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Today in History

1568
Roman Catholic Church sentences entire population of Netherlands to death for heresy
1903
Academy Award winning ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen born in Chicago, Illinois
1921
Rockette, actress and dancer, Vera Ellen born in Norwood, Ohio
1935
Singer, songwriter, actor, and US Representative from California, Sonny Bono born in Detroit, Michigan
1937
Wallace Carothers granted Nylon patent
1953
Graphics game designer and co-founder of On-Line Systems (Sierra OnLine), Roberta Williams born near La Verne, California
1957
Director, author and Emmy Award winning actor, LeVar Burton born in Landstuhl, Germany
1959
Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba
1972
Actress Sarah Clarke born in St. Louis, Missouri
1978
First computer bulletin board system created, CBBS in Chicago, Illinois
309
Death of St. Pamphilus
309
Martyrdom of St. Elias
514
Rheticus, Austrian astronomer, mathematician born
1001
Roman barons put the Pope and Holy Roman Emperor to flight
1075
Orderic Vitalis An English monk of Saint-vroult in Normandy. He was a historian who in his Historia ecclesiastica left one of the fullest and most graphic accounts of Anglo-Norman society in his own day. born
1220
Bokhara falls to the Mongols
1486
Maximillian I chosen King of Germany
1519
Gaspard II de, Seigneur, Admiral of France and leader of the Huguenots during the early years of the Wars of Religion (1562-98). born
1525
The monks of Glastonbury Abbey meet again to elect a new Abbot, and entrust the decision to Cardinal Wolsey
1579
Death of Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada, explorer of Columbia
1620
Frederick William, the Great Elector, founder of born
1642
First Postal Service in Scotland
1659
1st known check (on display at Westminster Abbey)
1741
Benjamin Franklin first published America's second magazine, "The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle" on this day.
1804
Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a successful raid into Tripoli Harbor to burn the US Navy frigate "Philadelphia," which had fallen into the hands of pirates.
1829
The father of the French symphony, Francois-Joseph Gossec, died at the age of 95.
1834
Ernst Haeckel A German zoologist and evolutionist who was a strong proponent of Darwinism and who proposed new notions of the evolutionary descent of man. born
1857
The National Deaf Mute College was incorporated in Washington, DC. It was the first school in the world for advanced education of the deaf. It was later renamed Gallaudet College.
1862
During the Civil War, some 14,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered at Fort Donelson, Tennessee.
1868
The Jolly Gorks organization, in New York City, decided to change their goofy name to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE). The purpose of the fraternal group: "...practice charity, justice, brotherly love and faithfulness."
1883
Ladies Home Journal begins publication.
1884
Robert Flaherty, father of the documentary film. born
1893
Actress - Katherine Cornell born
1901
Saxophonist Chester Morris born
1901
Actor - Chester Morris (Five Came Back, Frankie and Johnny, Wagon's Westward, The Great White Hope) born
1901
Orchestra leader Wayne King born
1903
Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (1903-1978) was born. He was the voice of Charlie McCarthy. born
1908
A funeral procession for a New York City fire chief was held. The drum of the cortege was heard by a guest at the Hotel Majestic who found the occasion so moving that he cried and wrote the drum stroke into his Tenth Symphony. We're talking, of course, about Mahler.
1909
Actor Hugh Beaumont (To the Shores of Tripoli, The Human Duplicators, Leave It to Beaver) born
1914
1st airplane flight to Los Angeles from San Francisco.
1914
Actor Jimmy Wakel (acted in more than 50 films as a western star) born
1916
Organist Bill Doggett (Honky Tonk, Slow Walk) born
1918
Lithuania proclaimed its independence.
1920
Singer Patti Andrews (lead singer born
1920
The Allies accept Berlin's offer to try World War I war criminals in Leipzig's Supreme Court.
1923
Archaeologists opened the treasure-laden tomb of Tutankhamen, "King Tut," in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.
1926
Movie director John Schlesinger born
1932
The first fruit tree patent was issued to James E. Markham for a peach tree which ripens later than other varieties.
1932
Actress Gretchen Wyler (Wienecke) born
1934
Thousands of Socialists battle Communists at a rally in New York's Madison Square Garden.
1935
Singer, U. S. Congressman Sonny (Salvatore) Bono. born
1937
Wallace H. Carothers, of Dupont, patents a new thread, nylon, which will replace silk in a number of products and reduce costs.
1938
Actor Barry Primus (Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Absence of Malice) born
1940
Singer and Congressman Sonny (Salvatore) Bono born
1942
Tojo outlines Japan's war aims to the Diet, referring to "new order of coexistence" in East Asia.
