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

Today in History

1863
Battle of Gettysburg begins
1867
Dominion Day in Canada
1916
Two-time Academy Award winning actress, Olivia de Havilland born in Tokyo, Japan
1934
Actor Jamie Farr born Jameel Joseph Farah in Toledo, Ohio
1939
Screenwriter, singer, songwriter and Academy Award nominated actress, Karen Black born Karen Blanche Ziegler in Park Ridge, Illinois
1945
Grammy Award winning singer, Debbie Harry born in Miami, Florida
1952
Screenwriter, musician, comedian and Emmy Award winning actor, Dan Aykroyd born in Ottawa, Ontario
1960
Independence Day in Somalia
1961
Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales, born Diana Frances Spencer in Sandringham, England
1962
Independence Day in Burundi and Rwanda
1967
Author and actress, Pamela Anderson born Pamela Denise Anderson in Ladysmith, British Columbia
1977
Fashion model and actress, Liv Tyler born in New York City
1997
Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty
69
Vespasian proclaimed Roman Emperor
1067
Death of Maurilius, Archbishop of Rouen
1187
Saladin's army crosses the Jordan
1251
Mangu named KaKhan
1266
Treaty of Perth
1270
St. Louis IX, King of France, leaves on the 8th Crusade
1390
A French expeditionary force sails to fight the Barbary pirates
1506
King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia born
1523
Two of Luther's followers burned alive at Brussels
1534
Fredrick II, King of Denmark and Norway born
1535
Sir Thomas More indicted for treason after refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the church. He had recently resigned from his post as Lord Chancellor of England rather than acknowledge the king's divorce. He was beheaded.
1543
Peace of Greenwich
1552
Death of Antonio de Mendoza, first Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico)
1555
Burning of John Bradford as an heretic
1569
Union of Lublin
1595
An English fleet sacks Cadiz, Spain
1643
The Westminster Assembly convenes for the first time in London. Five years later it would publish the Westminster longer and shorter catechisms, which would be rejected by the Anglican church but accepted by the Presbyterians. (London)
1646
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz born
1784
Johann Sebastian Bach's eldest son died. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach had held great promise as a composer himself. Some of his music has survived to this day. He died so heavily in debt that he had been reduced to selling some of his father's music under his own name.
1824
Charles Grandison Finney, the father of modern revivalism, is ordained.
1863
The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg began.
1867
Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain as the British North America Act took effect.
1892
Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon dies.
1896
Abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, dies.
1898
During the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders" waged a victorious assault on San Juan Hill in Cuba.
1899
Three business travelers meeting in a YMCA building decide to form an organization to distribute Bibles. The Christian Commercial Men's Association of America, later renamed the Gideons, placed their first Bibles in a hotel room nine years later.
1916
Actress Olivia de Havilland born
1916
Dwight D. Eisenhower married Mary ("Mamie") Geneva Doud in Denver, Colorado.
1919
First Class Postage DROPS to 2 cents from 3 cents.
1925
Actor Farley Granger born
1927
Bartok's First Piano Concerto was premiered in Frankfurt, with Furtwangler conducting and Bartok himself playing the piano. The critics actually liked it. This work is very percussive but still has an almost Romantic sense of drama and climax.
1931
Actress-dancer Leslie Caron born
1932
The Democrats nominated Franklin Roosevelt for president. FDR eventually won four consecutive terms.
1934
Actress Jean Marsh born
1934
Comedy writer Pat McCormick born
1934
Actor Jamie Farr born
1934
Movie producer-director Claude Berr born
1934
Movie director Sydney Pollack born
1935
Bluesman James Cotton born
1936
Cookiemaker Wally (Famous) Amos born
1939
Singer-musician Delaney Bramlett born
1941
Dancer-choreographer Twyla Tharp born
1942
Karen Black, actress born
1942
Actress Karen Black born
1942
Actress Genevieve Bujold born
1942
Gospel singer Andrae Crouch born
1943
"Pay-as-you-go" income tax withholding began.
1944
Bretton Woods Conference starts, establishing world-wide financial systems (like the IMF and the World Bank).
