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Today in History

526
300,000 killed in Syria by earthquake
1908
USAF Brigadier General, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning actor, Jimmy Stewart born in Indiana, Pennsylvania
1913
Co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company, William Hewlett born in Ann Arbor, Michigan
1915
Fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Moshe Dayan born in Degania, Palestine
1918
Codell, Kansas struck by May 20th tornado third year in a row (1916,1917,1918)
1924
Oscar nominated actress, Peggy Cass born in Boston, Massachusetts
1933
Singer and actress Constance Towers born in Whitefish, Montana
1940
First prisoners arrive at Auschwitz
1944
Composer and rock singer, Joe Cocker born in Sheffield, England
1946
Academy Award winning actress, songwriter and singer, Cher born Cheryl Sarkisian LaPiere in El Centro, California
1969
Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam ends
325
1st Christian ecumenical council opens at Nica, Asia Minor
794
Murder of St. Ethelbert of the East Angles
1259
Henry III, King of England, cedes Normandy to France
1277
Death of Pope John XXI
1293
Earthquake at Kamakura, Japan
1302
England regains Gascony
1306
Edward I, King of England, gives the Duchy of Aquitaine to his son
1347
Cola di Rienzo made Tribune in Rome
1444
Death of St. Bernardine of Siena
1498
Vasco da Gama arrives at Calicut on the Malabar coast, India
1506
Christopher Columbus, explorer, dies in poverty in Spain at 55
1514
Corporation of Trinity House chartered
1520
Panfilo de Narvez defeated by Hernando Cortes
1537
Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente, surgeon, anatomist born
1553
Three English ships sail in search of Northwest Passage
1569
The Duke of Alba requires religious orthodoxy of midwives in Flanders
1571
Pope Pius V organizes a Holy League with Venice and Spain
1609
Thomas Thorpe publishes William Shakepeare's "Sonnets"
1622
Osman II, Ottoman Sultan, deposed and murdered
1639
1st American public school established, Dorchester, Mass.
1648
Death of Wladislaus IV, King of Poland
1750
Stephen Girard, bailed out US bonds during the War of 1812 born
1768
Dolly Madison Dandridge Payne Todd was born. She was the wife of James Madison, the 4th United States President. born
1799
French novelist Honore de Balzac in Tours, France. He called his series of almost 80 novels and tales, "La Comedie Humaine" (The Human Comedy). born
1818
William George Fargo, helped to found Wells, Fargo & Co. born
1830
H.D. Hyde of Reading, Pennsylvania, patented the fountain pen.
1830
The first railroad timetable was published, in the "Baltimore American" newspaper.
1846
The New York Philharmonic first performed Beethoven's Ninth. The orchestra was then in its fourth season. Beethoven's Ninth was then 24 years old. Its original reviews were mixed, with some critics considering the vocal parts banal.
1861
North Carolina voted to secede from the Union.
1861
The capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia.
1887
Chabrier's opera "Le Roi malgre lui" closed just two days after the premiere. The problem wasn't that no one liked the opera; the problem was that the opera house burned down.
1894
American journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns was born in Los Angeles. born
1896
Clara Schumann died, she was 76. Clara Schumann lived long enough to see her husband's music influence Tchaikovsky's symphonies and even Mahler's.
1899
Jacob German of New York City became the first driver to be arrested for speeding. Mr. German was whipping his taxicab all over Lexington Avenue and was exceeding the posted 12 mile-per-hour speed limit.
1902
The United States ended its occupation of Cuba.
1908
Actor James Stewart in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Jimmy Stewart's films include "It's A Wonderful Life," "Philadelphia Story," and "Rear Window."" born
1913
William Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co. born
1915
Moshe Dayan, Israeli general & politician born
1920
Comedian-actor "Lonesome" George Gobel born
1920
Actor James McEachin born
1926
Singer (The Ames Brothers) Vic Ames (Urick) born
1927
Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, aboard the "Spirit of St. Louis" on his historic solo flight to France.
1932
Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Ireland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
1933
Actress Constance Towers born
1936
Actor Anthony Zerbe born
1939
Regular transatlantic air service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the "Yankee Clipper," took off from Port Washington, New York, bound for Europe.
1942
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra recorded "I've Got A Gal in Kalamazoo" at Victor Studios in Hollywood.
1944
Singer Joe Cocker born
1946
Singer-actress Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian) born
1949
Actor-comedian Dave Thomas born
1950
"Armed Forces Day," originally "Army Day" has been celebrated the third Saturday in May since 1950.
1952
Musician Warren Cann (Ultravox) born
1956
Actor Dean Butler born
1958
Ron Reagan born
1958
Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go's) born
1959
Actor Bronson Pinchot born
1960
Singer Susan Cowsill (The Cowsills) born
1960
Actor Tony Goldwyn born
1961
Singer Nick Heyward (Haircut 100) born
1961
A white mob attacked a busload of "Freedom Riders" in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in US marshals to restore order.
1963
Rock musician Brian Nash born
1966
Actress Mindy Cohn born
1966
Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) born
1969
US and South Vietnamese forces captured Apbia Mountain, referred to as "Hamburger Hill" by the Americans, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
1970
Some 100,000 people demonstrated in New York's Wall Street district in support of US policy in Vietnam and Cambodia.
1972
Rapper Buster Rhymes born
1974
Judge John Sirica ordered President Nixon to turn over tapes and other records of 64 White House conversations on the Watergate affair.
