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Today in History

1539
DeSoto claims Florida for Spain
1808
West Point graduate and President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis born in Christian County, Kentucky
1925
US Navy seaman and Academy Award nominated actor, Tony Curtis born in New York City
1926
Poet Allen Ginsberg born in Newark, New Jersey
1929
Songwriter, TV producer and host of The Gong Show, Chuck Barris born in Oakland, New Jersey
1940
The Luftwaffe bombs Paris
1942
Grammy Award winning songwriter, guitarist and singer, Curtis Mayfield born in Chicago, Illinois
1951
Singer, songwriter and record producer, Deniece Williams born in Gary, Indiana
1989
Chinese troops begin forcing protesters out of Tiananmen Square
545
Death of St. Clotilda
618
Death of St. Kevin
713
Byzantine emperor Philippicus overthrown, blinded
1098
Stephen of Blois' army of the 1st Crusade arrives at Nicea
1098
Fall of Antioch (1st Crusade) Christian Crusaders of the First Crusade seize Antioch, Turkey.
1140
Abelard condemned for heresy
1291
Edward I, King of England, summons the Northern levies to Norham
1291
Edward I, King of England, speaks of his hereditary right to the Crown of Scotland
1539
Hernando De Soto claims Florida for Spain.
1596
An English expedition to attack Cadiz, Spain, sets sail
1621
Chartering of the Dutch West India Company
1635
Philippe Quinault, French dramatist born
1647
The Parliamentarian Army kidnaps Charles I
1726
James Hutton, Scottish geologist who founded the science of geology and wrote A Theory of the Earth. born
1804
Richard Cobden, English economist and politician known as the 'the Apostle of free trade.' born
1808
Jefferson Davis -- the first and only president of the Confederacy -- was born in Christian County, Kentucky.
1864
Automaker Ranson Olds1911 Waltons) born
1875
Georges Bizet died, on his sixth wedding anniversary. He was only 36 years old. The quality of "Carmen" and the "L'Arlesienne" Suite make Bizet's young death especially tragic.
1888
The poem "Casey at the Bat," by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, was first published, in the "San Francisco Daily Examiner."
1906
Josephine Baker, dancer, singer, Parisian nightclub owner who became a tireless campaigner fo Civil Rights in the United States. born
1913
Pierre Lalo declared in Les Temps of Paris that "the most essential trait of Rite of Spring is that it's the most dissonant and discordant composition yet written."
1925
Actor Tony Curtis born
1926
Poet Allen Ginsberg born
1927
Musician Boots Randolph born
1929
Chuck Barris, TV producer, game show host (Gong Show) born
1937
The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, married divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson of Baltimore, after abdicating the British throne.
1942
The battle of Midway began. It raged for four days and was the turning point for the United States in the Pacific war against Japan.
1943
Musician Curtis Mayfield born
1946
Rock singer Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople) born
1946
Rock musician John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) born
1947
Francois Poulenc's racy opera "Les Mamelles de Tiresias"
1948
Musician Too Slim (Riders in the Sky) born
1950
Singer Suzi Quatro born
1951
Singer Deniece Williams born
1952
Rock musician Billy Powell (Lynyrd Skynyrd) born
1954
Singer Dan Hill born
1958
Actor Scott Valentine ("Family Ties") born
1963
Pope John the 23rd died at the age of 81, ending a papacy marked by innovative reforms in the Roman Catholic Church. He was succeeded by Pope Paul the Sixth.
1965
Astronaut Edward White became the first American to "walk" in space, during the flight of "Gemini Four."
1971
Singers Ariel and Gabriel Hernandez (No Mercy) born
1974
Charles Colson, an aide to President Richard Nixon, pleads guilty to obstruction of justice.
1981
Pope John Paul the Second left a Rome hospital and returned to the Vatican three weeks after the attempt on his life.
1983
Gordon Kahl, a militant tax protester wanted in the slayings of two US marshals in North Dakota, was killed in a gun battle with law-enforcement officials near Smithville, Arkansas.
1985
An accord between Italy and the Vatican ended Roman Catholicism's position as "sole religion of the Italian state."
1987
President Reagan arrived in Italy to prepare for a summit of major industrialized democracies, the 13th such gathering of world leaders.
1988
President Reagan returned home from the superpower summit in Moscow after a stopover in London.
1989
Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, died.
1990
President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev concluded their Washington summit with a joint news conference at the White House. Gorbachev and his delegation then flew to Minnesota to tour Minneapolis-St. Paul.
1990
"City of Angels" won best musical and "The Grapes of Wrath" won best play at the 44th Tony Awards.
1991
Pope John Paul the Second, visiting the Polish city of Kielce, indirectly criticized abortion, appealing to his listeners to "prevent further destruction of the Polish family."
1991
The Mount Unzen volcano in southern Japan erupted, killing about 40 people.
