[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

1314
Jacques de Molay is burned at the stake
1858
Mechanical engineer and inventor, Rudolf Diesel born in Paris, France
1877
Psychic and author, Edgar Cayce born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
1922
Mohandas Gandhi sentenced to prison for civil disobedience
1926
Golden Globe Award winning actor Peter Graves born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
1927
Actor, editor, journalist, and jack of all trades, author George Plimpton born in New York City
1932
Literary critic, poet and author, John Updike born in Shillington, Pennsylvania
1941
Songwriter and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer, Wilson Pickett born in Prattville, Alabama
1964
Five time Olympic gold medalist, speed skater Bonnie Blair born in Cornwall, New York
1965
Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov walks in space
1968
US currency moves off gold standard
386
Death of St. Cyril of Jerusalem
731
Gregory III consecrated Pope
971
St. Edward the Martyr, king of the English, was murdered at Corfe Castle on the orders of his stepmother, eager to see her son Ethelred crowned king.
1123
1st Lateran Council (9th ecumenical council) opens in Rome
1227
Death of Pope Honorius III
1229
Fredrick II Hohenstaufen crowns himself King of Jerusalem
1258
Scottish Earls pledge common cause with Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
1286
Alexander III, King of Scotland born
1314
Burning of 39 Knights Templar in France, including Jacques de Molay, 23rd and Last Master of the Templars
1498
Savonarola preaches his Farewell Sermon
1516
Death of Giuliano de Medici, in Fiesole
1543
De Soto observes 1st recorded flood in America (Mississippi River)
1554
Princess Elizabeth sent to the Tower for suspected rebel complicity
1566
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, returns to Edinburgh 1
1567
Death of St. Salvator of Horta
1584
Death of Ivan IV, "the Terrible," Czar of Russia
1609
Frederick III, King of Norway and Denmark born
1612
Bartholomew Legate became the last person burned in England for his religious opinions
1662
The first buses, eight-seat vehicles known as "carrosses a cinq solz," began running in Paris, France.
1766
Britain repealed the Stamp Act.
1782
John C. Calhoun, the first U.S. vice president to resign that office born
1813
David Melville of Newport, Rhode Island, received a patent for the gas streetlight.
1837
The 22nd and 24th president of the United States, Grover Cleveland, was born in Caldwell, New Jersey. Cleveland was the only U.S. President to serve two non-consecutive terms in office. born
1844
Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakov, composer born
1850
American Express founded.
1858
German engineer Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the engine that bears his name born
1865
The Congress of the Confederate States adjourned for the last time.
1869
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain born
1871
The insurrection of Paris against the French government began. The rebels, known as the Communards, were defeated in May.
1881
Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth opens in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1892
At a banquet through a letter Lord Stanley presents the idea of a silver cup challenge for Hockey (Stanley Cup) The cup cost $50.
1892
Robert P. Tristram Coffin, poet born
1902
Enrico Caruso became the first classical singer to produce a decent record. Only he could sing loudly and piercingly enough to be clearly heard over the surface noise of the primitive gramophone. Caruso made his recordings in a hotel room in Milan. He was then 29.
1909
Einar Dessau of Denmark used a short-wave transmitter to converse with a government radio post about six miles away in what's believed to have been the first broadcast by a "ham" operator.
1910
The opera, "Pipe of Desire," was first performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Frederick Sheperd Converse wrote the work that turned out to be the first opera by an American composer to be performer at the Met.
1919
The Order of DeMolay was established in Kansas City.
1922
Mohandas K. Gandhi was sentenced in India to six years imprisonment for civil disobedience. (He was released after two years.)
1926
Peter Graves, actor (Mission Impossible, Airplane) born
1927
Composer John Kander born
1927
George Plimpton, author, jack-of-all-trades born
1927
The "Radio Times" magazine published an article by George Bernard Shaw in which Shaw declared that "jazz... is the old dance band Beethovenized."
1931
Schick, Inc. marketed the first electric razor in Stamford, Connecticut.
1932
John Updike, poet and novelist born
1933
Kevin Dobson born
1937
A natural gas explosion at a public school in New London, Texas, killed 410 people, most of them children.
1939
Country singer Charley Pride born
1940
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini held a meeting at the Brenner Pass during which the Italian dictator agreed to join in Germany's war against France and Britain.
1941
Singer Wilson Pickett born
1943
Actor Kevin Dobson born
1944
Once again the nation began to awake to the sound of the alarm clock. During World War II, alarm clocks became precious commodities. They went on sale once again in Chicago, Illinois.
1945
The Japanese released suicide bombs, mechanized flying bombs piloted by young Japanese soldiers against the U.S. aircraft carries fleet attacking the Japanese fleet in the Kure-Kobe area.
