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Today in History

1582
Gregorian Calendar begins
1839
William Otis patents steam shovel
1921
Actor and comedian, Abe Vigoda born in New York City
1941
Billboard Hot 100 singer Joanie Sommers born in Buffalo, New York
1950
Rock guitarist, songwriter and singer, George Thorogood born in Wilmington, Delaware
1951
Stage, screen and televison actress, Debra Jo Rupp born in Glendale, California
1955
Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs born in San Francisco, California
1959
Actress, writer and activist, Beth Broderick born in Falmouth, Kentucky
1970
National Public Radio founded in US
1975
Led Zeppelin releases Physical Graffiti
1981
Prince Charles and Lady Diana engaged
259
Martyrdom of St. Montanus and St.Lucius
303
Publication of the first Roman edict for the persecution of Christians
858
St Nicholas I begins his reign as Catholic Pope.
1304
Muhammad ibn Battutah, Moroccan Arab traveler, travel writer born
1389
Capture of Albert of Mecklenberg, King of Sweden
1429
Joan of Arc arrives at Chinon
1446
Drawing of the earliest known Lottery, in Bruges, Belgium
1450
End of the Ambrosian Republic (2nd Commune) of Florence
1463
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Italian scholar, Platonist born
1500
Charles V, King of Spain born
1509
A Papal Bull is issued against duels
1510
Pope Julian II lifts the excommunication against Venice
1525
Death of Richard de la Pole, pretender to the Throne of England
1525
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, defeats Francis I, King of France, and captures him
1527
Schleitheim Confession
1530
Reconciliation of Charles V and Pope Clement VII; Last Imperial Coronation of a Holy Roman Emperor
1538
Peace of Grosswardein
1552
The privleges of the Hanse in England are abolished
1557
Mathias, Holy Roman Emperor (never crowned) born
1577
Murder of Eric XIV, deposed King of Sweden
1582
Pope Gregory the 13th issued a papal bull outlining his calendar reforms. The Gregorian Calendar is the calendar in general use today.
1587
Excommunication of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of "Don Quixote" born
1588
Death of Johann Weyer, physician and philosopher born
1615
Estates General of France locked out of their meeting place born
1619
Charles Le Brun, Paris, painter, designer born
1620
John Graunt statistician, founder of science of demography. born
1653
New York's first City Hall opens in a tavern born
1704
Boston News-Letter, 1st successful newspaper in US, established
1743
Edmund Cartwright England, cleric, inventor (power loom) born
1766
Robert Bailey Thomas founded Farmer's Almanac born
1786
Wilhelm Grimm, historian and, with his brother Jacob, compiler of "Grimm's Fairy Tales," born
1803
In its "Marbury versus Madison" decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that it was the final interpreter of constitutional issues.
1813
Off Guiana, the American sloop Hornet sinks the British sloop Peacock.
1818
Frederic Chopin made his debut as a pianist. He was seven years old. The little boy was elaborately dressed up, and after the recital someone asked the kid what he thought impressed the audience the most. Chopin replied, "My collar."
1821
Mexico declared its independence from Spain. 1835 Kesibwi (The Shawnee Sun) was issued as the first Indian language monthly publication in the United States.
1833
Patent granted for 1st soda fountain.
1835
"Siwinowe Kesibwi" (The Shawnee Sun) was issued as the first Indian language monthly publication in the United States.
1836
Painter Winslow Homer (On A Lee Shore, Mending the Nets, Eating Watermelon, Inside the Bar, The Maine Coast) born
1836
Some 3,000 Mexicans launch an assault on the Alamo, with its 182 Texan defenders. Thirteen days of glory at the Alamo.
1839
William S. Otis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a patent for the steam shovel.
1841
John Phillip Holland, inventor of the modern submarine born
1852
Irish author George Moore born
1857
The first shipment of perforated postage stamps was received by the U.S. government.
1863
Arizona was organized as a territory.
1866
The Capitol in Washington, D.C., displayed an American flag made entirely of American bunting.
