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Today in History

1899
Choreographer, actor, singer and dancer, Fred Astaire born Frederick Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska
1922
Actress Nancy Walker born Anna Myrtle Swoyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1933
Nazi youth groups hold book burning
1933
Author Barbara Taylor Bradford born in Leeds, England
1940
Winston Churchill appointed Prime Minister
1944
Rock musician, songwriter, singer and guitarist, Dave Mason born in Worcester, England
1946
Actress, columnist and comedienne, Maureen Lipman born in Hull, England
1954
Bill Haley and the Comets release "Rock Around the Clock"
1960
Lyricist and Grammy Award winning singer, Bono born Paul David Hewson in Dublin, Ireland
1961
European Film Award winning actress, Johanna ter Steege born in Wierden, Netherlands
1965
Supermodel Linda Evangelista born in St. Catharines, Ontario
1970
Emmy Award winning film and theater actress, Sally Phillips born in Hong Kong
1975
Three time Indy 500 champion, Hélio Castroneves born in São Paulo, Brazil
1993
Thailand toy factory fire kills 188 workers
1130
Death of St. Isidore the Farm-Servant
1285
Philip IV "the Fair" succeeds to French throne
1289
Othon de Grandson and William Hotham leave for Italy
1291
Edward I, King of England, invites the Scots clergy and nobility to meet with him at Norham, to discuss who shall be King of Scots
1374
Chaucer given a home, rent-free, over Aldgate, in London
1459
Death of St. Antonio
1497
Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci sailed on his first voyage to the New World. America was named for him.
1501
An expedition left Europe to explore Brazil
1510
Death of Botticelli
1521
Cortes begins the siege of Tenochtitlýn (Mexico City)
1529
Suleiman, "the Lawgiver," leaves Istanbul to besiege Vienna
1534
Jacques Cartier sights Newfoundland
1550
John Knox's sermon launches Scottish Reformation
1559
The Reformation preachers are summoned to Stirling
1580
Death of Luis de Camoes, author and historian
1607
The first permanent English colony in North America, Jamestown Settlement, was founded near what is today Williamsburg, Virginia.
1624
Dutch sieze Bahia, Brazil
1774
Louis the 16th ascended the throne of France.
1775
Continental Congress issues paper currency for 1st time.
1775
Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys captured the British-held fortress at Ticonderoga, New York.
1788
Augustin-Jean Fresnel, pioneered in optics. born
1818
American patriot Paul Revere died in Boston.
1838
British statesman and scholar James Bryce born
1850
Sir Thomas Lipton was born. At age 26, Lipton opened a grocery store in Glasgow and eventually created the world's first grocery chain with over 400 stores.
1855
The Russian composer Anatol Liadoff was born.
1865
Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops and spent the next two years in prison.
1869
The "golden spike" was driven at Promontory Point, Utah, joining the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific lines to form America's first transcontinental railway.
1872
Victoria Claflin Woodhull became the first woman nominated for the U.S. Presidency. She was nominated by the National Equal Rights Party.
1886
Swiss theologian Karl Barth born
1899
Actor/dancer Fred Astaire born
1902
Movie producer David O. Selznick ("Gone With The Wind") born
1905
Three horses made up the field of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Agile was the winner.
1908
One time Speaker of the House, Carl Albert born
1908
The first Mother's Day observance took place during church services in Grafton, West Virginia, and Philadelphia.
1916
Milton Babbitt, was born. He was the composer of the first composition for synthesizer. born
1921
Actress Nancy Walker born
1924
J. Edgar Hoover was given the job of FBI director.
1930
Sportscaster Pat Summerall born
1930
The first US planetarium opens, in Chicago.
1933
The Nazis staged massive public book burnings in Germany.
1936
TV and radio personality Gary Owens born
1937
Playwright Arthur Kopit born
1938
Rhythm-and-blues singer Henry Fambrough (The Spinners) born
1940
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned, and Winston Churchill formed a new government.
1941
Adolf Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, parachuted into Scotland on what he claimed was a peace mission. (Hess ended up serving a life sentence at Spandau prison until 1987, when he apparently committed suicide.)
