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Today in History

LOTR...
Gandalf imprisoned by Saruman
1776
Independence Day in United States
1802
US Military Academy West Point founded
1804
Author Nathaniel Hawethorne born in Salem, Massachusetts
1883
Cartoonist and illustrator, Rube Goldberg born in San Francisco, California
1910
Stage, television and film actress, Gloria Stuart born in Santa Monica, California
1918
Advice columnists Esther and Pauline Friedman, better known as Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren, born in Sioux City, Iowa
1927
Pulitzer Prize winning screenwriter and playwright, Neil Simon born in Bronx, New York
1927
Fashion model and Golden Globe nominated actress, Gina Lollobrigida born in Subiaco, Italy
1997
Pathfinder lands on Mars
740
Death of St. Andrew of Crete
959
Death of St. Odo the Good
973
Death of St. Ulrich, bishop & patron of Augsburg - 1st person known to have been canonized by a Pope
1054
Brightest known super-nova starts shining, for 23 days.
1189
Henry II of England accepts a humiliating peace offer from Phillip I of France, Richard "Lionheart," and John "Lackland"
1190
Kings Philip II & Richard I meet at Vzelay, France, and set off on the 3rd Crusade
1415
Creation of William Bruges as first Garter King-of-Arms by Henry V, King of England
1519
Johann Tetzel, salesman of papal indulgences in Germany, dies
1519
Martin Luther joins the Disputation of Leipzig
1537
Death of Magdalen, Wife of James V and Queen of Scotland
1567
Abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots
1606
Francis du Bose, of France, accused of witchcraft
1623
Death of William Byrd, composer
1627
Death of Thomas Middleton, Elizabethan dramatist
1653
The "Barebones" Parliament meets
1753
Jean-Pierre-Francois Blanchard, 1st balloon flights in England, US born
1776
The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
1802
The United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point, New York.
1804
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter) born
1807
Italian soldier who was influential in the unification ot Italy Giuseppi Garibaldi. born
1817
Governor Dewitt Clinton of New York broke ground for the Erie Canal.
1825
"The Harmonicon" of London declared that there was a "disagreeable eccentricity we had almost said a hoax" about, of all things, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.
1826
Stephen Foster was born, the Pennsylvania-born son of a Virginia businessman and a Maryland society lady. Many of Stephen Foster's songs would form the basic American musical heritage, alluded to or quoted outright in the classical compositions of Copland, Ives and others.
1826
50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died.
1831
Baptist minister Dr. S.F. Smith composed "America" for Independence Day services. He wrote the words, borrowing the tune from an old German songbook. He didn't realize at the time, the British were using the same tune for the national anthem.
1831
The fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, died in New York City.
1845
American writer Henry David Thoreau began his two-year experiment in simple living at Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts.
1847
Circus operator James Bailey born
1855
The first edition of "Leaves of Grass," by Walt Whitman, was published in Brooklyn, New York.
1862
English clergyman and mathematician Charles L. Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, began inventing the story of "Alice in Wonderland" for his friend Alice Pleasance Liddell during a boating trip.
1863
Boise, Idaho founded (now capital of Idaho).
1863
Battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg won by Union forces
1872
The 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, was born in Plymouth, Vermont.
1878
George M. Cohan born
1882
Telegraph Hill Observatory opens.
1883
Rube Goldberg born
1885
Russian born Hollywood mogul and cofounder of MGM, Louis B. Mayer. born
1894
Elwood Haynes successfully tests one of the 1st US autos
1895
The poem, "America the Beautiful" by Wellesley College professor Katherine Lee Bates, was first published in the "Congregationalist," a church publication.
1910
Actress Gloria Stuart born
1911
Conductor Mitch Miller born
1912
TV personality Virginia Graham born
1917
During a ceremony in Paris honoring the French hero of the American Revolution, US Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Stanton declared, "Lafayette, we are here!"
1918
Advice columnist Abigail Van Buren born
1918
Advice columnist Ann Landers born
1924
Actress Eva Marie Saint born
1927
Playwright Neil Simon born
1928
Actress-photographer Gina Lollobrigida born
1930
Baseball owner George Steinbrenner born
1937
Country singer Ray Pillow born
1938
Singer Bill Withers born
1939
Baseball's "Iron Horse," Lou Gehrig, said farewell to his fans at New York's Yankee Stadium.
