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Today in History

1600
Philosopher Giordano Bruno burned at the stake in Rome for heresy
1874
Teacher, salesman, and president of IBM, Thomas J. Watson, Sr born in Elmira, New York
1933
The Blaine Act, which would end Prohibition of alcohol in the US, passes
1939
Lee Falk's Phantom, the first comic superhero, appears in the daily comic strips
1954
Fashion model and actress Rene Russo born in Burbank, California
1963
Basketball legend Michael Jordan born in Brooklyn, New York
1963
DJ, actor, comedian, and "Larry the Cable Guy", Daniel Lawrence Whitney born in Pawnee City, Nebraska
1981
Actress and hotel heiress, Paris Hilton born in New York City
2000
Microsoft releases Windows 2000
364
Death of the Emperor Jovian of Rome
661
Death of St. Fintan of Cloneenagh
1247
Death of Henry Raspe, King of Germany
1312
A Royal Embassy arrives in Vienne from Philip IV "the Fair," King of France, to convince the Pope to condemn the Templars
1317
The French Inquisition is set after the Spirituals
1387
"Heathen" religions banned in Poland
1400
Richard, deposed King of England, murdered
1454
Philip "the Good," of Burgundy, takes the Vow of the Pheasant
1490
Charles, Duke of Bourbon. The 8th duke of France under King Francis I and later a leading general under Francis' chief adversary, the Holy Roman emperor Charles V. born
1568
Holy Roman Emperor agrees to pay annual tribute to Sultan for peace
1621
Miles Standish appointed Military Commander of Plymouth Colony
1653
Arcangelo Corelli was born. By his early twenties Corelli was in Rome, a well-known and admired violinist, and by his thirties his trio sonatas and other chamber works were known throughout Europe. born
1665
Rudolph Jacob Camerarius The botanist who demonstrated the existence of sexes in plants. born
1673
Moliere, the stage name of French playwright and actor Jean-Baptiste Poquelin died after collapsing on stage on the third night of his play "Le Malade Imaginaire" ("The Imaginary Invalid").
1774
Raphaelle Peale, U.S. painter born
1801
The House of Representatives chose Thomas Jefferson as third president of the United States. Aaron Burr, who tied with Jefferson in the Electoral College, became vice president.
1817
Baltimore became the first U.S. city with gas-burning street lights.
1820
Composer Henri Vieuxtemps born
1843
U.S. merchant (Aaron) Montgomery Ward was born in Chatham, New Jersey. Ward introduced the mail-order method of selling general merchandise and founded the mail-order house of Montgomery Ward & Company, Inc. born
1856
Engraver Frederick Ives born
1864
Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sinks the USS Housatonic in the first successful submarine attack
1867
William Cadbury, chocolate manufacturer born
1874
Thomas J. Watson Sr. American industrialist who built the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) into the largest manufacturer of electric typewriters and data-processing equipment in the world. born
1876
Julius Wolff was credited with being the first to can sardines - at Eastport, Maine.
1889
Texas oil millionaire H.L. Hunt born
1897
The forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, was founded in Washington.
1902
Contralto Marian Anderson was born. She was the first black artist to entertain at the White House and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. born
1904
Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" was premiered at La Scala. It received a poor reception!
1908
Sportscaster Red Barber was born. He began play-by-play for the Cincinnati Reds games, then became the voice of the "Brooklyn" Dodgers. born
1909
A government commission reports that the tobacco industry is controlled by six men with 86 firms that are worth $450 million.
1909
Apache leader Geronimo died while under military confinement at Fort Sill, Oklahoma
1919
Germany signs an armistice giving up territory in Poland.
1919
Actress Kathleen Foreman. born
1924
Swimmer (and later "Tarzan") Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in the 100-yard freestyle. His time: 52-2/5 seconds in Miami, Florida.
1924
Margaret Truman Daniel. born
1925
Actor Hal Holbrook. born
1933
The League of Nations censures Japan in a worldwide broadcast. The rise of militaristic nationalism led Japan down the road to Pearl Harbor and World War II.
1933
Singer Bobby Lewis. born
1933
"Newsweek" was first published.
1933
"Blondie Boopadoop," the title role and flapper in the comic strip "Blondie," married "Dagwood Bumstead." The marriage took place three years after the popular comic strip debuted in the nation's newspapers.
1934
Actor Alan Bates. born
1934
The first high school automobile driver's education course was introduced in State College, Pennsylvania.
1935
Thirty-one prisoners escape an Oklahoma prison after murdering a guard.
