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Today in History

1926
Academy Award winning director, comedian and actor, Mel Brooks born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn, New York
1948
Academy Award winning actress and director, Kathy Bates born in Memphis, Tennessee
1954
Rhodes University Doctorate of Letters, and award winning theatre actress, Alice Krige born in Upington, South Africa
1960
Cuba nationalizes US-owned oil refineries
1960
Superbowl winning quarterback, John Elway born in Port Angeles, Washington
1965
Actress Jessica Hecht born in Princeton, New Jersey
1966
Actress Mary Stuart Masterson born in New York City
1967
Israel annexes East Jerusalem
1969
Music producer, songwriter, singer and actress, Danielle Brisebois born in Brooklyn, New York
1978
Alan Bakke wins his reverse discrimination lawsuit in the US Supreme Court
2005
Canada legalizes same-sex marriage
548
Death of Theodora, Empress of Byzantium
767
Death of St. Paul, Pope
1098
Battle of the Lance (1st Crusade)
1128
Zengi made Governor of Aleppo
1243
Coronation of Pope Innocent IV
1245
Council of Lyons convenes to discuss the excommunication of the Holy Roman Emperor
1476
Pope Paul IV born
1483
Howard family takes possession of Dukedom of Norfolk
1490
Albert, Margrave of Brandenburg, cardinal (attacked by Luther) born
1491
Henry VIII of England. born
1519
Election of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
1544
Burning of Kelso Abbey by the English
1559
Start of the three-day Tournament, in France
1577
Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish Baroque painter born
1629
The "Edict of Grace"
1703
English clergyman John Wesley, founder of Methodism born
1712
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born. Rousseau wrote one of the most important early treatises on music. He stands with George Bernard Shaw as someone not often remembered in connection with music but who actually wrote a lot about it.
1778
"Molly Pitcher" (Mary Ludwig Hays) carried water to American soldiers at the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey.
1820
The tomato is proved to be nonpoisonous.
1836
The fourth president of the United States, James Madison, died in Montpelier, Virginia.
1894
Labor Day was established as a holiday for federal employees on the first Monday of September.
1902
Richard Rodgers was born. born
1902
Bank robber John Dillinger born
1914
Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sofia, were assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serb nationalist -- the event which triggered World War One.
1914
Country music entertainer Lester Flatt born
1919
Harry S. Truman married Elizabeth Virginia Wallace in Independence, Missouri.
1919
World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
1926
Film maker and comedian Mel Brooks born
1930
Actor Pat Morita born
1934
President Roosevelt signed into law the National Housing Act, which established the Federal Housing Administration.
1936
Singer Cathy Carr born
1938
Former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta born
1945
Rock musician Dave Knights (Procul Harum) born
1946
Actor Bruce Davison born
1948
Actress Kathy Bates born
1950
North Korean forces captured Seoul, South Korea.
1951
A TV version of the radio program "Amos 'N' Andy" premiered on CBS. (Although criticized for racial stereotyping, it was the first network TV series to feature an all-black cast).
1955
Actress Alice Krige born
1960
Football player John Elway born
1962
Record company chief executive Tony Mercedes born
1965
Actress Jessica Hecht ("Friends","The Single Guy") born
1965
Rock musician Saul Davies (James) born
1966
Actress Mary Stuart Masterson born
1966
Actor John Cusack born
1967
Actor Gil Bellows born
1969
Actress Danielle Brisebois born
1969
Jazz musician Jimmy Sommers born
1971
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the use of public funds for parochial schools was unconstitutional.
1972
Actor Alessandro Nivola born
1972
President Nixon announced that no more draftees would be sent to Vietnam unless they volunteered for service in the Asian nation.
1978
The Supreme Court ordered the University of California at Davis Medical School to admit Allan Bakke, a white man who argued he'd been a victim of reverse racial discrimination.
1987
Secretary of State George P. Shultz told NBC's "Meet the Press" he'd found some of the recent revelations about the Iran-Contra affair "sickening," but he defended the Reagan administration's foreign policy.
1988
The federal government sued the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to force reforms on the nation's largest labor union. The two sides reached agreement in March 1989.
1989
China's new Communist Party chief, Jiang Zemin, said the Beijing government would show no mercy to leaders of the pro-democracy movement, which he termed a "counterrevolutionary rebellion.""
1990
Jurors in the drug and perjury trial of Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. viewed a videotape showing Barry smoking crack cocaine during an FBI hotel-room sting operation.
1991
In Detroit, a white woman was attacked by a group of black women at a downtown fireworks display in an incident captured on amateur video. (Five women later pleaded no contest to charges stemming from the assault.)
1991
Two people were killed when an earthquake of magnitude 6 shook Southern California.
1992
Southern California was rocked by a pair of earthquakes that killed one person and injured 402.
1992
French President Francois Mitterrand was cheered as he visited war-torn Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1992
A 35-year-old man at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center became the first recipient of a baboon liver transplant; he lived ten more weeks.
