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Today in History

Northern Hemisphere's Summer Solstice, Southern Hemisphere's Winter Solstice
1756
146 British troops imprisoned in a 14 by 18 ft cell which came to be known as the Black Hole of Calcutta
1837
Queen Victoria crowned
1909
Swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn born in Tasmania, Australia
1924
Actor and Medal of Honor decorated combat infantryman, Audie Murphy born in Kingston, Texas
1931
Academy Award winning actress, Olympia Dukakis born in Lowell, Massachusetts
1931
Academy Award winning actor, Martin Landau born in Brooklyn, New York
1938
Flag Day in Argentina
1940
English teacher, editor and Emmy Award nominated actor, John Mahoney born in Blackpool, England
1945
Grammy Award winning singer, Anne Murray born in Springhill, Nova Scotia
1946
Home improvement television show host, Bob Vila born in Miami, Florida
1949
Grammy Award winning singer and Academy Award winning songwriter, Lionel Richie born in Tuskegee, Alabama
1952
Golden Globe Award winning actor, John Goodman born in Affton, Missouri
1953
Emmy Award winning actress and Grammy Award winning singer, Cyndi Lauper born in Queens, New York
1967
Academy and Golden Globe Award winning actress and singer, Nicole Kidman born in Honolulu, Hawaii
451
Atilla the Hun defeated by Aetius
840
Death of Louis I "the Pious," Holy Roman Emperor
981
Death of St. Adalbert of Magdeburg
1189
John "Lackland" Plantagenet, King of England born
1192
Richard I captures a large Moslem caravan (3rd Crusade)
1294
Edward III, King of England, sends his ambassadors to France, with a declaration of war
1367
Geoffrey Chaucer granted a royal pension for service
1475
Edward IV, King of England, and his army, land in France
1499
Isabella, Queen of Spain, condemns enslavement of Indians
1529
Peace of Barcelona
1596
English sack Cadiz, Spain...again
1597
Death of William Barents, explorer
1605
Theodore II, Tsar of Russia, assassinated by boyars in a palace coup
1612
A certain Lord Sanquir, of Scotland, executed for assassinating a man to whom he had lost in a duel
1632
Britain grants second Lord Baltimore rights to Chesapeake Bay area.
1649
Death of Richard Brandon, executioner of Charles I of England
1756
In India, a group of British soldiers was imprisoned in a suffocating cell that gained notoriety as the "Black Hole of Calcutta." Most died..
1782
The U.S. Congress approves the Great Seal of the United States and the Eagle as it's symbol. William Barton designed the seal that is still used today. It consists of an eagle, an olive branch and 13 arrows -- one for each of the original 13 colonies.
1791
King Louis XVI caught trying to escape the French Revolution.
1819
Jacques Offenbach was born, his real name was Jacob Eberst. Playing music in the theatre led to conducting in the theatre and then to composing for the theatre. By his thirties Offenbach was known for both talents. For the rest of his life he was honored for his operettas.
1837
Queen Victoria at age 18 ascends British throne following death of uncle King William IV. Ruled for 63 years (ending in 1901).
1858
Novelist Charles Chesnutt (The Conjure Woman, The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line, The Colonel's Dream) born
1863
West Virginia is admitted to the Union as the 35th state.
1867
President Andrew Johnson announces the purchase of Alaska.
1898
The U.S. Navy seized Guam, the largest of the Mariana Islands in the Pacific, during the Spanish-American war. The people of Guam were granted U.S. citizenship in 1950.
1901
Edward Elgar's "Cockaigne" Overture was premiered in London.
1907
Author-playwright Lillian Hellman born
1909
Actor Errol Flynn (Captain Blood, In the Wake of the Bounty, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Too Much Too Soon) born
1921
Alice M. Robertson of Oklahoma presided over the U.S. House of Representatives on this day. She was the first woman to accept the task, even though it was only for a few minutes.
1924
Master guitarist and country musician Chet Atkins born
1924
World War II hero Audie Murphy born
1931
Actor James Tolkan born
1931
Actress Olympia Dukakis born
1931
Actor Martin Landau born
1935
Actor Danny Aiello born
1936
Rhythm-and-blues singer Billy Guy born
1940
The French composer Jehan Alain, whose organ works are still played, died while on patrol in the Alsace province near the German border. Alain was only 29.
1940
Actor John Mahoney born
1941
Movie director Stephen Frears born
1942
Songwriter Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys born
1943
Race-related rioting erupted in Detroit; federal troops were sent in two days later to quell the violence that resulted in more than 30 deaths.
1945
Singer Anne Murray (in Nova Scotia) born
1945
Actor John McCook born
1946
Musician Andre Watts born
1946
TV personality Bob Vila born
1947
Actress Candy Clark born
1947
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was shot dead at the Beverly Hills, California, mansion of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, apparently at the order of mob associates.
1947
President Truman vetoed Taft-Hartley Act.
1948
Tina Sinatra born
1948
Ed Sullivan has his first really big 'shoe' on Sunday night TV. `Toast of the Town' premiered on CBS-TV. It started his TV career that would span 23 years on a weekly basis. The first show of "Toast of the Town" cost $1375 to produce including just $375 for the talent.
1950
Rhythm-and-blues singer Lionel Ritchie born
1952
Actor John Goodman (Always, Arachniphobia) born
1953
Singer Cyndi Lauper (Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Time After Time, True Colors) born
1955
Rock musician Michael Anthony (Van Halen) born
1960
Rock musician John Taylor born
1960
Floyd Patterson took back the world heavyweight title this day by knocking out Ingemar Johanson of Sweden in round five of a title bout at the Polo Grounds in New York City. He lost the title only six days later.