1945
Rock singer-actress Deborah Harry born
1946
The United States exploded a 20-kiloton atomic bomb near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
1950
Movie-TV producer-director Michael Pressman born
1951
Actor Trevor Eve born
1951
Actor Daryl Anderson born
1951
Rock singer Fred Schneider (B-52's) born
1952
Actor-comedian Dan Aykroyd born
1956
Actor Alan Ruck ("Spin City") born
1957
Actress Lorna Patterson born
1961
Princess Diana born
1961
Olympic gold medal track star Carl Lewis born
1961
Country singer Michelle Wright born
1962
Actor Andre Braugher born
1963
The US Post Office inaugurated its five-digit ZIP codes.
1966
The Medicare federal insurance program went into effect.
1967
Actress Pamela Lee born
1968
The United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and 58 other nations signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
1970
Rock musician Mark Pirro (Tripping Daisy) born
1970
Rock musician Franny Griffiths (Space) born
1977
Actress Liv Tyler born
1980
"O Canada" was proclaimed the national anthem of Canada.
1985
The Supreme Court ruled that public school teachers may not conduct classes in religiously affiliated schools.
1985
The Israeli Cabinet decided to release 300 Lebanese prisoners, but denied the decision had anything to do with the release of 39 Americans held hostage in the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.
1987
President Reagan nominated federal appeals court judge Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court, setting off a tempestuous confirmation process that ended with Bork's rejection by the Senate.
1988
A four-day national conference of Soviet Communist Party members ended in Moscow, with Mikhail S. Gorbachev winning approval for sweeping changes.
1989
"Playboy" magazine founder Hugh Hefner married Kimberley Faye Conrad at his mansion in Los Angeles. (The couple separated last year.)
1990
The West and East German economies were united as the Deutsche mark replaced the Ost mark as currency in East Germany.
1991
President Bush nominated federal appeals court judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, beginning a confirmation process marked by allegations of sexual harassment.
1991
Actor Michael Landon died in Malibu, California, at age 54.
1991
Court TV made its debut. The cable network broadcasts entire trials, both famous and low profile.
1992
The first supplies from relief flights reached besieged neighborhoods in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1992
Actor Andrew Cavarno ("Party of Five") born
1992
Actor Stephen Cavarno ("Party of Five") born
1992
California issued its first state IOU's since the Great Depression as a budget standoff left the state cashless on the first day of its fiscal year.
1993
The Wynton Marsalis Septet performed at Tanglewood.
1993
The space shuttle "Endeavour" returned from a ten-day mission.
1993
A gunman opened fire in a San Francisco law office, killing eight people and wounding six before killing himself.
1994
PLO chairman Yasser Arafat returned to Palestinian land after 27 years in exile as he drove from Egypt into Gaza, where he kissed the ground and prayed.
1995
Russian President Boris Yeltsin's government survived a critical no-confidence vote.
1995
Rock 'n' roll disc jockey Wolfman Jack died in Belvidere, North Carolina, at age 57.
1996
Twelve members of an Arizona anti-government group, the "Viper Militia," were charged with plotting to blow up government buildings.
1996
President Clinton declared an emergency in drought-stricken parts of Southwest.
1996
Actress Margaux Hemingway was found dead in her Santa Monica, California, apartment; she was 41.
1997
Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule after 156 years as a British colony.
1997
Actor Robert Mitchum died in Santa Barbara County, California, at age 79.
1998
Speaking in Shanghai, President Clinton urged his Chinese hosts to open markets, battle corruption and clean up the environment.
1999
A gondola in the French Alps ripped away from its cables, killing 20 people aboard.
1999
African nationalist Joshua Nkomo died in Harare, Zimbabwe, at age 82.
1999
Candy empire founder Forrest Mars Sr. died in Miami at age 95.
1999
Movie director Edward Dmytryk died in Encino, Calif., at age 90.
1999
Exactly six months before the year 2000, Congress passed legislation to shield businesses from a potential flood of Y2K computer-related lawsuits.
2000
In ceremonies simple and elaborate, gay couples around Vermont stood before justices of the peace and clergy to be legally joined as spouses. It wasn't quite marriage, but Vermont's new civil unions law, which took effect this day, granted them all the rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage in the state.
2000
South Carolina lowered the Confederate flag, widely considered a symbol of racism against blacks in the United States, from its Capitol dome amid a chorus of protests. At a midday ceremony, state officials lowered the flag from the Statehouse. They then raised a Confederate battle flag on a 30-foot pole at the Confederate Soldier Monument directly in front of the Capitol.
