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Today in History

1596
Philosopher mathematician Descartes born
1889
The Eiffel Tower is inaugurated
1918
Daylight Savings Time goes in effect in the US
1934
Academy Award winning singer and actress, Shirley Mae Jones born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania
1943
Academy Award winning film and theater actor, Christopher Walken born in Queens, New York
1946
Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corp, the company that produced Univac computers, founded
1948
Author of children's books and Emmy Award winning actress, Rhea Perlman born in Brooklyn, New York
1948
Nobel Peace Prize winning environmentalist and politician, Albert Arnold "Al" Gore Jr born in Washington, DC
1971
Critically acclaimed actor, Ewan McGregor born in Crieff, Scotland
297
Diocletian's edict against the Manicheans
1146
St. Bernard calls for the 2nd Crusade at Vezelay, France
1152
Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem, exiles his mother, Melissande
1341
Ivan I Kalita, Grand Prince of Moscow (1328-41), dies at about 37
1492
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued an edict expelling Jews from Spanish soil, except those willing to convert to Christianity (they have 3 months to leave).
1495
"Holy League" formed
1547
Death of Francis I, King of France
1560
Last Mass in St. Giles Cathedral
1561
Founding of San Cristobal, Venezuela
1571
British seize fortress of Dumbarton, Scotland
1579
A rapier and dagger duel is fought at Paris, between De Sourdiac and De la Chasnaye-Lalier
1594
Death of Tintoretto
1596
Rene Descartes was born. More than just a philosopher, Descartes wrote one of the first great books on music, the "Compendium musicae." One of his most famous propositions is: "I think, therefore, I am." (Cogito ergo sum...). Descartes is known as the "father of modern philosophy.)
1621
English poet Andrew Marvell born
1621
Death of Philip III, King of Spain
1631
Death of John Donne
1732
The "father of symphony", Franz Joseph Haydn, was born in Austria-Hungary. Haydn composed about 120 symphonies, a dozen operas and hundreds of other musical works. born
1809
Russian author, playwright and novelist Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol was born. His most famous work is the novel "Dead Souls." Gogol died in 1852. born
1809
Edward FitzGerald, writer, "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" born
1811
German physicist and chemist Robert Bunsen (inventor of the Bunsen burner) born
1841
Schumann's First Symphony was premiered in Leipzig. Schumann wrote afterward that it went over as well, he felt, as any symphony since Beethoven.
1854
Sir Dugald Clerk, inventor of the 2-stroke motorcycle engine. born
1878
Boxer Jack Johnson, the first black to hold the heavyweight title born
1880
Wabash, Indiana, became the first town completely illuminated by electrical lighting.
1889
French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion.
1896
Whitcomb L. Judson of Chicago, Illinois, received a patent for the hookless shoe fastener.
1915
Radio-TV personality Henry Morgan born
1917
The United States took possession of the Virgin Islands, which it had purchased from Denmark at the cost of $25 million.
1922
Actor-singer Richard Kiley born
1923
The first US dance marathon, held in New York City, ended with Alma Cummings setting a world record of 27 hours on her feet.
1926
Actor Sydney Chaplin born
1927
Actor William Daniels born
1927
Labor leader Cesar Estrada Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona. Chavez organized migrant farm workers in support of better working conditions. He started the National Farm Workers Association and organized boycotts of some produce. born
1928
Hockey Hall-of-Famer Gordie Howe born
1929
Designer Liz Claiborne born
1932
The Ford Motor Company publicly unveiled its "V-8" engine.
1933
Congress authorized the Civilian Conservation Corps.
1934
Country singer-songwriter John D. Loudermilk born
1934
American bank robber John Dillinger escapes from police custody.
1934
Actress Shirley Jones born
1935
Actor Richard Chamberlain. born
1935
Musician Herb Alpert born
1943
Actor Christopher Walken born
1943
The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical play "Oklahoma!" opened on Broadway (Alfred Drake played the role of Curly and Joan Roberts played Laurey).
1945
Comedian Gabe Kaplan born
1945
The Tennessee Williams play "The Glass Menagerie" had its Broadway premier with Laurette Taylor as Amanda Wingfield, Eddie Dowling as Tom, Julie Haydon as Laura and Anthony Ross as Jim, the Gentleman Caller.
1948
Actress Rhea Perlman born
1948
Vice President Al Gore born
1948
Congress passed the Marshall Aid Act, a plan to rehabilitate war-ravaged Europe.
1949
Newfoundland entered confederation as Canada's tenth province.
