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Today in History

Mardi Gras
1775
Mathemetician Farkas Bolyai born in Nagyszeben, Transylvania
1879
US Weather Bureau established
1909
Singer, dancer and actress, Carmen Miranda born in Marco de Canaveses, Portugal
1934
-51 degrees F in Vanderbilt, Michigan
1942
Pianist, songwriter and four-time Grammy Award winning singer, Carole King born in Brooklyn, New York
1943
Comedian, singer, musician and Academy Award winning actor, Joe Pesci born in Newark, New Jersey
1945
Golden Globe Award winning actress, Mia Farrow born in Los Angeles, California
1964
The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show before 73 million viewers
1965
US combat troops are sent to South Vietnam
1986
Halley's comet perihelion
444
Death of St. Cyril of Alexandria
720
Death of Umar II
1088
Death of Muiredach MacRory (Marianus Scotus), Abbot of Ratisbon
1098
Ridwan fails to relieve the Crusader's Siege of Antioch
1119
Coronation of Pope Calixtus II in France
1292
First Scottish Parliament assembles at Scone
1401
Burning of a Mr. Sawtre as a Lollard heretic
1458
Marriage of Mathias I, King of Hungary, to Catherine of Bohemia
1507
Pereira discovers Santa Appolionia Island, later named Reunion...and the Dodo bird
1555
Burning of Dr. Rowland Taylor as an heretic
1555
John Hooper, deprived Bishop of Gloucester, burnt for heresy
1567
Murder of Lord Henry Darley, husband of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots
1588
The Duke of Medina-Sidonia appointed to head the Spanish Armada
1619
Burning of Lucilio Vanini, aka "Giulio Cesare," freethinker
1773
William Henry Harrison, ninth president of the United States His term in office was the shortest in our nation's history -- 32 days. born
1799
The USS Constellation captures the French frigate Insurgente off the coast of Nevis.
1814
Samuel Tilden, philanthropist born
1825
After no presidential candidate won the necessary majority, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams the sixth president of the United States.
1846
William Maybach, German engineer, designed the first Mercedes automobile born
1861
Tennessee votes against secession.
1861
The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America elected Jefferson Davis president and Alexander H. Stephens vice president.
1870
The US Weather Bureau was established.
1874
Imagist poet Amy Lowell in Brookline, Massachusetts (What's O'Clock, Sword Blades and Poppy Seeds). born
1877
U.S. Weather Service is founded.
1891
Actor Ronald Colman (Lost Horizon, Prisoner of Zenda, Around the World in 80 Days, Romola) born
1893
Verdi's final opera premiered at La Scala. "Falstaff" was a big success.
1895
The first college basketball game was played as Minnesota State School of Agriculture defeated the "Porkers" of Hamline College, 9-3.
1897
This was not one of Debussy's best days when his wife found a love letter in his pocket that made it clear he was having an affair. The ensuing fight, which featured his wife threatening to shoot herself, got into the papers and harmed Debussy professionally for awhile.
1899
Actor Brian Donlevy (Destry Rides Again, Wake Island, Arizona Bushwackers, Five Golden Dragons, Jesse James, Dangerous Assignment) born
1902
Doctor Doyen of Paris, performs a successful operation on Siamese twins from the Barnum and Bailey Circus.
1904
Japanese troops land near Seoul, Korea, after disabling two Russian cruisers.
1906
Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first black writer in the United States to support himself by writing, died in Dayton, Ohio.
1909
Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk born
1909
The first forestry school was incorporated at Kent, Ohio.
1909
France agrees to recognize German economic interests in Morocco in exchange for political supremacy.
1914
Entertainer and author Gypsy Rose Lee (Rose Louise Hovick) ( Seattle, Washington). Her autobiography, "Gypsy," was made into a Broadway musical and a motion picture. She died in 1970. born
1914
Entertainer and author Gypsy Rose Lee (Rose Louise Hovick) ( Seattle, Washington). Her autobiography, "Gypsy," was made into a Broadway musical and a motion picture. She died in 1970.
1914
Singer and actress Carmen (de Cunha) Miranda (Mama Eu Quero, The Lady with the Tutti Frutti Hat) born
1922
The U.S. Congress establishes the World War Foreign Debt Commission.
1923
Actress (Zelma Hednick) Kathryn Grayson (Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, The Kissing Bandit, It Happened in Brooklyn, Anchors Aweigh). born
1923
Dobrolet, the Soviet state airline, was formed. It was renamed Aeroflot in 1932.
1928
Television journalist Roger Mudd born
1931
Sculptor Robert Morris born
1932
America entered the 2-man bobsled competition for the first time at the Olympic Winter Games held at Lake Placid, New York.
1933
Golfer Jo Ann Prentice born
1933
The Oxford Union Society at Oxford University debated, then approved, 275-to-153, a motion stating "this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country," a stand that was widely denounced by other Britons.
