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

Today in History

1473
Astronomer, mathematician and physicist, Nicolaus Copernicus born in Toruń, Poland
1878
Phonograph patented by Thomas Edison
1924
Plumber, US Marine, and Academy Award winning actor, Lee Marvin born in New York City
1946
Union activist and nuclear industry whistle-blower Karen Silkwood born in Longview, Texas
1952
First woman elected President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
1972
Paul McCartney's song "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" banned in Britain
439
Death of St. Mesrop
607
Election of Pope Boniface III
1377
Wycliffe called to trial before the Bishop of London
1408
In England, the Northumberland Rebellion ended when Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, was defeated by Henry IV at the Battle of Bramham Moor.
1473
Astronomer and priest Nicolaus Copernicus in Torun, Poland. He revolutionized scientific thought with his "Copernican theory," this theory placed the sun at the center of our planetary system. born
1479
Antonello da Messina, Italian painter, dies
1552
Austrian statesman, bishop of Vienna and later a cardinal, Melchior Klesl. He tried to promote religious toleration during the Counter-Reformation in Austria. born
1583
Joseph Sanalbo, a convert to Judaism, burned at the stake in Rome
1594
Coronation of Sigsimund III, King of Poland, as King of Sweden
1600
Burning of Giordano Bruno, philosopher.
1602
Death of Duke of Mercoeur
1611
Arrest of Fr. Louis Gaufridi for witchcraft
1626
Italian physician and poet Francesco Redi. He demonstrated that the presence of maggots in putrefying meat does not result from spontaneous generation but from eggs laid on the meat by flies. born
1683
King Philip V, King of Spain born
1743
Luigi Boccherini was born in Lucca, west of Florence in what then was called simply Tuscany. Boccherini's music became sufficiently well-known to come to the attention of Haydn and Mozart. born
1800
Napoleon Bonaparte proclaims himself First Consul of the newly established French dictatorship.
1803
Congress voted to accept Ohio's borders and constitution. (However, Congress did not get around to formally ratifying Ohio statehood until -- believe it or not -- 1953.)
1807
Former Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested in Alabama. (He was subsequently tried for treason and acquitted.)
1817
William III, King of the Netherlands born
1846
The Texas state government was formally installed in Austin.
1856
The tintype camera was patented by Professor Hamilton L. Smith of Gambier, Ohio.
1859
Dan Sickles was acquitted of murdering his wife's lover on grounds of temporary insanity. His case was the first time this defense was used successfully in the United States.
1861
Russian Tsar Alexander II abolishes serfdom.
1864
The Knights of Pythias was founded in Washington, D.C. A dozen members formed what became Lodge No. 1.
1878
Thomas Edison patented the first gramophone. He secured patent No. 200,521.
1881
Kansas became the first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.
1892
Politician Scott Lucas born
1893
Actor Sir Cedrick Hardwicke (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Stanley and Livingstone, Richard III, The Ten Commandments) born
1902
Smallpox vaccination becomes obligatory in France.
1903
The Austria-Hungary government decrees a mandatory two year military service.
1909
Theodore Roosevelt calls for a world conference on conservation.
1911
British actress Merle Oberon (A Song to Remember, Wuthering Heights, Stage Door Canteen, Deep in My Heart, Hotel, The Oscar) born
1913
The first "prize" was placed in a Cracker Jack box.
1916
Hall-of-Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro. born
1917
American troops are recalled from the Mexican border.
1917
Novelist Carson McCullers (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter) born
1918
A decree was issued by the Soviet Central Executive Committee abolishing all private ownership of land, water and natural resources in Russia.
1921
The U.S. Red Cross reports that approximately 20,000 children die yearly in auto accidents.
1922
Ed Wynn became the first big-name vaudeville talent to sign on as a radio talent. Previously, top talent had not considered radio a respectable medium.
1923
Jean Sibelius's Sixth Symphony premiered. This symphony doesn't have the cold grandeur of other Sibelius works. But what it does have, in the first movement, is a fascinating by-play between the key of C Major and the Dorian mode, which is equivalent to a white key scale on D.
1924
Actor Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou, The Caine Mutiny, The Dirty Dozen, Delta Force, Ship of Fools) born
1925
President Coolidge proposes the phasing out of inheritance tax.
1926
Dr. Lane of Princeton estimates the earth's age at one billion years.
1930
Director John Frankenheimer (Days of Wine and Roses, Birdman of Alcatraz, The French Connection, The Manchurian Candidate) born
1934
George Gershwin once had his own radio show. It premiered on this date sponsored by Feen-a-mint, a laxative.
