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Today in History

LOTR...
Fellowship leaves Lorien
399
BC
Socrates sentenced to die
President's Day
1564
Physicist, mathematician, and astronomer, Galileo Galilei born in Pisa, Italy
1820
Anti-slavery activist, feminist and suffragist, Susan B Anthony born in Adams, Massachusetts
1927
US Navy seaman, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning comedic actor, Harvey Korman born in Chicago, Illinois
1951
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actress, Bond girl Jayne Seymour born in London, England
1951
Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and actress, Melissa Manchester born in Bronx, New York
1954
11-time Emmy Award winning cartoonist, Matt Groening born in Portland, Oregon
1964
Actor and comedian, Chris Farley born in Madison, Wisconsin
1970
Trial of the Chicago Seven ends
1971
Decimalisation of British and Irish coinage
1971
Producer, director, actress and Xena's sidekick, Evelyn Renee O'Connor born in Katy, Texas
1972
Sound recordings granted US federal copyright protection
1989
Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan
1145
Election of Pope Eugenius III
1145
Death of Pope Lucius II
1152
Death of Conrad III, King of Germany
1288
Election of Pope Nicholas IV
1368
Sigsimund, King of Hungary and Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor born
1386
Coronation of Wladislas II as King of Poland
1483
Babur, founder of the Moghul Empire in India (1526-30) born
1497
Philipp Melanchthon, German Protestant reformer born
1502
Amerigo Vespucci sets sail for South America
1515
Francis I, King of France, enters Paris after his Coronation
1519
Pedro Menndez de Avils, who explored Florida, founded St. Augustine born
1564
Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was born in the city of Pisa. born
1571
The composer Michael Praetorius born
1621
Death of Michael Praetorius, composer
1637
Death of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
1645
British Army founded
1710
Louis XV, King of France born
1726
Abraham Clark, Declaration of Independence signer born
1758
Mustard was advertised for the first time in America. It was Benjamin Franklin who brought mustard to America.
1764
The city of St. Louis was established.
1797
Henry Engelhard Steinway, piano maker born
1798
The first serious fist fight occurs in Congress.
1799
Printed ballots were authorized for use in elections in the State of Pennsylvania. The ballots were originally referred to as "vest-pocket tickets.""
1803
John Augustus Sutter 1812 born
1804
New Jersey becomes the last northern state to abolish slavery.
1812
Jeweler Charles Tiffany born
1820
Suffragist Susan B. Anthony (First American woman to be pictured on a coin). born
1842
A private mail service in New York City introduced the first adhesive postage stamps used in the US. The first adhesive stamp in the world was issued on May 6, 1840 by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and was called the “Penny Black”
1857
The father of Russian classical music died, but not in Russia. Glinka was the first Russian composer to make a serious effort to put the indigenous sounds of Russian folk music into classical compositions, and for this he was honored.
1869
Charges of treason against Jefferson Davis are dropped. Jefferson Davis' Mexican War exploits led directly to the Confederate White House.
1879
President Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the US Supreme Court.
1882
Actor John (Blythe) Barrymore (Beau Brummel, Bulldog Drummond, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Grand Hotel) born
1898
The U.S. battleship Maine exploded in Havana Harbor today killing 2 officers and 258 crew members. Although the cause of the explosion was never determined, the event prompted U.S. intervention in the Cuban-Spanish conflict on the behalf of Cuba.
1900
The British threaten to use natives in the Boer War fight.
1905
Composer (Hyman Arluck) Harold Arlen (Stormy Weather, It's Only a Paper Moon, That Old Black Magic, Oscar-winning songwriter: Somewhere Over the Rainbow) born
1907
Actor Cesar Romero born
1914
Actor Kevin McCarthy (Final Approach, Ghoulies 3, The Howling). born
1918
Country singer Hank Locklin (Please Help Me I'm Falling). (Some sources 1922) born
1925
The London Zoo announces it will install lights to cheer up fogged in animals.
1927
Comedian Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show, The Tim Conway Show, Blazing Saddles) . born
1929
Auto racer Graham Hill born
1931
Actress Claire Bloom (Separate Tables, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Queenie, Alexander the Great, Anastasia, Brideshead Revisited). born
1932
George Burns and Gracie Allen debuted as regulars on "The Guy Lombardo Show" on CBS Radio.
1933
President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt escaped an attempt on his life in Miami, when shots fired at him by an assailant (Giuseppe Zangara) missed. However, Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak was killed.
1934
U.S. Congress passes the Civil Works Emergency Relief Act, allotting new funds for Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
1935
Astronaut Roger Chaffee, killed in a fire on the ground during a 1967 Apollo I test. born
1935
Author Susan Brownmiller. born
1940
Hitler orders that all British merchant ships will be considered warships.
