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Today in History

1838
Physicist and philosopher, Ernst Mach born in Brno, Austrian Empire
1871
Inventor of stainless steel, Harry Brearley born in Sheffield, England
1885
Mark Twain publishes Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
1919
Coal miner, boxer, soldier, life guard and Academy Award winning actor, Jack Palance born in Hazle Township, Pennsylvania
1930
Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto
1933
Artist and musician, Yoko Ono born in Tokyo, Japan
1954
Aviator, singer and Oscar nominated actor, John Travolta born in Englewood, New Jersey
1954
Church of Scientology established in Los Angeles
1957
Wheel of Fortune letter-turner, Vanna White born Vanna Marie Rosich in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
2001
NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt dies in crash during last lap of Daytona 500
449
Death of St. Flavian of Constantinople
676
Death of St. Colman of Lindisfarne
1229
Frederick II Hohenstaufen, Emperor of Germany and excommunicate, gains Jerusalem by treaty
1274
Persian philosopher Nasir ad-Din at- Tusi He was an outstanding , scientist, and mathematician. born
1386
Marriage of King Wladislaus II of Poland to Jadwiga of Hungary
1397
Death of Enguerrand VII, Sire de Coucy, Count of Soissons
1405
Death of the Emir al Kebir Timur "i-Leng" (Tamerlane), while leading an expedition to China
1455
Death of Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro), Painter of many angels.
1478
George, Duke of Clarence, drowned in a barrel of malmsey wine
1493
Columbus reaches the Azores
1516
Mary I (MARY TUDOR) The first queen to rule England (1553-58) in her own right. She was known as Bloody Mary for her persecution of Protestants in a vain attempt to restore Roman Catholicism in England. born
1546
Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died.
1562
Huguenot colonists leave France for Florida
1564
Artist, painter, sculptor and architect Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni died in Rome.
1678
John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress" is published
1735
The first opera performed in America, known either as "Flora" or "Hob in the Well" was presented in Charleston, South Carolina.
1743
Handel's oratorio "Samson" was a great success at Covent Garden. Handel was to specialize in oratorios after that. With no stage action, they were cheaper to put on than operas.
1745
Italian physicist Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta. His invention of the electric battery provided the first source of continuous current. born
1795
George Peabody, U.S. merchant and philanthropist born
1841
The first continuous filibuster in the U.S. Senate began this day. It lasted until March 11th.
1848
Glassmaker Louis Comfort Tiffany born
1855
Tsar Nicholas I, died.
1857
German painter, sculptor, and engraver Max Klinger. His art of symbol, fantasy, and dreamlike situations belonged to the growing late-19th-century awareness of the subtleties of the mind. born
1861
Victor Emmanuel II becomes the first King of Italy.
1861
Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama.
1862
Entrepreneur Charles M(ichael) Schwab. He served as president of both the Carnegie Steel Company and United States Steel Corporation and later pioneered Bethlehem Steel into one of the nation's giant steel producers. born
1865
After a long siege, Union naval forces captured Charleston, South Carolina.
1885
Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published in the US for the first time.
1892
U.S. Republican presidential candidate in 1940 Wendell L(ewis) Willkie. He tried unsuccessfully to unseat President Franklin D. Roosevelt. born
1898
Auto racer and manufacturer Enzo Ferrari born
1899
English historian Sir Arthur Bryant born
1904
An angry Puccini withdrew the new opera that had been booed at La Scala, vowing not to change a note of a work that he felt had merit, "Madame Butterfly."
1907
600,000 tons of grain are sent to Russia to relieve the famine there.
1908
U.S. postage stamps were sold for the first time. The cost was one cent.
1914
Songwriter-musician Pee Wee King born
1915
Germany began its World War I blockade of England with submarines.
