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Today in History

1820
Statistician, philanthropist and nursing pioneer, Florence Nightingale born in Florence, Italy
1907
Academy Award winning actress Katharine Houghton Hepburn born in Hartford, Connecticut
1925
Baseball Hall of Fame catcher and manager, Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra born in St Louis, Missouri
1928
Grammy Award winning composer, singer and pianist Burt Bacharach born in Kansas City, Missouri
1936
Grammy Award winning comedian George Carlin born in Manhattan, New York
1941
Konrad Zuse demonstrates the Z3
1942
1,500 killed in gas chambers at Auschwitz
1943
Actress Linda Dano born in Long Beach, California
1967
Pink Floyd performs first ever quadrophonic concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall
2002
Jimmy Carter visits Fidel Castro in Cuba
403
Death of St. Epiphanius of Salamis
1003
Death of Pope Sylvester II
1191
Marriage of Richard I of England and Berengaria of Navarre
1250
King Louis IX (St.) of France arrives at Acre from Egypt
1310
54 Knights Templars burned in France
1349
The fourth new Vicar of the church in Shaftsbury, England is appointed, when predecessors die of the Plague
1364
The first University is endowed in Cracow, Poland
1539
DeSoto leaves Cuba searching for the 7 Cities of Gold
1588
Day of the Barricades, Paris, France; Henry III flees the city
1621
Marriage of Edward Winslow to Susanna White, the first to take place in Plymouth Colony, Mass.
1634
George Chapman, English poet, dramatist, translator, dies
1647
Charles I accepts Parliament's terms, with reservations
1780
During the American War of Independence, Charles Town (later Charleston), South Carolina, fell to the British after a two-month siege.
1804
Robert Baldwin, Canadian statesman. With Louis Lafontaine he was joint leader of the first and second Liberal administrations in Canada. born
1809
Sir Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) defeated the French at Oporto, forcing them to retreat from Portugal.
1812
English artist, author and poet Edward Lear was born. Lear is best remembered for his limericks. A limerick has been described as the only "fixed verse form" indigenous to the English language.
1820
Nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale in Florence, Italy. She served as a nurse in Turkey and the Crimea during the Crimean War. born
1831
The first indicted bank robber in the United States, Edward Smith, was sentenced to five years hard labor at Sing Sing Prison.
1839
A Shawnee Indian uttered a curse on "The Great White Father" for violating Indian treaties, beginning the curious cycle of American Presidential deaths. Every president elected or re-elected at 20-year cycles died in office from 1840-1960.
1842
Jules Massenet was born outside of St. Etienne, France. "La Grand' Tante" was Massenet's first opera. It was performed when he was 25. An orchestral suite went over pretty well. His delicate sensuality influenced Debussy.
1845
Composer Gabriel Urbain Faure was born in Pamiers, France. born
1847
Mormon pioneer William Clayton invented the odometer while crossing the plains in his covered wagon.
1870
Royal assent was given to the Manitoba Act whereby Manitoba entered Confederation as the fifth Canadian province. Manitoba was purchased from the Hudson's Bay Company by the Dominion of Canada.
1871
Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber, French opera composer, died. He developed opera containing spoken as well as sung passages.
1884
Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, composer of operas including ``The Bartered Bride'' and ``The Brandenburgers in Bohemia,'' died.
1888
Charles Sherrill. of the Yale track team, became the first runner to use the crouching start for a fast break in a foot race.
1907
Actress Katharine Hepburn born
1914
Journalist Howard K. Smith born
1917
The first imported horse to win the Kentucky Derby was the English-bred colt, Omar Khayyam. He won $49,070 -- the top prize.
1918
Convicted spy Julius Rosenberg born
1922
The magazine "Radio Broadcast" commented, "the rate of increase in the number who spend at least part of an evening listening to radio is almost incomprehensible."
1925
Baseball Hall of Fame member Yogi Berra born
1925
Critic John Simon born
1926
Norwegian Roald Amundsen, Italian Umberto Nobile and American Lincoln Ellsworth crossed the North Pole in an airship.
1926
Shostakovich's First Symphony was premiered by the Leningrade Philharmonic. Shostakovich was 19 years old. His symphony had been a graduation exercise. The Shostakovich First is an extremely good piece of music, full of clever ideas.
1926
Marshal Jozef Pilsudski led a successful military coup against the Polish government.
1929
Composer Burt Bacharach born
1932
The body of the kidnapped son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was found in a wooded area of Hopewell, New Jersey.
1933
The Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were established to provide help for the needy and farmers.
1936
Talk show host Tom Snyder born
1937
Comedian George Carlin born
1937
George VI was crowned king of England, succeeding his brother Edward, who abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
1938
Andrei Amalrik, Soviet author, historian and political dissident. He achieved worldwide fame with the publication in 1970 of his provocative essay ``Will The Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?.'' born
1938
Actress Millie Perkins born
1939
Former White House press secretary Ronald L. Ziegler born
1942
Country singer Billy Swan born
1943
Actress Linda Dano born
1943
During World War Two, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered.
