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Today in History

1922
Tony and Emmy Award winning comedian, singer and actress, Beatrice Arthur born in New York City
1939
First commercial FM radio station, WDRC
1939
US Marine, court clerk and Academy Award winning actor, Harvey Keitel born in Brooklyn, New York
1950
Grammy Award winning Rock & Roll Hall of Fame songwriter, musician and singer, Stevie Wonder born in Saginaw, Michigan
1960
Model and actress Julianne Phillips born in Lake Oswego, Oregon
1960
31 students arrested at UC Berkely while protesting a visit by House Committee on Un-American Activities
1961
NBA Champion basketball player, Dennis Rodman born in Trenton, New Jersey
1967
Actress Susan Floyd born in Cincinnati, Ohio
1977
Oscar-nomiated actress Samantha Morton born in Nottingham, England
1028
Death of St. Euthymius the Enlightener
1191
Richard I of England and King Guy of Jerusalem attack Cyprus
1501
Amerigo Vespucci departs Lisbon on the voyage that gets the New World named after him
1515
Mary, sister of King Henry VIII of England, widow of King Louis XII of France, marries Charles, Duke of Suffolk, against her brother's wishes, in England
1568
Mary, Queen of Scots was defeated by the English at the battle of Langside in Glasgow.
1572
Election of Pope Gregory XIII
1619
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, statesman and founding father of the Netherlands, was executed by Prince Maurice of Nassau on a charge of subverting religion.
1648
Margaret Jones, of Plymouth, Mass., found guilty of witchcraft
1717
Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, in Vienna. born
1767
John VI of Portugal. He ruled first as prince regent (1799-1816) and then as king (1816-26), and formally acknowledged Brazil's independence in 1825. born
1787
The first fleet of ships carrying convicts to the new penal colony of Australia left England. They arrived the following January.
1830
The Republic of Ecuador was founded, with Juan Jose Flores as president.
1833
Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony was premiered in London.
1835
John Nash, British architect who developed Regent's Park and Regent Street in London, died.
1835
The first foreign embassy in Hawaii is established.
1842
Sir Arthur Sullivan, English composer who together with librettist W.S. Gilbert wrote such operettas as ``The Mikado,'' ``The Pirates of Penzance'' and ``The Gondoliers,'' born.
1846
The U.S. Congress formally declared war on Mexico over California, although fighting had begun days earlier.
1856
Peter Henry Emerson, first photographer to promote photography as an independent art. born
1871
Daniel Auber died in Paris at the age of 89. Auber, born in Normandy while Beethoven was still a lad, was a master of the French comic opera. Even Wagner praised his music. But by the time Auber died his music was all but forgotten outside of France.
1882
French painter Georges Braque. He worked closely with Pablo Picasso, jointly creating the movement known as Cubism. born
1884
Institute for Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) founded
1884
Cyrus Hall McCormick, U.S. industrialist and inventor, died. He is generally credited with the development of the mechanical harvester.
1888
Brazil's parliament agreed to abolish slavery.
1907
British novelist Daphne du Maurier (Lady Browning), granddaughter of novelist George Browning and best known for her novel "Rebecca." born
1913
William R. Tolbert Jr, Liberian president from 1972 until he died in a coup in 1980. born
1914
Boxing champion Joe Louis (Joseph Louis Barrow) in Lafayette, Alabama. World heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 until 1949 when he retired. born
1917
Three peasant children near Fatima, Portugal, reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.
1918
The first US airmail stamps, featuring a picture of an airplane, were introduced. (On some of the stamps, the airplane was printed upside-down, making them collector's items.)
1926
Actress Beatrice Arthur born
1927
Critic Clive Barnes born
1927
Director-choreographer Herbert Ross born
1930
Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian Arctic explorer and diplomat, died. He headed Norway's team at the League of Nations and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922
1939
Actor Harvey Keitel born
1940
In his first speech as prime minister of Britain, Winston Churchill told the House of Commons, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
1941
Martin Bormann became deputy leader of German's Nazi party following Rudolf Hess's mysterious flight to Scotland.