1936
Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown. born
1939
Actress Mary Ann Mobley. born
1941
Singer Gene Pitney. born
1944
Oil is discovered in commercial quantities in Alabama.
1945
Gen. MacArthur's troops land on Corregidor in the Philippines. General Tomoyuki Yamashita was the Japanese general opposing MacArthur.
1945
Actress Brenda Fricker. born
1947
The Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.
1947
Singer (Geraldine) Dodie Stevens born
1951
The Packard convertible makes its debut.
1954
Actress Rene Russo born
1955
Britain announces its ability to make hydrogen bombs.
1956
Actor Richard Karn ("Home Improvement"). born
1958
Former New York Giants football star, Frank Gifford, signed a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers. When the movie career did not work out, he worked at WCBS-TV as a sportscaster.
1959
The U.S. launches its first weather station in space, Vanguard II.
1960
Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested in the Alabama bus boycott.
1962
Actor Lou Diamond Phillips. born
1963
Basketball player Michael Jordan. born
1964
The Supreme Court issued its "Westberry v. Sanders" decision, ruling congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.
1964
Luke Appling became the 101st member elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
1968
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opened in Springfield, Massachusetts.
1972
Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day). born
1972
President Nixon departed on his historic trip to China.
1972
Pink Floyd premiered "Dark Side of the Moon" during a concert at London's Rainbow Theater. The album by that name was released a year later and became the longest-charting Rock LP in Billboard's history. 303 weeks.
1973
President Richard Nixon names Patrick Gray director of the FBI.
1974
Country singer Bryan White. born
1975
Art in by Cezanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and van Gough, valued at $5 million, is stolen from the Municipal Museum in Milan.
1981
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("3rd Rock from the Sun"). born
1981
Pope John Paul II meets with President Marcos in Manila.
1982
U.S. jazz pianist Thelonius Monk died. A key figure in the development of bebop, he played with Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane.
1983
General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. officials signed an agreement to build front-wheel-drive cars at an idled GM plant in Fremont, California.
1983
Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado announced in Denver he would seek the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination.
1985
Murray Haydon becomes the third person to receive an artificial heart as doctors at Humana Hospital Audubon in Louisville, Kentucky, implanted the device. (Haydon lived 488 days with the heart.)
1985
The price of first class U.S. postage stamps were raised to 22 cents.
1986
Johnson & Johnson pulled Tylenol from store shelves after a woman died from taking the pain reliever. It was later found that the medication had been tampered with.
1986
Johnson and Johnson halted production of all non-prescription drugs in capsules following the death of a Peekskill, N,Y., woman from cyanide-laced Extra-Strength Tylenol.
1987
Don Mattingly won the highest award in the 13-year history of salary arbitration when a judge ruled that the New York Yankee deserved a salary of $1,975,000.
1988
Lieutenant Colonel William Higgins, an American officer serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon (he was later slain by his captors).
1989
Iran's president (Ali Khamenei) said Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses," could save himself from a death sentence pronounced by Ayatollah Khomeini if he were to apologize for his book, which was regarded as blasphemous.
1990
Czechoslovakia's Communist Party expelled former President Gustav Huak, ex-Prime Minister Lubomir Strougal and 20 other hard-liners who came to power after Soviet tanks crushed the 1968 Prague Spring reform era.
1990
Former President Reagan spent a second day in a Los Angeles courtroom, giving videotaped testimony about the Iran-Contra affair for the trial of his former national security adviser, John Poindexter.
1991
During the Persian Gulf War, Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz traveled to Moscow for a meeting with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
1992
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced in Milwaukee to life in prison He was beaten to death in prison in November 1994.
1992
Secretary of State James A. Baker III met with Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin in Moscow, after which Baker announced plans to aid former Soviet nuclear scientists and help Russian dismantle it nuclear weapons.
1993
An overcrowded ferry carrying up to 1,500 people sank off Haiti; only 285 people were known to have survived.
1993
President Clinton addressed a joint session of Congress, asking Americans to accept one of the biggest tax increases in history as part of a plan to curb massive budget deficits and stimulate the economy.
1993
The New York Philharmonic performed the suite from "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh," by Rimsky-Korsakov. Russian guest-conductor Valery Gergiev also conducted selections from the Berlioz version of "Romeo and Juliet".
1994
Bosnian Serbs began large-scale withdrawal of its heavy guns from the hills around Sarajevo under pressure from Russia.
1994
The U.S. government reported a record trade deficit with Japan the previous year; Japan, faced with possible U.S. sanctions, decided to develop a wide-ranging package of measures to trim its trade surplus with the U.S.
