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Today in History

1881
Nobel Prize winning chemist, physicist and inventor of the gas-filled tungsten filament incandescent lamp, Irving Langmuir born in Brooklyn
1915
Game show host and comedian, Garry Moore born in Baltimore, Maryland
1915
Poet, social activist, Trappist monk, and author, Thomas Merton born in Prades, France
1919
Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jackie Robinson born in Cairo, Georgia [.311BA 137HR 734RBI]
1921
Tony Award winning singer and actress, Carol Elaine Channing born in Seattle, Washington
1930
3M begins marketing Scotch Tape
1939
Hewlett-Packard founded
1956
Creator of the Python programming language, Guido van Rossum born in The Netherlands
1958
First US satellite, Explorer I, launched
1970
Grateful Dead busted in New Orleans
314
St. Sylvester becomes Pope
410
Death of St. Marcella
626
Death of St. Aidan (Madoc) of Ferns
1531
Ferdinand of Hapsburg, King of Hungary, and John Zapolyai, King of Hungary, reach a truce
1547
The Earl of Hertford is appointed Duke of Somerset and Lord-Protector of England
1574
Ben Jonson born
1580
Death of Cardinal Henry, King of Portugal
1606
Guy Fawkes, convicted for his part in the "Gunpowder Plot" against the English Parliament and King James the First, was executed.
1616
First trip both ways around Cape Horn
1620
The Virginia colony requests more orphaned apprentices for employment
1734
Robert Morris, Declaration of Independence signer. born
1788
The Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart dies.
1797
Franz Schubert was born. Schubert was born in Vienna and he died in Vienna. He lived only 31 years. He never heard his own Ninth Symphony in public performance and was led to believe it was unplayable. born
1801
The sale of white bread was prohibited in London.
1830
James G. Blaine, the 'Plumed Knight' born
1851
San Francisco Orphan's Asylum, 1st in California, founded.
1860
Philadelphia music critic James Huneker born
1865
House of Representatives approves a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.
1865
General Robert E. Lee was named General-in-Chief of all the Confederate armies.
1871
Birds fly over the western part of San Francisco in such large numbers that they actually darken the sky.
1872
Western novelist and dentist Zane Grey (The Spirit of the Border, The Last of the Plainsmen, Riders of the Purple Sage) born
1882
Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova born
1885
C.D. Wright was appointed as the first Commissioner of Labor in the United States.
1892
Singer-comedian Eddie (Iskowitz) Cantor (If You Knew Susie like I Know Susie, Alabamy Bound, Dinah, Ida, Makin' Whoopee, Ma He's Makin' Eyes at Me) born
1901
France the Army and the Navy ban corporal punishment.
1902
The Pan American Conference ends in Mexico City with all agreed to settle disputes in peace.
1903
Actress Tallulah Bankhead (Stage Door Canteen, Die! Die! My Darling!) born
1911
The German Reichstag exempts royal families from tax obligations.
1911
Congress passes resolution naming San Francisco as the site of the celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal.
1915
Entertainer (Thomas Morfit) Garry Moore (The Garry Moore Show; I've Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth) born
1915
German U-boats sink two British steamers in the English Channel.
1915
Germans use poison gas on the Russians at Bolimov.
1916
President Wilson refuses the compromise on Lusitania reparations.
1917
Germany served notice that it was beginning a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
1919
Jackie Robinson, the first black to play major league baseball born
1921
Opera singer and actor (Alfred Cocozza) Mario Lanza (Be My Love, The Loveliest Night of the Year, Because You're Mine) born
1921
Actor John Agar (Body Bags, Curse of the Swamp Creatures, Invisible Invaders, Revenge of the Creature, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Sands of Iwo Jima, Fort Apache) born
1923
Author Norman Mailer (The Armies of the Night; Miami and the Siege of Chicago, The Executioner's Song, The Naked and the Dead, An American Dream) born
1923
Actress Carol (Lowe) Channing (Hello, Dolly!, Thoroughly Modern Millie) born
1925
Civil rights leader Benjamin Hooks born
1929
The Soviet Union expelled communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky. He was later assassinated in Mexico.
1929
Actress Jean Simmons (The Big Country, Elmer Gantry, The Robe, Spartacus, Great Expectations, The Thorn Birds, North and South) born
1930
Lt. Ralph S. Barnaby of the U.S. Navy became the first glider pilot to have his craft released from a large blimp at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
1931
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks born
1934
Actor James Franciscus (Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Good Guys Wear Black, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy) born
1934
The Federal Farm Mortgage Corp. is set up to provide low interest loans that are backed by government bonds.
