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Today in History

1775
Patrick Henry declares "Give me liberty, or give me death!" in Richmond, Virginia
1857
First Otis elevator installed in New York City
1882
Groundbreaking mathematician Emmy Noether born in Erlangen, Bavaria
1900
Psychologist Erich Fromm born in Frankfurt, Germany
1905
Dancer and Academy Award winning actress, Joan Crawford born Lucille Fay LeSueur in San Antonio, Texas
1924
Inventor of Liquid Paper, Bette Nesmith Graham born in Dallas, Texas
1933
Adolf Hitler becomes dictator of Germany
1965
Gemini III launched from Cape Canaveral
752
Pope Stephen II was elected to succeed Pope Zacharias; however, Stephen died only two days later.
1169
Death of Shirkuh, Caliph of Egypt
1281
Coronation of Martin IV as Pope
1324
Excommunication of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
1402
Yann V becomes Duke of Brittany
1430
Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England born
1534
The Pope declares Henry VIII of England "truly married" to Catherine of Aragon
1540
Waltham Abbey, the last remaining monastery in England, seized by Henry VIII, King of England
1596
Bevil Grenville born
1606
Death of St. Toribio of Lima
1703
Vivaldi entered the priesthood. He had asthma attacks, or faked them, when he said Mass. But he never had the same problem while conducting a church orchestra or choir.
1743
George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Messiah" had its London premiere after which the first "standing ovation" was recorded. King George was so "inspired" he jumped to his feet after which everyone else followed suit.
1765
The British Parliament passed the Stamp Act for taxing the American colonies, an action that became a major grievance for rebellious colonials. The Stamp Act led to the Stamp Act Congress, and the adoption of the slogan "No Taxation without Representation".
1775
In a speech to the Virginia Provincial Convention, Patrick Henry made his famous plea for American independence from Britain, saying, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Henry was 38 years old.
1792
Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 94 in G Major, also known as the "Surprise Symphony," was performed publicly for the first time, in London.
1794
Josiah G. Pierson received a patent for a rivet machine.
1806
Explorers Lewis and Clark, having reached the Pacific coast, began their journey back east.
1839
H-F Chorley, a London reviewer reported on Berlioz's "Symphonie fantastique": "A Babel, and not a Babylon of music."
1840
The most widely used Americanism "O.K." was first used in the New York publication "The New Era" by the Democratic OK Club. They got the name from Old Kinderhook, NY, where President Martin Van Buren was born.
1857
Cookery expert Fannie Farmer was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She later edited "The Boston Cooking School Cook Book," which ran into 21 editions before her death in 1915.
1858
Eleazer A. Gardner of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a patent for the cable street car.
1861
John D. Defrees became the first Superintendent of the United States Government Printing Office.
1862
Battle of Kernstown, VA - Jackson begins his Valley Campaign.
1862
Count Karl Robert Nesselrode, foreign minister of imperial Russia from 1822-56, died. His policies helped bring about the Crimean war.
1880
John Stevens of Neenah, Wisconsin, patented the grain crushing mill. The machine allowed flour production to increase by 70% and to sell for $2 per barrel.
1901
Dame Nellie Melba, Australian Opera Singer, reveals secret of her now famous toast.
1908
Actress Joan Crawford born
1910
Japanese film maker Akira Kurosawa born
1912
Werner von Braun, rocket scientist born
1918
The giant German gun, "Big Bertha," shelled Paris from 75 miles away.
1919
Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.
1922
Comedian Marty Allen born
1925
The State of Tennessee made it a crime for a teacher in any state-supported public school or college to teach any theory that contradicted the Bible's account of man's creation.
1926
Martha Wright (in Seattle, Washington) born
1929
First telephone installed in the White House.
1929
Roger Bannister, the first person to run the mile in less than four minutes born
1933
The German Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial legislative powers.
1934
Movie director Mark Rydell born
1937
Los Angeles Railway Co starts using PCC streetcars.
1938
Race car driver Craig Breedlove born
1942
Japanese-Americans were forcibly moved from their homes along the Pacific Coast to inland internment camps.
1949
Singer-producer Ric Ocasek (Cars) born
1953
Singer Chaka Khan (Yvette Marie Stevens) born
1954
Moses Malone, basketball player born
1956
Pakistan became an independent Islamic Republic within the British Commonwealth with Maj. Gen. Iskander Mirza as its first provisional President.
1957
Actress Amanda Plummer born
1964
Peter Lorre (Laszlo Loewenstein), Hungarian-born U.S. film actor who starred in gangster and horror films, died.
