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Today in History

1905
Zoologist, naturalist and host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Marlin Perkins born in Carthage, Missouri
1948
Stage, television and Academy Award winning film actress, Dianne Wiest born in Kansas City, Missouri
1955
Grammy Award winning country music singer, Reba Nell McEntire born in McAlester, Oklahoma
1956
World renowned mountain climber, author and motivational speaker, Susan Ershler born in Portland, Oregon
1964
Radio Caroline, the ship-based British rogue radio station, goes on the air
1970
DEC announces the PDP-11
1979
Three Mile Island reactor releases radioactive gases when a cooling pump fails
1986
Emmy Award winnng songwriter and singer, Lady Gaga born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in New York City
193
Pertinax, Roman Emperor, assassinated by Praetorian guard. Didius Julianus, highest bidder in Praetorian auction, becomes Emperor of Rome
1255
Death of Pope Martin IV
1296
Beginning of Scots War of Independence
1369
Assassination of Pedro, "the Cruel," King of Castile, the first European Monarch who could write, by Henry of Trastamara at Montiel
1380
Gunpowder first used in Europe, by the Venetians against the Genoese
1394
Opening of St. Mary's College, Winchester, England
1462
Vasili II, last Duke of Moscow vassal to the Tatars, dies
1472
Fra Bartolomeo, monk, Florentine Renaissance painter born
1483
Raphael great Italian Renaissance painter. born
1515
St. Teresa of Avila born
1592
Jan Amos Komensky (Comenius), Moravian educational reformer born
1606
Execution of Henry Garner, Jesuit, for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot
1611
Ernest Van De Wall sails from Holland in search of the Northwest Passage
1611
Adrian Block and Hendrick Christiaensen sail to Manhattan to trade with the Indians
1677
Wenceslaus Hollar, Bohemian engraver, dies at about 70
1797
Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire patented a washing machine.
1834
The US Senate voted to censure President Jackson for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.
1836
Brewer Frederick Pabst born
1842
Some musicians from the Imperial Court Orchestra of Austria gave a concert. Otto Nicolai conducted this new ensemble. It was the first concert of the Vienna Philharmonic.
1849
Frederick William IV of Prussia was elected Emperor of the Germans by the German National Assembly.
1854
During the Crimean War, Britain and France declared war on Russia.
1862
Aristide Briand in France, statesman born
1865
Outdoor advertising legislation was enacted in New York State. The law banned "painting on stones, rocks or trees."
1868
Russian author Maxim Gorky born
1896
The opera "Andrea Chenier," by Umberto giordano premiered in Milan, Italy.
1899
Brewer August Anheuser Busch Jr. born
1903
Pianist Rudolf Serkin born
1905
Wildlife buff and zookeeper Marlin Perkins was born. (d. 1986.) Perkins, the host of "Wild Kingdom" on TV, started in Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo with a TV show called "Zoo Parade." born
1907
Superagent Irving "Swifty" Lazar born
1910
The first seaplane took off from Martigues near Marseilles, France, designed by Frenchman Henri Fabre.
1914
Edmund Muskie, the 1968 democratic vice-presidential candidate born
1915
Emma Goldman gave a speech to an audience in New York City which shocked that day's sedate society. The subject was contraception. Goldman was arrested and given a choice of paying $100 fine or going to jail for 15 days. She chose jail.
1920
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford are married.
1921
Actor Dirk Bogarde born
1922
Bradley A. Fiske of Washington, D.C., patented a microfilm, reading device.
1924
Freddie Bartholomew born
1928
Former White House national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski born
1930
The names of the Turkish cities of Constantinople and Angora were changed to Istanbul and Ankara.
1939
Madrid surrendered to the nationalist forces of Generalissimo Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
1939
Adolf Hitler denounced Germany's 1934 non-aggression pact with Poland.
1941
Novelist and critic Virginia Woolf died in Lewes, England. She ended her life by walking into the River Ouse.
1941
Country musician Charlie McCoy born
1941
Sportscaster Red Barber and his wife Lila were married
1942
ABC News correspondent Bill Greenwood born
1942
Movie director Mike Newell ("Four Weddings and a Funeral") born
1942
During World War Two, British naval forces raided the Nazi-occupied French port of St. Nazaire.
1943
Actress Conchata Ferrell born
1943
Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff died in Beverly Hills, California.
1944
Basketball player-coach Rick Barry born
1944
Actor Ken Howard born
1945
Rock musician Chuck Portz (The Turtles) born
1948
Actress Dianne Wiest born
1948
Rhythm-and-blues musician Milan Williams (The Commodores) born
1953
Athlete Jim Thorpe died in Lomita, California.
