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Today in History

1746
Artist Francisco Goya born in Fuendetodos, Spain
1842
Anesthesia used during operation for the first time
1853
Artist Vincent Van Gogh born in Groot-Zundert, The Netherlands
1858
Pencil with eraser patented
1867
Alaska purchased by US for $7.2 million
1930
Teacher, director and actor, John Astin born in Baltimore, Maryland
1937
Academy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Warren Beatty born in Richmond, Virgina
1945
Legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Eric Clapton born in Surrey, England
1981
President Ronald Reagan, James Brady shot by John Hinkley, Jr in Washington, DC
1135
Maimonides [Moses ben Maimon], Cerdoba, Spain, philospher, physician born
1191
Election of Celestine III as Pope
1222
Nichiren, Japanese Buddhist priest born
1282
Sicilian Vespers begin, Palermo - Sicilians massacre 8,000 French
1292
Massacre of Berwick by Edward I, King of England
1327
Chartering of the Most Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths of England
1406
James I of Scotland was captured and imprisoned by King Henry IV of England.
1432
Mehmed II, Ottoman sultan who took Constantinople born
1492
Jews exiled from Spain
1533
Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
1533
Henry VIII, King of England, divorces Catherine of Aragon
1536
Strangulation of Ibrahim, Grand Vizier of Turkey
1555
Burning of Bishop Ferrar, of St. David's, for heresy
1568
Sir Henry Wotton born
1595
Fishermen landed on Monhegan Island, Maine to stay for the summer
1719
Sir John Hawkins, wrote first history of music in English born
1746
Spanish artist (Francisco) Jose de Goya (y Lucientes) was born in Fuendetodos, Spain. His multifarious paintings, drawings and engravings reflected contemporary historical upheavals.
1806
Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, was proclaimed king of Naples.
1814
Britain and its allies against Napoleon marched triumphantly into Paris.
1820
English author Anna Sewell ("Black Beauty") born
1822
Florida became a United States territory.
1842
Dr Crawford Long first used ether as an anesthetic during a minor operation. The doctor from Jefferson, Georgia, placed an ether-soaked towel over the face of James Venable and removed a tumor from his neck.
1853
Post-impressionist Vincent Van Gogh was born in Holland. The Dutch painter was best known for his use of bold colors and thick, impasto technique.
1856
The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War and guaranteeing the integrity of Ottoman Turkey.
1858
Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia patented a pencil with an attached eraser. (The average pencil can write a continuous line 35 miles long).
1867
Secretary of State William Seward reached an agreement with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7,200,000 in gold. A deal roundly ridiculed as "Seward's Folly."
1870
Texas becomes the last confederate state readmitted to the Union.
1870
The 15th Amendment passes, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race.
1909
Queensboro Bridge opened linking Manhattan and Queens. It is more commonly known as the 59th Street Bridge.
1913
Singer Frankie Laine born
1913
Former CIA Director Richard Helms born
1919
McGeorge Bundy, National security adviser born
1923
The Audubon Ballroom in New York City held the first dance marathon.
1929
Actor Richard Dysart born
1930
Actor John Astin born
1930
Peter Marshall, game show host (Hollywood Squares) born
1932
Amelia Earhart is first woman to make solo crossing of the Atlantic.
1937
Actor director Warren Beatty born
1940
Basketball hall-of-famer Jerry Lucas born
1941
Rock musician Graeme Edge (The Moody Blues) born
1945
British guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton born
1945
The Soviet Union invaded Austria during World War II.
1945
The Baltic Sea port of Danzig (Gdansk) was captured by the Soviet Union.
1950
Actor Robbie Coltrane ("Cracker") born
1950
Invention of phototransistor announced, Murray Hill, New Jersey.
1954
Singer Lene Lovich born
1955
"On the Waterfront" won the Academy Award for best picture of 1954, while its star, Marlon Brando, won best actor; Grace Kelly won best actress for "The Country Girl," beating out Judy Garland for "A Star Is Born."
1957
Actor Paul Reiser ("Mad About You") born
1963
Rap artist M.C. Hammer born
1964
Singer Tracy Chapman born
1964
Actor Ian Ziering ("Beverly Hills 90210") born
1964
John Glenn withdrew from the Ohio race for the U.S. Senate due to injuries suffered in a fall.
