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Today in History

1561
Philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, and author, Sir Francis Bacon born in London, England
1797
Empress of Brazil, Maria Leopoldina of Austria born in Vienna
1820
Wildlife artist, Joseph Wolf born in Münstermaifeld, Germany
1879
Poet and painter, Francis Picabia born in Paris, France
1924
Milkman, bridge operator, actor, singer, and comedian, Benny Hill born in Southampton, England
1940
NFL head coach with 124 wins, 67 losses and five Superbowl victories, George Seifert born in San Francisco, California
1959
Animal rights activist and Golden Globe Award winning actress, Linda Blair born in St Louis, Missouri
1980
Nuclear physicist and social activist Andrei Sakharov arrested in Moscow
1984
Superbowl XVIII: Apple airs 1984 commercial
1990
Robert Tappan Morris, Jr convicted of releasing the 1988 Internet worm
2002
Kmart Corp files Chapter 11
304
Death of St. Vincent of Saragossa
628
Death of St. Anastasius the Persian
1440
Russian Czar Ivan III, known as Ivan the Great (not Ivan the Terrible). born
1498
Columbus discovers St Vincent Island
1517
Turks conquer Cairo
1536
Torture and execution of Brent Knipperdollinck
1552
Execution of the Duke of Somerset
1561
English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon born
1564
Antoine Granvelle, Governor of the Netherlands, is recalled to Spain
1592
Pierre Gassendi, Champtercier, Provence, scientist, philosopher born
1771
Spain ceded the Falkland Islands to Britain.
1775
French physicist Andre Ampere born
1788
Lord George Byron, romantic poet. (Manfred, Cain, Don Juan) born
1789
"The Power of Sympathy", by Philenia (Mrs. Sarah W.) Morton, was published in Boston, MA. The book has been called the first great American novel.
1875
D.W. Griffith, director of silent films (The Birth of a Nation) born
1879
James Shields, who had previously served Illinois and Minnesota, began a term as a U.S. Senator from Missouri. He was the first Senator to serve three states.
1883
Anton Bruckner began to compose the long, elegiacal slow movement of his Seventh Symphony. There has been argument from time to time over whether Bruckner meant the movement to be a funeral oration for Wagner.
1889
The Columbia Phonograph Company was formed in Washington, DC.
1890
Frederick Vinson, 13th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court born
1897
Inventer of stenography Isaac Pitman died.
1901
Queen Victoria of England died after reigning for 63 years. She holds the record for longest-reigning queen in the world, and is fourth in the list of longest-reigning monarchs. She died at age 82.
1905
"Bloody Sunday" occurred in St. Petersburg, when the Czar's troops killed 500 protesting workers.
1908
Three submarines travel from Newport, Rhode Island to New York in record time of 17.5 hours.
1909
U.N. Secretary-General U Thant born
1909
Actresses (Harriette Lake) Ann Sothern (Lady Be Good, Panama Hattie, The Whales of August, The Ann Sothern Show) born
1913
Turkey consents to the Balkan peace terms and gives up Adrianpole.
1917
President Wilson pleaded for an end to war in Europe, calling for "peace without victory." (By April, however, America also was at war.)
1921
Midwest farmers provide 15 million bushels of corn for European relief.
1922
Pope Benedict the 15th died; he was succeeded by Pius the Eleventh.
1924
Musician J.J. (James) Johnson (one of first to use the trombone in modern jazz) born
1928
Former Senator Birch Bayh (Democrat, Indiana) born
1930
Adm. Richard Byrd charts a vast area of Antarctica.
1932
Actress (Rosetta Jacobs) Piper Laurie (The Road to Galveston, Twin Peaks, Rising Son, Children of a Lesser God, The Thorn Birds, Days of Wine and Roses, Carrie, The Hustler, Francis Goes to the Races) born
1932
Government troops crush a Communist uprising in Northern Spain.
1934
Actor Bill Bixby (The Incredible Hulk, My Favorite Martin) born
1935
Actor Seymour Cassel born
1935
Singer Sam Cooke (You Send Me, Chain Gang, Wonderful World, A Change is Gonna Come) born
1937
Author Joseph Wambaugh born
1937
Actor Seymour Cassel (Bad Love, Indecent Proposal, Honeymoon in Vegas, Dick Tracy, Sweet Bird of Youth, Eye of the Tiger, Double Exposure, Valentino, Faces) born
1938
Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town" was performed publicly for the first time, in Princeton, New Jersey.
1939
Hockey player J.C. (Jean Claude) Tremblay born
1939
Chef Jeff Smith ("The Frugal Gourmet") born
1940
Actor John Hurt (Wild Bill, Rob Roy, Spaceballs, 1984, The Elephant Man, Alien, Midnight Express, A Man for All Seasons) born
1944
The War Refugee Board is set up by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1944
American troops invaded Italy, landing at Anzio beach in a move to out flank German defensive positions.