1935
The Soviet premier tells Japan to get out of Manchuria. The rise of militaristic nationalism led Japan down the road to Pearl Harbor and World War II.
1936
The radio show, "The Green Hornet" was introduced by its famous theme song, "The Flight of the Bumble Bee". The show premiered on WXYZ radio, in Detroit, Michigan, and stayed on the air for 16 years.
1937
Minimalist opera composer Philip Glass was born in Baltimore. born
1937
Actress Suzanne Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show, Oh God Book 2, The Birds, If It's Tuesday This Must be Belgium) born
1940
The first Social Security check was issued, by the U.S. Government. The check was for $22.54 and was issued to Ida Fuller of Brattlesboro, Vermont. Her check number was 00-000-001.
1941
House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (Democrat, Missouri) born
1944
Actress Jessica Walter (Temptress, The Execution, The Flamingo Kid, She's Dressed to Kill, Play Misty for Me, Three's a Crowd, For the People, Dinosaurs, Bare Essence) (some sources 1944) born
1944
During World War Two, US forces began invading Kwajalein Atoll and other parts of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
1945
Private Eddie Slovik became the only US soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion as he was shot by an American firing squad in France.
1946
Baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan born
1949
The first TV daytime soap opera, "These Are My Children," was broadcast from the NBC station in Chicago.
1950
Paris protests the Soviet recognition of Ho Chi Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
1950
President Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb. Truman said, ``A leader has to lead, or otherwise he has no business in politics.''
1951
Singer and songwriter Phil Collins (In the Air Tonight, I Missed Again, You Can't Hurry Love, Sussudio, One More Night, Two Hearts) born
1951
Singer-musician KC (KC and the Sunshine Band) born
1956
Rock singer Johnny Rotten born
1957
Swimmer Shirley Babashoff (she holds the record for American woman winning the most Olympic medals) born
1958
The United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, "Explorer One."
1959
Actress Kelly Lynch born
1959
Actor Anthony LaPaglia born
1960
Julie Andrews, Henry Fonda, Rex Harrison and Jackie Gleason, appeared in a two-hour TV special titled, "The Fabulous '50s."
1961
Singer-musician Lloyd Cole born
1961
Ham the chimp is 1st animal sent into space by the US.
1963
Actor John Dye ("Touched By An Angel") born
1966
Rock musician Al Jaworski (Jesus Jones) born
1966
U.S. planes resume bombing of North Vietnam after a 37-day pause.
1971
Actress Minnie Driver born
1971
Astronauts Alan B. Shepard Junior, Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard "Apollo 14" on a mission to the moon.
1973
Actress Portia de Rossi born
1976
Ernesto Miranda, famous from the Supreme Court ruling on "MirandaRights," is stabbed to death in Arizona.
1981
Singer Justin Timberlake ('N Sync) born
1981
Lech Walesa announces an accord in Poland, giving labor Saturdays off.
1982
Sandy Duncan, of Tyler, Texas, gave her final performance as "Peter Pan" in Los Angeles. She completed 956 performances without missing a show, and flew a total of 261.5 miles while on stage.
1982
The Israeli Cabinet agreed to a multi-national peace-keeping force to act as a buffer between Israel and Egypt in the Sinai peninsula.
1984
Newsman Edwin Newman retired from NBC News after 35 years with the network.
1985
The final Jeep, the workhorse vehicle that came home a hero from World War II, rolled off the assembly line at the AMC plant in Toledo, Ohio.
1987
Discount airline pioneer People Express flew its last flights before merging into Continental Airlines.
1987
Members of the United Steelworkers union ratified a contract with USX Corporation, ending a six-month work stoppage.
1988
The Washington Redskins crushed the Denver Broncos, 42-to-10, to win Super Bowl 22 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.
1989
Jury selection began in the trial of former National Security Council aide Oliver North, charged in connection with the Iran-Contra affair. (North was later convicted on three counts, but those convictions were set aside, and the case was not retried.)
1990
McDonald's Corporation opened its first fast-food restaurant in Moscow.
1991
During the Gulf War, Army Specialist Melissa Rathbun-Nealy and Army Specialist David Lockett were captured by Iraqi forces near the Kuwaiti-Saudi border; both were eventually released.
1991
Allied forces claimed victory against Iraqi attackers at Khafji, Saudi Arabia.
1992
Leaders of the UN Security Council's member states held an unprecedented summit, after which they issued a declaration on collective security, arms control and nuclear non-proliferation.
