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Today in History

1643
Physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, Sir Isaac Newton born in Lincolnshire, England
1762
England declares war on Spain and Naples
1785
Philologist, jurist and mythologist, Jacob Grimm born in Hanau, Germany
1797
Banker, writer and the first astronomer to map the Moon, Wilhelm Beer born in Berlin, Prussia
1930
Head coach of the Miami Dolphins during their 1972 perfect season, Don Shula born in Grand River, Ohio
1937
Golden Globe Award winning actress, Dyan Cannon born in Tacoma, Washington
1951
Seoul captured by North Korea
1959
Luna I passes within 6,000 meters of the moon
1965
Stage and screen actress, Julia Ormond born in Epsom, England
1974
President Nixon refuses to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Watergate Committee
1974
Policeman and Olympic Gold Medalist luger, Armin Zöggeler born in Meran, Italy
2004
NASA's rover Spirit lands on Mars
275
St. Eutychian becomes Pope
536
Two monks return to Constantinople with the secret of the manufacture of silk
838
Babak executed at Samarra
1254
William of Rubrick is granted an audience with the KaKhan of the Mongols
1399
Death of Nicholas Eymeric, theologian and inquisitor
1493
Christopher Columbus returned to Europe from the New World with six Native Americans he believed were from India, hence he called them "Indians."
1604
Death of Ferenc Nadasdy, the "Black Knight of Hungary"
1642
Charles I invades Parliament, to arrest the members indicted for Treason
1643
Sir Isaac Newton, scientist. born
1644
The House of Lords assents to the Bill of Attainder against Archbishop Laud
1648
The English House of Commons declares itself Sovereign
1710
Composer Pergolesi. He was the composer whose music inspired Stravinsky's ballet "Pulcinella." Sergei Diaghilev had the idea of basing a ballet on Baroque music. Stravinsky didn't like Pergolesi's music but warmed to it later. born
1717
In the Seven Years War, England declared war on Spain and Naples.
1785
Folklore and fairy tale collector Jakob Grimm born
1809
Louis Braille, inventor of a reading system for the blind, was born in Coupvray, France. born
1813
Shorthand writing system inventor Isaac Pitman born
1821
The first native-born American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, died in Emmitsburg, Md.
1838
Charles Stratton, the midget known as Gen. Tom Thumb born
1863
Four-wheeled roller skates were patented by James Plimpton of New York.
1885
Dr. William W. Grant of Davenport, Iowa, performed what's believed to have been the first appendectomy. The patient was 22-year-old Mary Gartside.
1896
Sen. Everett Dirksen born
1896
Utah became the 45th U.S. state.
1908
Mulai Hafid was proclaimed sultan of Morocco at Fez.
1919
Vilna (now Vilnius), which had been proclaimed capital of independent Lithuania, was captured by Soviet troops. The occupation lasted only until April.
1927
Actress Barbara Rush born
1930
Football coach Don Shula born
1932
deal with a campaign of nationalist civil disobedience. The National Congress party was declared illegal and Mahatma Gandhi was arrested.
1935
Former heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Patterson born
1937
Actress Dyan Cannon born
1937
Opera singer Grace Bumbry born
1941
Maureen Reagan born
1946
The cartoon characters Heckle and Jeckle debuted.
1948
The British governor of Burma formally handed over power, and the Union of Burma was proclaimed as an independent republic with Thakin Nu as first prime minister.
1951
In the Korean War, the North Koreans and Chinese communists captured the Southern capital of Seoul.
1955
Country singer Kathy Forester (The Forester Sisters) born
1956
Actress Ann Magnuson born
1956
Rock musician Bernard Sumner (New Order) born
1957
Country singer Patty Loveless born
1958
Sputnik I, the world's first artificial satellite launched in October 1957 by the Soviet Union, fell to Earth.
1960
Rock singer Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) born
1960
French author Albert Camus died in an automobile accident at age 46.