1945
Playwrite Michael Cristofer (The Witches of Eastwick, The Bonfire of the Vanities) born
1947
KTLA, Channel 5, in Hollywood, began operation as the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River.
1952
Country singer-musician Teddy Gentry (Alabama) born
1953
Rock singer Steve Perry born
1953
The Arthur Miller drama "The Crucible" opened on Broadway.
1957
Hockey Hall-of-Famer Mike Bossy born
1957
Suspected "Mad Bomber" George P. Metesky, accused of planting more than 30 explosive devices in the New York City area, was arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut.
1959
Actress Linda Blair (The Exorcist, Airport '75, A Woman Obsessed, Bail Out) born
1962
Cleveland Indians pitcher, Bob Feller was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
1964
Actress Diane Lane born
1965
Actor-rap DJ Jazzy Jeff born
1965
Country singer Regina Nicks (Regina Regina) born
1968
The comedy show "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" premiered on NBC TV.
1969
Actress Olivia d'Abo born
1969
Rhythm-and-blues singer Marc Gay (Shai) born
1969
Pierre Boulez, after years of attacking the music establishment, became part of it when he was appointed music director of the BBC Symphony. Just a few months later he would win a similar appointment in New York.
1970
The first regularly scheduled commercial flight of the Boeing 747 began in New York and ended in London some six and a-half hours later.
1973
The Supreme Court handed down its "Roe versus Wade" decision, which legalized abortion, using a trimester approach.
1973
Former President Johnson died at age 64.
1975
Actor Balthazar Getty (White Squall, Where the Day Takes You, Young Guns 2, Lord of the Flies) born
1980
Soviet dissident physicist Dr. Andrei Sakharov was arrested, stripped of his honors and exiled to Gorky from Moscow.
1981
Actress Beverley Mitchell ("7th Heaven") born
1981
Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelton Kessee (Immature) born
1985
A cold wave damaged 90 percent of the Florida citrus crop.
1986
A judge in New Delhi, India, found a Sikh defendant guilty of murder and conspiracy and two other Sikhs guilty of conspiracy in the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. (Two were executed; the third had his conspiracy conviction overturned.)
1987
Glen Tremml, 27, pedaled the ultralight aircraft Eagle over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for a human-powered flight record of 37.2 miles.
1987
Pennsylvania treasurer R. Budd Dwyer, convicted of defrauding the state, proclaimed his innocence at a news conference before shooting himself to death in front of horrified spectators.
1987
Phil Donahue became the first talk show host to tape a show from inside the Soviet Union. Donahue appeared in Leningrad, Kiev and Moscow. The shows were seen by Russian TV audiences later in the year.
1988
A federal appeals court ruled that court appointment of independent counsels to investigate alleged wrongdoing by high-ranking government officials was unconstitutional; however, the Supreme Court upheld the law the following June.
1989
In Super Bowl 23, the San Francisco 49ers came from behind to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-to-16 in Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium.
1990
Up to two million Azerbaijanis marched through the republic's capital to mourn people killed when Soviet troops put down a nationalist revolt.
1990
A jury in Syracuse, New York, convicted graduate student Robert T. Morris of federal computer tampering charges for unleashing a "worm" that crippled a computer network.
1991
Iraq fired six Scud missiles into Saudi Arabia; all were either intercepted, or fell into unpopulated areas. However, in Tel Aviv, a Scud eluded the Patriot missile defense system and struck the city, resulting in three deaths.
1993
President Clinton resumed his search for an attorney general, following the early-morning withdrawal of nominee Zoe Baird in the face of a political firestorm over her hiring of illegal aliens.
1993
On the 20th anniversary of the "Roe versus Wade" decision, President Clinton lifted a series of abortion restrictions imposed by his Republican predecessors.
1994
"Schindler's List," Steven Spielberg's drama about the Holocaust, won Golden Globes for best dramatic picture and best director.
1994
Actor Telly Savalas died in Universal City, California, a day after turning 70.
1995
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy died at the family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, at age 104.
1995
Two Palestinians killed 18 Israeli soldiers, a civilian and themselves in a bombing outside a military camp in central Israel.
1996
The White House announced that First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had been subpoenaed by the Whitewater special prosecutor to testify before a grand jury investigating the mysterious discovery of her law firm billing records in the White House residence.
1996
Costas Simitis was chosen to be the new prime minister of Greece. His predecessor, Andreas Papandreou, had stepped down due to ill health.
1996
A Los Angeles judge ordered Tupac Shakur returned to jail after ruling the rapper had violated his probation from a 1994 assault and battery conviction.
