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Today in History

1610
Galileo Galilei discovers Callisto
1832
Teacher, poet and prolific author, Horatio Alger, Jr born in Chelsea, Massachusetts
1864
Nobel prize winning physicist whose work laid the foundations for mass spectroscopy, Wilhelm Wien born in Fischhausen, East Prussia
1915
29,800 killed by earthquake in Italy
1930
Singer and BMI Award winning songwriter, Liz Anderson born in Roseau, Minnesota
1942
Actress, comedienne, and the 7th Python, Carol Cleveland born in London, England
1943
Film, TV and voice actor, Richard Moll born in Pasadena, California
1957
Wham-O produces first Frisbee
1961
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actress, Julia Louis-Dreyfus born in New York City
1964
Hollywood Film Festival Award winning actress, Penelope Ann Miller born in Los Angeles, California
1968
Social activist and Baywatch actress, Traci Bingham born in Cambridge, Massachusetts
1968
Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison
1972
Miss Universe at age 5 (the petite division) and Baywatch actress, Nicole Eggert born in Glendale, California
1973
Eric Clapton plays Rainbow Concert in London
1977
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and actor, Orlando Bloom born in Canterbury, England
533
Death of St. Remi, Apostle of France
1128
Templars receive their Rule, at the Council of Troyes
1149
Death of Robert de Craon, 2nd Master of the Templars
1327
Edward III proclaimed King of England
1330
Death of Frederick III, King of Germany
1381
St. Colette, abbess, reformer of the Poor Clares born
1397
John of Gaunt marries Katherine Rouet.
1497
Death of St. Veronica
1522
Marriage of Louis II, King of Bohemia and Hungary, to Maria of Austria
1599
Edmund Spenser, poet (The Faerie Queene), dies at about 46
1610
Galileo discovers Callisto, 4th satellite of Jupiter
1625
Death of Jan Bruegel, painter
1628
French fairy tale writer Charles Perrault, author of the Mother Goose stories. (some sources January 12) born
1649
Fall of the Bastille to the Fronde
1674
Prosper Jolyot de Crbillon, pre, French tragic dramatist born
1794
President Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the union.
1808
Salmon P. Chase, cabinet member, 6th Chief Justice. born
1832
(or 1834) Unitarian minister Horatio Alger, author of rags-to-riches stories born
1854
Anthony Faas of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, patented the accordion.
1862
President Lincoln names Edwin M. Stanton Secretary of War. Stanton was a major player in the Civil War.
1864
Composer Stephen Foster ("My Old Kentucky Home") died in a New York hospital.
1882
In Palermo, Wagner finished composing Parcifal.
1884
Singer Sophie (Abuza) Tucker ('Last of the Red Hot Mamas') born
1885
Alfred Fuller, the original Fuller Brush Man born
1898
Emile Zola's famous defense of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, "J'accuse,"was published in Paris.
1903
A tidal wave kills upwards of 1,000 Tuamotu natives in the South Sea Islands.
1904
English photographer Cecil Beaton born
1906
Hugh Gernsback of the Electro Importing Company advertised radio receivers for sale for the low, low price of just $7.50 in "Scientific American" magazine. This was the first ad for selling the invention, it guaranteed reception of about one mile.
1908
WWII U.S. Army General Earle Wheeler born
1909
Musician Butter (Quentin) Jackson (Trombonist with Duke Ellington's orchestra) born
1913
Actor Jeff Morrow (The Robe; The Creature Walks Among Us, The Giant Claw; The Story of Ruth, Octaman) born
1919
Author and show-biz columnist Army (Armand) Archerd born
1919
California votes to ratify the Prohibition amendment.
1919
Actor Robert (Modini) Stack (The Untouchables, Written on the Wind, Strike Force, Airplane, Unsolved Mysteries) born
1920
NY Times Editorial says rockets can never fly.
1922
Hollywood columnist Army Archerd born
1923
The Senate Immigration Committee amends laws to admit 25,000 Armenian orphans.
1926
Actress-singer-dancer Gwen Verdon (Damn Yankees, Can-Can, High Button Shoes; film: Damn Yankees, Cocoon) born
1927
A woman takes a seat on the NY Stock Exchange breaking the all-male tradition.
1930
Country singer Liz Anderson (Pick of the Week, [My Friends are Gonna Be] Strangers, Ride, Ride, Ride) born
1930
Actress Frances Sternhagen born
1931
The Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey is named the George Washington Memorial Bridge.
1931
Actor-director Charles Nelson Reilly (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Cannonball Run) born
1934
Comedian Rip Taylor born
1937
The U.S. bars Americans from serving in the Spanish War.
1938
Maurice Martenot patented an electronic keyboard and named it after himself. The "Ondes Martenot" would be scored in works by several French composers including Honnegger and Milhaud.
