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Today in History

1817
Archeologist and author, Austen Henry Layard born in Paris, France
1908
Oscar and Tony Award winning actor, Sir Reginald "Rex" Carey Harrison born in Huyton, England
1956
Grammy Award nominated songwriter, musician and singer, Teena Marie born in Santa Monica, California
1963
Singer Patsy Cline killed in Tennessee plane crash
1975
Surfer, artist, fashion model and actress, Jolene Blalock born in San Diego, California
1982
John Belushi dies in Los Angeles
1995
1223
BC
A total solar eclipse was observed in the ancient city of Ugarit located in present day Syria
475
Death of St. Gerasimus, who drew a thorn from the paw of a lion
1179
3rd Lateran Council (11th ecumenical council) opens in Rome
1324
David II, King of Scotland born
1326
Louis I (the Great), king of Hungary & Poland born
1380
Construction begins on St.Mary's College, Oxford, England
1432
Treaty of Rennes between France and Brittany
1496
England's Henry VII commissions John & Sebastian Cabot to discover new lands
1512
Flemish map maker Gerhardus Mercator born
1534
Death of Correggio
1574
William Oughtred, English mathematician and inventor of the slide rule born
1590
Tycho Brahe discovers a comet in Pisces
1616
Copernicus's De Revolutionibus is placed on Catholic Index of Forbidden Books
1623
First American temperance law enacted, Virginia
1624
The upper classes of Virginia are exempted from whipping
1629
King Charles I of England imprisons Sir John Eliot & 8 other MPs
1638
France and Sweden sign a pact in Hamburg
1640
Short Parliament dissolved
1658
Antoine Cadillac, founder of Detroit born
1750
The first Shakespearean play in America was presented at the Nassau Street Theatre in New York City. The play enjoyed by the audience was the famous King Richard III
1766
Werner, the senior Kapellmeister in the Esterhazy court, died leaving Haydn the sole artistic director. This meant he had control over a fairly good chamber orchestra, which would play whatever he wrote for it.
1766
Spanish official Don Antonio de Ulloa arrived in New Orleans to take possession of the Louisiana Territory from the French.
1770
British troops killed five colonials in the so-called "Boston Massacre," one of the events that led to the American Revolution.
1821
James Monroe became the first President of the United States to be inaugurated on March 5th. The usual inauguration date of March 4th fell on a Sunday that year and a President cannot be inaugurated on the Sabbath. It's still the law, even though the Inauguration Day was officially set back to January 20th (Sundays are not included).
1836
Samuel Colt manufactured the first pistol a .34-caliber "Texas" model.
1854
The music critic Philip Hale was born in Vermont. born
1867
An abortive Fenian uprising against English rule took place in Ireland.
1868
The Senate was organized into a Court of Impeachment to decide charges against President Andrew Johnson.
1872
George Westinghouse, of "You can be sure if it's Westinghouse" fame, patented the air brake. They were especially important to trains, big trucks, buses and amusement park rides
1908
Actor Rex (Reginald) Harrison (My Fair Lady, Cleopatra, Dr. Dolittle, The Agony and the Ecstacy) born
1922
Actor James Noble born
1923
Old-age pension laws were enacted in the states of Montana and Nevada.
1927
Actor Jack Cassidy (The Eiger Sanction, The Andersonville Trial; Broadway's She Loves Me) born
1933
In the German parliamentary elections, the Nazi Party won 44 percent of the vote, enabling it to join with the Nationalists to gain a slender majority in the Reichstag.
1934
Actor James B. Sikking born
1936
Actor Dean Stockwell (Gentlemen's Agreement, Dune, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Long Day's Journey into Night, Legend of Billie Jean) born
1936
Actor Michael Landon (Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven; director: The Loneliest Runner, Killing Stone) born
1938
Actor Fred Williamson born
1939
Actress Samantha Eggar born
1944
Actor Paul Sand born
1946
Actor Michael Warren born
1946
Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent."