1945
American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War Two.
1946
Actor Pete Postlethwaite born
1948
NBC TV began airing its first nightly newscast, "The Camel Newsreel Theatre," which consisted of Fox Movietone newsreels.
1951
Actor William Katt born
1951
Stalin contends the U.N. is becoming the weapon of aggressive war.
1952
The FBI arrests 10 members of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.
1956
Singer James Ingram born
1957
Actor LeVar Burton (Alex Haley's Roots, Star Trek Generation) born
1957
A U.S. flag flies over an outpost in Wilkes Land, Antarctica.
1958
Actor-rapper Ice-T born
1958
Actress Lisa Loring ("The Addams Family") born
1959
Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.
1959
Tennis player John McEnroe born
1960
Tthe United States nuclear submarine Triton began its underwater round-the-world trip.
1961
Guitarist Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) born
1961
The United States launched the Explorer 9 satellite.
1963
The Beatles got their first #1 British hit single -- "Please Please Me."
1965
Four persons are held in a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell and the Washington Monument.
1966
The World Council of Churches being held in Geneva, urges immediate peace in Vietnam. Vietnam was the war that five presidents "owned"--and yet no president "owned."
1968
The nation's first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated, in Haleyville, Alabama
1968
Elvis Presley received a gold record for his sacred album of hymns, "How Great Thou Art".
1972
Los Angeles Lakers basketball great, Wilt Chamberlain topped the 30,000 point mark in his career during a game against the Phoenix Suns.
1977
Janani Luwum, the Anglican archbishop of Uganda, and two other men were killed in what Ugandan authorities said was an automobile accident.
1978
Singer Sam Salter born
1978
China and Japan sign a $20 billion trade pact, which is the most important move since the 1972 resumption of diplomatic ties.
1980
At the Winter Olympic games in Lake Placid, New York, American speed skater Eric Heiden captured the second of five gold medals, while the U.S. Hockey team defeated Norway 5-1.
1985
Israeli troops completed the first step of a three-stage withdrawal from South Lebanon, two days earlier than planned.
1985
Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini lost the World Boxing Association lightweight championship crown to Livingston Bramble.
1986
Philippine presidential candidate Corazon Aquino called for nonviolent protests against Ferdinand E. Marcos, a day after Marcos was declared the winner of a presidential election tainted by charges of fraud.
1986
Mario Soares was elected Portugal's first civilian head of state in 60 years.
1987
John Demjanjuk went on trial in Jerusalem, accused of being "Ivan the Terrible," a guard at the Treblinka concentration camp. (Demjanjuk was convicted, but the conviction ended up being overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.)
1988
Vice President George Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis scored big victories in the New Hampshire Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.
1988
Seven people were shot to death during an office rampage in Sunnyvale, California. The gunman, Richard Farley, was later sentenced to death.
1989
Investigators in Lockerbie, Scotland, said a bomb hidden inside a radio-cassette player was what brought down Pan Am Flight 103 the previous December, killing all 259 people aboard and eleven on the ground.
1990
Former President Ronald Reagan began two days of giving a videotaped deposition in a Los Angeles courtroom for the Iran-Contra trial of former national security adviser John Poindexter.
1991
Iraqi officials charged that 130 civilians were killed when British jet fighters raided the town of Fallouja two days earlier.
1991
A Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman downplayed Moscow's initial enthusiasm for an Iraqi offer to withdraw from Kuwait, saying it was insufficient to end the war.
1992
Two days before the New Hampshire primary, five Democratic presidential candidates debated on CNN, aiming most of their criticism at President Bush.
1992
The chief of the Iranian-financed Hezbollah and two family members were killed in a bombing raid by Israel in an apparent retaliation for attacks against its soldiers.
1993
Prices fell as Wall Street reacted unfavorably to President Clinton's economic austerity plan previewed in a White House address the night before.
1993
Canada's biggest city got a taste of what its next symphony leader will be like. Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who became music director of the Toronto Symphony the following fall, led the orchestra in Brahms' "Haydn" Variations, Bartok's Third Piano Concerto, and Beethoven's Fifth
1994
At least 217 people were killed when a powerful earthquake shook Indonesia's Sumatra island. Figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan encountered each other at the Winter Olympic Games in Norway before posing for the US team photograph.
1995
In a dark and defensive address to his nation, Russian President Boris Yeltsin berated his military leaders for big losses and human rights abuses in Chechnya but insisted Russia had to use force to defend its unity.
1996
Former California Governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 90.
1996
Eleven people were killed in a fiery collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a Maryland commuter train in Silver Spring, Maryland.
