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Today in History

LOTR...
Ents destroy Isengard
1678
Priest, composer and virtuoso violinst, Antonio Vivaldi born in Venice, Italy
1789
US Congress convenes for the first time
1837
Chicago becomes incorporated as a city
1861
Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated for his first term as President of the United States
1888
Notre Dame head coach from 1918 to 1930 with 5 undefeated seasons, Knute Rockne born in Voss, Norway
1895
Shemp Howard of the 3 Stooges born Samuel Horowitz in Brooklyn, New York
1932
Artist and cartoonist, "Big Daddy" Ed Roth born in Beverly Hills, California
1934
Singer, actress and Playboy centerfold, Barbara McNair born in Chicago, Illinois
1938
Emmy Award nominated actress, Paula Prentiss born in San Antonio, Texas
1954
Emmy nominated actress and comedienne, Catherine O'Hara born in Toronto, Ontario
1976
First Cray-1 shipped to Los Alamos
303
Death of St. Adrian
561
Death of Pope Pelagius I
1133
Henry "Curt Mantle", "Fitz-Empress", "Lion of Justice", later to become Henry II, King of England born in Le Mans, France
1152
Fredrick I "Barbarrossa" elected King of Germany
1394
Prince Henry the Navigator, sponsored Portuguese voyages of discovery born
1461
Coronation of Edward IV, King of England
1484
Death of St. Casimir of Poland
1493
Columbus returns to Lisbon, Portugal
1519
Cortez lands in Mexico
1629
Massachusetts Bay Company re-chartered
1634
John Cole opens the first tavern in Boston
1678
Vivaldi was born seven years before the birth of the other great Baroque composers, Bach, Handel and Scarlatti (all born in 1685). Vivaldi became a priest. Gradually Vivaldi eased his way back to private life, though he was friendly with the Pope. born
1678
Antonio Vivaldi, late Baroque violin virtuoso and composer. born
1681
England's King Charles the Second granted a charter to William Penn for an area of land that later became Pennsylvania.
1747
Polish-born American patriot Casimir Pulaski born
1756
Scottish artist Sir Henry Raeburn born
1789
The Constitution of the United States went into effect as the first Federal Congress met in New York. (The lawmakers then adjourned for the lack of a quorum.)
1791
Vermont became the 14th state.
1797
John Adams was inaugurated the second president of the United States.
1801
Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C.
1829
The "spoils system" was introduced by President Andrew Jackson when he appointed Simon Cameron as a reward for political assistance.
1829
An unruly crowd mobbed the White House during the inaugural reception for President Jackson.
1880
Halftone engraving was used for the first time as the "Daily Graphic" was published in New York City.
1881
Eliza Ballou Garfield became the first mother of a U.S. President to live in the executive mansion. She moved into the White House with her son, the President, James.
1888
Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne born
1897
William McKinley was sworn in as the 25th president.
1902
The American Automobile Association was founded in Chicago.
1913
Actor John Garfield born
1917
Jeanette Rankin, a Montana Republican, was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives and became the first woman to serve in Congress.
1925
Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office this day in Washington. The presidential inauguration was broadcast on radio for the very first time.
1930
"The Redhead", Red Barber, began his radio career this day. Barber broadcast on WRUF at the University of Florida in Gainsville. He soon became one of the best known sports voices in America.
1932
Folk singer Miriam Makeba born
1933
The start of President Roosevelt's first administration brought with it the first woman to serve in the Cabinet: Labor Secretary Frances Perkins.
1936
English auto racing champion Jimmy Clark born
1938
Actress Paula (Ragusa) Prentiss (What's New Pussycat; Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Where the Boys Are) born
1939
Actress Barbara McNair (Change of Habit, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs) born
1941
Movie director Adrian Lyne ("Fatal Attraction") born
1944
Singer Bobby Womack born
1948
Singer Shakin' Stevens born
1948
Rock musician Chris Squire (Yes) born
1950
Walt Disney's Cinderella was released. It was the first full-length, animated, feature film in eight years for the man who brought us Mickey Mouse
1951
Singer Chris Rea born
1952
Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married in San Fernando Valley, California.
