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Today in History

1874
Poet and author, Robert Frost born in San Francisco, California
1911
Pulizter Prize winning playwright, Tennessee Williams born in Columbus, Mississippi
1930
Attorney and US Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor born in El Paso, Texas
1931
Poet, musician, photographer, film director, and actor, Leonard Simon Nimoy born in Boston, Massachusetts
1934
Academy Award winning actor Alan Wolf Arkin born in New York City
1940
Congresswoman and first woman to hold the position of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi born in Baltimore, Maryland
1944
Grammy Award winning singer, Diana Ross born in Detroit, Michigan
1971
Independence Day in Bangladesh
1979
Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin sign the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Washington, DC
1026
Conrad II was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope John XIX.
1051
Death of Hugh IV, Count of Maine
1144
Death of St. William of Norwich
1150
Tichborne family of Hampshire, England start tradition of giving a gallon of flour to each resident to keep a deathbed promise
1199
Richard I, "Lionheart," wounded by a crossbow at Chalus
1388
Construction begins on St. Mary's College, Oxford, England
1443
Mairgret O'Carroll, of Ireland, holds a feast, with 2700 in attendance
1778
Eight-year-old Beethoven gave his first public concert.
1780
The British Gazette and Sunday Monitor, the first Sunday newspaper in Britain, was published.
1804
The Louisiana Purchase was divided into the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana.
1827
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna. He had been in bed for weeks with pneumonia and edema. He died 49 years to the day after his first public concert.
1859
Astronomers reported sighting a new planet in an orbit near that of Mercury. They named it Vulcan. It's now believed to have been a "rogue asteroid" making a one-time pass close to the sun.
1871
The Paris Commune, an insurrection of Paris against the French government, was formally set up.
1874
Poet Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California. Although he will be proclaimed "the Voice of New England," he first saw a New England farm at the age of ten.
1878
Hastings College of Law founded.
1885
The Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co. of Rochester, New York, manufactured the first commercial motion picture film.
1892
Poet Walt Whitman died in Camden, New Jersey at age 72. Constantly revising and augmenting his "Leaves of Grass," he received the final, ninth, edition on his deathbed.
1898
The world's first game reserve, the Sabi Game Reserve, was designated in South Africa.
1911
Playwright Tennessee Williams was born in the rectory of his Episcopalian minister grandfather's church in Columbus, Mississippi.
1914
Retired Army General William C. Westmoreland born
1915
Following the publication of her first novel, "The Voyage Out," Virginia Woolf suffered a nervous breakdown.
1917
Singer Rufus Thomas born
1918
In World War I, French Marshal Ferdinand Foch was appointed commander of the Allied armies on the western front.
1920
"This Side of Paradise," F. Scott Fitzgerald's first book, appeared. It would sell 20,000 copies within a week. The author at 23 was the youngest novelist ever published by Scribner's.
1923
Comedian Bob Elliott born
1925
Conductor-composer Pierre Boulez born
1930
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. born
1931
Actor Leonard Nimoy born
1934
Actor Alan Arkin born
1936
The first telescope with a 200-inch diameter, reflecting mirror was shipped from Corning, New York, to Mt. Palomar Observatory in California. The lens of the Hale telescope weighed 20 tons. It was dedicated in 1948.
1937
A six-foot-tall concrete statue of the cartoon character "Popeye" was unveiled during the Second Annual Spinach Festival in Crystal City, Texas.
1940
Actor James Caan born
1942
Author Erica Jong born
1943
Journalist Bob Woodward born
1944
Singer Diana Ross born
1945
In World War II, the Battle of Iwo Jima ended. During the battle about 22,000 Japanese troops were killed or captured and more than 4,500 U.S. troops died.
1946
Actor Johnny Crawford ("The Rifleman") born
1948
Rock singer Steve Tyler (Aerosmith) born
1949
TV personality Vicki Lawrence born
1950
Singer Teddy Pendergrass born
1950
Comedian Martin Short born
1950
Country singer Ronnie McDowell born
1951
The Air Force flag was approved. The flag included the coat of arms, 13 white stars and the Air Force seal on a blue background.
1953
Dr. Jonas Salk announced a new vaccine to prevent poliomyelitis.
1955
Country singer Dean Dillon born
1956
Country singer Charly McClain born
1957
TV personality Leeza Gibbons born
1958
"The Bridge Over The River Kwai" won the Academy Award for best picture of 1957. Alec Guiness and David Lean won awards for best actor and director for the film.
1958
The US Army launched America's third successful satellite, "Explorer Three."
1960
Actress Jennifer Grey born
1962
Basketball player John Stockton born
1962
The U.S. Supreme Court gave federal courts the power to order reapportionment of seats in a state legislature, a decision that eventually led to the "one man, one vote" doctrine.