1943
The Italian commander-in-chief in Tunisia surrendered a day after his German counterpart, with the Allies holding some 250,000 prisoners of war.
1949
The first British-produced jet bomber, the Canberra, made its maiden test flight.
1949
Actor Franklin Ajaye born
1950
Singer Stevie Wonder born Steveland Hardaway Judkins
1954
The musical play "The Pajama Game" opened on Broadway.
1954
President Eisenhower signed into law the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act.
1958
Vice President Nixon's limousine was battered by rocks thrown by anti-US demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.
1958
French nationalists in Algeria rebelled against their government's policy of doing a deal with Algerian rebels, seizing government buildings and taking over several towns.
1961
Baseball player Dennis Rodman born
1961
U.S. film actor Gary Cooper, who won Oscars for his roles in ``Sergeant York'' and ``High Noon,'' died at 60.
1962
Actress Julianne Phillips born
1965
Israel and West Germany agreed to establish diplomatic relations. Several Arab nations broke ties with Germany.
1965
Country singer Lari White born
1966
Singer Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish) born
1968
Actress Susan Floyd ("Then Came You") born
1968
Talks between North Vietnamese and American negotiators, aimed at ending the Vietnam War, opened in Paris.
1977
Actress Samantha Morton ("Sweet and Lowdown") born
1981
Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca wounded Pope John Paul in St. Peter's Square.
1985
11 people died when a Philadelphia police helicopter bombed the fortified house of a radical organization, MOVE, to end a 24-hour siege. The ensuing fire destroyed 53 homes.
1986
Austrian author Stefan Zweig's prized possessions were bequeathed to the British Library. Among them: a Freud article on Mozart, a Bach cantata, and Haydn's 97th Symphony.
1987
President Reagan said his personal diary confirmed that he'd talked with Saudi Arabia's King Fahd about Saudi help for the Nicaraguan Contras at a time when Congress banned military aid -- but Reagan said he did not solicit secret contributions.
1988
The US Senate voted 83-to-6 to order the US military to enter the war against illegal drug trafficking, approving a plan to give the Navy the power to stop drug boats on the high seas and make arrests.
1989
In unusually strong language, President Bush called on the people of Panama and the country's defense forces to overthrow their military leader, General Manuel Antonio Noriega.
1990
Rebels seized the state radio station on the Indian Ocean island republic of Madagascar, but the government quickly regained control after the coup attempt failed to secure mass support.
1990
Two U.S. airmen were shot to death in the Philippines on the eve of talks concerning the future of U.S. military bases; the revolutionary New People's Army claimed responsibility.
1991
South African black activist Winnie Mandela and two co-defendants were convicted of abducting four young black men and keeping them at her Soweto home. (After an appeal, Mrs. Mandela was ordered to pay a fine.)
1992
A trio of astronauts from the space shuttle "Endeavour" captured a wayward Intelsat-Six communications satellite during the first-ever three-person spacewalk.
1992
President Bush announced a $600 million loan package to help rebuild riot-scarred Los Angeles.
1993
The Strategic Defense Initiative (''Star Wars''), the futuristic defense program initiated by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, was downgraded by the Pentagon.
1993
Ezer Weizman was sworn in as Israel's seventh president. His uncle Chaim Weizmann was the first president at Israel's founding in 1948.
1993
The House Ways and Means Committee gave final approval to President Clinton's deficit-cutting package, containing a tax increase of $246 billion over five years.
1993
In suburban Paris, a masked man armed with dynamite took a roomful of nursery school children hostage, demanding $18.5 million. (The man was shot to death by a crack police unit two days later).
1994
Foreign ministers from the West and Russia agreed on a new joint strategy to relaunch Bosnian peace negotiations.
1994
President Clinton nominated federal appeals Judge Stephen G. Breyer to the US Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
1994
Palestinian police took over control of Jericho from Israeli soldiers.
