[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

1215
Magna Carta signed
1752
Ben Franklin's kite experiment
1911
Tabulating Computing Recording Corporation (IBM) is incorporated
1932
Minor league baseball player and 56th Governor of New York, Mario Cuomo born in Queens, New York
1941
Grammy Award winning songwriter, musician and singer, Harry Nilsson born in Brooklyn, New York
1945
Actress Nicola Pagett born in Cairo, Egypt
1949
Singer, dancer, screen actor, voice actor, and comedian, Jim Varney born in Lexington, Kentucky
1951
UNIVAC I delivered to the Census Bureau
1954
Actor and comedian, Jim Belushi born in Chicago, Illinois
1955
Stage, film and television actress, Julie Hagerty born in Cincinnati, Ohio
1963
Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning actress, Helen Hunt born in Culver City, California
844
Coronation of Louis II as King of Italy
923
Robert I, Usurper of the French Crown, killed in battle with the real King, Charles "The Simple"
960
Death of St. Edburga of Winchester
1184
King Magnus V of Norway defeated by Sverre, his rival
1215
Under pressure from rebellious barons, England's King John signed the Magna Carta, at Runnymede, England. A crucial first step toward creating Britain's constitutional monarchy.
1246
Death of Leopold VI, last Babenburg ruler of Austro-Hungary
1301
Coronation of Charles I, King of Hungary
1330
Prince Edward of England, son of Edward III and known as the "Black Prince" born
1381
Death of Wat Tyler; end of Wat Tyler's Rebellion
1397
Death of the Compte d'Ecu
1467
Charles "the Bold" becomes Duke of Burgundy
1520
Pope Leo X condemns Luther's 95 Theses and threatens to toss Luther out of the Catholic Church.
1567
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, surrenders to the Lords Confederate
1601
Death of St. Germaine of Pibrac
1605
Thomas Randolph, English poet, dramatist born
1607
James Fort, in Jamestown, finished
1626
Charles I prorogues his second Parliament
1648
Margaret Jones, of Charlestown, 1st woman executed as a witch in Massachusetts Bay Colony, is put to death.
1664
New Jersey established.
1752
Benjamin Franklin, in a dangerous experiment, demonstrated the relationship between lightning and electricity by flying a kite during a storm in Philadelphia. An iron key suspended from the string attracted a lightning bolt.
1775
Washington appointed commander-in-chief of the American Army.
1804
12th Amendment ratified (manner of choosing President and VP).
1836
Arkansas becomes the 25th state.
1843
Edvard Grieg was born, in the Norwegian city of Bergen. By the time Grieg died in 1907 (at the age of 64) his piano concerto and the Peer Gynt music were firmly in the repertory, and it was not unusual to rank him with, or close to, Liszt and Chopin. born
1844
Charles Goodyear received a patent for his process to strengthen rubber called vulcanization.
1846
Britain and the U.S. decide border along Pacific Northwest.
1849
James Polk, the eleventh president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tennessee.
1851
Jacob Fussell, a Baltimore dairyman, sets up the first ice-cream factory.
1857
San Francisco Water Works organized.
1864
A site near Arlington, Virginia (Robert E. Lee's home and the grounds around it) turned into a Yankee military cemetery!
1878
Series of photographs by Edward Muggeridge were made to prove to Leland Stanford that all the hooves of a horse are off the ground during the gallop. It was the first attempt at motion pictures made with 12 cameras, each taking one picture.
1884
Silent film comedian Harry Langdon born
1904
"General Slocum" boat catches fire; over a thousand die.
1914
Artist Saul Steinberg born
1919
First flight across the Atlantic (Alcock and Brown).
1922
Morris K. Udall, Democratic Congressman from Arizona born
1932
Mario Cuomo, governor of New York, silver-tongued orator born
1937
Singer, actor Waylon Jennings born
1940
France surrendered to Hitler.
1941
Singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson born
1943
Actor Aron Kincaid born
1944
American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan during World War Two. Meanwhile, B-29 Superfortresses made their first raids on Japan.