1941
Songwriter Brian Holland. born
1941
Duke Ellington and his Orchestra recorded one of big band's all time classics. "Take the "A" Train" was recorded at Victor Records' Hollywood studio and became the Duke's signature song.
1942
British forces in Singapore surrender to Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
1943
The Germans break U.S. lines at the Fanid-Sened Sector in Tunisia.
1944
Rock musician Mick Avory (The Kinks) born
1944
During World War II, Allied forces heavily bombed the monastery atop Monte Cassino in Italy.
1946
Royal Canadian mounted police arrest 22 as Soviet spies.
1946
Edith Houghton, age 33, was signed as a baseball scout by the Philadelphia Phillies; the first female scout in the major leagues.
1948
Actress Marisa Berenson born
1950
Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung sign a mutual defense treaty in Moscow.
1951
Singer Melissa Manchester (Don't Cry Out Loud, Midnight Blue, You Should Hear How She Talks About You) born
1951
Actress Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Onassis Richest Man in the World, Somewhere in Time, War and Remembrance) born
1953
The first American to win the women's world figure skating championship was 17-year-old Tenley Albright. She won the competition in Davos, Switzerland.
1954
"Simpsons" creator Matt Groening. born
1957
Andrei Gromyko replaces Dmitri T. Shepilov as the Soviet Foreign Minister.
1959
Reggae singer Ali Campbell (UB40) born
1960
Musician Mikey Craig (Culture Club) born
1961
73 people, including an 18-member figure skating team from the US, were killed in the crash of a Sabena Airlines Boeing 707 in Belgium. (The skaters were en route to a world meet in Czechoslovakia.)
1964
Actor Chris Farley. born
1965
Canada's new maple-leaf flag was unfurled in ceremonies in Ottawa.
1965
Nat King Cole died in Santa Monica, California, at age 45. Cole was born in Alabama and raised in Chicago. He made his first recording in 1936.
1967
Thirteen U.S. helicopters are shot down in one day in Vietnam.
1967
Actor Michael Easton ("413 Hope Street") born
1970
Actress Emily May Young ("Step By Step") born
1970
Chicago defense attorney, William Kunstler, gets a four-year sentence on contempt charges.
1971
Actress Renee O'Connor ("Xena born
1971
Britain changed to a decimal currency system from pounds, shillings and pence.
1974
U.S. gas stations threaten to close because of federal fuel policies.
1978
Leon Spinks shocked the boxing world by beating Muhammad Ali in a 15-round split decision, to capture the heavyweight title in Las Vegas.
1982
84 men were killed when a huge oil-drilling rig, the "Ocean Ranger," sank off the coast of Newfoundland during a fierce storm.
1982
Welterweight boxing champion, Sugar Ray Leonard, knocked out Bruce Finch in the third round of a fight in Reno, Nevada. Leonard was injured in the second round and underwent retinal surgery in May.
1983
Actress Ashley Lyn Cafagna ("The Bold and the Beautiful") born
1985
Pope John Paul II met with leaders of the American Jewish Committee and issued a statement condemning anti-Semitism as "incompatible with Christ's teaching.""
1986
The Philippines National Assembly proclaimed Ferdinand E. Marcos president for another six years, following an election marked by allegations of fraud.
1987
ABC broadcast the first segment of "Amerika," a controversial miniseries about a Soviet takeover of the United States that was criticized by some as potentially damaging to superpower relations.
1988
Austrian President Kurt Waldheim vowed in a televised address not to "retreat in the face of slanders" concerning his service for the German Army during World War Two.
1989
The Soviet Union announced that the last of its troops had left Afghanistan, after more than nine years of military intervention.
1990
President Bush and the leaders of Columbia, Bolivia and Peru met in Cartagena, Colombia, for a drug-fighting summit.
1991
Iraq proposed a conditional withdrawal from Kuwait, an offer dismissed by President Bush as a cruel hoax.
1991
The government of South Africa and the African National Congress announced an agreement on terms of the ANC's decision to suspend its armed struggle against apartheid.
1992
Benjamin L. Hooks announced plans to retire as executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
1992
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Schuman died in New York at age 81.
1992
A Milwaukee jury found that Jeffrey Dahmer was sane when he killed and mutilated 15 men and boys.
1993
At the Montreal Symphony, Ulf Schirmer conducted Handel's "Royal Fireworks" music and Richard Strauss's "Sinfonia domestica," and an Oboe Concerto by Prevost for which the soloist will be Theodore Baskin.
1993
President Clinton issued an economic "call to arms," asking Americans in a televised Oval Office address to accept a painful package of tax increases and spending cuts.
1994
Drifter Danny Harold Rolling entered a surprise guilty plea to the 1990 murders of five college students in Gainesville, Florida.
1994
Viacom won a hard-fought victory to acquire Paramount Communications.
1994
Navy chief Admiral Frank Kelso II agreed to early retirement because of criticism over the Tailhook sex abuse scandal.
