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Today in History

1804
Napoleon crowned Emperor
1811
Battle of Las Piedras in Uruguay
1902
Tony Award winning composer, songwriter, conductor and playwright, Meredith Willson born in Mason City, Iowa
1912
Grammy Award winning singer Perry Como born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
1920
Pope John Paul II born Karol Jozef Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland
1945
Stage, television and film actress, Candice Azzara born in Brooklyn, New York
1952
Soldier, rancher, and Country Music Hall of Fame singer George Strait born in Poteet, Texas
1973
Televised Watergate hearings begin
1980
57 killed when Mount St Helens erupts with the force of 500 atomic bombs
562
Death of Pope St. John I, in prison
872
Coronation of Louis II as Holy Roman Emperor
1152
Marriage of Henry II, King of England, to Eleanor of Aquitane
1268
Fall of Antioch to Baibars, Sultan of Egypt
1291
Fall of Acre to the Mameluks; Death of William de Beaujeu, 21st Master of the Templars
1302
Matins of Bruges
1306
Pope Clement V excommunicates Robert I, "the Bruce," King of Scots
1313
Robert I, "the Bruce," lands on the Isle of Man
1410
Death of King Rupert of Germany
1514
Marriage of Francis I, King of France, to Claude
1587
Death of St. Felix of Cantalice
1593
Christopher Marlowe summoned on charges of atheism
1616
The composer Johann Jakob Frohberger born
1631
1st accredited colonial election in America - John Winthrop is chosen Governor of Massachusetts
1642
The Canadian city of Montreal was founded.
1643
Anne, Queen of France, granted absolute powers as Regent
1643
English Royal Warrant authorizes medals of King Charles I
1652
Rhode Island prohibits holding blacks or whites in slavery for more than 10 years - 1st American law regulating slavery
1798
The first Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert, was appointed.
1804
The French Senate proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte emperor.
1850
Oliver Heaviside, physicist who predicted the existance of the ionosphere, used to reflect radio waves. born
1860
Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president by the Republican Party at its convention in Chicago.
1883
German architect Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus born
1896
The Supreme Court endorsed the concept of "separate but equal" racial segregation with its "Plessy versus Ferguson" decision.
1897
A public reading of Bram Stoker's new novel, "Dracula, or, The Un-dead," was staged at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in London, an event that roughly coincided with the book's publication.
1897
Film director Frank Capra in Palermo, Sicily. He was the first to win three Best Director Oscars. Capra said his favorite of the films he made was, "It's a Wonderful Life." born
1909
Isaac Albeniz died in the French Pyrenees, he was 48. Just a few days before Albeniz had been awarded the Legion of Honor. Albeniz composed four books of piano music called "Iberia."
1910
Halley's Comet, as seen from Earth, moved across the sun.
1911
Gustav Mahler died like Beethoven, in Vienna and in the middle of a thunderstorm. Mahler was 50; he had suffered from heart disease. His last word: "Mozart."
1912
Movie director Richard Brooks born
1912
Singer Perry Como born
1914
The "Mariner" became the first steamboat with cargo to pass through the Panama Canal.
1920
Pope John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyla born
1922
Actor Bill Macy born
1924
Sportscaster Jack Whitaker born
1926
Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, California; she reappeared a month later, claiming to have been kidnapped.
1930
Actor Pernell Roberts born
1931
Actor Robert Morse born
1933
The Tennessee Valley Authority was created. It's purpose was to control Tennessee River floods, institute a reforestation program on lands in the valley and provide rural electrification. The TVA serves seven states.
1934
Congress approved the so-called "Lindbergh Act," which called for the death penalty in cases of interstate kidnapping.
1934
Actor and television executive Dwayne Hickman born
1937
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson born
1942
Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) born
1944
During World War II, Allied forces finally occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle that claimed about 20,000 lives.
1946
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson born
1946
Actress Candice Azzara ("Caroline in the City") born
1948
Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) born
1949
Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) born
1951
Actor James Stephens born
1951
The United Nations moved out of its temporary headquarters in Lake Success, New York, for its permanent home in Manhattan.
1952
Country singer George Strait born
1953
Rhythm-and-blues singer Butch Tavares (Tavares) born
1953
Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a North American F-86 Canadair over Rogers Dry Lake : California.