1938
Singer Allan Jones recorded "The Donkey Serenade" for Victor Records. The song became his signature song. Allan sang and acted in several Marx Brothers films: "A Night at the Opera", "A Day at the Races"; but the film that catapulted him to stardom was the operetta, "Firefly" with Jeanette MacDonald.
1938
Actor Billy Gray (On Moonlight Bay, Two for the Seesaw) born
1941
Novelist James Joyce died in Zurich, Switzerland at age 58.
1942
Henry Ford patented the plastic automobile which allowed for a 30% decrease in car weight.
1943
Actor Richard Moll born
1945
American First Army enters Houffalize in the heart of the Belgian Bulge.
1945
Prokofiev's 5th Symphony premiered in Moscow. It was to become the most popular and critically acclaimed of his full-length symphonies. The Fifth has some of the best examples of Prokofiev's motoric rhythm and pugent harmony.
1954
Rock musician Trevor Rabin (Yes) born
1955
Rhythm-and-blues musician Fred White born
1955
Chase National and the Bank of Manhattan agree to merge resulting in the second largest U.S. bank.
1957
Elvis Presley recorded "All Shook Up" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" for Victor Records. "All Shook Up" became Elvis' ninth consecutive gold record.
1958
Linus Pauling presents a petition of 9,000 scientists asking the UN to halt nuclear tests.
1960
Actor Kevin Anderson born
1961
Rock singer Graham "Suggs" McPherson (Madness) born
1961
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus born
1962
Comedian Ernie Kovacs died in a car crash in west Los Angeles.
1962
Country singer Trace Adkins born
1964
Actress Penelope Ann Miller born
1966
Elizabeth Montgomery's character, Samantha, on "Bewitched" had a baby this day. Tabitha was the name given to the daughter.
1966
Actor Patrick Dempsey born
1966
Robert C. Weaver became the first black Cabinet member as he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Johnson.
1970
Actor Keith Coogan born
1971
Apollo 14 launched
1978
Former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey died in Waverly, Minnesota, at age 66.
1980
U.S. offers Pakistan two-year aid plan to counter the Soviet threat in Afghanistan.
1982
An Air Florida 737 crashed into Washington DC's 14th Street Bridge after takeoff and fell into the Potomac River, killing 78 people.
1987
Seven top New York Mafia bosses were sentenced to 100 years in prison each, including the heads of the Genovese, Colombo and Lucchese crime families.
1987
West German police arrested Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a suspect in the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner.
1987
Gunmen in Lebanon abducted French reporter Roger Auque (he was released along with another hostage, Jean-Louis Normandin, the following November).
1988
The Supreme Court ruled, five-to-three, that public school officials had broad powers to censor school newspapers, school plays and other "school-sponsored expressive activities."
1989
New York City subway gunman Bernhard H. Goetz was sentenced to one year in prison for possessing an unlicensed gun that he used to shoot four youths he said were about to rob him. (He was freed the following September.)
1990
L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the nation's first elected black governor as he took the oath of office in Richmond.
1991
A Soviet crackdown in the Baltics had Soviet troops storming Lithuania's radio-television center . The assault saw 15 killed and 140 injured.
1991
UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar met with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in a bid to avoid war in the Persian Gulf.
1991
Forty-two people were killed in a brawl and stampede during a soccer match in Johannesburg, South Africa.
1992
Japan apologized for forcing tens of thousands of Korean women to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War Two.
1992
Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian negotiators began talks in Washington on Palestinian autonomy.
1993
President Bush bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on former President Reagan.
1993
The space shuttle "Endeavour" blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
1993
American and allied warplanes raided southern Iraq. Marine Private First Class Domingo Arroyo became the first US serviceman to be killed in Somalia.
1994
President Clinton held talks in Moscow with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
1994
Authorities in Portland, Oregon, arrested Shawn Eckardt, a bodyguard for figure skater Tonya Harding, and Derrick Smith in connection with the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
1995
Italy named Treasury Minister Lamberto Dini its new prime minister.
1995
Authorities in the Philippines said they had unearthed a conspiracy by militant Muslims to assassinate Pope John Paul the Second during his visit.
1996
President Clinton paid a front-line visit to American forces in Bosnia, praising the troops as "warriors for peace."
1996
Nine Republican presidential hopefuls debated in Des Moines, Iowa, where front-runner Bob Dole and flat-tax champion Steve Forbes found themselves facing repeated, bristling criticism.
1997
Seven black soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for World War Two valor; the lone survivor of the group, former Lieutenant Vernon Baker, received his medal from President Clinton at the White House.
1997
The Supreme Court aggressively questioned both sides in a battle over whether a sexual-harassment lawsuit should be allowed to proceed against President Clinton while he was in office. (The following May, the justices ruled unanimously that it could.)
1998
Scott Ritter, the American head of a UN arms team who Iraq has accused of spying, said Iraqi officials had prevented his group from carrying out its inspections for a second successive day. He said Iraqi monitors had failed to show up at UN headquarters, despite being told his team would be waiting for them at 9 a.m. to begin work. Without the Iraqi officials, it cannot enter the sites it wants to inspect.
