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Today in History

1866
Botanist, illustrator and author, Beatrix Potter born in London, England
1914
Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
1945
US Army B-25 bomber crashes into 79th floor of the Empire State Building
1948
Actress Sally Struthers born in Portland, Oregon
1972
Actress Elizabeth Berkley born in Farmington Hills, Michigan
2002
9 coal miners trapped in the Quecreek Mine are rescued after 77 hours underground
388
Death of Maximus
450
Death of Theodosius II, Emperor of the East
570
Death of Pope Victor II
1148
Crusaders outside of Damascus retreat - end of the 2nd Crusade
1165
Ibn al-'Arabi, Muslim mystic, philosopher born
1330
Serbians defeat Bulgarians, and kill Czar Michael Sisman of Bulgaria
1458
Death of Jacopo Sannazaro (given 6,000 Crowns for 6 lines of poetry)
1480
Turks make a sneak attack on Rhodes
1491
Henry VIII, King of England born
1540
King Henry the Eighth's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed, the same day Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.
1565
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, orders her heralds to publish that Lord Darnley is to be "named and styled King"
1576
Frobisher's expedition reaches Labrador
1586
Sir Thomas Harriot introduces potatoes to Europe
1588
English fireships burn the Spanish Armada
1609
Bermuda discovered by Admiral George Somers
1611
Surrender of Kalmar Castle, Sweden
1615
Champlain discovers Lake Huron
1637
Riot in St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, in protest against the use of the Book of Common Prayer
1650
Cromwell reaches Edinburgh
1746
Thomas Heyward soldier, signed Declaration of Independence born
1750
Johann Sebastian Bach died in Leipzig of a stroke. Bach had gone blind about a year before, but had reported some return of vision in his last 10 days. Musical fashion was passing Bach by, and though he was widely mourned it was as a top-flight organist. German composer Johann Sebastian Bach was a devout Lutheran.
1794
Maximilien Robespierre, a leading figure of the French Revolution, was sent to the guillotine.
1821
Peru declared its independence from Spain.
1859
Balington Booth founded Volunteers of America born
1865
The American Dental Association proposed its first code of ethics this day.
1866
Beatrix Potter England, children's author (Tale of Peter Rabbit) born
1866
The metric system was authorized for the standardization of weights and measures throughout the United States this day.
1868
The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing due process of law, was declared in effect.
1868
The U.S. Department of Education was established on this day.
1881
American Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen in Baltimore. born
1887
Marcel Duchamp painter (Nude Descending a Staircase) born
1891
Joe E. (Evan) Brown (comedian, actor Mad World) born
1896
The city of Miami, Florida, was incorporated. The newly incorporated city had a population of 260. Today, not counting suburbs, Miami boasts a population of nearly 400,000.
1896
Gustav Mahler finished composing his Third Symphony on this day in 1896. Alma Mahler reported that this was a relief. Mahler composed in the countryside and demanded silence. He even got farmhands to muffle the bells on nearby cows.
1900
The Hamburger is created by Louis Lassing in Connecticut
1901
Rudy (Hubert) Vallee (singer born
1914
Austria declared war on Serbia, marking the start of World War I.
1915
"Polka king" Frankie Yankovic (Grammy Award-winning musician: accordion: Just Because) born
1920
Movie director Andrew V. McLaglen born
1929
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (First Lady U.S. President John F. Kennedy, wife of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis; editor: Doubleday Publishing) born
1931
Darryl Hickman (actor born
1931
Congress makes "The Star-Spangled Banner" our 2nd National Anthem.
1932
Federal troops forcibly dispersed the so-called "Bonus Army" of World War One veterans who had gathered in Washington to demand money they weren't scheduled to receive until 1945.
1933
The singing telegram was introduced on this day. The first person to receive a singing telegram was singer, Rudy Vallee, in honor of his 32nd birthday.
1937
Peter Duchin (pianist, bandleader; son of musician, Eddy Duchin) born
1938
The president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori born
1939
Judy Garland sang one of the most famous songs of the century with the Victor Young Orchestra. The tune became her signature song and will forever be associated with the singer-actress. Garland recorded Over the Rainbow on this day for Decca Records. It was the musical highlight of the film, The Wizard of Oz.
