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Today in History

1792
Postal Service Act signed by President George Washington
1835
Earthquake destroys Concepcion, Chile
1925
Academy Award winning film director, Robert Altman born in Kansas City, Missouri
1926
US Navy seaman, entrepreneur, and computer pioneer, DEC founder Ken Olsen born in Bridgeport, Connecticut
1927
Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winning actor, author and diplomat, Sidney Poitier born in Miami, Florida
1937
Three-time Grammy Award winning singer Nancy Wilson born in Chillicothe, Ohio
1949
Olympic skier, fashion model and author, Ivana Trump born Ivana Marie Zelníčková in Zlín, Czechoslovakia
1962
John Glenn orbits earth three times in the Friendship 7 space capsule
1966
High school valedictorian, actress and supermodel, Cindy Crawford born in DeKalb, Illinois
2003
Rhode Island nightclub fire kills nearly 100
342
Death of St. Shahdost of Persia
1258
Execution of the Caliph al-Musta'sim of Bagdad, by Hulagu Khan
1431
Trial of Joan of Arc
1431
Death of Pope Martin V
1437
Assassination of James I, King of Scotland
1500
Charles I, King of Spain born
1507
Gentile Bellini, Italian artist born
1513
Death of Pope Julius II
1521
Juan Ponce de Leon sets out for Florida with 200 colonists
1546
Coronation of Edward VI, King of England
1626
Burial of John Dowland, lutenist and composer
1632
Thomas Osborne, Duke of Leeds, Eng. chief minister, founder of Tories born
1648
The House of Commons votes the House of Lords as "useless and dangerous"
1725
The first known Indian scalping by white men was reported in the New Hampshire colony.
1726
American Revolutionary War hero William Prescott. born
1790
Holy Roman Emperor Joseph the Second died.
1791
Carl Czerny was born. His studies are played to this day. born
1792
President Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Postal Service. Letters delivered up to 30 miles cost six cents to mail. For letters up to 150 miles, postage was 12 cents.
1809
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the power of the federal government was no greater than that of any individual state of the Union.
1816
"The Barber of Seville" , Rossini's opera, was premiered, however, at the time there was already a popular opera by another composer based on the same Beaumarchais comedy. Fans of that opera booed Rossini's, but his version quickly became an even bigger hit.
1831
Polish revolutionaries defeat the Russians in the Battle of Growchow.
1838
Ludwig Boltzmann, atomic physics engineer born
1839
Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.
1872
The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City.
1872
Luther Crowell received a patent for a machine for manufacturing paper bags. Patent # 123811 allowed the bags to have two longitudinal inward folds.
1872
Silas Noble and J.P. Cooley of Granville, Massachusetts, patented the toothpick manufacturing machine.
1873
University of California gets its 1st Med School (UC/SF).
1895
Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who became one of America's most prominent abolitionists, died in Washington, D.C. (He was probably 78, although his exact date of birth is unknown.)
1898
Enzo Ferrari, sports car manufacturer born
1900
J. F. Pickering, a black inventor, received a patent for his airship invention.
1902
Photographer Ansel Adams born
1903
Pope Leo XIII celebrates 25 years as the Pope.
1904
Soviet leader Alexei Kosygin born
1906
Russian troops seize large portions of Mongolia.
1910
The founder of the Little League Baseball Organization, Carl E. Stotz, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In his honor, the regional winners from the U.S. compete in the Little League World Series in his hometown. born
1914
"What's My Line" TV emcee John Daly born
1915
President Wilson opens the Panama-Pacific Expo in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.
1918
The Soviet Red Army seizes Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine.
1924
Fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt born
1925
Movie director Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, Nashville, Brewster McCloud). born
1926
Olympic pole vaulter Bob Richards born
1927
Actor Sidney Poitier (Lilies of the Field, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, To Sir With Love, Sneakers) born
1929
Actress (Beverly Neill) Amanda Blake (Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty) born
1933
The House of Representatives completed congressional action on an amendment to repeal Prohibition.
1934
Race car driver Bobby Unser born
1936
Actress Marj Dusay born
1936
Switzerland bars all Nazis from entering the country.
1937
Jazz-soul singer Nancy Wilson (How Glad I Am, Face It Girl, It's Over, What Are You Doing New Years?) born
1938
Hitler demands self-determination for Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
1938
Anthony Eden resigned as Britain's foreign secretary to protest the "appeasement" policy of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain toward Nazi Germany.
1941
The Chicago Symphony under the direction of Frederick Stock premiered a piano concerto by Rudolph Ganz which the composer, who also soloed, based on themes drawn from the license plate numbers of his two cars.
1941
Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie (I'm Gonna Be a Country Girl Again, Mister Can't You See, Up Where We Belong) born
1942
Hockey Hall-of-Famer Phil Esposito. born
1942
Movie director Mike Leigh ("Secrets and Lies") born
1942
Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizes the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.
1942
Lt. Edward O'Hare downs five out of nine Japanese bombers that are attacking the carrier Lexington, which earns him the Congressional Medal of Honor.
