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Today in History

1899
Pulitzer Prize winner, Nobel laureate, and author, Ernest Hemingway born in Oak Park, Illinois
1924
US Army soldier and five-time Emmy Award winning actor, Don Knotts born in Morgantown, West Virginia
1938
79th US Attorney General and first female appointed to the office, Janet Reno born in Miami, Florida
1944
Attorney and award winning author, David Feintuch born in New York City
1948
Musician, singer and songwriter, Cat Stevens born Steven Demetre Georgiou in London, England
1948
Character actress and televison writer, Beverly Archer born in Oak Park, Illinois
1948
Pulizter Prize winning cartoonist, G.B. Trudeau born in New York City
1954
Vietnam divided at 17th parallel
2002
WorldCom files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
2007
Author J.K. Rowling publishes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
905
Louis III, Holy Roman Emperor, blinded
1209
Massacre of Beziers (Albegensian "Crusade")
1306
Philip "The Fair's" secret commission results in the arrest of and confiscation of all the goods and money of, every Jew in France
1362
Coronation of Louis I "the Great" as King of Hungary
1411
Sigsimund again chosen King of Germany
1425
Death of Manuel II, Emperor of Byzantium
1542
Inquisition established in Rome
1552
Death of Antonio de Mendoza, first Viceroy of Mexico
1571
Inquisition created for the Portuguese navy
1588
Sir Francis Drake and the English first meet the Armada
1619
Death of St. Laurence of Brindisi.
1773
Pope Clement XIV dissolves the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), which was founded during in 1534. Clement did not condemn the Society, but explained it was an administrative move for the peace of the church. The Society was restored in 1814.
1812
Goethe wrote in his diary that he had spent the evening with Beethoven. He said the composer "played deliciously."
1831
Belgium became independent as Leopold the First was proclaimed King of the Belgians.
1838
The inventor of the metronome died. Johann Maelzel was 65 and was sailing to New York at the time. Maelzel's invention changed classical music forever, because it enabled composers to leave much more specific tempo markings.
1860
Composer Chauncey Olcott ("When Irish Eyes Are Smiling") born
1861
The first major military engagement of the Civil War occurred at Bull Run Creek in Virginia. It was a Confederate victory.
1864
The first daily black newspaper "The New Orleans Tribune" was published.
1867
City Gardens on Folsom opens.
1873
The world's 1st train robbery, by Jesse James.
1899
Poet Hart Crane born
1899
Author Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois.
1920
Violinist Isaac Stern born
1921
Jazz musician-critic Billy Taylor born
1922
Singer Kay Starr born
1924
Actor-comedian Don Knotts born
1925
The so-called "Monkey Trial" ended in Dayton, Tennessee, with John T. Scopes convicted of violating state law for teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution. John T. Scopes is fined $100 for the offense. (The conviction was later overturned.)
1926
Movie director Norman Jewison born
1926
Actor Paul Burke ("Dynasty") born
1930
The U.S. Veterans Administration was established.
1938
Attorney General Janet Reno born
1942
Actress Patricia Elliott ("One Life to Live") born
1943
Actor David Downing born
1943
Actor Edward Herrmann born
1944
American forces landed on Guam during World War Two.
1944
The Democratic national convention in Chicago nominated Senator Harry S. Truman to be vice president.
1945
Actor Leigh Lawson ("Tess") born
1947
Actor Wendell Burton born
1948
Yusuf Islam (formerly singer Cat Stevens) born
1948
Actor Art Hindle born
1949
The US Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.
1952
Comedian-actor Robin Williams born
1954
France surrendered North Vietnam to the Communists.
1955
During the Geneva summit, President Eisenhower presented his "open skies" proposal under which the US and the Soviet Union would trade information on each other's military facilities.
