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Today in History

LOTR...
Arwen leaves Lorien to wed King Elessar
1536
Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, beheaded for alleged adultery
1922
Barman at the Savoy American Bar for over 20 years, Joe Gilmore born in Belfast, Ireland
1934
Author and PBS news anchor, Jim Lehrer born in Witchita, Kansas
1939
Ballet teacher and film actress, Nancy Kwan born in Hong Kong
1941
Novelist, director and screenwriter, Nora Ephron born in New York City
1944
The 7' 3" tall actor who played the Star Wars wookie Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew born in London, England
1945
Gramm Award winning songwriter, composer, singer and guitarist, Pete Townshend born in London, England
1948
Model, actress, musician and singer, Grace Jones born in Spanish Town, Jamaica
1949
Pro Bowl NFL Quarterback, Archie Manning born in Drew, Mississippi
1949
Singer and bassist for ZZ Top, Dusty Hill born in Dallas, Texas
1995
Patrick Combs successfully deposits junk mail check for $95,093.35
715
Election of Gregory II as Pope
988
Death of St. Dunstan
1214
London granted a Charter authorizing the election of city officials
1218
Death of Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor
1296
Death of St. Celestine V, Pope
1303
Death of St. Ives (Ivo) of Brittany
1342
Coronation of Pope Clement VI
1359
The Estates General of France order war to be made on England
1364
Coronation of Charles V "the Wise," King of France
1535
Jacques Cartier begins his second voyage to Canada
1536
Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England's King Henry the Eighth, was beheaded after she was convicted of adultery and incest with her brother, Lord Rochford. Even her father testified against her. The charges were false.
1536
Archbishop Cranmer issues a dispensation to King Henry VIII of England to marry Jane Seymour
1568
Mary, Queen of Scots, takes refuge in England
1588
The Spanish Armada set sail for England; it was soundly defeated by the English fleet the following August.
1606
Vasily Shuisky overthrows the "False Dimitri" and becomes Czar of Russia
1607
Chartering of the University of Gressen, Germany
1608
The Evangelical Union of Lutherans and Calvinists
1611
Pope (Bl.) Innocent XI born
1635
France declares war on Spain
1643
New England Confederation formed by Connecticut, New Haven, Plymouth & Massachusetts Bay colonies for purposes of defense.
1649
England declared a "Commonwealth" by the "Rump" Parliament
1786
The blind Baroque composer John Stanley died at the age of 73. Stanley's organ voluntaries survive to this day.
1796
The first U.S. game law was approved. The measure called for penalties for hunting or destroying game within Indian territory.
1802
In France, Napoleon created the Legion d'Honneur, an order of distinction for civil or military service.
1847
The first English-style railroad coach was placed in service on the Fall River Line in Massachusetts.
1857
William F. Channing and Moses G. Farmer patented the electric fire alarm system in Boston, Massachusetts; the first city to adopt the system.
1861
Helen Porter Mitchell was born in Australia. Later, when she became an opera singer, she would take a new name, Nellie Melba. Nellie was a nickname for Helen. Melba came from her hometown, Melbourne. Melba Toast and Peach Melba were both named after her.
1862
The Homestead Act becomes law.
1890
Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh born
1906
The Federated Boys' Clubs, forerunner of the Boys' Clubs of America, were organized.
1911
The first American criminal conviction based on fingerprint evidence happened in New York City when a small-time burglar named Crispey was sent up for six months because he had touched a store window.
1921
Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act, which established national quotas for immigrants.
1925
Black Muslim leader Malcolm X in Omaha, Nebraska. He was assassinated as he spoke in a meeting at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. born
1926
Thomas Edison spoke on the radio for the first time.
1930
Playwright Lorraine Hansberry ("A Raisin in the Sun") born
1934
PBS newscaster Jim Lehrer born
1935
T.E. Lawrence, known as "Lawrence of Arabia," died in a motorcycle accident in England.
