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Today in History

1768
Mathematician and physicist Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier born in Auxerre, France
1788
Most of New Orleans burns to the ground
1806
Five-term president of Mexico, Benito Pablo Juárez García born in San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca
1946
Stage and screen actor Timothy Peter Dalton born in Colwyn Bay, Wales
1962
Emmy-award winning television personality and comedian, Roseann Teresa "Rosie" O'Donnell born in Bayside, Queens, New York
1962
Singer and Tony award winning actor Matthew Broderick born in New York City
1965
Selma, Alabama Freedom March
1999
Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones travel around the world in 20 days by balloon
630
Heraclius restores the True Cross, recaptured from the Persians
1144
William of Norwich allegedly murdered, leading to 1st charge of ritual murder against Jews in the Middle Ages
1146
Bernard of Clairveaux preaches the Second Crusade
1152
Annullment of the marriage of King Louis VII of France and Elanor of Aquitaine
1241
Death of Valdemar II, King of Denmark
1274
Robert I, "the Bruce," King of Scotland born
1282
Start of the final struggle between England and Wales
1487
Death of St. Nicholas von Flue
1507
Death of Caesare Borgia
1556
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, was burned at the stake as a heretic.
1604
Orlando Gibbons became organist of Kings College, Cambridge... a position he would hold for the rest of his life.
1685
Composer Johann Sebastian Bach. The organist/composer had 10 brothers; four of whom were musicians. He fathered 20 children and was married twice. born
1713
Francis Lewis, signer of the Declaration of Independence born
1768
Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Fourier, mathematician and Egyptologist born
1790
Thomas Jefferson reported to President George Washington in New York as the new secretary of state.
1804
The French civil code, the "Code Napoleon," was adopted.
1806
Mexican statesman Benito Juarez, who was Mexico's first president of Indian ancestry, was born in Oaxaca.
1813
James Jesse Strang, America's only crowned king (king of the Mormons) born
1826
The Rensselaer School in Troy, New York was incorporated. The school, known today as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, became the first engineering college in the United States.
1839
Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky born
1839
Franz Schubert's "Great" Symphony in C major was premiered in Leipzig. Schumann discovered it and Mendelssohn conducted it. Schubert had been dead 11 years.
1851
Yosemite Valley is discovered in California.
1869
Florenz Ziegfeld, of Follies fame born
1871
Journalist Henry M. Stanley began his famous expedition to Africa to locate the missing Scottish missionary David Livingstone.
1891
A marriage in Kentucky ended the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. The last of the original feuding families died in 1984. The feud started with an accusation of pig-stealing and lasted 10 years.
1905
Poet Phyllis McGinle born
1917
Tsar Nicholas II and his family were arrested by the revolutionary forces in Russia.
1918
American and German soldiers fought the key World War I battle of the Somme.
1923
Bandleader Mort Lindsey born
1925
English theatrical director Peter Brook born
1925
The voice of Lowell Thomas was first heard on radio. Thomas was heard talking about "Man's First Flight Around the World," on KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1927
The Nationalist Chinese forces of Chiang Kai-shek took the city of Shanghai.
1929
Actor James Coco (some sources 1930) born
1934
Actor Al Freeman Junior born
1936
Alexander Glazunov died in exile in Paris. Glazunov was born almost 71 years earlier, so he grew up in the world of Brahms, Wagner and Tchaikovsky, and lived long enough to hear Stravinsky and Schoenberg.
1939
Kate Smith recorded "God Bless America," a song written by Irving Berlin in 1918 as a tribute of a successful immigrant to his adopted country, for Victor Records.
1939
Actress Kathleen Widdoes ("As the World Turns") born
1940
A new government was formed in France by Paul Reynaud, who became prime minister, succeeding Edouard Daladier.
1944
Actress Marie-Christine Barraul born
1945
Rock musician (Sly & The Family Stone) Rosie Stone born
1945
During World War Two, Allied bombers began four days of raids over Germany.
1946
Actor Timothy Dalton born
1946
The United Nations set up temporary headquarters at Hunter College in New York.
1946
The Los Angeles Rams signed Kenny Washington, the first black player to join a National Football League team since 1933.
1950
Rock singer-musician Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) born
1951
Rock musician Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) born
1951
Rhythm-and-blues singer Russell Thompkins Junior (The Stylistics) born
1958
Actor Gary Oldman born
1958
Actress Sabrina LeBeauf born
1958
Actor-comedian Brad Hal born
1960
Some 70 people were killed in Sharpeville, South Africa, when police fired on demonstrators.
1961
The Beatles made their debut in an appearance at Liverpool's Cavern Club, where they became regulars in a matter of months.
