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Today in History

1860
Sculptor Sir William Goscombe John born in Cardiff, Wales
1927
Housewife, humorist and nationally syndicated columnist, Erma Bombeck born in Dayton, Ohio
1946
Emmy and Tony Award winning actress, Tyne Daly born in Madison, Wisconsin
1953
Francis Crick and James D. Watson discover structure of DNA
1955
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Kelsey Grammer born in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
1970
Mid-air bomb explosion kills 38 passengers and nine crew members aboard Swissair Flight 330
1972
President Richard Nixon visits China
1986
Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda
1076
Emperor Henry IV defies Rome and Pope Gregory VII
1198
Pope Innocent III ordained as a priest
1508
Michaelangelo's "Pope Julius" put in place
1534
Anabaptists sieze Muenster
1554
Hieronymus Bock, German doctor, founder of modern botany, dies
1595
Hanging of Robert Southwell, Jesuit poet, for being a Catholic priest, at Tyburn, England
1598
Election of Boris Godenov as Czar of Muscovy
1630
Peter Paul Rubens knighted in England
1631
Michael Romanov, son of the Patriarch of Moscow, is elected Russian Tsar.
1744
The British blockade of Toulon is broken by 27 French and Spanish warships attacking 29 British ships.
1794
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexican Revolutionary born
1797
Trinidad, West Indies surrenders to the British.
1801
John Henry Newman, Roman Catholic Cardinal born
1804
1st self-propelled locomotive on rails demonstrated, in Wales.
1821
Charles Scribner, Music Publisher born
1828
The first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is printed, both in English and in the newly invented Cherokee alphabet.
1838
The first burglar alarm is installed in the United States. It is installed in Boston, Massachusetts by E. T. Holmes.
1838
Alexis De Rochon, Spyglass Developer born
1842
John J. Greenough of Washington, DC. patented the sewing machine.
1846
Sara Bagley of Lowell, Massachusetts, becomes the first female telegraph operator.
1849
In the Second Sikh War, Sir Hugh Goughs well placed guns win a victory over a Sikh force twice the size of his at Gujerat on the Chenab River, assuring British control of the Punjab for years to come.
1862
The Texas Rangers win a Confederate victory in the Battle of Val Verde, New Mexico.
1866
Lucy B. Hobbs became the first woman to graduate from a dental school, the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati.
1874
Oakland Daily Tribune begins publication.
1878
The first telephone directory was issued, by the District Telephone Company of New Haven, Connecticut.
1885
The Washington Monument was dedicated.
1905
The Mukden campaign of the Russo-Japanese War, begins.
1907
Poet W.H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden born
1914
Actor Zachary Scott (Flamingo Road, The Young One, The Southerner, Appointment in Honduras) born
1915
Actress Ann (Clara) Sheridan (Appointment in Honduras, The Man Who Came to Dinner) born
1916
The World War One Battle of Verdun began in France.
1918
The last known green and yellow Carolina parakeet dies.
1925
Director Sam Peckinpah (Convoy, The Getaway, The Wild Bunch) born
1925
"The New Yorker" magazine made its debut.
1927
Fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy born
1927
Humorist and author Erma (Fiste) Bombeck (The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank) born
1931
Alka Seltzer is introduced. Oh, what a relief it is!
1932
William N. Goodwin of Newark, New Jersey, patented the camera exposure meter.
1933
Movie director Bob Rafelson born
1933
Singer (Eunice Waymon) Nina Simone born
1934
Actress Rue McClanahan born
1937
Actor Gary (Yusolfsky) Lockwood (2001 in Paradise, Firecreek) born
1939
Actor-director Richard Beymer (The Diary of Anne Frank, West Side Story, Twin Peaks, The Longest Day) born
1940
Actor Peter McEnery (I Killed Rasputin, Negatives, Victim, Pictures) born
1940
The Germans begin construction of a concentration camp at Auschwitz. The hunt for Nazi war criminals spans more than half a century and continues to this day.
