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Today in History

1419
Defenestration of Prague.
1863
Automobile manufacturing pioneer, Henry Ford born in Detroit, Michigan
1936
Grammy Award winning singer and blues guitarist, Buddy Guy born in Lettsworth, Louisiana
1941
Actor, singer, and songwriter, Order of Canada recipient Paul Anka born in Ottawa, Ontario
1947
Body building champion, actor and Governor of Californian, Arnold Schwarzenegger born in Thal bei Graz, Austria
1954
Elvis Presley makes his debut in Memphis
1956
"In God We Trust" adopted as US motto
1956
Miss Florida of 1974, actress Delta Burke born in Orlando, Florida
1963
Emmy Award winning actress, Lisa Kudrow born in Encino, California
1965
President Johnson signs Social Security Act into law, establishing Medicare, Medicaid
579
Benedict I ends his reign as Catholic Pope
657
St Vitalian begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1178
Fredrick "Barbarossa" crowned King of Burgundy
1233
Assassination of Conrad of Marburg and Gerhard Lutelholb
1291
Haifa falls to the Mameluks
1371
Massacre of the Compagnia del Bruco in Florence, Italy
1419
Anti-Catholic Hussites, followers of executed reformer Jan Hus, stormed the town hall in Prague and threw Catholic councillors out of the windows. Thus began the Hussite Wars.
1511
Giorgio Vasari (painter/architect/art historian) born
1538
Newfoundland reached by Sir Humphrey Gilbert
1609
Iroquois Indians defeated by their first sight of firearms
1619
The first representative assembly in America convened in Jamestown, Virginia (House of Burgesses).
1629
The Puritans of Salem, Mass. appointed Francis Higginson as their teacher and Samuel Skelton as their pastor. The church covenant, composed afterward by these two men,allowed into communion only those who could prove a sound doctrinal knowledge and an experience of grace in their lives.
1641
Reinier de Graaf, Dutch physician, discovered ovarian follicles born
1656
Charles X of Sweden defeated the Poles at the Battle of Warsaw, two days after invading the country.
1718
William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania as a colony for Quakers to experience religious liberty, dies.
1729
The city of Baltimore was founded.
1733
The Society of Freemasons opened their first lodge in Boston.
1739
Caspar Wistar first manufactured glass.
1775
The U.S. Army founds its chaplaincy, making it the Army's oldest division after the infantry.
1818
Emily Bronte (author born
1855
James Edward Kelly US, sculptor "Sculptor of American History" born
1863
President Lincoln gave an order to shoot a rebel prisoner for every black prisoner that was shot; it became known as the "eye-for-eye" order.
1863
Henry Ford (auto manufacturer production: the Tin Lizzie) born
1864
During the Civil War, Union forces tried to take Petersburg, Virginia, by exploding a mine under Confederate defense lines:- the attack failed.
1889
Vladimir Zworykin, often called the "Father of Television" for inventing the iconoscope, was born in Russia. born
1890
Baseball player/manager Casey (Charles) Stengel born
1898
Scientific America carried the first magazine automobile ad. The Winton Motor Car Company of Cleveland, OH, invited readers to dispense with a horse this day.
1898
Henry Moore (sculptor) born
1916
Actor Dick Wilson ("Mr. Whipple") born
1919
Federal troops are called out to put down Chicago race riots.
1925
Actor Jacques Sernas (La Dolce Vita, Superfly T.N.T.) born
1927
Actor Richard Johnson born
1928
George Eastman showed the first color motion pictures in the U.S.
1929
Singer Christine McGuire (The McGuire Sisters He) born
1932
The Summer Olympic Games opened in Los Angeles.
1933
Actor Edd "Kookie" Byrnes (77 Sunset Strip, holds record for appearing on the most magazine covers in one month [October 1960]) born
1934
Kurt von Schuschnigg was named Austrian chancellor following the assassination of Engelbert Dollfuss.
1934
Actor Ben Piazza (Guilty by Suspicion, The Hanging Tree) born
1935
The first Penguin book was published, starting the paperback revolution. The idea came from Sir Allen Lane who wanted to provide a "whole book for the price of 10 cigarettes."
1936
Blues musician Buddy Guy born
1937
The American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) was organized this day. It was part of the American Federation of Labor. The union was for all radio performers except musicians. The union later became The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) to include TV performers.
1938
Joe Nuxhall (baseball major-league player [15yrs, 314 days]) born
1939
Feminist activist Eleanor Smeal born
1939
Movie director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, What's Up Doc?) born
1940
Former U-S Representative Patricia Schroeder born
1941
Count Desmond (Edward Benjamin) sword swallower born
1941
Singer Paul Anka (33 hits over 3 decades) born
1942
President Roosevelt signed a bill creating a women's auxiliary agency in the Navy known as "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service":- WAVES for short.