1992
Undeclared presidential candidate Ross Perot announced he'd hired Hamilton Jordan and Edward Rollins to help steer his campaign. Democrat Bill Clinton appeared on "The Arsenio Hall Show."
1993
President Clinton abandoned his nomination of Lani Guinier to head the Justice Department's civil rights division, agreeing with critics who accused her of far-out views on minority rights.
1995
Bosnian Serb officials made contradictory statements about the whereabouts of an American pilot, a day after his Air Force jet was shot down. (Bosnian Serb military sources claimed that the pilot, later identified as Capt. Scott F. O'Grady, was in Bosnian Serb hands -- a claim that proved false.)
1996
The FBI pulled the plug on electricity at the Freemen ranch in Montana in an attempt to persuade the occupants to negotiate an end to the 71-day-old standoff.
1996
During joint war games in the Pacific, a Japanese destroyer mistakenly shot down an American attack plane; two US Navy aviators ejected safely.
1997
The government banned most slaughtered-animal parts from US livestock feed because of concerns over "mad cow disease."
1997
After a bloody coup, 1200 foreigners fled Sierra Leone aboard an American warship.
1998
President Clinton urged Congress to renew normal trade benefits for China, saying good relations with Beijing were crucial amid fears of a nuclear arms race in South Asia.
1998
A high-speed train derailed in Eschede, Germany, killing 101 people.
1999
Caving in to Russian and Western demands, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic accepted a peace plan for Kosovo designed to end mass expulsions of ethnic Albanians and 11 weeks of NATO airstrikes.
2000
President Clinton held talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin on topics including missile defense.
2000
Former Treasury Secretary and onetime "energy czar" William Simon died in Santa Barbara, California, at age 72.
2005
New top level domain approved
2005
Second Darwin's sandwich shop opens in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
2005
Ryanair passenger numbers up 34%
2005
UN dismisses first official over oil-for-food scandal
2006
Senior Liberal wants centralised control over water resources
2006
New Zealand Greens party has new co-leader
2006
Australia in the midst of a "baby boom"
2006
The Pirate Bay back online
2006
Montenegro prepares to declare independence
2006
Iraq rejects US probe clearing US troops of killings civilians in Ishaqi
2006
17 arrested in Canadian counter-terrorism operation
2006
Indonesian human-to-human bird flu infection may be false alarm
2006
Nicole relives ordeal
2006
Researchers discover giant asteroid impact crater in Antarctica
2006
Shock in Greece as teenagers confess to murdering 11-year old missing boy
2006
National Rugby Competition to kick off in Australia
2007
Hotel heiress Paris Hilton begins serving a 45 day sentence for violating the terms of the 36 month probation she received from alcohol-related reckless driving charges
2007
Ancestors of humans learned to walk in trees, study says
2007
Space Shuttle Atlantis set for June 8 launch despite worker strike
2007
Earthquake in China kills three, injures hundreds
2007
Australian universities target second language "crisis"
2007
World's defense chiefs meet in Singapore
2007
Car slams into Washington, DC festival
2007
British company designs Paris Hilton protest panties
2007
Iran's interior minister backs temporary marriage
2008
Hillary Clinton: I am 'open to being' US Vice President
2008
Buffalo, New York warehouse fire injures 12 firefighters
2008
NHL: Pittsburgh keeps Stanley Cup hopes alive
2008
'Expelled' fair use upheld
2008
Barack Obama effectively clinches Democratic nomination
2008
United States authorities bust multimillion dollar drug ring in New Jersey
2008
Human rights group alleges U.S. prison ships
2008
US federal agents raid strip club empire in Washington state
2009
North Korea reportedly names successor to leader Kim Jong-il
2009
Sunderland A.F.C. announce Steve Bruce as their new manager
2009
Bomb threat delayed an Air France flight to Paris days before Flight 447 crashed
2009
Over 60 illegal miners die in South African mine fire
2009
US investigators probe close call on North Carolina runway
2009
Organization of American States votes to lift Cuba suspension
2009
Six Afghan civilians killed after explosion near US military base
2010
Second round of Bonn UN Climate Change negotiations continue
2010
Apple sells two million iPads in two months
2010
Ice Hockey: Claude Giroux scores overtime goal to lift Flyers to victory in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals
2010
British soap opera Coronation Street postponed after Cumbria shooting
2010
Manager Benitez parts company with Liverpool Football Club
2011
Dan Savage wins Webby Award for It Gets Better Project
2011
LulzSec claims Sony network hack
2011
YouTube allows users to share videos under Creative Commons license
2011
Gay couple elected prom king and queen in Maine's Sanford High School
2011
Hertfordshire, England police arrest armed suspect after stand-off
2011
Australia questions involvement in War in Afghanistan after death of two soldiers
2012
Australian Stingers stung by US at FINA World League Final gold medal match
2012
Australian women to meet USA in water polo's FINA Women's World League Super Finals gold medal game

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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