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Today in History

1503
Discovery Day in Cayman Islands
1814
Constitution Day in Norway
1936
Academy Award nominated actor and film maker, Dennis Hopper born in Dodge City, Kansas
1942
Grammy Award winning musician and blues singer, Taj Mahal born Henry St. Claire Fredericks in Harlem, New York
1955
Golden Globe nominated actor and film director, Bill Paxton born in Fort Worth, Texas
1956
Actor and comedian Bob Saget born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1956
Boxing champion Ray Charles "Sugar Ray" Leonard born in Wilmington, North Carolina
1961
Academy Award nominated songwriter and Grammy Award winning singer, Enya born in Gweedore, Ireland
1970
Pop singer Angelica Agurbash born in Minsk, Belarus
1974
6 SLA members killed in televised gun fight
1982
24" rain in 11 hours, Pearl River, S. China
1985
Emmy Award wining choreographer and dancer, Derek Hough born in Salt Lake City, Utah
352
Liberius elected Pope
885
Election of Stephen VI as Pope
1164
Death of St. Heloise (of Heloise and Abelard)
1198
Coronation of Frederick II, aged 4 years, as King of Sicily
1215
The Barons of England march on John "Lackland," King of England
1242
The landing of Henry III, King of England, in France, to assert his claim to the French Throne
1433
Duke Henry "the Peaceful" abolishes "kurmede" and "merchet"
1490
Albert, last Grand Master of Teutonic Knights, 1st Duke of Prussia born
1532
James V, King of Scotland, founds the Institute of Justice
1536
Sir Francis Weston, alleged paramour of Anne Boleyn, executed
1592
Death of St. Paschal Baylon
1606
Death of the "False Dimitri"
1620
The first merry-go-round seen at a fair (Philippapolis, Turkey)
1630
Italian Jesuit Niccolo Zucchi becomes 1st to see rings on Jupiter
1642
Founding of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
1749
English physician Edward Jenner, developer of the smallpox vaccine born
1792
The New York Stock Exchange was founded by brokers meeting under a tree located on what is now Wall Street.
1803
Beethoven premiered the "Kreutzer" sonata at eight o'clock in the morning.
1803
English writer Robert Surtees born
1814
Norway's constitution was signed, providing for a limited monarchy.
1860
Schuyler Wheeler, inventor of the electric fan born
1866
Composer Erik Satie born
1875
The first Kentucky Derby was run; the winner was "Aristides." Aristides, covered the 1-mile in about 2.5 minutes and won $2,800. The race was created by Colonel M. Lewis Clark of Louisville, KY.
1877
Edwin T. Holmes of Boston, Massachusetts, installed the first telephone switchboard burglar alarm.
1900
Former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini was born in Ruhollah Musawi in Persia. (d.1989)
1901
The German composer Werner Egk was born. born
1911
Actress Maureen O'Sullivan born
1912
Former Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox born
1918
Opera singer Birgit Nilsson born
1936
Actor-director Dennis Hopper born
1937
Former Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary born
1938
Rhythm-and-blues singer Pervis Jackson (The Spinners) born
1938
Congress passed the Vinson Naval Act, providing for a two-ocean navy.
1938
The radio quiz show "Information, Please!" made its debut on the NBC Blue Network.
1939
Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived in Quebec on the first visit to Canada by reigning British sovereigns.
1939
Station WNBT-TV in New York broadcast the first fashion show to be seen on TV. The show was broadcast from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Manhattan.
1940
The Nazis occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War Two.
1942
Singer Taj Mahal born
1944
Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester born
1946
President Truman seized control of the nation's railroads, delaying a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.
1948
The Soviet Union recognized the new state of Israel.
1954
The Supreme Court issued its landmark "Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka" ruling which declared that racially segregated public schools were inherently unequal.
1954
TV personality Kathleen Sullivan born
1955
Actor Bill Paxton born
1956
The first synthetic mica (synthamica) was offered for sale in Caldwell Township, New Jersey. Mica is a crystal-like substance that aids in resisting heat and electricity in electronic applications.
