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Today in History

1618
Kepler confirms 3rd law of planetary motion
1856
Filmmaker, actor and author of The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum born in Chittenango, New York
1905
Actor Joseph Cotten born in Petersburg, Virginia
1910
Actress Constance Cummings born in Seattle, Washington
1936
Opera singer and Tony Award winning actress, Anna Maria Alberghetti born in Pesaro, Italy
1937
64th Secretary of State, Madeleine Korbel Albright born in Prague, Czechoslovakia
1957
Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb
1958
Soviet Union launches Sputnik 3
1960
Soviet Union launches Sputnik 4
1963
US launches Mercury 9
1978
Gold Medal winning Olympic gymnast Amy Chow born in San Jose, California
756
Abd al-Rahman proclaimed Emir of Cordoba
1004
Henry II, the last Saxon ruler of Germany, was crowned king of Lombardy following the defeat of Arduin of Ivrea. The city of Pavia rioted at the news.
1043
Death of St. Hallvard
1092
France
1174
Death of Nur-ed-Din
1213
John "Lackland", King of England, submits to the Pope
1464
Hexham (Final victory of York over Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses in England)
1501
Ottaviano Petrucci of Venice founded the first modern-style music publishing house. By producing the first book of music made from movable type.
1547
Charles V gives Saxony to Maurice (of Saxony)
1559
The Bishops of England summoned to take the Oath of Supremacy
1567
Mary, Queen of Scots, married James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh just three months after the assassination of her former husband, King Henry.
1591
Murder of Dimitri Ivanovitch, son of Czar Ivan IV
1602
Cape Cod was discovered by English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold.
1614
Treaty of St. Menehould
1618
Johannes Kepler discovers his harmonics law
1641
Triennial Act
1718
James Puckle, a London lawyer, patented the world's first machine gun.
1800
King George III escaped assassination twice. Once a bullet meant for him killed another man, and another time when he went to the theater two bullets missed his head. Unshaken, he told the performers to continue ... and later fell asleep.
1847
Daniel O'Connell, Irish Catholic leader known as "The Liberator," died in Italy. By his win in an 1828 election in County Clare, he forced the British government to accept Roman Catholics in parliament.
1856
American newspaperman and author Lyman Frank Baum was born in Chittenango, New York. His most famous book is "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". born
1858
Alexander Borodin won his doctorate in chemistry. His dissertation was "On the Analogy of Arsenic with Phosphoric Acid."
1859
Pierre Curie, French chemist and physicist. Together with his wife, Marie, he worked on magnetism and radioactivity. born
1860
Giuseppe Garibaldi with 1,000 volunteers heavily defeated the superior Neapolitan army under General Landi at the Battle of Calatafimi.
1862
The U.S. Agriculture Bureau became a separate entity by an act "to establish a Department of Agriculture."
1886
Emily Dickinson, U.S. poet, died in Amherst, Massachusetts. She wrote at least 800 poems, all but five of which remained unpublished until after her death.
1905
Actor Joseph Cotten. Notable in the films "Citizen Kane," "The Third Man" and "Portrait of Jennie." born
1909
James Mason, British film actor, born. Among his best-known films were "Odd Man Out," "The Desert Fox" and "Lolita." born
1910
Actress Constance Cummings born
1911
Novelist and critic Max Frisch. Frisch was one of Europe's leading post-World War II literary figures. born
1911
The Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of Standard Oil Company, ruling it was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
1916
In Italy, Austrian troops took Asiago during an attack on the Italian front along the Trentino.
1918
Country singer Eddy Arnold born
1918
The first regular Air Mail service was established from Washington, D.C., to New York City.
1920
Igor Stravinsky, famous, successful and acclaimed for "Firebird" and "Rite of Spring", left that composing style behind on this day, when "Pulcinella" premiered in Paris. Based on melodies by Baroque composers, "Pulcinella" had sharp lines and witty orchestration.
1923
Photographer Richard Avedon born
1926
Playwright Anthony Shaffer ("Sleuth") born
1926
Playwright Peter Shaffer ("Equus;" "Amadeus") born
1926
The New York Rangers became the newest franchise to be awarded by the National Hockey League. Two years later, the Rangers won their first Stanley Cup.
1928
The Australian Flying Doctor service was inaugurated by Dr. Vincent Welsh at Australian Inland Mission, Cloncurry, Queensland.
1930
Artist Jasper Johns born
1930
Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard a United Airlines flight between San Francisco and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
1934
Karlis Ulmanis seized dictatorial power in a coup in Latvia.
1936
Playwright Paul Zindel born
1936
Actress-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti born
1936
Amy Johnson arrived in Croydon, England, after a record-breaking return flight from South Africa taking just four days, 16 hours.