1945
Jazz musician David Sanborn born
1945
The USS "Indianapolis," which had just delivered key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Only 316 out of 1,196 men survived the sinking and shark-infested waters.
1947
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger born
1947
Actor William Atherton born
1948
Actor Jean Reno born
1949
Dwight White (football Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV) born
1950
Willie Harper (football Super Bowl XVI) born
1950
Actor Frank Stallone born
1954
Actor Ken Olin (Hill Street Blues, Thirtysomething) born
1956
Singer Brenda Lee recorded her first hit for Decca Records. "Jambalaya" and "Bigelow 6-500" started a new career for the petite 11-year-old from Lithgonia, Georgia. Brenda Mae Tarpley had been singing professionally since age six. She recorded 29 hit songs in the 1960s and became a successful country singer in 1971.
1956
Actress Delta Burke (Designing Women, Filthy Rich) born
1956
Anita Hill (law professor U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee concerning Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court) born
1956
The phrase, In God We Trust, was adopted as the U.S. national motto.
1958
Singer-songwriter Kate Bush born
1958
Actor Richard Burgi born
1960
More than 60,000 Buddhists march in protest against the Diem government in South Vietnam.
1961
Actor Laurence Fishburne (Tony Award-winner, actor Apocalypse Now, Bad Company) born
1961
Country singer Neal McCoy born
1963
Actress Lisa Kudrow born
1964
Country musician Dwayne O'Brien (Little Texas) born
1964
Actress Vivica Fox ("Independence Day") born
1965
President Johnson signed into law the Medicare bill, which went into effect the following year.
1967
General William Westmoreland claims that he is winning the war in Vietnam but needs more men.
1968
The Apple boutique opened by Apple Corps, the company formed by The Beatles, closed its doors.
1971
Actress Christine Taylor ("The Brady Bunch Movie") born
1973
The 11-year battle for the victims of the drug Thalidomide ended with compensation payments of 20 million pounds sterling.
1974
Actress Hilary Swank (Growing Pains, Evening Shade) born
1974
The House Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 21-17, approved a third article of impeachment against President Nixon, charging him with ignoring congressional subpoenas. Nixon resigned before the issue came to trial.
1974
Eleven women become the first ordained females in the Episcopal Church.
1975
Representatives of 35 countries convened in Helsinki, Finland, for a conference on security and human rights that resulted in the "Helsinki Accords." The conference was aimed at ensuring peace in Europe.
1975
Former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit:- although presumed dead, his remains have never been found.
1976
Rudolf Bultmann, 92, German Bible scholar and one of the three major pioneers of modern form 'criticism'of the New Testament Gospels died.
1977
Actress Jaime Pressly born
1980
The Israeli Knesset passed a law reaffirming all of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
1983
Lynn Fontanne, one of Broadway's premier actresses and the widow of actor Alfred Lunt, died in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin, at age 95.
1984
Reggie Jackson hit his 494th home run of his career this day, passing the Yankees' Lou Gehrig and taking over 13th place on the all-time home run list. Larry Sorenson was the pitcher who gave up Reggie's 494th homer.
1984
West German swimmer Michael Gross became the first double gold winner of the 1984 Summer Olympics, while the United States picked up three gold medals in swimming and shooting.
1985
Indiana's Western Schools Corporation Superintendent James O. Smith said AIDS sufferer Ryan White was officially barred from school. Smith said the health risk for other children was too great.
1985
South Africa recalled its Washington ambassador-designate following the recall of the U.S. ambassador from Pretoria.
1986
At his confirmation hearing to become chief justice of the United States, Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist denied allegations he had challenged the qualifications of minority voters at polling places in Phoenix in the 1960's.
1986
Boy George was fined 250 pounds ($400) for possession of heroin.
1987
NBC's L.A. Law was nominated for 20 Emmy Awards this day one shy of the record for nominations. Hill Street Blues was the recordholder (in the 1981-'82 season). L.A. Law had only been on the air a year when it earned four out of the 20 Emmys.
1987
Former White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan told the Iran-Contra congressional committees he had repeatedly urged President Reagan to break off arms sales to Iran.
1988
Jordan's King Hussein dissolved his country's lower house of Parliament, half of whose 60 members were from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
1989
In Lebanon, the pro-Iranian group Organization for the Oppressed on Earth threatened to kill an American hostage, Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, unless Israel released Sheik Abdul-Karim Obeid, a cleric seized by Israeli commandos.
1990
George Steinbrenner, under investigation by Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent for making a $40,000 payment to a known gambler, agreed to be permanently barred from operation of the New York Yankees.
1990
British Conservative Party lawmaker Ian Gow was killed in a bombing claimed by the Irish Republican Army.
1991
A special U.N. commission to Iraq announced it had found 46,000 chemical shells and warheads and 3,000 tons of raw materials for weapons.