1945
Musician Ian McLagan (Small Faces; The Faces) born
1948
Actress Lindsay Crouse born
1948
Singer-musician Steve Winwood born
1949
The Soviet Union announced an end to the Berlin Blockade.
1950
Actor Gabriel Byrne born
1950
Actor Bruce Boxleitner born
1950
Singer Billy Squier born
1950
The American Bowling Congress abolished its white males-only membership restriction after 34 years.
1955
Country singer Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn) born
1955
Passengers crowded in to ride the last run of the Third Avenue elevated, "The El," in New York City. The train traveled from Chinatown to the Bronx.
1957
Baseball player Lou Whitaker born
1957
A.J. Foyt earned his first auto racing victory in Kansas City, Missouri. He went on to become a four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 -- in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977.
1957
Erich Von Stroheim, film actor and one of the silent screen's greatest directors, died. Films he directed included ``Greed'' and ``The Wedding March.''
1958
Actress Kim Greist born
1960
Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley exchanged hits when they appeared on the same TV special. Sinatra sang "Love Me Tender" and Elvis sang "Witchcraft.""
1961
Rock musician Billy Duffy (The Cult) born
1961
Actor Ving Rhames born
1962
Actor Emilio Estevez born
1962
France and independent French-speaking West African states initialed an agreement setting up a West African Monetary Union.
1965
Country musician Eddie Kilgallon (Ricochet) born
1965
West Germany and Israel exchanged letters establishing diplomatic relations.
1966
Actor Stephen Baldwin born
1967
John Masefield, English poet and, from 1930, poet laureate, died.
1969
Actress Kim Fields Freeman born
1970
The Senate voted unanimously to confirm Harry A. Blackmun as a Supreme Court justice.
1971
Actress Jamie Luner born
1973
Actor Mackenzie Astin born
1975
The White House announced the new Cambodian government had seized an American merchant ship, the "Mayaguez," in international waters.
1976
Singer Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm (Spice Girls) born
1976
Sixteen-year-old racing-jockey Steve Cauthen rode in his first race. He finished far back in the pack at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Cauthen got his first win just five days later.
1978
Actor Jason Biggs ("American Pie") born
1978
The Commerce Department said hurricanes would no longer be named exclusively after women.
1980
Maxie Anderson and his son, Chris were the first to make a non-stop balloon flight across North America in a 75-foot-high helium balloon - "The Kitty Hawk." They went from San Francisco to Quebec in 4 days, 2,200 miles.
1981
President Benjamin Sheares of Singapore died in office.
1982
In Fatima, Portugal, security guards overpowered a Spanish priest armed with a bayonet who was trying to reach Pope John Paul the Second.
1983
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 17-11 to approve the release of $625 million for development of the M-X missile that had been blocked by Congress.
1984
The 1984 Louisiana World Exposition began a six-month run in New Orleans. (The fair proved a financial disaster, with organizers forced to file for bankruptcy protection from its creditors.)
1985
Amy Eilberg was ordained in New York as the first woman rabbi in the Conservative Jewish movement.
1986
A Soviet government statement reported six deaths from burns and radiation in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
1987
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir rejected Foreign Minister Shimon Peres' proposal for an international Middle East peace conference, calling it "perverse and criminal." Peres angrily accused Shamir of arrogance.
1988
Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, meeting in Geneva, resolved nearly all remaining questions on an intermediate-range missile treaty.
1989
The nation's largest airline computer reservation system, the American Airlines Sabre system, shut down for nearly 12 hours -- disrupting the operations of thousands of travel agencies nationwide.
1989
Retired British pilot Jack Mann was kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists in Beirut. He was the oldest of the Westerners held hostage in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war.
1990
Three car bombs in Colombia killed 27 people as the country's drug barons appeared to switch to indiscriminate attacks in their war against the government.
1990
The presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania forged a united front by reviving a 1934 political alliance in hopes of enhancing their drive for independence from the Soviet Union.
1991
The moderate Nepali Congress won Nepal's first multi-party elections in 32 years.
1991
Syrian President Hafez Assad, meeting with U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, refused to yield on key demands for joining a Middle East peace conference.
1992
Four suspects were arrested in the beating of trucker Reginald Denny at the start of the Los Angeles riots.
1992
President Bush announced he would travel to the Earth Summit in Brazil.
1992
CIA Director Gates said he had begun declassifying all relevant information on the President Kennedy assassination to end the notion that the CIA was involved
1992
Actor Robert Reed of TV's "The Brady Bunch" died in Pasadena, California, at age 59.
1993
President Clinton proposed putting all money raised from new taxes and spending cuts into a trust fund dedicated solely to reducing the nation's huge budget deficit.
1993
Franco Nobili, the head of Italy's biggest state firm IRI, was arrested in Rome after a 15-month corruption probe.
