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Today in History

1792
Chemist, mathematician, and astronomer, Sir John Herschel born in Slough, England
1934
Actor, author and The Today Show personality, Willard Scott born in Alexandria, Virginia
1942
One time Walt Disney Company CEO, Michael Eisner born in Mt. Kisco, New York
1965
State troopers forcefully break up a group of 600 civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama
1970
Academy Award winning actress, Rachel Weisz born in London, England
1994
US Supreme Court rules parodies are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use
161
Death of Antonius Pius, Emperor of Rome
1080
Excommunication of Henry IV, King of Germany
1138
Conrad III again chosen King of Germany
1190
Jews are massacred by rioters, Stamford-fair, England
1274
Death of St. Thomas Aquinas
1307
Death of Edward I, King of England
1530
The Pope refuses the request for a divorce by Henry VIII of England
1573
Venice recognizes the Turkish rule of Cyprus
1617
A performance of the play "Ignoramus" given at Cambridge for King James VI of Scotland (and I of England)
1623
Prince Charles and Villiers reach Madrid
1634
First American treason trial begins, against Crown Governor of Virginia, John Harvey
1644
Massachusetts Bay establishes first 2-chamber legislature in colonies
1786
Franz Benda died. He was the leader of the private orchestra of Frederick the Great, who is remembered by classical music fans today as a pretty good flute player who composed some music himself that isn't bad.
1849
Plant Breeder, Luther Burbank born
1850
In a three-hour speech to the US Senate, Daniel Webster endorsed the Compromise of 1850 as a means of preserving the Union.
1854
Charles Miller received a patent for a sewing machine that stitches buttonholes.
1875
Composer Maurice Ravel, "Bolero" born
1876
Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for his telephone.
1887
Teacher, Helen Parkhurst born
1908
Actress Anna Magnani (The Rose Tattoo, The Miracle, The Fugitive Kind) born
1908
Mark Breith, the mayor of Cincinnati, stood before the city council and announced that, "women are not physically fit to operate automobiles."
1911
The United States sent 20-thousand troops to the Mexican border as a precaution in the wake of the Mexican Revolution.
1911
Willis Farnworth of Petaluma, California, patented the coin-operated locker.
1912
Ronald Amundsen annouces the discovery of the South Pole.
1917
Jazz musician, drummer Lee Young born
1922
Basketball Hall of Famer Andy Phillip born
1926
First transatlantic telephone call (London-New York).
1927
Actor James Broderick born
1930
Photographer Lord Snowdon born
1933
CBS Radio debuted the first daytime radio serial, "Marie The Little French Princess." It had a successful run of two years on-the-air.
1933
The Monopoly game is invented.
1934
TV weatherman Willard Herman Scott born
1936
Adolf Hitler ordered his troops to march into the Rhineland, thereby breaking the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact.
1938
Auto racer Janet Guthrie (First woman in Indianapolis 500) born
1940
Actor Daniel J Travanti (Hill Street Blues) born
1942
Walt Disney Company chairman Michael Eisner born
1942
Actor Michael York (Logan's Run, Cabaret, The Heat of the Day) born
1943
Rock musician Chris White (The Zombies) born
1945
During World War Two, US forces crossed the Rhine River at Remagen, Germany, using the damaged but still usable Ludendorff Bridge.
1946
Actor John Heard born
1946
Rock singer Peter (Blankfield) Wolf born
1946
Rock musician Matthew Fisher (Procol Harum) born
1948
Singer Peggy March born
1950
Football Hall-of-Famer Franco Harris born
1952
Former football player Lynn Swann born
1954
Russia defeated Canada 7-2 to capture the world ice hockey title in Stockholm, Sweden. It marked the first time that Russia participated in the ice hockey competition.
1955
"Peter Pan" with Mary Martin and Cyril Richard was presented as a television special for the first time.
1955
Comedienne Phyllis Diller made her debut at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, California, leading to a stage, club and television career that spanned more than three decades.
