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Today in History

"Dog days" begin (Sirius, the Dog Star, visible at sunrise)
1778
Prussia declares war on Austria
1883
Author Franz Kafka born in Prague, Austria-Hungary
1898
Spanish fleet destroyed in Cuba by US Army
1945
Star of Mod Squad, actor Michael Cole born in Madison, Wisconsin
1947
Cutting horse rider, singer, stage, film and television actress, Betty Buckley born in Fort Worth, Texas
1949
Model and actress, Jan Smithers born in North Hollywood, California
1956
US Marine and Emmy Award nominated talk show host, Montel Williams born in Baltimore, Maryland
1957
Grammy Award nominated singer and actress, Laura Branigan born in Brewster, New York
1962
Scientologist and actor, Tom Cruise born in Syracuse, New York
1971
Computer programmer and founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange born in Townsville, Queensland, Australia
1999
33-year-old Billy Mitchell of Hollywood, Florida achieves perfect Pac Man score.
683
Death of St. Leo II, Pope
987
Coronation of Hugh Capet as King of France
1187
The army of Outremer marches towards Tiberias
1298
Edward I, King of England, crosses the Tweed at Coldstream
1423
Louis XI, King of France born
1518
A drunken soldier strikes an image of the Virgin Mary, in La Rue aux Ours, Paris, and the image bleeds. The soldier was burned for sacrilege
1567
Samuel de Champlain born
1608
French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded the Canadian town of Quebec.
1616
Death of St. Bernardine Realino
1642
Death of Marie de'Medici, widow of Henri IV, King of France
1728
Scottish architect Robert Adam. born
1775
General George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1778
Mozart, traveling with his mother in Paris, wrote to his father and reported that his wife was ill. She was actually dead. Mozart decided to break the news gently by reporting illness first.
1806
Michael Keens exhibits the first cultivated strawberry.
1819
1st savings bank in US (Bank of Savings in NYC) opens its doors
1854
Czech composer Leos Janacek. Writer of operas including Jenufa andThe Makropulos Case. born
1861
Pony Express arrives in SF with overland letters from New York.
1863
The three-day Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, ended in a major victory for the North as Confederate troops retreated.The Union army under command of Gen. George Meade defeated Confederate forces commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee
1871
Welsh poet and writer William Henry Davies ("The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp") born
1890
Idaho became the 43rd state of the Union.
1906
Actor George Sanders born
1913
Journalist and columnist Dorothy Kilgallen born
1927
English film maker Ken Russell born
1928
The first color television transmission was accomplished by John Logie Baird in London.
1930
Jazz musician Pete Fountain born
1930
Congress created the US Veterans Administration.
1934
The genesis of Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini." The composer, who lived on Switzerland's Lake Lucerne, usually spent his days there speeding across the lake on his powerboat. The 61-year-old composer had produced one of his finest works
1937
Playwright Tom Stoppard born
1939
Writer-producer Jay Tarses born
1940
Abbott and Costello made their radio debut on NBC, replacing comedian Fred Allen for the remainder of the summer.
1940
Singer Fontella Bass born
1941
Actor Kurtwood Smith ("RoboCop") born
1944
During World War Two, Soviet forces recaptured Minsk.
1945
Actor Michael Cole ("The Mod Squad") born
1946
Country singer Johnny Lee born
1947
Actress/Singer Betty Buckley born
1948
Rock singer-musician Paul Barrere (Little Feat) born
1949
Actress Jan Smithers (WKRP in Cincinnati's Bailey Quarters) born
1951
Exiled Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier born
1956
Talk show host Montel Williams born
1956
President Eisenhower authorizes the CIA's first U-2 flight over Russia (the first is flown the next day).
1957
Singer Laura Branigan born
1958
Country singer Aaron Tippin born
1960
Rock musician Vince Clarke (Erasure) born
1962
Actor Tom Cruise born
1962
Actress Hunter Tylo born
1962
Algeria became independent after 132 years of French rule.
1969
Rock musician Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies) born
1971
Singer Jim Morrison of The Doors died in Paris at age 27.
1976
Israel launched its daring mission to rescue about a hundred passengers and Air France crew members being held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda by pro-Palestinian hijackers.
1979
Rhythm-and-blues singer Tonia Tash (Divine) born
1986
President Reagan re-lit the Statue of Liberty's torch in New York Harbor after a $66 million restoration of the statue was completed during the 100th anniversary year of its dedication. Ships of 14 nations descended on New York harbor to pay tribute.
1987
Two men became the first hot-air balloon travelers to cross the Atlantic. British millionaire Richard Branson and Swedish-born Per Lindstrand, the balloon's designer, were forced to jump into the sea as their craft went down near Scotland.
1988
The USS "Vincennes" shot down an Iran Air jetliner over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 passengers and crew, after the crew of the Vincennes misidentified the plane as an Iranian F-14 fighter.
1989
The Supreme Court puts restraints on a woman's right to a abortion by giving the states the right to restrict abortions.
1990
"Die Hard 2" starring Bruce Willis opened in theaters.
1990
In Moscow, Kremlin hard-liner Yegor K. Ligachev received an enthusiastic reception at a Communist Party congress as he criticized reforms by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, saying perestroika had been marred by "limitless radicalism.""
1991
Former corporate enemies Apple Computer and IBM publicly joined forces in a broad pact to swap technologies and develop new machines.
1991
A Fort Worth, Texas, police officer was videotaped beating a handcuffed prisoner in his patrol car (the officer was suspended, but later reinstated after a grand jury refused to indict him).