1952
President Harry Truman dedicated the Courier, the first seagoing radio broadcasting station, in ceremonies in Washington, DC.
1953
Musician Emilio Estefan born
1953
Actress Kay Lenz born
1953
Movie director Scott Hicks ("Shine") born
1954
Actress Catherine O'Hara born
1960
Actor Mykelti Williamson born
1961
Actor Steven Weber ("Wings") born
1961
Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini (middleweight boxer) born
1963
Rock musician Jason Newsted (Metallica) born
1965
Actress Stacy Edwards ("Chicago Hope") born
1966
Rock musician Patrick Hannan (The Sundays) born
1967
Rock singer Evan Dando (Lemonheads) born
1968
Actress Patsy Kensit. born
1969
Chastity Bono born
1971
Rock musician Fergal Lawler (The Cranberries) born
1971
Country singer Jason Sellers born
1977
More than 15-hundred people were killed in an earthquake that shook southern and eastern Europe.
1985
Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care was published with Dr. Michael Rothenberg sharing authorship with Dr. Benjamin Spock, "The Baby Doc". It was the fifth edition of the book to be published
1987
President Reagan addressed the nation on the Iran-Contra affair, acknowledging his overtures to Iran had "deteriorated" into an arms-for-hostages deal.
1988
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nation's civilian unemployment rate had dropped the previous month to five-point-seven percent.
1989
Time Incorporated and Warner Communications Incorporated announced plans to merge into the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate.
1989
Eastern Airlines machinists went on strike, and were joined by pilots and flight attendants
1990
Voters in the Soviet republics of Russia, Byelorussia and the Ukraine participated in local and legislative elections, resulting in notable gains for reformists and nationalists.
1991
Iraq released ten allied prisoners-of-war (a second group was freed the following day).
1992
Another round of Middle East peace negotiations concluded in Washington DC with Israel rejecting a plan for Palestinian elections.
1993
The Milwaukee Symphony and Chorus performed the Verdi "Requiem" scrapping the original plans to do his "Stabat Mater." The concert was a homage to the Milwaukee Chorus's late director Margaret Hawkins.
1993
Authorities announced the arrest of Mohammad Salameh, a suspect in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York. (Salameh was later convicted of playing a key role in the attack.)
1994
In New York, four extremists were convicted of the World Trade Center bombing that killed six people and injured more than a thousand. The space shuttle Columbia blasted off on a two-week mission
1994
Actor-comedian John Candy died in Durango, Mexico, at age 43.
1995
President Clinton, in his weekly radio address, said spending cuts proposed by congressional Republicans would gut safe-school and anti-drug programs needed to protect children
1996
A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Tel Aviv shopping center, killing 13 people in the fourth deadly attack in nine days.
1996
Jury selection began in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the trial of President Clinton's Whitewater partners, James and Susan McDougal, and the man who succeeded him as Arkansas governor, Jim Guy Tucker (James McDougal and Tucker were later convicted of fraud and conspiracy; Susan McDougal was convicted of fraud).
1996
Country comedian Minnie Pearl died in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 83.
1997
Declaring the creation of life "a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science," President Clinton barred spending federal money on human cloning.
1997
President Clinton visited the scene of tornado destruction in his home state of Arkansas, where he also declared Ohio and Kentucky disaster areas because of floods
1998
A judge ordered Miami to hold a new mayoral election, saying widespread absentee-ballot fraud played a role in the victory of Xavier Suarez the previous fall.
1998
The Supreme Court ruled that sexual harassment at work can be illegal even when the offender and victim are of the same gender. In a unanimous ruling, the nation's highest court reversed a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling barring such claims. Instead the Supreme Court said there was no language in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits men from suing men or women from suing women for sexual harassment in the workplace.
