[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

1607
First English colony in America founded at Jamestown Island, Virginia
1804
Lewis and Clark set out from St Louis
1944
Actress Francesca Annis born in London, England
1944
69-time Academy Award nominated director, producer, and screenwriter, George Lucas born in Modesto, California
1948
Nation of Israel founded
1948
Actress Meg Foster born in Reading, Pennsylvania
1952
Academy and Golden Globe Award winning director, Robert Lee Zemeckis born in Chicago, Illinois
1953
Humanitarian, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and Juno Award winner, Tom Cochrane born in Lynn Lake, Manitoba
1961
Actor and director Tim Roth born in London, England
1973
Skylab, first U.S. space station, launched
637
Death of St. Carthage
964
Death of Pope John XII, unshriven, in the arms of his mistress
1004
Coronation of Henry II as Holy Roman Emperor
1080
Massacre of Bishop Walcher of Lorraine and his retinue
1264
English barons under Simon de Montfort heavily defeated forces under Henry III at the battle of Lewes.
1295
Death of (St.) Gil of Santarem
1316
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, born. King of Bohemia from 1346 to 1378, he became emperor in 1355. born
1494
Columbus discovers Jamaica
1509
The French defeated the Venetians at the battle of Agnadello in Italy in the War of the League of Cambrai.
1553
Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre born
1587
James VI, King of Scots, invites his nobles to a banquet at Holyrood, to try to persuade them to keep the King's Peace with each other
1607
Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in North America, was founded near the James River in Virginia.
1608
Death of Charles "the Great," King of Lorraine
1610
Henry IV of France, the first Bourbon king, was assassinated by religious fanatic Francois Ravaillac in Paris.
1634
First property tax general law in America signed by Massachusetts governor
1638
Imprisonment of the Abbe of St. Cyran, by Richelieu
1643
Death of Louis XIII, King of France. Louis XIV ascends the French throne at age 4, reigns until 1715
1686
The German physicist whose temperature scale bears his name, Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit. born
1727
English painter Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. One of his best known paintings is "The Blue Boy".
1787
Delegates began gathering in Philadelphia for a convention to draw up the U.S. Constitution.
1796
English physician Edward Jenner performed the first successful vaccination, inoculating an eight-year-old boy against smallpox and laying the foundation for modern immunology.
1804
The Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase left St. Louis. The expedition started up the Missouri in a 55 foot covered keelboat and two small craft.
1811
Paraguay proclaimed independence from Spain.
1847
HMS Driver arrived back at Spithead, southern England, after the first circumnavigation of the world by a steamship.
1853
Gail Borden applies for patent for making condensed milk.
1862
Adolphe Nicole of Switzerland patented the chronograph -- a timepiece that would allow for split-second timing of sporting events.
1878
The trademark name of Vaseline - for a brand of petroleum jelly - was registered by Robert A. Chesebrough - of Chesebrough-Pond's, USA, Co.
1885
Otto Klemperer, German musical director and conductor, in Breslau. In his early career he championed modern works. born
1897
As a statue of George Washington was unveiled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, John Philip Sousa's march, "The Stars and Stripes Forever," was performed for the first time. President McKinley attended the ceremony.
1900
The second Modern Olympic Games opened in Paris, with women allowed to take part for the first time.
1904
The Olympic Games were held in the United States, at St. Louis, Missouri.
1912
August Strindberg, influential Swedish playwright, died. Best known for "Miss Julie" and "The Father."
1913
John D. Rockefeller established the Rockefeller Foundation with a gift of $100,000,000 - the largest gift of money to that time. The foundation promotes "the well-being of mankind throughout the world.""
1919
Henry John Heinz, U.S. food manufacturer, died; his food company became famous for its slogan "57 varieties."
1921
Florence Allen became the first U.S. woman judge to sentence a man to death. Frank Motto was convicted of murder and executed on Aug. 20.
1925
Opera singer Patrice Munsel born
1928
Billy Martin, local boy who made good in baseball. born
1936
Edmund Allenby, British military commander, died; he directed the Palestine campaign in World War I.
1940
German bombers destroyed two thirds of the Dutch city of Rotterdam, killing almost 1,000 people and making at least 80,000 homeless.
1942
The Women's Auxiliary Army Corps was established. During World War II, women became eligible to enlist for non-combat duties in the WAAC by an act of Congress.
1942
Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" was first performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andre Kostelanetz, who had commissioned the work.
1943
Rock singer-musician (Cream) Jack Bruce born
1944
Singer Troy Shondell born
1944
Movie producer ("Star Wars") George Lucas born
1944
Actress Francesca Annis born
1945
Rock musician (The Young Rascals) Gener Cornish born
1948
The state of Israel was proclaimed at 4 p.m., eight hours before the British mandate in Palestine was to end.