1868
The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson following his attempted dismissal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton; Johnson was later acquitted by the Senate.
1868
The first parade to feature floats celebrated Mardis Gras in Mobile, Alabama.
1874
John Russell Pope US, architect (Jefferson Memorial) born
1874
Baseball shortstop and Hall of Famer Honus Wagner, "The Flying Dutchman" born
1885
Admiral Chester Nimitz, in charge of Pacific Fleet in WWII. born
1888
Eastman Kodak forms .
1890
Actress (Mary Tomlinson) Marjorie Main (Ma of Ma and Pa Kettle, The Egg and I, The Harvey Girls, Friendly Persuasion) born
1895
The Cuban War of Independence begins.
1897
William Price becomes first reporter assigned to White House
1903
The United States signed an agreement acquiring a naval station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
1905
Russian Minister of Agriculture, Alexi Yermolov offers the Czar a new constitution.
1908
Japan officially agrees to restrict immigration to the U.S.
1912
Italy bombs Beirut in the first act of war against the Ottoman Empire.
1914
Civil War soldier Joshua Chamberlain dies. Joshua Chamberlain was a Major General, the only non professional appointed to that rank by U.S. Grant. He was the President of Bowdoin College and a governor of Maine. He won the Medal of Honor
1915
Massacre of Armenians by Turks (Armenian Martyrs Day)
1916
Easter rebellion of Irish against British occupation begin
1916
Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" opened in New York
1920
A group of Germans organized the National Socialist party, forerunner of the Nazi party later led by Adolf Hitler.
1921
Actor Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller, The Godfather, Joe and the Volcano, Fist of Honor). born
1921
Herbert Hoover becomes Secretary of Commerce.
1922
Actor Steven Hill ("Law and Order") born
1924
Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller broke the world's record in the 100-meter event at Miami Beach, Florida. The new record: 57 2/5 seconds.
1925
A "thermit" was used for the first time to break a 250,000-ton ice jam that had clogged the St. Lawrence River near Waddington, New York.
1927
Attorney and author Mark Lane (Rush to Judgment, Eyewitness Chicago) born
1928
In its first show to feature a Black artist, the New Gallery of New York exhibits works of Archibald Motley.
1929
Actor Richard B. Shull (Splash, Trapped in Paradise) born
1932
Academy Award-Winning composer Michel Legrand (Yentl ; Brian's Song, Ice Station Zebra) born
1932
Actor John Vernon (The Outlaw Josey Wales, National Lampoon's Animal House, Hostage for a Day, Dirty Harry, Hunter) born
1935
Opera singer Renata Scotto. born
1936
Actress Jill Ireland London born
1936
Actress (Marta Burges) Linda Cristal (Hughes & Harlow Hell, The Dead Don't Die, The High Chaparral) born
1938
Actor James Farentino (Dynasty, Ensign Pulver, The Final Countdown). born
1938
The first nylon bristle toothbrush was made in Arlington, New Jersey.
1939
Hungary signs an anti-Communist pact with Italy, Germany and Japan.
1940
Boxer Jimmy Ellis born
1940
Frances Langford recorded one of the classic songs of all time and one that would become a Walt Disney trademark. "When You Wish Upon a Star" was recorded on Decca Records during a session in Los Angeles.
1941
Guitarist John Williams born
1942
The U.S. government halted the delivery of all 12-gauge shotguns for sporting use. The Feds needed to make more weapons available for war production.
1942
The Voice of America went on the air for the first time.
1942
Singer-musician Paul Jones born
1945
Egyptian Premier Ahmed Maher Pasha is killed in Parliament after reading a decree
1945
U.S. servicemen liberated the Philippine capital, Manila, from the control of the Japanese empire in World War II.
1945
Actor Barry Bostwick. born
1946
Juan Peron was elected president of Argentina.
1947
Actor Edward James Olmos. born
1947
Franz von Papen is sentenced to eight years in a labor camp for war crimes. Pompous scion of an old aristocratic family, he became chancellor of Germany in 1932.
