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Today in History

1820
St. Agnes Eve (Ah, bitter chill it was...)
1898
Beloved Oscar winning actor and comedian, George Burns was born in New York City and lived 100 years
1899
Ceramic industrial artist, Clarice Cliff born in Stoke-on-Trent, England
1920
Dr McCoy of Star Trek fame, actor Deforest Kelley born in Toccoa, Georgia
1920
American Civil Liberties Union founded
1926
Academy Award winning actress, Patricia Neal born in Packard, Kentucky
1930
Fighter pilot, astronaut and lunar explorer, Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr born in Montclair, New Jersey
1956
Author, political commentator, and stand-up comedian, Bill Maher born in New York City
1969
First pulsar is discovered (Crab Nebula)
1981
Iran releases 52 American hostages 20 minutes after Ronald Reagan's inauguration
1987
Church of England envoy Terry Waite kidnapped in Lebanon and held captive for nearly 5 years
250
Martyrdom of St. Fabian, Pope
473
Death of St. Euthymius the Great
842
Death of Theophilus, Emperor of Byzantium
1256
Death of Renaud de Vichiers, 19th Master of the Templars
1265
1st English Parliament called into session by the Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort
1320
Wladislaw I, also known as Wladislaw the Short, was crowned king of Poland. In defeating the Knights of the Teutonic Order, he created strong foundations for one Polish nation.
1479
Death of John II, King of Aragon
1500
Pinzon discovers Brazil
1503
An office is established in Spain to supervise trade with the New World, and to monitor Columbus' expenses
1612
Death of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor
1615
Portuguese defeated by the English off Swally, India
1649
British king Charles I was brought before a high court of justice at Westminster Hall on charges of treason following the civil war against parliamentarian forces.
1760
Charles III, King of Spain. born
1788
The British settlement of Australia began
1801
John Marshall was appointed chief justice of the United States.
1820
Anne Clough, promoter of higher education. born
1839
Chile defeated a confederation of Peru and Bolivia in the Battle of Yungay.
1841
The island of Hong Kong was ceded to Great Britain. (It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.)
1855
Composer Ernest Chausson born
1876
Josef Hofmann. This keyboard prodigy would make musical history at the age of 11 when he would become the first pianist to be recorded on grammophone. born
1885
The roller coaster was patented by L.A. Thompson of Coney Island, NY. His coaster was 450 feet long with the highest drop being 30 feet.
1887
The US Senate approved an agreement to lease Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a naval base.
1889
American blues singer Leadbelly (Huddie William Ledbetter) born
1892
The first officially recognized basketball game was played at the YMCA gym in Springfield, Mass. The game was invented by Dr. James Naismith.
1894
Harold Gray, creator of the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" born
1894
Composer Walter Piston was born in Rockland, Maine born
1896
Comedian George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum) in New York City. born
1899
The Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnin born
1905
Troops are mobilized in Russia to protect St. Petersburg from a brewing revolt.
1908
The Sullivan ordinance bars women from smoking in public facilities.
1917
A London arms factory explodes killing 80.
1919
Actor Lawrence Dobkin born
1920
Italian film director Federico Fellini born
1920
Actor DeForest Kelley ( Star Trek series, Apache Uprising, The Law and Jake Wade, Gunfight at O.K. Corral, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Fear in the Night) born
1924
Country singer Slim Whitman born
1926
Actress Patricia Neal born
1930
Former astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon born
1930
Charles Lindbergh arrives in NY, setting a cross country flying record of 14.75 hours.
1932
New York bankers lend New York City $350 million.
1933
Pop singer Ron Townson (The Fifth Dimension) born
1934
Comedian Arte Johnson born
1936
Britain's King George the Fifth died; he was succeeded by Edward the Eighth.
1937
Actress Dorothy Provine born
1941
Hitler meets with Mussolini and offers aid in Albania and Greece.
1941
President Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated for a third term.
1942
Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their "final solution" that called for exterminating Europe's Jews.
1943
Germany and Japan sign a trade accord to exchange military supplies.
1945
Singer Eric Stewart born
1946
Movie director David Lynch born
1946
President Truman creates the Central Intelligence Group.
