[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

1809
Robert Fulton patents the steamboat
1847
Entrepreneur, researcher and prolific inventor, Thomas Alva Edison born in Milan, Ohio
1919
Actress Eva Gabor born in Budapest, Hungary
1926
Emmy Award nominated actor and comedian, Leslie Nielsen born in Regina, Saskatchewan
1934
Model, singer, actress and Ginger from Gilligan's Island, Tina Louise born in New York City
1936
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Burt Reynolds born in Lansing, Michigan
1964
Beauty pageant contestant, 11th Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin born in Sandpoint, Idaho
1978
People's Republic of China lifts ban on works of Aristotle, Shakespeare and Charles Dickens
1990
Nelson Mandella freed
2011
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigns after 30 years in office
530
BC
Aristides the Just of Athens born
680
Death of Caedmon
731
Death of Pope Gregory II
821
Death of St. Benidict of Aniane
824
Death of St. Pashal I, Pope
1250
Death of William de Sonnac, 18th Master of the Templars
1252
Marriage of Ottakar I, King of Bohemia, to Margaret, widow of King Henry VII of Germany
1466
Elizabeth of York, Queen to Henry VII of England born
1498
Savonerola resumes preaching in defiance of his excommunication
1503
Death of Elizabeth of York, Queen to Henry VII of England
1525
The monks of Glastonbury meet to elect a new Abbot; no vote is taken
1531
Henry VIII is recognized as the supreme head of the Church of England.
1535
Gregory XIV, Roman Catholic Pope born
1575
King Frederick of Denmark offers island of Hveen to Tycho Brahe
1628
A special tax is levied in England to raise a fleet against the French
1650
Death of Rene Descartes, philosopher (end of the Renaissance)
1752
Through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, the first American hospital opened, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1808
Judge Jesse Fell experimented by burning anthracite coal to keep his house warm on a winter day in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
1809
Robert Fulton patents the steamboat.
1812
The Massachusetts Legislature, at the behest of Governor Elbridge Gerry, passed a re-districting law that favored Gerry's party, a political maneuver that resulted in the term "gerrymandering."
1833
Melville Weston Fuller, 8th U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice born
1847
American inventor Thomas Alva Edison (Milan, Ohio). He was the inventor of more than 1200 patented ideas including the electric light bulb and the phonograph. born
1858
A French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed for the first time to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary near Lourdes.
1861
President-elect Lincoln departed Springfield, Illinois, for Washington.
1889
Musician John Mills (Group Rag, Nobody's Sweetheart, St. Louis Blues, Bugle Call Rag, Swing It Sister, Sleepy Head) born
1903
Congress passes the Expedition Act, giving antitrust cases priority in the courts.
1904
President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims strict neutrality for the U.S. in the Russo-Japanese War.
1908
Blues/folk singer Josh White "The Singing Christian" born
1909
Boxer Max Baer born
1910
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and Eleanor Alexander announce their wedding date--June 20, 1910. President Theodore Roosevelt signed a bill creating Mesa Verde National Park.
1916
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra presented its first concert. The symphony was the first by a municipal orchestra to be supported by taxes.
1917
Author Sidney Sheldon born
1919
Football coach Eddie Robinson born
1921
Former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen born
1921
Actress Eva Gabor born
1925
Actress (Patricia Reid) Kim Stanley (The Right Stuff) born
1926
Actor Leslie Nielsen (Police Squad, Airplane, Airplane II, Naked Gun, Naked Gun 2-1/2, Naked Gun 33-1/3, Dead and Loving It) born
1926
Actress Eva Gabor (Green Acres, Gigi, The Last Time I Saw Paris) born
1926
The Mexican government nationalizes all church property.
1928
Actor Conrad Janis born
1929
The Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.
1934
Actress Tina (Blacker) Louise (Gilligan's Island) born
1934
Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan born
1934
Actress, Tina Louise, (Gilligan's Island) born
1935
Singer Gene (Craddock) Vincent (Be-Bop-A-Lula, Lotta Lovin', Dance to the Bop) born
1936
Actor Burt Reynolds (Gunsmoke, Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, The Longest Yard, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) born
1936
The Reich arrests 150 Catholic youth leaders in Berlin. When the war was over many of the leaders of the Reich were put on trial for the atrocities that had been committed.
1937
A sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company
1939
Songwriter Gerry Goffin (Lyricist with Carole King Love Me Tomorrow, You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman) born
1940
Singer Bobby "Boris" Pickett (The Monster Mash) born
1941
Musician Sergio Mendes (Fool on the Hill, Mas Que Nada, The Look of Love) born
1942
Rhythm-and-blues singer Otis Clay born
1943
General Dwight David Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe.
1945
President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War Two.
1949
Willie Pep recaptured the world featherweight boxing title by defeating Sany Sadler in New York City.
1953
Actor Philip Anglim born
1953
Walt Disney's "Peter Pan" premiers.
