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Today in History

1908
Tunguska impact event occurs in Siberia
1917
Grammy Award winning jazz singer Lena Horne born in Brooklyn, New York
1917
Academy Award winning actress Susan Hayward born in Brooklyn, New York
1936
Singer and actress, Nancy Dussault born in Pensacola, Florida
1971
Actress Monica Potter born in Cleveland, Ohio
1985
14-time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps born in Baltimore, Maryland
1995
Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, is laid off from the PacBell ISDN center
1997
JK Rowling publishes first Harry Potter novel
2005
Spain legalizes same-sex marriage
1139
Death of St. Otto of Bamberg
1394
A French Royal Audience hears arguments for a General Council of the Church
1470
Charles VIII, King of France born
1520
Cortes forced to evacuate Tenochtitlyn by Aztec revolt
1559
Henry II, King of France, mortally wounded on the last day of the three day Tournament. This served to help end jousting.
1597
William Barents, Dutch navigator, dies at about 50
1603
Henry IV, King of France, officially re-opens work on the Pont Neuf
1614
Globe Theater re-opens after fire
1637
William Prynne, Henry Burton, and John Bastwick pilloried, their ears removed, and Prynne branded "Seditious Libeler"
1643
Founding of the Comedie-Francaise
1646
John Gaule, Vicar of Huntingdonshire, England, preaches against witches
1826
Franz Schubert was very busy concluding his last string quartet in just 10 days. His speed was not because he knew he was dying; as near as we can tell, he did not. He simply composed rapidly because his ideas flowed rapidly.
1859
French acrobat Blondin (blahn-DAN') (born Jean Francois Gravelet) crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope as five-thousand spectators watched.
1870
Ada H. Kepley of Effingham, Illinois, became America's first female law school graduate.
1893
English socialist leader Harold Laski born
1893
The Excelsior diamond (blue-white, 995 carats) discovered.
1896
Film director Howard Hawks born
1908
A giant fireball impacts in Central Siberia (the Tunguska Event).
1913
Erik Satie wrote the first of his three piano pieces which he would entitle, "Desiccated Embryos."
1914
Mahatma Gandhi's 1st arrest, in campaign for Indian equal rights in South Africa.
1917
Singer Lena Horne born
1917
Actress Susan Hayward born
1921
President Harding appointed former President Taft chief justice of the United States.
1934
Adolf Hitler began his "blood purge" of political and military leaders in Germany. Among those killed was one-time Hitler ally Ernst Roehm, leader of the Nazi stormtroopers.
1936
Actor Tony Musante born
1936
Actress Nancy Dussault born
1936
Margaret Mitchell's Civil War novel "Gone With the Wind" was published in New York.
1943
Singer Florence Ballard of The Supremes born
1944
Singer Glenn Shorrock (Little River Band) born
1951
Jazz musician Stanley Clarke born
1952
"The Guiding Light," a popular radio program, made its debut as a television soap opera on CBS.
1953
Rock musician Hal Lindes (Dire Straits) born
1955
Actor-comedian David Alan Grier born
1959
Actor Vincent D'Onofrio born
1963
Actor Rupert Graves born
1963
Pope Paul the Sixth was crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church.
1966
Boxer Mike Tyson born
1969
Rock musician Tom Drummond (Better Than Ezra) born
1970
Actor Brian Bloom born
1970
Actor Brian Vincent born
1971
Actress Monica Potter born
1971
A Soviet space mission ended in tragedy when three cosmonauts aboard "Soyuz Eleven" were found dead inside their spacecraft after it had returned to Earth.
1971
The 26th Amendment to the Constitution, lowering the minimum voting age to 18, was ratified as Ohio became the 38th state to approve it.
1982
The extended deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment expired, three states short of the 38 needed for passage.
1985
39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held 17 days.
1986
Hugh Hefner, calling his Playboy Bunny a "symbol of the past," closed Playboy Clubs in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
1986
In a five-to-four decision, the Supreme Court ruled that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.
1987
The prosecutor at the trial of Klaus Barbie in Lyon, France, denounced the crimes of the former Nazi Gestapo official and demanded the maximum sentence of life in prison. (Barbie died in September 1991 at age 77.)
1988
There was a surprising display of "glasnost" during a Soviet Communist Party conference as delegate Vladimir I. Melnikov bluntly criticized President Andrei A. Gromyko and other longtime Kremlin figures.
1988
Renegade Roman Catholic Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated four bishops in defiance of papal authority; the Vatican announced the excommunication of all five.
1989
General Wojciech Jaruzelski announced he didn't intend to run for Poland's new presidency, saying the people viewed him as the man who imposed martial law.
1990
African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela visited Oakland, California, a day after receiving a star-studded welcome in Los Angeles.
1991
The federal base-closing commission voted to shut down 17 military bases, including the massive Philadelphia Navy Shipyard, in addition to seven facilities ordered closed two days earlier.
1992
Fidel Ramos was sworn in as the new president of the Philippines.
1992
Planes loaded with food and medicine arrived at the airport in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of an international relief effort. Fidel Ramos was sworn in as the new president of the Philippines.
1993
The Milwaukee Symphony performed with the Moody Blues to launch its summer concert series.
1993
Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy promised federal help for Midwestern farmers as he toured flood-damaged areas of Iowa, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
1993
Actor George "Spanky" McFarland of "Our Gang" and "Little Rascals" fame died in Grapevine, Texas, at age 64.
