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Today in History

Easter
1845
Physicist and discoverer of X-rays, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen born in Lennep, Germany
1899
Celebrated silent-film era actress, Gloria Swanson born in Chicago, Illinois
1958
Khrushchev becomes Premier of Soviet Union
1963
Actor, director and Oscar winning screenwriter, Quentin Tarentino born in Knoxville, Tennessee
1964
Alaskan earthquake kills 117 people
1969
Mariner 7 launched from Cape Kennedy
1970
Grammy Award winning singer, Mariah Carey born in Long Island, New York
1977
583 killed when two 747 jets collide on runway at Tenerife, Canary Islands
394
Death of St. John the Egyptian
922
Execution of Abu al-Mughith-al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj
1077
Coronation of Rudolph as King of Germany
1350
Death of Alfonso XI, King of Castile, of the Black Death
1378
Death of Pope Gregory XI, last French & Avignonese Pope
1482
Death of Mary of Burgundy, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I
1512
Juan Ponce de Leon discovers Florida
1559
Earl of Essex sent to put down a rebellion in Ireland
1615
Death of Marguerite of Valois, Queen of Navarre
1625
Charles the First ascended the English throne upon the death of James the First.
1783
Mozart dedicated his horn concerto, K.417, to one Joseph Leutgeb, whom he described in the dedication as "jackass, ox and simpleton".
1794
President Washington and Congress authorized creation of the US Navy.
1813
Nathaniel Currier, lithographer (Currier and Ives) born
1836
The first Mormon temple was dedicated, in Kirtland, Ohio.
1841
The first steam fire engine was tested in New York City.
1845
German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen, discoverer of X-rays born
1860
M. L. Byrn of New York patented a corkscrew.
1863
Sir Henry Royce, one of the founders of Rolls-Royce born
1863
President Davis calls for this to be a day of fasting and prayer.
1866
Andrew Rankin received a patent for the urinal.
1868
Patty Smith Hill, author and education specialist, was born. Smith Hill, a prominent Kindergarten educator, wrote the lyrics to the most frequently sung song in the world: "Happy Birthday To You."
1879
Photographer Edward Steichen born
1884
The first long-distance telephone call was made, between Boston and New York.
1886
Architect Mies van der Rohe born
1892
Ferde Grofe was born. Grofe composed the popular "Grand Canyon Suite," and a less famous "Mississippi Suite." He also did the orchestration on Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." born
1899
Actress-businesswoman Gloria Swanson was born in Chicago. Swanson received 3 Oscar nominations -- the last in 1950 for "Sunset Boulevard."
1912
Lord Callaghan, former British prime minister born
1912
First Japanese cherry trees planted in Washington, D.C.
1914
Ralph Vaughan Williams' "London" Symphony was premiered, in London. The work includes as one of its themes the Westminster Chimes, that is, the notes of "Big Ben."
1917
Former Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance born
1917
The Seattle Metropolitans became the first US team to win the Stanley Cup as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens.
1920
Film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were married.
1924
Dancer-singer Harold Nicholas born
1924
Jazz singer Sarah Vaughan born
1927
Newspaper columnist Anthony Lewis born
1927
Soviet conductor and pianist and one of the best-known cellists of the 20th century, Mstislav Rostropovich . born
1930
Actor David Janssen born
1931
Actor Charlie Chaplin, "The Little Tramp," received France's distinguished Legion of Honor.
1934
Dance company director Arthur Mitchell born
1935
Actor Julian Glover born
1936
Actor Jerry Lacy born
1939
Auto racer Cale Yarborough born
1940
Actor Austin Pendleton born
1942
Actor Michael York born
1942
American servicemen were granted free mailing privileges.
1945
During World War Two, General Dwight D. Eisenhower told reporters in Paris that German defenses on the Western Front had been broken.
1947
Tommy Rogers, a boxer with only one arm, knocked his opponent, Somersby Dowst, down twice in the 9th round to win the title fight in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1950
Musician (Genesis) Tony Banks born
1952
Actress Maria Schneider ("Last Tango in Paris") born
1958
Nikita Khrushchev replaced Nikolai Bulganin as premier of the Soviet Union.
1958
CBS Laboratories announced a new stereophonic record that was playable on ordinary "LP" phonographs, meaning monaural. In stereo, however, on the proper equipment, a new rich and fuller sound was heard.
1958
Former Olympic gymnast Bart Conner born
1959
Rock musician Andrew Farriss (INXS) born
1963
Movie director Quentin Tarantino born
1963
Football player Randy Cunningham born
1964
Rock musician Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai) born
1964
A powerful earthquake in Alaska killed 117 people.