2000
One person was killed and at least 75 people were injured at the Lonz Winery when the terrace floor gave way, dropping victims and rubble 20 feet into an old wine cellar. The winery is located on Middle Bass Island, Ohio, in Lake Erie.
2000
Walter Matthau, the lovably grumpy comic actor with the hangdog face and gruff voice, died at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica. He was 79.
2005
Romania redenominates its currency
2005
Fiji "running out of patience" with Vanuatu over ban on Fijian biscuits Fiji
2005
Rail tunnel collapses at Gerrards Cross, UK
2005
US officials accused of covering up human deaths from BSE and discouraging testing of suspected animals
2005
Spain legalizes same-sex marriage
2005
USA lifts remaining sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro
2005
Minnesota state government shuts down
2005
Multiple deaths as Congolese government cracks down on pro-democracy protests
2005
FBI's covert "Operation Site Down" targets top international warez and piracy sites
2005
Africa faces food crisis, UN Security Council told
2005
Leitzinger, Forbes-Robinson win the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona
2005
United States Supreme Court Justice O'Connor to retire
2005
Schröder loses motion of confidence
2005
Man calls for seizure of Justice Souter home, under eminent domain ruling
2005
US House approves $1.17 billion in Amtrak funding
2005
UN/WHO making progress in treating HIV/AIDS, but will miss target
2006
Schools benefit from new California budget
2006
World's highest railway links Tibet to rest of China
2006
Defamed man to sue website over cheat 'slur'
2006
English cricketer Fred Trueman dies, aged 75
2006
Superman returns to theatres
2006
Discovery going for second launch since 2003 Columbia loss
2006
All Ferrari front row on United States Grand Prix
2006
Purpose of mysterious website Eon8 revealed
2006
France beat Brazil 1-0 to take last semi-final spot
2006
Portugal taken to penalties; beat England and reach historic semi-final
2007
Woman killed on amusement park ride in New York
2007
America's Cup: Alinghi one race away from winning
2007
Kimi Räikkönen wins French Grand Prix
2007
JFK airport terminal evacuated due to suspicious package
2007
Cricket: Future Cup-3rd ODI
2007
West Indies cricket team in England - 1st ODI
2007
Smoking ban in England comes into force
2007
Glasgow International Airport reopened; arrests made and houses searched
2007
Sesame Street Live near the finish of its 27th season
2007
IPhone hits US market, strong initial sales
2007
Leahy: Congress willing to 'go to court' over W.H. subpoena standoff
2007
Cricket: Scotland v Pakistan abandoned due to rain
2007
Bush loses power to 'fast-track' trade deals
2008
Man kills five police officers in Shanghai
2008
Ulysses spacecraft retires after 17 year mission
2008
Google's GPhone to be postponed awaiting Android modifications
2008
Man to face court after axe attack in Australia
2008
Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, June 2008
2008
Mugabe spokeperson tells critics to 'go hang'
2008
Counter-terrorism agents search home in suburban Chicago, Illinois
2008
UEFA Champions League 2008–09 Qualification: 42 Clubs learn their fate for First and Second Qualifying Rounds
2008
Libel case against Wikimedia Foundation dismissed
2008
Half a million złoty vanish from the bank account of Lech Wałęsa
2008
Truck carrying 12 million bees overturns in New Brunswick
2009
File sharing site The Pirate Bay sold
2009
Heat wave proves deadly for Nebraska cattle
2009
Russian singer Lyudmila Zykina dies at age 80
2009
Severe storms impact the northeast U.S.
2009
Bomb blast kills 27 in Iraq
2010
Australian priest admits child sex abuse, testifies in court
2010
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers face potential charges in Dziekanski tasering death
2010
Christian Wulff elected Germany's new president
2010
Scores killed in bombings at Pakistani shrine
2010
English court jails policeman over insurance fraud
2010
Australian Foreign Minister condemns Fiji media decree
2011
Hundreds of thousands of British public sector workers strike over planned pension changes
2011
U.S. space agency NASA sues ex-astronaut
2013
Egyptian military issues ultimatum to Morsi
2013
Canada approves revision to previously anti-competitive broadcaster acquisition
2013
Pride in London 2013: in pictures

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