at Champaubert.
1840
Britain's Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Victoria was in love with him and decided that as queen it was her right to propose to Albert.
1846
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, began an exodus to the west from Illinois.
1846
British General Sir Hugh Gough decisively routs Tej Singh's Sikhs in the Battle of Sobraon.
1863
Showman P.T. Barnum staged the wedding of General Tom Thumb and Mercy Lavinia Warren -- both of them midgets -- in New York City.
1863
The fire extinguisher was patented by Alanson Crane.
1868
Journalist William Allen White born
1881
Jacques Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffman" premiered, four months after the composer's death.
1890
Boris Pasternak, Russian novelist--author of Dr. Zhivago born
1890
Russian poet and novelist Boris Leonidovich Paternak was born in Moscow. His best-known work is "Doctor Zhivago.""
1893
Comedian Jimmy Durante in New York City. "Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are." born
1894
British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan born
1898
Actress Dame Judith Anderson (The Ten Commandments, Star Trek 3, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Man Called Horse) born
1905
Actor Lon Chaney, Jr. (The Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, The Mummy's Curse) born
1914
Composer of movie scores Larry Adler (A Cry from the Streets, Genevieve, Great Chase) born
1915
President Wilson blasts the British for using the U.S. flag on merchant ships to deceive the Germans. He also warns the Kaiser that he will hold Germany "to a strict accountability" for U.S. lives and property endangered
1919
NY Yankees pitcher Allie Reynolds born
1920
Author Alex Comfort born
1922
Actress Neva Patterson (An Affair to Remember, The Runaways) born
1923
Ink paste was manufactured for the first time by the Standard Ink Company.
1925
The first waterless gas storage tank was placed in service in Michigan City, Indiana.
1927
Opera singer Leontyne Price. born
1927
"Johnny Strikes Up the Band" premiered. Krenek's opera was one of the pioneering efforts to fuse classical music with jazz. Never before had any operatic character danced the Charleston.
1929
Movie composer Jerry Goldsmith born
1930
Actor Robert Wagner (Hart to Hart, The Mountain, The Towering Inferno, Titanic, It Takes a Thief, Pink Panther, Midway). born
1933
The first singing telegram was introduced by the Postal Telegram Company in New York.
1934
The first imperforated, ungummed sheets of postage stamps were issued by the U.S. Postal Service in New York City. The stamps had to be cut out of a sheet and then you had to apply glue to get them to stick.
1935
The Pennsylvania Railroad began passenger service with its new "streamlined" electric locomotive. The engine was 79.5-feet long and weighed 230 tons.
1937
Rock musician Don Wilson (The Ventures) born
1939
Singer Roberta Flack (The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Feel Like Making Love, Killing Me Softly With His Song) . born
1939
Japanese occupy island of Hainan in French Indochina.
1940
Singer Jimmy Merchant (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) born
1941
London severs diplomatic relations with Romania.
1941
Iceland is attacked by German planes.
1942
The war halts civilian car production at Ford.
1942
The former French liner "Normandie" capsized in New York Harbor a day after it caught fire while being refitted for the US Navy.
1942
The first World War II Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to 2nd Lt. Alexander Ramsey for his heroism at the Battle of Bataan.
1942
RCA Victor presented Glenn Miller and his Orchestra with a "gold record" for their recording of "Chattanooga Choo Choo," which had sold more than a million copies. This was the first-ever "gold record."
1943
Singer Ral Donner (You Don't Know What You've Got, She's Everything) born
1944
Singer-songwriter Peter Allen born
1944
Author Frances Moore Lapp born
1945
B-29s hit the Tokyo area.
1946
Singer (Donovan Phillip Leitch) Donovan (Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman) born
1949
Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" opened at Broadway's Morosco Theater with Lee J. Cobb in the role of Willy Loman and Mildred Dunnock as Loman's wife, Linda.
1950
Olympic gold-medal swimmer Mark Spitz (U.S. Olympic 9-time gold medal winner). born
1955
Actress Kathleen Beller. born
1955
Bell Aircraft displays a fixed-wing vertical takeoff plane.