1968
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth, died in a plane crash.
1970
Rock musician Brendan Hill (Blues Traveler) born
1970
Singer Mariah Carey born
1971
UCLA became the first team ever to win five consecutive NCAA basketball titles. The Bruins defeated Villanova 68-62. UCLA, under coaching legend John Wooden, dominated NCAA tournament play until 1974.
1972
Adolph Rupp of the University of Kentucky retired after 42 years of coaching the Wildcats. During his tenure at Kentucky, Rupp won 874 games for a winning average of 82.1 percent.
1973
Marlon Brando turned down an Oscar for his performance in "The Godfather" as a gesture of support for the Indians occupying the Wounded Knee reservation in South Dakota.
1977
Two Boeing 747 jumbo jets collided and exploded in flames on a foggy runway in the Canary Islands, killing 582 people in the worst aviation disaster in history.
1979
The US Supreme Court ruled, 8 to 1, that police could not stop motorists at random to check licenses and registrations unless there was reason to believe a law had been broken.
1980
147 people died when the Alexander Kielland, a floating platform for off-duty oil workers, capsized in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.
1983
An angry crowd shouting "Go home!" forced Chicago mayoral candidate Harold Washington to cut short a campaign appearance with former vice president Walter F. Mondale in the city's North Side.
1983
Actress Emily Ann Lloyd ("Something So Right") born
1985
A grand jury in New York City indicted Bernhard Goetz for the shooting of four black youths on a subway train. (Goetz was acquitted of attempted murder, but convicted of violating weapons laws.)
1986
The ships and planes of the Sixth Fleet withdrew from the Gulf of Sidra off Libya as American officials declared the United States had accomplished its mission of defending freedom of the seas.
1986
'Baby M', famed surrogate born
1986
The U.S. Senate revived President Reagan's plan to send $100 million to aid the Nicaraguan rebels.
1987
The Marine Corps charged that Sgt. Clayton J. Lonetree, a Marine guard, had escorted Soviet agents through the U.S. Embassy in Moscow -- an accusation that was later dropped, Lonetree was convicted of espionage.
1988
Jesse Jackson, rejoicing from an upset victory in Michigan's primary-style caucuses the day before, vowed that his Democratic presidential campaign would continue to "win and grow."
1989
Boris N. Yeltsin and other anti-establishment candidates claimed victory in parliamentary elections for the new Congress of People's Deputies.
1990
The U.S. began test broadcasts of TV Marti to Cuba, which promptly jammed the signal. TV Marti is the Voice of America's television station which broadcasts entertainment and news to Cuba.
1990
Soviet soldiers began rounding up Lithuanians who had fled the Red Army after the republic's declaration of independence.
1991
In a surprising flap, President Bush publicly disagreed with Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who claimed he had urged further fighting in the Persian Gulf War at the time Bush ordered a cease-fire (Schwarzkopf later apologized to Bush).
1992
Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton, campaigning in New York, apologized for recently golfing at an all-white club.
1992
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim in Munich, a meeting denounced by Jewish groups because of Waldheim's alleged involvement with Nazi persecution during World War Two.
1993
A top UN relief official accused Bosnian Serbs of breaking their promises by blocking an aid convoy for trapped Muslims in eastern Bosnia, a day after a cease-fire agreement.
1994
More than 40 people were killed as violent thunderstorms tore across the Southeast, including 20 who died when the roof of the Goshen United Methodist Church in Alabama collapsed.
1994
Italians went to the polls in general elections that resulted in big gains for a right-wing coalition.
1994
Ukraine held its first parliamentary elections since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
1995
"Forrest Gump" won six Academy Awards, including best picture and a second consecutive Best Actor Oscar for Tom Hanks; Jessica Lange won Best Actress for "Blue Sky."
1995
Former President Jimmy Carter announced he had brokered a two-month cease-fire between Sudan's Islamic government and rebels.
1996
An Israeli court convicted Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's confessed assassin of murder, then sentenced former law student Yigal Amir to life in prison.
1997
Russian workers staged a nationwide strike to demand overdue wages.
1997
Dexter King, son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior, met with James Earl Ray, the man in prison for the older King's assassination. Ray denied having anything to do with the shooting, to which King replied, "I believe you."
1998
The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Viagra, made by Pfizer, saying it helped about two-thirds of impotent men improve their sexual function.
