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Today in History

1893
Rudolf Diesel patents diesel engine
1903
Cuba leases Guantanamo Bay to US
1904
US pays $10 million for rights to Panama Canal Zone
1931
Collage artist Tom Wesselmann born in Cincinnati, Ohio
1932
Producer and actress, Majel Barrett born in Cleveland, Ohio
1940
Golden Globe Award winning actor, Peter Fonda born in New York City
1941
Plutonium produced and isolated
1944
Grammy Award winning record producer, singer and guitarist, Johnny Winter born in Beaumont, Texas
1951
Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominated actress, Patricia Richardson born in Bethesda, Maryland
1965
Founder and owner of Dell Computers, Michael Seth Dell born in Houston, Texas
155
Martyrdom of St. Polycarp of Smyrna
303
Emperor Diocletian orders general persecution of Christians
687
Pepin of Heristal arrives in France
1011
Death of St. Willigis
1040
Consecration of the abbey-church at Le Bec, France
1072
Death of St. Peter Damian
1245
John of Plato Carpini connects with the Mongols
1305
A sermon preached in Italy mentioned eye-glasses
1370
Death of David II, King of Scotland
1417
Paul II, Roman Catholic pope (1464-71) born
1421
Coronation of Catherine, Queen to Henry V of England
1440
Mathias I, King of Hungary born
1440
Execution of Gilles de Raiz
1447
Death of Pope Eugenius IV
1455
Johannes Gutenberg prints 1st book, the Bible (approximate date)
1505
Tomas de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama, sails for Peru
1505
Columbus granted a licence to ride a mule in Spain
1516
Death of Ferdinand, King of Spain
1570
Assassination of Sir James Bellenden, Lord Justice Clerk
1574
The 5th War of Religion breaks out in France.
1611
Madeleine de la Palud interrogated concerning witchcraft
1615
French Estates General is dissolved
1633
English civil servant and writer of a famous Diary, Samuel Pepys. born
1642
Henrietta Marie, Queen of England, and her daughter, the Princess Mary, flee England
1649
John Blow, composer of 1st English opera. born
1685
George Frederick Handel in Halle. Handel became the leading musical figure in England. He lived a few years longer than Bach, which means, like Bach, he lived long enough to see his music fall out of fashion. His oratorio, "The Messiah," was first heard in 1749. born
1732
Handel' s Oratorio is performed for the first time, in Britain.
1743
Meyer Amschel Rothschild, banker and founder of the Rothschild dynasty in Europe. born
1778
Baron von Steuben joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge.
1787
Emma Hart Willard, pioneer in higher education for women born
1817
English painter and sculptor George Watts. born
1818
Maj. Gen. Jeremy F. Gilmer, Chief Engineer Confederate War Department. born
1821
The Philadelphia College of Apothecaries established the first pharmacy college in Philadelphia.
1821
English poet John Keats dies.
1822
Boston was granted a charter to incorporate as a city.
1836
Alamo is besieged by Santa Anna, entire garrison eventually killed.
1846
The Liberty Bell tolls for the last time, to mark George Washington's birthday.
1847
U.S. troops under Gen. Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican Gen. Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico.
1847
Forces led by Zachary Taylor defeat the Mexicans at the Battle of Buena Vista. The United States and Mexico had been at war over territorial disputes since May 1846.
1848
The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, died of a stroke at age 80.
1855
In England, officials attempted to hang murderer John Lee. Every time they tried to release the trap door, it failed. When they tested it without him, it opened. After several attempts, they gave up and changed his sentence to life in prison.
1861
President-elect Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take office, an assassination plot having been foiled in Baltimore.
1861
Texas secedes from the Union.
1868
Black writer and philosopher W.E.B. DuBois. He was the leader of what became the NAACP. born
1870
Mississippi was readmitted to the union. .
1883
Victor Fleming, director of the movie classics "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind born
1886
Charles M. Hall completed his invention of aluminum. He produced it using electricity.
1887
The import of opium from China into the U.S. is forbidden.
1887
Congress grants Seal Rocks to San Francisco.
