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Today in History

Candlemas
1880
First electric streetlight - Wabash, Indiana
1882
Author James Joyce born in Dublin, Ireland
1887
Groundhog Day (US)
1913
New York City's Grand Central Station opens
1933
Adolf Hitler dissolves German Parliament
1942
Songwriter, musician, and singer, Graham Nash born in Blackpool, England
1947
Model and Emmy award nominated actress, Farrah Fawcett born in Corpus Christi, Texas
1949
Stage, screen and television actor, Brent Spiner born in Houston, Texas
1954
Actress and supermodel, Christie Brinkley born in Monroe, Michigan
962
Coronation of Otto I, King of the Lombards, as Holy Roman Emperor
1014
Death of Sweyn, King of Denmark
1032
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, claims the throne of Burgundy
1077
Scheduled date for the Diet to convene at Augsburg, Germany, to settle the matters relating to Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII.
1160
Fredrick Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor, takes Crema, Italy, in a siege noted for atrocities
1258
Hulagu Khan takes Baghdad
1387
Marguerithe I, Queen of Denmark, named Queen of Norway
1440
Coronation of Fredrick III as Holy Roman Emperor
1451
Death of Murad II, Sultan of the Ottomans
1494
Columbus begins the practice using Indians as slaves.
1509
The Portuguese, led by Francisco de Almeida, destroyed the Muslim fleet in the Battle of Diu, establishing Portuguese control of Indian waters.
1525
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (possibly 1526) He composed and sang choral music for Pope Julius. born
1536
The Argentine city of Buenos Aires was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain.
1556
The world's worst earthquake, in China's Shaanxi, Shansi and Henan provinces, killed an estimated 830,000 people.
1558
Opening of the Lutheran University of Jena
1571
8 members of a Jesuit mission in Virginia killed by Indians
1594
Death of Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina, composer
1626
Coronation of Charles I as King of England
1640
Death of St. Joan of Lestonnac
1653
New Amsterdam -- now New York City -- was incorporated.
1801
The British parliament assembled, including for the first time Irish representatives.
1802
The first leopard to be exhibited in the United States was shown by Othello Pollard in Boston, MA.
1848
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican War, was signed. The treaty turned over to the United States a huge portion of the present-day Southwestern United States, including Texas, New Mexico and California for $15 million.
1859
Psychologist Havelock Ellis born
1863
Samuel Langhorne Clemens decided to use a pseudonym, MarkTwain, for the first time.
1870
The "Cardiff Giant," supposedly the petrified remains of a human discovered in Cardiff, New York, was revealed to be nothing more than carved gypsum.
1875
Fritz Kreisler He was a child prodigy with the violin. Today we remember Kreisler for his violin exercises. born
1876
The National Baseball League was formed, with teams in Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; New York; Philadelphia; St. Louis; Louisville, Ky.; and Hartford, Conn.
1882
Irish novelist James Joyce (Ulysses, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Finnegan's Wake, Chamber Music) born
1890
Charles Correll, Andy of radio's "Amos and Andy" program born
1892
William Painter, of Baltimore, MD, patented the crown-cork, bottlecap.
1895
National Football League co-founder George Halas born
1897
Fire destroyed the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg. (A new statehouse was dedicated on the same site nine years later.)
1901
One of the first great violinists of the recording age Jascha Heifetz (Vilnius, Lithuania) born
1901
Mexican government troops are badly beaten by Yaqui Indians.
1905
Novelist Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged) born
1906
Actor (Charles Aldrich) Gale Gordon (The Lucy Show, The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour, My Little Margie, Our Miss Brooks) born
1913
Jim Thorpe signed a pro baseball contract with the New York Giants.
1916
U.S. Senate votes independence for Philippines, effective in 1921.
1920
Russia signed the Treaty of Tartu (Dorpat), under which Russia recognized Estonian independence in perpetuity.
1921
Airmail service opens between New York and San Francisco. Airmail's First Day.