1940
Actress Karolyn Grimes born
1942
Irving Berlin's musical review "This Is the Army" opened at the Broadway Theater in New York. Net profits of the show were $780,000.
1943
TV talk show host Geraldo Rivera born
1946
The Philippines became independent of US sovereignty.
1952
Rock musician Domingo Ortiz (Widespread Panic) born
1955
Singer John Waite born
1958
Rock musician Kirk Pengilly (INXS) born
1959
America's 49-star flag, honoring Alaskan statehood, was officially unfurled.
1960
Country musician Teddy Carr (Ricochet) born
1960
America's 50-star flag, honoring Hawaiian statehood, was officially unfurled.
1962
Rock D-J Zonka (Big Audio Dynamite) born
1962
Tennis player Pam Shriver born
1963
Rock musician Matt Malley (Counting Crows) born
1966
President Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act, which went into effect the following year.
1970
"American Top 40," hosted by Casey Kasem, was heard for the first time on radio.
1974
Actress Jenica Bergere ("Men Behaving Badly") born
1976
Israeli commandos raided Entebbe airport in Uganda rescuing almost all of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by pro-Palestinian hijackers.
1978
Singer Stephen "Ste" McNally (BBMak) born
1982
The space shuttle Columbia concluded its fourth and final test flight with a smooth landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1984
The Statue of Liberty's torch, symbol of freedom to tens of millions of new Americans for almost a century, was removed from the statue's outstretched hand to be replaced with a new one the following year.
1985
An attempted coup began in the West African nation of Guinea; it was put down the following day.
1986
More than 250 sailing ships and the United States' biggest fireworks display honored the Statue of Liberty in its 100th birthday year.
1987
Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo chief known as the "Butcher of Lyon," was convicted by a French court of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison (he died in September 1991).
1987
Martina Navratilova won her eighth Wimbledon singles title as she defeated Steffi Graf.
1988
Stefan Edberg outdueled Boris Becker to win his first Wimbledon title.
1988
President Reagan called the shooting down of an Iranian passenger jet by the USS "Vincennes" the day before an "understandable accident" and "tragedy"; Ayatollah Khomeini vowed revenge.
1989
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrived in France for a three-day visit that included an address to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
1990
During a break in the Soviet Communist Party congress in Moscow, President Mikhail S. Gorbachev promised to resign in two years if perestroika did not improve Soviet life by then.
1990
Rioting that left three people dead erupted in 30 English towns following England's loss to West Germany in World Cup soccer.
1991
Americans celebrated Independence Day, with the Persian Gulf War adding to emotions. President Bush and his wife, Barbara, attended festivities in Marshfield, Missouri, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, before returning to Washington DC for the annual fireworks display.
1992
Steffi Graf won her fourth Wimbledon title, defeating Monica Seles in a five-and-a-half-hour match interrupted three times by rain.
1993
Pete Sampras won the men's title at Wimbledon, defeating fellow American Jim Courier.
1993
South African leaders F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela received the Liberty Medal in a ceremony outside Philadelphia's Independence Hall.
1994
The United States opened its embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a Fourth of July party.
1994
Rwandan Tutsi rebels seized control of most of the capital Kigali and continued advancing on areas held by the Hutu-led government.
1995
President Boris Yeltsin announced that Russian troops would be permanently stationed in Chechnya.
1995
British Prime Minister John Major won re-election as Conservative Party leader.
1995
The space shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir parted after spending five days in orbit docked together.
1995
Actress Eva Gabor died in Los Angeles at age 74.
1996
President Clinton extolled the joys of democracy and asked the nation to honor America's independence by praising continued free rule in Russia as he spoke during a jamboree honoring the 200th anniversary of Youngstown, Ohio.
1997
CBS newsman Charles Kuralt died in New York at age 62.
1997
NASA's Pathfinder spacecraft landed on Mars, inaugurating a new era in the search for life on the Red Planet.
1998
Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic won the women's title at Wimbledon, defeating France's Nathalie Tauziat 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).