1936
Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy born
1936
Actress Anna Maria Alberghetti born
1937
Singer Trini Lopez born
1937
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright born
1938
Singer Lenny Welch born
1940
Nylon stockings went on general sale for the first time in the United States.
1940
Actress-singer Lainie Kazan born
1940
The Dutch army surrendered to Nazi Germany.
1941
Joe DiMaggio began his record 56-game hitting streak by singling off Chicago White Sox pitcher Ed Smith in a game played at Yankee Stadium. (Yankees lost 13-1.)
1941
Britain's first jet-propelled aircraft, the Gloster-Whittle E.28/39, flew for the first time.
1942
Country singer K.T. Oslin born
1942
Gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.
1948
Hours after declaring its independence, the new state of Israel was attacked by Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
1948
Singer-songwriter Brian Eno born
1951
Actor Chazz Palminteri born
1953
Baseball player George Brett born
1953
World heavyweight champion, Rocky Marciano, collected his 44th pro boxing victory, knocking out former champ, Jersey Joe Walcott, at Chicago Stadium in two minutes, 25 seconds of the first round.
1955
Actor Lee Horsley born
1955
The Vienna Treaty, signed by Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union, restored Austria's independence.
1957
Britain dropped its first hydrogen bomb on Christmas Island in the Pacific.
1962
After five years on "Wagon Train," Robert Horton let his contract expire and left the popular television series. Robert Fuller replaced Horton as the trail scout who rode with wagon master, Chris Hale.
1963
US astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard "Faith Seven" on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program.
1969
Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas resigned amid a controversy over his past legal fees.
1970
Singer-rapper Prince Be (PM Dawn) born
1970
President Nixon appointed America's first two female generals: Colonels Elizabeth Hoisington and Anna Mae Mays.
1970
Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State University in Mississippi, were killed when police opened fire during student protests.
1972
Actor David Charvet ("Melrose Place") born
1972
George C. Wallace was shot by Arthur Bremer and left paralyzed while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in Laurel, Maryland.
1974
Rock musician Ahmet Zappa born
1978
Olymic gold-medal gymnast Amy Chow born
1978
Sir Robert Menzies, long-serving Australian prime minister, died. He was Liberal prime minister from 1939 to 1941 and then from 1949 to 1966.
1983
Israel and Jordan reached agreement on the text of a U.S.-sponsored accord under which Israel would withdraw its troops from Lebanon as soon as Syria and the PLO agreed to withdraw their forces.
1984
President Reagan hosted a formal welcoming ceremony at the White House for Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid before the two leaders began discussions on Central America and other issues.
1986
Searchers on Oregon's Mount Hood found two teen-age survivors of a hiking expedition that became trapped in a whiteout blizzard. Nine other climbers died.
1987
President Reagan told a gathering of out-of-town reporters at the White House he did not consider himself "mortally wounded" by the Iran-Contra affair. (The president got to relive his radio-announcer days when he complied with a reporter's request to read a promo for Nashville station WSM.)
1987
Rita Hayworth, American film actress and dancer, died. Best known for her roles in "Blood and Sand" and "Gilda."
1988
The Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces had entered the country.
1989
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrived in Beijing for the first Sino-Soviet summit in 30 years, a visit overshadowed by pro-democracy demonstrations led by Chinese students.
1990
Congressional leaders and Bush administration officials began a bipartisan summit on the fiscal 1991 budget and its deficit.
1990
"Portrait of Doctor Gachet" by Vincent Van Gogh sold for $82.5 million at Christies in New York smashing the previous world record for price paid of $53.9 million.
1991
President Bush took Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland Athletics. She left after two innings; the A's won, 6-3.
1991
Edith Cresson, a Socialist and former trade minister, became the first woman prime minister of France.
1992
A judge in Los Angeles ordered police officer Laurence Powell retried on a charge of excessive force in the beating of Rodney King (however, the charge was eventually dropped).
1992
Opposition Popular Front forces in Azerbaijan swept President Ayaz Mutalibov from power only a day after parliament reinstated him.
1993
"Prairie Bayou" won the Preakness.
1993
French police rescued six schoolgirls and a teacher after a 46-hour hostage drama at a Paris suburban school, shooting to death a man with 16 sticks of dynamite strapped to his body.
1993
Bosnian Serbs began voting in a two-day referendum that overwhelmingly rejected a UN-backed peace plan.
1994
Supreme Court nominee Stephen G. Breyer arrived in Washington to spend the night at the White House, while Republicans joined Democrats in predicting swift Senate confirmation.
1995
Dow Corning Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing potentially astronomical expenses from liability lawsuits.
1995
China conducted an underground nuclear test just days after it had agreed to an extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
1996
Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole announced he was leaving the Senate after 27 years to challenge President Clinton full-time.
