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Today in History

1757
UK captures Calcutta, India
1793
Russia and Prussia partition Poland
1904
Silent film actress and fan dancer, Sally Rand born Harriet Helen Gould Beck in Hickory County, Missouri
1920
Legendary Hugo Award winning science fiction author, Isaac Asimov born in Petrovichi, Russia
1920
6,000 US citizens are arrested and held without trial during one of the Palmer raids
1971
1989 Kentucky Miss Basketball and 1991 NCAA champion, Lisa Harrison born in Louisville, Kentucky
1971
Actress, songwriter and singer, Renee Elise Goldsberry born in San Jose, California
1999
US blizzard causes at least 68 deaths
2006
Sago Mine disaster kills 12
18
Death of Ovid
394
Death of St Macarius
1119
Death of Pope Gelasius II
1169
Death of Bertrand de Blanquefort, 6th Master of the Templars
1322
Death of King Phillip V, "The Tall" of France
1403
John Bessarion, Trebizond, Byzantine humanist, theologian, cardinal born
1492
The leader of the last Arab stronghold in Spain surrendered to Spanish forces loyal to King Ferdinand the Second and Queen Isabella the First.
1611
First trial of Countess Elizabeth Bathory Caution - the material on the page linked to Elizabeth Bathory is not suitable for children but it is information that parents should make children aware of.
1631
England and Spain sign a treaty against the Dutch
1647
Virginia patriot Nathaniel Bacon leader of Bacon's Rebellion, Va. (1676) born
1727
British Gen. James Wolfe, hero of the battle of Quebec born
1752
Philip Freneau (Poet of the American Revolution Burying Ground) born
1758
French begin bombardment of Madras, India.
1788
Georgia ratified the Constitution, the fourth of the original 13 colonies to do so, and was admitted to the union.
1842
The first wire suspension bridge was opened to traffic in Fairmount, Pennsylvania.
1866
Gilbert Murray, Australian born scholar who became the chairman of the League of Nations, 1923 through 1928. born
1872
Brigham Young, the 71-year-old leader of the Mormon Church was arrested on a charge of bigamy. He had 25 wives.
1874
Anton Bruckner started work on his Fourth Symphony, just two days after completing his Third. The Bruckner Fourth is the "Romantic," perhaps the most frequently performed of the Bruckner symphonies because it goes over well with listeners who are not diehard Bruckner fans.
1893
The first commemorative postage stamps were issued.
1900
The Chicago Canal opens.
1900
Secretary of State John Hay announced the "Open Door Policy" to facilitate trade with China.
1903
President Theodore Roosevelt closes a post office in Indianola, Mississippi for refusing to hire a black postmistress.
1904
Fan dancer Sally Rand born
1904
U.S. Marines are sent to Santo Domingo to aid the government against rebel forces.
1904
Singer James Melton (La Traviata) born
1913
Actress Anna Lee ("General Hospital") born
1917
Actress and dancer Vera (Eva Hartwig) Zorina (Star-Spangled Rhythm) born
1920
Author Isaac Asimov (writer of over 300 books including Foundation and I, Robot) born
1921
The first religious broadcast on radio was heard today, as Dr. E.J. Van Etten of Calvary Episcopal Church preached on KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh.
1929
The United States and Canada reached agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls.
1930
President Hoover calls his congressional leaders to discuss the public works program.
1930
Singer Julius LaRosa (Anywhere I Wander, Eh Cumpari) born
1935
Bruno Hauptmann went on trial in Flemington, New Jersey, on charges of kidnapping and murdering the infant son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was found guilty, and executed.)
1936
Singer-songwriter Roger Miller (Invitation to the Blues, You Don't Want My Love; singer: Dang Me, King of the Road, Chug-a-Lug) born
1937
Britain and Italy sign the Mediterranean Peace Pact.
1938
Chaing Kai-shek gives up Chinese premiership to H.H. Kung.
1939
Former television evangelist Jim Bakker born
1941
The Andrews Sisters recorded "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" on Decca Records
1942
Japanese forces occupied Manila, forcing U.S. and Philippine forces under Gen. Douglas MacArthur to withdraw to the Bataan peninsula.
1952
Actress Wendy Phillips born
1953
Robert Taft of Ohio is elected as U.S. Senate Republican leader.
1958
Scandal inflamed Rome when diva Maria Callas declared that she had inflamed vocal cords and canceled a performance of "Norma" after singing one act. She had been seen partying the previous night. The Rome opera barred her from returning. She sued for damages and won.
1959
The Soviet Union launched Lunik-1, the first unmanned spacecraft to travel to the moon.
1960
Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
1961
Actress Gabrielle Carteris born
1965
The New York Jets signed University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath for a reported $400,000.
1967
Actress Tia Carrere born
1968
Actor Cuba Gooding Junior born
1969
Model Christy Turlington ("Cybill") born
1971
Actor Taye Diggs born
1973
U.S. admits the accidental bombing of a Hanoi hospital.
1974
President Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles-an-hour (however, federal speed limits were abolished in 1995).
1980
President Carter asks the Senate to delay the arms treaty ratification in response to Soviet action in Afghanistan.
1983
Actress Kate Bosworth born
1983
The musical play "Annie," based on the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip, closed on Broadway after a run of 2,377 performances.