1944
During World War Two, US bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in a series of attacks that became known as "Big Week."
1946
Actress Sandy Duncan (Peter Pan, Pinnochio, Roots) born
1946
Jazz and soul guitarist J. Geils. born
1946
Actress Brenda Blethyn ("Secrets and Lies") born
1947
Actor Peter Strauss (Peter Gunn, Rich Man Poor Man, The Yearling) born
1947
The British pledge to leave India by June 1948.
1949
Actress Jennifer O'Neill (The Summer of '42, Cover-Up, Rio Lobo) born
1949
Author-socialite Ivana Trump born
1950
Rock singer-musician-producer Walter Becker (Steely Dan) born
1951
Country singer Kathie Baillie. born
1951
Actor Edward Albert (Mind Games, Butterflies Are Free, The Heist) born
1952
A true American classic, "The African Queen", opened at the Capitol Theatre in New York City. The film starred Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, under the direction of John Huston.
1952
One of baseball's most popular figures, Emmett L. Ashford, became the first black umpire in organized baseball. Ashford was authorized to be a substitute in the Southwestern International League.
1954
Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. born
1954
The Ford Foundation gives a $25 million grant to the Fund for Advancement of Education.
1958
Actor James Wilby born
1959
Rock musician Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing) born
1959
The FCC applies the equal time rule to TV newscasts of political candidates.
1962
American astronaut John Glenn landed safely after three orbits of Earth in a Mercury space capsule "Friendship Seven."
1963
Basketball player Charles Barkley. born
1963
Rock musician Ian Brown (Stone Roses) born
1963
Basketball player Charles Barkley born
1963
Moscow offers to allow on-site inspection of nuclear testing.
1963
Baseball great, Willie (The Say Hey Kid) Mays, signed with the San Francisco Giants as baseball's highest paid player (to that time). He earned $100,000 a year.
1964
Actor French Stewart ("3rd Rock from the Sun") born
1965
The "Ranger Eight" spacecraft crashed on the moon after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.
1966
Model Cindy Crawford. born
1967
Actor Andrew Shue. born
1967
Actress Lili Taylor born
1971
The National Emergency Warning Center in Colorado erroneously ordered radio and TV stations across the US to go off the air; some stations heeded the alert, which was not lifted for about 40 minutes.
1971
Young people protest having to cut their long hair in Athens, Greece.
1974
After a decade of marriage, Cher filed for separation from husband Sonny Bono. Not long afterwards, she filed for divorce.
1975
Singer Brian Littrell (Backstreet Boys) born
1981
Actress Majandra Delfino ("Traffic") born
1981
The space shuttle Columbia cleared the final major hurdle to its maiden launch as the spacecraft fired its three engines in a 20-second test.
1981
Singer-musician Chris Thil born
1982
Carnegie Hall in New York begins $20 million renovations.
1983
Israel's Cabinet, at the request of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, voted to retain former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon as a member of two key government bodies involving defense and Lebanon.
1985
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher addressed a joint meeting of Congress in which she praised the U.S. administration's policies and endorsed President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative.
1985
The sale of contraceptives was made legal in Ireland.
1985
Actor Jake Richardson born
1986
Los Angeles Dodger's pitching ace Orel Hershiser became the first player to receive a one million dollar salary by arbitration. He was a 19-game winner in 1985 at the age of 27.
1986
President Reagan visited Grenada, scene of the 1983 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Caribbean island's Marxist government.
1987
Soviet authorities released Jewish activist Josef Begun.
1987
After 11 years on ABC's "Good Morning America," David Hartman left the show. He introduced the new co-host, Charles Gibson.
1987
A bomb blamed on the Unabomber exploded behind a computer store in Salt Lake City, seriously injuring a store executive.
1988
U.S. figure skater Brian Boitano won a gold medal in the men's competition at the Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada, with Brian Orser of Canada placing second.
1989
Members of the European Economic Community decided to withdraw their top diplomats from Iran to protest Ayatollah Khomeini's order for Muslims to kill author Salman Rushdie
1990
President Bush welcomed Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel to the White House, promising trade rewards for Prague's moves toward democracy.
1991
In the Persian Gulf War, Baghdad radio said President Saddam Hussein would be sending Foreign Minister Raeiq Aziz back to Moscow with a reply to a Soviet peace plan.
1991
Quincy Jones' "Back on the Block" was named album of the year at the 33rd Grammy Awards.
1992
Texas billionaire Ross Perot told CNN's "Larry King Live" he would run for president if his name were placed on the ballot in all 50 states.
1992
Rightist Salvadoran leader Roberto D'Aubuisson died at age 48.
1992
South African President F.W. de Klerk stunned his country by announcing a whites-only referendum on ending apartheid.
1993
The hijacking of a Russian jetliner finally ended in Stockholm, Sweden. The Azerbaijani who commandeered the plane after it departed from Siberia gave up his demand to go to the U.S. and surrendered.
1993
Police in Liverpool, England, charged two ten-year-old boys with the abduction and slaying of toddler James Bulger, a crime that shocked the country and terrified parents. (Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were later convicted.)