1923
Columnist Liz Smith born
1926
Actress Elaine Stritch born
1927
Great tenor saxophonists in jazz Stan Getz born
1932
Actor Robert Mandan born
1933
Two days after becoming chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler ordered dissolution of the German Parliament.
1934
Alfred Rosenberg is made philosophical chief of the Nazi Party. Alfred Rosenberg, the "philosopher" of National Socialism, dealt in the mystic nonsense that passed for Nazi doctrine.
1935
Leonard Keeler conducted a test of the polygraph (lie detector) machine, in Portage, WI. It marked the first time that one was used.
1937
Comedian Tom Smothers born
1939
Hungary breaks relations with the U.S.S.R.
1942
Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash born
1942
Actor Bo Hopkins born
1943
Television executive Barry Diller born
1943
The remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War Two.
1944
The Germans stop an Allied attack on Anzio, Italy.
1945
President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill departed Malta for the summit in Yalta with Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
1945
Some 1,200 Royal Air Force planes blast Wiesbaden and Karlsruhe.
1945
Ecuador declares war on Germany.
1946
Country singer Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) born
1947
Actress Farrah Fawcett born
1948
U.S. and Italy sign a pact of friendship, commerce and navigation.
1954
Model Christie Brinkley born
1955
Actress Kim Zimmer ("Guiding Light") born
1955
Actor Michael Talbott born
1959
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J-P ``The Big Bopper'' Richardson played what would be their final show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The three would be killed early the next morning in a plane crash.
1959
Arlington and Norfolk, Va., peacefully desegregate public schools.
1960
U.S. Senate approves 23rd Amendment calling for a ban on the poll tax.
1962
8 of the 9 planets aligned for the 1st time in 400 years.
1966
Rock musician Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots) born
1967
Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle was elected president of Nicaragua.
1971
Rock musician Ben Mize (Counting Crows) born
1971
Idi Amin assumed power in Uganda, following a coup that ousted President Milton Obote.
1972
The British Embassy in Dublin was burned down after a day of anti-British demonstrations.
1972
Winter Olympics begin in Tokyo.
1972
Rapper T-Mo (Goodie Mob) born
1973
The West German government imposed foreign exchange controls following the massive flight from the dollar and buying of marks.
1978
U.S. Jewish leaders bar a meeting with Egypt's Anwar Sadat.
1978
Two Soviet cosmonauts carried out the first ever refueling in outer space of Salyut engines.
1979
Sid Vicious, guitarist with notorious British punk group the Sex Pistols, died of a drugs overdose.
1980
Reports surfaced that the FBI had conducted a sting operation targeting members of Congress using phony Arab businessmen in what became known as Abscam.
1983
The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) resumed in Geneva.
1985
President Reagan sent advance copies of his fiscal 1986 budget to Congress and used his Saturday radio address to urge lawmakers to join in a "strong bipartisan effort" to enact his spending plan.
1986
Oscar Arias Sanchez won Costa Rica's presidential election.
1986
Liechtenstein's women voted for the first time in parliamentary elections.
1987
Largest steel strike in American history, in progress since August, ends today.
1987
In a poll conducted by "People" magazine, readers selected Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant as their favorite, all-time acting greats.
1987
The White House announced the resignation of CIA director William Casey, who was hospitalized and had undergone brain surgery.
1988
In a speech the three major broadcast television networks declined to carry live, President Reagan pressed his case for aid to the Nicaraguan Contras.
1989
South African President P.W. Botha resigned as leader of the ruling all-white National Party.
1989
Marshal Viktor Kulikov, Commander-in-Chief of Warsaw Pact forces since 1971, stepped down and was replaced by General Pyotr Lushev.
1989
President Bush met at the White House with Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, after which both leaders sounded upbeat about US-Japanese relations.
1989
Carlos Andres Perez took office as Venezuela's president.
1990
In a dramatic concession to South Africa's black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela. Mandela was released nine days later.
1990
Four top aides to executed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu were jailed for life on genocide charges.
1991
In the Gulf War, Iraq fired Scud missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia; no serious damage was reported.