1963
Actor Dave Foley ("News Radio") born
1965
Tennis player Guy Forget born
1965
Actress Julia Ormond born
1965
President Johnson outlined the goals of his ''Great Society'' in his State of the Union Address.
1965
Poet T.S. Eliot died in London at age 76.
1966
Country singer Deana Carter born
1967
Donald Campbell, British car and speedboat racer, was killed on Coniston Water in England during an attempt to break the world water speed record.
1967
Rock musician Benjamin Darvill (Crash Test Dummies) born
1969
George Jones and Dolly Parton joined the Grand Ole Opry.
1971
Actor Jeremy Licht (''Valerie'') born
1974
Burma inaugurated a new constitution providing for a Peoples Assembly.
1975
LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart.
1976
CBS aired the final episode of CHER.
1980
President Jimmy Carter announced curtailment of U.S. grain sales to the Soviet Union because of the invasion of Afghanistan.
1985
Israel confirmed that 10,000 Ethiopian Jews had been flown to Israel. Ethiopia termed the operation "a gross interference" in its affairs.
1989
Two US Navy F-14 fighters shot down a pair of Libyan MiG-23 fighters in a clash over international waters off the Libyan coast.
1990
Charles Stuart, who claimed to have been wounded and his wife shot dead by a black robber, leapt to his death off a Boston Harbor bridge after he himself became a suspect.
1990
Deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega was arraigned in federal district court in Miami on drug-trafficking charges.
1991
With a week and a-half left before a U-N deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, Iraq agreed to hold its first high-level talks with the United States since the start of the Persian Gulf crisis.
1992
President Bush, visiting Singapore as part of a Pacific trade tour, announced plans to shift the Navy logistics command that was being evicted from the Philippines to Singapore.
1993
Berlin's other philharmonic, the German Symphony of Berlin, recorded the piano concertos of Stravinsky for Decca. Olli Mustonen soloed; Vladimir Askkenazy conducted; and Dmitri Ashkenazy soloed in Stravinsky's "Ebony Concerto."
1994
Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen announced a plan to drive most gun dealers out of business by proposing sharp increases in the licensing fee and stricter controls on people who buy and sell weapons.
1994
Nine people were killed and at least 48 wounded as the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo shuddered under heavy shelling from its Serb besiegers.
1995
Bosnian government troops began a belated withdrawal from a demilitarized mountain zone overlooking Sarajevo in keeping with a four-month truce accord.
1995
The 104th Congress convened, the first entirely under Republican control since Eisenhower era.
1995
Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia was formally elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the first Republican to hold the post in 40 years.
1996
Bowing to pressure from NATO and the United States, Bosnian Serbs freed 16 civilians who had entered Serb-held territory after NATO forces had declared roads in Bosnia open to all.
1996
Poland's counter-intelligence chief, Colonel Konstanty Miodowicz, announced his resignation in an apparent protest against allegations that the secret services had stepped out of line in accusing Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy of spying.
1998
Adventurer Steve Fossett was trying to decide whether to land his problem-plagued hot-air balloon but his spokesman said it was doubtful he will be able to make it around the world nonstop. Maneuvers over Eastern Europe had shifted his course away from favorable air currents and cost the balloonist precious fuel. And a malfunctioning remote control for one of the propane burners heating his balloon was forcing him to climb out of a hatch to turn the burner on and off.
1998
Administration officials said President Clinton would ask Congress to help him overhaul the Social Security old age pension system by the end of 1999. Clinton wanted to move on the issue quickly, expecting once the presidential election got into full swing there will be little chance to pass legislation to save the system.
1998
Gale force winds ripped across Europe over the weekend, causing several deaths and cutting power to tens of thousands of homes in Britain and France.
1998
Russia's Mir space station was back to normal after the crew replaced part of a computer that malfunctioned December 31, making the vessel go into a spin and lose power, Mission Control said. The gyrodines were fully operational and temperature, orientation and air pressure were normal.
1998
Foreign Minister David Levy resigned in a move that left Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clinging tenuously to power and may complicate U.S.-led efforts to revive Middle East peacemaking. Netanyahu, facing his worst crisis in 19 months in office, urged Levy to reconsider but declared his right-wing government would remain in office with or without him and lead the Jewish state into the 21st century.