1996
World chess champion Gary Kasparov won for the second time against IBM supercomputer "Deep Blue" in the fifth game of their match in Philadelphia (Kasparov had drawn twice and lost once).
1997
US Representative Dan Burton (Republican, Indiana), the chairman of the House committee investigating campaign fund-raising activities, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that his probe would be far broader than originally anticipated.
1998
A China Airlines Airbus A300-600R trying to land in fog near Taipei, Taiwan, crashed, killing all 196 people on board and six people on the ground.
1998
Skier Hermann Maier of Austria won the Super-G and Katja Seizinger of Germany won the women's downhill at the Nagano Olympics; Russia's Pasha Grishuk and Yeggeny Platov won the ice dancing event.
1998
The pioneering American woman war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, third wife of Ernest Hemingway, died in London at the age of 89.
1998
The United Nations agency UNESCO awarded its $25,000 World Press Freedom Prize to imprisoned Nigerian journalist Christina Anyanwu.
1999
Enraged Kurds seized embassies and held hostages across Europe following Turkey's arrest of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.
1999
Testimony began in the Jasper, Texas trial of John William King, charged with murder in the gruesome dragging death of James Byrd Jr. (King was later convicted and sentenced to death.)
2000
Lucy Edwards, a former Bank of New York executive, and her husband, Peter Berlin, pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to laundering billions of dollars from Russian bankers in one of the biggest such schemes in US history.
2005
Neutered HIV a potential cancer treatment?
2005
Mayor of London compares reporter to Nazi prison guard
2005
A policeman is killed and another one is tortured in MST camp, in Brazil
2005
'The Gates' opens in New York City
2005
Chinese researchers crack major U.S. government algorithm used in digital signatures
2005
Lack of facts no hindrance to speculation about Google, Wikipedia
2005
Kyoto Protocol comes into effect
2005
U.S. 2004 tax rates lower for those earning over $10 million, Tax Policy Center says
2005
Another body found in Brazil near U.S. nun murder scene
2005
Study claims to show difference between male and female brains
2005
Thorpe to miss World Swimming Championships
2005
Countryside Alliance lose legal case on UK fox hunting ban
2005
Microsoft announces new security software, new version of Internet Explorer
2005
Israeli parliament approves final step before implementation of Gaza disengagement plan can begin
2005
Google offers to help Wikipedia
2005
NHL season canceled amid player pay cap dispute
2005
Wal-mart way to be revised
2006
Olympic biathlon silver medal stripped due to doping
2006
Repeal of ministerial control of RU486 bill passes Australian House of Representatives
2006
France says Iran's nuclear program is a "military cover"
2006
Tokelau voters reject self-rule
2006
Thaksin escapes Constitutional Court scrutiny
2006
Iranian newspaper website attacked
2006
Photo essay: Valentine's Day at the U.S. Viet Nam War Memorial
2006
UN calls for Guantanamo shutdown
2006
Switzerland: charges dropped in the Aubonne bridge affair
2006
Europe restricts poultry as bird flu spreads to eight European nations
2006
Fire Fighters Join "TR" Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
2006
Baltimore Ravens' Deion Sanders announces retirement
2006
Authenticity of new Abu Ghraib photos confirmed
2007
Study finds pregnant women eating seafood helps child
2007
Canadian government 'will respect' Kyoto law
2007
Disney prohibits LGBT production of Sister Act
2007
Potential charges against "Tigger" dropped: District attorney
2007
26 Americans, mostly CIA agents, charged for kidnapping in Italy
2008
'Blaspheming' movie should be prohibited says Iran government
2008
Dutch diplomat Feith appointed EU Special Representative in Kosovo
2008
Taipei International Book Exhibition: More events, more visitors in the weekend
2008
Controversial operetta singer Heesters back in the Netherlands after 45 years
2008
National Hockey League news: February 16, 2008
2008
Former president Bush, Romney back McCain
2008
Bush starts off Africa trip in Benin
2008
Hydrated protons pair off
2008
English FA Cup news: February 16, 2008
2009
US military says 'fireballs' spotted over Texas are not related to satellite collision
2009
Airplane that crashed near Buffalo, New York 'was on autopilot'
2009
North Korea says it's preparing to launch space program, denies preparations to test missile
2009
Japan's economy sees biggest decline since 1974
2009
US Congress passes $787 billion stimulus package
2009
Eurovision '73 winner Anne Marie David discusses her four-decade career and the Contest, past and present
2010
Five-year-old girl dies after car crashes into river in Worcestershire, England
2010
Search for child abductor continues in Australia
2013
IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships preparations underway

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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