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Today in History

Bealtaine (Celtic summer begins)
1907
Singer Kate Smith born in Washington, DC
1916
Actor Glenn Ford born in Quebec City, Québec
1918
Radio and television personality, Jack Paar born in Canton, Ohio
1930
Blues harmonica legend "Little Walter" born Marion Walter Jacobs in Marksville, Louisiana
1931
Empire State Building dedicated in New York
1939
Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter, Judy Collins born in Seattle, Washington
1945
Pop hit singer Rita Coolidge born in Lafayette, Tennessee
1946
Model, activist, Bond girl and BAFTA award winning actress, Joanna Lumley born in Srinagar, British India
1954
Singer, songwriter and guitarist, Ray Parker Jr born in Detroit, Michigan
1956
César Award winning film and theater actress, Catherine Frot born in Paris, France
1960
Francis Gary Powers shot down over USSR
1964
First BASIC program run at Dartmouth
1964
Olympic Gold Medalist speed skater, Yvonne van Gennip born in Haarlem, Netherlands
1967
Grammy Award winning country singer, Tim McGraw born in Delhi, Louisiana
1972
Ice skating champion and actress, Julie Benz born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1978
Film and TV actress, Sachie Hara born in Fukuoka, Japan
1978
First unsolicited bulk e-mail (spam)
1984
Actress Farah Fath born in Lexington, Kentucky
2011
US forces kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan
408
Theodosius II suceeds to the Eastern Roman throne
474
Massacre of 300 English nobles on Salisbury Plain
686
Death of St. Ultan
1169
First Normans land in Ireland
1171
Dermot MacMurrough, last Irish King of Leinster, dies
1187
The death of Jacques de Mailly, Marshal of the Templars, and Roger des Moulins, Master of the Hospitalers. Gerard de Ridefort, Master of the Templars, and two others flee the battle
1218
Rudolf I, Count of Habsburg, King of the Romans born
1229
Frederick II Hohenstaufen leaves the Holy Land from Acre
1308
King Albert of Germany murdered by his disinherited nephew
1316
Coronation of Edward Bruce as King of Ireland
1345
Death of St. Peregrine Laziosi
1402
Jean de Bethencourt sails from La Rochelle for the Canary Islands
1486
Columbus persuades Queen Isabella to finance his expedition
1543
Copernicus circulates "The Little Commentary," showing the heliocentricity of the Solar System
1572
Death of Pope Pius V
1590
King James VI lands at Leith with his bride, the Princess of Denmark
1625
Charles I, King of England, marries Henrietta Marie of France by proxy
1654
"Under penalty of death, no Irish man, woman, or child, was to let himself, herself, itself be found east of the River Shannon" An Order from the Parliament of England
1672
Joseph Addison, English poet, essayist and politician. Together with Richard Steele, he founded the Spectator in March 1711. born
1683
In England a patent was awarded for extracting salt from sea water
1700
John Dryden, English poet and Poet Laureate from 1668-88, died.
1707
Scotland and England were joined together under the name of Great Britain.
1761
Haydn was hired by Prince Esterhazy. Haydn worked for the Esterhazys for most of his long life, and was billed as being the music director of the family after the orchestra was disbanded and Haydn pensioned off.
1769
Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington born
1786
Vienna was talking about what a hothead Mozart was. He threatened to burn "The Marriage of Figaro" unless it was performed ahead of another composer's latest opera. Mozart prevailed.
1808
After only a few days in power, Ferdinand relinquished the Spanish throne in favor of Napoleon of France.
1830
Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones) born
1840
1st adhesive postage stamps ("Penny Blacks" from England) issued.
1851
Queen Victoria opened the first Great Exhibition (World's Fair) in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.
1855
Feminist Lucy Stone married Henry Blackwell. A marriage contract written by the couple at their wedding omitted the word "obey" and disavowed the gross inequity married women suffered under American law.
1866
A hailstorm broke 20-thousand panes of glass in Baltimore.
1873
David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer, was found dead at Chitambo, now in Zambia.
1876
The Royal Titles Bill was passed by the British Parliament, entitling Queen Victoria to call herself Empress of India.
1883
Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody) staged his first Wild West Show.
1884
Work began on a 10-story building in Chicago using a unique steel-framed interior, making it the world's first ``skyscraper.''
1893
The World's Columbian Exposition was officially opened in Chicago by President Cleveland.
1895
Composer Leo Sowerby born
1896
General Mark Clark, American army general. With Eisenhower during the invasion of North Africa, he also commanded the 5th Army at Salerno, Anzio, and Rome. born
1898
Commodore George Dewey gave the command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay.( During the Spanish-American war.)
1904
Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, noted for his ninth symphony ``From the New World,'' died.
1909
Singer Kate Smith born
1915
The liner Lusitania left New York on the same day the German Embassy took out advertisements warning anyone traveling on ships carrying a British flag that they did so at their own risk. It was sunk six days later.
