[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

1737
Inventor, pamphleteer, and revolutionary, Thomas Paine born in Thetford, England
1880
Juggler, comedian and actor, W.C. Fields born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1880
Physician, playwright, and short story author, Anton Chekhov born in Taganrog, Russian Empire
1886
Karl Benz patents first successful gasoline-driven automobile
1905
Artist Barnett Newman born in New York City
1916
Paris bombed by German zeppelins
1933
Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany
1933
Professor of Mathematics at the University of Chicago, Paul Sally born in Boston, Massachusetts
1940
Grand Prix motorcycle champion, Kunimitsu Takahashi born in Tokyo, Japan
1947
Nobel Laureate biologist, Linda Buck born in Seattle, Washington
1950
Actress and singer, Ann Jillian born in Cambridge, Massachusetts
1954
Philanthropist and Emmy Award winning talk show host, Oprah Winfrey born in Kosciusko, Mississippi
1978
Sweden outlaws aerosol sprays
2004
A whale explodes in Taiwan
591
Death of St. Sulpicius
904
Sergius III crowned pope - beginning of the "Pornocracy"
1118
Death of Pope Paschal II
1327
Coronation of Edward III of England
1499
Birth of Katherine von Bora, the former German nun who became Martin Luther's wife in 1525 when he was 41 and she 26. During their 21-year marriage, Katie bore Martin 3 sons and 3 daughters. born
1527
Venice prohibits printing any book without prior permission of gov't
1535
Emigration of Huguenots from France
1579
Union of Utrecht
1584
Assassination of William the Silent
1635
The Academie Francaise, one of the most famous literary societies in Europe, was founded.
1688
Swedish scientist and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg (Angelic Wisdom) born
1700
Swiss mathamatician Daniel Bernoulli born
1728
"The Beggar's Opera" premiered in London. John Gay composed it and John Rich produced it.
1730
Peter II, czar of Russia (1727-30), died of smallpox on the day set for his wedding.
1737
American colonial political philosopher Thomas Paine (Common Sense, Age of Reason) born
1782
Composer Daniel Auber born
1820
Britain's King George the Third died insane at Windsor Castle, ending a reign that saw both the American and French revolutions.
1843
The 25th president of the United States, William McKinley, was born in Niles, Ohio.
1843
William McKinley, 25th President (1897-1901) born
1845
Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" was first published, in the New York "Evening Mirror."
1850
Lawrence Hargrave, invented the box kite born
1850
Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a compromise bill on slavery which included the admission of California into the Union as a free state.
1853
Napoleon III married Eugenie de Montijo at the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
1860
Anton Chekhov, writer (The Cherry Orchard) born
1861
Kansas became the 34th state of the Union as a free or non-slavery state at a time when Southern states were seceding from the Union.
1862
International composer Frederick Delius born
1874
Industrialist John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. (Founder of Standard Oil Co.; Rockefeller Foundation) born
1880
Claude William Dukenfield (better known as W.C. Fields) born
1888
Edward Lear, English landscape painter and writer of nonsense verse, died.
1891
Hawaii proclaimed as its queen Liliuokalani, renowned for her song "Aloha Oe."
1896
The U.S. physician Emile Grubbe became the first to use radiation treatment for breast cancer.
1899
Alfred Sisley, the English painter and one of the creators of French Impressionism, died.
1900
The American 1900 American League. They were Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
1901
Allen B DuMont, perfected 1st commercially practical cathode ray tube born
1905
Warsaw is in chaos as mobs and troops loot the Polish capital.
1909
German Reichstag members admit that workers are blacklisted for activism.
1912
Comedian "Professor" Irwin Corey born
1916
Actor Victor Mature (The Robe, Samson and Delilah, The Las Vegas Story, Song of the Islands, After the Fox) born
1918
Actor John (Freund) Forsythe (Bachelor Father, Charlie's Angels, Dynasty, To Rome with Love, The Powers That Be, See How They Run, The Miss and Missiles, The John Forsythe Show, And Justice for All) born
1918
The Supreme Allied Council meets at Versailles.
1923
Twenty Germans are killed in the first fighting in Ruhr.
1923
Playwright Paddy Chayevsky. Chayevsky wrote for television and movies. ``Network'' was his last screenplay. born
1926
The Soviets order compulsory military training in colleges.
1931
Winston Churchill resigns as Stanley Baldwin's aide.
1931
Officers of the Bank of the U.S. go on trial.
1932
George Gershwin's little-known second Rhapsody premiered in Boston.
1936
The first members of baseball's Hall of Fame, including Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, were named in Cooperstown, New York.
1936
Actor Noel Harrison (The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.) born
1939
Author Germaine Greer born
1939
Irish poet-dramatist William Butler Yeats died in Menton, France.
1942
Singer and actress Claudine Longet born
1942
German and Italian troops take Benghazi.
1944
The world's greatest warship, the Missouri, is launched.
1945
Actor Tom Selleck born
1948
Actor Marc Singer born
1950
Riots break out in Johannesburg over Apartheid.
