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Today in History

1866
Charles Elmer Hires invents root beer
1918
Sedition Act criminalizing criticism of the government passed (repealed in 1921)
1919
Pianist, actor and entertainer, Liberace born Wladziu Valentino Liberace in West Allis, Wisconsin
1953
Golden Globe Award winning actor, Pierce Brosnan, OBE, born in Drogheda, Ireland
1955
Four time Olympic Gold Medalist, gymnast Olga Korbut born in Hrodna, Belarus
1955
Soldier and Academy Award nominated actress, Debra Winger born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio
1959
Gong Show contestant, singer and Emmy Award winning actress, Mare Winningham born in Phoenix, Arizona
1963
First report on SNOBOL
1966
Dancer, songwriter and Grammy Award winning singer, Janet Jackson born in Gary, Indiana
1969
Soviet space craft Venera 5 lands on Venus
578
Death of St. Brendan the Voyager
1160
Death of St. Ubaldo
1164
Death of Hloise, at about 63
1265
Death of St. Simon Stock
1291
Moslems take the Maudite Tower of Acre
1527
The Medici government in Florence is overthrown; the Republic is re-established
1532
Thomas More resigns as Lord Chancellor of England
1620
Death of William Adams, "Anjin-sama", the first Englishman in Japan
1661
Delivery of the lead ballast for Charles II's yacht, the first built in England in the 'modern' fashion
1763
The English lexicographer, author and wit Samuel Johnson first met his future biographer, James Boswell.
1770
Marie Antoinette, age 14, married the future King Louis the 16th of France, who was 15.
1792
Venice, already a cultural center in the 18th century, opened a new opera house. The first performance at the "Teatro La Fenice" was an opera by Paisiello.
1801
William Seward, secretary of state whose purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million was called "Seward's Folly" born
1804
The French Senate declared Napoleon Bonaparte emperor.
1824
Banker Levi Morton, U.S. vice president under Benjamin Harrison born
1831
David Hughes, inventor of the microphone born
1849
Richard Wagner was in some serious trouble, when a warrant was issued for his arrest. The authorities in Dresden had gotten wind of the fact that Wagner, then running the local opera house, was hanging out with revolutionaries. Wagner fled.
1866
Congress authorized minting of the 5-cent piece. On its face was a shield, while on the reverse was the number 5. (the silver half-dime was used up to this point).
1868
The US Senate failed by one vote to convict President Andrew Johnson as it took its first ballot on one of eleven articles of impeachment against him.
1871
U.S. Marines landed in Korea in an unsuccessful attempt to open the country to foreign trade.
1881
The first electric tram went into public service in German, near Berlin.
1888
Emile Berliner gave the first demonstration of flat disc recording and reproduction before the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
1903
George Wyman of San Francisco became the first person to cross the United States in a motorized vehicle -- a 1.5 horsepower motorcycle (most lawn mowers have more power than that.)
1905
Actor Henry Fonda in Grand Island, Nebraska. Fonda won an Oscar for best actor in "On Golden Pond." In 1940, he was nominated for his performance in "Grapes of Wrath."" born
1910
U.S. Bureau of Mines was authorized by Congress.
1912
Author Studs Terkel born
1913
Band leader Woody Herman born
1917
Actor George Gaynes born
1919
Entertainer Liberace born
1920
Joan of Arc was canonized in Rome.
1921
Actor Harry Carey Junior born
1929
The first Academy Awards were presented during a banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The movie "Wings" won "best production" while Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor were named best actor and best actress.
1930
Jazz singer Betty Carter born
1944
Jazz musician Billy Cobham born
1946
The musical "Annie Get Your Gun" opened on Broadway.
1948
The body of CBS News correspondent George Polk was found in Solonika Bay in Greece, a week after he'd disappeared.
1953
Actor Pierce Brosnan born
1955
Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut born
1955
Actress Debra Winger born
1955
American author and critic James Agee died in New York.
1960
A Big Four summit conference in Paris collapsed on its opening day as the Soviet Union leveled spy charges against the United States in the wake of the U-2 incident.
