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Today in History

1645
Archbishop William Laud beheaded at Tower of London.
1901
First great Texas oil gusher discovered in Beaumont, Texas
1904
Singer, actor, dancer and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz Ray Bolger born in Dorchester, Massachusetts
1920
League of Nations ratifies Treaty of Versailles
1945
Grammy Award winning songwriter and singer, Rod Stewart born in London, England
1946
First United Nations General Assembly convenes in London
1949
Writer, feminist activist and actress, Linda Lovelace born Linda Sue Boreman in Bronx, New York
1952
Four-time Grammy Award winning songwriter, musician and singer, Pat Benatar born in Brooklyn, New York
1960
First CDC 1604 delivered to Navy
681
Death of St. Agatho, Pope
1072
Palermo, Sicily, taken by the Normans
1209
Death of St. William Bourges
1276
Death of Pope Gregory X
1295
Monks of Paisley, in Scotland, chartered
1430
Order of the Golden Fleece established by Phillip the Good, Duke of Burgundy
1615
Sir Thomas Roe, first English ambassador to India, received by Jahangir, Moghul Emperor
1645
Archbishop William Laud beheaded
1738
Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War fighter (lead the Green Mountain Boys) born
1776
"Common Sense" by political philosopher Thomas Paine was published. The pamphlet advocated independence from England.
1796
On this day in 1796, Beethoven and Haydn performed together at a concert in Vienna.
1840
The Penny Post mail system is started.
1861
Florida seceded from the Union.
1863
London's Metropolitan, the world's first underground passenger railway, opened to the public.
1870
John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.
1877
Frederick Gardner Cottrell, invented the elecrostatic precipitator, used for polution control and air ionizers. born
1883
Silent screen actor Francis X. Bushman (The Rosary, Neptune's Daughter, The Thirteenth Man, Dick Tracy, Hollywood Boulevard, David and Bathsheba, Sabrina, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini) born
1887
Poet Robinson Jeffers born
1901
The Automobile Club of America, installs signs on major highways.
1903
Argentina bans the importation of American beef, because of sanitation problems.
1904
Actor and dancer Ray Bolger (The Wizard of Oz) born
1907
Two companies are convicted of holding an illegal monopoly on licorice paste, which is widely used as flavoring in cigars, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco.
1908
Actor Paul Henreid (The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Deep in My Heart, Casablanca) born
1910
Wilbur Wright appeals for tighter patent laws.
1911
Major Jimmie Erickson shot the first photograph from an airplane whiles flying over San Diego, California.
1912
The World's first flying-boat airplane, designed by Glenn Curtiss, makes its maiden flight at Hammondsport.
1918
In Washington, the House passes suffrage (274-136)
1920
The League of Nations came into being as the Treaty of Versailles went into effect. The United States did NOT join the League.
1925
Jazz musician Max Roach born
1927
Singer Johnnie Ray (Cry, Please, Mr. Sun, The Little White Cloud That Cried, Walkin' My Baby Back Home, Just Walking in the Rain) born
1927
Singer Gisele (LaFleche) MacKenzie born
1928
Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak ( Where the Wild Things Are) born
1928
The Soviet Union ordered the exile of Leon Trotsky.
1931
Nicholas Slominsky conducted "Three Places in New England" by Charles Ives. The Boston premiere featured Slominsky conducting the polyrhythmic parts with each hand defining a different beat.
1935
Opera singer Sherrill Milnes born
1935
Rock singer-musician Ronnie Hawkins born
1938
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie McCovey born
1939
Singer Sal Mineo born
1939
U.S. Decathlon Olympic Gold Medalist 1968 Bill Toomey born
1939
Singer Scott McKenzie born
1940
Nazi planes attack 12 ships off the British coast; three sink and 35 are dead.
1942
Movie director Walter Hill ("48 Hours") born
1943
Singer and songwriter Jim Croce ( You Don't Mess Around with Jim, Time in a Bottle, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, I've Got a Name born
1943
President Franklin D. Roosevelt sailed from Miami, Florida to Trinidad to become the first American President to visit a foreign country during wartime.
1944
Singer Frank Sinatra Junior born
1945
Singer Rod Stewart born
1946
The first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly was held in London.
