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Today in History

1913
Circus clown, painter, radio comedian and television star, Red Skelton born in Vincennes, Indiana
1937
The original 'Gonzo' journalist, Hunter S. Thompson born in Louisville, Kentucky
1950
Entrepreneur, explorer and humanitarian, Sir Richard Branson born in London, England
1967
Film maker and actor, Vin Diesel born Mark Sinclair Vincent in New York City
1969
After a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy drives off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, dies
1977
Vietnam joins the United Nations
64
The Great Fire of Rome began. The cause of the fire was blamed on the Christians.
390
Gauls defeat Romans and sack Rome
641
Death of St. Arnulf of Metz
1100
Death of Godfrey de Boullion; Baldwin becomes King of Jerusalem
1216
Election of Honorius III as Pope
1289
Death of Alfonso, King of Aragon
1290
A treaty safeguarding liberties of Scots against the English
1290
Edward I, King of England, expels the Jews from England
1374
Death of Petrarch
1536
The authority of the pope was declared void in England.
1552
Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor born
1610
Death of Caravaggio, painter
1627
French explorers noted oil seeping out of the ground near Cuba, New York, and described the phenomenon in a letter to Joseph de la Roche de Allion back in France.
1635
Birth of Robert Hooke
1639
Death of Bernard of Saxe-Weimar
1723
Johann Sebastian Bach, still settling in as the music director of Leipzig, produced the motet "Jesu, meine Freunde" for a memorial service for the widow of the Leipzig postmaster.
1753
Lemuel Haynes, colonial American Congregational clergyman. In 1785, Haynes, then 32, was ordained to a church in Torrington, Connecticut, making him the first African-American to pastor a white church. born
1792
American naval hero John Paul Jones died in Paris at age 45.
1811
English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray. Victorian novelist, wrote 'Vanity Fair'. born
1817
Author Jane Austen died.
1870
The Vatican I Ecumenical Council issued the proclamation 'Pastor Aeternus,'declaring the pope's primacy and infallibility in deciding faith and moral matters. (Few Protestants agree with this doctrine.)
1872
Britain introduced the concept of voting by secret ballot.
1894
The composer Bernard Wagenaar was born.
1906
S. I. Hayakawa born
1909
Harriet Nelson (born Peggy Louise Snyder). She performed under the name Harriet Hilliard. born
1911
Actor Hume Cronyn born
1913
Comedian Red Skelton born
1918
Former South African President Nelson Mandela born
1921
Former astronaut and senator from Ohio John Glenn. born
1927
Ty Cobb hit safely for the 4000th time in his career.
1927
"Mahagonny," by Kurt Weill, premiered at the Baden-Baden Festival to cheers and catcalls.
1929
Skating champion and commentator Dick Button born
1929
Singer Screamin' Jay Hawkins born
1932
The United States and Canada signed a treaty to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.
1933
The Russian poet Yevgeni Yevtushenko was born in Irkutsk in Siberian Russia. born
1936
The Spanish Civil War began as General Francisco Franco led an uprising of army troops based in Spanish North Africa.
1937
Author-journalist Hunter S. Thompson, the founder of gonzo journalism. born
1938
Movie director Paul Verhoeven ("Basic Instinct") born
1939
Singer Dion DiMucci born
1939
Singer Brian Auge born
1940
Actor James Brolin born
1941
Singer Martha Reeves born
1941
Blues guitarist Lonnie Mack born
1944
Hideki Tojo was removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks suffered by his country in World War Two.
1947
Actor Kurt Mann born
1947
President Truman signed the Presidential Succession Act, which placed the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.
1954
Country singer Ricky Skaggs born
1958
Rock musician Nigel Twist (The Alarm) born
1959
Actress Audrey Landers born
1961
Actress Elizabeth McGovern born
1962
Rock musician Jack Irons (Pearl Jam) is 35. born
1962
Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) born
1967
Actor Vin Diesel ("Saving Private Ryan") born
1968
Intel Corporation is incorporated.
1969
A car driven by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts) plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha's Vineyard. His passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, died.
1971
Brazilian soccer player Pel played his last game, in a match in Rio de Janiero with the Yugoslavian team. It was a tie game.
1976
The serious, potentially fatal arthritic condition called Lyme disease was named on this day. It is contacted from deer ticks. Its name comes from the Connecticut town near which the disease was first observed.
1977
Vietnam was admitted to the United Nations.
1978
Rock musician Tony Fagenson (Eve 6) born
1979
Actor Jason Weaver born
1984
Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.
1984
A gunman opened fire at a McDonald's fast food restaurant in San Ysidro, California, killing 21 people before being shot dead by police.
1985
Appearing publicly for the first time since his cancer surgery, President Reagan waved to photographers from a window at Bethesda Naval Hospital, flashing an "OK" sign when asked how he felt.
1986
The world got its first look at the remains of the Titanic as videotapes of the British luxury liner, which sank in 1912, were released by researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
1987
President Reagan used his weekly radio address to call on Congress to give more aid to the Nicaraguan Contras. Molly Yard was elected the new president of the National Organization for Women, succeeding Eleanor Smeal.