1955
Country singer Reba McEntire born
1963
Sonny Werblin announced that the team, the New York Titans of the American Football League
1968
Actor Max Perlich born
1968
The rock musical "Hair" opened at the Biltmore Theatre in New York City.
1969
Rapper Salt (Salt-N-Pepa) born
1969
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States, died at 78, in Washington, D.C.
1970
1,100 people were killed and 3,000 injured when an earthquake struck the town of Gediz in western Anatolia, nearly destroying the town and surrounding villages.
1970
Actor Vince Vaughn born
1971
Rapper Mr. Cheeks (Lost Boyz) born
1974
Romanian Communist Party leader Nicolae Ceausescu was elected to the newly created post of president of the Socialist Republic of Romania.
1979
A failure in the cooling system at the nuclear power plant on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania caused a near-meltdown. It was the worst accident ever at an American civilian nuclear facility.
1981
Actress Julia Stiles born
1982
Voters in El Salvador went to the polls for a constituent assembly election that resulted in victory for the Christian Democrats, led by President Jose Napoleon Duarte
1983
In Argentine, unionized workers demanding higher wages began a 24-hour general strike, paralyzing the country's industry, commerce and transportation.
1985
The U.S. Senate approved a resolution urging President Reagan to take retaliatory trade measures against Japan unless the Japanese opened new markets to U.S. goods. The same day, Japan announced it would increase auto exports to the U.S. by 25%.
1986
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi presided over a rally in which he proclaimed victory over the United States in a just-ended confrontation in the Gulf of Sidra.
1987
Maria von Trapp, whose life inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music," died in Morrisville, Vermont, at age 82.
1988
Richard Gephardt ended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination following his third-place finish in the Michigan caucuses.
1989
President Bush sent three high-ranking officials to Alaska to "take a hard look" at the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound.
1990
British customs officials announced they had foiled an attempt to supply Iraq with 40 American-made devices for triggering nuclear weapons, following an 18-month investigation by U.S. and British authorities.
1991
Tens of thousands of supporters of Boris N. Yeltsin marched in Moscow in defiance of President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's ban on rallies.
1991
Fire seriously damaged the US Embassy in Moscow.
1991
Former President Reagan declared his support for the so-called "Brady Bill" requiring a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases.
1992
Democrats Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown clashed over Brown's flat-tax proposal, with Clinton charging the plan would hurt the poor, and Brown accusing Clinton of inventing "another big lie."
1993
Montreal not heard live very often: Stravinsky's "Jeu de cartes," Bizet's "Symphony in C," and the complete ballet music for "Bacchus et Ariane" by Albert Roussel.
1993
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his chief political rival, parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, claimed victory after surviving attempts by the Russian Congress to oust them.
1993
About ten-thousand people marched in Dublin, Ireland, to protest an IRA bombing that claimed the lives of two young boys.
1993
Chinese Premier Li Peng won a second term.
1994
More than 50 people were killed in violence that erupted in Johannesburg, South Africa, during a march by Zulu nationalists.
1994
Absurdist playwright Eugen Lonesco died in Paris at age 81.
1995
In Japan, Mitsubishi Bank and the Bank of Tokyo agreed to a merger to create the world's largest bank.
1996
Congress passed the line-item veto, giving the president power to cut government spending by scrapping specific programs.
1996
The space shuttle "Atlantis"' astronauts said goodbye to the crew of Russia's space station "Mir" and then flew away, leaving Shannon Lucid behind for a five-month stay in orbit.
1997
A medical examiner revealed that some members of the Heaven's Gate cult who'd committed suicide in a California mansion had also been castrated in apparent pursuit of the group's ideal of androgynous immortality.
1998
President Clinton, during his visit to South Africa, went to Soweto, a landmark in the bloody uprising against apartheid, to honor South Africans "who answered the call of conscience" and defeated their country's system of white supremacy.
1999
The Baltimore Orioles beat a Cuban all-star team 3-2 in Havana.
1999
NATO broadened its attacks on Yugoslavia to target Serb military forces in Kosovo in the fifth straight night of airstrikes; thousands of refugees flooded into Albania and Macedonia from Kosovo.
1999
Venus Williams beat kid sister Serena 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to win the Lipton Championships in the first all-sister women's final in 115 years.
2000
In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court sharply curtailed police power to rely on anonymous tips to stop and search people.