1965
Actor Richard Grieco. born
1965
America's first two-person space flight began as "Gemini Three" blasted off from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young aboard.
1966
Pope Paul VI met Britain's archbishop of Canterbury at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, the first meeting between the heads of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches in 400 years.
1966
Singer Marti Pellow born
1968
Rock singer-musician Damon Albarn (Blur) born
1970
Rock musician John Humphrey (The Nixons) born
1976
Actress Keri Russell ("Felicity") born
1977
Actress Nicholle Tom ("The Nanny") born
1981
The US Supreme Court ruled that states could require, with some exceptions, parental notification when teen-age girls seek abortions.
1981
British "Great Train Robbery" suspect Ronald Biggs was taken into custody in Barbados after his abduction in Brazil.
1983
Dr. Barney Clark, recipient of a permanent artificial heart, died at the University of Utah Medical Center after 112 days with the device.
1983
President Reagan first proposed development of technology to intercept enemy missiles -- a proposal that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as "Star Wars."
1985
Billy Joel married model Christie Brinkley in New York City. They "parted" in 1994.
1985
Patricia Roberts Harris, who served in two Cabinet posts in the Carter administration, died in Washington at age 60.
1986
Tens of thousands of people filled the streets of Pusan, South Korea, as they cheered political opposition leader Kim Young-sam in the biggest anti-government rally in six years.
1987
Jerry Collins, a millionaire greyhound race track owner, donated one-point-three million dollars to help evangelist Oral Roberts reach his goal of raising eight million dollars for medical scholarships.
1988
President Reagan announced he would visit the Soviet Union for the first time, from May 29th until June second, for his fourth summit meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
1989
The most expensive wedding dress in history was presented by Helen Gainville in Paris. It featured embroidered diamonds by Alexander Reza and was valued at over $7 million.
1989
Fawn Hall, former secretary to onetime National Security Council aide Oliver North, completed two days of testimony at North's Iran-Contra trial.
1990
Former Exxon Valdez Captain Joseph Hazelwood was sentenced by a judge in Anchorage, Alaska, to help clean up Prince William Sound and pay $50,000 in restitution for his role in the 1989 oil spill.
1990
British Princess Eugenie in 1990. (daughter of Prince Andrew and Fergie) born
1991
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein shuffled his Cabinet, but kept in place his hard-line ministers of interior and defense to direct a crackdown on rebellion against his rule.
1991
L.A. Kings hockey center Wayne Gretzky and Kings owner Bruce McNall bought a 1910 Hinus Wagner baseball card at Sotheby's auction for $451,000, breaking a 1989 record: $115,000 for another Honus Wagner card.
1992
The president of the United Nations Security Council announced that Libya had offered to surrender two men suspected in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 to the Arab League (however, Libya reversed itself two days later).
1993
Alex Ross of the New York Times gave a favorable review to a recent Lincoln Center performance by the Prism Quartet, a foursome not of strings but of saxophones. They premiered Michael Ruszczynski's "Fantasy Quartet," which Ross liked very much.
1993
In his first formal news conference since taking office, President Clinton suggested restricting the duty assignment of homosexuals in the military as a way of allowing openly gay personnel; however, the idea was quickly abandoned.
1993
Scientists announced they'd found the renegade gene that causes Huntington's disease.
1994
Luis Donaldo Colosio, Mexico's leading presidential candidate, was assassinated in Tiajuana.
1994
23 paratroopers were killed when a F-16 fighter jet and a C-130 transport plane collided while landing at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina and the F-16 skidded into another transport on the ground.
1994
Actress Giulietta Masina died in Rome at age 73.
1994
Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's National Hockey League career record with his 802nd goal.
1995
Secretary of State Warren Christopher met with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev in Geneva; afterward, Kozyrev said the U.S.-Russia "honeymoon has come to an end," referring to disagreements over Chechnya and nuclear sales to Iran.
1996
Taiwan held its first direct presidential elections; incumbent Lee Teng-hui was the landslide victor.
1997
Amid renewed violence, Israel's Cabinet called on the Palestinian Authority to crack down on Islamic militant groups, but stopped short of suspending peace talks.
1997
The American Cancer Society recommended that women begin annual mammograms at age 40.
1998
Russian President Boris Yeltsin fired his Cabinet.
1998
The greatest ship that ever sank found a berth in Hollywood history night as "Titanic" sailed off with 11 Oscars, tying the record for most Academy Awards won by a single film. James Cameron, the film's co-producer, screenwriter, co-editor and director picked up three awards for the picture - best director, best picture and best editing. Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, the odd couple in "As Good as It Gets," walked off with the top acting awards. It was Nicholson's third Oscar.