1991
President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev began their face-to-face meetings in Moscow.
1992
At the Barcelona Summer Olympics, Shannon Miller won the silver medal in the women's all-around gymnastics event.
1992
A TWA Lockheed L-1011 caught fire during takeoff from New York's Kennedy International Airport; all 292 people aboard survived.
1993
Tap water was declared safe to drink again in flood-ravaged Des Moines, Iowa.
1993
Bosnia's outgunned Muslim-led government abandoned its efforts to hold the region together, agreeing to a preliminary accord to divide the former Yugoslav republic into three ethnic states.
1994
The first U.S. troops landed in the Rwandan capital of Kigali to secure the airport for an expanded international aid effort.
1994
The world community shut down air service to Haiti, leaving the army-ruled nation more isolated than ever.
1995
Russian and Chechen rebels signed an agreement calling for a gradual withdrawal of Russian troops and the disarmament of rebel fighters.
1996
A federal law enforcement source said security guard Richard Jewell had become a focus of the investigation into the bombing at Centennial Olympic Park. (In October, Jewell was cleared as a suspect by the Justice Department.)
1996
Actress Claudette Colbert died in Barbados at age 92.
1996
The US Olympic softball team defeated China, 3-to-1, to win the gold medal.
1997
Two men bombed Jerusalem's most crowded outdoor market, killing themselves and 16 others.
1997
Eighteen people, including two Americans, were killed in a landslide that swept one ski lodge onto another at the Thredbo Alpine Village in southeast Australia.
1998
Japan's Parliament declared Keizo Obuchi the country's next prime minister.
1998
"Buffalo Bob" Smith, the cowboy-suited host of "The Howdy Doody Show," died in Hendersonville, North Carolina, at age 80.
1998
A group of 13 Ohio machinists stepped forward to claim the $295.7 million Powerball jackpot. (The workers opted to take the cash option -- one payment of about $161.5 million.)
1999
Linda Tripp, whose secretly recorded phone conversations with Monica Lewinsky led to the impeachment of President Clinton, was charged in Maryland with illegal wiretapping (prosecutors later dropped the charges).
1999
Republicans pushed their $792 billion-dollar tax cut through the Senate.
1999
The leaders of some 40 nations gathered in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, pledging to push economic and democratic reforms for the war-torn Balkans.
2000
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela won a fresh six-year term in a landslide re-election.
2005
U.S. names German bases to close
2005
Two Britons killed in British consulate convoy attack in Basra
2005
Irish woman wins record lottery jackpot
2005
Third union separates from AFL-CIO
2005
Libya allows US oil company to return
2005
Bigger than Pluto, possible 10th planet found
2005
Britain launches 2012 Olympic Lottery games
2006
Charles Kennedy rejects leadership allegations
2006
James Bond set at Pinewood Studios destroyed by fire
2006
Gay teens assaulted and fined by police in Romania
2006
ICRC: 28 bodies, 19 children, pulled from rubble after Israeli airstrike, Qana
2006
Cassini photographs possible lakes on Saturn's moon, Titan
2006
Australian PM mobbed by anti-Israel protesters
2007
Health Canada orders recall of contaminated toothpaste manufactured in India
2007
Aircraft makes emergency landing at Edinburgh Airport
2007
Shinzo Abe's LDP suffers set-back in Japanese elections
2007
Fred Thompson raises $3 million, falls short of $5 million goal
2007
Ingmar Bergman dies at age 89
2007
Deadly crash at Dayton, Ohio air show
2007
NBA: Minnesota ready to trade Kevin Garnett to Boston
2007
Taliban report killing another South Korean hostage as deadline passes
2008
King of Tonga to hand power to Prime Minister, ending era of absolute monarchy
2008
Sixteen Christian converts arrested in Iran; facing death penalty
2009
Jaipur's Queen Gayatri Devi dies at 90
2009
Airbus offers funding to search for black boxes from Air France disaster
2009
Michael Schumacher returns to Formula One to replace injured Massa
2009
Vestas protesters sacked with immediate effect
2010
Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod to sue blogger Andrew Breitbart
2010
Apple releases new Magic Trackpad, updated iMacs and Mac Pros
2010
C-17 crashes near air force base in Alaska
2010
Up to 140 feared dead as boat sinks in DR Congo
2010
July deadliest month for US in Afghanistan War
2010
French woman admits to killing her eight infants
2010
'Crown Fire' forces residents in Southern California to evacuate homes
2010
Medical helicopter crashes in Tucson, Arizona, kills all on board
2012
Olympic rider Bennett-Awad thrown, injured
2012
China strikes first gold in Summer Olympics
2013
Catholic Democrats tell Chicago Cardinal George not to pull funding from immigration campaigners supporting same-sex marriage
2013
Noosa get bonus point win against Nambour in round 18 of Sunshine Coast Rugby Union

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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