1920
TV Host Bill Cullen (I've Got a Secret, The Price is Right, The Joker's Wild, Name that Tune) born
1921
Actor (Vladimir Palahnuik) Jack Palance born
1922
Former "Cosmopolitan" editor Helen Gurley Brown born
1922
Keneshaw Mountain Landis resigned his post as U.S. District Judge in Illinois. Judge Landis had been commissioner of baseball since 1920 and decided to devote all of his time to "America's pastime."
1925
Actor George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke, The Blue Knight, Earthquake!, Naked Gun, Airplane, Dallas, Delta Force, The Dirty Dozen) born
1930
Pluto, the outermost planet of the solar system, was discovered by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh.
1931
American writer Toni Morrison. Her real name was Chloe Anthony Wofford. She was noted for her examination of black experience (particularly black female experience) She received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. born
1932
Sonja Henie won her 6th world women's figure skating title in Montreal, Canada.
1932
Movie director Milos Forman. (One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest) born
1933
Singer Yoko Ono born
1938
The motion picture "The Big Broadcast of 1938" was released to movie houses. The film featured Bob Hope and his version of what would become his theme song, "Thanks for the Memory." The song received an Academy Award for Best Song. Dorothy Lamour and W.C. Fields also had starring roles in the film.
1941
Singer Herman Santiago (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) born
1941
Singer Irma Thomas born
1943
Rommel takes three towns in Tunisia, North Africa. The intercepted communications of an American in Cairo provided a secret ear for the Desert Fox.
1944
The Army, Navy and Marines invade Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1945
U.S. Marines storm ashore at Iwo Jima.
1947
Singer Dennis DeYoung (Styx) born
1948
Actress Sinead Cusack born
1950
Actress Cybill Shepherd born
1950
Producer-director-writer John Hughes born
1951
Howard Hanson's "Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth" premiered at Chicago's Northwestern University.
1952
Singer Juice Newton born
1952
Singer Randy Crawford born
1953
Rock musician Robbie Bachman born
1953
The new fad in America on this night was 3-D, as demonstrated in the movie, "Bwana Devil". The three-dimensional feature opened at Loew's State Theatre in New York City. Arch Oboler directed the movie which starred Robert Stack and the Barbara Britton.
1953
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz signed a contract worth $8,000,000 to continue the "I Love Lucy" TV show through 1955. The deal was the richest contract in television at the time.
1954
Actor John Travolta (Welcome Back Kotter, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Urban Cowboy, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Broken Arrow) born
1954
East and West Berlin drop thousands of propaganda leaflets on each other after the end of a month long truce.
1957
Game show host Vanna White born
1960
Actress Greta Scacchi born
1960
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay agreed to set up a Latin American Free Trade Association.
1960
The Eighth Winter Olympic Games were formally opened in Squaw Valley, California, by Vice President Nixon.
1962
Robert F. Kennedy says that U.S. troops will stay in Vietnam until Communism is defeated.
1964
Actor Matt Dillon born
1964
The U.S. cuts military aid to five nations in reprisal for having trade relations with Cuba.
1964
"Any Wednesday" opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. The play established Gene Hackman as an actor.
1965
Rapper Dr. Dre born
1967
The National Art Gallery in Washington agrees to buy a Da Vinci for a record $5 million.
1967
Father of the 'A-Bomb' American physicist, Robert Oppenheimer, dies.
1968
Actress Molly Ringwald born
1968
Rock musician Tommy Scott (Space) born
1970
The Chicago Seven defendants were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention.
1972
The California Supreme Court struck down the state's death penalty.
1974
Randolph Hearst is to give $2 million in free food for the poor in order to open talks for his daughter Patty.
1977
The space shuttle "Enterprise," sitting atop a Boeing 747, went on its maiden "flight" above the Mojave Desert.
1979
Actor Tyrone Dorzell Burton ("The Parent 'Hood") born
1981
President Reagan's first budget proposed the largest tax cuts and spending curbs ever for an administration, but also a $90 billion increase in defense spending over four years.
1982
Mexico devalues the peso by 30 percent to fight an economic slide.