1947
Actor Eddie Hodges born
1948
Singer Eddy Grant born
1950
Violinist Eugene Fodor born
1952
Rock musician Alan Clark (Dire Straits) born
1953
After 29 years in power, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin dies at the age of 73.
1953
Serge Prokofiev died just a couple weeks before his 62nd birthday. Prokofiev lived long enough to see Soviet authorities, the same authorities who had reprimanded him for being too modern, hail him as a hero of the Soviet people.
1954
Actress-comedian Marsha Warfield born
1955
Magician Penn Jillette born
1958
Singer Andy Gibb born
1960
Elvis Presley returned to civilian life after a two-year hitch in the U.S. Army.
1962
Rock singer Charlie Reid born
1962
Rock singer Craig Reid born
1963
Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hankshaw Hawkins were killed in a plane crash at Camden, Tennessee. The famous country music stars were returning from a benefit performance.
1970
Rock musician John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) born
1970
Singer Rome born
1970
A nuclear non-proliferation treaty went into effect after 43 nations ratified it.
1974
Actor Kevin Connolly ("Unhappily Ever After") born
1975
Model Niki Taylor. born
1976
The British pound fell below the equivalent of two dollars for the first time.
1977
President Carter took questions from 42 telephone callers in 26 states on a network radio call-in program moderated by Walter Cronkite.
1982
comedian John Belushi was found dead of a drug overdose in a rented bungalow in Hollywood; he was 33.
1984
The Standard Oil Co. of California, also known as Chevron, bought Gulf Corp. for more than $13 billion in the largest business merger in U.S. history.
1987
President Reagan called on Congress to approve the final installment of a $100 million-dollar aid package for Nicaraguan Contra rebels
1988
Vice President George Bush won the South Carolina Republican primary, with Kansas Senator Bob Dole running a distant second, followed by Pat Robertson and New York Congressman Jack Kemp.
1989
Actor Jake Lloyd ("Jingle All the Way") born
1989
Machinists striking Eastern Airlines withdrew an immediate threat to picket the nation's railroads, after a federal judge issued an order tem orarily prohibiting rail workers from honoring the Eastern picket lines.
1990
To the cheers of onlookers, workers in Bucharest, Romania, finally succeeded in removing a 25-foot, seven-ton bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin from its foundation.
1991
Rebellions against Saddam Hussein are reported in southeastern Iraq.
1991
Iraq repealed its annexation of Kuwait.
1991
The Iraqis turned over 35 prisoners of war, including 15 Americans, to the Red Cross.
1992
Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The trial of four Los Angeles police officers charged with beating motorist Rodney King opened in Simi Valley, California.
1993
The White House sought new ways to inflict what a spokesman called "real pain and real price" on Serb aggressors in Bosnia by tightening the UN blockade on supplies and money to the region.
1994
A jury in Pensacola, Florida, convicted anti-abortion activist Michael F. Griffin of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Dr. David Gunn; Griffin was sentenced to life in prison
1994
White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum resigned in the wake of turmoil over the Clinton administration's handling of questions related to Whitewater.
1995
An Australian yacht broke in two and sank in heavy wind and fierce winds off the Southern California coast, the first sinking in the history of America's Cup racing; all 17 crew members were rescued.
1996
Representative Enid Greene Waldholtz (Republican, Utah), tangled in a financial mess that she blamed on her estranged husband, announced she would not seek a second term
1996
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole swept the "Junior Tuesday" primaries.
1997
Tommy Lasorda, Nellie Fox and Willie Wells Senior were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.
1997
North and South Korea met for first time in 25 years to talk peace.
1997
The Ohio River rose to its highest level in a generation, flooding the Louisville, Kentucky, area.
1998
Monica Lewinsky's lawyer William Ginsburg argues his 24-year-old client should be immune from prosecution in return for her cooperation
1998
NASA scientists said enough water is frozen in the loose soil of the moon to support a lunar base and perhaps to one day build a human colony there. Dr Alan Binder, the mission's principal investigator said the spacecraft had detected "the kind of data signature one would expect to find if water ice is present."