1955
Golfer Greg Norman born
1956
Elvis Presley made his first recording in Nashville. "Heartbreak Hotel" was on the A-side and "I Was The One" was on the B-side.
1960
Country singer Lionel Cartwright born
1960
Adolph Coors, the beer brewer, is kidnapped in Golden, Colorado.
1961
Former presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos. born
1961
The Los Angeles franchise in the American Football League was transferred to San Diego. The team was known as the Los Angeles "Dodgers."
1962
U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers was returned to the United States in exchange for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.
1963
Baseball player Lenny Dykstra born
1964
82 Australian sailors died when an aircraft carrier and a destroyer collided off New South Wales, Australia.
1966
Protester David Miller is convicted of burning his draft card.
1967
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution, dealing with presidential disability and succession, went into effect.
1967
Actress Laura Dern. born
1968
Peggy Fleming of the United States won the gold medal in women's figure skating at the Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France.
1972
Country singer Dude Mowrey born
1979
The Metropolitan Museum announces the first major theft in 110-year history, $150,000 Greek marble head.
1981
8 people were killed, 198 injured, when fire broke out at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel-casino.
1983
Leaders of U.S. independent truckers called a halt to an eleven-day strike.
1983
In an attack that stunned many Israelis, a hand grenade allegedly thrown by an Israeli exploded among peace protesters in Jerusalem, killing one man.
1984
Americans and other foreigners were evacuated from Beirut following the withdrawal of U.S. Marines from Lebanon.
1985
A group of American supporters of South Korean opposition leader Kim Dae-jung detailed the rough treatment they'd received from authorities in Seoul, and asked President Reagan to put off a U.S.-South Korean summit.
1986
The head of Haiti's new interim government, Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, pledged free elections and a new constitution following the ouster of President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier.
1986
The largest Mafia trial in history, with 474 defendants, opens in Palermo, Italy.
1987
Surgeon General C. Everett Koop told a House panel he favored network television advertisements for condoms because of the health threat posed by AIDS.
1988
A three-judge panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the Army's ban on homosexuals, saying gays were entitled to the same protection against discrimination as racial minorities. (However, the ruling was later set aside by the full appeals court.)
1989
Ron Brown was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, becoming the first black to head a major U.S. political party.
1990
South African President F.W. de Klerk announced that black activist Nelson Mandela would be released the next day after 27 years in captivity.
1991
In a broadcast on Baghdad Radio, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein praised his countrymen for withstanding attacks by allied warplanes and rockets.
1991
Peru's Health Ministry reported at least 51 deaths from cholera, in the early stages of an epidemic that later spread across South America and into North America.
1992
Boxer Mike Tyson was convicted in Indianapolis of raping Desiree Washington, a Miss Black America contestant.
1992
Author Alex Haley died in Seattle at age 70.
1992
Bonnie Blair of the US won the women's 500-meter speedskating competition at the Albertville Olympics.
1993
The Clinton administration said U-S troops could be sent to enforce peace in former Yugoslavia provided warring factions there negotiated a settlement.
1994
The Senate approved $8.6 billion in relief for victims of the Los Angeles earthquake, the costliest disaster aid package in the nation's history. (The house approved the measure the next day, and President Clinton signed it the day after that.)
1995
The House passed a GOP crime bill boosting funding for state prisons but requiring states to get tougher on violent criminals before they could receive any money.
1996
World chess champion Garry Kasparov lost the first game of a match in Philadelphia against an IBM computer dubbed "Deep Blue."
1996
President Clinton signed a $265 billion defense bill, but said he would battle for repeal of a section forcing the discharge of service members with the AIDS virus.
1996
A slab of mountain side crushed a highway tunnel on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, killing 20 people.
1997
The Army suspended its top-ranking enlisted soldier, Sergeant Major of the Army Gene McKinney, following sexual misconduct allegations.
1997
A civil jury heaped 25 million dollars in punitive damages on O.J. Simpson for the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend, on top of $8.5 million in compensatory damages awarded earlier.
1998
Voters in Maine become the first to repeal a state gay rights law.