1943
Recording executive David Geffen born
1943
German tanks and two infantry battalions break the Allied line and take Kasserine Pass in North Africa.
1944
Hideki Tojo becomes chief of staff of the Japanese army.
1946
Actor Alan Rickman born
1946
Tricia Nixon Cox born
1946
Actress Tyne Daly born
1947
Edwin H. Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which could produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds.
1949
Rock musician Jerry Harrison (The Heads) born
1949
Nicaragua and Costa Rica sign a friendship treaty ending hostilities over their borders.
1950
The United States formally breaks relations with Bulgaria.
1953
Actor William Petersen born
1955
Actor Kelsey Grammer born
1956
A Grand Jury in Montgomery, Alabama, indicts 115 in a Negro bus boycott.
1958
Country singer Mary-Chapin Carpenter born
1958
Actor Jack Coleman born
1960
Havana places all Cuban industry under direct control of the government.
1961
Actor Christopher Atkins born
1961
Rock singer Ranking Roger (General Public, English Beat) born
1963
Actor Billy Baldwin born
1965
Former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, 39, was shot to death in New York by assassins identified as Black Muslims.
1967
Ford recalls 217,000 cars to check brakes and steering.
1969
Blues musician Corey Harris born
1970
Rock musician Eric Wilson (Sublime) born
1972
President Nixon began his historic visit to China. The first American president to visit China and the first president to visit a country not oficially recognized by the United States.
1973
Israeli fighter planes shot down a Libyan Airlines jet over the Sinai Desert, killing more than 100 people.
1974
A report claims that the use of defoliants by the U.S. has scarred Vietnam for century. Defoliation was meant to save lives by denying the enemy cover. But for some the 'cure' was worse than the problem.
1976
Florence Ballard, one of the original Supremes, died in Detroit, Michigan. She was 32. Ballard had said that she never received a royalty check prior to 1967 for any of her work with the Supremes, who featured Diana Ross and included Mary Wilson.
1979
Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Party of Five") born
1981
Dolly Parton reached the top spot on the pop music charts with "9 to 5", from the movie of the same name, in which Dolly starred with Lili Tomlin and Jane Fonda.
1982
Legendary disc jockey, Murray The K died in Los Angeles.
1986
Singer Charlotte Church born
1988
TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart tearfully confessed to his congregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that he was guilty of an unspecified sin, and said he was leaving the pulpit temporarily. (Reports linked Swaggart to an admitted prostitute, Debra Murphree.)
1989
President Bush called Ayatollah Khomeini's death warrant against "Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie "deeply offensive to the norms of civilized behavior."
1990
Addressing the U.S. Congress, Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel said his nation welcomed U.S. help after decades of Soviet domination, but also said Europe should eventually "decide for itself" how long American and Soviet troops should remain.
1991
The Soviet Union announced that Iraq had agreed to a proposal for ending the Persian Gulf War but the Bush administration called the plan unacceptable.
1991
Ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn died in Panama City at age 71.
1992
Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States won the gold medal in women's figure skating at the Albertville Olympics; Midori Ito of Japan won the silver, Nancy Kerrigan of the US the bronze.
1993
Four days after suspending Bosnian relief operations because of interference from Serbs, Muslims and Croats, the UN high commissioner for refugees (Sadako Ogata) ordered full resumption of the aid effort, following a rebuke from UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
1994
With Bosnian Serbs complying with a NATO ultimatum to remove its heavy guns from around Sarajevo, President Clinton promised renewed US efforts to help "reinvigorate the peace process."
1995
Chicago stockbroker Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada.
1995
The United States and Mexico signed an agreement to unlock $20 billion in U.S. support to stabilize the peso, but under tough conditions.
1997
Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr reversed his decision to resign.
1997
The space shuttle "Discovery" returned to earth after a mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.
1997
A bomb exploded at a gay and lesbian nightclub in Atlanta, injuring five people.
1998
New flash flood warnings went up in northern California, as a powerful storm lashed the region with heavy rains and strong winds. The storm dumped a half inch more of rain on San Francisco, which has logged the wettest February since records began in 1849.