1964
One of television's best-known games shows, Jeopardy, developed by Merv Griffin, aired on NBC-TV for the first time with Art Fleming as the host.
1968
Singer Celine Dion born
1970
The musical "Applause" opened on Broadway.
1973
Ellsworth Bunker resigned as US ambassador to South Vietnam. He was succeeded by Graham A. Martin.
1979
Airey Neave, a leading member of the British parliament, was killed by a bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army.
1981
President Reagan was shot and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. Also wounded were White House news secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a District of Columbia police officer.
1982
Third Space Shuttle Mission - Columbia 3 returns to Earth.
1983
Singer-musician Scott Moffatt (The Moffatts) born
1983
A jury in Santa Monica, California, decided that Groucho Marx's companion, Erin Fleming, had defrauded the late comedian, and awarded nearly half a million dollars to the executor of Marx's estate.
1984
U.S. ends participation in multinational peace force in Lebanon.
1985
Police in South Africa used tear gas and rubber bullets against black protesters in the 10th straight day of unrest around southeastern industrial cities.
1986
James Cagney died at his farm in Stanfordville, New York, at age 86.
1987
The movie "Platoon" won four Academy Awards, including best picture; Paul Newman was named best actor for "The Color of Money," Marlee Matlin best actress for "Children of a Lesser God."
1988
An attorney for the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart said the televangelist would return to the pulpit, defying national Assemblies of God church officials who had suspended him for at least a year for "moral failure."
1989
"The Heidi Chronicles" by Wendy Wasserstein won the Pulitzer Prize for drama while in the journalism category, the Anchorage Daily News won the public service award for its reports on alcoholism and suicide among native Alaskans.
1990
Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus vetoed a restrictive abortion bill, ending the anti-abortion forces' goal of giving Supreme Court a chance to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
1992
"The Silence of the Lambs" won five top Oscars at the 64th annual Academy Awards, including best picture, best actress for Jodie Foster and best actor for Anthony Hopkins.
1993
Israeli authorities barred West Bank Palestinians from entering Israel after two traffic police officers were shot to death.
1993
Washington attorney Robert Altman went on trial in New York, charged with wrongdoing in connection with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International; he was later acquitted.
1994
Serbs and Croats signed a cease-fire to end their war in Croatia while Bosnian Muslims and Serbs continued to battle each other.
1994
The Clinton administration announced it was lifting virtually all export controls on non-military products to China and the former Soviet bloc.
1995
Tens of thousands of Rwandan refugees, fleeing violence in Burundi, began a two-day trek to sanctuary in Tanzania.
1995
Pope John Paul II issued the eleventh encyclical of his papacy in which he condemned abortion and euthanasia as crimes that no human laws could legitimize.
1996
The space shuttle "Atlantis" narrowly avoided having to make an emergency landing when its cargo-bay doors wouldn't open at first to release built-up heat.
1996
Funeral services were held in Bethesda, Maryland, for former senator and Secretary of State Edmund Muskie.
1997
The reigning champion Lady Vols of Tennessee won their fifth NCAA women's basketball title by defeating Old Dominion, 68-to-59.
1998
The U.S. Supreme Court heard argument Monday on whether the law barring discrimination based on disability applies to people who have the virus that causes AIDS, but have no symptoms of the disease.
1998
Rolls-Royce was purchased by German automaker BMW in a $570 million deal.
1999
A jury in Portland, Ore., ordered Philip Morris to pay $81 million to the family of a man who died of lung cancer after smoking Marlboros for four decades.
1999
Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic insisted that NATO attacks stop before he moved toward peace, declaring his forces ready to fight "to the very end." NATO answered with new resolve to wreck his military with a relentless air assault.