1991
Sports commentator Pete Axthelm died in Pittsburgh at age 47
1992
Italy's President Francesco Cossiga dissolved parliament five months early to prepare for elections.
1992
Longtime "Miss America" emcee Bert Parks died in La Jolla, California, at age 77.
1992
The US Coast Guard shipped home 250 more Haitian refugees from the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, a day after repatriating a shipload of about 150 Haitians.
1992
The defense phase began in the Miami cocaine racketeering trial of Panama's Manuel Noriega after a seven-week recess.
1993
More than 7,500 UMW miners went on strike against the Peabody Coal Co., the nation's largest coal producer.
1993
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton banned smoking in the White House.
1993
In a speech to the National Governors' Association, President Clinton pledged to transform welfare into a "hand up, not a handout" by giving recipients training and then requiring them to work.
1994
Venezuelan elder statesman Rafael Caldera was sworn in as president.
1994
Russian ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said he was giving orders to test a new top-secret weapon that would kill Muslim soldiers in Bosnia.
1994
The Commerce Department reported that its Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose for the fifth straight month, with a seven-tenths percent advance in December 1993.
1995
President Clinton nominated Henry Foster Jr. to succeed fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders; however, Foster's nomination was later defeated in the Senate.
1995
The leaders of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians held an unprecedented summit in Cairo to try to revive the Mideast peace process.
1996
Dancer, actor and choreographer Gene Kelly died at his Beverly Hills, California, home; he was 83.
1996
A deep freeze continued in the Plains, the Midwest and much of the South, breaking temperature records that had stood for a century.
1997
Authorities in Vallejo, California, recovered 500 pounds of stolen dynamite and arrested two men in bombings that destroyed three bank teller machines and blasted a crater into the side of a courthouse wall. (A total of six men ended up being charged in the case.)
1998
The government released statistics showing deaths from AIDS fell by almost half during the first half of 1997, a decrease attributed to increased use of powerful combinations of medicines.
1998
President Clinton borrowed a trick made popular by his two-time political foe Ross Perot to issue a triumphant budget forecast for 1999. The president, in a festive White House ceremony, took a big magic marker to a bold black chart depicting the 1999 federal budget deficit and scrawled "0!" in black ink. "I can be the first person to actually certify what the budget will say for the coming year," Clinton said in declaring his submission of the first balanced budget in 30 years.
1998
Striking workers halted production at three Honeywell Inc. plants in the Minneapolis area.
1998
Florida charged American Family Publishers and its celebrity spokesmen - Dick Clark and Ed McMahon - with using deceptive tactics to sell magazine subscriptions through its multimillion-dollar nationwide sweepstakes. "In their zeal to sell magazines, American Family Publishers and its high-profile pitchmen have misled millions of consumers. They have clearly stepped over the line from advertising hype to unlawful deception," Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth said. Butterworth filed a civil complaint against AFP, Clark and McMahon in state court in Tampa, where the company processes sweepstakes entries.
1998
About 220,000 people were without power after torrential rains, howling winds and tornadoes ripped through southern Florida in the worst storms to hit the area in five years. The storms uprooted trees, damaged buildings, pulled down power lines and flooded streets over a wide area during afternoon and evening. A state of emergency was declared in Monroe County which includes the Florida Keys, where one person was reported killed.
1998
President Clinton unveiled a $1.73 trillionr budget claiming the first surpluses in 30 years and pumping billions to schools, health and child care.
1999
A federal jury in Portland, Oregon, ordered abortion foes who had created "wanted" posters and a Web site listing the names and addresses of "baby butchers" to pay $107 million in damages; the defendants said they would appeal.
2000
Searchers recovered the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 in the Pacific Ocean, off the California coast.