1950
Actor Ed Marinaro (some sources 1949) born
1956
Indy "500" driver Kevin Cogan born
1957
Actor Marc McClure born
1959
Rock musician Angus Young (AC/DC) born
1967
At a Finsbury Park, UK, concert that included Englebert Humperdinck and Cat Stevens, Jimi Hendrix torched his guitar for the first time.
1968
President Johnson announced he would not seek re-election and simultaneously ordered suspension of American bombing of North Vietnam.
1970
A bankruptcy referee granted the owner of the Seattle Pilots permission to sell the major-league baseball franchise to investors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers.
1971
Actor Ewan McGregor born
1971
Lt. William Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the deaths of 22 Vietnamese civilians in what is called the "My Lai" massacre.
1972
Swimmer Mark Spitz was presented the Amateur Athletic Union's coveted Sullivan Award as the outstanding amateur athlete of 1971.
1973
Ken Norton defeated Muhammad Ali in a 12-round split decision. Ali had his jaw broken during the fight.
1976
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that coma patient Karen Anne Quinlan could be disconnected from her respirator. (Quinlan, who remained comatose, died in 1985.)
1983
Some 5,000 people died when a major earthquake struck Colombia, devastating the mountain city of Popayan.
1985
Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, long a favorite of country music stars, closed its doors in Nashville, Tennessee.
1985
El Salvador's Christian Democratic Party, led by President Jose Napoleon Duarte, won a majority of seats in legislative elections.
1986
Louisville beat Duke, 72-69, to win the NCAA college basketball championship.
1986
167 people died when a Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727 crashed in a remote mountainous region of Mexico.
1987
The judge in the "Baby M" case in Hackensack, New Jersey, awarded custody of the girl borne under a surrogate-motherhood contract to her father, William Stern, instead of the surrogate, Mary Beth Whitehead.
1988
The novel "Beloved" by Toni Morrison was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, while the North Carolina newspaper "Charlotte Observer" won the prize for public service for its coverage of the PTL scandal.
1989
The FBI announced it would conduct a criminal investigation into the massive oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound.
1990
Hundreds of people were injured when rioting erupted in London over Britain's so-called "poll tax."
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev warned the defiant Baltic republic of Lithuania to annul its declaration of independence or face "grave consequences."
1991
The Soviet Republic of Georgia voted to declare their independence from the Soviet Union. Hours after the election, Soviet troops were dispatched from Moscow to Georgia in a state of emergency.
1991
Communists won Albania's first multiparty elections, but democratic opponents scored victories in major cities. Meanwhile, the Warsaw Pact spent the last day of its existence as a military force.
1992
The UN Security Council voted to ban flights and arms sales to Libya, branding it a terrorist state for shielding six men accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 and a French airliner.
1993
The UN Security Council increased international pressure on Bosnian Serbs, authorizing NATO warplanes to shoot down aircraft that violated a ban on flights over Bosnia.
1993
Actor Brandon Lee, 28, was killed during the filming of a movie in Wilmington, North Carolina, by a prop gun that fired part of a dummy bullet instead of a blank.
1993
Steve Reich was sandwiched between Bach and Mahler at the Chicago Symphony. Michael Tilson Thomas conducted Bach's "Sinfonie for Double Orchestra in E-flat major," Reich's composition called "Three Movements," and Mahler's First Symphony.
1993
"Star Dust" lyricist Mitchell Parish died in New York at age 92.
1994
The PLO and Israel agreed to resume talks on Palestinian autonomy, more than a month after the Hebron mosque massacre.
1995
Baseball players agreed to end their 232-day strike after a judge granted a preliminary injunction against club owners.
1995
President Clinton briefly visited Haiti, where he declared the U.S. mission to restore democracy there a "remarkable success."
1995
Mexican-American singer Selena, 23, was shot to death in Corpus Christi, Texas, by the founder of her fan club (Yolanda Saldivar was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison).
1996
Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced a halt to combat operations in Chechnya, limited troop withdrawals and a willingness to hold indirect talks with the rebels' leader.
1997
The Supreme Court ruled the government can force cable television systems to carry local broadcast stations.
1997
Jury selection began in Denver in the trial of accused Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
1998
For the first time in history, the Clinton administration released a detailed financial statement for the federal government showing its assets and liabilities.
1998
Actor Robert Downey Jr. was released from jail after spending four months behind bars for violating his probation on drug and alcohol related charges.
1998
A Mexican crime figure who confessed to killing an American businessman was cleared of murder charges. Judge Vicente Hernandez rejected evidence against Alfonso Gonzalez Sanchez, alias "El Chucky," accused of leading a gang of taxi robbers and of murdering U.S. real estate broker Peter Zarate, 40, on Dec. 15, 1997.