1994
Bosnian Serbs, faced with the threat of air strikes, pulled back most of heir heavy guns from around Sarajevo as a NATO deadline approached.
1995
A U.S. Marine, Sgt. Justin A. Harris, died in a helicopter crash during the evacuation of United Nations forces from Somalia. ember.
1996
Patrick Buchanan won the New Hampshire Republican primary by a slim margin over Bob Dole.
1996
Gangsta rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg and his former bodyguard were acquitted of murder in the
1997
The National Transporation Safety Board called for a speedup in the redesign of the rudder controls on Boeing 737's, citing potential problems suspected in a pair of deadly crashes.
1998
With the U-S military poised to attack Iraq, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan began a final campaign to end the crisis over UN weapons inspections without bloodshed.
1998
Tara Lipinski of the US won the ladies' figure skating title at Nagano, becoming at age 15 the youngest gold medalist in Winter Olympics history; Michelle Kwan won the silver.
1998
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson was interrupted by demonstrators protesting the Clinton administration's stance on Iraq during a speech, and he responded that the demonstrators "are wrong." About 50 protesters drowned out Richardson with chants during his breakfast speech to a foreign policy forum at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
1998
Prosecutor Kenneth Starr defended his aggressiveness in probing the White House sex scandal, and suggested he was ready for a court fight with President Clinton over the limits of White House secrecy.
1998
The crew of Mir celebrated the 12th anniversary of the space station by flying their escape capsule around the aging, accident-prone ship.
1999
Movie reviewer Gene Siskel died at a hospital outside Chicago; he was 53. (I can't believe it has been a year already.)
1999
The United States and five other nations agreed to extend by three days the deadline for a Kosovo peace agreement. (NATO had threatened airstrikes against the Serbs if they did not reach an agreement with Albanian insurgents.)
2000
The Fox TV network canceled the scheduled rebroadcast of its highly rated special "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?" after learning that the groom, Rick Rockwell, was once accused of hitting and threatening to kill an ex-girlfriend, accusations Rockwell denied.
2005
China steps up anti-gambling campaign
2005
Cricket: Australia defeats New Zealand in series opener
2005
US and Japan offend Beijing over Taiwan
2005
Spain to vote on EU constitution
2005
David Beckham's new son, Cruz is born
2005
Disturbances after football match in Liverpool
2005
Starburst across galaxy impacts Earth's ionosphere
2005
Plague kills scores in Democratic Republic of Congo
2006
New Zealand medical student funding to be reviewed
2006
Leader of 1992 pro-democracy uprising joins calls for Thaksin's resignation
2006
Pittsburgh's Bettis to work as NBC studio analyst
2007
Canadian convoy attacked by Taliban, Afghans mistakenly gunned down
2007
Founder of the National Ballet of Canada dies at age 85
2007
U.S. develops parks above highways
2007
Cuba to use open-source software
2007
Italian Judges allow marriage "by phone"
2008
British actress Emily Perry dies at 100
2008
National Hockey League news: February 20, 2008
2008
Blu-ray prevails in high definition disc war
2008
Taipei International Book Exhibition: Varied fiction books showed different authoring style
2008
Magnitude 7.5 earthquake strikes Aceh
2008
Space Shuttle Atlantis completes mission STS-122
2008
Joop den Uyl biography reveals Northrop bribe of Prince Bernhard
2008
Dutch tennis player Raemon Sluiter ends his career in Rotterdam tournament
2008
Dutch financial institution ING takes impairment charge
2008
Sarkisian wins Armenian presidential elections
2008
Malaysian general election update
2008
McCain, Obama win Wisconsin primary
2009
European Court of Human Rights orders UK to compensate Islamist
2009
Magnitude 5.4 earthquake shakes Pakistan
2009
Sheffield pub is CAMRA's Pub of the Year
2009
AIM activist, Leonard Peltier defender Robert Robideau dies
2009
Jury acquits three in Politkovskaya murder trial
2009
Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at lowest level in six years
2009
Israel seizes West Bank land
2009
New South Wales, Queensland to have electorates redrawn: Australian Electoral Commission
2010
Former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig dies at age 85
2010
At least one dead, eighteen injured after grenade attacks in Rwanda
2010
Dutch government collapses over Afghanistan troops
2010
Inventor Ronald Howes dies at age 83
2011
Music duo The Bellamy Brothers accuse Britney Spears of plagiarism
2011
Ten children killed in Estonian orphanage fire
2011
Guatemalan football executive shot dead after team meeting
2012
US call centre business to create 600 jobs in Wales
2012
UK politician foresees nuclear Iran triggering new Middle Eastern cold war
2012
Iraq police academy suicide bomb attack kills eighteen
2013
Spain starts IPC Alpine World Championships with first and fifth place finishes
2013
Slovak Henrieta Farkašová wins downhill event at IPC Alpine World Championships
2013
Spaniard Jon Santacana wins downhill at IPC Alpine World Championships
2013
Australian Governor-General visits Wagga Wagga
2013
Presenter Derek Batey dies at age 84

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.

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