1995
Colin Ferguson was convicted of six counts of murder in the December 1993 Long Island Rail Road shootings. He was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison.
1995
Ecuador and Peru signed a peace accord aimed at ending their three-week border war.
1996
World chess champion Garry Kasparov beat IBM supercomputer "Deep Blue," winning a six-game match in Philadelphia (Kasparov had lost the first game, won the second, fifth and sixth games and earned draws in the third and fourth).
1996
Tidal waves killed more than 100 people in Indonesia.
1997
a surprising development, Pepperdine University said that Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr would step down from the probe to take a full-time job at the school. (Starr reversed himself four days later.)
1998
President Clinton, preparing Americans for possible airstrikes against Iraq, said military force is never the first answer "but sometimes it's the only answer."
1998
A jury in Fort Worth, Texas, convicted former Naval Academy
1998
The US women's hockey team won the gold medal at Nagano, defeating Canada 3-to-1.
1999
Israeli security guards shot and killed three Kurds who had forced their way into the Israeli consulate in Berlin; the protesters were enraged by reports that Israel aided in the arrest of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.
1999
In a satellite-linked address to college campuses across the country, President Clinton made his case for shoring up Social Security and Medicare.
2000
A House panel said in a report that the program to inoculate all 2.4 million American military personnel against anthrax was based on "a paucity of science" and should be suspended; the Pentagon defended the program and vowed to continue the inoculations.
2005
Oldest human fossils dated as 200,000yrs old
2005
Funeral held for the former Lebanese Prime Minister
2005
Brazilian President Lula met Chavez, military and economic cooperation
2005
Second U.S. anti-missile defence system test fails
2005
Armstrong will compete in Tour de France
2005
China overtakes U.S. as world's largest consumer
2005
Boeing unveils long-range 777
2005
Five hundred cattle die of neglect on West Australia property
2005
Foreigners buy record number of Canadian securities
2005
United Iraqi Alliance win slight majority
2005
Brazil: occupied area conflict, 2 deaths
2005
Former Paraguayan President's daughter found dead
2005
Greenspan's testimony suggests "more of the same"
2005
Chubu International Airport opens
2006
British Parliament bans smoking in pubs, workplaces and clubs
2006
Bird flu could kill between 1.4 and 140 million people - Australian researchers
2006
Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners
2006
Graffiti game banned in Australia
2006
U.S. looking for asylum for some Guantanamo prisoners
2006
85 rescued, thousands feared dead in Philippine landslide
2006
Cheney gets ovation, shooting victim apologizes to Cheney
2006
Day 7 Results - Olympic Winter Games
2006
Colombia’s Uribe orders the bombing of a Natural National Park
2006
Full extent of Abu Ghraib detainee abuse revealed
2006
McGovern calls for whistleblowing before alleged US attack on Iran
2006
Day 6 Results - Olympic Winter Games
2006
Australian bird flu vaccine trial results "promising"
2007
Reconnaissance Orbiter finds more evidence of water on the planet Mars
2007
Black Caps make cricket history
2007
NASA launches satellites to study northern lights
2007
NYC students attempt to revive stoop culture
2008
National Hockey League news: February 17, 2008
2008
English town wants to move to Scotland
2008
Bush: Congress should approve 'vital' bill
2008
Papadopoulos eliminated in Cypriot election
2008
NBA holds second annual NBDL All-Star game
2008
Micro-loans to US poor from Bangladesh's Grameen Bank
2008
Greek-Cypriots vote for President
2008
Kosovo declares independence from Serbia
2008
UK bank Northern Rock to be nationalised
2008
Václav Klaus re-elected as President of the Czech Republic
2008
California meat packing firm recalls 143M pounds of beef
2008
Over 80 Afghans killed by bombing in Kandahār
2009
General relativity effect confirmed: satellite experiment
2009
Large chimpanzee shot and killed by police in US after it attacks woman, officers
2009
British writer Edward Upward dies at 105
2009
Obama signs $787 billion stimulus package
2010
UK inflation rate increases to 3.5%
2010
Hockey player Georges Laraque joins Green Party of Canada
2011
Fifteen receive US Presidential Medal of Freedom
2011
Egyptian military appoints committee to amend constitution
2012
Armed robbers steal valuable statuettes from Olympia museum, Greece
2012
Inquiry blames surgical failures for Scottish patient deaths
2013
Two Outer Hebrides councillors launch petition to retain local flight services

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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