2005
Pope John Paul II has flu, taken to hospital
2005
Australian churches begin campaign against late-term abortion
2005
Australian PM arrives in Aceh
2005
Man run over by train near Adelaide, loses both legs
2005
Paedophile forced to flee Australian town
2005
Nepal's King names new cabinet
2005
Brazilian Ministry of Education defends external control over Universities
2005
British Incapacity Benefit due to be overhauled today
2005
Foreign troops should stay, says Iraqi President
2005
Girl killed by falling tree
2005
Bolivia rejects Chile's OAS candidate
2005
Eastern Australia hit by severe storms
2005
George Bush delivers State of the Union address
2005
Swift satellite goes fully on-line
2005
FARC attack: 16 Colombian soldiers dead
2005
New drugs listed on Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
2006
FBI to begin investigation into shooting of US Air Force MP
2006
Bathurst, Australia's new hospital to be almost doubled in size
2006
Ruddock hints at Australia Card
2006
Israeli PM Ariel Sharon receives feeding tube
2006
Puppies used to smuggle heroin
2006
United States Department of Justice workers among government Wikipedia vandals
2006
Estonian oil spill kills 5,000 birds
2006
Americans practice attack response procedures
2006
Tom Baker launched as voice of BT text messaging
2007
British Columbia government gives Canadian sextuplets blood transfusions
2007
Turner Broadcasting apologizes for Boston scare
2007
Two Prime Ministers banned from Fiji
2007
Publication date for last Harry Potter book announced
2007
Smoking in public places banned in France
2007
Sony Ericsson to produce low-cost mobile phones in India
2007
Greek government faces censure motion by opposition
2007
Davao City, Philippines militant leaders declare victory
2007
Insurgents shoot down U.S. helicopter near Baghdad
2007
Locals claim to have witnessed multiple UFOs over north London
2007
YouTube to remove 100,000 videos
2007
Woman found guilty of plotting to sell Coke documents to Pepsi
2007
Comedian Al Franken to run for US Senate
2008
75 million left without Internet access after fault in undersea cable
2008
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz dies at 98
2008
NASA to beam Beatles song into deep space
2008
NASA holds ceremony to commemorate anniversary of Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
2008
Reports claim French President marries girlfriend
2008
No fatalities as Boeing 727 crash lands in Bolivia
2008
130,000 farmers protest in Mexico against NAFTA
2008
NBA: Grizzlies trade Pau Gasol to Lakers
2008
Scores killed in twin Baghdad marketplace attacks
2008
5 dead in Chicago-area store shooting
2008
Groundhog predicts 6 more weeks of winter weather for US
2008
US presidential candidates gearing up for Super Tuesday
2009
American swimmer Michael Phelps laments "bad judgment" in marijuana controversy
2009
Supercross: Stewart wins 4th consecutive Monster Energy event in San Francisco, California
2009
€8bn bank bailout in Ireland
2009
Nuclear sites close as more UK workers walkout
2009
Barclays Bank credit rating cut by Moody's
2009
Eurovision '82 winner Nicole talks about 'Ein bißchen Frieden', her success and the Contest today
2009
Canadian National buys Chicago railroad
2009
Heavy snow fall disrupts UK transportation and communications
2010
US government to resume Haiti evacuations
2010
Russian economy contracted by 7.9% in 2009
2010
Obama announces US$3.8 trillion 2011 budget plan for US
2010
African Union considers proposal to resettle Haitians
2010
Woman blows herself up in Iraq; over 140 casualties
2010
Roadside bombs kill two British soldiers in Afghanistan
2010
U.S. improving Persian Gulf missile defense
2010
Controversial Brazilian dam gets preliminary approval
2010
China urges Obama to cancel Dalai Lama visit
2010
Officials say at least seventeen killed by suspected US drones in Pakistan
2010
Zimbabwean farmers' organisations warn of corn shortage
2010
Indiana Department of Homeland Security violates Wikipedia copyright
2011
BBC to cut Electric Proms for financial reasons
2011
Massive snowstorm blasts most of United States
2012
Texas teen enters guilty plea in shooting trial
2012
Scientology guilty of fraud rules French appeal court
2012
Susan G. Komen Foundation stops funding to Planned Parenthood
2012
Mitt Romney wins Florida primary
2013
Canberra Capitals extinguish the Fire, 76–68
2013
Snowmobiler Caleb Moore dies from injuries sustained during the Winter X Games XVII

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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