1939
Actress Janet Suzman born
1942
Songwriter Barry Mann born
1942
Singer-songwriter Carole (Klein) King (Loco-motion, It Might as Well Rain Until September, It's Too Late, Jazzman). born
1942
Daylight-saving "War Time" went into effect in the United States, with clocks turned one hour forward.
1942
Chiang Kai-shek meets with Sir Stafford Cripps, the British viceroy in India. Detachment 101 harried the Japanese in Burma and provided close support for regular Allied forces.
1942
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff held its first formal meeting to coordinate military strategy during World War Two.
1943
Actor Joe Pesci. born
1943
The Russians take back Kursk 15 months after it fell to the Nazis.
1943
The World War Two battle of Guadalcanal in the southwest Pacific ended with an American victory over Japanese forces.
1944
Singer Barbara Lewis (Make Me Your Baby, Hello Stranger, Baby I'm Yours). born
1944
Author Alice Walker. born
1945
Actress (Maria de Lourdes Villers) Mia Farrow. born
1946
Stalin announces the new five-year plan for the U.S.S.R., calling for production boosts of 50 percent.
1947
Singer Joe Ely. born
1949
Actress Judith Light. born
1950
In a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joseph McCarthy, R-WI, charged that the State Department was riddled with Communists.
1950
Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., charged the State Department was infested with communists.
1951
Rhythm-and-blues musician Dennis "DT" Thomas (Kool & the Gang). born
1951
Actress Greta Garbo gets U.S. citizenship.
1953
The French destroy six Viet Minh war factories hidden in the jungles of Vietnam.
1955
Actor Charles Shaughnessy born
1962
An agreement was signed to make Jamaica an independent nation within the British Commonwealth later in the year.
1963
Country singer Travis Tritt. born
1963
The first Boeing 727 took off. It became the world's most popular way to fly. A total of 1,832 aircraft was built before production stopped in 1984.
1964
An estimated 73 million viewers tuned in as the Beatles made their first live American television appearance, on "The Ed Sullivan Show." They were paid $2,400.00. 50,000 requests came in for 728 available seats.
1964
The U.S. embassy in Moscow is stoned by Chinese and Vietnamese students.
1964
Action doll "GI Joe" born
1969
The Boeing 747 flew its inaugural flight ushering in the age of the jumbo jet.
1971
An earthquake measuring 6.6 struck the San Fernando Valley in California, killing 58 people. Property damage reached $900 million.
1971
The "Apollo 14" spacecraft returned to Earth after man's third landing on the moon.
1978
Canada expels 11 Soviets in spying case.
1981
Bill Haley died on this day in Harlingen, Texas. He was 55. Haley recorded with his group, The Comets, what became known as the anthem of rock and roll: "Rock Around the Clock" from the movie, "Blackboard Jungle".
1984
Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov died at age 69, less than 15 months after succeeding Leonid Brezhnev; he was succeeded by Konstantin U. Chernenko.
1985
Actor David Gallagher born
1985
In his Saturday radio address, President Reagan accused Congress of thwarting his administration's efforts to run the government more economically.
1985
Seoul admits using force against opposition leader Kim Dae Jung.
1987
Former national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane, who was facing tough questions about his role in the Iran-Contra affair, attempted suicide by swallowing Valium, but survived.
1988
Actress Marina Malota ("Bette") born
1988
One day after Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev announced that Soviet troops could start withdrawing from Afghanistan by the following May. U.S. officials welcomed the offer, but urged a swifter timetable for total withdrawal.
1989
President Bush, in his first major speech to Congress, proposed a $1.16 trillion "common sense" budget for fiscal 1990.
1990
The Perrier Group of America Inc. announced it was voluntarily recalling its inventory of mineral water in the United States after tests showed the presence of benzene in a small number of bottles.
1991
Voters in Lithuania overwhelmingly endorsed independence from the Soviet Union in a non-binding plebiscite.
1991
Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin L. Powell met with ,military commanders in Saudi Arabia to evaluate a possible ground assault against Iraqi forces.
1992
Magic Johnson returned to professional basketball by playing in the NBA All-Star game. (Johnson was named most valuable player as his team, the Western Conference, defeated the Eastern Conference 153-to-113.)
1992
The government of Algeria declared a state of emergency to quell spreading Muslim fundamentalist unrest.
1993
NBC News announced it had settled a defamation lawsuit brought by General Motors over the network's "inappropriate demonstration" of a fiery pickup truck crash on its "Dateline NBC" program.
1993
The general manager of the Metropolitan Opera said he'd "never say never" regarding the possible future use of soprano Kathleen Battle. Joseph Volpe fired Battle after she reportedly was rude to other cast members and failed to show up for rehearsals.
1994
NATO delivered an ultimatum to Bosnian Serbs to remove heavy guns encircling Sarajevo, or face air strikes. Hours before the ultimatum was issued, the Bosnian Serbs agreed to withdraw their artillery and mortars.
