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Today in History

1847
Johnny Appleseed Day
1890
The engineer whose work provided a theoretical basis for the worldwide web, Vannevar Bush born in Chelsea, Massachusetts
1903
Musician, accordion player, and bandleader, Lawrence Welk born in Strasburg, North Dakota
1931
Worldwide media mogul and chairman of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch born in Melbourne, Australia
1952
Author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams born in Cambridge, England
1959
Registered nurse, director, actress and author, Nina Hartley born Marie Louise Hartman in Berkeley, California
1985
Mikhail Gorbachev succeeds Chernenko as leader of the Soviet Union
1990
Lithuanian Independence Day
2011
Earthquake, tsunami devastate the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
250
Death of St. Pionius
537
Goths lay siege to Rome
638
Death of St. Sophronius
859
Death of St. Eulogius of Cordoba
1513
Election of Pope Leo X
1514
Death of Bramante; Raphael takes over the building of St. Peter's
1544
Torquato Tasso born
1566
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, receives Moray and his adherents
1602
Death of Emilio di Cavalieri, composer
1676
Allart van Everdingen, Dutch artist, dies at about 54
1731
Robert Treat Paine, a signer of the Declaration of Independence born
1810
Emperor Napoleon of France was married by proxy to Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.
1829
The Bach revival began. At that time, when people said "Bach" they meant one of the sons, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The performance in Berlin on March 11th, 1829, of "St. Matthew Passion"conducted by the 20-year-old Mendelssohn himself, was a sensation.
1847
John Chapman 'Johnny Appleseed' died in Allen County, Indiana.
1851
"Rigoletto" premiered in Venice producing a tremendous success for Verdi.
1860
Thomas Hastings, architect of the New York Public Library. born
1861
The Confederate convention in Montgomery, Alabama, adopted a constitution.
1867
Great Mauna Loa eruption (volcano in Hawaii)
1888
Some 400 people died as a four-day snow storm crippled New York City. It came to be known as the Blizzard of '88.
1892
First public game of basketball
1899
Frederick IX, King of Denmark born
1903
Band leader Lawrence Welk (some sources 1908)His "Lawrence Welk Show" was the longest-running TV show in history. (1955-1971). born
1903
New York's Metropolitan Opera took a great social step forward by performing an opera composed by a woman, "Der Wald" by Ethel Smyth.
1911
Tennessee Williams, American playwright born
1916
Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson born
1926
Irish statesman Eamon de Valera resigned as head of Sinn Fein. He later formed the Fianna Fail party.
1926
Civil rights leader The Rev. Ralph Abernathy born
1927
The "Flatheads Gang" was responsible for the first armored-car robbery which took place near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was reported that $104,250 was taken in the heist.
1930
Babe Ruth signed a two-year contract with the New York Yankees for a sum of $80,000.
1930
William Howard Taft became the first president of the United States to be buried in the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
1931
Newspaper publisher Rupert Murdoch born
1931
Actress Valerie French (Harrison) born
1932
Jazz musician Leroy Jenkins born
1934
ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson born
1935
Actress Nancy Kovack born
1935
Hermann Goering officially created the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force.
1936
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia born
1939
Musician Flaco Jimenez (The Texas Tornadoes) born
1941
After a long debate, the Lend-Lease Bill to help Britain survive attack by Germany was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Roosevelt.
1942
As Japanese forces continued to advance in the Pacific during World War Two, General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines for Australia, vowing: "I shall return."
1945
Actress Tricia O'Neil born
1947
Singer-musician (Vanilla Fudge) Mark Stein born
1950
Singer Bobby McFerrin born
1950
Movie director Jerry Zucler born
1951
Actress Dominique Sanda born
1952
Actress Susan Richardson born
1953
First woman doctor commissioned in regular army - F. M. Adams
1954
The US Army charged Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and his subcommittee's chief counsel, Roy Cohn, had exerted pressure to obtain favored treatment for Private G. David Schine, a former consultant to the subcommittee.
1955
Singer Nina Hagen born
1955
Country singer Jimmy Fortune (The Statler Brothers) born
1957
Singer Cheryl Lynn born
1959
The Lorraine Hansberry drama "A Raisin in the Sun" opened at New York's Ethel Barrymore Theater.
1961
Musician (Big Country) Bruce Watson born
1963
Actress Alex Kingston ("E-R") born
1964
Senator Carl Hayden broke the record for continuous service in the U.S. Senate. He completed 37 years and seven days in the upper chamber.
1965
Actor Wallace Langham ("Veronica's Closet") born
1965
The Reverend James J. Reeb, a white minister from Boston, died after being beaten by whites during civil rights disturbances in Selma, Alabama.
1967
Actor John Barrowman born
1968
Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for the single, (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay. Redding was killed in a plane crash in Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, on December 10, 1967.
1969
Singer Pete Droge born
1969
Levi starts to sell bell-bottomed jeans
1977
More than 130 hostages held in Washington DC by Hanafi Muslims were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations.
1982
Actress Thora Birch ("American Beauty") born
1985
The Soviet Union announced the death the day before of its leader, Konstantin U. Chernenko. Politburo member Mikhail S. Gorbachev was chosen to succeed Chernenko.
1986
187.27 million shares traded in the New York Stock Exchange.
1987
The US House of Representatives approved a resolution calling for a freeze on 40 million dollars in aid for the Nicaraguan Contras for six months.