1960
Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton (Helmet) born
1968
Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe through the Tulips" was released. An eventual top twenty hit, "Tiptoe" was a remake of a number one hit for Nick Lucas in 1929.
1969
Astronauts Eugene A. Cernan Young blasted off aboard "Apollo Ten."
1974
Rapper Special Ed born
1980
Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Allen (Mista) born
1980
The 9,677-foot Mt. St. Helens volcano in Washington state, quiet for 93 years, exploded. The volcanic blast was five hundred times more powerful than the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima. Steam and ash erupted more than eleven miles into the sky and darkened skies in a 160-mile radius. Forest fires erupted around the volcano and burned out of control. The eruption, and those that followed, left some sixty-seven dead. The blast took 1,300 feet off the top of the mountain and left 57 people dead or missing.
1980
In the South Korean city of Kwangju, townspeople and students began a nine-day uprising that was finally put down by troops.
1983
Owen Bieber was elected president of the United Auto Workers union, succeeding Douglas A. Fraser.
1983
The U.S. Senate approved, 76-18, a major revision of the nation's immigration laws that would give millions of illegal aliens already in the United States the opportunity to gain legal status under an amnesty program.
1984
A small growth was discovered in President Reagan's colon, but a White House spokesman said an examination showed the polyp was benign, and it was not removed.
1985
Florida Gov. Bob Graham declared a state of emergency in the wake of devastating brushfires.
1985
"Tank's Prospect" won the Preakness Stakes.
1986
Dr. Robert Gale, a bone-marrow specialist who went to the Soviet Union following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, told reporters in Los Angeles that as many as 100,000 Soviets would suffer long-term radiation effects.
1987
Senator Paul Simon of Illinois entered the Democratic presidential race.
1988
A cheering crowd in the Soviet town of Termez greeted the first Soviet soldiers to cross the border in the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
1989
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev concluded his historic visit to China, which officially marked the end of a 30-year Sino-Soviet rift.
1990
East and West Germany signed a treaty for economic, monetary and social union. West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said the pact marked the "birth of a free and unified Germany."
1990
In the face of heated student protests, the trustees of all-women Mills College in Oakland, California, voted to rescind their earlier decision to admit men.
1991
Helen Sharman became the first Briton to rocket into space as she flew aboard a Soviet "Soyuz" spacecraft.
1991
Hansel won the 116th running of the Preakness Stakes.
1992
The Supreme Court ruled that states may not force mentally unstable criminal defendants to take anti-psychotic drugs while on trial unless a good reason is shown to require the medication.
1992
Actor Spencer Breslin ("Soul Man") born
1993
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Muslim and Croat leaders agreed to try to impose a U.N.-backed peace plan in areas where they had been fighting (the Serbs had rejected the proposal).
1993
Voters in Denmark ratified the European Community's treaty on closer economic and political union.
1994
Israel's three decades of occupation in the Gaza Strip ended as Israeli troops completed their withdrawal and Palestinian authorities took over.
1995
Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov was found dead at age 45.
1995
Triumphant Republicans pushed a historic budget through the House that they said would bring an unprecedented $1.4 trillion in savings from federal budgets over the next seven years.
1995
Actress Elizabeth Montgomery died in Los Angeles.
1996
President Clinton, denying that he was weak on welfare reform, endorsed Wisconsin's welfare-to-work plan in his Saturday radio address.
1996
Louis Quatorze won the Preakness.
1997
President Clinton announced creation of a research center at the National Institutes of Health devoted to the goal of developing an AIDS vaccines within the next decade.
1997
The 50th Cannes Film Festival awarded Golden Palms to Japanese director Shohei Imamura for "The Eel" and Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami for "The Taste of Cherry."
1998
The Supreme Court, in a sweeping endorsement of broadcasters' free-speech rights and journalistic discretion, ruled that even public stations owned and run by states need not invite marginal candidates to political debates they sponsor.
1998
The government filed a sweeping antitrust case against Microsoft Corporation.
1999
Georgette Smith, a Florida woman left paralyzed from the neck down after being shot by her elderly mother, won the right to be taken off life support. (Smith died the next day, shortly after being taken off a ventilator; her mother, Shirley Egan, was later acquitted of attempted murder.)
