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Today in History

106
BC
Statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero born in Arpinum, Italy
1777
Washington defeats Cornwallis at Princeton
1892
Author, etymologist, linguist and member of the Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien born in Bloemfontein, South Africa
1905
International silent and sound film actress, Anna May Wong born in Los Angeles, California
1938
March of Dimes established
1945
Guitarist, songwriter and singer, Stephen Stills born in Dallas, Texas
1946
Musician, composer and bassist for Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones born in Sidcup, England
1957
First electric watches go on sale
1961
US severs diplomatic relations with Cuba
1977
Apple Computer incorporates
1981
Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning born in New Orleans, Louisiana
106
BC
Cicero born
533
Death of St. Fulgentius of Ruspe
964
Roman Citizens attack Vatican
1399
Timur-i-Leng defeats Emperor Mahmud of India
1437
Death of Catherine of Valois
1521
Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
1565
Ivan the Terrible threatens to abdicate
1590
Death of Robert Boyd of Scotland
1621
William Tucker, believed to be first African-American born in the Americas. born
1642
Charles I, King of England, indicts John Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, Sir Arthur Hazelrigg and William Strode (all members of the House of Commons) and Edward Montague, the Viscount Mandeville (a member of the House of Lords) for Treason
1777
The Continental Army commanded by Gen. George Washington defeated the British at Princeton, N.J.
1793
Feminist and abolitionist Lucretia Mott born
1833
Britain seized control of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.
1840
Father Damien, helped the lepers in Hawaii. born
1843
It was a stormy night, the night before this day in 1843 and Wagner had endured it at sea. The ship he was on had been seriously storm-tossed. The next morning Wagner began to think that stormy music would make for good opera, thus was born the idea for "The Flying Dutchman."
1868
The Meiji Restoration re-established the authority of Japan's emperor and heralded the fall of the military rulers known as "shoguns."
1879
Grace Coolidge, First lady. born
1883
British Prime Minister Clement Attlee born
1888
1st drinking straw is patented.
1892
J.R.R. Tolkein, author of the fantasy novel "Lord of the Rings," born
1901
Ngo Dinh Diem, South Vietnamese president. born
1903
Composer Boris Blacher was born. born
1908
Actor Ray Milland born
1909
Entertainer Victor Borge born
1917
Former US ambassador Vernon Walters born
1922
Actor Bill Travers. born
1923
Sportscaster Hank Stram born
1926
Record producer Sir George Martin born
1930
Actor Robert Loggia born
1932
Actor Dabney Coleman born
1936
Journalist-author Betty Rollin born
1938
The "March of Dimes" campaign to fight polio was organized.
1939
Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Hull born
1943
Singer-songwriter-producer Van Dyke Parks born
1945
Musician Stephen Stills born
1945
The young Iannis Xenakis was in the hospital. He had been injured in street fighting on New Year's Day in Athens and lost an eye.
1946
President Truman calls on Americans to spur Congress to act on the on-going labor crisis.
1947
Congressional proceedings were televised for the first time as viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and New York got to see some of the opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress.
1950
Actress Victoria Principal born
1956
Actor-director Mel Gibson born
1959
President Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union as the 49th state.
1959
Castro takes command of the Cuban army.
1961
The United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba after Fidel Castro announced he was a communist.
1967
Jack Ruby, the man who shot accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, died in a Dallas hospital.
1968
Actress Shannon Sturges born
1969
Jazz musician James Carter born
1975
Actor Jason Marsden born
1975
Actress Danica McKellar born
1977
Apple Computer incorporated.
1980
Conservationist Joy Adamson, author of "Born Free," was killed in northern Kenya by a servant.
1985
President Reagan condemns rash of arsons on abortion clinics.
1987
About 200 people gathered in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a memorial service honoring the victims of the Dupont Plaza Hotel fire that had claimed 97 lives.
1988
The Israeli Army ordered nine Palestinian activists deported as part of a controversial crackdown to stop the uprising in the occupied territories.
1989
The 101st Congress held its opening ceremonies as Democrats pledged to cooperate with the incoming Bush administration.
1990
Ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to US forces, ten days after taking refuge in the Vatican's diplomatic mission.
1991
The 102nd Congress convened, plunging immediately into acrimonious debate over the Persian Gulf crisis. President Bush proposed direct talks between Secretary of State James A. Baker the Third and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.
1992
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 3,200 for the first time, ending the day at 3,201.48.
1993
President Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a historic nuclear missile-reduction treaty in Moscow. Three days after he was jeered at in Sarajevo, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali was forced to take refuge from a crowd of angry Somalis in Mogadishu.
1994
The White House promised a government-wide effort to learn the extent of human radiation testing during the Cold War era.
1994
A deadly prison riot broke out in Maracaibo, Venezuela, claiming over a hundred lives.
1995
The Postal Service raised the price of a first-class stamp to 32 cents.
1995
Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo announced an emergency plan for wage and price controls and budget cuts to stabilize the peso and combat spiraling inflation.
1996
As a partial government shutdown spilled into its record 19th day, House Republicans rebuffed a Senate bill that would have immediately returned idled federal workers to their jobs.
1997
President Clinton declared northern Nevada a major disaster area following days of rain that sent rivers over their banks in the Reno and Carson City area.
1997
The arogant Bryant Gumbel signed off for the last time as host of NBC's "Today" show.
