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Today in History

1840
Optical physicist and professor, Ernst Karl Abbe born in Eisenach, Germany
1870
Marias Massacre: 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, killed in Montana by US Cavalry
1885
Songwriter, singer and 12-string guitarist, Leadbelly born Huddie William Ledbetter in New York City
1898
Quintessential American cinematic cowboy and Western hero Randolph Scott born in Orange, Virginia
1918
Nobel Laureate biochemist, Gertrude B. Elion born in New York City
1928
Director, screen writer and actress, Jeanne Moreau born in Paris, France
1950
Jerusalem named capital of Israel
1951
USAF Captain and commercial airline pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger born in Dension, Texas
1954
World Freedom Day (South Korea, Taiwan)
2002
Journalist Daniel Pearl kidnapped (and murdered 9 days later) in Pakistan
667
Death of St. Ildefonsus
1002
Death of Otto III, Emperor of the West
1264
Annullment of the Provisions of Oxford
1275
Death of St. Raymond of Penafort
1295
Coronation of Pope Boniface VIII
1516
Ferdinand II of Aragon died and was succeeded as king of Spain by his grandson Charles V.
1556
A deadly earthquake kills 830,000 in Shensi Province, China
1570
Assassination of James Stewart, the Earl of Moray
1622
William Baffin, the British navigator and explorer who gave his name to Baffin Island, dies at about 38.
1668
Holland, Britain and Sweden signed the Alliance of the Hague, known as the Triple Alliance, under which they agreed to aid one another if attacked.
1737
Statesman and patriot John Hancock - Most major sources list his birthday as January 12, 1737, some felt so strongly that the 23'd is the date that set this day as National Handwriting Day in his honor. born
1752
Clementi, better known to piano students than to concert-goers was born. He wrote some very nice pieces, but they are rarely performed in public. The reason is that his music works well for piano instruction, and when pianists mature they tend to avoid the music of their lessons. born
1789
Georgetown College was founded by Father John Carroll, 54, in Washington, D.C. It was the first Roman Catholic college established in America.
1790
The real-life mutineers of the real-life ship, the Bounty, burned their ship at Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific ``Mutiny on the 'Bounty'!''
1806
William Pitt the Younger, British prime minister, died. At the age of 24, he became Britain's youngest prime minister.
1832
Edouard Manet, the French painter, was born. His "Dejeuner sur l'herbe" scandalized the critics but won him the enthusiasm of a group of young painters who became the forerunners of the Impressionists. born
1845
Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
1874
A playwright commissioned a composer to write music to go with his new play. The playwright was Ibsen, the composer Grieg, the play "Peer Gynt."
1898
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein, the Russian film director, was born. His films include "The Battleship Potemkin" and "Ten Days that Shook the World." born
1899
Historian Joseph Nathan Kane born
1901
A great fire ravages Montreal, resulting in $2.5 million in property lost.
1901
First female intern is accepted at a Paris hospital.
1903
Actor Randolph Scott (Last of the Mohicans, The Nevadan, Ride the High Country, To the Shores of Tripoli, Man in the Saddle, Go West Young Man, Bombardier) born
1905
General strike is called in Moscow.
1906
Igor Stravinsky married Katerina Nossenko in a secret ceremony near St. Petersburg. It was secret because marriage among first cousins was illegal.
1907
Charles Curtis, of Kansas, began serving in the United States Senate. He was the first Native American to become a U.S. Senator. He resigned in March of 1929 to become U.S. President Herbert Hoover's Vice President.
1907
Actor Dan Duryea (The Flight of the Phoenix, Five Golden Dragons) born
1910
A Chicago grand jury begins an inquiry into the high price of meat. A boycott on meat has attracted one million participants.
1915
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Potter Stewart born
1916
Photojournalist and author David Duncan born
1919
Ernie Kovacs His 1950s television shows are funny and original even today. Most of the tricks you can play with television as a medium, he thought of first. born
1920
Jazz saxophonist Ray Abrams born
1920
The Dutch government refused demands from the victorious Allies to hand over the ex-kaiser of Germany.