1947
The musical fantasy "Finian's Rainbow," with music by Burton Lane and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, opened on Broadway.
1948
Rock singer-musician Donald Fagen (Steely Dan) born
1949
Boxer George Foreman (oldest heavyweight champion at age 45 -- 11/5/94) born
1949
The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) announced a new 7-inch, 45 rpm phonograph record. Soon, the 45, the record with the big hole in the middle, would change the pop music business.
1951
Donald Howard Rogers piloted the first passenger jet on a trip from Chicago to New York City. He got to the Big Apple in one hour and 42 minutes.
1953
Singer Pat Benatar born
1953
Auto racer Bobby Raha born
1955
Rock musician Michel Schenker (The Scorpions) born
1956
Elvis Presley recorded his first tunes as an RCA Victor artist. Recording in Nashville, Elvis sang "Heartbreak Hotel", "I Was the One", "I'm Counting On You", "I Got a Woman" and "Money Honey."
1957
Harold Macmillan became prime minister of Britain, following the resignation of Anthony Eden.
1958
Singer Shawn Colvin born
1959
Rock singer-musician Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets) born
1961
Actor Evan Handler born
1964
Rock singer Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies) born
1964
Panama breaks ties with the U.S. and demands revision of canal treaty.
1967
Actress Trini Alvarado (The Frighteners, Little Women, Stella, The Chair, Mrs. Soffel, Rich Kids) born
1967
Massachusetts Republican Edward W. Brooke, the first black elected to the U-S Senate by popular vote, took his seat.
1969
The final issue of "The Saturday Evening Post" appeared after 147 years of publication.
1978
The Soviet Union launched two cosmonauts aboard a "Soyuz" capsule for a rendezvous with the "Salyut Six" space laboratory.
1979
Rapper Chris Smith (Kris Kross) born
1982
Actor Josh Ryan Evans born
1984
The U.S. and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations for the first time in 117 years.
1984
The premiere recording of Frank Zappa's classical composition "The Perfect Stranger" was made by the Ensemble InterContemporain under the direction of Pierre Boulez. He claimed the composition was about a vacuum cleaner salesman visiting a housewife, as viewed by the dog.
1984
Singer, Cyndi Lauper became the first female recording artist since Bobbie Gentry to be nominated for five Grammy Awards.
1987
Saying he felt "just fine" after recent surgery, President Ronald Reagan warned Congress in his weekly radio address that he was ready to do battle over his new trillion-dollar budget.
1988
Soviet media reported on an interview given to Chinese journalists by Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who praised the state of Sino-Soviet relations and called for a summit. (However, the Beijing government turned aside the summit call, saying Soviet-backed Vietnamese forces first had to withdraw from Cambodia.)
1989
Cuba began withdrawing its troops from Angola, more than 13 years after its first contingents arrived.
1990
Chinese Premier Li Peng lifted Beijing's seven-month-old martial law, and said that by crushing pro-democracy protests, the army had saved China from "the abyss of misery."
1991
Five days before a UN deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, peace efforts intensified, with UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar setting off on a mission aimed at averting war.
1992
President George Bush returned home from his grueling 12-day journey to Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, boasting of "dramatic progress" on trade issues.
1993
An unidentified 62-year-old man at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center underwent the world's second baboon liver transplant; however, the man died less than a month later without regaining full consciousness.
1994
On the first day of a two-day NATO summit in Belgium, leaders signed a document inviting nations of the former Warsaw Pact to join in a "partnership for peace."
1994
Talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed in Taba, Egypt.
1994
In Manassas, Virginia, Lorena Bobbitt went on trial, charged with malicious wounding of her husband, John (she was acquitted by reason of temporary insanity).
1995
Russia announced a 48-hour truce in breakaway Chechnya, but the cease-fire fell apart after only a few hours
1995
President Clinton declared flood-stricken areas of California major disaster areas.
1996
Russian troops allowed a convoy of Chechen rebels and 160 hostages to head for Chechnya, then surrounded them in the village of Pervomayskaya. (After a five-day standoff, Russian troops launched a massive military assault that resulted in the deaths of most of the rebels and some of the hostages.)