1935
TV personality David Hartman born
1939
Actor James Fox born
1939
Actress Nancy Kwan born
1940
Singer-songwriter Mickey Newbury born
1941
Author-director Nora Ephron born
1943
In an address to the US Congress, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pledged his country's full support in the war against Japan.
1945
British rock guitarist Peter Townshend (The Who) born
1946
Rock musician Phil Rudd (AC-DC) born
1947
Concert pianist David Helfgott born
1949
Rock singer-musician Dusty Hill (ZZ Top) born
1952
Rock singer Joey Ramone (The Ramones) born
1952
Singer-actress-model Grace Jones born
1954
The U.S. Supreme Court declared racially segregated public schools were inherently unequal in its landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education.
1954
Baseball catcher Rick Cerone born
1956
Rock musician Martyn Ware (The Human League) born
1956
Actor Steven Ford born
1958
The United States and Canada formally established the North American Air Defense Command.
1962
Rock musician Iain Harvie (Del Amitri) born
1964
It was revealed that American diplomats had found at least 40 secret microphones hidden in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
1967
The Soviet Union ratified a treaty with the United States and Britain banning nuclear weapons from outer space.
1972
Rock singer Jenny Berggren (Ace of Base) born
1983
About 20,000 people marched in solemn silence to a cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, to mourn a teen-ager (Grzegorz Przemyk) who died while in police custody.
1984
The Edmonton Oilers won their first Stanley Cup, defeating the four-time defending champion New York Islanders in five games.
1985
Residents of the Philadelphia neighborhood ravaged by fire in a police confrontation with the radical group "MOVE" gathered for Sunday services to seek solace.
1986
South Africa said its soldiers had attacked alleged targets of the African National Congress in the capitals of three neighboring black-ruled countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
1986
Actor Eric Lloyd ("Jesse") born
1986
In the first direct talks between China and Taiwan in 37 years, Beijing agreed to return a cargo jet flown to the communist mainland by a defecting Nationalist pilot.
1987
Two days after 37 American sailors were killed when an Iraqi warplane attacked the US frigate Stark President Reagan defended America's presence in the Persian Gulf.
1988
Carlos Lehder Rivas, co-founder of Colombia's Medellin drug cartel, was convicted in Jacksonville, Florida, of smuggling more than three tons of cocaine into the United States.
1989
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average passed the 2,500 mark, ending the day at 2,501.10.
1989
The NCAA announced sanctions against the University of Kentucky's basketball program for recruiting and academic violations.
1990
Summer Squall won the Preakness Stakes.
1990
Secretary of State James A. Baker III concluded an agreement with the Soviet Union to destroy chemical weapons and settle long-standing disputes over limits on nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
1991
Martial-law courts in Kuwait began trying people accused of collaborating with Iraqi occupation forces, sentencing one man to life in prison for wearing a Saddam Hussein T-shirt.
1991
Willy T. Ribbs became the first black driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
1992
The 27th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits Congress from giving itself mid-term pay raises, went into effect. It actually became part of the constitution on May 7, 1992, when Michigan became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. It was written in 1789.
1992
224-pounder Dave Gauder of England, pulled a 196-ton jumbo jet three inches across the runway at Heathrow Airport in London for the world record for pulling a heavy object.
1992
Massapequa, New York, Mary Jo Buttafuoco was shot and seriously wounded by her husband Joey's teen-age lover, Amy Fisher.
1992
Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown" for having its title character decide to bear a child out of wedlock.
1993
Boston Pops saluted "My Fair Lady," "Oklahoma," "South Pacific" and "Showboat" with some singing help from Susan Powell.
1993
The White House set off a political storm by abruptly firing the entire staff of its travel office; five of the seven staffers were later reinstated and assigned to other duties.
1994
President Clinton held a news conference in which he defended his foreign policy against suggestions he improvises it from crisis to crisis, saying, "I continue to look for new solutions.""
1994
Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died in New York at age 64.
1995
The Senate voted, 99-to-0, to reject President Clinton's spending blueprint.
1995
NASA's administrator unveiled plans to slash thousands of aerospace jobs and to overhaul virtually every part of the agency.