1999
Two Serb soldiers held as prisoners of war by the U.S. military were turned over to Yugoslav authorities.
2000
Sante Kimes and Kenneth Kimes, mother-and-son grifters, were convicted in New York of murdering Irene Silverman in a plot to steal her elegant townhouse mansion. (The body of the 82-year-old millionaire widow has never been found.)
2000
A pier supporting a new open-air bar collapsed and plunged into the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. Three people died, and 37 people - including eight rescue workers who were hurt while trying to pull victims from the debris-strewn water - were taken to hospitals.
2004
Actor Tony Randall dies in New York city.
2005
Tropical Storm Adrian forms in Eastern Pacific, threatens Central America
2005
Tense panel discussion on Srebrenica held in Belgrade
2005
VISA opens regional office in Bucharest
2005
Traffic to be restricted on Romanian National Road 66
2005
Air France to launch new daily flight from Paris to Bucharest
2005
Results of British Columbia, Canada General Election
2005
Cuba to embrace free software
2005
Romanian parliament ratifies EU accession treaty
2005
Landless Workers Movement marches to Brasilia in protest
2005
Kuwait parliament gives women the vote
2005
Birds attack people in Houston
2005
Live grenade thrown at George Bush in Georgia
2005
Uzbek rebel leader on horseback wants an Islamic state
2005
Former Pasqua aide claims Iraq intended to reward Charles Pasqua, denies having received oil
2006
Australian opposition expected to release workplace plan
2006
FBI searching Michigan farm for clues in disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa
2006
Australian rugby league club to have extra police at all NSW games
2006
Nepal Parliament passes resolution to curb King's power
2006
NZ Finance Minister introduces budget
2006
Cholera outbreak hits Angola
2006
Dee Caffari on last stretch of round-the-world sailing challenge
2006
Nelson, NZ, man trying to sell leg online
2006
Indian markets plummet: Sensex loses 826 points, Nifty down 246
2006
Canada extends Afghanistan military role for two more years
2006
Record typhoon Chanchu batters south China
2006
New Italian government proposes withdrawal of troops from Iraq
2007
700 new forms of life discovered in Antarctic sea
2007
Microsoft buys online ad firm Aquantive for $6 billion
2007
British adventurer flies powered paraglider over Everest
2007
Norton AntiVirus cripples thousands of PCs in China
2007
War spending bill rejected by White House
2008
Taiwan Tourism Exposition to encourage tourism industry after Sichuan earthquake
2008
Airliner hijacker found working for British Airways
2008
Chinese quake death toll nears 32,500, as a major aftershock occurs and mourning begins
2008
At least 728 rescued from burning Indonesian ferry
2008
1,000 arrested in Iraq in crackdown against al-Qaeda
2008
HIV-positive man receives 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer
2008
YODEX: The first-ever "Wow! Taiwan Design Competition" announced
2008
13,000 people participate in Bristol running event
2009
British House of Commons' Speaker addresses Parliament ahead of vote of no confidence
2009
As the Eurovision entrants return home, the home crowds weigh in
2009
Court rules teen must take chemotherapy
2009
Taiwanese hold rally against government
2009
EU budget chief claims win in Lithuanian presidential elections
2009
Key town captured by Islamist Somali militants
2010
Afghanistan: Suicide attackers kill several people in Kabul
2010
French teacher returns home after being held in Iran for ten months
2010
Twelve people dead after blast in north-west Pakistan
2010
Australian rules football: Interview with Andy Thissling, statistician for the Traralgon Football Club senior side
2011
Shriver speaks out over Schwarzenegger’s affair and love child
2011
Space Shuttle Endeavour launches for final time
2011
Former Louisiana Tech University President F. Jay Taylor dies aged 87
2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn refused bail after appearance in New York court
2011
Elizabeth II begins state visit to Ireland amid protests, security fears
2012
Non-sponsors' logos plastered by peeved Paralympians
2012
Expedition 31 crew members arrive at International Space Station
2012
Disco diva Donna Summer dies at 63
2013
Kangaroo injures Australian politician

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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