1936
Singer Bob Engemann (Group born
1940
Singer William "Smokey" Robinson born
1940
Actress Carlin Glynn born
1942
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, giving the U.S. military the power to relocate and intern "any and all persons." The order was used to detain some 110,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them U.S.-born citizens.
1942
President Roosevelt signed an executive order giving the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans.
1942
During World War Two, about 150 Japanese warplanes attacked the Australian city of Darwin.
1942
The New York Yankees announced that they would admit 5,000 uniformed servicemen free to each of their home ball games during the coming season.
1943
Singer (Lugee Sacco) Lou Christie (Lightnin' Strikes, Two Faces Have I, The Gypsy Cried, Rhapsody In the Rain, I'm Gonna Make You Mine) born
1945
Actor Michael Nader. born
1945
30,000 U.S. Marines landed on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima in the Western Pacific where they encountered ferocious resistance from Japanese forces. The Americans took control after a month-long battle.
1948
Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) born
1949
Acto Bruce Fairbairn (The Vampire Hookers, Cyclone, Nightstick) r born
1949
The first Bollingen Prize for poetry was awarded to Ezra Pound for his collection, The Pisan Cantos. This award was controversial because Pound had been charged with treason after making pro-Fascist broadcasts in Italy.
1950
Rock musician (Scorpions) Francis Buchholz born
1953
The State of Georgia approved the nation's first literature censorship board. Newspapers were excluded from the new legislation.
1955
Actress Margeaux Hemingway born
1955
Actor Jeff Daniels. born
1957
Talk show host Lorianne Crook. born
1959
An agreement was signed by Britain, Turkey and Greece granting Cyprus its independence.
1960
Britain's Prince Andrew born
1960
Indy 500 driver John Paul Jr. born
1962
Tennis Hall-of-Famer Hana Mandlikova. born
1963
Singer Seal. born
1963
The Soviet Union informed President Kennedy it would withdraw "several thousand" of an estimated 17-thousand Soviet troops in Cuba.
1965
Fourteen Vietnam War protesters are arrested for blocking U.N. doors in New York.
1966
Robert F. Kennedy suggests the U.S. offer the Vietcong a role in governing South Vietnam.
1966
Actress Justine Bateman. born
1967
Actor Benicio Del Toro ("Traffic") born
1968
The teachers in state of Florida went on strike in the first statewide teacher's strike in the United States.
1976
Britain slashes welfare spending.
1976
Iceland broke off diplomatic relations with Britain after the two countries failed to agree over fishing rights in disputed waters. The dispute became known as the "Cod War."
1977
President Ford pardons Iva Toguri D'Aquino ("Tokyo Rose").
1981
The U.S. State Department calls El Salvador a "textbook case" of a Communist plot.
1981
George Harrison was ordered to pay ABKCO Music the sum of $587,000 for "subconscious plagiarism" between his song, "My Sweet Lord" and the Chiffons early 1960s hit, "He's So Fine".
1982
Receivers were appointed in Northern Ireland to manage the affairs of the De Lorean car company.
1983
13 people were found shot to death at a gambling club in Seattle's Chinatown district in what became known as the "Wah Mee Massacre." (Two Chinese immigrants were later convicted of the killings.)
1984
The XIV Winter Olympic Games ended at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. The Soviet Union led all countries with 25 medals, the United States captured nine medals to tie for fifth place.
1985
Mickey Mouse was welcomed to China as part of the 30th anniversary of Disneyland.
1985
William Schroeder became the first artificial heart patient to leave the confines of the hospital (where the historic operation was performed). He spent 15 minutes outside Humana Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
1985
About 150 people were killed when a Spanish jetliner crashed into a mountain while approaching the airport at Bilbao, Spain.
1985
Cherry Coke was introduced by the Coca-Cola Company.
1986
Former U.S. Senator James O. Eastland of Mississippi died at age 81.
1986
The Senate also passed a resolution declaring the Philippine presidential election had been marked by "widespread fraud."
1986
The Senate endorsed the United Nations convention against genocide, 37 years after President Truman first sought approval of the accord.
1987
Taking Democratic leaders and some of his closest aides by surprise, New York Governor Mario Cuomo announced during a radio call-in program that he would not run for president in 1988.
1987
A controversial, anti-smoking ad aired for the first time on television. It featured actor Yul Brynner in a public service announcement that was recorded shortly before he died of lung cancer.
1988
A group calling itself the "Organization of the Oppressed on Earth" claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in Lebanon of US Marine Lieutenant Colonel William R. Higgins. (Higgins was later slain by his captors.)
1989
Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini rejected the apology of "Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie, exhorting Muslims to "send him to hell" for committing-blasphemy.
1990
Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, snubbed by Philippine President Corazon Aquino, met in Manila with Defense Minister Fidel Ramos to discuss the future of U.S. military bases in the country.