1951
Actress Ann Jillian born
1953
Rock musician Louie Perez (Los Lobos) born
1954
Talk show host Oprah Winfrey born
1956
Editor-essayist H.L. Mencken died in Baltimore.
1957
Country singer Irlene Mandrell born
1958
Actress Judy Norton Taylor ("The Waltons") born
1958
Actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married.
1959
Rock musician Johnny Spampinato (NRBQ) born
1960
Olympic gold-medal diver Greg Louganis born
1961
Rock musician Eddie Jackson (Queensryche) born
1961
The Associated Press names Wilma Rudolph the female athlete of the year for 1960.
1962
Actor Nicholas Turturro born
1962
Warner Brothers Records signed Peter Paul and Mary.
1963
The first members of football's Hall of Fame were named in Canton, Ohio.
1963
Poet Robert Frost died in Boston.
1964
Rock singer-musician Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera) born
1964
The Ninth Winter Olympics begin in Innsbruck.
1967
Pope Paul VI and Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny conferred at the Vatican in the first meeting in history between a Roman Catholic pontiff and the head of a Communist state.
1967
Thirty-seven civilians are killed by a U.S. helicopter attack in Vietnam.
1968
Actor-director Ed Burns born
1970
Actress Heather Graham born
1974
Eliza Szonat born
1975
Actress Sara Gilbert born
1978
Sweden becomes the first nation to curb aerosol sprays to halt the destruction of the ozone layer. (Later studies prove inconclusive as to the possible effects of CFC's to the ozone)
1979
Actor Andrew Keegan ("Party of Five") born
1979
President Carter commutes the sentence of Patty Hearst.
1979
President Carter formally welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping to the White House, following the establishment of diplomatic relations.
1979
Emerson, Lake and Palmer disbanded after 10 years together. They would eventually reunite.
1980
Jimmy Durante, the U.S. comedian, actor and singer, died.
1980
Jason James Richter born
1984
President Reagan announces that he will run for a second term.
1984
The Soviets issue a formal complaint against alleged U.S. arms treaty violations.
1985
The White House confirmed reports that Robert Latta of Denver had breached security and roamed the executive mansion on the day of President Reagan's second inaugural.
1987
The State Department barred deposed Philippines President Ferdinand E. Marcos from returning to his homeland from Honolulu amid reports he was preparing to rally supporters trying to topple the Aquino government.
1988
A Boston-bound Amtrak train derailed in Chester, Pennsylvania, injuring 25 people.
1988
Amid broad efforts toward peace in Central America, Pope John Paul II gave Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega a wary Vatican reception.
1989
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union suffered a major setback in West Berlin municipal elections.
1990
Former "Exxon Valdez" skipper Joseph Hazelwood went on trial in Anchorage, Alaska, on charges stemming from the nation's worst oil spill. (Hazelwood was acquitted of the major charges, and convicted of a misdemeanor.)
1991
In South Africa, the Africa National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party agreed to end their rivalry.
1991
The United States and Soviet Union announced they would agree to a ceasefire in the Gulf War if Iraq made a unequivocal commitment to withdraw from Kuwait.
1991
In his State of the Union address, President Bush assured Americans that the war against Iraq would be won and that the recession at home would end in short order. (Extraordinary security measures were in effect for the first wartime State of the Union address since the Vietnam era.)
1992
Russian President Boris Yeltsin unveiled an ambitious plan to cut nuclear weapons spending and said his republic's weapons would no longer be aimed at any US targets.
1992
A multinational Middle East peace conference ended in Moscow with participants sounding upbeat. President Bush presented a one-point-52 trillion-dollar budget plan.
1992
Blues legend Willie Dixon died at the age of 76.
1993
President Clinton told reporters he was ordering the drafting of a formal directive by July 15th to end the longstanding ban on homosexuals in the US military.
1994
In South Africa, Nelson Mandela kicked off his party's campaign for the country's first multiracial elections.
1994
Japan's Parliament approved watershed measures to stem political corruption.
1994
Longtime ASCAP president and song lyricist Stanley Adams died at the age of 86.
1995
The San Francisco 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers, 49- 26, in Super Bowl XXIX to become the first team to win five Super Bowls.
1996
A Navy F-14 fighter jet crashed in Nashville, Tennessee, demolishing three houses and killing five people.
1996
Fire destroyed Italy's opera house La Fenice
1996
France announced that it would stop open air nuclear testing.
1996
The Eagles and country superstar Garth Brooks were triple winners at the 23rd annual American Music Awards. Brooks was named artist of the year but politely left the trophy on the podium...saying the other nominees deserved the award more especially Hootie and the Blowfish.
1996
French President Jacques Chirac ordered an early end to underground nuclear tests in the South Pacific. Fire destroyed Italy's opera house La Fenice.
1997
Threatened with lawsuits across the country, America Online agreed to give refunds to customers who weren't able to log on because of the overwhelming demand created by AOL's flat $19.95-a-month rate
1998
A bomb rocked an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, killing Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer working as a security guard, and critically injuring Emily Lyons, a nurse. (Authorities are searching for a suspect, Eric Rudolph, in the North Carolina wilderness.)