1916
Actor Glenn Ford born
1917
Actor John Beradino born
1918
Television personality Jack Paar born
1919
Sportscaster Harry Caray (Carabini) born
1919
Actor Dan O'Herlihy born
1920
The longest baseball game (by innings) was played as the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers played 26 innings with the same pitchers, Leon Cadore of Brooklyn and Boston's Joe Oeschger. The game was a 1-1 tie.
1922
Charlie Robertson of Chicago pitched a perfect no-hit, no-run game as the Chicago White Sox shut out the Detroit Tigers 3-0. This would be the last perfect game in an American League regular season for 46 years.
1923
Author Joseph Heller. His satirical novel ``Catch 22'' was published in 1955. born
1925
Cyprus officially became a British colony. It had been leased to Britain by Turkey in 1878 and was annexed to the British Empire in 1914.
1925
Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter born
1929
Country singer Sonny James born
1931
Singer Kate Smith began her long-running radio program on CBS. The 22-year-old Smith started out with no sponsors and a paycheck of $10 a week for the program. Within 30 days, her salary increased to $1,500 a week.
1931
New York's 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated. It remained the world's tallest building for 40 years.
1937
Spanish painter Pablo Picasso produced the first sketch of his masterpiece ``Guernica,'' five days after the Basque town had been bombed by the Germans.
1939
Singer Judy Collins born
1941
The Orson Welles motion picture "Citizen Kane" premiered in New York.
1942
Actor Stephen Macht ("Knots Landing;" "Cagney and Lacey") born
1945
A day after Adolf Hitler committed suicide, it was announced that Admiral Karl Doenitz had succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich.
1945
Singer Rita Coolidge born
1948
The People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was proclaimed.
1949
Actor-director Douglas Bar. ("Designing Women") born
1954
Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Junior born
1960
Former jockey Steve Cauthen born
1960
The Soviet Union shot down an American U2 spy plane flown by Francis Gary Powers, who was captured.
1961
Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared the country a socialist nation and abolished elections.
1961
Tanganyika achieved internal self-government with Julius Nyerere as prime minister.
1963
James W. Whittaker of Redmond, Washington, became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and a Sherpa guide reached the summit.
1963
Sir Winston Churchill announced his retirement from the House of Commons.
1965
Country singer Wayne Hancock born
1966
Actor Charlie Schlatter ("Diagnosis Murder") born
1966
Rock musician Johnny Colt (The Black Crowes) born
1967
Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas. (They divorced in 1973.)
1967
Anastasio Somoza Debayle became president of Nicaragua.
1967
Country singer Tim McGraw born
1968
Rock musician D'Arcy (Smashing Pumpkins) born
1969
Leonard Tose, a trucking executive from Philadelphia, PA, bought the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League for $16,155,000. It was the largest price paid to date for a pro football franchise.
1971
Amtrak -- which combined and streamlined the operations of 18 intercity passenger railroads -- went into service.
1975
Hank Aaron, then playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, drove in two runs, breaking Babe Ruth's lifetime RBI record of 2,209. He achieved a final record of 2,297.
1976
Actor Darius McCrary ("Family Matters;" "Don King America") born
1978
Ernest Morial was inaugurated as the first black mayor of New Orleans.
1978
Naomi Uemura, a Japanese explorer, became the first man to reach the North Pole alone.
1981
Sen. Harrison A. Williams Jr., D-NJ, was convicted in New York of charges related to the FBI's "ABSCAM" probe.
1982
In Poland, 50,000 supporters of ``Solidarity'' demonstrated in Warsaw against military rule.
1983
President Reagan paid his first visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, placing a bouquet of yellow and pink flowers in front of the monument's dark granite walls.
1985
Arriving in West Germany, President Reagan began a four-nation European visit by clamping a trade embargo on Nicaragua.
1986
The Soviet Union announced that the situation at the damaged Chernobyl nuclear plant was under control. However, Soviet Embassy official Vitaly Churkin said the problem was "not over yet."
1986
Race car driver Bill Elliott set a stock car speed record with his Ford Thunderbird in Talladega, Alabama. Elliott recorded a speed of 212.229 miles per hour .
1987
During a visit to West Germany, Pope John Paul II beatified Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
1988
"Newsweek" magazine reported that, according to a memoir by former White House chief of staff Donald Regan, astrology had influenced the planning of President Reagan's schedule.
1989
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an employer has the legal burden of proving that its refusal to hire or promote someone is based on legitimate and not discriminatory reasons.
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and other Kremlin leaders were jeered by thousands of people during the annual May Day parade in Red Square.
1990
Chinese troops began withdrawing from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa as martial law was lifted.
1991
Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A's set a major-league record by stealing his 939th base during a game against the New York Yankees.
1991
The government of Angola and U.S.-backed guerrillas initialed agreements ending their civil war.
1991
Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers threw his seventh no-hitter at age 44, shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0.
1992
Turkmenistan announced it would switch to a Latin-based Turkish alphabet from the Cyrillic script.
1992
On the third day of the Los Angeles riots, beaten motorist Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, asking, "Can we all get along?" President Bush delivered a nationally broadcast address in which he vowed to "use whatever force is necessary" to restore order.
1993
President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party won the most seats in united Yemen's first general elections.