1983
About 1,000 Muslim villagers in Nellie, India, were massacred by Assamese Hindus.
1983
The White House and congressional negotiators reached a compromise enabling investigators for the U.S. House of Representatives to see withheld Environmental Protection Agency documents.
1984
Italy and the Vatican signed a revised concordat under which Roman Catholicism ceased to be the state religion of Italy.
1985
Gen. William C. Westmoreland and CBS reached an out-of-court settlement in Westmoreland's $120 million libel suit that resulted from a CBS News documentary, "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception."
1985
Diver Greg Louganis was recognized as the top amateur athlete in the United States, as he received the James E. Sullivan Award of the AAU in Indianapolis, Indiana. Louganis had won double gold at the 1984 Olympics.
1986
A bomb placed in the car of a U.S. Embassy Marine exploded in the embassy compound in Lisbon, Portugal, but caused no injuries.
1987
President Reagan, responding to questions that his chief of staff, Donald T. Regan, might be on the way out, said, "That is up to him." (Regan did resign, nine days later.)
1987
The executives of the Girl Scout movement decided, because the older girls wanted a change, that it was time to change the color of the scout uniform from the traditional Girl Scout green to the newer Girl Scout blue.
1988
Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as the 104th justice of the US Supreme Court.
1988
Soviet Communist Party leaders dropped former Moscow party chief Boris N. Yeltsin from the ruling Politburo.
1988
Vice President Gore visited California to look at the damage caused by a series of El Nino-driven storms. He took a helicopter tour of the flood-damaged area around San Francisco and in Rio Nido where the threat of a mudslide forced some 150 people from their homes.
1988
Alabama National Guardsmen laid sandbags in Hunstville in an effort to block a slow-moving landslide which threatened to bury dozens of mountainside homes in mud. Officials advised residents of 37 houses below the slide and 10 more on the slope to evacuate.
1988
One of President Clinton's closest advisors, Bruce Lindsey, testified before the grand jury investigating allegations of illicit White House sex and coverup.
1989
Author Salman Rushdie, under a death sentence from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini for his book "The Satanic Verses," expressed regret for any distress he'd caused Muslims.
1990
In general elections, Japan's conservative governing party held onto it's 34-year-old majority in the Parliament's lower house.
1991
Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz held talks in Moscow with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who presented a proposal for ending the Persian Gulf War.
1991
The Irish republican Army claimed responsibility for a bomb that exploded in a London rail station, killing a commuter. (One person was killed and 40 injured)
1991
Two American warships struck mines while patrolling the northern Persian Gulf.
1992
In the New Hampshire primary, President Bush won the Republican contest while challenger Patrick Buchanan placed a considerably strong second; among Democrats, Paul Tsongas came in first.
1993
James Mann became the new general manager of the St. Louis Symphony. Mann was promoted from within, something that has become fairly uncommon in orchestras as big as the St. Louis.
1993
President Clinton hosted a campaign-style rally at St. Louis' Union Station to enlist citizen support for his economic plan.
1994
President Clinton notified Congress he was prepared to order bombing by U.S. warplanes in Bosnia.
1994
Delegates from 130 countries agreed at a United Nations conference that there must be new cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to halt global warming.
1994
At the Winter Olympic Games in Norway, speedskater Dan Jansen finally won a gold medal, breaking the world record in the 1,000 meters.
1995
The NAACP replaced veteran chairman William Gibson with Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, after the rank and file declared no confidence in Gibson's leadership.
1996
A member of the Irish Republican Army blew himself up and wounded nine other people when the briefcase bomb he was carrying detonated accidentally on a double-decker bus in London's West End.
1997
Astronauts on the space shuttle "Discovery" completed their tuneup of the Hubble Space Telescope after 33 hours of spacewalking; the Hubble was then released using the shuttle's crane.
1997
Bill Richardson began work as US ambassador to the United Nations.