1994
PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres initialed an agreement on security measures that had been blocking implementation of a peace accord.
1995
Former Sen. J. William Fulbright died in Washington at age 89.
1996
A collision of rush-hour commuter trains in Secaucus, New Jersey, claimed the lives of both engineers and a passenger.
1996
The Irish republican Army ended its cease-fire with a truck bombing in London that killed two and injured 37.
1996
In Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a former member of the city's beach detail shot and killed five former co-workers before killing himself.
1997
Best Products closed the last of its stores, a victim of the diminishing allure of the catalog showroom concept of retailing.
1997
The East beat the West in the NBA All-Star game, 132-to-120.
1998
The Pentagon said it was sending up to 3000 US ground troops to the Persian Gulf region to discourage what one official called "any creative thinking" by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
1998
At the Nagano Games, German Georg Hackl won the men's luge for the third consecutive Olympics. Winter Olympics weather disruptions caused postponements and rescheduling. Games organizers had to rearrange the schedules of thousands of security guards, bus drivers, caterers and ticket collectors.
1998
President Clinton declared much of California a major disaster area as the state's rain-weary residents prepared to get pummeled again by a fresh storm moving in from the Pacific. The announcement opened the door for federal aid to 27 California counties which were hit with flooding, mudslides, evacuations and power outages caused by a string of El Nino-driven storms that began Feb. 2.
1998
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze survived an ambush. The unidentified ambushers waged an attack against his mototcade with grenades and firearms. Speaking on television shortly after the assassination attempt, the former Soviet foreign minister urged his compatriots to remain calm as troops and armored vehicles moved onto the streets of the capital Tbilisi.
1999
The Senate began closed-door deliberations in President Clinton's impeachment trial, even though members from both parties acknowledged that the two-thirds margin for conviction could not be attained.
2000
Hackers stepped up their "denial of service" attacks on popular Internet sites, zeroing in on such targets as ETrade and ZDNet, inconveniencing millions of Web users and unnerving Wall Street.
2000
Boeing Company engineers and technical workers began a 40-day strike.
2005
Danish Elections have endorsed the current Centre-Right Coalition
2005
Brazil dismisses English language skills on Diplomatic career admission
2005
FARC surround Colombian town
2005
Star ousted from galaxy by black hole
2005
Baugur makes a US$1,8 billion bid for Somerfield
2005
Hamas dampens Palestinian-Israeli truce
2005
Carly Fiorina ousted from HP
2005
FBI Investigates 1/4 Million Poisoned Dollars
2005
Israel-Palestine ceasefire begins with violence
2006
George Deutsch resigns NASA post after Texas A&M refutes his resume
2006
US Senate offices evacuated
2006
Bird flu spreading through Indonesia and China
2006
Home Office release statistics showing drop in UK's violent crime
2006
Repeal of ministerial control of RU486 bill passes Australian Senate
2006
Berlin court repeals preliminary injunction against Wikimedia Germany
2006
Neil Entwistle, suspect in murder of wife and child, arrested in England
2006
700,000 march in Beirut; Hezbollah leader lambasts Bush and Rice
2006
ESPN trades Al Michaels for "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit"
2006
Sweden reaffirms aims for oil-free economy
2007
Ford Taurus to be revived
2007
China accused of torturing Chinese-Canadian prisoner
2007
New video game genre promises to 'boost psychological health'
2007
HIV vaccine trial set to begin in South Africa
2007
Washington State Initiative would require married couples to have kids
2007
Palestinians, Israelis clash in Jerusalem over construction at Temple Mount
2007
RCMP memorial for fallen Alberta mounties delayed
2007
Dutch parties agree on government formation
2007
Canada, U.S. officials to meet about border security
2007
New legislation may effectively ban iPod use in parts of New York state
2008
Space Shuttle Atlantis docks with International Space Station
2008
Quake strikes around Mexico-U.S. border
2008
American mystery writer Phyllis A. Whitney dies at age 104
2008
Scotland Yard says suicide bomb blast killed Bhutto, not bullet
2008
Huckabee wins Kansas and Louisiana
2008
Memorial service takes place for Heath Ledger
2008
Alleged kidney harvester arrested in Nepal
2008
London's Camden Market in flames
2009
Saudi most-wanted list includes former Guantanamo captives
2009
No injuries, deaths after car-bomb explodes in Madrid, Spain
2009
Airplane crash in Brazil kills 24
2009
US Court of Appeals reduces sentence for former Philippines officer in spy case
2009
More than 160 dead in bushfires in Australia
2010
British jazz musician John Dankworth dies aged 82
2010
Starr gets star; Ringo added to Hollywood Walk of Fame
2010
Michael Jackson doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter
2011
London and Toronto stock exchanges propose merger
2012
Rick Santorum sweeps three non-binding GOP presidential contests
2013
United States deportation policies challenged in Santa Clara County, California

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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