1950
Actor Brad Dourif born
1952
First plastic lens for cataract patients fitted, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1953
In the first major-league baseball relocation since 1903, the Boston Braves announced their plans to move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After two more decades, the Braves moved south to Atlanta, Georgia.
1954
RKO Pictures was sold and became the first motion picture studio to be owned by an individual. Howard Hughes purchased the studio for $23,489,478.
1959
Singer Irene Cara born
1959
President Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill.
1962
Actor Thomas Ian Griffith born
1962
Singer James McMurtry born
1962
France and Algerian rebels agreed to a truce.
1963
Former president of South Africa, (Frederik Willem) F.W. de Klerk born
1963
Singer actress Vanessa Williams born
1964
Olympic gold medal speedskater Bonnie Blair born
1964
Country musician Scott Saunders (Sons of the Desert) born
1965
The first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov left his "Voskhod Two" capsule and remained outside the spacecraft for 20 minutes, secured by a tether.
1966
Rock musician Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains) born
1967
The oil tanker Torrey Canyon was wrecked off the Cornish coast in England, spilling 910,000 barrels of oil into the sea.
1967
Rock singer-musician Miki Berenyi (Lush) born
1970
Rapper-actress Queen Latifah ("Living Single") born
1974
Rock musician Stuart Zender born
1974
Most of the Arab oil-producing nations ended their embargo against the United States.
1977
Singer Devin Lima (LFO) is 23. born
1978
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was found guilty of ordering the assassination of an opponent and sentenced to death.
1979
Iranian authorities detained American feminist Kate Millett, one day before deporting her and a companion for what were termed "provocations."
1983
Jordan's King Hussein, leading an Arab League delegation in London, expressed pessimism about the possibility of joining Middle East peace negotiations as urged by the Reagan administration.
1985
Capital Cities Incorporated announced it was acquiring American Broadcasting Companies Incorporated for more than $3.5 billion.
1986
The U.S. Treasury announced that a clear, polyester thread would be woven into currency in an effort to thwart counterfeiters.
1987
Susan Butcher won her second consecutive Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, covering the distance from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, in eleven days, two hours, five minutes and 13 seconds.
1988
The government of Panama, controlled by Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, declared a "state of urgency" in a move apparently aimed at forcing the reopening of banks and other businesses that closed during Panama's economic and political crisis.
1989
The shuttle Discovery completed a five-day mission with landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1990
An alliance of conservative parties won a surprising victory in East Germany's first free elections.
1990
Thieves made off with eleven valuable paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (the crime remains unsolved).
1991
John Volker, Michigan Supreme Court Justice, fisherman, and author (Anatomy of a Murder), died.
1991
Results from a non-binding Soviet referendum showed overwhelming support for preserving the union, a victory for President Mikhail S. Gorbachev. However, in a boost for Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin, voters in his republic also endorsed electing the federation president by direct ballot
1992
National Football League owners voted to drop the use of instant videotape replays to settle disputed calls during games.
1992
South African President F.W. de Klerk claimed victory for his reforms a day after a whites-only referendum on whether to end apartheid.
1993
On Capitol Hill, the House approved President Clinton's deficit-reduction blueprint on a virtual party-line 243-to-183 vote.
1994
The space shuttle Columbia returned from a two-week mission.
1994
Muslim and Croat leaders signed agreements to create a Bosnian federation.
1994
Published reports said first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had made nearly $100,000 from the commodities market in the late 1970's on an initial investment of only $1,000.
1994
The U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned the Hebron mosque massacre.
1995
Spain had its first royal wedding in 89 years as Princess Elena married a banker, Jaime de Marichalar y Saenz de Tejada, in Seville.
1995
The United States Catholic Conference's administrative board criticized a Republican welfare reform plan, saying it would hurt poor children and could push women to have abortions.
1995
Michael Jordan rejoined the Chicago Bulls ending his 17-month retirement from basketball.
1996
Rejecting an insanity defense, a jury in Dedham, Massachusetts, convicted John C. Salvi the Third of murdering two women in a pair of attacks at two Boston-area abortion clinics in December (Salvi later committed suicide in his prison cell.)
1997
Bulldozers began clearing away rocks and earth for a Jewish housing project in disputed east Jerusalem, triggering Palestinian protests.
1997
Labor Secretary-designate Alexis Herman got a generally favorable reception from Democrats and Republicans alike at her Senate confirmation hearing.
1998
Former Arkansas Govenor Jim Guy Tucker testified before a Whitewater grand jury for the first time since negotiating a plea agreement in February with independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Tucker said he reviewed documents with the jury, but would not disclose if they involved President Clinton or Hillary Rodham Clinton. "I have said before that what may be important to some people, may not be important to others," he said.
1998
A presidential yacht that served several administrations sold at an auction of Kennedy memorabilia for just under $6 million on the first day of a controversial sale where many items went unsold. The 92-foot yacht was bought by an unidentified telephone bidder for $5,942,500 on the first day of a two-day auction held by Guernsey's auction house.