1998
The US Supreme Court allowed term limits for state lawmakers.
1998
President Clinton hailed "the new face of Africa" as he opened a historic six-nation tour in Ghana.
1998
Britain placed all ports of entry on alert for Iraqi biological weapons after intelligence sources warned of a plot to smuggle lethal anthrax in bottles of perfume and alcohol.
1999
NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana gave the formal go-ahead for airstrikes against Serbian targets following the failure of Kosovo peace talks.
2000
Pope John Paul the Second paid his respects at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial.
2000
President Clinton visited the western Indian village of Nayla.
2000
In a first, Speaker Dennis Hastert named a Catholic priest, the Reverend Daniel Coughlin, as the new House chaplain.
2005
Icelandic parliament grants Bobby Fischer full citizenship
2005
Kyrgyz government declares elections valid, refuses to declare state of emergency as opposition cements control of the south
2005
Mother of another Brazilian soccer player kidnapped
2005
Cambridge, MA, landmark "Gas With a Smile" requests waiver in conversion to Hess Express
2005
Australian Govt to lessen numbers of immigrants detained indefinitely
2005
Explosion near Beirut kills three, injures five
2005
AU$1.25M reward offer for proof of living Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine)
2005
U.S. federal marshals seize killer beds
2005
96 dead of Ebola-like Marburg virus in Angola
2005
Parker shown the door as Gap spokeswoman
2005
UN Reform: China, South Korea question seat for Japan on Security Council
2005
Google launches Google Code project, showcasing open source code, APIs
2005
Kazaa Trial concluding
2005
Minuteman bike path iced out through Arlington after 4th snowiest winter on record
2005
Chess legend avoids 10 year prison term
2005
New Kyrgz interior minister says force may be used, riot police clash with protesters in Bishkek
2005
Harp seal hunt approved by Canada, activists call for boycott of Canadian seafood
2005
India signs on to chemical patents to comply with WTO order
2005
NASA's Spitzer space telescope views alien worlds
2006
PAD petitions election commission for Thaksin's disqualification
2006
Police arrest hostage taker in Greek mental clinic
2006
New book links Bonds, Giambi and Sheffield to BALCO
2006
Pandermalis announces 2007 Acropolis Museum opening
2006
Representative accuses Bush of signing bill not passed by Congress
2006
Information from prisoner leads to freedom for 3 hostages
2007
NFL: Houston Texans release QB David Carr
2007
River Thames to receive clean-up with new tunnel
2007
Belgian Archbishop lectures on health care and religion
2007
Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer murdered; investigation underway
2007
Recalled pet food found to contain rat poison
2007
Bill Gates to receive honorary degree from Harvard University
2007
French Space Agency CNES releases UFO files
2007
Cricket World Cup: West Indies vs Ireland
2007
British police detain 2005 London bombings suspects
2007
Project brings dialogue between society and prisoners
2007
Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka vs India
2007
15 Royal Navy sailors captured at gunpoint by Iranian guards
2007
U.S. federal judge blocks Internet pornography law
2008
Banned film 'The Profit' appears on Web
2008
Suspect in Madeleine McCann case Robert Murat has confiscated possessions returned
2008
Kimi Räikkönen wins Malaysian Grand Prix
2008
Cheney meets with Israeli and Palestinian leaders
2008
Premier League 2007–08: Manchester United 3 – 0 Liverpool
2008
Premier League 2007–08: Chelsea 2 – 1 Arsenal
2008
National Hockey League news: March 23, 2008
2009
FedEx cargo jet crashes in Narita, burns
2009
Plane crashes in Montana, 17 killed
2009
Air France-KLM interested in acquiring Czech Airlines
2009
Clashes in France after anti-condom speech by Pope
2009
Suncor makes bid to take over Petro-Canada
2009
Son of poet Sylvia Plath commits suicide
2009
Longtime New York radio reporter found stabbed to death
2009
US stock markets soar after bailout plan
2009
Australian Football League: Clubs threaten to take home games interstate
2009
Alaskan Mount Redoubt volcano erupts
2009
British celebrity Jade Goody dies of cervical cancer at age 27
2010
New York City reaches $33 million strip search settlement
2010
Non-profit ACORN plans to shut down
2011
'Worst song of all time' becomes YouTube sensation
2011
Gene mutation produces autism-like traits in mice
2011
Petition urges Apple to remove 'anti-gay' app
2012
Roman coins hoard found in Somerset, England
2012
Australian softball player Kahu Kapea ready for International Youth Cup
2013
Scotland sets date for referendum

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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