1964
The musical play "Funny Girl," starring Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice, opened on Broadway.
1968
Rock musician James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins) born
1968
Country singer Kenny Chesney born
1971
East Pakistan proclaimed its independence, taking the name Bangladesh.
1973
Noel Coward died.
1973
President Anwar Sadat of Egypt took over the premiership, saying "the stage of total confrontation (with Israel) has become inevitable."
1979
Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty at the White House, ending 30 years of hostilities. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat gave President Carter credit for the so-called Camp David agreement.
1979
Michigan State and Indiana State met in the all-time highest rated basketball game telecast. A pair of future NBA Hall-of-Famers played against one another: Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
1982
Groundbreaking ceremonies took place in Washington, D.C. for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a pair of 200-foot black granite walls bearing the names of Americans killed or missing in the war.
1983
In an interview with "Pravda," Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov denounced President Ronald Reagan's proposal for a U.S. defense system against missiles, calling it a "bid to disarm the Soviet Union."
1985
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 219-213 in favor of authorizing funds for the MX missile (the House voted two days later to appropriate $1.5 billion dollars for production of the MX).
1986
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev accused the United States of carrying out planned aggression against Libya, and proposed talks on withdrawal of Soviet and American fleets from the Mediterranean.
1987
The National Federation of High School Associations adopted the college distance, three-point shot, with a perimeter of 21 feet from the center of the backboard.
1987
Jessica Hahn, the former church secretary who admitted to a sexual encounter with former PTL head Jim Bakker, told reporters she had not tried to blackmail Bakker, and expressed concern about "innocent bystanders who have been hurt" by the scandal.
1988
Jesse Jackson stunned fellow Democrats by soundly defeating Michael S. Dukakis in Michigan's Democratic presidential caucuses.
1989
Voters in the Soviet Union went to the polls to fill 1500 of the more than 2,000 seats in the new Congress of People's Deputies in what turned out to be a series of embarrassing defeats for the Communist Party.
1990
Designer Halston died in San Francisco, California, at age 57.
1990
"Driving Miss Daisy" won best picture at the 62nd annual Academy Awards and captured best actress prize for Jessica Tandy; Daniel Day-Lewis was named best actor for "My Left Foot.""
1991
A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that criminal defendants whose coerced confessions were improperly used as evidence are not always entitled to a new trial.
1991
The Bush administration indicated it would not aid rebels seeking to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
1992
A judge in Indianapolis sentenced former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson to six years in prison for raping a Miss Black America contestant.
1992
Cosmonaut Serge Krikalev returned to Earth. When he left Earth on May 18, 1991, he was a citizen of the Soviet Union. While he was in space, the Soviet Union dissolved. His return to Earth was delayed from lack of funds.
1993
President Clinton promised a "full-court press" against Bosnian Serbs to secure their agreement to a United Nations peace plan endorsed by Bosnian Muslims and Croats.
1994
U.N. peacekeepers in Bosnia-Herzegovina destroyed a Serb bunker following a seven-hour exchange of fire.
1994
The Senate passed President Clinton's education reform measure, the "Goals 2000" bill, 63-22.
1995
The National Labor Relations Board, in an extraordinary Sunday session, voted 3-to-2 to seek an injunction against baseball owners as a 7-1/2-month-old strike by players continued.
1995
Former diplomat-turned-radio talk show host Alan Keyes entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
1996
Amid public fears of "mad cow disease," British farmers demanded their government order the destruction of old cattle, but Prime Minister John Major refused, and blamed the crisis on his political opponents.
1996
Former US senator and secretary of state Edmund Muskie died in Washington DC, two days shy of his 82nd birthday.
1997
Former drug counselor John G. Bennett Junior pleaded no contest in Philadelphia to charges stemming from a $100 million charity fraud.
1997
The bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate techno-religious cult who'd committed suicide were found inside a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
1998
UN arms monitors began a mission to inspect an Iraqi "presidential site" for the first time in seven years of work. The team included diplomats and was led by Jayantha Dhanapala, the UN undersecretary-general for disarmament.
1998
Russian, French and German leaders started their first informal "troika" meeting outside Moscow to discuss European security and other international matters. Russian President Boris Yeltsin, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met in the Bor government complex some 30 miles outside the Russian capital.
1998
President Clinton stood with President Nelson Mandela in a racially integrated South African parliament to salute a country that was "truly free and democratic at last." Clinton, accompanied by his wife Hillary, became the first U.S. head of state to visit the former British colony.
1998
The federal government endorsed a new HIV test that yields instant results.
1999
American-led NATO forces launched a third night of airstrikes against Yugoslavia.
1999
A computer virus named "Melissa" began infecting computers across the country.