1998
Julie Hiatt Steele, a former friend of Kathleen Willey's, released a sworn affidavit undercutting Willey's claim that President Clinton had made an unwanted sexual advance toward her in 1993. (Steele said Willey had instructed her to tell Newsweek that Willey had confided the alleged episode to her immediately after it happened; Steele said she first heard about the accusation in 1997.)
1999
The Kosovar Albanian delegation signed a U.S.-sponsored peace accord following talks in Paris; the Clinton administration warned NATO would act against Serb targets if Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic didn't accept the agreement.
2000
Taiwan ended more than a-half century of Nationalist Party rule, electing an opposition leader (Chen Shui-bian) whose party favored Taiwan's formal independence from the rest of China. _____________________________________________________________
2005
Maradona honored with the keys to Cartagena
2005
Robot Zoe detects life in Atacama Desert
2005
Tibetans demands that China releases Panchen Lama boy
2005
Drinking habits tied to genes
2005
Irish mobile penetration rate hits 94%
2005
Tsunami exposes ancient ruins in India
2005
English Wikipedia hits 500,000 article milestone
2005
Chechnya chopper crash kills 15
2005
Fireball generated in U.S. laboratory resembles black hole
2005
Wolfowitz picked for top spot at World Bank
2005
Brazilian Abin director: no proof linking FARC money to PT
2005
No talks until IRA "criminal activity" dealt with
2006
Second Gold for NZ: Commonwealth Games
2006
No charges over election spending for New Zealand Labour party
2006
China enters the low-cost laptop competition
2006
Putin promises to continue energy production increases
2006
Prosecution to proceed with alternate witnesses in Moussaoui trial
2006
Australian DFAT director knew of trucking company involved in alleged Iraqi kickbacks
2006
Train kills seven on TV show
2006
Six Nations Cup
2006
Macasana, India priest killed
2006
Minority mars Paris CPE protest
2006
Thousands in San Francisco protest US wars
2007
Lahar at New Zealand's Mount Ruapehu
2007
Kimi Räikkönen wins Australian Grand Prix
2007
Pakistan's judicial crisis deepens as police attack and seal private news channel
2007
Google acquires Adscape
2007
Canadian government faces elections speculation
2007
Cricket World Cup: England vs Canada
2007
Cricket World Cup: Australia vs Netherlands
2007
Boy Scout missing in North Carolina, U.S.A.
2007
Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer dies at age 58
2008
St. Patrick's Day around the world
2008
Indonesia grounds Adam Air; may be permanently shut down in three months
2008
Taipei Cycle: Interview with Fma International about the design of "Champion Cheongsam"
2008
Climate change impacts Wyoming
2008
NASA: Old Arctic sea ice continues to melt
2008
Barack Obama gives speech on racial division
2008
Dalai Lama threatens to resign if situation in Tibet worsens
2008
Russian Wikipedia reaches a quarter million articles
2008
National Hockey League news: March 18, 2008
2009
Former Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Fumo convicted of fraud, corruption
2009
Madoff prosecutors want assets from wife and children
2009
US president Obama, Congress call for blocking of executive bonuses at AIG insurance company
2010
"Virtual fence" along US-Mexico border scrapped
2010
UN reports 222,570 dead in Haiti earthquake
2010
At least eight dead after drone strikes in Pakistan
2010
Chilean earthquakes: in pictures
2010
Italian police deal strong blow to Mafia network
2010
Nigeria's cabinet dissolved by acting president
2010
Thirteen dead after ethnic clashes in Nigeria
2010
People from Pichilemu, Chile leave La Cruz Hill
2010
Fire at tombs in Uganda result in clashes between protestors and police
2011
In pictures: Japan earthquake and tsunami
2011
United Nations says Ivory Coast shelling may be 'war crime'
2011
Japan raises severity level of crisis; efforts to cool damaged nuclear power plant continue
2011
British electronica band Faithless to separate
2011
Power line to Japanese nuclear plant completed
2011
Japanese stocks continue to fall after earthquake
2011
Conflicting reports, mounting fear, over Japanese nuclear disaster
2011
Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 9 browser
2011
South African serial killer guilty of nineteen rapes, sixteen murders
2011
New York Times to start charging for access to web news
2012
King George Tupou V of Tonga dies in Hong Kong hospital
2012
Imminent danger of famine in the Sahel
2012
News briefs: March 17, 2012
2012
North Korea plans to launch long-range rocket
2012
Football: Both Manchester teams out of Europe as Bilbao and Sporting profit
2012
FA Cup game abandoned after Fabrice Muamba collapses on pitch
2013
Swiss woman gang-raped in Madhya Pradesh, India

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.

Select a section