1897
Gustav Mahler converted to Catholicism. It was a tacit condition of employment for the job he wanted leading the Vienna Opera, and with it the Vienna Philharmonic. Later in life Mahler would convert back to Judaism.
1898
Novelist Emile Zola was imprisoned in France for writing his "J'accuse" letter accusing the government of anti-Semitism and wrongly jailing Captain Alfred Dreyfus.
1899
Author Erich Kastner (Emil and the Detictives) born
1901
Britain and Germany agree on a boundary between German East Africa and Nyasaland.
1903
Director Grigor Alexandrov born
1904
Journalist-author William Shirer born
1904
Japan guarantees Korean sovereignty in exchange for military assistance.
1905
The Rotary Club was founded. Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer and three friends founded the organization after Harris noticed visitors to cities were often treated like strangers. The name comes from members rotating through various positions.
1906
Johann Hoch is imprisoned in Chicago for murdering six of his thirteen wives.
1917
French actress Sarah Bernhardt has her right leg amputated.
1921
An airmail plane sets a record of 33 hours and 20 minutes from San Francisco to New York.
1926
President Calvin Coolidge opposes a large air force, believing it would be a menace to world peace.
1927
President Coolidge signed a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission. The comission began its work of assigning frequencies, hours of operation and power allocations for radio broadcasters across the U.S. The name was changed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 1, 1934.
1929
Elston Howard, baseball catcher born
1929
Chinese rebels seize Hunan.
1930
Baseball catcher Elston Howard born
1933
National Track & Field Hall of Fame sportsman Lee Calhoun (the only Olympic athlete to win 110-meter hurdles twice) born
1934
Casey Stengel became manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team as he signed the first (of many) major league contracts.
1936
In Russia, an unmanned balloon rises to a record height of 25 miles.
1938
Twelve Chinese fighter planes drop bombs on Japan. The China Air Task Force was a scrappy but beleaguered fill-in that fought both the Japanese and supply shortcomings until the Fourteenth Air Force was formed.
1938
ABC News correspondent Sylvia Chase born
1938
Actress Diana Varsi (Peyton Place, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden) born
1939
Walt Disney won an Oscar for the film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at the Academy Award ceremonies that were held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Disney actually received one Oscar statuette and seven miniature ones for his work."
1940
Actor and director Peter Fonda (Easy Rider, Futureworld, The Wild Angel's, Love and a .45). born
1942
The first shelling of the U.S. mainland during World War II as a Japanese submarine fired 25 shells on an oil refinery in Ellwood, California.
1943
Former football player Fred Biletnikoff born
1943
Golfer Bobby Mitchell born
1944
Singer-musician (John Dawson III) Johnny Winter born
1944
American bombers strike the Marianas Islands bases, only 1,300 miles from Tokyo.
1945
South African anti-apartheid activist, Rev. Allan Boesak born
1945
Eisenhower opens a large offensive in the Rhineland. Turkey declares war on Germany and Japan.
1945
During World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi, and raised the American flag. A larger flag was then brought in to replace the first; the second flag-raising was captured in the famous picture taken by Joe Rosenthal.
1946
Rock musician (Poco) Rusty Young born
1946
Anti-British demonstration in India draws a crowd of 300,000.
1947
Several hundred Nazi organizers are arrested in Frankfurt by U.S. and British forces.
1950
Rock musician (The Sweet) Steve Priest born
1950
New York's Metropolitan Museum exhibits a collection of Hapsburg art. The first showing of this collection in the U.S.
1951
Former football player Ed "Too Tall" Jones born
1951
Actress ("Home Improvement") Patricia Richardson born
1952
Rock musician (Aerosmith) Brad Whitford born
1954
The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1955
Musician Howard Jones. born
1955
Eight nations meet in Bangkok for the first SEATO council.
1960
Whites join Negro students in a sit-in at a Winston-Salem, N.C. Woolworth store.
1962
Rock musician Michael Wilton (Queensryche) born
1964
The U.S. and Britain recognize the new Zanzibar government.
1965
Tennis player Helena Sukova born
1965
Actress Kristin Davis ("Melrose Place") born
1965
Stan Laurel -- the "skinny" half of the Laurel and Hardy comedy team -- died in Santa Monica, California.