1987
President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, headed back to Washington after a New Year's holiday in California. Responding to a reporter's shouted question, the president predicted that 1987 would be "better than '86."
1988
An Ashland Oil Company tank collapsed in West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, sending more than 700-thousand gallons of diesel oil into the Monongahela River.
1988
President Reagan and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney signed an agreement to lift trade restrictions between their countries.
1989
PTL founders Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker returned to the television pulpit for the first time in two years, broadcasting from a borrowed house in Pineville, North Carolina.
1990
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high, ending the day above 2800 for the first time, at 2800.15.
1991
Sharon Pratt Dixon was sworn in as mayor of Washington DC, becoming the first black woman to head a city of Washington's size and prominence.
1991
European, Soviet and Arab officials pushed for talks to avert war with Iraq.
1992
Military commanders in Croatia agreed to a cease-fire accord, the 15th attempt at a truce. Russian shoppers experienced their first day of "sticker shock" after President Boris Yeltsin lifted price controls to stimulate production.
1993
President Bush arrived in Moscow to sign a strategic arms treaty with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who hailed the agreement as "our joint gift to the people of the Earth." Leaders of the three warring ethnic groups in Bosnia-Herzegovina met face-to-face in Geneva.
1994
The new Republican mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani, delivered his inaugural address in which he called for unity while promising to crack down on crime and tackle the city's budget problems.
1995
Chechen defenders drove Russian troops out of the capital of Grozny.
1995
Marion Barry was inaugurated as mayor of Washington DC, four years after leaving the office in disgrace to serve a six-month sentence for misdemeanor drug possession.
1996
Former Interior Secretary James Watt pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of attempting to sway a grand jury investigating 1980s influence-peddling at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Watt was later fined and sentenced to five years' probation.)
1996
AT&T announced it would eliminate 40,000 jobs, mostly through layoffs.
1997
Rain and melting snow swamped the West, trapping visitors in Yosemite National Park, closing casinos in Reno, Nevada, and forcing the evacuation of 50,000 Californians.
1998
The defense in the Terry Nichols trial rested its case in the penalty phase after calling nine witnesses who pleaded for his life. (Nichols had already been convicted of conspiracy, which carried a potential death sentence, and involuntary manslaughter for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.)
1998
Russia began circulating new rubles in effort to keep inflation in check and promote confidence.
1999
A UN-chartered cargo plane carrying nine people was downed in Angola's central highland war zone; there were no survivors.
2000
Retired Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Junior, known early in his career for modernizing the Navy and later for ordering the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam, died in Durham, North Carolina, at age 79.
2005
Idi Amin offered to act as peacemaker in NI
2006
Rape and murder suspects in Ciudad Juárez arrested
2006
New Zealand's South Island and southern North Island struck by storms
2006
Oklahoma City suburbs on fire
2006
Redskins qualify for playoffs with win in Philadelphia
2006
12 hurt in San Luis de La Balsa tourist bus accident
2006
Steelers defeat Lions to advance to NFL playoffs
2006
Coal miners trapped in West Virginia mine
2006
PepsiCo buys Poland's Star Foods
2006
Microsoft Windows metafiles are a vector for computer viruses
2006
Broadway Market Café occupied against gentrification
2006
Colombia signs FTA with Mercosur
2006
New South Wales firefighters continue to battle fires, threat eases
2006
Row over Australian flag at Bondi Pavilion
2006
Evgeny Adamov will be extradited to Russia
2006
British MP calls for ban on Aspartame
2006
Bolivian President-Elect takes 50% pay cut to aid social programs
2006
Rose Parade Continues Amidst Downpour
2006
OCTranspo's "new year" of efficiencies?
2007
21-year-old man sexually assaulted in New Zealand
2007
Mob protests Saddam Hussein's execution
2007
Qatari proxy IP address temporarily blocked on Wikipedia
2007
Bush plans to roll out new Iraq strategy this week
2007
Iraqi government to investigate Saddam video
2007
Raymond van Barneveld wins PDC World Darts Championship
2007
United Airlines employees spot UFO at Chicago's O'Hare Airport
2007
Calgary bars resist smoking ban
2007
Lebanon delays presidential vote
2007
Georgia Aquarium beluga whale euthanized
2007
Report: U.S. tried to delay Hussein's execution
2008
Mob attack on church in Kenya leaves 30 dead
2008
Benazir Bhutto receives Irish peace prize
2008
Elections in Pakistan delayed until February 18
2008
Arctic air brings coldest night for Florida in five years
2008
Delay expected for Pakistani elections
2008
Police station in Algeria hit by bombing
2009
Maria de Jesus, the world's oldest person, dies at age 115
2009
NASA issues survivability report on Columbia crash
2010
At least 75 dead following suicide bombing in Pakistan; scores more wounded
2010
China to surpass Japan to become second largest economy
2010
Russia raises minimum vodka prices
2010
North Korea seeks diplomatic relations with the US
2010
Somali man attempts failed attack on controversial cartoonist
2010
Illinois high school girls basketball: Immaculate Conception defeats Wheaton Academy, wins Lisle tournament
2010
Remains of 1912 expedition plane found in Antarctica
2010
Afghanistan's parliament rejects Karzai's cabinet nominations
2011
7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes Araucanía, Chile; no tsunami warning
2011
Spanish smoking ban takes effect in bars and restaurants
2013
New video games rating R18+ becomes available in Australia

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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