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Today in History

Martin Luther King Jr Day
1892
Singer and actor, Oliver Hardy born in Harlem, Georgia
1896
X-ray machine exhibited the first time
1904
Oscar nominated actor, Cary Grant born Archibald Alexander Leach in Bristol, England
1913
Actor, singer, comedian and dancer Danny Kaye born David Daniel Kominsky in Brooklyn, New York
1916
Meteorite strikes house in Stone County, Missouri
1922
US Marine, radio announcer and the actor who portrayed "Bozo the Clown", Bob Bell born in Flint, Michigan
1933
Inventor of the Dolby noise reduction system, and co-inventor of video tape recording, Ray Dolby born in Portland, Oregon
1955
Electrician, marketing executive, Academy Award winning actor and director, Kevin Costner born in Lynwood, California
1956
Founder of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, actress Sharon Mitchell born in New Jersey
1962
Social activist and actress, Alison Arngrim born in New York City
1977
Granville railway crash kills 83 in Australia
1990
Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry arrested for drug possession in FBI sting
1998
Matt Drudge breaks Clinton - Lewinsky affair story on The Drudge Report website
336
St. Mark becomes Pope 0888 King of the West Franks
1095
Death of St. Wulfstan
1256
Beheading of Marie, wife of King Louis II of Bavaria
1270
Death of St. Margaret of Hungary
1414
Death of John Stanley, first Lord of Manx
1486
Henry VII marries Elizabeth of York.
1514
Balboa returns to Darien from the Pacific
1535
Pizarro founds Lima, Peru
1574
Gilles Garnier burned as a werewolf in Dole, France
1610
Mansfredo and Fernando Donady denounced as being the Devil's bankers, arrested, tortured and burned
1701
Frederick the Third of Brandenburg was crowned as King Frederick the First of Prussia.
1778
English navigator Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands, which he dubbed the "Sandwich Islands."
1779
English physician Peter Roget, who compiled "Roget's Thesaurus," invented Slide Rule,and pocket chessboard born
1782
Lawyer and statesman Daniel Webster in Salisbury, New Hampshire. born
1799
American inventor and manufacturer Joseph Dixon born
1813
Joseph Glidden, inventor. (first comercial Barbed wire) born
1835
Cesar Cui was born in Vilnia, then part of Russia but today Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Cui was a member of the Mighty Five, or Mighty Handful, the group including Rimsky-Korsakov, Moussorgsky, Borodin, and Balakirev. born
1841
Emmanuel Chabrier was born in the Auvergne province of France. He knew Renoir, Mallarme and Faure. Manet died in his arms. He's remembered for his orchestral suite "Espana" and the popular "Joyeuse March." born
1854
Inventor Thomas A Watson assistant to Bell. born
1871
William of Prussia was crowned the first German emperor in a nice little ceremony at Versailles.
1882
Author A. A. (Alan Alexander) Milne "Winnie the Pooh" born
1892
Oliver Hardy, of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy. born
1904
Actor (Archibald Leach) Cary Grant (She Done Him Wrong, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace, To Catch a Thief, North by Northwest) born
1911
The first landing of an aircraft on a ship took place as pilot Eugene B. Ely brought his plane in for a safe landing on the deck of the USS "Pennsylvania" in San Francisco Harbor.
1912
Writer of short stories, novels, and travel books William Sansom born
1912
English explorer Robert F. Scott and his expedition reached the South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had gotten there first. (Scott and his party died during the return trip.)
1913
Comedian, dancer, singer, actor Danny Kaye (David Kominski) born
1919
The World War One Peace Congress opened in Versailles, France.
1929
"New York Daily Mirror" columnist, Walter Winchell made his debut on radio, broadcasting a blend of political commentary and celebrity gossip to `Mr. and Mrs. America.'
1932
Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Schmidt born
1933
Movie director John Boorman born
1936
Su-Lin arrived in San Francisco, California. She was the first giant panda to come to the U.S. from China. The bear was sold to the Brookfield Zoo for $8,750.
1939
Louis Armstrong and his orchestra recorded "Jeepers Creepers" on Decca Records.
1941
Singer David Ruffin lead singer for The Temptations born
1941
Singer-songwriter Bobby Goldsboro (Honey, See the Funny Little Clown, Summer: The First Time, Watching Scotty Grow) born
1942
General MacArthur repels the Japanese in Bataan.
1943
A wartime ban on the sale of pre-sliced bread in the US -- aimed at reducing bakeries' demand for metal replacement parts -- went into effect.