1998
Russia and Japan signed a breakthrough treaty giving Japanese fishermen access to waters around the Kurile islands, which lie at the heart of half a century of disputes between Moscow and Tokyo.
1998
UN Secretary-General Koei Annan began formal talks with Iraqi officials in the standoff over weapons inspections.
1998
The UN reported that heavy rains intensified in Peru as a result of the El Nino freak weather condition that battered Peru since mid-December. Bridges and roads were distroyed isolating towns and villages and bringing disease and an outbreak of malaria. Mudslides and floods killed more than 200 Peruvians and left some 200,000 homeless.
1999
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reported little progress toward a Kosovo peace settlement during talks in Rambouillet, France.
2000
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced his entry into the presidential race, bidding for the nomination of the Green Party.
2005
Five hundred Palestinian prisoners released by Israel
2005
Bucharest boasts largest cinema complex in Southeastern Europe
2005
New research reveals a more emotional and troubled President Abraham Lincoln
2005
Thirty hospitalised after Melbourne airport gas leak
2005
Author Hunter S. Thompson found dead
2005
Romania plans its next privatisation initiatives
2005
Ex-priest Shanley sentenced to 12-15 years for child rape
2005
Kashmir avalanches kill at least 100
2005
University of Southern California spit test predicts cavities
2005
Spain says Yes to EU constitution
2005
Professional cyclist fired for breaking contract through anti-doping statements
2006
Australia sends more troops to Afghanistan
2006
USA rejects UN Guantanamo report
2006
Californian computer company lodges antitrust suit against Microsoft
2006
Chinese party elders denounce media censorship
2006
Microsoft changes OEM license, forcing new purchases after motherboard upgrade
2006
Narathiwat raid recovers stolen weapons
2006
Paul Bernardo admits to more rapes
2006
Thick fog blankets Houston area
2006
Mladic arrest operation 'under way'
2006
Senator Hatch lashes out at critics of domestic surveillance program
2006
Three Ohio men indicted for terrorist plot against U.S. military in Iraq
2006
SpaceX delays Falcon 1 launch again
2006
Maryland, US school close-mouthed on police incident
2007
Italian PM Prodi resigns
2007
New Zealand post shop closed due to "fart bomb"
2007
Indonesia to plug mud volcano
2007
Minnesota considers open-format state documents
2007
UK and Denmark announce troop withdrawals from Iraq
2007
Police to question Blair aide again in UK "cash-for-honours" corruption probe
2007
Natural methods of family planning under investigation
2007
Canadian MPP joins Ontario's Liberal cabinet
2008
John McCain denies romantic relationship with lobbyist
2008
US Navy successfully destroys disabled spy satellite
2008
National Hockey League news: February 21, 2008
2008
Steve Wright found guilty of murdering five women in Suffolk, England
2008
Several earthquakes shake Nevada
2008
Pakistan opposition parties form coalition
2008
East Timorese President regains consciousness
2008
Belgrade: demonstration against independent Kosovo escalates into riots
2008
Explosions target ethnic Albanians in Croatia
2009
Slovak bus accident kills 12
2009
Church of Scientology blames Pearl Harbor, 9/11 on psychiatry
2009
LTTE strikes Sri Lanka capital
2009
UK firm gets ESA funding to ground test new jet engine for spaceplane
2009
Chinese cargo ship sinks after being shot by Russian navy
2009
Turbulence on Northwest Airlines flight injures 47
2010
Madeira storm kills at least 42
2010
Train accident kills three girls in Central Florida
2010
Man killed after shop robbery in West Yorkshire, England; murder investigation launched
2010
BBC broadcasts first live episode of EastEnders
2011
NASCAR: Trevor Bayne wins the Daytona 500
2011
38 killed in attack on Afghan bank
2011
'Pichileminian Week' ends
2011
Strikeforce Challengers 14 MMA Results
2011
Cricket World Cup: India vs Bangladesh
2012
Egyptian MP calls for web porn ban
2013
IPC Alpine World Championship reschedules Super-G owing to weather

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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