1998
President Clinton's foreign policy team encountered jeers during a town meeting at Ohio State University while trying to defend the administration's threat to bomb Iraq into compliance with UN weapons edicts. "One, two, three, four, we don't want your racist war," shouted some of the handful of hecklers at The Ohio State University in Columbus, catching Secretary of State Madeleine Albright off guard and drowning out what she was trying to say.
1998
Sportscaster Harry Caray died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 83.
1999
The Clinton administration warned Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to choose peace with ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, or face a devastating military strike.
2000
Iranians voted in an election that gave reformers a majority in the parliament, long a bastion of hard-liners.
2000
Announcer Bob Hite Sr., whose rich voice introduced "The Lone Ranger" on radio, died in West Palm Beach, Florida, at age 86.
2005
Cricket: Australia defeats NZ in Twenty20 international
2005
Robot 'learns' to walk like a toddler
2005
Italian government criticizes Swedish television broadcaster
2005
Millions found by Irish police in raids
2005
Protests in Colombia after deaths of infants caused by landmine
2005
U.S. envoy selected as top intelligence officer
2006
Switzerland: Policemen acquitted in the Aubonne bridge affair
2006
Japanese H-IIA rocket launches satellite into orbit
2006
20 wounded in explosion at Philippine karaoke bar
2006
First bird flu cases registered In Maharashtra, India
2006
British University academics vote for strike action
2006
Avian Flu is confirmed in Egypt
2006
H5N1 confirmed in France
2007
Sai Baba upsets Telangana activists
2007
Poll: opposition leader advancing on New Zealand PM, Helen Clark
2007
At least 63 killed by Iraqi suicide bombs
2007
Australia dethroned, South Africa ranks first in world cricket
2008
Shuttle Atlantis departs ISS as Endeavour rolls out for next launch
2008
Documents regarding Kennedy assassination found in Dallas
2008
Ontario, Canada celebrates Family Day
2008
Part of facade crumbles at Karpeles Manuscript Library in Buffalo, New York
2008
Serbian ambassador recalled from U.S. after recognition of Kosovo
2008
Pakistan votes for new parliament
2008
'Wikileaks.org' taken offline in many areas after fire, court injunction
2008
National Hockey League news: February 18, 2008
2008
Taliban suicide bombing kills 37 Afghan civilians, wounds Canadian soldiers
2008
Fitzpatrick family offers reward in search for missing Mijas teenager
2008
Belgian Indymedians discuss participatory journalism at open door day
2008
Eastern Conference wins NBA All-Star Game
2008
Kosovo seeks recognition as independent state
2009
Helicopter ditches in the North Sea; all 18 on board rescued
2009
Venezuelan referendum ends presidential term limits
2009
Two nuclear submarines collide in the Atlantic Ocean
2009
US automakers GM and Chrysler seek more government aid
2009
Buffalo, New York plane crash may have resulted from pilot error
2009
20,000 Californian state workers may lose their jobs
2009
NATO report on Afghanistan leaked
2009
Class action launched by Australian bushfire survivors against SP AusNet
2009
Colombian military spy plane crashes
2010
Joint US-Pakistan operation captures top Taliban commander
2010
Plane crash in California kills three
2010
New Internet site PleaseRobMe claims to reveal location of social networkers
2010
Libya and Switzerland to meet about visa bans
2010
Plane crashes into office block in Austin, Texas
2010
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik sentenced to four years in prison
2010
American bandleader Kevin Eubanks to leave 'Tonight Show'
2011
Australian town to change name to promote road safety
2011
BRIT Awards highlights
2011
Yale University builds world's first anti-laser
2012
Italians facing Indian fishermen murder charges
2012
Former Congressman Virgil Goode enters race for Constitution Party presidential nomination
2013
Police charge man over fatal hit and run in Birmingham, UK
2013
East London double shooting kills teenager, seriously injures man
2013
Venezuela opens granite processing facility in Bolívar
2013
Northern Ireland police arrest man over Belfast double shooting

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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