2005
O.J. Simpson laywer, Cochran, dead at 67
2005
Monday night's Indonesian quake toll appears less than first feared
2005
Irish scientists had predicted further Sumatran earthquake
2005
UN Secretary General Annan cleared of influencing oil-for-food contracts by Volcker report
2005
Three Romanian journalists abducted in Iraq
2005
New Zealand praised by NATO Secretary General
2005
German retail giant Rewe to open Penny Market stores in Romania
2005
Pope gets feeding tube through nose
2005
School dinner costs just 49p in Wales
2005
Falwell's condition upgraded to "stable"
2005
British computer magazine discovers electricity cost of running computers
2005
Taiwan Nationalists leader visits Beijing
2005
SciScoop shuts down
2005
Woman sells name on eBay
2005
Fox TV executive takes reins at Paramount studios
2005
Charlottetown, P.E.I. residents rally to support restaurant
2005
Egyptians protest against President despite ban
2006
Cyclone Glenda closes in on Western Australia
2006
Australian Federal Police raid home over unauthorised access to pay TV services
2006
Son charged with eye-gouging attack on mother dies
2006
Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and officer tangle on the Hill
2006
Captors release American journalist Jill Carroll
2006
Optus B1 outage leaves all New Zealand Sky TV digital subscribers without service
2006
Nigeria arrests Charles Taylor for war crimes trial
2006
Court rules rubber-stamping Thai election ballots not required
2006
Tourist ferry sinks off Bahrain coast; at least 44 dead
2006
U.S. actor Charlie Sheen questions 9/11 theories
2006
Luxembourg, India spar over Arcelor takeover bid
2006
First Brazilian astronaut accompanies ISS replacements
2006
Australian MPs exchange fighting words over healthcare rebate
2006
EU warns Microsoft: forthcoming Vista risks antitrust breach
2007
Dell delays filing of financials as accounting investigation continues
2007
UN Security Council calls for release of British soldiers in Iran
2007
Canadian university students would prefer MP3 players over car radios
2007
Women's groups promote "Equal Pay Day" in Belgium
2007
Adult-only TLD rejected by Internet body
2007
US Food and Drug Administration reports melamine found in contaminated pet food
2007
Iran airs new video of UK crewmen, releases new letters from Turney
2007
European Union calls for release of British crewmen in Iran
2007
Cricket World Cup: England vs Ireland
2007
Israeli company develops new radioactive waste conversion process
2008
Zimbabwe opposition claims early victory in election
2008
English Premier League: Week 32 round-up
2008
Wikipedia publishes 10 millionth article
2008
Muqtada al-Sadr calls for end to fighting
2008
National Hockey League news: March 30, 2008
2008
US Maj. Gen. Kelly: 'unbelievable over crowding' in Fallujah city jail
2009
'Killing Fields' trial for S-21 chief Duch underway in Cambodia
2009
Highly contagious Hand, foot and mouth disease killing China's children
2009
Eurovision '04 winner Ruslana discusses her paths as singer, spokesmodel, stateswoman and source of inspiration
2009
US sergeant pleads guilty to four murders in Iraq
2009
Chinese spy network infiltrated foreign affairs, embassies
2009
4.3 magnitude earthquake strikes the San Francisco region
2009
Fugitive arrested in connection with January murder in Pennsylvania
2009
Eight people dead after shooting in North Carolina nursing home
2009
Varun Gandhi charged for inciting community tensions
2010
Caloundra win Sunshine Coast, Australia cricket grand final
2010
Two dead after car crash in Inverness, Scotland
2010
NCAA ice hockey east and west regional tournament results
2010
Man dies after being hit by train in Moray, Scotland
2010
Miami of Ohio and Boston College advance to NCAA men's ice hockey Frozen Four
2010
China executes more people than rest of world combined, according to report
2010
British scientist shot dead in Ecuador
2010
Banned Chinese medicine still on sale in United Kingdom
2010
21 infants found dead in Chinese river
2010
Body of Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan found in Moroccan lake
2010
Illinois judge lifts restraining order on pre-abortion parental notification law
2011
First images received from orbit around Mercury
2011
BP lose laptop containing sensitive claimant data
2011
Gaddafi loyalists go on offensive, rebels pushed back
2011
Forces loyal to Ouattara plan to seal Ivory Coast border
2012
US Senator Rand Paul blocks synthetic marijuana legislation
2012
Sandra Fluke named candidate for Time's 100 most influential people
2012
Report indicates continued severe weather problems still looming
2012
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio endorses Mitt Romney for president
2013
Brookfield, Wisconsin man charged with stealing toilet and urinal parts

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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