1993
President Clinton held a strategy session with top military and foreign policy advisers on Bosnia.
1993
Violence erupted during a May Day protest in Moscow.
1993
The president of Sri Lanka (Ranasinghe Premadasa) was assassinated by a suicide bomber.
1993
"Sea Hero" won the Kentucky Derby.
1993
France's former Socialist prime minister Pierre Beregovoy died after shooting himself.
1994
Israeli and PLO delegates opened a final round of talks in Cairo, Egypt, on Palestinian autonomy prior to the signing of an agreement on self-rule.
1994
Ayrton Senna, three times world F-1 auto racing champion, died after a high-speed crash in the San Marino Grand Prix.
1995
Charges that Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, had plotted to murder Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan were dropped as jury selection for the trial was about to begin in Minneapolis.
1995
President Clinton defended his choice for Surgeon General, Henry Foster, as a "pro-life, pro-choice doctor.""
1995
Croatia recaptured the rebel Serb enclave of Western Slavonia it lost in 1991.
1996
PLO leader Yasser Arafat received a statesman's welcome at the White House, where he met with President Clinton for 45 minutes, then lashed out at Israel for keeping its borders closed to Palestinian workers.
1996
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps announced she was resigning over the government's failure to abolish a controversial sales tax.
1997
Britons went to the polls in a national election that gave the Labor Party a resounding victory over the ruling Conservatives.
1997
John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, publicly declared their innocence in the case, and asked for the public's help in finding the killer of their six-year-old daughter.
1998
Eldridge Cleaver, the fiery Black Panther leader who later renounced his past and became a Republican, died in Pomona, California, at age 62.
1998
Former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the 1994 genocide of more than half a million Tutsis.
1999
Despite protests, the National Rifle Association held its annual meeting in Denver 11 days after the Columbine High School shootings.
1999
The "Liberty Bell 7," the Mercury space capsule flown by Gus Grissom, was found in the Atlantic 300 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, 38 years after it sank.
1999
An amphibious boat sank at Hot Springs, Ark., killing 13. Charismatic, a 30-1 shot, charged to victory in the 125th Kentucky Derby.
2000
Joerg Haider, leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party, stepped down after 14 years as party leader.
2000
Actor Steve Reeves died in Escondido, California, at age 74.
2000
About three and a-half million Time Warner cable subscribers temporarily lost access to seven Disney-owned ABC stations in a quarrel over transmission rights.
2005
China introduces new jury trial system
2005
Firefox browser reaches fifty million downloads
2005
Cyprus, Latvia and Malta are a step closer to adopting euro
2005
Soap opera writer, creator William J. Bell dies at 78
2005
Pro-Palestinian graffiti sprayed on the wall of Israeli embassy in Denmark
2005
President Bush faces some tough questioning
2005
BBC News website expands RSS license terms to allow commercial use
2005
FOX News previews Grafton Street restaurant and "voice collector" in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts
2005
Tabletop fusion may lead to neutron source
2005
Swiss finish drilling world's longest overland tunnel
2005
Julian Easter celebrated
2005
World's smallest democracy votes
2005
May Day protests occur throughout Switzerland
2005
Two university students shot, killed in Cameroon strikes
2006
Some Australian government welfare recipients will be forced to pay their bills
2006
Bolivian troops told to seize natural gas fields
2006
May Day march takes place in London
2006
Militants kill 22 villagers in Kashmir
2006
First pictures from the Israeli photo/spy satellite Eros B
2007
Five found guilty of UK bomb plot
2007
Western New York recovering after major internet outage
2007
Internet Radio Equality Act proposed
2007
US State Department accuses Iran of being top state sponsor of terrorism
2007
Reports: Leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq killed
2007
Turkey's Constitutional Court invalidates first round in presidential elections
2007
Worldwide student competition brings WTO debate battle to Geneva
2008
An Australian child's vocabulary: it's "I" before "we", both before "you"
2008
Research shows that bats cry to detect prey
2008
Sea lions take over dock at Moss Landing, California
2008
Wail of sirens marks Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel
2008
Cuba announces shift of farm management to local level
2008
Demolition to resume at New York skyscraper damaged by 9/11 after deadly fire
2008
2007/08 UEFA Cup: Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Bayern Munich
2008
Native Hawaiians blockade historic palace to restore "Hawaiian nation"
2008
Footage of 7/7 bombers shown to court
2009
Chrysler files for bankruptcy, Fiat Group SpA to run company
2009
Runaway EMU train collides with freight train in India
2009
U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter to retire
2010
Bomb blasts in Somalia kill at least 30
2010
Nine of Alfred Hitchcock's films are restored; 30 years since his death
2010
Redistricting reform efforts in Illinois fail for this year
2010
Stones thrown by protesters in Kashmir kill civilian
2011
NASCAR driver Kyle Busch wins spring race in Richmond, Virginia
2011
Sheffield United relegated from English Football League Championship
2011
British snooker commentator Ted Lowe dies aged 90
2012
Bosnia jails first female war crime convict
2013
Miles Franklin Literary Award nominates only women for potential winners

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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