1960
Tennis player Ivan Lendl born
1962
US Orbiting Solar Observatory is launched.
1965
Singer-actress Taylor Dayne born
1965
A march by civil rights demonstrators was broken up in Selma, Alabama, by state troopers and a sheriff's posse.
1967
Rock musician Randy Guss (Toad the Wet Sprocket) born
1975
The US Senate revised its filibuster rule, allowing 60 senators to limit debate in most cases, instead of the previously required two-thirds of senators present.
1980
Actress Laura Prepon ("That 70's Show") born
1981
Walter Cronkite's final CBS anchor appearance.
1981
Anti-government guerrillas in Colombia executed kidnapped American Bible translator Chester Allen Bitterman, whom they accused of being a CIA agent.
1985
The song "We Are the World", from the album of the same name, was played on the radio for the first time. Forty-five top pop stars combined their talents to record the music of Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, with Quincy Jones producing. The proceeds of the multimillion-selling recording went to aid African famine victims.
1987
Britain's Queen Elizabeth the Second and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher led their nation in grieving for the 189 people who died when a British ferry capsized off the Belgian coast the day before.
1987
World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champ, "Iron Mike" Tyson became the youngest heavyweight titlist ever as he beat James Smith in a decision during a 12-round bout in Las Vegas.
1988
Three Israelis were killed when three Arab gunmen hijacked a commuter bus in the Negev Desert; the hijackers were themselves killed when Israeli forces stormed the vehicle.
1989
Secretary of State James A. Baker the Third met with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in Vienna, Austria. Baker agreed to visit Moscow the following May to discuss prospects for a summit between President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
1990
Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan announced the government would propose a more informative food-labeling system that would require the disclosure of the fat, fiber and cholesterol content of nearly all packaged foods.
1991
In the wake of the allied victory in the Persian Gulf, Secretary of State James A. Baker the Third left for a tour of the Middle East, seeking to promote a new Arab-Israeli dialogue.
1992
Democrat Bill Clinton picked up additional victories in the South Carolina primary and the Wyoming caucuses, while fellow Democrat Paul Tsongas won the Arizona caucuses. President Bush won the Republican primary in South Carolina.
1993
Authorities said David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians, was becoming irritable and had rejected proposals to end a week-long standoff at his compound near Waco, Texas.
1993
Beethoven's last piano concerto and Schumann's last symphony were played by the Montreal Symphony. Carlo Rizzi conducted the Schumann Fourth while Olli Mustonen soloed in the "Emperor" Concerto. The concert opened with a piece called "Orion" by the composer Vivier.
1994
The US Navy issued its first permanent orders assigning women to regular duty on a combat ship in this case, the USS Eisenhower
1994
The Supreme Court ruled that parodies that poke fun at an original work can be considered "fair use" that doesn't require permission from the copyright holder.
1995
New York Gov. George Pataki signed a death penalty bill into law. In a near-party-line vote, the House passed, 232-193, a business-backed measure designed to pressure combatants in lawsuits to settle their differences short of costly trials.
1996
Three US servicemen were convicted in the rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl and sentenced by a Japanese court to six and a-half to seven years in prison.
1996
Unemployed computer programmer Edward Leary was convicted of attempted murder in the firebombing of two New York City subway trains.
1996
Bob Dole handily won the New York Republican primary.
1997
After a week of embarrassing disclosures about White House fund raising, President Clinton told a news conference, "I'm not sure, frankly" whether he also made calls for campaign cash. But he insisted that nothing had undercut his pledge to have the highest ethical standards ever.
1998
A Minn. judge ordered tobacco companies to turn over thousands of secret documents in the state's $1.77-billion lawsuit. Judge Kenneth Fitzpatrick ordered cigarette makers to release in 2 days 39,000 documents that may contain information on how the industry studied ways to lure young people to smoke, some as young as five.