1945
Nicola Pagett born
1946
Judy Pace born
1946
Janet Lennon (in Culver City, CA), singer (Lennon Sisters) born
1949
Singer Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply) born
1949
Actor-director Simon Callow ("Shakespeare in Love") born
1949
Actor Jim Varney (Ernest P. Worrell) born
1951
Rock singer Steve Walsh (Kansas) born
1954
Actor Jim Belushi born
1954
Country singer Terri Gibbs born
1955
Actress Julie Hagerty born
1957
Polly Draper born
1958
Wade Boggs born
1963
Actress Helen Hunt born
1963
Rock musician Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche) born
1964
Actress Courteney Cox born
1964
Country musician Tony Ardoin born
1966
Country musician Michael Britt (Lonestar) born
1967
Governor Reagan signs liberalized California abortion bill.
1967
The pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim married the cellist Jacqueline Du Pre. He was 24, she 22. The wedding took place in Jerusalem.
1968
Rock musician Jimmy McD (formerly of Jimmie's Chicken Shack) born
1969
Actor-rapper Ice Cube born
1970
Actress Leah Remini ("Fired Up") born
1972
Rock musician T-Bone Willy (Save Ferris) born
1973
Neil Patrick Harris born
1975
Soyuz 19 is launched.
1977
Spain's first free elections since 1936.
1978
King Hussein of Jordan married 26-year-old American Lisa Halaby, who became Queen Noor.
1982
Riots in Argentina after Falklands/Malvinas defeat.
1986
Pravda announces high-level Chernobyl staff fired for stupidity.
1989
Three Chinese workers in Shanghai were sentenced to death for helping to set fire to a train during recent pro-democracy protests.
1990
Real estate mogul Donald Trump missed a payment due on junk bonds used to finance one of his Atlantic City, New Jersey, resorts.
1991
India concluded its violence-racked elections, with the Congress Party of recently assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gaining a plurality of votes.
1992
Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin arrived in the United States for his summit with President Bush.
1992
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the government may kidnap criminal suspects from a foreign country for prosecution.
1992
Vice President Dan Quayle, relying on a faulty flash card, erroneously instructed a Trenton, New Jersey, elementary school student to spell "potato" as "potatoe" during a spelling bee.
1993
President Clinton told a news conference he was confident his Supreme Court nominee, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, would win Senate confirmation.
1993
Former Texas Gov. John Connally, who had been wounded in the gunfire that killed President Kennedy, died at age 76.
1994
Israel and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations.
1994
Former President Jimmy Carter arrived in North Korea on a private mission to try to reduce tensions with the Communist nation.
1995
At the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Simpson struggled to don a pair of gloves prosecutors said were worn the night Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were murdered.
1995
President Clinton met with Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on the opening day of a Group of Seven summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1996
A truck bomb blew up in a retail district of Manchester, England, injuring more than 200 people in an attack claimed by the Irish Republican Army.
1996
Ella Fitzgerald, the "first lady of song," died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 78.
1997
Israel's High Court dismissed petitions calling for the indictment of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on charges of breach of trust.
1998
NATO fighter jets staged a show of force meant to pressure Yugoslav forces to end their attacks on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province.
1998
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that state prison inmates are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act.
1999
A magnitude 6.7 earthquake in central Mexico killed at least 17 people.
1999
Vessels from North Korea and South Korea clashed on the Yellow Sea; about 30 North Korean sailors are believed to have died.
1999
Thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees flooded back into Kosovo while thousands of Serbs fled.
2000
Al Gore named Commerce Secretary William Daley to take over his presidential campaign, replacing Tony Coelho, who had abruptly resigned, citing health problems.
2000
Federal agents made more than 170 arrests as they broke up a multimillion-dollar Mexican heroin ring alleged to have smuggled unusually pure and cheap black tar heroin into new markets from one U.S. coast to the other.