1967
Amendment 25, concering presidental succession, passed.1
1967
Jim Ryun set the record in the half-mile run at Lawrence,
1968
Actor ("Family Ties") Marc Price born
1971
Rock musician Jeff Beres (Sister Hazel) born
1971
James Franciscus starred in "Longstreet", a made-for-TV movie that became a series in the fall of 1971.
1973
Rock musician Lasse Johansson (The Cardigans) born
1974
The Symbionese Liberation Army demanded $4 million for the release of Patty Hearst. Hearst was kidnapped on February 4th and her father, publisher Randolph Hearst, had already paid $2 million.
1981
An attempted coup began in Spain as 200 members of the Civil Guard invaded the Parliament, taking lawmakers hostage. (However, the attempt collapsed 18 hours later.)
1983
The rock group Toto won Grammy Awards for the hit single, "Rosanna", and the album, "Toto IV", at the 25th annual ceremonies in Los Angeles.
1983
Meeting with reporters at the White House, President Reagan spoke of the need for a "homeland" for the Palestinians as part of a Mideast peace, but added, "no one has ever advocated creating a nation."
1985
The U.S. Senate confirmed Edwin Meese III to be attorney general; by a vote of 63-31.
1986
In his strongest message yet to embattled Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, President Reagan threatened to cut off U.S. military aid if Marcos used force against his opponents.
1987
Missouri congressman Richard A. Gephardt announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
1988
presidential hopeful Bob Dole defeated Vice President George Bush in the South Dakota and Minnesota Republican primaries; among Democrats, Michael S. Dukakis won in Minnesota, Dick Gephart in South Dakota.
1988
President Reagan named William L. Ball III to succeed James H. Webb Jr. as Navy Secretary.
1989
The Senate Armed Services Committee voted eleven-to-nine against recommending the nomination of John Tower to become secretary of defense.
1990
Former Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte died at age 64.
1991
Military forces in Thailand overthrew the elected government and imposed martial law.
1991
French forces unofficially start the Persian Gulf ground war by crossing the Saudi-Iraqui border.
1991
President Bush announced that the allied ground offensive against Iraqi forces had begun. (Because of the time difference, it was already the early morning of Feb. 24 in the Persian Gulf.)
1992
In Moscow, thousands of pro-Communist demonstrators, some shouting, "Down with the Russian government!," clashed with police.
1992
The XVI Winter Olympic Games ended in Albertville, France.
1992
Paul Tsongas won a narrow victory over Jerry Brown in the Maine Democratic caucuses
1993
L'Oiseau Lyre decided to reissue virtually everything Baroque it had recorded in the past 20 years, which mostly means a festival of the Academy of Ancient Music under the direction of Christopher Hogwood.
1993
President Clinton won United Nations support for a plan to airdrop relief supplies to starving Bosnians during an Oval Office meeting with Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
1994
Nancy Kerrigan led the women's figure skating short program at the Winter Olympics in Norway, while Tonya Harding placed tenth.
1994
Russia's new parliament took a swipe at President Boris Yeltsin by granting amnesty to leaders of the 1991 Soviet coup and the hard-liners who'd fought him in 1993.
1994
The military chiefs of Bosnia's Muslim-led government and their second-strongest foes, Bosnia's Croats, signed a truce.
1995
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 4,000 mark for the first time, ending the day at 4003.33.
1995
Administration officials said President Clinton would review dozens of affirmative action programs.
1995
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in Haiti to help prepare for peaceful elections.
1996
The Iraqi News Agency reported that Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel al-Majid and his brother Saddam Kamel al-Majid, a pair of defectors who were also the sons-in-law of Saddam Hussein, were killed by clan members after returning to their homeland.
1996
Dutch tourist Tosca Dieperink, 39, was killed in a holdup at a Miami service station. Two men later pleaded guilty to the slaying and were sentenced to prison.
1997
Scientists in Scotland announced they had succeeded in cloning an adult mammal, producing a lamb named "Dolly."