1993
The Supreme Court kept alive a "racial gerrymandering" case, saying congressional districts designed to benefit racial minorities may violate white voters' rights.
1993
The National Commission on AIDS ended its work after four years, with members expressing frustration over how little national leaders had done to combat the disease.
1993
First Elektra-Nonesuch made a lot of money from Gorecki's Third Symphony, the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs." Now Boosey & Hawkes feels its turn has come to profit from this unlikely hit.
1994
North and South Korea set July 25-27 as the dates for a historic summit between the leaders of both countries (the summit was derailed by the death of North Korean President Kim Il Sung the following month.)
1994
President Clinton became the first chief executive in U.S. history to set up a personal legal defense fund and ask Americans to contribute to it.
1995
The House overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to protect the American flag from desecration (however, the amendment was later defeated in the Senate).
1995
Webster Hubbell, the former No. 3 official at the Justice Department, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for bilking clients of the law firm where he and Hillary Rodham Clinton were partners.
1996
The Citadel voted to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school.
1997
President Clinton, unable to meet his own July Fourth deadline for campaign finance reform, blamed the inaction on Congress in his weekly radio address.
1997
In a wild rematch, Evander Holyfield retained the WBA heavyweight boxing championship after his opponent, Mike Tyson, was disqualified for biting Holyfield's ear during the third round of their fight in Las Vegas.
1998
The 12th World AIDS Conference opened in Geneva.
1998
The Cincinnati Enquirer apologized to the Chiquita banana company as it retracted stories questioning the company's business practices; the paper agreed to pay more than $10 million to settle legal claims.
1999
Announcing even bigger projected budget surpluses, President Clinton said the government could drastically reduce the national debt while still buttressing Social Security and Medicare.
2000
Seven months after he was cast adrift in the Florida Straits, Elian Gonzalez was returned to his native Cuba.
2000
A Supreme Court ruling permits the Boy Scouts of America to bar homosexuals from serving as troop leaders.
2000
The Supreme Court struck down Nebraska's so-called "partial-birth" abortion law.
2005
Workers' Movement and other social movements support Lula, Senators warn of 'Chavenization'
2005
Wal-Mart heir John Walton killed in plane crash
2005
Norway and Denmark conducting observation flights over Belarus and Russia
2005
Lukashenko accuses foreign donators of ideological expansion
2005
France secures site for 10 billion euro nuclear fusion research project
2005
Civilians testify to Halliburton fraud, coercion
2005
Canadian House of Commons approves same-sex marriage
2005
Scenario for impeachment of Lula raised in Brazil
2006
Western Sydney rallies against goverment's workplace reforms
2006
Failure for constitutional ban on flag-burning in U.S. Senate
2006
More than 100,000 protest against workplace reforms across Australia
2006
Chameleon snake discovered in Borneo
2006
Montenegro becomes 192nd UN Member State
2006
South Africa's "speed king" dies during record attempt
2006
Israel Defense Forces attack Gaza Strip
2006
Anarchists clash with police during students' rallies in Athens
2007
European Space Agency seeks volunteers for Mars simulation
2007
Pope to lift restrictions on Latin Mass
2007
Cricket: Bangladeshi cricket team in Sri Lanka 2007-1st Test
2007
Indonesia shuts down 4 airlines and grounds 5 others over safety concerns
2007
Death of Nancy Benoit rumour posted on Wikipedia hours prior to body being found
2007
West Indies cricket team in England 2007-1st Twenty20
2007
Comprehensive immigration bill fails in United States Senate
2007
Lawsuit reveals Bush Administration attempts to suppress dissent
2007
Sydney Opera House listed on World Heritage List
2008
The North Pole may possibly be ice free by summer
2008
Guatemalan minister killed in helicopter crash
2008
Excellent crafts from indigenous peoples showcased in Taipei, Taiwan
2008
Montel Williams Show breached standards with 'psychic' Sylvia Browne
2008
Jindal signs Intelligent Design law
2008
UEFA president Platini confirms Euro 2012 to be hosted in Poland and Ukraine
2008
Bobby Charlton launches anti-landmine campaign
2009
Man on Florida bus threatened with knife for praising Michael Jackson
2009
American pitchman Billy Mays dies at age 50
2009
Philippine prisoners repeat performance of Thriller in tribute to Michael Jackson
2009
Amnesty International tells Iran to free imprisoned journalists
2009
Jackson family seeking second autopsy
2010
European oil companies stop trade with Iran
2010
Australian rules football: Gippsland Football League round 11 - Wonthaggi v Traralgon
2011
Greek workers strike over austerity measures
2011
Wall collapse kills twelve in Chhattisgarh, India
2011
Chinese political dissident Hu Jia freed as Chinese Premier Wen visits Britain
2012
U.S. Supreme Court upholds health care mandate
2013
Stephen Lawrence police corruption allegations lead to calls for investigation
2013
Emir of Qatar abdicates throne

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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