1943
During World War Two, the Soviets announced they'd broken the long Nazi siege (16 months) of Leningrad.
1944
Montreal Expos pitcher Carl Morton born
1945
Auto racer Jimmy Caruthers born
1948
Ted Mack came to television as "The Original Amateur Hour" debuted on the DuMont Network. The program continued on different networks for a 22-year run on the tube. Mack presented many young, up-and-coming stars who later claimed great fame in show biz. Teresa Brewer and Pat Boone are just a couple.
1948
Ghandi breaks a 121-hour fast after halting Moslem-Hindu riots.
1950
Football's Pat Sullivan Atlanta Falcons quarterback; Auburn Heisman Trophy winner born
1953
Comedian-singer-musician Brett Hudson born
1955
Actor-director Kevin Costner (Field of Dreams, JFK, The Bodyguard, The Untouchables, Waterworld, Dances with Wolves) born
1956
Country singer Mark Collie born
1962
The U.S. sprays foliage with pesticide in South Vietnam, in order to reveal the whereabouts of Vietcong guerrillas.
1966
Indira Gandhi, daughter of the late Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, became prime minister of India.
1967
Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the "Boston Strangler," was convicted in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses. (Sentenced to life, DeSalvo was killed by a fellow inmate in 1973.)
1970
Rapper DJ Quik born
1973
Singer Christian Burns (BBMak) born
1975
"The Jeffersons" appeared for the first time on CBS-TV. The show was a spin-off; based on the black family that moved next door to the bigoted Archie Bunker in "All in the Family."
1978
Center for Disease Control isolates the cause of Legionnaire's disease.
1986
Dionne Warwick's single for AID's research, "That's What Friends are For", became her second #1 song on the music charts.
1988
An airliner crashed in southwestern China, killing all 108 people on board, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
1989
The US Supreme Court upheld a tough, year-old sentencing system for people convicted of federal crimes, overruling more than 150 trial judges who had struck down the guidelines.
1990
Washington mayor Marion Barry was arrested in an FBI sting at a hotel in the capital. He was charged with buying and smoking crack cocaine. He was videotaped doing it. (he was later convicted of a misdemeanor).
1990
A jury in Los Angeles acquitted former preschool operators Raymond Buckey and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, of 52 child molestation charges.
1991
Financially strapped Eastern Airlines shut down after 62 years in business.
1991
Former New York Congressman Hamilton Fish Sr. died in Cold Spring, N.Y., at age 102.
1991
Three young people were crushed to death at an AC-DC concert in Salt Lake City.
1991
Iraq fired at least eight missiles at Israel in a bid to drag the Jewish state into the Gulf War the day after the allies had launched operation "Desert Storm."
1993
Allied warplanes attacked targets in "no fly" zones in southern and northern Iraq.
1993
The Martin Luther King Junior holiday was observed in all 50 states for the first time.
1994
Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh released his final report in which he said former President Reagan had acquiesced in a cover-up of the scandal, an accusation Reagan called "baseless."
1994
Retired Admiral Bobby Inman withdrew his nomination to be defense secretary, denouncing what he described as attacks on his character and reputation.
1995
The death toll continued to climb in Kobe, Japan, where a major earthquake had claimed more than six-thousand lives.
1995
South African President Nelson Mandela's cabinet denied amnesty sought by 3500 police officers in apartheid's waning days
1996
Greece's ruling socialist party elected Costas Simitis, an avid party reformer, to replace its ailing founder Andreas Papandreou as prime minister.
1996
Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced that 82 hostages were freed when his forces wiped out Chechen fighters in Pervomayskaya, ending a weeklong standoff; however, he said 18 other hostages were missing.
1996
Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson filed for divorce from Michael Jackson.
1997
Former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas, who rebounded from cancer to briefly become the Democratic front-runner for president in 1992, died in Boston of pneumonia at age 55.
1998
Pope John Paul the Second named 22 new cardinals, including Archbishop Francis Eugene George of Chicago and James Francis Stafford, the former archbishop of Denver.
1998
The motion picture "Titanic" won four Golden Globes, including best drama and best director for James Cameron. "Ally McBeal" beat out "Seinfeld" as the best TV comedy. Peter Fonda grabbed the best dramatic actor award for his portrayal of a bee keeper in "Ulee's Gold." British actress Judi Dench won the Golden Globe for best actress in a dramatic film for "Mrs. Brown."