1957
Comedian Jon Lovitz born
1960
Actor Lance Guest ("Lou Grant") born
1960
Actor Matt Mulhern ("Major Dad") born
1961
Captain Virgil "Gus" Grissom became the second American to rocket into a sub-orbital pattern around the Earth, flying aboard the "Liberty Bell Seven."
1967
Basil Rathbone, the South African-born English actor, died. Famed for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on the screen, he also became the Hollywood villain in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and "Mark of Zorro.""
1969
Rock singer Emerson Hart (Tonic) born
1969
Coronation of Bruce of Cloves as first King of the East (SCA)
1969
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin climbed back into the lunar module, Eagle, and lifted off from the surface of the moon.
1972
Country singer Paul Brandt born
1976
The British ambassador to the Irish Republic, Christopher Ewart-Biggs, was killed by a bomb placed under his car outside his home.
1978
Actor Josh Hartnett ("The Faculty") born
1979
The National Women's Hall of Fame is dedicated. Its purpose is to honor women important to American history.
1980
Draft registration began in the United States for 19- and 20-year-old men.
1983
Poland ended 19 months of martial law.
1983
The U.S. announced American hostage David Dodge had been freed in Lebanon.
1984
A robot accidentally crushed a worker in a Jackson, Michigan, auto plant. This was the first recorded robot homicide.
1986
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres arrived in Morocco for talks with King Hassan II.
1986
South African Bishop Desmond Tutu met with President P.W. Botha in Pretoria. Robert J. Brown withdrew from consideration as U.S. ambassador to South Africa.
1987
Defying a threatened veto by President Reagan, the Senate approved a trade bill containing a provision requiring companies to give 60 days' notice to employees of impending plant closings and large-scale layoffs. (Although Reagan successfully vetoed the bill, he ended up allowing a separate plant-closing notice measure to become law.)
1988
Baroda Airport in India was re-opened after the runway had been blocked by a damaged Boeing 737, which had been charged by a wild bull when it came in to land. The passengers survived; the bull didn't.
1988
Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's convention in Atlanta, declaring, "this election isn't about ideology, it's about competence."
1989
The State Department confirmed an ABC News report that Felix S. Bloch, a veteran US diplomat, was being investigated as a possible Soviet spy. (Bloch was never charged with espionage, but was fired from his job in 1990.)
1990
A day after Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan announced his retirement, President Bush convened a meeting with key administration officials to begin finding a replacement.
1991
Jordan joined Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in agreeing to regional peace talks.
1992
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin paid a quick visit to Cairo, where he met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who said afterward that he'd accepted Rabin's invitation to visit Israel.
1992
A judge in Pontiac, Michigan, dismissed murder charges against euthanasia advocate Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian.
1993
More rain set back cleanup and recovery efforts in parts of the Midwest; Transportation Secretary Federico Pena examined flood damage along the Mississippi in Keokuk, Iowa.
1994
Former Senate Republican leader Hugh Scott died in Falls Church, Virginia, at age 93.
1994
Britain's Labor Party elected Tony Blair its new leader, succeeding the late John Smith.
1994
After a two-month trek across Russia following his return from 20 years of exile, Alexander Solzhenitsyn arrived back in Moscow.
1995
At a 16-nation conference in London, the United States and NATO allies warned Bosnian Serbs that further attacks on U.N. safe havens would draw a "substantial and decisive response."
1996
Dozens of memorial services were held across the country to remember the 230 people lost in the crash of TWA Flight 800.
1996
At the Atlanta Olympics, swimmer Tom Dolan gave the United States its first gold, in the 400-meter individual medley. The men's 800-meter freestyle relay team also won.
1997
The USS "Constitution," which defended the US during the War of 1812, set sail under its own power for first time in 116 years, leaving its temporary anchorage at Marblehead, Massachusetts, for a one-hour voyage marking its 200th anniversary. (The actual anniversary was the following October.)
1998
The Pentagon said it found no evidence to support allegations in a CNN report that US troops had used nerve gas during a 1970 operation in Laos designed to hunt down American defectors.