1999
Right-to-die advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian was convicted in Pontiac, Mich., of second-degree murder for giving a patient with Lou Gehrig's disease a lethal injection, an action videotaped and broadcast on television.
2000
"American Beauty" won five Oscars, including best picture; its leading man, Kevin Spacey, won best actor, while Hilary Swank won best actress for "Boys Don't Cry."
2000
"Joy of Sex" author Alex Comfort died in Oxfordshire, England, at age 80.
2000
Vladimir Putin was elected Russia's second democratically chosen president.
2005
Land conflict mars Good Friday in Jerusalem
2005
Pilgrims journey to Jerusalem for Good Friday
2005
Protests continue at Baxter detention centre
2005
Deep Impact cruising for comet crash
2005
U.S. unveils plans to help India become a "major world power"
2005
India to build aircraft carrier by 2012
2005
Scientists discover soft tissue in dinosaur bones
2005
US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visits Brazil
2005
Gender imbalance in Tsunami deaths
2005
Zimbabwe's Mugabe: Vote for us or starve
2005
Hundreds of thousands protest anti-secession law in Taiwan
2005
Morogoro Plastic, funded by Barclays, to open $2m network of recycling plants in Tanzania
2005
Police, militia confront looters in Bishkek, leaders say city now calm
2005
Fire in Tema, Ghana threatning oil refinery
2005
Chinese government to safeguard old Beijing
2005
Multiple parliaments meet in Kyrgyzstan, legitimacy uncertain
2005
NCAA men's division I basketball tournament reaches "Elite Eight" round
2005
Mozilla Foundation rolls out second security update for Firefox browser
2005
Conservatives plan to reject budget over newly introduced Kyoto amendment in Canada
2005
Massive star cluster found in Milky Way
2005
Dick, Spielberg among Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductees
2005
Canadian union, railway reach last minute accord
2005
Hundreds of thousands march in Taipei
2005
U.S. willing to sell F-16s to Pakistan, India
2006
Pentagon: Russia provided information to Iraq
2006
Protesters rally for a second time against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal
2006
XVIII Commonwealth Games competition ends
2006
Canadian Press speculates on special forces role in Iraq
2006
Candace Parker double dunks, makes basketball history
2006
Georgia mother loses child custody over humorous religion
2006
Canadian Idol comes to Ottawa
2006
Shiites claim coalition forces killed men in a mosque
2006
Australia's new controversial workplace regulations come into effect this week
2006
European Union demands release of Belarusian opposition leader
2007
Newfoundland government launches seal hunt website
2007
Power sharing to return to Northern Ireland
2007
US charges Australian David Hicks
2007
UN sanctions prompt Iran to limit cooperation with IAEA
2007
NFL: Eagles trade for Spikes, Holcomb
2007
LTTE carry out airstrike on air force base in Sri Lanka
2007
Rain in Greater Vancouver area, increased turbidity in drinking water
2008
Disdery Hombo & Tatyana Perepelkina win the Taipei International Express Marathon
2008
Former first lady Nancy Reagan endorses McCain
2008
Church of Scientology's 'Operating Thetan' documents leaked online
2008
Popular soap opera 'The Young and the Restless' celebrates 35 years on the air
2008
Sarkozy calls for Anglo-French unity on first day of state visit
2008
Ukraine refused Moldova in extradition of Malhaz Djaparidze and liberated him
2008
African troops invade rebel-held island of Anjouan
2008
The INADI and Wikimedia Argentina sign an agreement of cooperation
2009
Irish economy sees biggest contraction in decades
2009
Tornadoes rampage through Mississippi
2009
NATO and Iran talk for first time in 30 years
2009
Girls in Florida sell pink lemonade, donate money to breast cancer research
2009
US Air Force jet crashes in California
2009
One day after attempted rescue, six stranded whales die on Australian beach
2009
Judge refuses to dismiss charge against Barack Obama assassination plotter
2010
US and Mexico to revise counter-drug strategy
2010
Heavy earthquake hits the Philippines
2010
South Korean navy ship sinks off North Korean coast
2010
American singer Johnny Maestro dies at 70
2010
UK's ITV cancels police drama "The Bill" after 27 years
2010
Pichilemu and Cobquecura, Chile rocked again by aftershocks
2011
Millions to turn off lights for Earth Hour tonight
2011
Mayor of London Boris Johnson announces bidders for additional Tramlink vehicles
2011
Bomb on Jerusalem bus kills one, over 30 injured
2011
Qatar becomes first Arab country to fly fighter jets over Libya
2012
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art buys Edward Hopper valued at over $25 million
2012
Novartis challenges patent rejection in India
2013
Supreme Court of the United States contemplates same-sex marriage
2013
Kiribati acquires international funding for solar power

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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