1998
Japan launched its Planet-B probe to Mars, which is scheduled to begin beaming back photographs and data from the Red Planet in October 1999.
1999
White supremacist Benjamin Nathaniel Smith shot himself to death as police closed in on him in southern Illinois, hours after he apparently shot and killed a Korean man outside a church in Bloomington, Ind. (Smith had been on a three-day rampage targeting minorities.) Pete Sampras and Lindsay Davenport won the singles titles at Wimbledon, defeating Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf.
2000
Tall ships sailed through New York Harbor during OpSail 2000, celebrating Independence Day.
2005
Iraq's UN Envoy accuses U.S. Marines of 'cold blooded murder'
2005
Russian astrologist sues NASA for Deep Impact test
2005
NASA's Deep Impact probe strikes comet successfully
2005
Ahmadinejad pictures: Iran Gov't denies hostage-taker allegations
2005
Egyptian envoy's captors remain anonymous
2005
Mediterranean Games close in Almeria
2005
'Bad language' at Live 8 concerts trigger complaints to the BBC
2005
Underwater volcano causes 3,300 ft column of steam
2005
Nine hundred thousand Somalis face food crisis
2005
TV channel does not hold exclusive trademark rights to the number 3, Stockholm court rules
2005
Civilians dead following U.S. air strike on 'terrorist compound'
2005
San Jose replaces Detroit as 10th-largest U.S. city
2006
Speeches of Canada's PM Stephen Harper rank as top-downloaded podcasts
2006
Report into whether Australian Big Brother breached online content laws to be handed down today
2006
NASA to launch Discovery despite crack in insulation foam
2006
Bird Flu kills 40th Indonesian
2006
New Zealand diplomats: Fiat using Maori haka in television ad is insensitive
2006
Heavy rains lash Mumbai, many parts of the city flooded
2006
NSW fraud squad recognised in Singapore
2006
Chinese media face fines for disaster reporting
2006
Pirates attack UN ships in the Malacca Strait
2006
Space Shuttle Discovery launches for mission STS-121
2006
Switzerland accuses Israel of breaking international law in Gaza
2006
Bomb scare in Dublin Airport
2006
North Korea test-fires missiles
2006
Italy score two late in Extra Time to advance to finals, hosts Germany to play in third place match
2007
New 'clean water' funding for Djibouti's drought-stricken rural areas
2007
African Union Summit ends in Accra
2007
Number of private contractors killed in Iraq and Afghanistan passes 1,000
2007
Anwar's lawsuit over gay slur by former Malaysian premier is dismissed
2007
Hovind's 11th Circuit Court Appeal Denied
2007
West Indies cricket team in England - 2nd ODI
2007
UK threat level reduced to 'severe'
2007
EU launches channel on YouTube
2007
231st Independence Day celebrated in United States
2007
BBC Reporter Alan Johnston is released in Gaza
2008
Judge orders YouTube to hand over video view records
2008
Former US Senator Jesse Helms dead at 86
2008
Over 60 members of Chadian sect killed by troops after violence
2008
Pakistani scientist says government knew about nuclear shipment to North Korea
2008
Íngrid Betancourt returns to France
2008
Hot dog eating champion retains title after tiebreaker
2008
Chinese Wikipedia unblocked by government
2008
Threat received before Boeing 767 fire at San Francisco
2009
Wife of British Prime Minister attends gay pride parade in London
2009
Bulgarian officials in Grand Prix talks
2009
Three new dinosaurs discovered in Australia
2009
African Union refuses to arrest Sudan's President for war crimes
2009
Gunmen abduct aid workers in Sudan
2009
Virgin lizard reproduces
2009
Rupert Grint, Harry Potter's "Ron Weasley", recovers from H1N1 swine flu virus
2010
Russian police to 'check' officer allegedly involved in large theft and murder
2010
Sailors freed after being captured in Nigeria
2010
Paris court jails rioters for attempted murder of police
2010
Magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits east coast of Honshu, Japan
2010
CPSC, ATF warn of dangers of fireworks over US Independence Day celebrations
2010
Helicopter crash in Hong Kong injures thirteen
2011
Hidden treasure worth billions of dollars discovered in Indian temple

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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