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Today in History

First day of Bacchanalia
1906
Violinist, comedian and King of the One Liners, Henny Youngman born in Liverpool, England
1926
MDA champion, actor and comedian, Jerry Lewis born Jerome Levitch in Newark, New Jersey
1926
Robert Goddard launches liquid fueled rocket
1954
Singer, composer and Heart guitarist, Nancy Wilson born in San Francisco, California
1968
Nearly 500 civillians killed in the village of My Lai by Lt William Calley's US Army platoon
1985
Terry A. Anderson taken hostage in Beirut
1021
Death of St. Heribert of Cologne
1037
Death of Archbishop Robert I of Rouen
1185
Death of Baldwin IV ("the Leper"), King of Jerusalem
1285
Death of King Alexander III of Scotland
1316
End of the revolt by Llywelyn Bren against the Normans
1494
Marriage of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, to Bianca Sforza
1517
Council of Pisa declared null and void by the Lateran Council
1521
Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines, where he was killed by natives the following month.
1527
Mogul Emperor Babar defeats Hindu Confederacy at Kanwanha
1561
Murder of Jesuit missionaries in East Africa
1585
Gerbrand Bredero, Dutch poet, playwright born
1618
Death of Richard Burbage
1621
Samoset, Indian from the Island of Monhegan, visits the new Colony of Plymouth
1641
Aquedneck changes it's name to Rhode Island, declares itself a democracy and establishes freedom of religion
1660
A General Election for Parliament ("The Convention") is held
1736
Pergolesi died at the age of 26. It was Pergolesi's music which Stravinsky used as the basis of his ballet "Pulcinella."
1751
James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was born in Port Conway, Virginia. born
1787
Georg Simon Ohm, scientist born
1792
Sweden's King Gustav III was shot and mortally wounded during a masquerade party; he died 13 days later. (The assassination inspired the Giuseppe Verdi opera Un Ballo in Mascher, or The Masked Ball.)
1802
Congress authorized the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York
1827
The first newspaper edited for and by blacks, "Freedom's Journal," was published in New York.
1836
The Republic of Texas approved a constitution.
1846
(Catherine) Kate Greenaway was born in London, England. She is best remembered for such books as "Mother Goose," employing her artistry as painter and illustrator.
1850
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" was first published.
1851
Spain signed a concordat with the Papacy under which Roman Catholicism became the only authorized faith. It also gave control of education and press to the church.
1865
Battle of Averasboro, North Carolina.
1867
Inventor and Aviator Wilbur Wright born
1871
The State of Delaware, the first state to enter the union, enacted the first fertilizer law.
1882
The U.S. Senate approved a treaty allowing the United States to join the Red Cross.
1883
Susan Hayhurst graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy as the first female pharmacy graduate.
1894
The opera "Thais," composed by Jules Massenet, premiered in Paris.
1898
Movie Actor, Movie Director, Comedian Sir Charlie Chaplin born
1903
Philip Pillsbury born
1903
Statesman Mike Mansfield born
1906
Comedian Henny Youngman born
1907
WJ Henderson wrote in the New York Sun of 1907, after a performance of the "Divine Poem," quote: "When it was over, the audience called out Mister Scriabin and took a good look at him."
1912
Former first lady Pat Nixon born
1912
Children's Author Garth Williams born
1915
The Federal Trade Commission was organized. The U.S. government appointed five commissioners to receive $10,000 each year to regulate commerce and prohibit unlawful trade.
1916
US and Canada sign the Migratory bird treaty.
1918
Tallulah Bankhead made her New York acting debut with a role in "The Squab Farm."
1920
Actor Leo McKern born
1922
Novelist Sir Kingsley Amis born
1926
Comedian-director Jerry Lewis born
1926
The first liquid-fuel rocket was successfully launched by Professor Robert Goddard at Auburn, Massachusetts. The rocket traveled 184 feet in 2.5 seconds.
1927
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Democrat, New York) born
1932
R. Walter Cunningham, astronaut born
1935
Adolf Hitler scrapped the Treaty of Versailles and introduced conscription.
1937
Composer David Del Tredici born
1937
Former world champion hurdler Percy Beard was hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers to teach the faltering baseball team how to run.
1940
Movie director Bernardo Bertolucci born
1941
Game show host Chuck Woolery born
1942
Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker born
1945
During World War Two, Iwo Jima was declared secured by the Allies.