1948
Actress Meg Foster born
1952
Rock artist (Talking Heads) David Byrne born
1952
Movie director ("Back to the Future") Robert Zemeckis born
1955
The Warsaw Pact was signed by the Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania.
1955
Representatives from eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, signed the Warsaw Pact in Poland. The Warsaw Pact was inspired by Nikita Khrushchev to strengthen the Soviet hold over it Eastern European allies.
1961
Actor Tim Roth. born
1962
Rock singer (The Cult) Ian Astbury born
1962
Princess Sophia of Greece married Don Juan Carlos of Spain.
1962
Rock musician (Poison) C.C. DeVille born
1963
Kuwait became the 111th member of the United Nations.
1964
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev joined United Arab Republic President Gamel Abdel Nasser in setting off charges, diverting the Nile River from the site of the Aswan High Dam project.
1965
Queen Elizabeth unveiled a memorial to the late U.S president John Kennedy on a field at Runnymede, the site west of London where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215.
1966
Rock musician (Alice in Chains) Mike Inez born
1968
Czechoslovakia's communist government announced widespread liberalizing reforms under leader Alexander Dubcek.
1969
Singer (New Kids on the Block) Danny Wood born
1971
Rapper (Lost Boyz) Freaky Tah born
1973
Singer Natalie Appleton (All Saints) born
1973
America's Skylab I space laboratory was launched into earth orbit by the last Saturn Five booster rocket.
1973
Singer Shanice born
1974
Dr. Donald Coggan was named Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeding Archbishop Michael Ramsey.
1975
U.S. forces raided the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and recaptured the American merchant ship "Mayaguez." All 40 crew members were released safely by Cambodia, but some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in the military operation.
1980
President Jimmy Carter inaugurated the Department of Health and Human Services, the successor to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
1983
Lebanese President Amin Gemayel's Cabinet voted unanimously to approve a U.S.-sponsored troop withdrawal agreement with Israel, despite Syrian rejection of the pact.
1984
The chairman of the Soviet Union's Olympic Committee told a Moscow news conference his country's decision to withdraw from the summer games in Los Angeles was "irrevocable."
1985
Secretary of State George P. Shultz raised human rights and arms control issues during a six-hour meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko at the Soviet Embassy in Vienna.
1985
The first McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, became the first museum of the fast-food business.
1986
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev said in a televised address that casualties from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster had risen to nine dead and 299 hospitalized, but said, "The worst is behind us.""
1987
Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka seized power in a bloodless military coup in Fiji.
1987
Actress Rita Hayworth died in New York at age 68.
1987
The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit had narrowed in March to $13.6 billion.
1988
Iraqi jets bombed the Seawise Giant -- the world's biggest ship -- and three other tankers at the Larak oil terminal in Iran on the Strait of Hormuz.
1988
Twenty-seven people, most of them teen-agers, were killed when their church bus collided with a pickup truck going the wrong way on a highway near Carrollton, Kentucky. (The driver of the truck, Larry Mahoney, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment.)
1989
Peronist leader Carlos Menem swept to power in Argentina, beating ruling Radical Party candidate Eduardo Angeloz.
1989
Tens of thousands demonstrated for democratic reforms in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on the eve of a visit to the country by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
1990
The Dow Jones industrial average hit a record 2,281.53 points.
1990
In separate decrees, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev declared that the republics of Estonia and Latvia had no legal basis for moving toward independence.
1991
President Bush announced his selection of Robert M. Gates to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
1991
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Washington to begin a two-week visit to the United States.
1991
42 people were killed in a train collision in western Japan.
1991
Jiang Qing, widow of Chinese Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong and leader of the 'Gang of Four', committed suicide.
1991
In South Africa, Winnie Mandela was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for complicity in the kidnapping and beating of four youths, one of whom died. She was freed pending appeal.
1992
Former football player Lyle Alzado died in Portland, Oregon, at age 43.
1992
Former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev appealed to the U.S. Congress, to pass a bill aiding the people of the former Soviet Union.
1993
American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst Jr., 85, died after a heart attack. He was editor-in-chief of Hearst Newspapers and chairman of the executive committee of the Hearst Corporation.
1993
President Clinton told a news conference his threat of military force to halt the war in the former Yugoslavia was "still on the table" despite opposition from European allies.
1994
Noisy parades and celebrations enveloped the 700-strong Palestinian police force as it patrolled Jericho on the first full day of Palestinian self-rule after nearly three decades of Israeli occupation.
1995
The Dalai Lama proclaimed six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, Tibet's second most senior spiritual leader.
1995
Myrlie Evers-Williams was sworn in to head the NAACP, pledging to lead the civil rights group away from its recent troubles and restore it as a political and social force.
1996
A jury in Pontiac, Michigan, acquitted Dr. Jack Kevorkian of assisted-suicide charges, his third legal victory in two years.