1992
The president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, was voted out of office as lawmakers from Slovakia blocked his re-election in parliament.
1992
The first U.S. Air Force C-130 from Operation Provide Promise arrived in the besieged Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.
1993
Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Haiti's military chief, Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras, separately signed an accord designed to return Aristide to power.
1993
Steffi Graf of Germany won her third consecutive Wimbledon title as she defeated Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic.
1993
Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale died in Montreal, Canada, at age 56.
1994
Thirty-one people died in three separate crashes on Texas highways.
1994
Pete Sampras defeated Goran Ivanisevic to win the Wimbledon men's championship, 7-6, 7-6, 6-0.
1995
Irish Republican Army sympathizers rioted in Northern Ireland's two largest cities in outrage over the early parole of a British soldier convicted of killing a Roman Catholic woman.
1996
Russians went to the polls to re-elect Boris Yeltsin president over his Communist challenger, Gennady Zyuganov, in a runoff.
1996
A blaze destroyed a fireworks store in Scottown, Ohio, filled with Fourth of July shoppers, killing nine people and injuring eleven.
1997
In his first formal response to charges by Paula Jones of sexual harassment, President Clinton denied all allegations in her lawsuit, and asked a judge to dismiss the case.
1997
Lockheed Martin Corporation, the nation's biggest defense contractor, announced it was buying Northrop Grumman Corporation for $7.9 billion. (However, the merger has been stalled over
1998
The 12th World AIDS Conference ended in Geneva.
1998
President Clinton concluded his Far East tour in Hong Kong, where he challenged leaders to set the pace for rescuing Asia from the region's financial crisis.
1998
Residents in northeastern Florida continued to evacuate because of wildfires closing in from three directions.
1999
President Clinton, acting to head off potential problems with the safety of imported food, said in his weekly radio address he was ordering inspectors at American ports to brand all unsafe and rejected food products, "Refused U.S."
2000
President Clinton made a congratulatory telephone call to Mexican President-elect Vicente Fox, a day after Fox's election.
2000
Harold Nicholas, the younger half of the legendary tap-dancing Nicholas Brothers, died at age 79.
2000
A 1970's steel observation tower that preservationists said had desecrated the battlefield of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania was demolished.
2005
Underwater volcano erupts in Pacific near Japan
2005
Radioactive leakage at Swedish nuclear waste store
2005
Stewart battles rain to win Pepsi 400 at Daytona
2005
New denunciations of Brazilian deputy and evidence make things difficult for Lula
2005
Grandfather and grandson die after dinghy capsizes off North Wales coast
2005
U.S. retains control of Internet root servers
2005
Alleged Al-Qaeda leader killed in Saudi Arabia
2005
Earth Day founder Nelson dies at 89
2005
Scientists may have tests to detect Alzheimers
2005
Karl Rove named as a source of Plame leak
2005
Canada awaits Karla Homolka's Release from Prison
2006
Full-length open source movie ‘Boy Who Never Slept’ is released online
2006
Parts of New Jersey government stopped as budget fails to clear Legislature in time
2006
U.S. Officials: U.S. soldiers plotted rape, murder
2006
Bathurst, NSW house damaged after being hit by truck
2006
Devon prison rooftop protest ends peacefully
2006
Teenager faces murder charges after throwing a brick at motorway
2006
30 dead in Spain metro crash
2006
Israeli missile strikes northern Gaza Strip
2007
Biden questions Bush's "special treatment" of "Scooter" Libby
2007
Detained AIDS activist Phyu Phyu Thin released in Myanmar
2007
Balloonist to establish Trans-Atlantic Crossing record
2007
Eighth suspect connected to failed UK bombings arrested
2007
Controlled explosions take place as police enquiry into UK bombings continues
2007
European Commission praises "flexicurity" employment policy
2007
New Ghanaian currency introduced
2007
Hamas begins to use force to release Alan Johnston
2007
America's Cup: Alinghi wins
2007
School bus crashes during driver's examination
2007
Poll shows American youth more politically active, socially liberal
2007
Standoff at Islamabad mosque claims at least 9 lives in Pakistan
2007
Soprano Beverly Sills dies at age 78
2008
Search-and-rescue dog that found 9/11 survivor to be cloned
2008
Mongolia's ruling party wins elections as rioting subsides
2008
President Bush plans to attend opening of Beijing Olympics
2008
Hillary Clinton attends grand opening of the Erie Canal Harbor in Buffalo, New York
2008
Former science director sues Texas over intelligent design e-mail
2008
Australian murder victims killed in different ways
2008
New study shows children's perception of rainforest wildlife
2008
Sulpicio Lines pay PHP6.2 million for death of man in 1998 ferry disaster
2008
Continental Airlines to face charges over Air France Concorde disaster
2008
19th century stable in Buffalo, New York officially saved from demolition
2008
Military storehouse explodes near Sofia
2009
Toyota employs the Japanese hybrid solar powered vehicle carrier ship 'Auriga Leader'
2009
ESA launches largest commercial telecom satellite
2009
British Army officer killed in Afghanistan
2009
Trees continue to die in Houston, Texas
2009
Kenya confirms first swine flu case
2009
U.S. forces settle into Afghan Taliban heartland
2010
Taliban attack on NATO base repelled
2010
Trial of former Argentine president Jorge Videla begins
2011
Former Brazilian president Itamar Franco dies aged 81
2011
Philippine Foreign Secretary Del Rosario to visit China amid South China Sea territorial dispute
2012
Marussia F1 test driver Maria de Villota seriously injured in testing accident

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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