1922
Arthur Nikisch died at 66 in Leipzig. He was the first conductor to record a complete symphony Beethoven's 5th.
1925
Pianist and composer Marty Paich born
1928
Actress Jeanne Moreau (The Summer House, La Femme Nikita, The Last Tycoon, The Bride Wore Black, Jules et Jim, Viva Maria, Dangerous Liaisons) born
1931
Anna Pavlova, the Russian dancer and one of the most celebrated prima ballerinas of her time, died.
1932
New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
1933
Actress and singer (Conchita del Rivero) Chita Rivera (Sweet Charity, Pippin, Mayflower Madam) born
1934
Actor Lou Antonio (Mayflower Madam, A Real American Hero, A Taste for Killing) born
1934
President Roosevelt grants recognition to the Cuban government.
1937
17 people went on trial in Moscow during Josef Stalin's "Great Purge."
1940
Country singer Johnny Russell born
1943
Critic Alexander Woollcott suffered a fatal heart attack during a live broadcast of the CBS radio program "People's Platform."
1943
After nine days of talks in Casablanca, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed to put an invasion of Italy ahead of opening a second front in northwestern Europe.
1943
Actor Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Sidekicks, Hooch, Soldier's Fortune) born
1944
Rhythm-and-blues singer Jerry Lawson (The Persuasions) born
1944
Edvard Munch, the Norwegian painter, died. His most notable work is "The Scream."
1944
Actor Rutger Hauer (Lady Hawke, Nighthawks, Blade Runner, Beyond Justice, Forbidden Choices) born
1948
Singer Anita Pointer (The Pointer Sisters He's So Shy, Slow Hand, Jump [For My Love], Automatic, Neutron Dance, I'm So Excited, Dare Me) born
1948
Gen. Eisenhower said he could not accept a presidential nomination from either party; four years later, he ran as a Republican and was elected 34th president of the United States.
1948
The Soviets refuse UN entry into North Korea to administer elections.
1949
The Communists begin their advance on Nanking.
1949
Rock musician Bill Cunningham born
1950
Actor Richard Dean Anderson (Legend, MacGyver, Emerald Point N.A.S., Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, General Hospital) born
1950
Rock singer-musician Patrick Simmons (The Doobie Brothers) born
1950
Rock musician Danny Federici (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) . born
1950
The Israeli Knesset approved a resolution proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of Israel. s
1951
President Truman creates the Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights, to monitor the anti-Communist campaign.
1953
Rock singer Robin Zander (Group Want Me, Ain't That a Shame, Voices, Dream Police) born
1957
Princess Caroline of Monaco born
1958
Singer Anita Baker born
1959
Reggae musician Earl Falconer (UB40) born
1960
The U.S. Navy bathyscaphe Trieste dived to a record depth of 10,916 meters (35,810 feet) in the Pacific Ocean.
1963
Harold "Kim" Philby, British journalist in Beirut, disappeared. Later in the year it was revealed that he was the third man in the Burgess-Maclean espionage affair and had been granted asylum in Moscow.
1963
Actress Gail O'Grady (N.Y.P.D. Blue) born
1964
Actress Mariska Hargitay ("Can't Hurry Love") born
1964
The 24th amendment to the Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections, was ratified.
1964
The Milwaukee Braves' legendary pitcher, Warren Spahn, signed a contract worth $85,000, making him the highest paid pitcher in baseball.
1964
Actor-director Lou Antonio born
1965
One-hundred Cadets are charged in the Air Academy cheating scandal.
1968
North Korea seized the US Navy ship "Pueblo," charging it had intruded into the communist nation's territorial waters on a spying mission. (The crew was released eleven months later.)
1969
NASA unveils moon-landing craft.
1971
Rhythm-and-blues singer Marc Nelson born
1971
The temperature at Prospect Creek, Alaska, dropped to 80 degrees below zero, the lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States
1973
President Nixon claims that Vietnam peace has been reached in Paris and that the POWs would be home in 60 days.
1973
George Foreman took the heavyweight boxing title away from `Smokin' Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica.