1988
Texas Treasurer Ann Richards delivered the keynote address at the Democratic national convention in Atlanta, needling Republican nominee-apparent George Bush as having been "born with a silver foot in his mouth."
1989
Actress Rebecca Schaeffer, 21, was shot to death at her Los Angeles home by obsessed fan Robert Bardo, who was later sentenced to life in prison.
1989
Reversing an earlier decision, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski declared his candidacy for Poland's presidency, which he won the following day.
1990
Baseball great Pete Rose was sentenced to five months in prison for tax evasion.
1990
Dr. Karl Menninger, the dominant figure in American psychiatry for six decades, died in Topeka, Kan., four days short of his 97th birthday.
1991
The first Ibero-American Summit Conference opened in Guadalajara, Mexico.
1991
Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon demanded the release of two Lebanese brothers being held in Germany, warning there could be "grave consequences."
1992
Britain's opposition Labor Party chose John Smith as its leader, replacing Neil Kinnock.
1993
FBI Director William Sessions continued to resist White House suggestions he step down, saying he would resign only if President Clinton asked him to.
1994
A car bomb destroyed a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 95.
1994
Bosnia-Herzegovina's Muslim-dominated parliament endorsed a peace plan, but later withdrew its support after Bosnian Serbs rejected it.
1994
Tutsi rebels declared an end to Rwanda's 14-week-old civil war.
1995
Senate Republicans opened a new round of Whitewater hearings.
1995
Opening statements were presented in the trial of Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman charged with drowning her two young sons.
1996
Recovery efforts continued off Long Island, New York, for the bodies of the 230 people who died in the fiery crash of TWA Flight 800; President Clinton, meanwhile, urged Americans not to immediately assume the crash was the work of terrorists.
1997
German businessman Thomas Kramer was slapped with a record $323,000 penalty by the Federal Election Commission for making illegal US political contributions.
1997
All key systems on the Russian space station "Mir" returned to near-normal, about 24 hours after the already disabled spacecraft had lost power.
1998
Residents along the northern coast of Papua, New Guinea were left reeling after a 23-foot-high tidal wave hit the night before, killing an estimated three-thousand people.
1999
Authorities looking into the disappearance of the plane carrying John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and sister-in-law announced that the search and rescue operation had become search and recovery.
1999
Paul Lawrie won the British Open after Jean Van de Velde triple-bogeyed on the 72nd hole.
1999
David Cone of the New York Yankees pitched a perfect game against the Montreal Expos, leading his team to a 6-0 victory.
2000
Shrugging off a veto threat from President Clinton, the Senate voted 61-to-38 in favor of eliminating the so-called "marriage penalty" by cutting taxes for virtually every married couple.
2000
Senator Paul Coverdell (Republican, Georgia) died in Atlanta at age 61.
2005
Yankees win 3 in 4 game series with Red Sox
2005
Cooper claims he learned of Plame through Rove
2005
11-year-old California girl charged for throwing stone in defense
2005
Six people arrested under immigration laws in Leeds, England
2005
Utah bill requiring divine design education withdrawn by Senator Chris Buttars
2005
Afghan warlord convicted by British court of torture
2005
Hurricane Emily is second strike for Jamaica
2005
Governor of Tokyo is sued for insulting French language
2005
Report: invasion of Iraq provided boost for Al-Qaeda
2005
UEFA CL: Second leg of first qualifying round starts tomorrow
2006
Harvard lawyer who advises IDF asked about "rules of engagement" in 2004
2006
Light aircraft makes emergency landing in major industrial estate
2006
Heatwave sweeps USA, many struggling to keep cool
2006
Day 7 of the Hezbollah-Israel conflict
2006
Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center
2006
Poll finds support for Australian PM
2006
Commerce Commission fines BNZ $5 million
2007
US Senate to vote on troop pullout from Iraq today
2007
TAM Linhas Aéreas plane crashes at São Paulo airport in Brazil
2007
UK tube company Metronet goes into administration
2007
US Senate says no to pullout of US troops from Iraq
2007
Driver dies after truck falls onto railway line in County Durham, England
2007
Toxic air from Ukraine train derailment continues to make people sick
2007
Explosion, steam eruption near Grand Central Terminal in New York City
2007
Tour de France: Cédric Vasseur wins stage 10
2008
MUFON releases report on UFO sighting in Stephenville, Texas
2008
Three firefighters killed in blaze at Chinese plastics factory
2008
Cuba to receive high speed internet connection from Venezuela
2008
Searching for asteroids, extraterrestrial life a little more rocky: Budget cuts threaten to close Arecibo, world's largest radio telescope
2009
Blob off Alaskan coast identified
2009
Swine flu cases in Fiji reach 97
2009
Australian and New Zealander freemasons arrested for sorcery in Fiji
2009
Iceland makes application for membership of the European Union
2009
Iconic American newscaster Walter Cronkite dies at 92
2009
U.S. investigators probe in-flight hole in passenger jet
2010
Australian federal election announced for August 21
2010
Jonathan Ross departs from BBC

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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