1998
President Clinton announced a crackdown on nursing homes that were lax about quality and on states that do a poor job of regulating them.
1998
Actor Robert Young died in Westlake Village, California, at age 91.
1998
Astronaut Alan Shepard died in Monterey, California, at age 74.
1999
Navy divers found the bodies of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, in the wreckage of Kennedy's plane in the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard.
1999
Advertising executive David Ogilvy died in Bonnes, France, at age 88.
2000
Special Counsel John C. Danforth concluded "with 100 percent certainty" that the federal government was innocent of wrongdoing in the siege that killed 80 members of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, in 1993.
2000
Group of Eight leaders met for an economic summit on the Japanese island of Okinawa, where President Clinton also futilely sought to soothe long-simmering tensions over the huge American military presence.
2005
No evidence against London Bombing suspects says cleric
2005
Five Commissioners rescind welcome of 2006 Gay Games in Chicago
2005
Four small explosions strike London's transport system
2005
South Dakota duck population gets help from rain
2005
UK markets up despite London incident
2005
Rice angry after abuse of aides in Sudan
2005
Chinese yuan revalued against dollar
2005
Prime Minister, Police chief urge London to 'get moving again'
2005
Stores drop game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" after given 'Adults Only' rating
2005
German president dissolves parliament; elections in September
2006
Kent Hovind faces a 58-count federal indictment
2006
Khmer Rouge "Butcher" dies ahead of trial
2006
Indonesia's president visits victims of tsunami
2006
Microsoft to buy back US$40 B of its stock over 5 years
2006
Ninety New Zealanders evacuated from Lebanon
2006
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper assigned airforce aircraft to pick up Canadians in Lebanon
2006
Israel masses troops, tanks along Lebanon border
2006
St. Louis hit by massive power outages after 80 m.p.h. winds, National Guard mobilized
2007
Suspect in Colorado anti-evolution death threats case is missing
2007
Final Harry Potter book goes on sale
2007
Lindsay Lohan surrenders to police
2007
Vietnamese police blamed for deaths of over 100 political protesters
2007
North Korea wants light-water reactors
2007
Kimi Räikkönen will start first for European Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton suffers a crash
2007
Tour de France: Alexander Vinokourov wins stage 13
2007
Pratibha Patil becomes the first woman president of the Republic of India
2007
Taiwan breaks bicycle parade world record
2007
Hanoi hosts International Mathematical Olympiad
2007
Ukraine: media riddles around the phosphorous cloud
2007
German League Cup: Werder Bremen 1-4 FC Bayern Munich
2007
Earthquakes shake Argentina and Brazil
2007
Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry reinstated as Chief Justice of Pakistan
2008
Cyclone Nargis aid effort to cost one billion US$
2008
Leisure Taiwan: Safety first before sporting
2008
One-Two-Go Airlines cease operating over fuel costs as legal action begins over September air disaster
2008
Search underway after US B-52 bomber crashes off Guam's coast
2008
Brazilian actress Dercy Gonçalves dies at age 101
2009
Black spot on Jupiter is impact site, says NASA
2009
20 years on: Sioux City, Iowa remembers crash landing that killed 111
2009
Workers at England wind turbine plant stage occupation
2010
Australian election debate moved to avoid clash with cookery show
2010
Coalition ups ante on Australian school tax rebates
2010
Astronomers discover largest star on record
2010
China launches major cleanup operation after oil spill
2012
Australian Gliders squeak out first place victory over Germany women's national wheelchair team
2012
China women's national wheelchair basketball team tops Japan for third place at Rollers & Gliders World Challenge
2012
Australia men's national wheelchair basketball team beat Japan 80-49 in final game of pool play
2013
Nineteenth Maccabiah Games open in Jerusalem
2013
Noosa defeat Caloundra in Sunshine Coast Rugby Union round seventeen

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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