1998
Monica Lewinsky's mother, Marcia Lewis, testified before the grand jury investigating her daughter's alleged affair with President Clinton. Accompanied by her lawyer she spent two hours testifying behind closed doors to the 23-member panel.
1998
Speedskater Hiroyasu Shimizu won Japan's first gold medal of the Nasano Olympics, in the 500-meter event.
1998
The New York Times reported that Top Justice Department officials recommended Attorney General Janet Reno seek an independent prosecutor to investigate Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's role in a decision to kill an Indian casino project in Wisconsin. It was officially announced the following day. (The counsel was later appointed.)
1998
Dr. David Satcher was confirmed by the Senate to be surgeon general.
1999
Resigned to losing their case, House prosecutors said public opinion polls had made a stronger impression on senators than any evidence that President Clinton committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
1999
A federal judge ordered American Airlines pilots to end a sickout that had grounded 2,500 flights, stranded 200,000 travelers and left businesses scrambling for cargo carriers.
2000
Actor Jim Varney, best known for his comic character Ernest P. Worrell, died in White House, Tennessee, at age 50.
2000
The hijackers of an Afghan plane surrendered, ending a four-day standoff at Stansted airport outside London.
2000
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered inspections of MD-80, MD-90, DC-9 and 717 series jetliners after two Alaska Airlines planes were found to have equipment damage similar to that on Alaska Airlines Flight 261, which crashed off the California coast January 31st, killing all 88 people on board.
2005
Togo's new leader promises elections, but doesn't say when
2005
Google releases test of mapping service
2005
$158 billion missing in U.S. Medicare drug benefit cost estimate
2005
Explosion in Madrid; Basque separatists blamed
2005
Prince Charles to marry Camilla Parker Bowles
2005
North Korea declares it has nuclear weapons; cancels talks
2005
Pope to leave hospital
2005
Kobe commemorates earthquake victims
2005
Saudis vote in first municipal elections in the Kingdom
2005
Colombian army and FARC in combat, 28 dead
2005
Iranian President vows to maintain nuclear program
2006
Tomb discovered in Valley of the Kings
2006
Australian governments to meet for first COAG meeting of today
2006
Olympic Winter Games open in Italy
2006
Thai ministry orders work halted on much-delayed Ongkharak reactor
2006
New Zealand Labour party spending in question
2006
Poll embarassment for Blair
2006
"World Can't Wait" protesters rally outside the White House
2006
Irish win narrowly over Italy in RBS 6 opening match
2006
Greek government's phones tapped for a year
2007
Recovery plan for New Orleans to be ratified
2007
Drug addicts used in police training
2007
Putin blasts US foreign policy
2007
Belgrade hospital refuses to return baby to mother
2007
Teacher arrested for using drugs in front of 4th grade class
2007
U.S. Senator Obama announces presidential candidacy
2007
Alarm sounded over US honey bee die-off
2008
Bush visits Tennessee, sees tornado damage
2008
Barack Obama sweeps three state Democratic contests
2008
Two children killed after eating poisonous cake in Iraq; nine others remain ill
2008
Egypt wins Africa Cup of Nations
2008
Rugby union: Wales, France, England win in second week of Six Nations
2008
North Sea oil rig evacuated in security alert
2009
Man in Florida, USA, arrested for using 911 to complain about fast food
2009
'Tim Hortons' coffee shops to go 'Cold Stone'
2009
Subject of high-profile Italian euthanasia case dies
2010
Final report blames London passenger jet crash on ice
2010
Google introduces Google Buzz
2010
Nigerian parliament votes to make vice president acting president
2010
ITV fined A$3000 for cruelty to rat on "I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!"
2010
American Alpine ski racer James Heuga dies at age 66
2010
UK loses appeal to conceal Binyam Mohamed torture
2011
Plane crash in Cork, Ireland kills six
2011
City of Calgary, Canada removes fluoride from drinking water
2011
South Sudan minister Milla shot, killed
2012
German judge orders life sentence for nation's 'first Islamic-motivated terror attack'
2012
Egypt struggles to recover tourism, investment
2013
Real Madrid defeats Sevilla 4-1 in La Liga play

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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