1995
Army Captain Lawrence Rockwood was convicted at his court-martial in Fort Drum, N.Y., of conducting an unauthorized investigation of reported human rights abuses at a Haitian prison (the next day, Rockwood was dismissed from the military, but received no prison time).
1996
Over 600 people were killed by a tornado in the northern Bangladesh district of Tangail.
1996
Recovery workers in the Florida Everglades retrieved the flight data recorder from ValuJet Flight 592.
1996
Thousands of Liberian war refugees, many ill after a week at sea, were refused admission to the Ghanaian port of Takoradi.
1996
The Supreme Court unanimously struck down Rhode Island's ban on ads that list or refer to liquor prices, saying the law violated free-speech rights.
1997
At the Oklahoma City bombing trial, prosecutors showed jurors the key to the Ryder truck used to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, alleging Timothy McVeigh left it behind in the same alley he picked to stash his getaway car.
1998
President Clinton ordered harsh sanctions against an unapologetic India, which had gone ahead with a second round of nuclear tests despite global criticism.
1999
Russian lawmakers opened hearings on whether President Boris Yeltsin should be impeached. (The lower chamber of parliament ended up rejecting all five charges raised against Yeltsin, including one accusing him of starting the Chechen War.)
1999
Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist Meg Greenfield died in Washington at age 68.
2000
Explosions at a fireworks warehouse in the Netherlands killed 22 people and injured nearly one-thousand others.
2005
Irish inflation back on the rise
2005
Bundestag approves EU Constitution
2005
Uzbekistan protesters under fire after prison break
2005
Pope Benedict XVI begins process for sainthood of Pope John Paul II
2005
New York City Henry Hudson highway retaining wall collapses
2005
Microsoft Internet Explorer market share drops below 90 percent in U.S.
2005
Protests spread in Afghanistan
2006
Native Hawaiian sovereignty bill to be debated in U.S. Senate in June
2006
Merapi roars, compulsory evacuation ordered
2006
Liverpool win an exciting FA Cup final
2006
More SKY TV problems, NZ
2006
Full text of Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush made available online
2007
Italian Geographic Society's 140th anniversary
2007
Reports: Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah killed in Afghanistan
2007
Five members of US patrol killed; Three missing in Iraq
2007
Tamil Nadu film 'Sivaji: The Boss' may have a delayed release in Kerala
2007
Iceland's government coalition keeps majority
2007
UK fighters confront Russian bombers over international waters
2007
Felipe Massa wins Spanish Grand Prix
2007
Canada wins Men's World Hockey championships in Moscow, defeating Finland 4-2
2007
Gilles Duceppe drops out of Parti Québécois leadership race
2008
Pakistan's coalition government faces split
2008
Five of six accused over 9/11 to be tried; charges against '20th hijacker' dropped
2008
HP to aquire EDS for 13.9B
2008
Wikimedia Foundation receives copyright infringement claim from Mormon Church
2008
Moldovan wines win three medals at contest in Bordeaux
2008
Car crash on A37 near Bristol, two dead
2008
Former Emir of Kuwait dies at age 78
2009
Man in UK convicted for having obese dog
2009
Violence in Somalia displaces over 27,000
2009
Assassinated lawyer accuses Guatemalan president from beyond grave
2010
India's Anand defends chess world championship title against Bulgarian challenger Topalov
2010
KKE: Interview with the Greek Communist Party
2010
Russia agrees to construct Turkish nuclear reactor
2010
Five hundred Euro note withdrawn from sale in UK
2010
Madagascar’s leader Andry Rajoelina ‘will not run in polls’
2010
Airport named after late Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua
2010
Canadian track and field coach Charlie Francis dies at age 61
2010
El Salvador suspended from world football by FIFA
2010
US Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan meets with senators on Capitol Hill
2011
Lockdown at Missouri university lifted as police apprehend suspected gunman
2013
'Django Unchained' returns to Chinese cinemas

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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