2001
A federal appeals court in San Francisco threw out a record $107 million verdict against anti-abortion activists, ruling that a Web site and wanted posters branding abortion doctors "baby butchers'' and criminals were protected by the First Amendment.
2001
The authors of a book on the Oklahoma City bombing revealed that during prison interviews, Timothy McVeigh had shown no remorse for what happened, and called the 19 children who died "collateral damage.''
2005
Sri Lanka accepts 'One China' policy
2005
New Zealand Labour Party announces 'early election' list
2005
Australia silent on UN racism committee condemnation
2005
Risk of major US shipyard Bath Iron Works closure termed "substantial" by Maine Congressman
2005
India may rise as regional power
2005
Four Americans die from mine impact in Afghanistan
2005
Zimbabwe church leader calls for uprising against Mugabe
2005
IRS goes after eBay sellers
2005
Harvard women's hockey loses NCAA title to Minnesota for second straight year
2005
First bird flu case reported in North Korea
2005
Foreign governments move to aid earthquake region
2005
Tsunami fears rise after latest Indonesian temblor
2005
Magnitude 8.7 earthquake hits Northern Sumatra, Indonesia
2005
Crowded House drummer found dead
2005
Bobby Fischer sues US Government from new Icelandic home
2005
Motive in Wisconsin church murder-suicide a mystery
2005
Freak wave drags funeral party out to sea
2005
Space station crew perform successful spacewalk
2005
Ireland's smoking ban a success after first year
2005
New Kygryz parliament backs Bakiyev, lower house of former parliament steps down
2005
Stanford women's basketball knocks three-time champion Connecticut out of NCAA tournament
2005
Another arrest in Minnesota school shooting
2005
Cure for cat allergies may be close, with help from some mice
2005
China and Taiwan react to "326" rally
2006
Australian artist Pro Hart dies
2006
Long Beach, CA Redevelopment Agency ends talks for church
2006
Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal gets final approval by city Planning Board
2006
Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger dies at 88
2006
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card resigns
2006
UK petrol prices rise to five-month high
2006
Exit polls suggest Kadima victory in Israeli elections
2006
Thai police forward anti-Thaksin PAD accusations to Corruption Commission
2006
Beatles' Apple Corps sues Apple Computer
2006
Turn up and don't vote, urge anti-Thaksin activists
2006
Rivers flood in central Europe
2006
5.5 magnitude earthquake shakes Tokyo
2006
Thousands strike in UK over pensions
2006
Thousands rally in Columbus, Ohio, for undocumented immigrants' rights
2006
Australia grants temporary asylum to 12 Commonwealth Games athletes
2007
Cricket World Cup: Australia vs West Indies
2007
School children and teachers taken hostage in Philippines
2007
Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka vs South Africa
2007
Final Harry Potter book's cover art released
2007
NHL: Hecht leads Sabres over Devils
2007
Major Pakistan newspaper under government pressure
2007
UK freezes business arrangements with Iran; detained sailors and marines shown on TV
2008
Woman, 87, raped in her own home in UK
2008
Poison drummer Rikki Rockett arrested for rape
2008
Russian oil depot burning after explosion
2008
Cassini discovers organic material on Saturn moon
2008
United States Army suspends ammo contract for Afghan security forces
2008
National Hockey League news: March 28, 2008
2008
Zimbabwe prepares for election
2008
TaiSPO: Interview with Ideal Bike Corporation and Gary Silva
2008
Tom Cruise spoofed in film 'Superhero Movie'
2009
Dam in Indonesia bursts, dozens killed
2009
Wind-powered land vehicle breaks speed record
2009
14 killed in Russian bus-truck collision
2009
Dozens of cats removed from feces-ridden New Jersey house
2009
Somali pirates seize two European tankers, Seychelles yacht
2009
"Freedom Tower" renamed "1 World Trade Center"
2009
Manitoba residents receive evacuation flood alerts
2009
Courts uphold firing of Pennsylvania cop who lost sense of smell
2010
Wikipedia and sister projects prepare new, easier interface
2010
Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek gets hero's welcome in hometown
2010
Jenson Button wins Australian Grand Prix
2011
Sheffield tram-train project back on the rails
2011
Battle for Trafalgar Square, London as violence breaks out between demonstrators and riot police
2011
British police charge taxi driver with murder
2011
Thousands gather in London to protest against government cuts
2011
Nottingham Express Transit extensions get Government approval
2012
US lottery jackpot tops $500 million, sets world record
2013
Nelson Mandela hospitalised again with lung infection recurrence

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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