1954
A 75,000-watt light bulb is lit at the Rockefeller Center in New York, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Edison's first light bulb.
1955
Nationalist Chinese complete the evacuation of the Tachen Islands.
1957
The National Hockey League Players Association was formed in New York City.
1958
Ruth Carol Taylor became the first black woman to become a stewardess by making her initial flight on Mohawk Airlines from Ithaca, New York, to New York City.
1959
Iran turns down Soviet aid in favor of a U.S. proposal for aid.
1960
After censors cut a 4-minute segment from the Tonight Show, host Jack Paar walked off the air. The censored material was part of the monologue about a "water closet."
1961
Actress Carey Lowell born
1962
Singer Sheryl Crow born
1964
Cambodian Prince Sihanouk blames the U.S. for a South Vietnamese air raid on a village in his country.
1965
U.S. and South Vietnamese war planes made their first bombing raids on North Vietnam.
1965
The Johnson administration orders air strikes against targets in North Vietnam, in retaliation for guerrilla attacks on the American military in South Vietnam.
1966
Vice President Hubert Humphrey begins a tour of Vietnam.
1966
Willie Mays became the highest-paid baseball player in either league as he signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants for a salary of about $130,000 a year.
1966
Last day of JOSS service at RAND Corp.
1968
The new 20,000 seat Madison Square Garden officially opened in New York. It was the fourth arena to be named Madison Square Garden.
1969
Actress Jennifer Aniston born
1972
McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and "Life" magazine canceled plans to publish what had turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
1974
Communist-led rebels shower artillery fire into a crowded area of Phnom Pehn, killing 139 and injuring 46 others.
1975
Margaret Thatcher became the first female leader of a British political party when she was elected leader of the Conservatives.
1976
Actor Brice Beckham born
1979
Followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran, nine days after the religious leader returned to his home country following 15 years of exile.
1981
Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelly Rowland (Destiny's Child) born
1983
Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon resigned his post, but was offered the chance by Prime Minister Menachem Begin to remain in the Cabinet as a minister without portfolio. (Sharon accepted two days later.)
1985
Saudi Arabia's King Fahd met in Washington with President Reagan to discuss Middle East peace prospects.
1986
After nine years of captivity, Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was released by the Soviet Union as part of an East-West prisoner exchange.
1987
President Reagan met in the Oval Office with members of the Tower Commission, who asked him questions about the Iran-Contra affair.
1987
North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith got his 600th career coaching win as the Tar Heels defeated Wake Forest 94-85.
1987
The U.S. All Stars beat the Soviet hockey team 4-3, in Quebec.
1988
President Reagan's onetime political director, Lyn Nofziger, was convicted of illegally lobbying top White House aides. (However, the US Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned Nofziger's conviction, and the US Supreme Court refused to reinstate it.)
1989
Reverend Barbara C. Harris became the first woman consecrated as a bishop in the Episcopal Church.
1990
In a stunning upset, heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was knocked out in the tenth round of his fight with Buster Douglas in Tokyo.
1990
South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. Mandela walked through the gate of Victor Verster prison outside Cape Town, setting off celebrations among his followers.
1991
President Bush met with Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin L. Powell, who had just returned from the Gulf region. Afterward, Bush said he would hold off on a ground war against Iraq for the time being, saying allied air strikes had been "very, very effective."
1992
A study said drinking three cups of coffee a day does not raise the risk of heart disease.
1992
Secretary of State James A. Baker III, on a tour of six former Soviet republics, visited Armenia, where he heard an appeal from the republic's president for U.S. help in resolving a bloody feud with neighboring Azerbaijan.
1993
President Clinton announced his choice of Miami prosecutor Janet Reno to be the nation's first female attorney general, after two earlier candidates stumbled because they'd hired illegal aliens.
1994
President Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, meeting at the White House, failed to resolve key differences on trade.
1994
A judge in Fort Worth, Texas, ordered Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson acquitted of ethics charges after prosecutors refused to present their case.
1994
The space shuttle Discovery returned from an eight-day mission.
1994
Actor William Conrad died in Los Angeles at age 73.
1995
President Clinton, in his weekly radio address, threatened to veto any attempt by Republicans to scrap plans to put 100,000 additional police officers on the streets.
1995
The space shuttle Discovery landed at Cape Canaveral, Florida, ending a historic rendezvous mission with Russia's Mir space station.
1996
A day after losing to an IBM computer dubbed "Deep Blue," world chess champion Gary Kasparov rebounded to defeat the machine and even their six-game series in Philadelphia at one victory apiece.
1997
In a display of bipartisan unity, President Clinton and congressional leaders agreed to focus the new Congress on balancing the budget and other issues, ranging from cutting taxes to solving the capital city's myriad problems.
1997
Space shuttle "Discovery" was launched on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
1998
Skier Jonny Moseley won the first US gold medal at Nagano, in men's moguls freestyle; Picabo Street won the women's super-G. Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati was stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for marijuana (his medal was later reinstated).