1941
Singer Danny Rapp (Danny & The Juniors) born
1944
Writer-producr-director Jim Abrahams born
1944
Singer Jackie Lomax born
1945
Singer-musician Graham Gouldman born
1946
Jazz musician Jimmy Ponder born
1946
Singer Dave Mason born
1946
Singer Donovan Leitch born
1951
Rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Banks (The Dramatics) born
1957
Olympic medalist skiers Phil and Steve Mahre -- twin brothers. born
1960
The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Triton completed its 84-day submerged voyage around the world.
1960
Rock singer Bono (U2) born
1963
Pope John XXIII received the Balzan Peace Prize, the first peace prize ever awarded to a pope.
1965
Rock musician Chris Novoselic (Nirvana) born
1966
Actor Jason Brooks ("Days of Our Lives") born
1967
Rapper Young MC born
1968
Preliminary Vietnam peace talks began in Paris.
1973
A federal grand jury investigating the Watergate scandal indicted former Attorney General John Mitchell and former Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans on perjury charges.
1977
Actress Joan Crawford died in New York.
1978
Britain's Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon announced they were divorcing after 18 years of marriage.
1980
Rhythm-and-blues singer Jason Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) born
1981
Socialist Francois Mitterrand defeated incumbent Valery Giscard d'Estang in the second round of the country's presidential election.
1983
A federal appeals court in Washington reinstated the ABSCAM bribery conviction of former U.S. Rep. Richard Kelly of Florida.
1984
The International Court of Justice said the U.S. should halt any actions to blockade Nicaragua's ports (the U.S. had already said it would not recognize World Court jurisdiction on this issue).
1984
A federal judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, ruled the government was negligent in its 1950s open-air nuclear weapons testing, and ordered it to pay $2.6 million in ten cancer cases (the award was later overturned).
1985
President Reagan was greeted by Vice President George Bush as he returned to Washington from his four-nation tour of Europe.
1986
Soviet official Valentin Falin was quoted by the West German magazine "Der Spiegel" as saying two more people had died from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, bringing the reported death toll to four.
1986
Navy Lt. Commander Donnie Cochran became the first black pilot to fly with the celebrated "Blue Angels" precision aerial demonstration team.
1986
500 witnessed Motley Crue's Tommy Lee wed actress Heather Locklear.
1987
President Reagan visited Tuskegee University, one of the nation's oldest black educational institutions, where he told graduating seniors his administration "won't be satisfied until every American who wants a job has a job and is earning a decent living."
1988
An eight-day strike by workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, ended without an agreement.
1989
In Panama, the government of General Manuel Antonio Noriega announced it had nullified the country's elections, which independent observers said the opposition had won by a 3-1 margin.
1990
The government of China announced the release of 211 dissidents who had been involved in pro-democracy demonstrations a year earlier.
1991
Alexander Bessmertnykh became the first Soviet foreign minister to visit Israel as he met with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Foreign Minister David Levy.
1992
Astronaut Pierre Thuot tried but failed to snag a wayward satellite during a spacewalk outside the shuttle "Endeavour" (however, a trio of astronauts succeeded in capturing the Intelsat-Six three days later).
1993
Minneapolis Mayor Donald Fraser vetoed a resolution by a Minneapolis agency that would have shut down the Minnesota Opera Company's presentation of "Pirates of Penzance." Union musicians had been on strike against the operate company since April 29
1993
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee visited the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia for a hearing on the issue of homosexuals in the military; most of the sailors said they favored keeping the ban on gays.
1993
At least 188 workers were killed in a doll factory fire in Bangkok, Thailand.
1994
The state of Illinois executed convicted serial killer John Wayne Gacy for the murders of 33 young men and boys.
1994
An annular, or "ring," eclipse cast a moving shadow across the United States.
1995
Terry Nichols was charged in the Oklahoma City bombing.
1995
Former President Bush's office released his letter of resignation from the National Rifle Association in which Bush expressed outrage over its reference to federal agents as "jack-booted government thugs.""
1995
In Orkney, South Africa, 104 miners were killed in an elevator accident.