1962
Rock musician Mark DeGliantoni (Soul Coughing) born
1963
US and USSR agree to set up the "Hot Line".
1967
Actress Nicole Kidman born
1967
Boxer Muhammad Ali convicted of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. His conviction is later struck down by the Supreme Court.
1977
Oil began to flow through the $7.7 billion, 789-mile Alaska pipeline.
1979
ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart was shot to death in Managua, Nicaragua, by a member of President Anastasio Somoza's national guard.
1982
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin arrives in Washington.
1986
Doctors at Bethesda Naval remove 2 small benign polyps from Reagan.
1987
Johnny Carson marries 4th wife at Alexis, Mass.
1989
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev greeted the speaker of Iran's parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was visiting Moscow.
1990
President Bush broke off U.S. diplomatic contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization because the PLO refused to act against a factional leader who plotted to attack Israel.
1990
South African black nationalist Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, arrived in New York City for a ticker-tape parade in their honor as they began an eight-city U.S. tour.
1991
Boris Yeltsin, the newly elected president of the Russian republic, was welcomed to the White House by President Bush. German lawmakers voted to move the seat of the national government back to Berlin.
1994
O.J. Simpson pleaded innocent in Los Angeles to the killings of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman.
1994
Former airman Dean Allen Mellberg went on a shooting rampage at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington, killing four people and wounding 22 others before being shot and killed by a military police sharpshooter.
1995
U.S. Air Force Captain Jim Wang, a radar officer, was cleared of wrongdoing in a friendly fire attack on two U.S. helicopters over northern Iraq in 1994 that resulted in 26 deaths.
1995
Royal Dutch Shell abandoned its controversial plan to sink an aging oil platform in the North Atlantic.
1996
The Clinton administration announced it would veto the re-election of U.N. Secretary-General Bhoutros Bhoutros-Ghali.
1996
Westinghouse Electric agreed to buy Infinity Broadcasting for $3.9 billion.
1998
On the eve of Father's Day, President Clinton used his weekly radio address to announce the release of the first wave of almost $60 million in prostate cancer research grants.
1999
As the last of 40,000 Yugoslav troops left Kosovo, NATO declared a formal end to its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.
1999
Golfer Payne Stewart won his second U.S. Open title, by one stroke over Phil Mickelson.
2000
After a furious last-minute lobbying blitz by the Clinton administration, the Senate voted 57-to-42 to approve legislation making it easier for federal prosecutors to try hate crimes, attaching the measure to a defense authorization bill.
2005
Scores killed and wounded in Iraq as violence escalates
2005
Filmcrew working for Channel 4 arrested for soaking Tom Cruise in London
2005
Iran election going to run-off, challenger alleges fraud
2005
Google planning PayPal rival
2006
Twin babies in NZ foster home die of head injuries
2006
Tony Blair orders two government jets
2006
Apple plans to sell movies on iTunes
2006
New Zealand PM faults Japan over Whaling Commission vote
2006
BBC's famous 'Top of the Pops' programme to be axed
2006
Italy seeks indictment of U.S. marine
2006
Shashi Tharoor starts his campaign for Secretary General of the UN
2006
Australian House of Representatives moves to affirm support for heterosexual marriage
2006
"Avast ye scurvy file sharers!": Interview with Swedish Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge
2006
Germany too hot for Ecuador in Group A
2006
Paraguay beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 in Group B
2006
Sweden score late against England for 2-2 draw in Group B
2006
Poland win 2-1 against Costa Rica in Group A
2007
Cocaine found in frozen mango puree shipped to Montréal, Canada
2007
Blow out sales prices likely on mattresses as new U.S. fire-resistant standards take effect
2007
North Korea receives transfer of $25 million
2007
Dubai purchases RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 for $100 million
2007
Study links foie gras consumption with Alzheimer's, arthritis, diabetes, other diseases
2007
Nine firefighters killed in South Carolina blaze
2007
North Korea invites International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors
2007
Texan bystanders kill car passenger after child injured
2007
Security camera records 'unexplainable' object in Sante Fe, New Mexico
2007
Suspect in Laos plot detained in Thailand; suspects plead not guilty in California
2008
MDC may pull out of Zimbabwe election
2008
NASA: White substance photographed by Phoenix lander on Mars 'must have been ice'
2008
Taste of Taiwan Cuisine features three shows for food and packaging industries
2008
Google Developer Day focuses on Internet APIs in Australia
2008
Google Developer Day makes its inception in Taiwan
2008
Peacekeeping helicopter crash kills four in Bosnia
2008
Row over Lech Wałęsa's alleged collaboration with communists escalates
2008
Scientists say genetic building blocks are from out of this world
2008
Jason-2 satellite launched to measure sea levels
2008
Mormon church warns Wikileaks over documents
2008
Guinea coup trial defendant names co-conspirators
2009
Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon Championships
2009
EPA declares 'emergency' asbestos cleanup in Montana town
2009
Tropical depression dissipates, impacts Mexico
2009
Two British hostages feared dead after bodies found in Iraq
2010
Sarkozy in UK to mark historic de Gaulle war broadcast
2010
Ronnie Lee Gardner executed by Utah firing squad
2010
Getty taps into Flickr snappers
2010
Bomb left outside police station in Northern Ireland
2010
Three dead in murder-suicide shooting at Southern California fast food restaurant
2010
Australian rules football: Gippsland Football League round 10 - Leongatha v Wonthaggi
2011
Clarence Clemons, Springsteen’s E Street Band sax player, dies at 69
2012
Australian water polo players Zagame and Rippon whooping it up
2013
Two divers' bodies found in Scapa Flow, Scotland

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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