1993
The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 52-to-17 in Super Bowl 27, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
1994
Gerry Adams, president of the pro-IRA Sinn Fein party, arrived in New York after being granted a 48-hour visa so that he could take part in a conference on the violence in Northern Ireland.
1994
In Somalia, a convoy of U.S. soldiers opened fire on hundreds of Somali civilians outside a food distribution center, killing at least eight.
1995
After Congress failed to act quickly, President Clinton used his emergency authority to provide financially troubled Mexico with a $20 billion loan.
1995
The prosecution in the double-murder trial of O.J. Simpson began presenting its case.
1995
Legendary Broadway producer-director George Abbott died in Miami Beach, Florida, at age 107
1996
In one of the worst attacks in Sri Lanka's civil war, a truck packed with explosives rammed into the central bank and exploded, killing 88 people and wounding 14-hundred others.
1996
The last Cubans held in refugee camps at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base boarded a plane for Florida.
1997
Three days of deliberations in the O.J. Simpson civil trial in Santa Monica, California, were scrapped and the jury forced to start all over again after the only black woman on the panel was replaced because of misconduct.
1998
Endeavour after four months on the Russian space station Mir.
1999
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham presented what they called convincing proof that the AIDS virus originated in chimpanzees and spread to people in Africa.
1999
The Denver Broncos repeated as NFL champions, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.
2000
An Alaska Airlines jet plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 people aboard.
2000
Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker was suspended by baseball commissioner Bud Selig for disparaging foreigners, homosexuals and minorities in a Sports Illustrated interview.
2000
Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis was charged with murder in the deaths of two people outside an Atlanta nightclub hours after the Super Bowl. (Lewis ended his trial early by pleading guilty to obstruction of justice; two co-defendants were acquitted at trial.)
2005
Protests at New York's Hamilton College over controversial professor
2005
Survey reveals US student apathy for freedom of speech
2005
Slovak escapes from avalanche using urine
2005
Vandals deface Australia's Myall Creek memorial
2005
Virgin of Suyapa visits Honduran suburb devastated by massacre
2005
RAF Hercules crashes north of Baghdad killing ten
2005
Kofi Annan notes high turnout in Iraq elections
2005
MetLife to acquire Travelers Life and Annuity from Citigroup
2005
Report into 2003/2004 New South Wales (Australia) hospital safety released
2006
Steve Kubby, co-author of California Proposition 215, grows dangerously ill in US custody
2006
Al-Jazeera airs new video of Ayman al-Zawahri
2006
Americans spent more than they earned in 2005
2006
100th British soldier killed in Iraq
2006
U.S. Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Alito
2006
Virginia takes action against Zebra Mussels in private pond
2006
Nominations announced for 78th Academy Awards
2006
Internet Explorer 7 beta released to the public
2006
Coretta Scott King passes away
2006
West Papuan refugees may face death if deported
2007
Petrol pricing in Bathurst, NSW reduced for only seven days
2007
Several dead after gas station explosion
2007
India wins the cricket series against West Indies by 3-1
2007
Prestigious design award given to TAG Heuer
2007
Sweden to open embassy in Second Life
2007
Steel Industry: Tata buys Corus
2007
Man arrested after attempting to break into Prince Charles's home
2007
Militants to present evidence Malacanang sanctioned killings
2007
Confirmed bird flu death in Nigeria
2007
'Bridezilla' YouTube video: many debate legitimacy
2007
New Zealand exam insulter revealed
2008
Schwarzenegger endorses McCain for U.S. Presidency
2008
China's winter weather threatens food supplies
2008
Brechin thrown out of Scottish Cup after dispute
2008
Getting the exclusive lowdown on The Lowdown
2009
Franco-Belgian bank Dexia to restructure, lose 900 jobs
2009
Brain chemical Serotonin behind locusts’ swarming instinct
2009
Discworld author films his battle with Alzheimer's
2009
Iraqi provincial elections relatively peaceful
2009
British Airways plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2050
2009
US Republicans elect first African-American chairman
2009
Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden fights back after invasion of German naked hikers
2009
Sony net profit falls by 95%
2009
Trial date set for fraud case against Church of Scientology in France
2009
Holocaust denial bishop apologizes
2010
Gaddafi loses African Union chair
2010
China threatens to take action over US-Taiwan deal
2010
Snow causes German travel woes
2010
US government stops Haiti evacuations
2010
Roger Federer wins Australian Open
2010
Asian ministers pledge to increase wild tiger numbers
2010
Man found dead after car crash in Shetland
2010
Domestic stabbing suspect arrested in Massachusetts
2012
Elizabeth II annuls Fred Goodwin knighthood
2013
Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named 'Wikipedia'

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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