1947
Country singer Robin Williams born
1949
Actor Erik Estrada born
1949
Actor Victor Garber born
1950
Congress voted to remove federal taxes -- on oleomargarine.
1951
Actress Kate Nelligan born
1951
Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) born
1954
Golfer Hollis Stacy born
1954
Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) born
1955
Actress Isabella Huppert born
1955
"The Ballad of Davy Crockett" by Bill Hayes reached the number one spot on the pop music charts and stayed for five weeks. The smash hit song sold more than 7,000,000 records on more than 20 different labels.
1959
Rapper Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) born
1963
Peter, Paul and Mary released the singles "Puff The Magic Dragon." Through the years, controversy continually surrounded the song. It was banned by several radio stations because they thought the song was about the elicit joys of smoking marijuana. The group adamantly denied this startling assumption.
1966
American astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott docked their Gemini-8 space vehicle with an Agena craft, a first in orbital history.
1968
During the Vietnam War, some 300 Vietnam villagers died at the hands of American troops in what came to be known as the My Lai massacre. It was carried out by US troops under the command of Lieutenant William L. Calley Junior.
1969
"1776," a musical about the Declaration of Independence, opened on Broadway.
1974
The new Opry House at Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, opened. Roy Acuff was the first artist to perform.
1976
British Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced his intention to retire. He was succeeded by James Callaghan on April 5.
1978
Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped and later murdered by left-wing urban guerrillas known as the Red Brigades. The Red Brigades were demanding the release of all Communist prisoners.
1978
About 220,000 tons of oil were spilled after the Amoco Cadiz ran aground off the Brittany coast.
1982
Claus Von Bulow was found guilty in Newport, Rhode Island, of trying to kill his comatose wife, Martha, with insulin (Von Bulow was acquitted in a retrial).
1982
Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev announced that the Soviet Union was freezing deployment of SS-20 missiles west of the Urals.
1983
Radio and television star Arthur Godfrey died in New York at age 79.
1984
William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by gunmen; he died in captivity.
1985
Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was abducted by gunmen after a tennis game in Beirut; he was released on December 4,1991 after 2,454 days in captivity.
1987
Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
1988
Former National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter, fired White House aide Oliver L. North, retired Air Force Major General Richard V. Secord and Secord's business partner, Albert Hakim, were indicted on charges relating to the Iran-Contra affair. (Poindexter and North had their convictions thrown out; Secord and Hakim both received probation after each pleaded guilty to a single count.)
1989
The Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee approved sweeping agricultural reforms, and elected the party's 100 members to the Congress of People's Deputies, a new legislative body.
1990
South African President F.W. de Klerk announced that exiled African National Congress leaders would be allowed to return home for talks with the white-led government.
1991
In a broadcast address, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein promised to allow multiparty democracy.
1991
US skaters Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan swept the World Figure Skating Championships in Munich, Germany.
1991
New York Mayor David Dinkins was booed as he marched with an Irish-American gay group during the city's St. Patrick's Day parade.
1991
Seven members of country singer Reba MacEntire's band and her tour manager were killed when their chartered plane crashed into a mountain about 25 miles southeast of San Diego, California.
1992
Robert J. Eaton, head of General Motors' profitable European operations, joined Chrysler Corporation as Chairman Lee Iacocca's future successor.
1993
President Clinton met with ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide; afterward, Clinton announced he was sending a special envoy to Haiti to seek a return to democracy.
1994
Russia agreed to phase out production of weapons-grade plutonium.
1994
Figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up the attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, avoiding jail but drawing a $100,000 fine.
1995
NASA astronaut Norman Thagard was welcomed aboard the Russian space station "Mir" as the first American to visit the orbiting outpost.
1995
House Republicans pushed through $17 billion in spending cuts, prompting a veto threat by the White House.
1996
For the first time, ordinary citizens were allowed inside the central archives of the former East German secret police, the hated Stasi security agency.
1996
In his weekly radio address, President Clinton accused the Republican-controlled House of bowing to "the back-alley whispers of the gun lobby" by gutting anti-terrorism legislation he'd submitted in response to the Oklahoma City bombing.