1998
Former New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug died at age 77.
1998
The UN Security Council imposed a new arms embargo on Yugoslavia to pressure the Serbs into concessions concerning ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
1999
Three U.S. Army soldiers were captured by Serb forces near the Yugoslav-Macedonia border. (Staff Sergeant Andrew Ramirez, Staff Sergeant Christopher Stone and Specialist Steven M. Gonzales were released more than a month later.)
1999
Four New York City police officers were charged with murder for killing Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, in a hail of bullets. (The officers were later acquitted.)
2005
Akayev willing to resign as president of Kyrgyzstan
2005
Pressure building on Myanmar to decline ASEAN chair
2005
New York Times finds flight logs that back Canadian's claim of kidnapping by US government
2005
New Doctor Who quits series, BBC searches for replacement actor
2005
Brazilian president defends Chavez and criticizes US
2005
UN Report: Earth ecosystem in peril
2005
Man attempts to foil breathalyzer by eating feces
2005
EU nabs US$300 million illegal trafficking in Spain
2005
U.S. Supreme Court hears MGM v. Grokster
2005
Voting in Zimbabwe starts amid accusations of rigged outcome
2005
Chlorine spill in China's Jiangsu province kills 28, injures hundreds
2005
Terri Schiavo dies
2005
Palestinian security chief quits, says too little is being done to curb lawlessness
2005
Maine passes gay rights law
2005
Dresden city council wants DNA matching for doggy-doo
2006
Rainy weather in Hawaii enters sixth week
2006
Faust seeks Murphy disqualification in PA Congressional primary
2006
Judge sentences Ali to 30 years for Bush assassination plot
2006
Lethal earthquakes rock western Iran, 70 or more die
2006
Sewage spill fouls Waikiki Beach
2006
Auto parts maker Delphi plans to cut 8,500 jobs; union contracts
2006
Canada freezes aid to Palestine
2006
Condoleezza Rice visits the United Kingdom
2007
Israeli website reports speculation over U.S. attack on Iran in April
2007
Football: Crouch hat-trick lifts Liverpool to victory
2007
US Naval officer temporarily relieved for "possible supremacist activities"
2007
Cricket World Cup: Bangladesh vs Australia
2007
NHL: Avalanche defeat Wild 2-1
2007
Sydney holds voluntary one hour blackout
2007
NHL: Penguins rally, fall to Leafs in OT
2007
Two Wikimedia employees announce resignations
2008
Iraqi army kills seven, detains four
2008
Media reports exaggerate cell phone cancer risk
2008
Iraqi Policeman killed while protecting leader of 'Sons of Iraq'
2009
US home prices drop at record levels
2009
Volunteers and food needed for flooded Manitoba, Canada
2009
Forces capture Somali pirates who mistakenly attacked naval ship
2009
Jenson Button wins Australian Grand Prix, Brawn teammate comes second
2009
U.S. Congress considers lifting Cuba travel ban
2009
77 names added to fallen journalist memorial in Washington, D.C.
2009
Fireball lights up sky across Canadian prairies
2009
Shipwreck off coast of Libya; hundreds of African migrants feared dead
2009
New romantic comedy film to star Drew Barrymore, Justin Long
2009
South Downs to get National Park status in UK
2010
Man jailed for murder of children in Manchester, England
2010
US and France to work together for new Iran sanctions
2010
Serbia condemns 1995 Srebrenica massacre
2010
Double bomb blasts kill at least twelve in northern Caucasus
2010
US Navy aircraft crashes after Afghanistan mission
2010
Monarch butterfly population down by as much as 60%
2010
Canadian charter airline Skyservice suspends operations
2010
Search for harmful Asian carp in Chicago area turns up nothing
2011
All change for Nottingham, England trams as new operator announced
2011
British haulage managing director Edward Stobart dies at age 56
2011
Scotland's oldest detainee facing attempted murder charges
2011
Ed to wed: UK Labour leader Miliband announces engagement to Justine Thornton
2011
India's population increases by 181 million in ten years
2011
Japanese nuclear officials race to avoid disaster as radiation levels in sea rocket
2011
US woman sentenced to jail for faking son’s cancer
2011
Libyan foreign minister defects to the UK
2011
US President Obama considering supplying arms to Libyan rebels
2012
European Commission clears British Airways owner IAG to buy bmi from Lufthansa
2013
United States economy growth revised up to 0.4% in last quarter of 2012
2013
Thousands take to streets protesting 'ratbag's Bedroom Tax
2013
Canberrans spend Easter outside: in pictures

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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