1996
Two Marine helicopters collided in the dark and crashed in a piney swamp at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during a US-British training exercise, killing 14 people.
1998
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams won full backing for the Northern Ireland peace accord in a fundamental reversal of decades-old policy.
1998
The FAA grounded older models of the Boeing 737 after mandatory inspections of some aircraft found extensive wear in power lines running through their wing fuel tanks.
1999
A military jury at Camp Lejeune, N.C., sentenced Captain Richard Ashby, a Marine pilot whose jet clipped an Italian gondola cable and sent 20 people plunging to their deaths, to six months in prison and dismissed him from the corps for helping hide a videotape shot during the flight. (Ashby was acquitted earlier of manslaughter.)
1999
China broke off talks on arms control with the United States, and allowed demonstrators to hurl stones at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing for a third day to protest NATO's bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.
1999
Cartoonist, playwright and songwriter Shel Silverstein was found dead in his Key West, Fla., apartment; he was 66.
2000
Actor Craig Stevens, who'd starred in the 1950's TV series "Peter Gunn," died in Los Angeles at age 81.
2000
High wind drove what began as a deliberately set fire into a New Mexico canyon, forcing the evacuation of the entire town of Los Alamos and its 11,000 residents. (The fire had been set to contain an earlier blaze intended to clear brush.)
2005
Ruling Liberals of British Columbia attack opposition in election campaign
2005
Moldovan Prosecutor General’s Office finishes investigation regarding Valeriu Pasat
2005
Craigslist founder ponders open journalism
2005
Racing - Elvstroem a surprise entry at Newbury
2005
Google News seeks patent for search system that returns ‘quality’ links
2005
Major security flaws found in Mozilla Firefox browser
2005
German Holocaust memorial dedicated
2005
Two hundred digit number factored
2006
Last American survivor of the Titanic disaster dies
2006
Explosives stolen from California mine
2006
Australia will help in East Timor if requested: Downer
2006
Britney Spears announces she is pregnant again
2006
UK hacker faces extradition to US
2006
Southern Australian munitions factory explodes
2006
Judge delays exit exam decision until Friday
2006
UK Attorney General says Guantanamo should close
2006
Possibility of new graphic health warnings on NZ cigarette packs
2006
ICANN rejects .xxx top-level domain name proposal
2006
Concrete supplier indicted in Boston 'Big Dig' scandal
2007
Only one World War I veteran left in Canada
2007
Canadian government employee faces criminal charges in leak of environment plan
2007
Children's program on Palestinian TV propagates Islamic world leadership
2007
New developments in Hrant Dink case
2007
Tamil Nadu film 'Sivaji: The Boss' nearing release
2007
Exclusive interview with prominent blogger, David Farrar
2007
British Prime Minister Tony Blair to resign on June 27
2008
Ex-head of Qantas freight operations in US jailed for price fixing
2008
Morgan Tsvangirai to compete in run-off
2008
Ignored warnings 'worsened' situation in Myanmar
2008
Scotland's Grangemouth oil refinery catches fire
2009
Mothers around the world on Mother's Day
2009
Guatemalan government may suspend liberties under state of emergency
2009
Moscow gas pipeline catches fire
2009
Past Eurovision contestants give advice to this year's performers, speculate on who will win
2010
UK elections: Gordon Brown offers resignation to secure Labour-Liberal coalition
2010
Baseball: Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden throws perfect game
2010
Landmine blast in Chattisgarh, India kills eight
2010
Multiple explosions in Russian coal mine, eleven dead
2010
Russia celebrates Victory Day
2010
Australian rules football: Traralgon remain only undefeated team after five rounds of Gippland Football League season
2011
Nothing honourable in honour killings, says Indian court
2011
Australian airline Qantas faces engineers strike
2011
Four U.N. staff dead after plane crash in Bolivia
2012
Prison inmate wins 41% against President Obama in West Virginia primary
2012
Russian passenger jet crashes on Indonesian demonstration flight
2012
No surprises for sport in 2012/2013 Australian federal budget
2013
Woman shot, killed during standoff with police in Longview, Texas
2013
Former Pennsylvania Governor George Leader dies aged 95

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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