1998
Serbian police killed 20 ethnic Albanians in a new assault on separatist rebels as Yugoslavia's president warned the West of his determination to crush "terrorism" in the violence-torn province of Kosovo. Albanian refugees said the Serbian forces were backed by armored vehicles and attack helicopters.
1998
Pakistani officials announced that at least 300 people were killed by flash floods in a remote southwestern region earlier in the week and more than 1,500 were still missing. They said 175 bodies were recovered from Turbat district but they had confirmed reports of about 300 deaths. Army and navy helicopters were evacuating stranded people and dropping food for the sufferers of the floods, which also made some 25,000 people homeless.
1998
Details of President Clinton's deposition testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against him were published in The Washington Post, prompting an angry denunciation from the president for the news leak.
1999
Actor Richard Kiley died in Warwick, NY, at age 76
1999
Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema met at the White House with President Clinton, a day after a military jury in North Carolina acquitted a Marine pilot in the Italian cable car accident that killed 20 people; D'Alema demanded justice, while Clinton expressed profound regret.
2000
Israel's Cabinet voted unanimously to withdraw its troops from south Lebanon by the following July.
2000
A Virginia subsidiary of PPL Therapeutics of Edinburgh, Scotland, the company that cloned Dolly the sheep, produced the first cloned pigs.
2005
Sunflower oil saves at-risk newborns from infection
2005
World-wide measles deaths drop 40% over last five years
2005
Report finds Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming a narcotics state
2005
US military developing non-lethal pain weapon
2005
Irish unemployment rate steady at 4.2%
2005
David Blunkett is not the father of Kimberly Quinn's son
2005
Italian journalist wounded after release in Iraq, security officer dead
2005
New York Public Library opens collection of 275,000 digital images
2005
Bill Gates receives honorary knighthood
2006
Ayman al-Zawahri releases new video tape
2006
Minnesota GOP's CD raises privacy concerns
2006
South Dakota governor signs abortion ban into law
2006
H5N1 bird flu virus reaches Poland
2006
Howard's 10 year party gatecrashed
2006
Deported Australian granted visa after two years in Serbian limbo
2007
Fijians in New Zealand urged to protest NZ's involvement in Fiji
2007
Al-Qaeda threaten to kill British Prince Harry in Iraq
2007
Aerial collision over Austria kills 8
2007
Research In Motion chairman resigns position
2007
Lantern Festival in Taipei lights up the night
2007
The sentence of Intel's former contractor expunged
2008
British student falls to his death from 10th floor window
2008
Wikipedia founder embroiled in affair and financial allegations
2008
National Hockey League news: March 5, 2008
2008
China delays newest rocket design to 2014
2008
McCain clinches Republican nomination as Huckabee concedes
2009
Football: Leverkusen, Bremen, HSV proceed in DFB Pokal
2009
US stock markets reach 12-year lows
2009
Michael Jackson to make last public concerts
2009
California Supreme Court defers ruling on same-sex marriage ban
2009
Eurovision '09 competitor Chiara talks about her current song "What If We" and her past accolades
2009
Schiphol airliner crash blamed on altimeter failure, pilot error
2009
Marine jet crash into San Diego house attributed to string of errors
2010
US Congressional panel claims Turkey committed genocide
2010
Five construction workers shot dead in Afghanistan
2010
China's military spending increases by 7.5%
2010
Early Iraq elections marred by violence
2010
Britain thinks Africans are barbaric, claims South African President
2010
Explosion, fire temporarily halts cereal production at General Mills plant
2010
BBC: Ethiopian famine aid 'siphoned off' to buy weapons according to rebels, report
2010
"Miracle on the Hudson" pilot retires
2010
Two police officers injured in Pentagon shooting incident
2012
Deadly tornadoes blast U.S. Midwest leaving 39 dead
2012
UNICEF: An increasing number of children are living in slums
2013
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez dies aged 58
2013
Record snowfall in Japan: in pictures
2013
Chadian army: Mokhtar Belmokhtar 'killed' in Mali

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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