1941
The conductor Riccardo Muti, so well known to fans of the Philadelphia Orchestra, was born in Naples. Muti's family moved to a remote village when he was quite young, and he would later comment approvingly on the effects of isolation from popular culture. born
1943
Bill Bradley (basketball born
1943
President Roosevelt announced the end of coffee rationing.
1945
The U.S. Senate ratified the United Nations Charter by a vote of 89-2.
1945
"Garfield" creator Jim Davis born
1945
A US Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York's Empire State Building, killing 14 people.
1945
Rock musician Rick Wright (Pink Floyd) born
1946
Singer Jonathan Edwards born
1946
Linda Kelsey (actress born
1947
Barbara Ferrell (National Track & Field Hall of Famer Olympic medalist: silver: 100 meter dash, gold: 4x100 meter relay born
1948
Georgia Bright Engel (actress Coach) born
1948
Actress Sally (Ann) Struthers (Emmy Award-winning the Family [1971-72, 1978] promoter of the Christian Children's Fund) born
1948
Actress Georgia Engel born
1949
Vida Blue (baseball born
1949
Peter Doyle (singer Teach the World to Sing, Look What They've Done to My Song Ma) born
1951
The Walt Disney film, Alice in Wonderland, was released by RKO Pictures.
1954
The first press interview with Elvis Presley was published in "The Memphis Press-Scimitar."
1959
In preparation for statehood, Hawaiians voted to send the first Chinese-American, Hiram L. Fong, to the US Senate and the first Japanese-American, Daniel K. Inouye, to the US House of Representatives.
1963
Actor Michael Hayden ("Murder One") born
1965
President Johnson announced he was increasing the number of American troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.
1972
Actress Elizabeth Berkley born
1973
On this day, exactly a year after their first date, TV's Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors, married one of Charlie's Angels, Farrah Fawcett. The new Farrah Fawcett-Majors was named one of the 10 most beautiful women on the campus of the University of Texas.
1973
The Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers and the Band, among others, played to 600,000 people at Watkins Glen, New York.
1976
An earthquake devastated northern China, killing at least 242,000 people, according to an official estimate. Other estimates have the death toll as high as one million people killed.
1977
Roy Wilkins turned over leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to Benjamin L. Hooks.
1984
The 23rd Summer Olympic Games opened at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Southern California this day. Peter V. Uberroth, head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, welcomed 7,800 athletes from 140 nations during the 3-1/2 hour opening ceremonies.
1985
Lou Brock, Enos Slaughter, Hoyt Wilhelm and Arky Vaughn were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York on this day.
1986
''NASA'' released a transcript of a recording from the doomed space shuttle ''Challenger'' in which pilot Michael J. Smith could be heard saying, ''Uh-oh!'' as the spacecraft disintegrated.
1987
Attorney General Edwin Meese told the congressional Iran-Contra committees that President Reagan was "quite surprised" the previous November when Meese told him about the diversion of Iran arms-sales profits for use by the Contra rebels.
1988
Actor Jonathan Osser"Hiller and Diller" born
1988
Both houses of Congress overwhelmingly approved some $6 billion in aid for drought-stricken farmers.
1989
Israeli commandos abducted a pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim cleric, Sheik Abdul-Karim Obeid from his home in south Lebanon.
1990
The collision of a freighter and two barges spilled 500,000 gallons of oil in the Houston Ship Channel near Galveston, Texas.
1990
Political newcomer and upset winner Alberto Fujimori was sworn in as president of Peru.
1991
President Bush warned Iraq it would be making ''an enormous mistake'' if it failed to disclose its nuclear weapons program to United Nations inspectors.
1991
Dennis Martinez pitched the 15th perfect game in major-league baseball history as the Montreal Expos beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0.
1992
Democrats counterattacked a day after aides to President Bush had accused Democrat Bill Clinton of lacking foreign policy expertise.
1992
Iraq opened its Agricultural Ministry to UN weapons experts after a three-week standoff.
1992
Pop star Michael Jackson sued the British tabloid Daily Mirror over photos and an article that said he was left a "scarface" from numerous plastic surgeries.
1992
At the Barcelona Olympics, the US women's 400-meter freestyle relay team won the gold medal.
1993
President Clinton declared himself ready to provide air power quickly to protect peacekeepers in Bosnia once he received a request from the United Nations.