1999
Europe's new currency, the euro, got off to a strong start on its first trading day, rising against the dollar on world currency markets.
1999
Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura took the oath of office as Minnesota's 37th governor.
2000
Former presidential rival Elizabeth Dole endorsed fellow Republican George W. Bush.
2000
Israel and the Palestinians reached agreement on an Israeli troop pullback from five percent of the West Bank.
2002
Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, was killed by small-arms fire during an ambush in eastern Afghanistan; he was the first American military death from enemy fire in the war against terrorism.
2004
NASA's Mars exploration rover 'Spirit' lands safely on Mars.
2006
Dubai leader Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum dead
2006
Australia First begins revival campaign
2006
Two deaths unreported in Natrecor study
2006
Australia records hottest year on record
2006
Wildfires still burn in Oklahoma, Texas
2006
12 coal miners are found dead, 1 in critical condition, in West Virginia mine
2006
New Zealand holiday road toll: 20 fatalities
2006
Gazprom stops supplying gas to Moldova
2006
BASF makes $4.9 billion hostile bid for Engelhard
2006
Two Mormon missionaries gunned down in Virginia
2006
U.S. Supreme Court orders accused 'Enemy Combatant' Jose Padilla transferred from military to civilian custody
2006
13 dead when roof crashes over ice-skating ring
2006
Israeli PM Sharon rushed to hospital
2006
Red colored EU passports worry Lithuanian politicians
2006
Thai forces on alert for second anniversary of Narathiwat armoury raids
2006
7.1 magnitude earthquake in Fiji
2007
Baghdad TV station shut down for showing Saddam mourners
2007
Australian Police net $540 million in "liquid ecstacy"
2007
Record number of bicycles sold in Australia in 2006
2007
Canadian PM will shuffle cabinet today
2007
Television actors acknowledged by SAG Awards nominations
2007
Canadian PM cabinet shuffle results
2007
United States Navy ordered to Somalian coast
2007
Saturn's moon Titan hosts liquid lakes and rivers
2007
'UFO' spotted in Istanbul, Turkey
2007
Britain makes final World War II debt payments
2007
Nancy Pelosi named new Speaker of the US House of Representatives
2007
Automobiles torched in France for New Years
2007
Toxic chemicals found in four Canadian politicians
2008
Study suggests hospitals are not the best place for cardiac arrest treatment
2008
High percentage of US patients on placebos without knowing it
2008
Israeli troops kill 9 in Gaza
2008
US unemployment hits two-year high
2008
Georgian President faces election challenge
2008
Israel plans crackdown on West Bank settlement outposts
2008
US dollar no longer accepted at Taj Mahal and other Indian historical sites
2008
Egypt lets 2000 pilgrims through Rafah
2008
Huckabee, Obama win Iowa caucuses
2008
2007 was particularly good year for aviation safety
2008
U.S. Senator Dodd bows out of presidential race
2008
British Investigators arrive in Pakistan to join Bhutto investigation
2008
Disgorge bassist Ben Marlin dies from cancer
2008
Transaven Airlines plane carrying up to 18 people still missing off Venezuelan coast
2008
Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis once again delayed
2008
Intel ends partnership with One Laptop Per Child program
2009
Bangkok nightclub owner to face charges over New Year's fire
2009
Belgian king swears in PM Van Rompuy, cabinet
2009
South Africa defeats Australia in second cricket test
2009
USC defeats Penn State in 95th Rose Bowl Game
2009
Sri Lanka Army captures Tamil Tiger's capital of Kilinochchi
2010
US, UK embassies in Yemen close due to al-Qaeda threat
2011
UK actor Peter Postlethwaite dies aged 64
2012
Suspect arrested in Los Angeles arson rampage case
2013
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai discharged from hospital
2013
113th United States Congress convenes
2013
Syrian opposition report fuel station bombing kills at least nine

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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