1998
Hundreds of relatives and friends crowded a tiny church for the funeral of Michael Kennedy, 3 days after his New Year's Eve death in a Colorado skiing accident. A handful of congressmen, celebrities and 3 presidential Cabinet members attended the 2-hour service at the Our Lady of Victory Church in remembrance of Kennedy, son of slain Sen. Robert Kennedy. Entertainer Andy Williams sang "Ave Maria" and Kennedy's siblings read Biblical passages and eulogies. His brother, Mass. Rep. Joseph Kennedy, recalled Michael's athleticism and told stories of touch football, a favorite pastime of the Kennedy family.
1998
The first of the world's only septuplets went home 6-1/2 weeks after he was born, while the other 6 babies remain in fair condition, the Blank Children's Hospital. Kenneth McCaughey, weighing 5 pounds 6 ounces, was the 1st-born and largest of the septuplets. He was nicknamed "Hercules" because he was at the bottom of the womb, with 6 siblings stacked above him.
1998
Arab and Muslim groups erected a new Islamic star and crescent near the White House to replace a display that was torn down and spray-painted with a swastika the previous weekend. The Islamic symbols, which represent peace and tolerance, were displayed for the 1st time with the national Christmas tree and a Hanukkah menorah on the Ellipse behind the White House.
1999
Chicagoans dug out from their biggest snowstorm in more than 30 years.
1999
Israeli authorities detained 14 members of Concerned Christians, a Denver-based cult, later expelling all of them. (Israeli officials feared the group was plotting violence in Jerusalem in order to bring about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.)
2000
Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin fired Boris Yeltsin's daughter (Tatyana Dyachenko) from her Kremlin post in one of his first official acts, moving quickly to distance himself from Yeltsin's scandal-tinged administration.
2000
The last new daily "Peanuts" strip by Charles Schulz ran in 26-hundred newspapers.
2001
2001 - The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) charged the "Texas 7" with weapons violations. An autopsy showed that Officer Aubrey Hawkins, killed by the convicts, had been shot 11 times and run over with a vehicle.
2002
A judge in Alabama ruled that former Ku Klux Klansman Bobby Frank Cherry was mentally competent to stand trial on murder charges in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls. (Cherry was later convicted, and is serving a life sentence.)
2002
A three-year federal investigation into the political and personal finances of Sen. Robert Torricelli, of New Jersey, ended with no criminal charges.
2005
Indian Sensex reaches a New All-time High
2005
UN 'optimistic' on tsunami aid effort
2006
13 coal miners trapped in West Virginia mine
2006
Bank of America completes acquisition of MBNA
2006
Miners survive underground fire in Tasmania
2006
Bomb blasts in Athens destroy Finnish diplomat's car
2006
Australian government to consider dropping US FTA amendment
2006
Sydney Opera House 'No War' activists face court for paint cans
2006
Russia assumes leadership of G8 for 2006
2006
Abramoff pleads guilty to three charges
2006
US survey finds advertising contributes to increased underage drinking
2006
Southern Ocean whale slaughter to resume
2006
Presidential candidate of Haiti, Dany Toussaint, arrested by United Nations troops
2007
New Zealand holiday road toll at 26-year low
2007
Insurgents now control Iraqi city
2007
U.S. superbug expected to emerge in Canada
2007
Broncos player Williams shot to death, police looking for suspect
2007
Saddam's co-defendants to be executed Thursday
2007
CNN typo mixes up prospective U.S. presidential candidate with Osama bin Laden
2008
Indian NE state of Nagaland now under President's rule
2008
Musharraf denies government involvement in death of Bhutto
2008
Sri Lankan government withdraws truce with Tamil rebels
2008
British government advises against non-essential travel to Kenya
2008
Several police officers stabbed in the UK
2008
One dead in ski chairlift accident in Switzerland
2008
Car bomb explodes in Turkey, killing 4 and injuring many
2008
Russian charter bus collides with transit bus in Sweden, 60 injured
2008
Three firemen die fighting office block fire in China
2009
Ghanaians elect new President
2009
Illinois Governor Blagojevich appoints Roland Burris for vacated U.S. Senate seat
2009
Philippines Senate and House of Representatives to probe ‘P50-million drug bribe mess’
2009
Israel begins ground assault on Gaza Strip
2009
Criminal appeals denied for American Evangelists
2009
Mexican billionaire denies buying Honda Formula One team
2010
New year introduces Illinois texting while driving ban, among other laws
2010
NHL: Boston Bruins win Winter Classic in overtime
2010
Death toll from Brazil mudslides rises to sixty
2010
US researchers increase tobacco's oil production for biofuel use
2010
US jobless claims fall, reach seventeen-month low
2010
Nearly 25% of Iceland's voters petition for veto of Icesave bill
2010
Magnitude 6.5 earthquake rocks the Solomon Islands
2010
Volcano erupts in Democratic Republic of Congo
2011
Fifteen killed by US drone strikes in Northern Waziristan
2011
Obama signs healthcare bill for 9/11 emergency workers
2012
Two Syrian journalists killed around New Year's Day
2013
Comedian Jim Davidson arrested as part of Yewtree sex abuse inquiries
2013
Photojournalist photographing Justin Bieber's car run over by another vehicle
2013
Pennsylvania court sentences child porn priest to eight years in prison

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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