1996
O.J. Simpson testified for the first time since the killings of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend, Ronald Goldman, as he gave a videotaped deposition for a wrongful death lawsuit.
1997
The Senate confirmed Madeleine Albright as the nation's first female secretary of state and former Republican Senator William Cohen as defense secretary.
1998
Theodore Kaczynski pleaded guilty in Sacramento, California, to being the Unabomber in return for a sentence of life in prison without parole.
1998
On the first full day of his visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul the Second celebrated Mass, preaching the message, "Be not afraid."
1998
Microsoft Corp. and the Justice Department announced a partial antitrust settlement under which personal computer makers that license Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system can delete the icon for its Internet Explorer browser.
1998
President Clinton struggled to defuse a political crisis from an explosive sex scandal allegedly involving Clinton and a former White House intern less than half his age. The allegations that Clinton carried on an extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky, 24, and tried to cover it up by asking her to lie under oath, brought his long-rumored predilection for sexual dalliance out of the distant Arkansas past and into the White House.
1998
Orange County Judge Deb Blechman in Orlando, Florida, sentenced Jerrime Day, 20, to one year's probation Wednesday for having sex with an under-age woman. The judge made it a condition that Day get written consent from any future sex partners and file the consent forms with his probation officer. Jerrime Day, a former male stripper, appeared on television talk shows in 1996 to discuss the active sex life he pursued after finding that he had HIV.
1999
Pope John Paul the Second arrived in Mexico on his first visit in 20 years.
1999
Senator Robert C. Byrd (Democrat, West Virginia) abruptly called for dismissal of charges against President Clinton to "end this sad and sorry time for our country."
1999
President Clinton called for spending $2.8 billion to protect the nation from cyber terrorism and chemical and germ warfare.
2000
Elian Gonzalez's grandmothers met privately with US Attorney General Janet Reno as they appealed for help in removing the boy from his Florida relatives and reuniting him with his father in Cuba.
2000
Openly gay food writer Craig Claiborne died at a New York hospital at age 79.
2005
FBI Probes Into Boston Terror Suspect Case
2005
Security Measures Increasing In Iraq
2005
Palestinians Fighting Terrorism
2005
TeliaSonera Sweden introduces major improvements
2005
Brazilian kidnapped in Iraq
2005
Spanish government to hold ISPs responsible for web content
2005
Mars Rover’s Basketball-Shaped Discovery Stirs Controversy
2005
Chinese Hostages Freed in Iraq
2006
William Shatner sells kidney stone
2006
Burns engages India on civil nuclear energy pact
2006
Maoist, army overnight clashes leaves 20 dead in Nepal
2006
Canadian teen faces disputed US military tribunal
2006
'Australian Values' to be taught in NSW schools
2007
Hillary Clinton to host live webcasts
2007
Microsoft launches its anti-piracy campaign in the United States
2007
Canada's Labrador and Quebec dispute their boundaries
2007
Snow storm hits Arizona and New Mexico
2007
New Zealander blind in one eye because of novelty lens
2007
Pfizer to cut jobs in Michigan
2007
Murdered journalist Hrant Dink feared for safety: brother
2007
Disease scare in south Sudan, aid groups return
2007
L'Abbé Pierre dies at 94 in France
2008
Australian actor Heath Ledger found dead in New York City
2008
Woman in Buffalo, New York accidentally sets herself on fire
2008
Fred Thompson quits U.S. Presidential race
2008
Two thirds of Queensland flooded; "disaster zone" declared
2009
Photo source for Barack Obama presidential campaign "HOPE" poster discovered
2009
Explosion in Bay Area, California suburb damages cigarette store
2009
US Senate confirms Clinton as Secretary of State
2009
Caroline Kennedy drops bid for New York Senate seat
2010
Six-year-old boy dies two weeks after falling through icy pond in Berkshire, England
2010
Russian journalist beaten by police officer dies
2010
IPCC claims about Himalayan glaciers were not based on science
2010
Tornado touches down in Huntsville, Alabama
2010
Storm causes Southern Californian residents to evacuate
2010
US President Obama proposes financial reform
2010
English policeman accused of being serial rapist
2010
Bomb scare aboard plane caused by harmless prayer box
2011
Police officer charged over double-death crash in Luton, UK
2011
Chinese president Hu Jintao visits United States
2011
Romanian father, son convicted of sex trafficking, forced prostitution in UK
2011
Tanker crash kills two in Brevard County, Florida
2011
UK Jobcentre call centre staff on 48-hour strike
2012
China to run low-cost maglevs by next year
2012
Indian MP demands arrest of writers reading banned novel at literature festival
2012
U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary
2012
Penn State student blog inaccurately reports death of Joe Paterno

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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