1994
A token force of Palestinian police crossed the Jordan River in preparation for the end of 27 years of Israeli military rule in a West Bank enclave around Jericho.
1994
The Senate joined the House inpassing a bill banning blockades, violence and threats against clinics where abortions are performed.
1994
British Labor Party leader John Smith died unexpectedly at age 55.
1995
Actors Sullivan and Sawyer Sweeten ("Everybody Loves Raymond") born
1995
President Clinton, during a stopover in Ukraine, visited Babi Yar, the site where more than 30,000 Kiev Jews were massacred by the Nazis in 1941.
1996
Authorities in Florida called off the search for possible survivors from the crash of ValuJet Flight 592, a day after the jetliner nose-dived into the Everglades with 110 people on board
1997
At the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh, star prosecution witness Michael Fortier testified that McVeigh had
1997
India and Pakistan agreed to release each other's imprisoned nationals and to set up a telephone hotline to ease tensions.
1997
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov signed a peace accord promising to end 400 years of intermittent conflict.
1998
A day after India's first atomic test blasts in 24 years, neighboring Pakistan said it was ready to test a nuclear device itself. Indonesian President Suharto's security forces killed at least six student demonstrators.
1999
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin announced he was quitting in July. (He was succeeded by his deputy, Lawrence Summers.)
1999
Russian President Boris Yeltsin dismissed Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and the Cabinet.
2000
Adam Petty, 19, the fourth-generation driver of NASCAR's most famous family, died in a crash during practice for the Busch 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
2000
During visits to Ohio and Minnesota, President Clinton called for open trade with China, saying it would help the communist nation move closer to democracy.
2005
Millions worldwide still in slavery
2005
Dog laws strengthened in Virginia county
2005
Serbia and Montenegro: Red Star advances to cup finals
2005
European MEPs abolish right to opt-out of Working Time Directive
2005
Security flaws in Mozilla Firefox internet browser fixed
2005
U.S. Senator Voinovich allows Bolton nomination to pass to full Senate vote
2005
Gaza settlers protest planned pull-out
2005
Former U.S. Homeland Security chief defends Canada border security
2005
U.S. Senate: U.K. and French politicians were allocated Iraqi oil
2006
Australian emergency telephone service lost in Southern NSW, ACT
2006
Giorgio Napolitano elected Italian president
2006
Israeli gasoline supplier to Palestinians cuts supply
2006
Exiled Chagos islanders win right to return home
2006
Judge suspends California High School Exit Exam requirement
2006
USA Today reports NSA obtained call logs from communications companies
2006
Oil pipeline explodes in Nigeria; 200 feared dead
2006
Calls for corporate tax reform in Australia goes unheeded
2006
Jihadis still work online
2006
Palestinians get interim aid
2007
Object that fell through roof of New Jersey home not a meteorite
2007
Ayatollah Emami-Kashani calls Americans 'murderers'
2007
Violence surrounds political rally in Pakistan
2007
Stevenage Borough win FA Trophy at Wembley Stadium
2007
Longest coffee table symbolises World Fair Trade Day in Belgium
2007
Tamil Nadu film 'Sivaji: The Boss' release date changes again
2007
President of Guinea submits to military
2007
Serbia wins Eurovision Song Contest 2007
2007
Two children witness woman being killed by a tiger
2007
Syrian democracy advocate Kamal Labwani jailed for 12 years
2008
UK opposition leader calls for Burma aid to be dispatched by air if access for aid workers does not improve
2008
Large earthquake hits central China
2008
Polish humanitarian Irena Sendler dies at age 98
2008
Dottie Rambo dies in tour bus crash
2008
Republic of Molossia announces new customs station
2008
Ben Folds performs at Western Connecticut State University
2008
British Airways Flight 38 suffered low fuel pressure; investigation continues
2009
NASA launches Space Shuttle Atlantis
2009
American journalist in Iran freed from prison
2009
44 dead and over 300,000 homeless after flooding in Brazil
2009
Jenson Button wins Spanish Grand Prix
2009
Former U.S. soldier convicted of raping Iraq teen, four murders
2010
Over 100 dead in Libyan plane crash
2010
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledges support for Afghanistan
2010
At least fourteen dead in Pakistan after drone strikes
2010
New Albertan Lieutenant Governor takes office
2010
Explosives investigation at US Embassy in Chile; Pakistani man detained
2011
Facebook hired PR firm to discredit Google, reveals leaked correspondence
2011
Campaigners angry at new British police tracking system
2011
Actress Mia Amber Davis dies aged 36
2011
Man commits suicide by jumping from Burj Khalifa
2012
News briefs: May 12, 2012
2012
Obama's new stance on same-sex marriage earns donations
2012
Nude unicyclist arrested near Houston, Texas
2013
Haitian cholera victims threaten United Nations with lawsuit
2013
Fifth Expo Gastronomía finishes in Caracas

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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