1997
Laurie Lee, who immortalized a sensual and earthy way of English country living in his classic novel "Cider with Rosie," died.
1997
Jurors at the Timothy McVeigh trial in Denver saw chilling black-and-white surveillance pictures of a Ryder truck moving toward the Oklahoma City federal building minutes before a bomb blew the place apart.
1998
Singer-actor Frank Sinatra died at a Los Angeles hospital at age 82.
1998
The Associated Press commemorated its 150th anniversary.
1998
The hit sitcom "Seinfeld" aired its final episode after nine years on NBC, and I've never seen a single episode.
1999
His previous calls rebuffed, President Clinton finally got through to Chinese President Jiang Zemin; Clinton expressed hope the two countries could repair the damage to their relations since the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.
2000
Former Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi died in Tokyo at age 62.
2000
Tens of thousands of mothers rallied in Washington to demand strict control of handguns.
2005
U.S. Senator calls for nationwide investigation into Army recruitment tactics
2005
Bikers begin descent on South Carolina resort for rallies
2005
Russian football club signs two Portugal internationals
2005
Al Jazeera announces English-language channel for 2006
2005
Uzbek president blames outlawed Islamist group for deaths
2005
U.S. Defense Secretary announces closures and expansions of military bases
2005
Kosovo's independence unacceptable for Serbian PM
2005
Serbia and Montenegro football: Partizan secures League title
2005
North and South Korea to meet next week
2005
Gaza settlers protest planned pullout
2005
Mexican president defends emigration
2006
Bulls clinch position in Super 14 rugby semi-finals
2006
Prison riot breaks out in Haiti
2006
Word 2007 will include blogging tools
2006
Alonso wins Spanish GP: fans are rejoicing
2006
Mohamed ElBaradei: Highly enriched uranium found in Iran is "of little significance"
2006
Fitzgerald to announce new evidence against Libby
2006
US continues to deny Red Cross access to all detainees
2006
Australian govt announces proposals for copyright update, allows private recording and transfer between media
2006
Greek soccer champions celebrate title win with Maradona
2006
ISO adopts Open Document Format
2007
German warship undergoes repairs after firing on itself
2007
Karachi, Pakistan shut down by strike
2007
FBI 'Ten Most Wanted' fugitive arrested in Montreal, Canada
2007
Renewed factional violence in Gaza; interior minister resigns
2007
Alaskan cruise ship evacuated
2007
Mullah Omar says his jihad to continue
2007
MuchMusic Video Award People's Choice nominees announced
2007
User-generated content, other high-bandwidth websites blocked for U.S. soldiers
2007
DaimlerChrysler to sell Chrysler Group for $7.4 Billion
2007
Australian cricket tour of Zimbabwe cancelled
2007
Smoke from massive warehouse fire in Buffalo, New York USA can be seen 40 miles away
2008
Coordinated series of bombs kills at least 80 in India
2008
Community forum held after attacks on Mormon teens in Arizona
2008
Bomb destroys Spanish police barracks and kills policeman in Basque Country
2008
Queen Elizabeth visits Turkey
2008
John Edwards endorses Barack Obama
2008
Chinese earthquake: Death toll reaches almost 15,000 as 'dangerous' cracks found in dam near city
2008
US says polar bears are threatened species
2008
Police exchange shots in South Melbourne, Australia
2009
Egyptian archaeologists announce discovery of marble statue and 132 new sites
2009
Flight simulation site Avsim 'destroyed' by hackers
2009
Guatemala arrests Twitter user for inciting financial panic
2009
U.S. automaker Chrysler wants to eliminate 789 dealerships
2009
Spain in danger of Eurovision disqualification after scheduling snafu at RTVE
2010
Russian meeting with Hamas provokes criticism from Israel
2010
Iraq electoral commission: No fraud found in vote recount
2010
Officials: Plot to kill Indonesian president foiled
2010
At least 21 dead after coal mine explosion in Chinese mine
2010
Moscow Metro attack suspects killed by police
2010
Russian citizen jailed for sending military intelligence to US
2010
Eight killed in Dagestan, Russia after ambush
2010
Nigerian ex-governor James Ibori arrested in Dubai
2010
Violence in Bangkok prompts closure of US embassy in Thailand
2010
Interim Kyrgyz government retakes buildings after violent protests
2010
Bomb blast at Iraqi football match kills 25, many wounded
2010
Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time
2012
Sydney's 'Angel of The Gap' dies after decades rescuing the suicidal
2012
Cyprus leader says no to second term
2012
Swedish man denies serial shootings
2012
Mexico authorities find over four dozen corpses
2013
Australian Treasurer hands down budget, announces two years of deficits
2013
National Rugby League Women in League Round celebrates sons

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.

Select a section