1994
American Diann Roffe-Steinrotter won the super-giant slalom at the Winter Olympics in Norway.
1995
The FBI arrested Kevin Mitnick, its "most wanted hacker," charging him with cracking security for some of the nation's most protected computers. Mitnick agreed to a plea bargain carrying an 8-month jail term.
1995
A fire roared through a three-story nightclub in Taichung, Taiwan, killing at least 64 people.
1996
A federal judge temporarily blocked the Communications Decency Act, saying the government had to explain what material it considered indecent before it could enforce the law, designed to protect children from sexually explicit material on computer networks.
1996
Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin announced he would run for re-election.
1997
Tara Lipinski upset Michelle Kwan at the U-S Figure Skating Championships in Nashville, Tennessee, becoming the youngest gold medalist at the nationals.
1997
North Korean defector Lee Han-young was shot and mortally wounded in South Korea, three days after another North Korean defected in Beijing.
1998
Two Japanese ski jumpers (Kazuyoshi Funaki and Masahiko Harada) leapt to gold and bronze medals in the 120-meter event at the Nagano Olympics.
1998
Monica Lewinsky's attorney, William Ginsburg, continued his harsh criticism of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr for alleged leaks of information to the news media, charging on CNN that his client's constitutional rights were being trampled.
1999
The body of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African gunned down by New York City police, was returned to his native Guinea.
2000
Republican presidential rivals George W. Bush and John McCain fought over campaign financing and the tenor of their nomination contest in a testy debate in Columbia, South Carolina, that included Alan Keyes.
2000
Fox aired "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?," a TV special which drew huge ratings and much notoriety.
2005
American nun murdered in Brazil
2005
Chinese mine blast kills over 200
2005
Conservative White House reporter using pseudonym gains access to Presidential press briefing and classified documents
2005
Colombia-Venezuela meeting in Caracas to end crisis
2005
Yahoo chooses Dublin as location of new European Headquarters
2006
Warner Music sees large growth digital music revenue
2006
Day 4 Results - Olympic Winter Games
2006
Last three Bali Nine smugglers jailed for life
2006
U.K. soldiers arrested over Iraqi abuse video
2006
Evolution may occur faster than once thought, scientists claim
2006
German Constitutional Court prohibits shooting down hijacked passenger planes
2006
New photos of Abu Ghraib prison abuse
2006
Day 5 Results - Olympic Winter Games
2006
RU486 debate complicates with amendments posed in Australian House of Representatives
2007
U.S. general to head NATO forces in Afghanistan
2007
BaselWorld Fair to open its doors in April
2007
North Korea agrees to end nuclear program
2007
Israel to webcast al-Aqsa mosque excavations
2007
Air Mauritania Boeing 737 hijacked
2007
A weak spot in HIV spotted
2007
Gamespy, IGN award Galactic Civilizations II expansion Editors' Choice
2007
Harper snubs breakfast club visit to Ottawa; all other Canadian parties represented
2007
Australian PM visits New Zealand
2008
New 'Guitar Hero' game to focus on Aerosmith
2008
Gunman at Illinois campus said to have stopped taking medication
2008
Natalee Holloway's mother prepares civil lawsuit against Joran van der Sloot
2008
Taipei International Book Exhibition: Opening day highlights
2008
Earthquake in East Africa's Lake Kivu kills at least one and injures scores
2008
International row after Spielberg quits Beijing Olympics
2008
Sexy video clips influence young girls more than boys, study shows
2008
Long-running TV clown marks 50 years since debut
2008
Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot released on bail
2008
Taipei International Book Exhibition: Varied features at Kid Book Hall
2008
Van der Sloot not re-arrested in Holloway case
2008
Former Senator Chafee endorses Barack Obama
2008
STS-122 astronauts perform third spacewalk
2008
National Hockey League news: February 15, 2008
2008
US military to shoot down errant spy satellite
2008
Independent candidate calls it quits, without Ron Paul as possible running mate
2009
Woman with world's longest fingernails loses them in car crash
2009
Japanese tanker MV Chemstar Venus freed by Somali pirates
2009
Australian football: Melbourne through to A-League Grand Final, Adelaide to play Queensland in preliminary final
2009
"The Simpsons" announces change in title sequence and move to HD
2009
Burning debris from satellites spotted over several US cities
2009
Thousands flee after volcano begins to erupt in Colombia
2010
Twelve-year-old schoolboy stabbed, dies in Brisbane, Australia
2010
Train collision kills at least eighteen near Brussels, Belgium
2011
UK inflation rate increases to 4%
2011
UK Prince William picks brother Harry to be best man at royal wedding
2012
Opposition calls for mass protests in Bahrain
2012
Indian IT minister says government will not censor social media
2013
Teenager arrested over Dingwall, Scotland hostel fire

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.

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