1998
Thick fog in parts of western Europe caused two major road accidents involving some 200 cars. Six people died and several were injured in a 100-vehicle pile-up on the E17 highway in western Belgium, close to the French border, where the fog had reduced visibility to less than 30 yards. Another 100 cars crashed into each other when a truck plowed through the central barrier of the A73 highway between Venlo and Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
1998
A top tobacco company executive admitted under oath to Congress for the first time that cigarettes are dangerous. The testimony by RJR Nabisco chairman and CEO Steven Goldstone came at a hearing where industry leaders pushed Congress to enact a $368.5 billion deal giving them partial immunity from future lawsuits.
1999
Attorney General Janet Reno rejected a special prosecutor investigation of former White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes.
1999
The Senate delivered subpoenas for Monica Lewinsky and two of President Clinton's advisers, summoning them for private, videotaped testimony in the impeachment trial.
2000
Delegates meeting in Montreal reached an international agreement on the trade of genetically modified food and other products.
2000
Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott, architects of San Francisco's Super Bowl dynasty, were among five individuals elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
2005
Annan invites Iraqis to exercise democratic rights
2005
Iraqi elections kept low-key, but secure, in Paris
2005
US Navy chooses US-Europe US101 helicopter to be next Marine One
2005
World Social Forum-Brazil coverage
2005
Official figures didn't show 60% of dead Iraqi civilians were killed by coalition forces, says BBC
2005
Chinese airlines agree purchase of Boeing 787 Dreamliners worth US$7.2bn
2005
Taiwan-China flights begin
2006
Amélie Mauresmo wins Australian Open
2006
Corby's star witness convicted of rape
2006
World celebrates Chinese new year
2006
Firefighters find burning body parts in oil drums
2006
Bob Woodruff injured by improvised explosive device in Iraq
2006
Rare snow storm in Portugal
2006
Tarja Halonen wins the presidential election in Finland
2006
Australian government hopes to establish triage by phone
2007
Suspended letterbox for sale on New Zealand auction site
2007
Beckham woos US as Disney Prince
2007
Filipino activist leader survives assassination attempt
2007
Series of earthquakes hit Indonesia, Turkey, and Norway
2007
Bulusan Volcano releases some ash
2007
YouTube to reward users for posting creative videos
2007
Sinn Fein votes to accept policing
2007
American racehorse Barbaro euthanized, co-owner reports
2007
Canada's Conservatives launch new ad campaign
2007
Locals claim to have seen a UFO in Honolulu, Hawaii
2008
Bank robbers take hostages in Venezuela
2008
Microsoft Taiwan, IGS, GameFlier, and Softstar win the Popular Game Voting of Taipei Game Show
2008
"Anonymous" plans to protest Church of Scientology on February 10
2008
Grass fires break out in wide area of Texas
2008
Venezuelan police arrest bank robbers, free hostages
2008
Bush delivers final State of the Union address
2008
Indonesia reports 100th human death from bird flu
2008
Ole Miss player arrested; charged with selling steroids
2008
Mauritanian refugees begin returning home from Senegal
2009
Red Cross urges Sri Lanka to respect lives of Tamil civilians
2009
Zimbabwe submits to popular pressure: foreign currencies now legal tender
2009
Philippine fireworks factory explosion kills at least 8, injures 70 more
2009
Dairy cattle with names produce more milk, according to new study
2009
Heat wave, industrial action cripples Melbourne railways
2009
Strike threat at UK's Northern Rail
2009
Starbucks Coffee set to cut 6,700 staff, 300 stores to close
2009
Father throws 4-year-old daughter from bridge
2009
Bart Simpson used to promote Scientology
2009
Former Indian President R. Venkataraman dies age 98
2009
Iran's Ahmadinejad wants change in US policies, not 'tactics'
2009
Sir Paul Stephenson to head London's police
2009
Global economy could lose up to 51 million jobs this year, says UN agency
2010
Teenage girl pulled out of rubble in Haiti fifteen days after earthquake
2010
Chad calls for UN troops to withdraw
2010
Ben Bernanke confirmed as Federal Reserve chairman for second term
2010
Two Iranians hanged over mosque bombing
2010
Microsoft reports 60% profit increase
2010
Haiti rescue efforts continue, but survivors face increasing insecurity
2010
US economy grows at fastest pace in six years
2010
Eurozone unemployment rate reaches ten percent
2010
Tony Blair tells Iraq Inquiry he would invade again
2010
Japanese exports rise by 12.1% in December
2011
Los Angeles City Council to sue police officer accused of filing a false report
2011
Four killed, fourteen others injured at bus blast in Philippines
2011
Russian police say Moscow airport bomber identified
2011
Ipswich, England serial murders to be adapted into 'musical'
2011
Bomb threat on UK–Egypt plane; diverted to Greece
2012
British courts give green light for assisted dying case
2012
New York police confirm cocaine shipment seizure at UN Headquarters
2012
Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich for US president
2012
Twitter to allow censorship of posts on a country by country basis

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.

Select a section