1994
The Supreme Court ruled that judges can bar even peaceful demonstrators from getting too close to abortion clinics.
1994
The US Figure Skating Association stripped Tonya Harding of the 1994 national championship and banned her from the organization for life for an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
1995
Actor Gayle Gordon died in Escondido, California, at age 89.
1995
President Clinton, speaking in Chicago, proposed an even tighter ban on armor-piercing handgun ammunition known as "cop-killer" bullets.
1995
In a stunning Kremlin purge, Russian President Boris Yeltsin fired three top security ministers for the botched handling of a bloody hostage-taking by Chechen rebels in southern Russia.
1996
President Clinton paid tribute to the 19 killed and hundreds wounded in the truck bomb attack in Saudi Arabia as he attended memorial services at Eglin Air Force Base and Patrick Air Force Base in Florida.
1996
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic responded to international pressure to step aside by handing his powers to an equally nationalist deputy.
1997
In Hong Kong, the Union Jack was lowered for the last time over Government House as Britain prepared to hand the colony back to China after ruling it for 156 years.
1998
Officials confirmed that the previously unidentified remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery were those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.
1998
Linda Tripp, whose tape-and-tell friendship with Monica Lewinsky spurred a White House crisis, spent six hours testifying before a grand jury in Washington.
1999
On the day the independent counsel law expired, Kenneth Starr wrapped up the Whitewater phase of his investigation as presidential friend Webster Hubbell pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor.
1999
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in two years, boosting the target for the funds rate a quarter-point to 5 percent.
2000
The highest legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) called for an outright ban on the blessing of same-sex unions by its ministers. The sharply divided 268 to 251 vote by the church's General Assembly followed a week of wrenching debate and fervent prayer.
2000
Nine people died in a crush of fans during a rock festival in Roskilde, Denmark.
2000
An Arkansas Supreme Court committee sued President Clinton to strip him of his law license. (Clinton later agreed to pay a fine and give up his law license for five years.)
2005
Rwandan businessmen sentenced for War Crimes
2005
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announces cooperation between KDE Group and Wikimedia
2005
Bodies found at crash site of US helicopter in Afghanistan
2005
OhmyNews forum discusses experiences in citizen journalism
2005
Brazil wins Confederations Cup
2005
Sharapova knocked out of Wimbledon in semi-final
2005
Fiji's War of the Ribbons
2005
Ferry crashes into smaller boats in West Vancouver after losing power
2005
Football: Kežman goes to Madrid
2005
Undercover investigation into protests planned for July's G8 summit
2005
Flash floods hit Australia's eastern coast
2006
Police crackdown on illegal tow operations in Sydney
2006
French Parliament adopts controversial copyright bill
2006
Australian shot in Thailand
2006
Ullrich and Sevilla suspended from Tour de France
2006
Interior Ministry, Fatah offices in Gaza hit by Israeli airstrikes
2006
Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral resigns
2006
Palestinian PM: Israel aims to topple government
2006
US Seeks to Lift Export Sales Ban on the F-22A Raptor
2006
Nickelback's lead singer arrested for drunk driving
2006
Football: Kežman goes to Fenerbahçe
2006
Germany master penalties to beat Argentina to semi-final spot
2006
Italy brush Ukraine aside 3-0 to reach semi-final
2007
America's Cup: Alinghi are fifth race victors
2007
Car driven into Glasgow International Airport
2007
Mississippi Gulf Coast may soon lose landmark
2007
Wife of missing soldier receives green card
2007
MI5 terror threat warning level raised to 'critical'
2007
Two American soldiers charged in Iraqi murders
2007
Four killed as missile strikes aircraft carrying Ivory Coast PM Guillaume Soro
2007
Spain's Ibiza airport evacuated after bomb alert
2008
Kenyan Prime Minister calls for suspension of Mugabe from African Union
2008
Arizona helicopter collision kills six
2008
Five die in New Mexico single-engine plane crash
2008
Abkhazia to close border with Georgia following bomb blasts
2008
Cargo plane crashes near Khartoum; at least four dead
2008
Boeing 767 cargo plane seriously damaged by fire at San Francisco
2008
President Bush signs $162 billion war funding bill
2008
Man auctions his life on eBay, is disappointed at sale price
2008
Euro 2008: Germany vs. Spain
2008
Iran building collapse kills 19
2008
Great Britain's most dangerous road announced
2008
Taiwan Designers' Week shows potential of innovations
2008
Three murdered, one injured in axe attack in Australia
2008
South Korean police clamp down on protests against US beef
2009
Rail explosion reported at Viareggio, Italy
2009
Yemeni passenger plane with 153 people onboard crashes into Indian Ocean
2009
After much contention Al Franken wins Minnesota Senate seat
2009
Seven youths shot in Detroit, Michigan
2010
US airlines eke out US$12 million profit in first quarter
2010
Sweeping bank regulatory overhaul passed in US House of Representatives
2010
Braidwood Inquiry finds Dziekanski tasering in British Columbia unjustified
2010
Explosion at University of Missouri-Columbia leaves four injured
2011
Report finds teen substance abuse is top public health problem in US
2012
Lamb of God vocalist arrested for Czech manslaughter
2012
Turkey strengthens air defence at Syrian border following shootdown
2012
Fred Karger officially ends presidential campaign

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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