1998
Former President Jimmy Carter asked Florida vegetable growers and farm workers to begin talks because of a hunger strike in protest against low wages. 3 workers reached the 30th day of their hunger strike, which they have vowed to continue until their deaths to prod central Florida growers to improve wages for tomato pickers.
1998
Jordan's Prime Minister Abdul Salam al-Majali condemned the killing of Iraq's charge d'affaires and 7 others in Amman by unknown assailants, saying it was an attack on his country.
1999
Defying global outrage over the massacre of 45 ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo, Serb forces pounded villages with artillery. The Yugoslav government also ordered the American head of the Kosovo peace mission to leave the country and barred a UN investigator looking into the massacre.
2000
In a blow to the Pentagon's push to develop a national missile defense by 2005, officials announced that a prototype missile interceptor had roared into space in search of a mock warhead over the Pacific, but had failed to hit it.
2005
Actress Virginia Mayo dies
2005
Romanian president to visit United Kingdom
2005
Romania plans to send more troops to Iraq
2005
Romanians raise 395,000 euro for tsunami victims
2005
Chile's candidate convinced of enough votes to become OAS chief
2005
Latham quits as Australian Labor leader
2005
White rhinos fly to safety
2005
Deadliest year ever for journalists?
2005
New tsunami could hit soon
2005
Archbishop kidnapped in Iraq released unharmed
2005
Airbus launches world's largest passenger plane
2005
Swedish doctor prosecuted for refusal to hand over patient data
2005
First ever corruption conviction of public official in Honduras
2006
Australian senate inquiry receives 4,000 submisions on abortion pill
2006
40 Asylum seekers missing off Torres Strait
2006
Missing asylum seekers found off Cape York
2006
Heavy selling leads to shortened session at Tokyo stock exchange
2006
Gore criticizes use of unwarranted domestic wiretaps
2006
Eurozone initiative to challenge US internet technology dominance
2006
Dogs rescue owner during diabetic attack
2006
Interview with Brazilian blogger Ricardo Serran Lobo
2006
UK Mobile Data Network Collapses
2006
New Zealand Prime Minister won't visit Waitangi marae
2006
Sharp declines in Intel, Yahoo lead tech stocks lower
2006
Bolivia’s Morales announces treason trial for army general
2006
"Fathers for Justice" is coming to an end
2006
Australians unite against whaling in Southern Ocean
2006
Gas leak disrupts London railway service
2006
Al Qaeda bomb maker reportedly killed in U.S. airstrike in Pakistan
2006
Young Iraqi teen death investigated as possible bird flu case
2006
At least eight people die in office fire in Vladivostok, Russia
2006
Polish journalist imprisoned for libelling municipal employee
2007
Peasant group to rap Philippine military for ‘electioneering’
2007
Apple Inc. doubled its profits
2007
New search engine to search inside Wikipedia
2007
EU report in favour of adopting open source software
2007
UK Celebrity Big Brother loses sponsorship over racism allegations
2007
Iran says it's ready for standoff over nuclear activities
2007
China shoots down weather satellite with ballistic missile
2007
World University Games opened in Turin
2007
Airline checks Dell and Apple computers for hazard
2007
Cambodian woman found after 19 years of jungle life
2008
Proposed Spanish national anthem lyrics withdrawn due to controversy
2008
Chess master Bobby Fischer dead at 64
2008
Data from 650,000 credit card holders lost in US
2008
Lordi added to billing of Serbia's Castle Festival
2009
Gunmen abduct 3 ICRC representatives in the Philippines
2009
UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashes at Texas A&M, kills one, injures four
2009
Queensland win W-League Grand Final
2009
Israel announces ceasefire in Gaza Strip; rocket fire into Israel continues
2009
Obama's Inaugural Celebration "We are One" attracts 400,000
2009
US Airways jet recovered from Hudson River
2010
Taliban launches series of attacks against Afghanistan capital
2010
Mongolia establishes moratorium on executions
2010
Senegal president offers free land to "repatriate" Haitians
2010
World's oldest dog dies at age 20
2010
Istanbul named European Capital of Culture for 2010
2010
Historic gym the site of Benet Academy, Illinois victory over Oswego
2010
Japan Airlines to file for bankruptcy
2010
At least ten dead after clashes in Nigeria
2010
US drone strike kills at least fifteen in Pakistan
2010
Ukraine presidential election headed for runoff
2011
Two children die after contracting H1N1 virus in Northern Ireland
2012
Salman Rushdie may not attend literature festival in India following widespread protests
2012
Meteorites in Morocco found to be from Mars
2012
India and China to develop friendly relations

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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