1998
President Clinton's co-defendant in Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit asked the court to dismiss the case, contending Jones had failed to demonstrate a conspiracy to deprive her of her constitutional rights.
1998
The House of Representatives narrowly passed legislation that would grant self-determination to Puerto Rico for the first time since the island was taken over by the U.S. a century ago. The bipartisan bill would allow Puerto Ricans to vote in a plebiscite by year-end on whether they want to become the 51st state, an independent nation or continue their present status as a U.S. commonwealth. It was passed by just 209-208 votes after 12 hours of heated debate.
1998
Cambodia's military court convicted deposed co-Premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh on a charge of illegally buying and transporting weapons into the country and sentenced him to five years in prison. The guilty verdict against the prince, who was in Thailand and did not attend the trial, was widely expected.
1999
Outraging Italian authorities, a military jury in North Carolina cleared a Marine pilot of charges he was flying recklessly when his jet sliced through a ski gondola cable in the Alps, sending 20 people plunging to their deaths.
1999
Retired Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, who wrote the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, died in Arlington, Virginia, at age 90.
2000
Ahead of Super Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush charged John McCain with "clouded" education views while the Arizona senator asked "Where the outrage?" over a late surge of money to pay for negative TV ads.
2005
First Swahili office suite released in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
2005
New Zealand elects first female Speaker
2005
Former Ukrainian minister found dead
2005
Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena freed
2005
Martha Stewart released from prison
2006
Black Box Voting finds anomalies in electronic voting logs of 2004 U.S. election
2006
No hotel previously on site of proposed Buffalo, N.Y. hotel location
2006
Diebold "whistleblower" faces criminal charges in California Diebold
2006
Coca growth up in Bolivia, Peru, claims U.S. State Department
2006
Iranian refugee child granted $400,000 in compensation for "psychological harm"
2006
Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrated by 450,000 people
2007
Bloggers sued by pro-government Malaysian newspaper
2007
Three babies dead within one week at Madrid Hospital
2007
Operation to capture rebel leader surges violence in East Timor
2007
Kraft Canada recalls cookies after reports of 'sharp metal objects' baked into the cookies
2007
West Ham rocked by stoppage time goal
2007
Sinkhole swallows twelve houses in Guatemala
2007
Iranian president and Saudi king agree to fight sectarian strife
2007
Microsoft wins case against Alcatel
2008
Violence in Kenya kills at least thirteen
2008
Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax dies
2008
National Hockey League news: March 4, 2008
2008
British university falls short of Smurf gathering world record
2008
Conservatives in Alberta, Canada re-elected 11th consecutive time
2008
Northern Ireland's Ian Paisley to resign and retire
2008
Randall Munroe, writer of xkcd, talks about the comic, politics and the internet
2008
U.S. accuses China of developing space warfare
2008
Six people killed in Memphis home
2008
Demonstrations planned to protest internet censorship in Finland
2009
Politicians begin campaigns for Flint, Michigan replacement mayor
2009
Football: FSV Mainz 05 advance to semi-final of DFB Pokal
2009
Scientists say study proves chimps create termite gathering tools
2009
Raúl Castro shakes up cabinet in Cuba
2009
International Criminal Court in The Hague issues arrest warrant for leader of Sudan
2010
At least 29 dead after bombings in Iraq
2010
Threat to ships in Malacca Strait, says Singapore Navy
2010
6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan
2010
US reveals Internet security efforts
2010
Wave kills two on Mediterranean cruise
2010
FAA: Jets at New York airport directed by child
2010
At least 60 die in Indian temple stampede
2010
Earthquake, tsunami combo caused devastation in Pichilemu, Chile
2010
British tourists missing in Pichilemu, Chile
2011
US Supreme Court upholds right to picket military funerals
2011
Egyptian prime minister steps down; armed forces appoint former transport minister to position
2012
China asks Syrian regime and opposition to cease fire

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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