1997
At the request President Clinton, Russia's Boris Yeltsin agreed to delay their upcoming summit by one day
1998
In a long-awaited document that Jewish leaders immediately criticized, the Vatican expressed remorse for the cowardice of some Christians during the Holocaust, but defended the actions of Pope Pius the 12th. Jews expressed dissatisfaction with the landmark document entitled "We Remember, a Reflection on the Shoah."
1998
Sweepstakes company American Family Publishers reached an agreement with 32 states to change the way it promotes its contests, such as reserving use of the term "winner" for contestants who have actually won. The company, which uses celebrity spokesmen Dick Clark and Ed McMahon, also would pay a total of $1.25 million to 26 states under the voluntary consent agreement.
1998
Sergeant Major Gene McKinney, once the Army's top enlisted man, was reprimanded and demoted one rank by a jury that had convicted him of obstruction of justice in a sexual misconduct case.
1999
The Nebraska Cornhuskers beat Chicago State 50-3 in an NCAA baseball game.
1999
The Dow Jones industrial average briefly topped the 10,000 level, reaching a high of 10,001.78 before retreating.
1999
The entire 20-member European Commission resigned following publication of a critical report on sloppy management and cronyism.
2000
Independent Counsel Robert Ray said he found no credible evidence that Hillary Rodham Clinton or senior White House officials had sought FBI background files of Republicans.
2000
Thomas Wilson Ferebee, the "Enola Gay" bombardier who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died in Windermere, Florida, at age 81. _____________________________________________________________
2005
Vodafone buys Connex and Oskar
2005
Mother of the Detroit Tigers baseball player Urbina was kidnapped by FARC leader
2005
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer makes Budget speech
2005
Suspect in Atlanta courtroom shooting gets hearing
2006
Australians may choose to change head of state beyond Queen Elizabeth II: Howard
2006
Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal threatened by possible lawsuit
2006
United Nations General Assembly votes to establish UN Human Rights Council
2006
Demonstrators protest Condoleezza Rice's trip to Australia
2007
Massive ice deposits found on Mars
2007
Rare Patek Philippe watches to be highlighted at Antiquorum
2007
Bottled water in Canada recalled due to arsenic concerns
2007
Cricket World Cup: England vs New Zealand
2007
Friendly fire killing of Lance Corporal Matty Hull deemed unlawful
2007
Cricket World Cup: South Africa vs Netherlands
2007
Warmest global winter on record according to NOAA
2007
Teenager stabbed to death in east London
2007
Football: McClaren names England squad
2007
Football: Ties announced in UEFA Cup
2007
Edinburgh Building Services wins national award
2008
Lewis Hamilton wins Australian Grand Prix
2008
Concert for peace held on Colombian-Venezuelan border
2008
Protesters arrested at anti-Scientology event in Atlanta
2008
Tibetans say 80 killed in protests; China continues to crack down
2008
Thousands attend anti-war protests in London and Glasgow
2008
Congressional Hispanic Caucus blocks vote to increase visa number
2008
National Hockey League news: March 16, 2008
2008
Play.com Live multimedia exposition hosted at Wembley Stadium, England
2008
HSK Kormoran found, the search for HMAS Sydney continues
2008
Crane levels New York City townhouse, leaving 4 dead
2008
Tour de Taiwan Stage 8: A great ending for John Murphy
2008
Alitalia conditionally accepts joint bid by Air France and KLM
2009
Maldives to become the world's first carbon-neutral country
2009
US Fed chairman Bernanke says recession could end this year
2009
Coup in Madagascar; opposition leader backs army
2009
Search for survivors of Canadian helicopter crash ends, recovery mission focuses on victims
2010
25 dead after fire in Chinese coal mine
2010
Israeli foreign minister reportedly boycotts Brazilian President's visit
2010
Muammar al-Gaddafi: Divide Nigeria in two to avoid bloodshed
2010
Nigerian city hit by bomb blasts after rebel warning
2011
Six killed and hundreds injured in Bahrain
2011
Japanese emperor makes live television appearance after earthquake
2011
King of Bahrain declares state of emergency
2011
English hard rock band The Darkness reunites
2011
Israel seizes ship claimed to be carrying weapons for Gaza
2011
Wildfire affects Lolol, Chile area; yellow alert lifted
2011
Florida prisons ban inmate smoking
2012
Barcelona footballer Éric Abidal to undergo liver transplant

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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