1962
Actor Matthew Broderick born
1962
Comedian-talk show host Rosie O'Donnell born
1962
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pledged that Russia would cooperate with the United States in peaceful exploration of space. The joint American-Soviet Soyuz space mission was conducted in July 1975.
1963
The Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
1965
More than 3,000 civil rights demonstrators led by the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior began their march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. More than 25,000 people join in the march by the time the marchers reach Montgomery, Alabama.
1966
Actress Cynthia Geary born
1967
Rock musician Jonas "Joker" Berggren (Ace of Base) born
1967
Rock M-C Maxim (Prodigy) born
1968
Rock musician Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) born
1969
"Hip-hop DJ" DJ Premier (Gang Starr) born
1972
The US Supreme Court ruled that states may not require one-year residency for voting eligibility.
1976
Skier Spider Sabich was shot to death by singer Claudine Londet at their Aspen, Colorado, residence. She was later found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
1979
The Egyptian Parliament unanimously approved a peace treaty with Israel.
1983
President Ronald Reagan tapped former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William D. Ruckelshaus to again head the EPA, following the resignation of Anne M. Burford.
1985
Police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings, killing at least 21 demonstrators.
1986
The presidential commission investigating the Challenger disaster viewed footage of the space shuttle's fatal launch the previous January; the film showed flame from a booster rocket leak which triggered the explosion.
1987
Actor Robert Preston, best known for his portrayal of conman Professor Harold Hill in the musical "The Music Man," died in Santa Barbara, California, at age 68.
1988
The Sandinista government of Nicaragua and US-backed Contra rebels began three days of talks in the border town of Sapoa by exchanging cease-fire proposals and agreeing to a truce during the negotiations.
1989
A Trident Two missile exploded seconds after being test-fired from a submarine for the first time.
1989
After 33 years, Dick Clark announced he was stepping down as host of "American Bandstand." More than 65,000 records were played on the TV show. More than 10,000 guests appeared; over 600,000 teenagers danced.
1989
Randall Dale Adams, whose conviction for killing a police officer was overturned after the evidence was questioned in the documentary "The Thin Blue Line," was released from a Texas prison.
1990
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev increased pressure on the breakaway republic of Lithuania, ordering its citizens to turn in their guns.
1990
Secretary of State James Baker met black nationalist leader Nelson Mandela in Namibia.
1990
Namibia, formerly known as South West Africa, became independent after 75 years of South African rule.
1991
A U.N. Security Council panel decided to lift the food embargo on Iraq.
1991
Test results released in Los Angeles showed that Rodney King, the motorist whose beating by police was videotaped by a bystander, had marijuana and alcohol in his system following his arrest.
1992
During a debate in Buffalo, New York, Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton sought to turn the tables on rival Jerry Brown by accusing the former California governor of hypocrisy on the issue of campaign contributions.
1992
President Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met at Camp David, Maryland.
1993
Voters in France handed the Socialist government a devastating defeat in first-round parliamentary elections.
1994
"Schindler's List" won best picture at the 66th Academy Awards; Holly Hunter was named best actress for "The Piano," while Tom Hanks was named best actor for "Philadelphia.""
1994
Actor MacDonald Carey died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 81.
1995
Thousands of Japanese police raided the offices of a secretive religious group, Aum Shinri Kyo, in connection with nerve-gar attacks on Tokyo subways that killed 12 people and sickened thousands.
1996
General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a settlement in a 17-day brake-factory strike that idled more than 177,000 employees and brought the world's number-one automaker to a near standstill.
1996
Goran Persson, a former finance minister, became Swedish prime minister.
1997
President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin wrapped up their summit in Helsinki, Finland, still deadlocked over NATO expansion, but able to agree on slashing nuclear weapons arsenals.
1997
A suicide bomber blew himself up in Tel Aviv, killing three Israeli women.
1998
Pope John Paul the Second began a visit to Nigeria with the Vatican pressing the African nation's military regime to release dozens of prisoners, including prominent opposition figures and journalists.
1998
President Boris Yeltsin criticized the Russian government for huge delays in paying wages to state sector workers.
1999
Israel's Supreme Court rejected a final effort to have American teen-ager Samuel Sheinbein returned to the United States to face murder charges. (Under a plea agreement with Israeli proseuctors, Sheinbein was later sentenced to 24 years in prison for the murder of Alfred Tello Jr.)
1999
Oscars, including best picture and best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow; Roberto Benigni won best actor for "Life is Beautiful," while Steven Spielberg won best director for "Saving Private Ryan."