1974
Actress Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Beverly Hills 90210, Saved by the Bell, Son in Law) born
1974
The song "Tubular Bells" received a gold record. Mike Oldfield's song opened the credits of the movie, "The Exorcist", based on the book by William Peter Blatty.
1974
Rebekah Elmaloglou born
1975
"Barney Miller" made his debut on ABC-TV. The talented cast made the show a hit for eight seasons.
1977
The TV mini-series "Roots," based on the Alex Haley novel, began airing on ABC.
1977
Carole King's landmark album, "Tapestry", became the longest-running album to hit the charts, as it reached its 302nd week on the album lists.
1978
Chicago guitarist Terry Kath accidentally shot himself to death during a party in Los Angeles. He was 31.
1978
Baron Edouard-Jean Empain, one of Europe's most powerful industrialists, was kidnapped in Paris. He was freed on March 26.
1981
Under international pressure, opposition leader Kim Dae Jung's death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment in Seoul.
1982
Daryl Hall and John Oates collected their first platinum album for "Private Eyes."
1985
O.J. Simpson became the first Heisman Trophy winner to be elected to pro football's Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Roger Staubach, of the Dallas Cowboys, another Heisman winner, was also elected; but `the Juice' went in first because his name comes before Staubach's, alphabetically.
1986
U.S. begins maneuvers off the Libyan coast.
1988
More than 50,00 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv to protest the treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
1989
The Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali died. He was buried in a crypt under a glass dome in the Dali museum in Figueras, in Catalonia.
1990
The 101st Congress convened its second session, facing an agenda that included clean air legislation and deficit reduction.
1991
After some 12,000 sorties in the Gulf War, Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said allied forces had achieved air superiority, and would focus air fire on Iraqi ground forces around Kuwait.
1991
The IRS began auctioning off Willie Nelson's property to satisfy the 16-point-seven-Million dollars in back taxes owed by the country singer.
1991
Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady asked Congress for another $80 billion toward the bailout of the nation's troubled savings and loan industry.
1993
convicted "diet doc" killer Jean Harris was freed, discharged from a New York state hospital after heart surgery and with a grant of clemency from the governor.
1993
FBI Director William S. Sessions dismissed a Justice Department report accusing him of ethical abuses, accusing former Attorney General William P. Barr of a "crassly calculated attack."
1994
Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, visiting Japan, met with Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, who promised to go through with a scheduled summit with President Clinton.
1994
The Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills won their respective NFL conference playoffs to set up a Super Bowl rematch.
1995
The Supreme Court ruled that companies accused of illegally firing employees could not escape liability by later finding a lawful reason to justify the dismissal.
1995
William Horton...lead singer of the 1950's R-and-B group the Silhouettes...died at the age of 65.
1996
Delivering his State of the Union address to a skeptical Republican Congress, President Clinton traced the themes of his re-election campaign and confronted GOP lawmakers on the budget, demanding they "never ever" shut down the government again.
1997
Cancer experts who were supposed to settle a furious controversy over whether women should start having mammograms at age 40 or age 50 decided instead to leave the decision up to patients.
1998
Fighting scandal allegations involving Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton assured his Cabinet during a meeting that he was innocent and urged them to concentrate on their jobs.
1998
A judge in Fairfax, Virginia, sentenced Mir Aimal Kasi to death for an assault rifle attack outside CIA headquarters in 1993 that killed two men and wounded three other people. Kasi, 33, told the court he was not proud of the shooting but described it as retaliation for U.S. policies that he said hurt Islamic nations.
1998
A government advisory panel urged the U.S. to do more to promote religious freedom worldwide, including making it a criteria for arms sales, aid and granting asylum to refugees.
1998
Antonay Williams, 27, the husband of the woman claiming to be Bill Cosby's illegitimate daughter, was sentenced to five years of probation for his role in a scheme to extort $40 million from the performer.