1998
Ferdinand Porsche Junior, who founded the sports car firm that bears his name, died at age 88 in Zell am See, Austria.
1999
Maria Butyrskaya of Russia won the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, Finland; defending champion Michelle Kwan of the United States finished second.
1999
NATO expanded its air assault on Yugoslavia in the fourth straight day of attacks.
2000
The Supreme Court decided the federal government could deny food stamps and other welfare benefits to people who live permanently in the United States but who are not citizens.
2000
DaimlerChrysler AG announced it would buy 34 percent of Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
2001
California regulators approved electricity rate hikes of up to 46 percent.
2005
Cricket: Sehwag dominates, but India trails
2005
Togo opposition wants election delayed
2005
New Kyrgyz election scheduled after lightning coup
2005
Wendy's sales down in Northern California
2005
Chili finger may have been raw
2005
Lebanon yields to opposition tide
2005
Former British Prime Minister James Callaghan dies aged 92
2005
Guards uncover 600-foot escape tunnel at US prison in Iraq
2005
Five wounded, two killed in Lebanon blast
2005
IBM releases freeware for visualizing document histories
2005
Report reveals Top 10 most-confusing tech buzzwords
2005
Pakistan admits scientist sold nuke tech to Iran
2005
Doctor Who returns as UK Saturday night timeslot lord
2005
Kulov declares newly elected parliament legitimate, Kyrgyz parliamentary conflict deepens
2005
Harvard's Berkman Center blog group develops blogging tutorials
2006
George Mason University upsets UConn, advances to Final Four
2006
Crash kills Indy driver Paul Dana
2006
Creekstone Farms sues USDA for refusing to allow mad cow testing
2006
Western Australia braces for another cyclone
2006
Greek court rules worship of ancient Greek deities is legal
2006
Seattle shooting leaves seven dead
2006
Prince closes XVIII Commonwealth Games
2006
UK PM addresses joint sitting of Australian Parliament
2006
Airbus A380 safety test injures 33
2006
Sweden names Jan Eliasson new Foreign Minister
2006
Bomb blast near Mosul, Iraq kills at least 40
2007
Ontario ombudsman hands over lottery investigation to police
2007
Liberal minority government elected in Quebec
2007
Ribena fined over misleading advertising
2007
NHL: Penguins complete sweep of Capitals, clinch playoff berth
2007
UK prepared to go 'into different phase' if sailors and marines not released by Iran within days
2007
Northern Ireland MEP Jim Allister resigns from DUP
2007
Body of missing Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker found in bathtub
2007
Guantanamo detainee David Hicks pleads guilty to providing "material support"
2008
National Hockey League news: March 27, 2008
2008
Kosmos-3M rocket launches fourth SAR-Lupe satellite
2008
Ryanair executives pay frozen over increased fuel prices
2008
US President George Bush discusses 'war on terror'
2008
Airbus parent EADS wins £13 billion UK RAF airtanker contract
2008
Teräsbetoni's 'Myrskyntuoja' tops Finnish album chart
2008
Space Shuttle Endeavour completes STS-123 mission
2008
South Park episodes available free online
2008
Governor of Puerto Rico indicted in campaign finance probe
2008
Iraqi forces battle militants in Basra for second day
2008
U.S. accidentally delivered nuclear missile components to Taiwan
2009
North Korea missile launch looks imminent
2009
Turks and Caicos Islands Premier resigns
2009
New Jersey teen faces child porn charges for posting nude photos of herself online
2009
Parts of US airplane fall from sky in Brazil
2009
Relics of 39 saints found by British Museum
2009
Businesses and individuals worldwide to turn lights off as part of Earth Hour 2009
2009
Preliminary investigation results released on Canadian helicopter crash
2009
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton says America helps fuel illegal drug trade
2009
Study of soft cheese wins oddest book title award
2009
Royal Commission recommends single council for Auckland
2010
6.2 magnitude earthquake hits northern Chile
2010
Greek debt deal reached
2010
Eleven die in truck-van crash in Kentucky
2011
MySpace loses over ten million users in one month
2011
Guatemalan president and first lady apply for divorce
2012
Australian field archers vie for spot at World Championships
2012
UK student jailed for 'racist' Twitter posts about footballer Fabrice Muamba
2012
Australian archer Odette Snazelle in Canberra for nationals
2012
Australian archer Alice Ingley readies for potential Olympic spot
2013
David Miliband to resign as MP for job at non-profit
2013
Andrew Sayers resigns National Museum of Australia directorship
2013
Icelandic Hekla volcano shows signs of activity

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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