1998
After a flawless trip into orbit around the moon, the U.S. space probe Lunar Prospector started scouring the lunar surface for possible reserves of water which could prove invaluable for any future human moon colonies. The Prospector probe was launched six days earlier took four and a half days to travel close to the moon.
1998
The National Football League completed a blockbuster $9.2 billion deal with the Walt Disney Company, which got to keep "Monday Night Football" for ABC and won the entire Sunday night cable package for ESPN.
1998
Three masked men robbed two Brink's guards of $1.17 million inside New York's World Trade Center. (The robbers were dubbed the blundering bandits after authorities said they removed their masks while under video surveillance; three suspects were arrested.)
1999
President Clinton's legal team dispatched a formal trial brief to the Senate, arguing that neither "fact or law" warranted his removal from office; House officials sent the Senate all public evidence in the case.
1999
Michael Jordan announced his retirement from the Chicago Bulls.
2000
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates stepped aside as chief executive and promoted company president Steve Ballmer to the position.
2002
President Bush fainted briefly after choking on a pretzel while watching a football game.
2002
The off-Broadway musical "The Fantasticks" was performed for the last time, ending a run of nearly 42 years and 17,162 shows.
2002
Christian Longo, wanted on charges of killing his wife and three children and dumping their bodies into coastal waters off Oregon, was arrested in Mexico.
2005
Jefferson Airplane drummer dies at 66
2005
Bush pressured Israel to seize Chinese aircraft
2005
Mexican candidate confident of winning OAS leadership race
2005
Beijing plans $242B freeway link to Taiwan
2005
Third in line to British throne dresses as Nazi
2005
Suicide attack at Karni crossing between Gaza Strip, Israel
2005
Huygens moon probe to land on Titan
2005
Honduras deploys 8,000 troops to ensure peaceful elections
2005
Thatcher Pleads Guilty in Coup Plot
2005
Brazilian deputies meet Ramallah Abbas
2005
US government stops looking for weapons of mass destruction
2006
Turkish government accused of being too slow to respond to bird flu
2006
Distributed computing to get "interstellar project"
2006
Turkish teens died of mutated strain of bird flu
2006
Iran nuclear talks have stalled
2006
Homeland Security helps secure open-source code
2006
German intelligence participated in U.S. bombing of Iraq, media alleges
2006
Thai civil rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaichit presumed dead
2006
John Kitzhaber not running for governor of Oregon
2006
Generic Tamiflu in India
2006
Australia accused of bullying East Timor over oil field treaty
2006
"Genius" award recipient and other luminaries campaigning for worldwide renunciation of war
2007
Tsunami warning issued after earthquake near Japan
2007
Mine collapses in West Virginia; 2 reported dead
2007
Western New York prepares for ice storm
2007
Ship accident in Norwegian sea causes environmental catastrophe
2007
Bloggers cite rumors of US "secret war" with Iran and Syria
2007
Japanese court plans to seize control of 2channel
2008
Costello sparks new Liberal leadership speculation
2008
San Diego Chargers upset Indianapolis Colts
2008
2007 Darwin Award winners announced
2008
Australian government to tackle banks on mortgages
2008
Interest rate increases prompt criticism of new Australian treasurer
2008
Hydrogen gas cloud to smash into Milky Way galaxy
2008
Bodies of 2 children allegedly thrown from bridge are found
2008
8 dead following road collision in New Brunswick, Canada
2008
Bush warns gulf States of Iran 'threat'
2009
Heavy fighting continues in the Gaza Strip
2009
Israel bans two Arab political parties
2009
Human Rights Watch: Israel used white phosphorus on densely populated areas in Gaza
2009
US financier Madoff to remain free on bail
2010
European court in Strasbourg rules UK's Terrorism Act in breach of human rights law
2010
Alleged drug kingpin arrested in Mexico
2010
US TV host Conan O'Brien rejects NBC's offer to switch his show's time slot
2010
Indian hockey players return to training camp after strike
2010
Details emerge in Haiti earthquake; thousands feared dead
2010
Local al-Qaida leader killed in eastern Yemen
2010
Google may shut down Chinese operations due to censorship and cyber attacks
2010
George Garanian, Russian Armenian jazz band leader, dies at age 75
2010
UK to ban Islamist group
2011
At least 443 dead after flooding in Brazil
2011
Burma introduces military draft
2011
Tucson gunman appears in court for Giffords shooting
2011
Mayor declares weather emergency in New York City
2011
Release of 'Verizon iPhone' set for early February
2011
US President Barack Obama speaks at memorial for Arizona shooting victims
2012
Observing the Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world
2013
Fires burn across eastern Australia amid summer heatwave
2013
FAA orders review of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following week of incidents

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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