1946
Charles DeGaulle hands in his resignation.
1950
Rock musician Paul Stanley (KISS) born
1952
Rock musician Ian Hill (Judas Priest) born
1954
Over 22,000 anti-Communist prisoners are turned over to the UN forces in Korea.
1956
Comedian Bill Maher born
1958
Elvis Presley got a little U.S. Mail this day with greetings from Uncle Sam. The draft board in Memphis, TN ordered The King to report for duty; but allowed a 60-day deferment for him to finish the film King Creole.
1958
Actor Lorenzo Lamas born
1961
President John F. Kennedy is sworn in at the Capitol and gives his inaugural address; "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country"
1964
A big day in U.S. record stores this day as the first album by The Beatles was released. The LP, Meet the Beatles, became a huge success -- and was #1 on the charts by February 15, 1964.
1965
Country singer John Michael Montgomery born
1965
Alan Freed, the `Father of Rock 'n' Roll', died in Palm Springs, California.
1967
Actress Stacey Dash ("Clueless") born
1968
TV personality Melissa Rivers born
1968
Singer Xavier born
1969
Actor Skeet Ulrich - Touch(1997), Scream(1996), Last Dance, The Craft, Boys. born
1973
Jerry Lee Lewis debuted at the Grand Ole Opry. He played ``Great Balls of Fire'' and other rock tunes over the objections of Opry officials.
1977
President Jimmy Carter is sworn in and then surprises everyone as he walks home to the White House.
1981
Iran released 52 Americans it had held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.
1982
Ozzy Osbourne was hospitalized after biting the head off a bat someone had thrown on stage during a concert. After undergoing rabies shots, the rocker said he thought the bat was plastic.
1986
Britain and France announced plans to build the Channel Tunnel.
1986
The United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior.
1987
Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite disappeared in Beirut, Lebanon, while attempting to negotiate the release of Western hostages (he was finally freed in November 1991).
1988
An Arizona House committee opened hearings on the possible impeachment of Governor Evan Mecham
1989
George Bush was sworn in as the 41st president of the United States; Dan Quayle was sworn in as vice president.
1990
Soviet troops stormed the capital of the republic of Azerbaijan, the scene of ethnic unrest, leaving dozens dead and wounded.
1990
The space shuttle "Columbia" returned from an eleven-day mission. Actress Barbara Stanwyck died in Santa Monica, California, at age 82.
1991
In Latvia, "black beret" commandos of the Soviet Interior Ministry attacked the republic's Interior Ministry headquarters, killing five people.
1991
During the Gulf War, Iraqi missiles were shot down by U.S. Patriot rockets as they approached Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
1991
Seven men identified as allied airmen captured during the Persian Gulf War were put on Iraqi television in Baghdad.
1992
A French Airbus A-320 crashed near Strasbourg, killing 87 people.
1993
Actress Audrey Hepburn died in Switzerland at age 63.
1993
President Clinton picked up a saxophone and jammed at five of the 12 inaugural balls he and his wife, Hillary, attended.
1993
The quartet star Robert Mann composed two pieces which were performed in New York. Mann himself performed the works in the middle of a concert bracketed by Bach, Bartok and Brahms.
1993
Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States; Al Gore was sworn in as vice president.
1993
The Senate confirmed Lloyd Bentsen as treasury secretary, Les Aspin as defense secretary and Warren Christopher as secretary of state.
1994
Shannon Faulkner became the first woman to attend classes at The Citadel in South Carolina. (Faulkner joined the cadet corps in August 1995 under court order but soon dropped out, citing isolation and stress from the legal battle.)
1994
Robert B. Fiske Junior was appointed by Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate President and Mrs. Clinton's Arkansas land deals.
1995
The United States announced it was easing the trade embargo in effect against North Korea since the Korean War.
1995
The Japanese government, criticized for being slow to respond to Kobe's devastating earthquake, admitted its initial reaction might have been "confused."
1995
A strike-shortened National Hockey League season opened, with teams playing a 48-game schedule instead of the usual 84.
1996
The space shuttle Endeavour landed after a nine-day mission that included snaring a Japanese satellite.