1956
Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard born
1956
Actor-comedian Bob Saget born
1960
Basketball player Bill Laimbeer born
1961
Singer Enya born
1965
Singer-musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) born
1965
Rhythm-and-blues musician O'Dell (Mint Condition) born
1970
Singer Jordan Knight (New Kids on the Block) born
1970
Rhythm-and-blues singer Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai) born
1971
The Musical "Godspell" opened at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. The shown went on to become the third longest running off-Broadway production - 2,124 performances.
1973
The Senate Watergate Committee opened hearings into the break-in at Democratic National headquarters in Washington, D.C.
1975
NBC TV paid $5,000,000 for the rights to show Gone with the Wind just one time. It was the top price paid for a single opportunity to show a film on television.
1976
Rhythm-and-blues singer Kandi Burruss (Xscape) born
1976
Jockey Steve Cauthen began a win streak, at the age of 16. Cauthen rode his first race at River Downs, Kentucky. He went on to win 94 races, becoming horse racing's most watched jockey.
1978
Philips announced the coming of the compact disc.
1980
Rioting that claimed 18 lives erupted in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.
1983
Israeli and Lebanese negotiators signed the final text of a U.S.-sponsored agreement providing for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon, provided Syria and the PLO withdrew their forces as well.
1984
The U.S. House of Representatives, rejecting President Reagan's claim that it was "absolutely essential" to resume the manufacture of chemical weapons, defeated his proposed purchase of components for nerve gas bombs and shells.
1985
Pilots at United Airlines went on a 29-day strike, forcing the carrier to drastically curtail service.
1985
Bobby Ewing died on the season finale of "Dallas." Bobby, played by actor Patrick Duffy, died in a violent car explosion - only to come back to life the following season.
1986
Actor Tahj Mowry ("Smart Guy") born
1986
Friends and relatives gathered in Oregon for the funerals of two of the nine climbers who died during a school outing on Mount Hood.
1987
Thirty-seven American sailors were killed when an Iraqi warplane attacked the US Navy frigate "Stark" in the Persian Gulf. (Iraq and the US called the attack a mistake.)
1988
The Commerce Department reported that a record level of export sales gave the United States its lowest monthly trade deficit in three years in March 1988, totaling $9.7 billion.
1989
The government of Poland approved freedom of religion, giving legal status to the Roman Catholic Church.
1989
A court in Frankfort, West Germany, sentenced Mohammed Ali Hamadi to life in prison for his role in the 1985 TWA hijacking.
1989
More than 1 million people demonstrated for democratic reforms in Beijing.
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev met in Moscow with Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene, Gorbachev's first face-to-face meeting with a senior official of the defiant Baltic republics.
1991
The Commerce Department reported the U.S. trade deficit had narrowed sharply in March 1991 to $4.05 billion, the lowest level in nearly eight years.
1992
Pro-democracy protests began in Thailand; in four days of clashes with troops, 44 people reportedly were killed, although activists charged that hundreds died.
1992
Band leader Lawrence Welk died in Santa Monica, California, at age 89.
1993
Yo-Yo Ma performed the Prokofiev "Sinfonietta concertante" with the Montreal Symphony. Charles Dutoit also conducted two seasonal works, Debussy's "Printemps," and Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."
1993
President Clinton visited the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, where he promoted his five-year, $20 billion defense-conversion plan.
1994
The U.N. Security Council approved a peacekeeping force and an arms embargo for violence-racked Rwanda.
1994
The Federal Reserve boosted two key interest rates by half a percentage point each.
1995
The Senate Ethics Committee concluded that Sen. Bob Packwood, R-OR, had to face a full-scale Senate investigation of charges that included making improper advances toward women.
1995
Jacques Chirac was sworn in as president of France, ending the 14-year tenure of Socialist Francois Mitterrand.
1996
President Clinton signed a measure requiring neighborhood notification when sex offenders move in. ("Megan's Law," as it's known, is named for Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and slain in 1994.)
1997
Rebel leader Laurent Kabila declared himself president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire.
1997
Russia's "Mir" space station got a new oxygen generator and a fresh American astronaut, courtesy of the space shuttle "Atlantis."
1997
"Silver Charm" won the Preakness, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby. (However, Silver Charm failed to win the Belmont Stakes.)