1998
Twelve or more people died and as many as five were missing after an avalanche swept away a group of teen-agers and their guides trekking near the ski resort of Les Orres in the southern French Alps. A further 23 people were injured, six seriously, in the worst avalanche disaster in France in years. The trekkers were hit by a fast-moving, 1,000-foot wall of snow, which was apparently triggered by people skiing further up the mountain outside authorized runs.
1999
During his visit to Mexico, Pope John Paul the Second urged his flock in the Americas to make the region a "continent of life."
1999
A federal judge ordered Monica Lewinsky to submit to an interview sought by House prosecutors in President Clinton's impeachment trial.
2000
The dark satire "American Beauty" won the Golden Globe for best film drama, while "The Sopranos" won best television drama.
2000
The Tennessee Titans advanced to the Super Bowl by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-to-14 in the AFC Championship game. The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-to-6 to win the NFC Championship.
2000
NFL star Derrick Thomas was injured when the sport utility vehicle he was driving overturned on an icy road in Missouri; Thomas died February eighth. (The crash also claimed the life of Thomas' friend, Michael Tellis.)
2004
Bob Keeshan, who played the children's television characters Captain Kangaroo and Clarabell the Clown, dies at 76 in Windsor, Vt.
2005
Yushchenko Sworn In
2005
Militants of Palestine Deny Recent Ceasefire Claim
2005
Labrador's Inuit sign land claims agreement
2005
Online purchases boom in Romania
2005
Romanian nuclear plant reports record-high production
2005
15,000 attended memorial for Zhao Ziyang
2006
Indian city of Bangalore to be renamed Bengaluru
2006
Bali Nine refused access to federal police files
2006
No evidence of dead terrorists in US bombed Pakistan village
2006
Concerns over Neville's Celebration
2006
Four Australian states ablaze, two dead, homes lost
2006
New case of Mad Cow disease found in Canada
2006
House of Supreme Court Justice threatened
2006
Ford Motor Company cutting 30,000 jobs by 2012
2006
U.S. army interrogator convicted in Iraqi general's death
2006
NASA postpones Stardust mission briefing, no revised date as of yet
2006
Sample from Turkish patient shows mutated Bird Flu virus
2006
Witnesses of fire in Vladivostok under investigation
2006
Vladivostok fire witnesses dispute official death toll of nine, claim at least 50
2006
Greenpeace, Sea Shepherds end Southern Ocean whaling protest
2006
Sri Lankan attack disrupts peace envoy
2007
New Zealand policeman caught speeding
2007
Republican Senators oppose more troops in Iraq
2007
Rockefeller says Iraq is draining funds
2007
Canadian PM rebukes France's Ségolène Royal on Quebec sovereignty
2007
Three killed during Hezbollah-led protest
2007
"Sunshine", "Queen" in the spotlight as 79th Annual Academy Award nominations announced
2008
Baby severely burned after oxygen hood catches fire
2008
Iraq removes Saddam references from flag
2008
"Anonymous" releases statements outlining "War on Scientology"
2008
Residents of Gaza enter Egypt after destruction of border wall
2009
Israeli military confirms the use of white phosphorus bombs in the Gaza Strip
2009
Obama's choice for Treasury issues warning on China
2009
Trial date scheduled for Austrian man who kept his daughter in a dungeon for 24 years
2009
Fatal stabbings kill three at Belgian day care center
2009
Strong earthquakes in Indian and Pacific Oceans
2009
United Kingdom officially enters economic recession
2009
Gillibrand named as Clinton's Senate replacement
2009
Internet group Anonymous hacks No Cussing Club's website, owner's e-mail account
2010
UK raises terrorism alert level to "severe"
2010
Somali pirates threaten to kill British hostages in days
2010
UK military deaths in Afghanistan reach 250
2010
Haiti rescue effort abandoned
2010
World Bank President to make eight-day African tour
2010
Oldest ex-Major League Baseball player, Billy Werber dies at age 100
2010
Swiss court rules in favor of American account holder
2011
Over 400 attend Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty's funeral
2011
Premier of Tasmania, David Bartlett, resigns
2013
Philippines seeks United Nations arbitration on South China Sea claims
2013
Briton sentenced to death for drug smuggling in Indonesia

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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