1996
Space shuttle "Endeavour" and its crew rocketed into orbit and quickly began preparing for the release of an inflatable antenna.
1997
NBC sportscaster Marv Albert was charged in an indictment with biting a woman in an Arlington, Virginia, hotel room as many as 15 times and forcing her to perform oral sex. (Albert denied the charges, but at trial, ended up pleading guilty to assault and battery.)
1998
Bandits stole three of Rome's most important paintings, two by van Gogh and one by Cezanne, from the National Gallery of Modern Art.
1998
Millions of pagers nationwide stopped working when a communications satellite, the Galaxy Four, suddenly lost track of Earth.
1999
As NATO's Operation Allied Force entered its ninth week, Russia's special envoy to the Balkans called on both NATO and Yugoslavia to suspend hostilities.
1999
The Justice Department renewed its campaign to revoke John Demjanjuk's citizenship, alleging he was a Nazi death camp guard known as "Ivan the Terrible."
1999
The much-anticipated movie prequel "Star Wars -- The Phantom Menace" opened.
2000
China and the European Union reached a market-opening trade deal, clearing Beijing's largest remaining hurdle to joining the World Trade Organization.
2000
Masked gunmen launched a coup in Fiji that toppled Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, the country's first ethnic Indian premier.
2005
NOAA predicts increased hurricane activity in U.S.
2005
Exclusive Interview: Piano Man is possibly a British actor
2005
Adrian reaches hurricane-strength, will strike Central America tonight
2005
Euro Disney SCA receives new CEO
2005
Journalist detained at Council of Europe human rights conference in Warsaw
2005
Dec. 2004 Sumatra quake was longest ever recorded
2005
Speaker breaks tie by voting for Canadian budget
2005
Amazon deforestation accelerating
2006
Two Australian car ferry operators caught drunk on the job
2006
State schools chief to appeal California High School Exit Exam ban to state high court
2006
Hawaii governor Lingle lobbies GOP for Akaka Bill passage
2006
Indonesia hit by 6.1 magnitude earthquake
2006
US General in Iraq Claims Employment can Undermine Insurgency
2006
Apes and birds are able to plan ahead: psychologists
2006
RAGGS debuts on Australia's Seven Network
2006
UN: Guantanamo Bay should be closed
2006
Space shuttle Discovery safely arrives at launch pad
2006
Wellington Hurricanes in Super 14 rugby final
2006
OpenSync Interview - syncing on the free desktop
2006
Elephants Dream: Free content 3D film released to the Internet
2006
UPS plans $1 billion expansion, 5,000 new jobs at KY air hub
2007
UN denounces killing of Haitian journalist Alix Joseph
2007
500 million US dollars worth of treasure found off coast of Cornwall UK
2007
Ayatollah Rafsanjani commemorates Iran-Iraq battle victory
2008
Mourning ceremonies for earthquake begin throughout China
2008
20 killed and over 40 missing as overcrowded bus crashes into Nepal river
2008
Man remanded in custody after allegedly spraying urine on goods in Gloucestershire, UK
2008
Ice hockey news: May 18, 2008
2008
Stench of rotting corpses drives Russian doomsday group from cave
2008
Polish politician sentenced in sex scandal
2009
Malawi holds presidential and parliamentary elections
2009
UK House of Commons' Speaker resigns
2009
WHO director: Pandemic alert level will not be raised
2010
Curfew imposed in parts of Thailand
2010
Afghan Taleban attacks NATO base; several dead
2010
Investigation into Polish air crash reveals passengers in cockpit
2010
Same-sex marriage allowed in Portugal
2010
Karzai visits UK for talks with new PM
2010
Oil from Gulf spill reaches major current
2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigns as head of IMF
2012
News briefs: May 19, 2012
2012
China's 'Bandit King' given life term in 'massive' bribery case
2012
Fifteen players leave Bolton Wanderers F.C. after relegation
2013
Noosa defeat University in Sunshine Coast Rugby Union round nine
2013
White House releases Benghazi emails

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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