1998
Leaders of the Group of Eight nations ended their summit in Birmingham, England, with a plea to Pakistan not to respond in kind to India's five nuclear explosions.
1998
New York Yankees pitcher David Wells became the 13th player in modern major league baseball history to throw a perfect game as he retired all 27 batters he faced in a 4-to-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
1999
The Supreme Court banned states from paying lower welfare benefits to newcomers than to longtime residents.
1999
Makah Indians in Washington state harpooned a gray whale for the first time in 70 years.
1999
Labor Party leader Ehud Barak unseated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israeli elections.
2000
Two former Ku Klux Klansmen were arrested on murder charges in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls on a Sunday morning - a crime that shocked the nation and galvanized the civil rights movement. Thomas E. Blanton Jr., 61, of Birmingham, and Bobby Frank Cherry, 69, of Mabank, Texas, surrendered on the state charges and were jailed without bail. (Thomas Blanton Junior was convicted and sentenced to life in prison May 1, 2001. Bobby Frank Cherry was indicted in 2000, but his trial was delayed after evaluations raised questions about his mental competency.)
2000
In a big victory for President Clinton and a blow for labor, legislation normalizing trade relations with China overwhelmingly won the support of key committees in the House and Senate. The House Ways and Means Committee approved the measure 34-4 as previously undecided committee members flocked to support the administration.
2005
Microsoft develops anti-virus product
2005
Pop starlet Kylie Minogue has early-stage breast cancer
2005
BBC begins trial program allowing legal TV and radio downloads
2005
Sony unveils Playstation 3
2005
Star Wars III premieres at Cannes
2005
French Workers stay at home for Whit Monday
2005
Galloway and Pasqua deny any wrongdoing on their part in the oil-for-food program
2005
Italian football: Roma and Lazio accused of fixing game
2005
Muslim leaders don't accept "pressured" apology
2005
"Do you know this pianist?" asks helpline
2006
Department of Defense releases 9/11 video of plane hitting Pentagon
2006
Hawaii to spend $4.9M on coqui frog eradication
2006
Half of Australian defence force's munitions of no use
2006
Pacific tests tsunami warning systems
2006
Verizon says customer phone records were not handed over to the NSA
2006
US stocks plummet
2006
Apple releases Macbook
2006
College ice hockey could follow NHL and add second referee
2006
Barcelona win Champions League
2006
Culture of violence reported in central Australian Aboriginal communities
2006
Rescued Australian miners sign multi-million dollar media deal
2006
Mundine beats Green in super-middleweight WBA eliminator
2007
Marble slab falls off skyscraper in Toronto
2007
Complaints about Bible surge after HK student paper classified as indecent
2007
NHL: Buffalo Sabres beat Ottawa Senators 3 to 2
2007
Recently discovered planet may contain 'hot ice'
2007
Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France
2007
Historic crossing of Korean border
2007
Whales that swam into Sacramento River are injured
2007
MLB: Ninth-inning rally lifts Mets over Cubs
2007
Cyber attacks in Estonia threaten national security
2007
Wolfowitz to quit as head of the World Bank
2007
Canadian TV to go all-digital in 2011
2007
Israel responds to Hamas rockets with air strike on Gaza, killing four
2007
Insurgents in Iraq kill 32 with chemical bomb
2008
Asbestos victims file 6.6 billion yen class action lawsuit in Tokyo
2008
Lake near Bristol drained of water through vandalism
2008
Warsaw court requests testimony from Thatcher and Gorbachev
2008
United States Senator Ted Kennedy rushed to the hospital
2009
India's Congress party wins elections
2009
Sudan accuses Chad of air strikes
2009
After Eurovision win, Norwegians show their patriotism on Constitution Day
2009
English Football: Manchester United clinch Premier League title
2009
Sri Lankan president declares victory over rebels
2010
Plane crash in northern Afghanistan kills at least 43
2010
England defeats Australia and wins Twenty20 Cricket World Cup
2010
Bus attack in India kills many
2010
Seven-year-old girl killed in Detroit, Michigan police raid
2010
Iran, Turkey, Brazil reach nuclear agreement
2011
Judge Dannii Minogue exits UK X Factor over 'Australia's Got Talent' scheduling clash
2011
Tasmanians protest against pulp mill

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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