1997
Dallas police ended their investigation into Dallas Cowboys stars Erik Williams and Michael Irvin, saying a woman's claim that Williams raped her while Irvin held a gun to her head was false.
1998
Michelle Kwan won the ladies' US Figure Skating Championship in Philadelphia; Tara Lipinski came in second and Nicole Bobek, third.
1998
In his weekly radio address, President Clinton denounced Chicago physicist Richard Seed's expressed desire to clone humans, calling it "morally unacceptable."
1999
Republicans and Democrats disagreed over whether to call witnesses in President Clinton's impeachment trial, with Republicans pressing to hear testimony from Monica Lewinsky and others, and Democrats saying such testimony could unnecessarily prolong the proceedings.
2000
America Online announced it was buying Time Warner for $162 billion.
2000
Peace talks between Israel and Syria recessed in West Virginia without agreement on new borders or any other major elements of a land-for-peace treaty.
2002
The White House revealed that Enron Corporation had sought the administration's help shortly before collapsing with the life savings of many workers.
2002
Marines began flying hundreds of al-Qaida prisoners in Afghanistan to a U.S. base on Cuba.
2005
Life discovered in extreme environment
2005
Guatemala nominates Rigoberta Menchú for OAS Secretary General
2005
Abbas wins election, offers Israel 'hand of peace'
2005
CBS fires four in fake Bush story fallout
2005
Radiobras Brazilian news agency moved to Free Software
2005
Wells Fargo and Barclay's rumoured to be in merger talks
2005
UK New Year's Day murder suspect jumps from seventh floor window
2006
Cyclone Clare batters Western Australia
2006
"Shock jock" Howard Stern makes his satellite radio debut
2006
Annoying someone online becomes federal crime
2006
Iran resumes nuclear research
2006
FL professor & wife accused of spying for Cuba
2006
Reporter abducted in Baghdad Saturday morning
2006
Story of mouse burning down house proven false
2006
4 injured when bus overturns in Charlotte, NC
2006
Florida bank stand-off ends with hostages rescued
2006
Murdoch's News Corp. Ends Automated Censorship of MySpace
2007
Apple introduces iPhone and Apple TV
2007
Nancy Pelosi (Democrat, 8th district Califorinia and 66-year-old grandmother) becomes the first woman elected speaker of the House of Representatives
2007
Iranian news agency reports UFO has crashed in Kerman province
2007
Teamsters Union comments on Tigger incident
2007
Teamsters site suggests Tigger pardoned
2007
Third Canadian found dead in Mexico
2007
Air New Zealand movie censored the word God
2007
Sudan adopts new currency
2007
Gun scare at Concordia University, Montreal
2008
Alabama father throws children in river
2008
British troops may have received contaminated blood from American donors
2008
Moderate earthquake strikes off the Oregon coast, US
2008
Hollywood "Mayor" Johnny Grant dead at 84
2008
At least 24 killed in suicide bombing in Pakistan
2009
Major merger among American LGBT media outlets announced
2009
MV Sirius Star oil tanker released by pirates
2009
Mayor of Baltimore indicted on theft, perjury
2009
Illinois House impeaches Blagojevich
2009
Strongest earthquake in 150 years hits Costa Rica
2009
Magazine closures, cuts, for January 5-9, 2009
2009
Canadian trio claim South Pole record for trans-Antarctic trip
2010
Two Palestinians reportedly shot dead by Israeli troops
2010
China overtakes Germany as world's biggest exporter
2010
Two charged in Heathrow bomb threat
2010
U.S. Vice President Biden's mother dies, aged 92
2010
US warns of attacks on Sudan-Uganda flights
2010
6.5 magnitude earthquake hits off California coast
2010
Two dead after building collapse in Kenya
2010
Gordon Brown says the UK won't run out of gas
2010
Adult H1N1 swine flu death takes Northern Ireland death toll to seventeen
2010
Explosion in Afghanistan kills two
2010
Two suspected rebels killed in gunfight with authorities in Kashmir
2010
Chevron shuts down some oil production in Nigeria following attack
2011
Oldest ex-Major League Baseball player, Billy Werber dies at age 100
2012
Rapper Snoop Dogg arrested on cannabis charges
2013
Needed rains blanket much of Texas, more expected, in early 2013

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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