1947
Songwriter-musician Rupert Holmes born
1951
Actress Helen Shaver born
1952
The French evacuate Hoabinh in Vietnam in order to mass for the Tonkin Delta drive.
1953
Actor Eric Bogosian (Talk Radio) born
1953
Winston Churchill knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
1954
Vince Ferragamo NFL/CFL quarterback born
1955
The Cole Porter musical "Silk Stockings" opened at the Imperial Theater on Broadway.
1955
Steven Jobs, Apple co-founder. born
1956
TV anchor Paula Zahn. born
1958
Country singer Sammy Kershaw. born
1959
Khrushchev rejects the Western plan for the Big Four meeting on Germany.
1961
JFK accepts "sole responsibility" following Bay of Pigs
1962
Singer Michelle Shocked. born
1962
New York police seize $20 million worth of heroin.
1963
Joey Vera heavy metal rocker (Armored Saint-Aftermath) born
1966
Actor Billy Zane born
1967
Vladimir Komarov cosmonaut is 1st to die in space, aboard Soyuz 1
1972
Hanoi negotiators walks out of the peace talks in Paris to protest U.S. air raids on North Vietnam.
1974
Bud Abbott dies at 78
1980
US miltary operation to save 52 hostages in Iran, fails, 8 die.
1980
The U.S. hockey team defeated Finland, 4-2, to clinch the gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.
1981
Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Britain's Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.
1983
Rhythm-and-blues singer Brandon Brown (Mista). born
1983
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 1,100 level for the first time, ending the day at 1,121.81.
1983
A congressional commission released a report condemning the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, calling it a "grave injustice."
1985
Yul Brynner reprised his role "The King and I" setting an all-time box office record for weekly receipts. The show earned $520,920.
1985
Soviet President Konstantin U. Chernenko, looking frail, was shown on Soviet television casting a ballot in a Moscow polling place in his first public appearance since the previous December.
1986
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional an Indianapolis ordinance that allowed women injured by someone who had seen or read pornographic material to sue the maker or seller of that material.
1987
Fawn Hall, former personal secretary to fired National Security Council aide Oliver L. North, posed for news photographers outside her attorney's office, calling the attention "a little overwhelming."
1988
In a ruling that expanded legal protections for parody and satire, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a $200,000 award that the Rev. Jerry Falwell had won against Hustler magazine and publisher Larry Flynt.
1989
A state funeral was held in Japan for Emperor Hirohito, who had died the month before at age 87.
1989
A cargo door blew off a United Air Lines Boeing 747-100 flying near Hawaii; the explosive release of pressure pulled nine passengers out to their deaths.
1990
Magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes died in Far Hills, New Jersey, at age 70.
1990
Fifties balladeer Johnnie Ray died in Los Angeles at age 63.
1990
West & East Germany agree to merge currency & economies on July 1st
1991
General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the coalition army, sends in ground forces to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqis.
1992
"Man of La Mancha" with Sheena Easton opens at Marquis theater
1992
A fourth round of Mideast peace talks began in Washington.
1992
Secretary of State James A. Baker III told a House subcommittee that Israel should stop building settlements in the occupied territories, or forfeit $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.
1993
Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announced he was stepping down.
1993
Mariss Jansons, music director of the Oslo Philharmonic, guest conducted the Chicago Symphony.
1993
At the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Eric Clapton won six trophies, including album of the year for "Unplugged" and record and song of the year for "Tears in Heaven."
1994
Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders labeled smoking an "adolescent addiction," and accused the tobacco industry of trying to convince teen-agers that cigarettes will make them sexy and successful.
1994
Entertainer Dinah Shore died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 76.
1994
Syria granted exit visas to all 1,000 Syrian Jews still living in the country, allowing them to travel abroad if they wished.
1995
Under pressure from farm-state Republicans, House leaders abandoned a campaign promise to disband the food stamp program.
1996
Steve Forbes wins the Delaware primary.
1996
Cuba downs two small American planes that it claims were violating Cuban airspace.