1961
Tennis star Yannick Noah born
1963
U.S. astronaut Gordon Cooper in his Mercury-Atlas craft splashed down near Midway in the Pacific after orbiting the Earth 22 times in a mission lasting just over 34 hours.
1965
The musical play "The Roar of the Greasepaint -- the Smell of the Crowd," by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, opened on Broadway.
1966
Singer Janet Jackson born
1968
Rhythm-and-blues singer Ralph Tresvant (New Edition) born
1969
The unmanned Soviet spacecraft Venus-5 landed on the surface of Venus.
1969
Actress Tracey Gold born
1970
Tennis player Gabriela Sabatini born
1971
Country singer Rick Trevino born
1971
Musician Simon Katz (Jamiroquai) born
1971
First Class Mail raised from 6 cents to 8 cents.
1971
Actor David Boreanaz ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") born
1973
Actress Tori Spelling born
1974
Helmut Schmidt was sworn in as the new chancellor of West Germany, after the resignation of Willy Brandt.
1975
Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
1977
Five people were killed when a New York Airways helicopter, idling atop the Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan, toppled over, sending a huge rotor blade flying.
1980
"Keep Music Live!" With that slogan, musicians boycotted the British Broadcast Corporation. The BBC scaled back plans to disband several regional orchestras after two months of broadcasting only records. Europe still has a lot of state-sponsored radio orchestras.
1983
The Lebanese Parliament and the Israeli Knesset voted to approve a U.S.-sponsored accord calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops, including Israeli forces, from Lebanon. (Agreement signed the next day.)
1984
The U.S. House of representatives approved a compromise allowing production of only 15 of the 40 MX missiles which President Reagan had called for -- and only if the Soviet Union failed to return to arms talks by the following April.
1985
The president of El Salvador, Jose Napoleon Duarte, visited President Reagan at the White House to talk about attempts to negotiate peace with leftist rebels.
1985
Michael Jordan was named Rookie of the Year in the National Basketball Association. Jordan, of the Chicago Bulls, had been chosen as the number three draft pick.
1986
The Labor Department reported that the Producer Price Index fell six-tenths of 1 percent in April 1986, to its lowest level in nearly two-and-a-half years.
1987
Kentucky Derby winner "Alysheba" captured the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. (However, Alysheba fell short in the Belmont Stakes, failing to become the first Triple Crown champion since "Affirmed.")
1988
Surgeon General C. Everett Koop released a report declaring nicotine was addictive in ways similar to heroin and cocaine.
1988
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled police can search discarded garbage without a search warrant.
1989
During his visit to Beijing, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev met with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, formally ending a 30-year rift between the two Communist powers.
1990
Death claimed entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. in Los Angeles at age 64
1990
Muppets creator Jim Henson died at the age of 53.
1990
Hungarian prime minister-designate Jozsef Antall named a center-right coalition cabinet after 40 years of Communist rule.
1991
Queen Elizabeth the Second became the first British monarch to address the United States Congress.
1991
Secretary of State James A. Baker III wrapped up his latest Mideast visit in Israel without an agreement for Arab-Israeli peace talks.
1992
Actress Marlene Dietrich, who had died in Paris at age 90, was buried in Berlin.
1992
"America3" ("America Cubed"), skippered by Bill Koch, won the 28th defense of the America's Cup.
1992
The space shuttle "Endeavour" completed its maiden voyage with a safe landing in the California desert.
1993
A two-day Bosnian Serb referendum on a UN-backed peace plan ended, with voters rejecting the proposai by a wide margin.
1994
Israel began its final withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, shutting down the prison and military headquarters where Israeli soldiers had been in charge since the 1967 Middle East War.
1995
The Clinton administration threatened punitive tariffs that would double the prices for Japan's most popular luxury cars.
1995
Japanese police arrested doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara, holding him in connection with the nerve-gas attack on Tokyo's subways two months earlier.
1996
Admiral Jeremy "Mike" Boorda, the nation's top Navy officer, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after some of his military awards were called into question.
1997
The space shuttle "Atlantis" docked with Russia's "Mir" station.