1988
Saying, "The people have decided," Gary Hart withdrew a second time from the race for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.
1989
Former World Bank head John J. McCloy, who had advised several presidents, died in Stamford, Connecticut, at age 93.
1990
The Lithuanian parliament voted to break away from the Soviet Union and restore the republic's independence.
1991
Secretary of State James A. Baker III visited Israel, where he met with Foreign Minister David Levy to discuss prospects for Middle East peace.
1992
Members of the UN Security Council accused Iraq of playing a game of "cheat and retreat" from its promises to disarm and respect its people's human rights; Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz lashed back, saying his country was complying with Gulf War cease-fire resolutions.
1993
Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to be the nation's first female attorney general.
1993
North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in a harsh rebuff of Western demands to open suspected nuclear weapons development sites for inspection.
1994
Secretary of State Warren Christopher arrived in Beijing, the mood of his trip already soured by a fresh government crackdown on Chinese dissidents.
1995
President Clinton nominated Deputy Defense Secretary John Deutch to be CIA director.
1995
Gerry Adams, leader of the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party, arrived in the United States for a St. Patrick's Day visit.
1996
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 110.55 to end the day at 5,581 following a 171.24 plunge the Friday before.
1997
Senate confirmation hearings for CIA Director-designate Anthony Lake began.
1997
Rock star Paul McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth the Second.
1997
In a startling turnaround, Senate Republicans agreed to a broader investigation of campaign financing that would include a look at huge "soft money" donations.
1998
A Florida appeals court restored Joe Carollo as mayor of Miami after charges of voter fraud on absentee ballots.
1998
President Suharto was sworn in for a seventh term as leader of Indonesia's 200 million people, warning them in somber tones of tough times ahead in overcoming the country's ravaging economic crisis. As Suharto was being sworn in, thousands of university students demonstrated in the central Java city of Yogyakarta, demanding an end to his rule.
1998
The International Astronomical Union issued an alert, saying a mile-wide asteroid could zip very close to Earth on October 26th, 2028, possibly colliding with it. They said the asteroid, which had not been seen before, would pass as close as 30,000 miles to the Earth. Dr. Brian Marsden of the International Astronomical Union said. Even if it were on a path to hit Earth, technology might be available by then capable of deflecting the asteroid. (But the next day, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said there was no chance the asteroid will hit Earth.)
1999
The House voted 219-191 to conditionally support President Clinton's plan to send U.S. troops to Kosovo if a peace agreement was reached.
2000
Ricardo Lagos was sworn in as president of Chile, the second socialist to take the post since Salvador Allende was killed in a 1973 coup
2005
UK "terror bill" passed after standoff UK
2005
China launches its first private airline
2005
BBC's political show makes special edition from Shanghai
2005
Six-year development framework for Sudan released by UN
2005
US may not have known of Sgrena rescue operation
2005
Defendant shoots Judge, three others at Atlanta courthouse
2005
Atlas V rocket launches with Inmarsat satellite
2005
Many infertile American women want sex selection
2006
12000 Commonwealth Games tickets remain unsold
2006
Former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic found dead in his cell
2006
Agriculture Department investigating possible U.S. case of mad cow disease
2007
NHL: Rangers fall to Penguins in overtime
2007
Chelsea strike late to force FA Cup replay
2007
National Hockey League suspends Simon for season
2007
Seven players added to lineup for United charity match
2007
Malta Labour Party wins the Local Councils Election
2007
Sex tour operator pleads guilty in Cleveland court
2007
Jacques Chirac announces he will not pursue a third Presidential mandate
2007
NCAA Basketball: Championship week concludes today as teams await release of national tournament bracket
2008
Tour de Taiwan Stage 3: Varied changes at Changhua Stage
2008
Five injured as Adam Air 737 overruns Batam island runway
2008
Toronto police announce arrests of 96 people in drug-trafficking investigation
2008
Greater Manchester Police Chief found dead
2008
ACLU describes President Bush's veto of CIA waterboarding ban as 'a callous disregard for human rights'
2008
Adam Air may be shut down after string of accidents
2008
Space Shuttle Endeavour launches for mission STS-123
2008
National Hockey League news: March 11, 2008
2008
Algerian rebel group claims kidnapping of two Austrians in Tunisia
2009
Ten dead in Alabama shooting
2009
Jury considers Curt Dagenais court case
2009
Feud between CNBC and The Daily Show continues to escalate
2009
Teenage gunman kills 15 in south-west Germany
2010
Irish airline Aer Lingus to cut more staff
2010
Former teacher jailed for murdering father in London, England
2010
UN official: 90 Rwandan rebels killed in DRC by army troops
2011
Japan is hit by a 9.0 quake, one of the largest ever recorded. The quake spawned a tsunami which killed thousands and disrupted two nuclear power plants
2011
France first to recognise Libyan rebels as "legitimate representatives of the people"
2011
Earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant triggers evacuation
2011
Former adult film actress, Tera Dye aka Rikki Anderson, forced to leave teaching job again
2011
8.9 magnitude earthquake hits Japan, causes tsunami
2011
Relative of Afghan president Hamid Karzai shot dead by NATO troops
2011
Philadelphia Archdiocese suspends 21 priests for alleged sexual abuse
2013
Car crash kills six in Warren, Ohio

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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