2000
Denis Savard, Joe Mullen and Walter L. Bush Junior were selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
2005
Red and processed meats linked to bowel cancer
2005
Tsunami bulletin issued from Pacific coast of California-Mexico border to Vancouver, Canada
2005
Boy dies on Space Mission ride at Disneyworld
2005
President Bush says U.S. will defend Taiwan if attacked by China
2005
Earthquake hits Chile
2005
EBay UK bans sale of Live 8 tickets
2005
Aid payments to be withdrawn by UK following violence in Ethiopia
2005
Autopsy reveals that Terri Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state
2005
Canadian PM survives confidence vote
2005
House votes to limit Patriot Act
2005
Bombing in Iraq kills US Marines and civilians
2006
Samples being taken from poultry farms in Eastern Oklahoma for lawsuits
2006
J.J. Redick arrested for drunken driving
2006
Immigration Detainees on Hunger Strike in Oxford UK
2006
University of California, San Francisco inviting tobacco users to test new nicotine vaccine
2006
New Zealand to get free-to-air digital television
2006
Australian PM should convert to Islam: Bashir
2006
Australian government to censor 3G mobile content
2006
War on terrorism memorial planned near Oklahoma Capitol
2006
Major cell phone companies working on Linux-based platform for phones
2006
Bill Gates to step down from daily roles by July 2008
2006
Americans United for Separation of Church and State investigating United Church of Christ Convention Deal
2006
FAA allows commercial spaceflights out of Oklahoma Spaceport
2006
"Living fossil" found in Laos
2006
Russia launches new civil remote sensing satellite
2006
Rallies in Greece as Universities' strike continues
2006
Ecuador make short work of Costa Rica in Group A
2006
England beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 in Group B
2006
Sweden stuns Paraguay two minutes from time in Group B
2007
North Korean funds released
2007
Gay marriage amendment to stay off 2008 ballot in Massachusetts, USA
2007
Questions arise about health of North Korean dictator
2007
Khamenei: US and Israeli intel services responsible for Iraqi shrine bombing
2007
11th suspect arrested in Laos overthrow plot; indictments handed down
2007
Another Jemaah Islamiyah leader captured in Indonesia
2007
Air Independence and Libyan Airlines place orders for Bombardier aircraft valued at $190 million
2007
Panama: Eleven years of a conflict between PPC and ex-workers of Port Authority
2007
Astronauts fix thermal blanket on Atlantis
2007
Thaksin's speech played for demonstrators, ex-Thai PM calls for elections
2007
Seven soldiers killed in southern Thailand ambush
2008
Scores dead, thousands flee as flooding spreads across southern China
2008
Temporary restraining order stops demolition of partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York
2008
Hundreds of cyclists take part in London Naked Bike Ride
2008
Australian Government to pressure Asia to reduce fuel subsidies
2008
Western Australia gas crisis set to worsen
2008
Jenny Li and Thomas Dold win the Taipei 101 Run Up
2008
Quebec man found not guilty in shooting death of Laval officer
2008
Nepal's royal palace now a public museum
2008
Australian Medical Association withdraws from NT Intervention
2008
WiMAX Forum: WiMAX usage anticipated to increase significantly over next four years
2009
UK inquiry into Iraq war will be held in private
2009
Swine flu claims first UK victim
2009
Demonstrator killed in Tehran protest
2010
Los Angeles Lakers need to win game six to tie NBA championship
2010
Women reveal accounts of forced abortion in Scientology
2010
US report says Afghanistan has significant mineral wealth
2010
International Committee of the Red Cross condemns Gaza blockade
2010
Israel announces inquiry into Gaza aid ship deaths
2010
World Cup workers walk off the job
2011
US congressmen sue Obama for military action in Libya
2011
Woman's body found in home of Papua New Guinea leader
2011
First Libertarian Party presidential nominee John Hospers dies at 93
2012
Darcy Richardson to seek Reform Party presidential nomination
2013
Gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo comments on North Colorado proposal

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.

Select a section