1997
Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian teacher, opened fire on the 86th-floor observation deck of New York's Empire State Building, killing one person and wounding six others before shooting himself to death.
1997
In eastern India, nearly 200 people were killed when fire swept through a tent built for a religious festival.
1998
The southeastern edge of an El Nino storm system spawned several tornadoes that cut across the Florida peninsula. Forty-two people were killed, some 2,600 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed, by the tornadoes. The storms were the deadliest disaster in Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
1998
President Clinton gave cautious approval to a UN agreement reached by Secretary-General Kofi Annan with Saddam Hussein for monitoring suspected weapons sites in Iraq.
1998
Oil-rich Brunei celebrated 14 years of independence, thankful for the wealth that has largely shielded the sultanate from a regional economic crisis but worried over smog and unemployment. A resurgence of smoke from bush fires on Borneo island forced authorities to move the sultanate's National Day celebrations from an outdoor parade ground to an indoor stadium for health concerns.
1999
A jury in Jasper, Texas convicted white supremacist John William King of murder in the gruesome dragging death of a black man, James Byrd Jr.; King was sentenced to death two days later.
1999
The first of two avalanches that claimed 38 lives over two days struck in Austria.
1999
Serbs agreed in principle to give limited self-rule to majority ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, thereby temporarily heading off NATO air strikes, but during their talks in Rambouillet, France, the two sides failed to conclude a deal for ending their yearlong conflict.
2000
Carlos Santana won eight Grammy awards, including album of the year for "Supernatural," tying the record set by Michael Jackson in 1983 for most trophies in one night.
2005
Effort on to eradicate Polio from Asia in 2005
2005
Dark matter galaxy discovered
2005
Romanian leu continues to surge
2005
Australian government commits more troops to Iraq
2005
Feverfew compound gets at leukemia roots
2005
European Commission approves the accession of Bulgaria and Romania
2005
Illegal dye found in British food
2006
Australian children suffering from iodine deficiency
2006
Michael Morales execution postponed indefinitely
2006
UK and Aussie troops will not fight opium in Afghanistan
2006
Alternative to controversial hotel proposed to Buffalo, N.Y. business owners and residents
2007
Son of former Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau wants to run for office
2007
NASA detects dry, dusty atmospheres on extrasolar planets
2007
UN Security Council approves African Union peace keepers for Somalia
2007
Snow hits southern parts of Norway
2007
New Zealand's "Waitangi" holiday to stay
2007
Canadian MP Bill Graham to step down, Rae seeks his Toronto riding
2007
Abducted teen in Florida found
2007
Air New Zealand opens direct route to Canada
2007
Virgin Train crashes in England
2007
Canadian mouse study shows hormone associated with pregnancy may reverse MS
2007
Unexploded bombs found in Beirut
2007
U.S. apologizes for detention of Iraqi lawmaker's son
2007
NHL rival teams fight during hockey game
2008
Taipei International Book Exibition: United Daily News makes good promotion on e-books launch
2008
Armorize Technologies: Crimes use "Edison Chen's nude photos" as a web phishing tool
2008
National Hockey League news: February 23, 2008
2008
Australian opposition vows to disrupt parliament on Fridays
2008
H-IIA rocket launches WINDS satellite
2008
US reduces Belgrade staff after embassy attack
2008
US B-2 stealth bomber crashes in Guam
2008
Norwegian museum claims Adolf Hitler drew Disney cartoons on painting
2008
Anti-poverty group splatter B.C. premier's office with paint
2009
New comet to be visible to naked eye for several days
2009
Guantanamo captive returned to the United Kingdom
2009
Brazil's Embraer plans to cut around 4,200 jobs
2010
USA upsets Canada in Olympic ice hockey
2010
Toyota accused of misleading public over recalls
2010
General Petraeus: Fight for Afghan town Marja is 'just the initial operation'
2010
Car bomb explodes outside court in Northern Ireland
2010
Najibullah Zazi pleads guilty in plot to bomb New York subway
2010
Female lawyers to be granted court access in Saudi Arabia
2011
Anti-abortion activist Bernard Nathanson dies aged 84
2012
Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination
2013
European Commission warns Eurozone economy to shrink further

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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