1994
Congressional negotiators agreed on a crime-fighting package that included hiring 100,000 new police officers, banning assault-style weapons, vastly expanding the death penalty and putting third-time felons behind bars for life.
1995
A jury in Union, S.C., rejected the death penalty for Susan Smith, sentencing her instead to life in prison for drowning her two young sons (Smith will be eligible for parole after 30 years).
1995
The Senate, caught up in the reform fervor in Washington, voted unanimously to bar senators and their staffers from accepting vacation trips and other expensive gifts from anyone other than close friends and family.
1996
Federal investigators reported "very good leads" in the hunt for the Olympic bomber, a day after the explosion in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta that killed a Georgia woman.
1996
President Clinton, addressing a veterans convention in New Orleans, called on Congress to pass expanded anti-terrorism measures.
1997
The Clinton administration and congressional leaders reached a tentative agreement on balancing the budget by 2002 while slicing taxes for millions of families, students and investors.
1997
Five people were killed in a flash flood that tore through Fort Collins, Colorado.
1998
During a day of official mourning, President Clinton praised two slain police officers at the US Capitol as heroes whose sacrifice "consecrated this house of freedom."
1998
Monica Lewinsky received blanket immunity in exchange for providing "full and truthful testimony" to a grand jury investigating President Clinton.
1998
General Motors reached a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers to end an almost two-month strike.
1998
Bell Atlantic and GTE announced a $52 billion deal to create the second-biggest phone company.
1999
The Senate opened debate on the Republicans' $792 billion tax cut bill. Surgeon General David Satcher declared suicide a serious national threat, saying, "People should not be afraid or ashamed to seek help."
2000
Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sworn in for an unprecedented third term of office, infuriating demonstrators who set government buildings ablaze.
2005
California Senator launches probe into National Guard abuse allegations
2005
Ties found between Abu Ghraib prison abuse and Guantanamo Bay
2005
U.S. Congress passes CAFTA with 2 vote House margin
2005
21 July London bombing suspect held
2005
Australian refugee activists plan protest during minister's speech
2005
Burundi radio station ban lifted as media council chair resigns
2005
Icelandic Kaupthing Bank earnings soar 292%
2005
Cambridge Silicon Radio, Ltd. acquires UbiNetics Holdings Limited
2005
Icelandic Landsbanki Íslands earnings on the increase
2005
IRA orders end to armed campaign
2005
Figo will not transfer to Liverpool
2005
Doctor to be charged after mother's death in Ohio
2005
New York area blog spawns book deal, NBC sitcom
2005
US, five Asian nations announce climate change partnership
2005
Iran will continue work on nuclear fuel cycle
2005
NASA: Discovery appears safe to return to Earth
2005
John Major brings "Anglo Saxon way of life" into terrorist discussion
2005
Canada denies visa for Africa's top biosafety negotiator
2005
Fans of OS/2 want IBM to release it as open-source software
2005
Mysterious disease kills 31 in China's Sichuan province
2005
Germany's July unemployment rate falls slightly
2005
Hoax email plays on tube travellers' fears
2006
New Zealand National Party only wants immigrants of "bedrock values"
2006
Music reality show 'The One' cancelled by ABC a week after its debut
2006
Landis' fate to be announced Monday
2006
Blog about Liverpool city council causes stir
2006
Ancient prayer book found in Irish bog
2007
Empire State Games come to White Plains, NY
2007
Cast of Bratz appears in Canada to promote film release
2007
Australia drops charges against Indian doctor
2007
German League Cup: Bayern Munich wins 6th League Cup
2007
European football: Santa Cruz to Rovers
2007
Tour de France: Levi Leipheimer wins stage 19
2008
Door opens mid-Qantas flight; plane makes an emergency landing
2008
US presidential candidate Obama speaks in Berlin, Germany
2008
Five of six accused over Egyptian ferry fire that killed over 1,000 are acquitted
2008
Two bomb blasts kill at least 17 in Istanbul, Turkey
2008
Puffin numbers are falling on UK's Farne Islands
2008
Report says modernizing and repairing US bridges to cost $140 billion
2009
22 killed as heavy rain hits Panzhihua, China
2009
North Carolina terrorist ring broken up, seven arrested
2010
Bull fighting banned in Catalonia
2010
Severe smog blankets Moscow
2010
Plane crash in Pakistani capital kills 152
2010
Wyclef Jean considering standing for president of Haiti

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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