1996
Palestinians voted for the first time in elections that consolidated PLO chief Yasser Arafat's rule of the West Bank and Gaza under a peace deal with Israel. He became the first democratically-elected leader of the Palestinian people with 88.1 percent of the vote.
1997
President Clinton and Vice President Gore were sworn in for second terms of office. his inaugural address, Clinton called for an end to "the politics of petty bickering and extreme partisanship."
1998
A jury was selected in Amarillo, Texas, to hear a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed by Texas cattlemen against talk show host Oprah Winfery over comments made on her program concerning beef safety.
1999
For a second day, President Clinton's legal team argued its case before the Senate, saying that House-passed articles of impeachment (while true) were "flawed and unfair."
2000
The Clinton administration issued visas to the grandmothers of Elian Gonzalez, enabling them to visit the United States to make their case for the 6-year-old's return to Cuba.
2000
Census 2000 officially got under way as Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt knocked on the door of a small wood-frame house in Unalakleet, Alaska, to begin the nationwide head count.
2005
Brazilian President meets President of Colombia
2005
Video details tortures by Saddam’s soldiers
2005
Russian diplomats operated string of brothels in Finland
2005
Bucharest Metro operator to purchase more modern trainsets
2005
Romanian artists auction off their works for tsunami victims
2005
Music Video with More Than 100 Children's TV Characters Attacked by Anti-Gay Activists
2005
Swedish pastor appeals hate-crime conviction for antigay sermon
2005
Rover finds meteorite on Mars
2005
Bush inaugurated for second term
2005
UN proposes world-wide natural disaster warning system
2005
JP Morgan apologizes for slavery
2005
China Plans Next Manned Space Mission
2005
Condoleezza Rice confirmed as next U.S. Secretary of State, pending full Senate vote
2006
Mark Latham in fight 12 months after resigning as Australian opposition leader
2006
Slovak transport plane crashes over Hungary
2006
Prosecutors continue investigation as Livedoor faces possible delisting
2006
Syria voices support of Iran's nuclear program
2006
Theo Walcott deal goes through for Arsenal
2006
Australian Wheat Board inquiry begins
2006
Lancet cancer study a hoax
2006
South African Presidency defends deputy president's holiday trip
2006
Google refuses to hand over logs to US Department of Justice
2006
Iran moves finances out of Europe's banks
2006
US stocks slump as crude oil surges, gold hits 25 yr high
2006
TWU members reject contract
2006
Whale spotted in river Thames, Central London
2006
Message in bottle travels from UK to Australia
2006
Danish clothing company sells T-shirts to support FARC and PFLP
2006
Demonstration held in support of Jill Carroll
2007
Flaming possum blamed for New Zealand fire
2007
Hillary Clinton forms presidential exploratory committee
2007
13 U.S. soldiers killed in helicopter crash
2007
Kuiper Belt object to become comet in approx. 2 million years
2007
Lakewood Police & SWAT team end standoff with tear gas
2007
Church group backs 'extremist' mosque
2007
Chinese short movie mocks Kim Jong il and his secret agent
2008
Africans keep the leading position at Mumbai Marathon
2008
Jesuits choose Adolfo Nicolás as their new Superior General
2008
French TV director Alain Jaubert talks about art programs in Taiwan
2008
John McCain wins Republican South Carolina primary
2008
Co-pilot steered stricken Heathrow jet to safety
2008
Hackers attack Church of Scientology website
2008
Cricket: India defeats Australia by 72 runs in third test
2009
US Senator Ted Kennedy collapses during inaugural luncheon
2009
Irish millionaire found dead, suicide suspected
2009
Parajet Skycar expedition takes off from London to Timbuktu
2009
Obama succeeds Bush as 44th president of the United States
2010
Iraq collects victim signatures for Blackwater lawsuit
2010
Cricket: Buderim to fill half Politicians team on Australia Day
2010
Former rugby union commentator Bill McLaren dies at age 86
2010
According to UN report, bribes cost Afghans US$2.5 billion per year
2010
6.1 magnitude aftershock earthquake hits Haiti
2010
Oxford University anti-peer-to-peer policy hits legal music service Spotify
2011
US politician and activist Sargent Shriver dies aged 95
2012
U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire comes out against SOPA

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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