1991
Russian federation President Boris Yeltsin delivered an unprecedented public appeal for Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev to resign.
1991
President Bush told reporters a Soviet proposal to end the Persian Gulf War fell "well short of what would be required."
1992
Former Irish Republican Army fighter Joseph Doherty was deported from the United States to a jail in Belfast, Northern Ireland, following a 10-year battle for political asylum.
1993
President Clinton's economic plan won praise from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. The president, visiting Hyde Park, New York, suggested the US might have to consider a national sales tax "not too long in the future," then said he'd meant in ten years or so.
1994
With Bosnian Serbs facing a NATO deadline to withdraw heavy weapons encircling Sarajevo or face air strikes, President Clinton delivered an address from the Oval Office reaffirming the ultimatum.
1994
American speedskater Bonnie Blair won the fourth Olympic gold medal of her career as she won the 500-meter race in Lillehammer, Norway.
1995
A day after being named the new chairwoman of the NAACP, Myrlie Evers-Williams outlined her plans for revitalizing the civil rights organization, saying she intended to take the group back to its grass roots.
1996
Republican presidential hopefuls argued taxes, trade and negative ads in a final burst of contentious campaigning on the eve of New Hampshire's leadoff primary, with Bob Dole the principal target.
1996
Baseball showman Charlie O. Finley died in Chicago at age 77.
1997
Deng Xiaoping, the last of China's major Communist revolutionaries, died.
1997
Detroit's daily newspapers accepted a back-to-work offer from employees who'd been on strike for 19 months, but the strikers charged the conditions for return amounted to a lockout
1998
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan set out for Iraq on a last-chance peace mission, saying he was "reasonably optimistic" about ending the standoff over weapons inspections without the use of force.
1998
At the Nagano Olympics, Austrian Hermann Maier won the men's giant slalom while Hilde Gerg of Germany won the women's slalom.
1998
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright again drew a sceptical response from America's heartland to the tough U.S. policy on Iraq. Her reception in a lecture hall in Nashville, Tennassee, was polite, in contrast to the raucous session of heckling in Columbus, Ohio, but the student questioners displayed similar mistrust of the policy.
1998
Northern California got walloped again with high winds and drenching rain as yet another El Nino-driven storm pounded in from the Pacific. Police in Petaluma, 30 miles north of San Francisco, ordered mandatory evacuation of about 60 homes threatened by flooding, while a flash flood watch was issued for the entire San Francisco Bay area.
1999
President Clinton posthumously pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first black graduate of West Point, whose military career was tarnished by a racially motivated discharge.
2000
George W. Bush defeated John McCain in the South Carolina Republican primary.
2005
Airlines fight compensation legislation
2005
Hundred of thousands march in Rome to demand freedom for kidnapped reporter
2005
Russia negotiating missile sale with Syria
2005
Togo's Faure Gnassingbé says elections will be held in 60 days
2005
Reporters can be jailed, Appellate Court says
2005
Earthquake stirs panic in Indonesia
2005
North Korea has no further interest in negotiations with United States
2006
Students find fossilised giant penguin
2006
American Bar Association denounced President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program
2006
UN says polio eradicated in Egypt and Niger
2006
United States to expand 'information operations' against terror
2006
Washington Post source outed by Slashdot reader
2006
Algarve Cup Preparations
2006
CIA covert "rendition" operative blows her cover for frequent flyer miles
2006
Eleven die in Libya over Muhammad cartoon T-shirt
2006
US pressure group proposes covert attack on Iran
2006
India Win Hutch Cup One Day series 4-1
2007
Canadian soldiers injured in three APC crash
2007
SAFETY bill would require U.S. ISPs to log on-line user activity
2007
Software to filter pirated video and audio files
2007
Bombing on train from India to Pakistan kills at least 68
2008
Voracious fire generates panic in Buenos Aires, Argentina
2008
Fidel Castro resigns as Cuban president
2008
National Hockey League news: February 19, 2008
2008
UK Parliament discusses nationalisation of Northern Rock
2008
Pakistan Peoples Party winning elections for Pakistan's national assembly according to early results
2009
Violence erupts in Guadeloupe after labor dispute
2009
Court rejects Polanski bid to have child sex charges dismissed
2010
Tree car crash kills two in Oxfordshire, England
2010
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney: 'Barack Obama is a one-term President'
2010
Facebook takes down groups supporting Austin crash pilot
2010
Niger coup ousts president
2010
BRIT Awards highlights
2010
Court ruling upholds expulsion of New York Senator convicted of assault
2010
Golfer Tiger Woods delivers apology speech
2011
Kuwait stateless protest for rights
2012
France school bus crash kills one, leaves five seriously injured

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