1996
Right-wing leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee became India's first Hindu nationalist prime minister after his Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the largest single party in a hung parliament.
1997
Space shuttle "Atlantis" blasted off on a mission to deliver urgently needed repair equipment and a fresh American astronaut to Russia's orbiting "Mir" station.
1997
Attorney General Janet Reno requested the death penalty for Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski. (However, under an arrangement in which he admitted his guilt, Kaczynski later agreed to be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
1998
Trapped in blazing shopping malls, hundreds of looters burned to death in rioting that laid smoking waste to Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.
1999
Russian President Boris Yeltsin triumphed over his Communist foes, surviving an impeachment vote in the Russian parliament.
1999
Charismatic won the Preakness, finishing 1 lengths ahead of Menifee.
2000
George W. Bush proposed letting Americans invest Social Security taxes in the stock market, appealing for support from the millions of people who have thrived in a booming market. Presidential rival Al Gore condemned the idea as a dangerous gamble that would turn the solemn obligations of the 65-year-old retirement plan into "a system of winners and losers."
2000
More than two decades after a study in rats prompted scientists to link saccharin to human cancer, the federal government dropped the artificial sweetener from its list of cancer-causing chemicals.
2000
United Press International was sold to the parent company of The Washington Times.
2000
By a five-to-four vote, the US Supreme Court threw out a key provision of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, saying that rape victims could not sue their attackers in federal court.
2005
Jansa reelected President of Slovenian Democratic Party
2005
Local elections held in Croatia
2005
Uzbeks fleeing across border to seek refuge
2005
Kahne takes Checkered Flag at Richmond
2005
MPAA sues six BitTorrent sites linking to TV shows
2005
Ethiopians vote amid opposition charges of fraud
2005
Pilot gets six months for smuggling Chinese immigrants
2006
Australian senator to oppose petrol deregulation
2006
Satellite phone subsidy to be extended in Australia
2006
Wave of attacks strike policemen in Brazil
2006
Australian Mitchell Dean wins Honolulu Triathlon
2006
Saddam Hussein's trial resumes, ex-Iraqi President formally charged
2006
Michigan woman kidnapped in 1976 found alive in Arizona
2006
Honolulu police shoot gunman in standoff
2006
Mass evictions from Oakland's public housing
2007
The Taj Mahal turning yellow due to pollution
2007
US commuter rail accident in Pennsylvania injures over 30
2007
Virgin Media investors want to discuss company's strategy
2007
Immediate life insurance website launched, first in world
2007
India's Assam state hit by fresh violence
2007
Televangelist Jerry Falwell dies at age 73
2007
PayPal receives banking licence
2007
Pakistan: Explosion rocks provincial town
2007
Microsoft claims 235 patent breaches by open source software
2007
Penguin swims ashore in Peru
2007
Newcastle United appoint Sam Allardyce
2007
Creator of G.I. Joe action figure to create a line of Bible-themed toys
2007
Japanese boy brings severed head of his mother to police station
2008
Former judge calls for Cherie Blair's resignation
2008
Russia launches Progress spacecraft to resupply Space Station
2008
Child virus outbreak reaches Beijing
2008
Finnair negotiating possible partnership with major Indian airlines
2008
University hosting panel continues discussion on Wikipedia ethics without Wikimedia
2008
British Columbia helicopter crash kills 4
2008
Clinton wins West Virginia Democratic primary
2009
Sri Lankan president promises to end war in 48 hours
2009
After uncertain day of Eurovision rehearsals, EBU will place sanctions on Spain and RTVE
2009
Mexico presents first population-wide genome map for a Latin country
2009
ESA launches Herschel Space Observatory and Planck Satellite
2009
U.S. automaker GM plans to close 1,100 dealerships
2010
UK PM Cameron and Scottish First Minister Salmond meet in Edinburgh
2010
European airline Ryanair fined over ash-triggered flight cancellations
2010
Australian rules football: Leongatha upset Traralgon in round six of Gippsland Football League season
2010
Google mistakenly collects private data from Wi-Fi networks
2010
IMF approves US$1.13 billion loan to Pakistan
2010
VI Congress of Mayors and Councilors of the O'Higgins Region takes place in Pichilemu, Chile
2010
California governor Schwarzenegger presents new budget plan
2010
Spanish judge suspended over abuse of power charges
2010
Jessica Watson becomes youngest solo sailor to sail the world
2010
Colegio Preciosa Sangre, Pichilemu, amidst other Chilean schools celebrate Student's Day
2011
Solar-powered airplane makes first international flight
2011
Azerbaijan win Eurovision Song Contest
2011
IMF head remains in New York prison; charged over alleged hotel sex attack

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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