1997
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met in Beijing with Chinese officials, telling them to improve their country's record on human rights, or face condemnation by the United States and its allies.
1997
The Food and Drug Administration named six brands of birth control as safe and effective "morning-after" pills for preventing pregnancy.
1998
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling that allows federal regulators to recalculate the reimbursements teaching hospitals that treat Medicare patients can receive for graduate medical programs.
1998
Heavy metal drummer Tommy Lee was arrested and charged with hitting his wife, former "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson Lee, during an argument in their Malibu, California home and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
1998
Henny Youngman, a tireless comic who quipped "Take my wife - please" and countless other one-liners during a career that spanned seven decades, died in New York City at age 91.
1998
Mary Vincent relived a 20-year-old nightmare as she testified in a Florida courtroom against the man who raped her and hacked off her arms when she was a California teen-ager. She was called by the prosecution in the penalty phase of Lawrence Singleton's murder trial to testify about his past conduct. Singleton, 70, was convicted of first degree murder for the 1997 stabbing death of Tampa prostitute Roxanne Hayes in his home.
1999
The Senate voted overwhelmingly to give the nation's military the biggest benefits increase since the early 1980s.
1999
Lauryn Hill won a record five Grammys, including album of the year and best new artist, on the strength of her solo debut album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill."
2000
The state of Texas executed Betty Lou Beets, 62, by injection for murdering her fifth husband after Gov. George W. Bush refused to intervene.
2000
Pope John Paul II arrived in Egypt on a pilgrimage to retrace some of the most epic passages from the Bible.
2000
The U.N. Security Council approved a U.S.-drafted plan to send an observer force into Congo to monitor a fragile cease-fire.
2005
Toothpaste fills cavities without drilling
2005
Palestinian legislators approve new cabinet for Abbas
2005
Pope in hospital again
2005
Finnish-French MEP criticise Finnish President and Foreign Minister
2006
MPAA launches seven lawsuits against torrent, ed2k and usenet sites
2006
Al Askari Mosque bombed in Samarra, Iraq
2006
President remains most popular politician in Romania
2006
Arroyo declares state of emergency due to coup attempt in Philippines
2006
Public smoking ban in Virginia snuffed out
2006
Thai snap-election set for April 2, 2006
2006
Australian treasurer makes "extremely divisive" comments
2007
XM and Sirius announce merger deal
2007
Italy: President Napolitano dismisses Prodi's resignation
2007
Minnesota to require 25% renewable energy production
2007
Manchester United opens nine point gap at top of Premier League
2007
Champions League round of sixteen—first leg results
2007
Supreme Court of Canada strikes down "unconstitutional" anti-terror legislation
2007
NHL: Penguins defeat Panthers in Overtime
2007
Major snowstorm causes 35-car pile-up in western U.S.
2008
Coverage of the 80th Academy Awards
2008
Europeans sweep top actor honors at 80th Academy Awards
2008
Taiwan presidential election: First official debate with citizen journalists' participation
2008
IBM to construct supercomputer capable of running entire Internet
2008
Raúl Castro chosen as new President of Cuba
2008
Ralph Nader enters US presidential race as independent
2008
Open software developers meet at FOSDEM 2008
2008
Ugandan government, rebels agree to ceasefire
2008
Interview: Drupal founder Dries Buytaert balances community and company interests
2008
National Hockey League news: February 24, 2008
2008
Suicide bomb kills 40 in Iraq
2009
AU peacekeepers killed in Somalia, Islamists vow more attacks
2009
US stock markets fall to lowest levels since 1997
2009
Rocket carrying NASA carbon dioxide satellite crashes into ocean
2011
Eleven children injured in Scottish school shooting; two teenagers detained
2011
Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled amid political turmoil
2011
Pirates kill four American hostages
2011
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to Sweden
2013
South Korean Jae Rim Yang finishes fifth at IPC Alpine World Championships
2013
Team USA delivers going into third day of IPC Alpine World Championships

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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