1998
The first helicopter carrying humanitarian aid reached survivors of devastating earthquakes in northern Afghanistan a week after the first quake struck. Families walked miles, some barefoot, through the snow from remote mountain villages where thousands of their relatives and neighbors were killed, to the regional center of Rustaq where aid was coordinated.
1998
All 33 crewmembers of a crab boat were rescued after it was struck by a cargo ship, the Hanjin Barcelona, and sank in the icy Bering Sea. The crew members of the Seattle-based fishing boat, the Alaska-1, had time to escape into life rafts before it sank 34 miles north of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. They were later picked up by a nearby fishing boat.
1998
The Church of England's general synod, voted to eliminate the reference to temptation in the Lord's Prayer. Senior clerics decided to delete the words "Lead us not into temptation" and substitute "Save us from the time of trial" in a modern version of the prayer. The prayer is to be introduced in church services in the new millennium. The change must go to a revision committee and then be approved again by the general synod. If finally approved congregations will have a choice of whether to use the traditional version of the prayer or the modern one.
1999
A federal jury in New York found several gun makers responsible in three area shootings for letting guns fall into the hands of criminals; other manufacturers were cleared.
2000
The space shuttle "Endeavour" thundered away from Cape Canaveral on a mission to map the world as never before.
2000
French movie director Roger Vadim died in Paris at age 72.
2000
Britain stripped Northern Ireland's Protestant-Catholic government of power in a bid to prevent its collapse over the IRA's refusal to disarm.
2005
Bush administration removes critical report from website, replaces Civil Rights Commission chair
2005
Shakidor Dam bursts in Pakistan after heavy rain
2005
Canadian PM Martin testifies before sponsorship scandal inquiry
2005
Arthur Miller dies, aged 89
2005
Michael Smith foundation gifted by BC government
2005
Brazil opens XIV International Fair of Books in Cuba
2005
Rallies against Feb. 1 royal coup in Nepal
2005
U.N. reports Afghan opium production is up again
2006
Neil Entwistle agrees to extradition
2006
University of Illinois student newspaper runs six Prophet Mohammed cartoons
2006
Hospital morale vital during any outbreak: expert warns
2006
Israeli PM Ariel Sharon undergoes emergency surgery
2006
Craigslist sued for hosting discriminatory housing ads
2006
Steve Fossett breaks record for longest nonstop flight, lands safely
2006
Iran to abandon Nuclear Non Proliferation (NPT) if threatened to cut down on nuclear activities
2006
Curious death befalls collaborator days before movie release
2006
French satirical weekly reprints caricatures
2006
Lewis "Scooter" Libby testified that leak was authorized Lewis
2006
Protest held against Muhammad caricatures in Paris
2006
Australian governments to spend $1.1 billion on mental health
2007
Microsoft patent to make ads disable computer
2007
Canadian government threatens to ignore law respecting Kyoto Protocol
2007
Virginia public smoking ban snuffed again by House sub-committee
2007
Explosive fire at Phi Phi Island damages several buildings
2007
India sends first all-woman peace keeping force to Liberia
2007
Spokane Mall evacuated after fumes sicken people
2007
Russia! magazine, an English-language publication about Russia, is released in the US
2007
Ted Haggard reaches financial settlement with New Life Church
2007
Cheap, safe drug shows potential to kill cancer cells
2008
Paintings worth millions of Swiss francs stolen in Zürich
2008
Air Moldova completes airpark with a Brazilian Embraer aircraft
2008
Rebels shoot East Timor president
2008
Alan Keyes still in presidential race
2008
Victims of torture among detainees facing death penalty in Guantanamo
2008
Israel town sues Google for slander
2008
Proton rocket launches Thor 5 satellite
2008
State of emergency declared in East Timor
2008
Columbus module added to ISS during spacewalk
2008
Arson suspected in Namdaemun gate fire in Seoul
2008
Abu Dhabi starts constructing 'green city'
2009
EU warns France about auto rescue plan
2009
US Senate passes stimulus package
2009
American baseball star Rodriguez admits to using performance enhancing drugs
2009
Mayor of Flint, Michigan resigns for health reasons
2010
"Successor to mp3"; MusicDNA founder interviewed
2010
Two killed, one seriously injured in crash in Lancashire, England
2011
Hosni Mubarak steps down as president of Egypt
2011
Tankers taken by pirates in Indian Ocean
2012
'Stop being so damn respectful' say free speech supporters in London
2012
Attention drawn to high suicide rates in Scotland, Russia, Australia
2012
US regulators approve new nuclear reactors for first time in 34 years
2013
Police charge man with murder of three-year-old in Sheffield, UK
2013
Gambling sites favor Cardinals Marc Ouellet, Peter Turkson, Francis Arinze as next Pope
2013
Pope Benedict XVI resigns effective February 28

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.

Select a section