2005
Yahoo! snaps up Flickr
2005
Violent protests break out in Kyrgyzstan over allegedly rigged parliamentary elections
2005
Car maker DeLorean dies at 80
2005
EU concerned about Microsoft compliance, $5 million daily fine possible
2005
Possible black hole created in US
2005
WSJ: Diller close to $2 billion deal for Ask Jeeves
2005
Kofi Annan unveils UN reform plan
2005
Bank of Ireland to axe 2,000 jobs
2005
Driftwood crucifix listed on eBay for $25,000
2005
Anti-war march in London
2005
Bush signs historic Schiavo bill into law
2006
UN creates rapid-response fund for disasters
2006
Japan wins World Baseball Classic, 10-6
2006
Ohio man kills teen who walked on his lawn
2006
Yellow Sheep River develops €123 Linux based computer
2006
Demonstrator in coma - serious allegations against the French police
2006
Protesters mark 3rd anniversary of Iraq invasion
2006
New Zealand Attorney-General resigns
2006
UN inaugurates rapid-response fund for future disasters
2006
Queensland mops up after Cyclone Larry's billion dollar devastation
2006
Small airplane crashes in Colombia
2007
NSW Opposition leader uses Yahoo Answers to query voters
2007
Toronto man claims $18 million jackpot
2007
Coroner warns on Internet drugs
2007
Fossilized remains of "burrowing" dinosaur found in Montana
2007
Reward against terrorists in Greece
2007
Canadian Liberal MP expelled from caucus for supporting Conservative budget
2007
Church of Sweden open to homosexual weddings
2007
Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh
2007
SpaceX Falcon I launches from Kwajalein Atoll
2007
SpaceX Falcon I rocket fails to orbit test satellite
2007
Cricket World Cup: Pakistan vs Zimbabwe
2007
Pakistan coach's death 'suspicious'
2007
World agricultural honeybee disappearance
2007
Two UK sailors killed in submarine accident
2008
Zinaida Greceanii nominated Moldovan Prime Minister
2008
Senator Obama's passport records breached in January 2008
2008
Major US presidential candidates have passport files breached
2008
Pilot killed as Su-25 military jet explodes near Vladivostok
2008
Israel to install missile defense systems on airliners
2008
Scientists say that a 'global layer of water' exists on Saturn's moon Titan
2008
Red Bull Racing F1 team must prove safety after David Coulthard suffers crash
2008
Social networking site lets users run virtual campaign for US president
2008
Large 7.2 earthquake strikes China
2008
Bones of 'small-bodied humans' found in Micronesian cave
2008
Micronation Republic of Molossia announces international summit
2009
New Zealand pilots receive bravery awards for foiling airliner hijack
2009
Thousands evacuated after chemical truck overturns in Pennsylvania
2009
Google removes some street view images
2009
Emirates jet tail strikes runway during takeoff at Melbourne airport
2009
Pennsylvania lost 41,000 jobs in February, a 13-year high
2009
US says Zimbabwe government has “a long way to go” before sanctions are lifted
2009
Rock music church in Pennsylvania allowed concerts under court settlement
2009
Emergency directive for Sikorsky S-92A helicopters
2009
Australian Labor Party reelected to Queensland government: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
2009
Obama apologizes for Special Olympics comment on The Tonight Show
2009
"The Dark Knight" film director's brother arrested for murder, kidnapping
2009
UK's BAA forced to sell three airports
2009
Two US Navy vessels collide in the Strait of Hormuz; 15 lightly injured
2009
New Jersey backpedals on proposed bikini waxing ban
2009
Queensland election candidates on Gold Coast back daylight saving
2009
Four Oakland, California police officers shot, all in critical condition
2010
Kangaroo knocks jogger unconscious in Canberra, Australia
2010
British Airways cabin crew begins strike
2010
Leader of Somali group al-Shabaab assassinated
2010
Ex-UN official says Pakistan disrupted talks with Taliban
2010
Icelandic volcanic eruption prompts evacuation, flight diversions
2010
Fishermen find body of child killed by Chile tsunami in Pichilemu
2010
Severe sandstorm strikes Beijing, China
2010
WHO releases report on drug resistant tuberculosis
2011
Boni Yayi confirmed as winner of Benin presidental election
2011
Haiti votes in presidential runoff
2011
Man charged with murder of British woman in Hong Kong
2011
NASCAR driver Kyle Busch wins Jeff Byrd 500
2011
AT&T to purchase T-Mobile for US$39 billion
2011
Existing US home sales fall 9.6% in February
2012
US Air Force upgrades F-22 oxygen system after deadly crash
2012
Savage on Santorum on Savage
2012
Magnitude 7.4 earthquake strikes Mexico; no fatalities reported
2012
Mexico gunmen kill twelve police
2013
Canberra central business district trials urinals
2013
Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters awards Belgian mathematician Pierre Deligne with Abel prize of 2013
2013
Anonymous people reveal animal cruelty at Australian Inghams poultry producer factory using CCTV footage

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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