1998
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, speaking in Rome, said the US wouldn't tolerate any more violence in Kosovo, which she blamed on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
1999
Movie director Stanley Kubrick, whose films included "2001, Dr Strangelove, Lolita, Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut dies
2000
Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore were the big winners in Super Tuesday primaries.
2000
The Nasdaq composite crossed the five-thousand mark for the first time before retreating.
2000
Country singer Frank "Pee Wee" King died in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 86
2005
British Airways CEO set to step down in the summer
2005
Nobel Laureate Hans Bethe passes away at age of 98
2005
Insulin levels tied to Alzheimer's
2005
CIA sending suspects overseas for "rendition"
2005
Deutsche Börse quits LSE takeover.
2006
Book review controversy over Daniel Dennett's 'Breaking the Spell'
2006
Australian Senator Bob Brown calls for ban on junk food ads
2006
Ukraine does not allow Transnistrian goods transit without Moldovan customs stamps
2006
Dana Reeve, 44, wife of Christopher Reeve, dies of lung cancer
2006
Hall of Fame baseball player Kirby Puckett dies of stroke
2006
Porn star promotes Italian wine
2006
Chávez accuses US of plotting separation of oil rich state
2006
Multiple vehicles crash in West Palm Beach, FL
2006
Three explosions in Varanasi, India
2006
House approves renewal of the Patriot Act
2006
U.S. Pentagon releases Guantanamo detainees' names
2006
Big 12 names players, coach of the year
2006
New Zealand's Census is held tonight
2006
Australians need bigger toilets
2006
Ontario college teachers begin strike
2007
New Zealand broadband subscribers increase
2007
Dozens dead in Indonesian plane crash
2007
Repeat sex offenders to face capital punishment in Texas
2007
One dead in Michigan school shooting
2007
Ugandan judges begin week-long strike
2007
Bob Rae seeks Liberal nomination in Toronto-Centre
2007
Canadian PM visits Hamilton, admits he's an avid curling fan
2007
Larsson goal puts United into quarterfinals
2007
Arsenal out of Champions league after tie with PSV
2007
Quick goal sees Bayern advance over Real Madrid
2007
US troops accused of killing Afghan civilians following car-bombing
2007
Court issues YouTube block in Turkey
2007
Two winners confirmed in US 'Mega Millions' jackpot
2007
UEFA Champions League 2006/07: AC Milan 1-0 Celtic
2008
Spanish Prime Minster condemns killing of Spanish councillor
2008
Tour de Taiwan, TaiSPO, and Taipei Cycle: 3-in-1 preview
2008
New professional Open documentary project
2008
Gunman kills eight at Jerusalem school
2008
Spanish councillor shot and killed in the Basque Country
2008
Brett Favre says goodbye to NFL at press conference
2008
Canadian GG offers statement on International Women's Day
2008
University of North Carolina student body president murdered
2008
National Hockey League news: March 7, 2008
2008
Letters regarding Times Square bombing sent to Congress
2008
Protester says Japanese whalers shot him
2009
NASA successfully launches Kepler Telescope
2009
NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery
2009
Six vehicle pileup disrupts traffic on highway in British Columbia
2009
Earthquake strikes Melbourne, no reports of injuries
2009
California man convicted of murdering five firefighters by starting wildfire
2010
Paleontologists reaffirm the cause of dino extinction
2010
Two candidates in Togo elections claim victory; votes counted
2010
Gardner pleads not guilty to Chelsea King murder
2010
Polio vaccination campaign targets 85 million African children
2010
Iraqi police: Najaf bombing kills three
2010
10 billionth update placed on social networking website Twitter
2010
Six people die in bus crash near Phoenix, Arizona
2010
Tiger kills handler in Shanghai zoo
2010
Insurgents kill several people in Baghdad as Iraq's parliamentary elections start
2011
US military brig officials order whistle-blowing suspect to sleep naked
2011
Libyan government accuses three Dutch helicopter crew of transporting spies
2012
Polish footballer Włodzimierz Smolarek dies aged 54
2012
Putin elected to third term; observers express concern

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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