1997
President Clinton publicly apologized for the notorious Tuskegee experiment, in which government scientists deliberately allowed black men to weaken and die of treatable syphilis.
1997
In Zaire, President Mobutu Sese Seko ended 32 years of autocratic rule, giving control of the country to rebel forces.
1998
"Silver Charm" won the Preakness, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby. (However, Silver Charm subsequently lost the Belmont Stakes to "Touch Gold.")
1999
The Justice Department said preliminary figures from the FBI indicated a decline in serious crime in 1998 for the seventh consecutive year.
2000
The Federal Reserve raised its federal funds rate by one-half point, the biggest increase in five years.
2000
The New York Democratic Party, meeting in Albany, nominated first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for the US Senate.
2000
A large study in Finland found evidence that people who ate fish less than once a week ran a 31% higher chance of mild to severe depression than people who ate it more often. According to psychiatrist Dr. Antti Tanskanen of the University of Kuopio in Finland, it is possibly because fish contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFA.
2000
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas resigned from United Press International, a day after the wire service was sold to the parent firm of The Washington Times.
2005
Police find owner of Wendy's chili finger
2005
Croatian local elections: results pending
2005
Citizen "podcasting" goes mainstream Citizen
2005
Hundreds of people gather in support of Mikhail Khodorkovsky
2006
Australian man caught driving with no licence twice in one day
2006
India postpones test-firing of Agni-III ballistic missile
2006
UN releases list of "10 stories the world should hear more about"
2006
Flooding ravages Northeastern United States
2006
BellSouth denies phone records were handed over to the NSA
2006
Ex-Indian diplomat's passport revoked
2006
Man mistakenly interviewed live on BBC News 24
2006
U.S. restores full diplomatic relations with Libya
2006
Ayaan Hirsi Ali leaves Dutch Parliament
2006
7.4 magnitude hits Pacific near New Zealand
2006
Wuerl appointed Washington, D.C.'s new bishop
2006
New Zealand Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet employee named as Telecom mole
2006
Settlement returns billions to California schools funding
2006
Bi-directional Censorship from the Great Firewall of China
2006
Australia won't take back spent uranium
2006
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party proposes human rights bill for great apes
2006
Trawler sinks in Foveaux Strait, three generations killed
2007
Thomson Corporation and Reuters agree to merge
2007
New York couple keeps Indonesian women as slaves
2007
Media speculate over possible presidential bid by Michael Bloomberg
2007
Khamenei OKs talks with US on Iraq
2007
Sarkozy succeeds Chirac as president of France
2007
6.3 earthquake rocks Laos
2007
Prince Harry prohibited from going to Iraq
2007
Jackson County, Oregon rejects tax to reopen libraries
2007
Michael Nutter wins Philadelphia, USA mayoral primary
2007
Martin Luther King Jr.'s oldest daughter Yolanda King dies at age 51
2008
Guards at Nova Scotia jail refuse to work after asbestos discovery
2008
Official Myanmar death toll increases to 78,000
2008
California Supreme Court strikes down ban on gay marriage
2008
Young Designers' Exhibition to interact with the world
2008
Predictable random number generator discovered in the Debian version of OpenSSL
2008
Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds
2008
Red Cross says 100 dead after roadworks trigger pipeline explosion in Nigeria
2008
German Football: Lahm signs contract with Bayern Munich until 2012
2008
Zimbabwe presidential run-off date set
2008
Germany selects squad for Euro 2008
2009
Norway wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2009
2009
France pledges twelve million Euro in aid to Pakistan
2009
Japan's opposition chooses new leader
2009
German GDP drops by 3.8%, largest decline in 40 years
2009
Nearly three million contraband cigarettes seized by Canadian and U.S. authorities
2009
Car bomb kills 11 in Pakistan
2010
Metal singer Ronnie James Dio dies aged 67
2010
UK Foreign Secretary meets US Secretary of State in Washington, D.C.
2010
Efforts to cap Deepwater Horizon oil spill delayed again
2010
Canadian military aircraft escort airliner after bomb threat
2010
Hong Kong by-elections start
2011
Police warn of possible bomb threat in central London

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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