1983
During a visit to Miami, President Reagan told a cheering audience of anti-Castro Cuban-Americans that Congress would be writing a "prescription for disaster" if it failed to approve his military and economic aid program for Central America.
1984
Former Argentine President Isabel Peron, ousted from office by a military coup in 1976, returned to her homeland from Spain to lead a Peronist delegation in talks with President Raul Alfonsin.
1985
Israel released more than 1,100 Arab prisoners in exchange for three Israeli soldiers.
1985
The United States began broadcasts to Cuba on Radio Marti.
1985
The FBI arrested John A. Walker Jr., who was later convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.
1986
President Reagan urged the Senate to adopt, without changes, a major tax-overhaul bill reducing the top individual rate to 27 percent.
1987
The commander of the U.S. frigate Stark, who lost 37 of his sailors in an Iraqi missile attack, broke his silence. Captain Glenn Brindel said he was warned seconds before the missiles struck, leaving him no time to activate the ship's defenses.
1988
Thirty-year-old Laurie Dann walked into a Winnetka, Illinois, elementary school classroom, where she shot to death eight-year-old Nicholas Corwin and wounded several other children. After wounding a young man at his home, Dann took her own life.
1989
Comedian Gilda Radner died in Los Angeles at age 42.
1989
Chinese Premier Li declared martial law in Beijing in response to heightened student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
1990
The Hubble Space Telescope sent back its first photographs.
1990
An Israeli opened fire on a group of Palestinian laborers south of Tel Aviv, killing seven; the gunman was later sentenced to life in prison.
1990
Romania's ruling National Salvation Front scored victories in the country's first free elections in more than 50 years.
1991
The movie "Barton Fink" won the top prizes at the 44th annual Cannes Film Festival.
1991
The American Red Cross announced measures aimed at screening blood more carefully for the AIDS virus.
1991
Lawmakers in the Soviet Union voted to liberalize foreign travel and emigration.
1992
Proclaiming his innocence to the end, Roger Keith Coleman was executed in Virginia's electric chair for the 1981 rape-murder of his sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy.
1993
An estimated 93 million people tuned in for the final first-run episode of "Cheers" on NBC TV.
1993
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Stephens struck down Michigan's law banning assisted suicide, ruling the Michigan Legislature had unconstitutionally added the measure to an existing bill.
1994
Tributes poured in following the death of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. President Clinton said of the former first lady: "She captivated our nation and the world with her intelligence, her elegance and her grace.""
1995
"Timber Country" won the Preakness at Pimlico.
1995
President Clinton announced that the two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House would be permanently closed to motor vehicles as a security measure.
1996
The commander of the US frigate Stark, who lost 37 of his sailors in an Iraqi missile attack, broke his silence. Captain Glenn Brindel said he was warned only seconds before the missiles struck, and that he'd had no time to activate the ship's defense system.
1996
The Supreme Court struck down, 6-to-3, a Colorado measure banning laws that protect homosexuals from discrimination. another decision, the court curtailed, 5-to-4, huge jury awards aimed at punishing or deterring misconduct.
1997
The Senate approved legislation to ban certain late-term abortions, but fell three votes shy of the total needed to override President Clinton's threatened veto.
1998
The House voted overwhelmingly to block future satellite exports to China.
1998
The government unveiled the design for the new $20 bill, featuring a larger and slightly off-center portrait of Andrew Jackson.
1998
In Beverly Hills, California, Hollywood royalty bid farewell to Frank Sinatra, who had died almost a week earlier at age 82, in a private, invitation-only funeral.
1999
An armed 15-year-old boy opened fire at Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga., wounding six students.
1999
NATO warplanes hammered Belgrade and its suburbs, leaving a hospital in smoldering ruins, three patients dead and the nearby homes of three European ambassadors damaged
2000
The five nuclear powers on the UN Security Council agreed to eventually eliminate their nuclear arsenals, as part of a new disarmament agenda approved by 187 countries.
2000
"Red Bullet" won the Preakness Stakes, outpacing Kentucky Derby winner "Fusaichi Pegasus."
2000
Flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal died in Paris at age 78.
2005
Computer giants attack Aussie CSIRO's WLAN patent
2005
Australia prepares to return Afghan detainees
2005
IDA Ireland opens Shanghai office
2005
Red Cross reveals it told U.S. officials about Koran disrespect on multiple occasions
2005
Adrian dissipates, producing heavy rains
2005
FCC requires VoIP providers to have 911 service
2005
Illegal version of Star Wars III hits the internet hours after world-premiere
2005
Marburg virus outbreak in Angola claims over 300 lives
2006
Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro injured in Preakness, does not finish race
2006
'Da Vinci Code' opens in theaters, sparks controversy
2006
Sydney off-ramp to charge $1.20 for 200m drive
2006
Australian Democrats in "continuous downward spiral": Founder
2006
Crusaders to meet Hurricanes in Super 14 final
2006
5 killed in Kentucky coal mine explosion
2006
Munster win Heineken Cup
2006
Australian PM pushes for "full-blooded" nuclear energy debate
2006
Rep. Hunter calls for hearings about alleged "cold-blooded killings" of civilians by U.S. Marines
2006
Iraq swears in first full-term government
2006
Explosion blasts Palestinian intelligence service HQ
2006
US Navy sailors jailed in Australia on drug smuggling charges
2006
China completes "mammoth" Three Gorges Dam hydro-electricity project
2006
Riot at Guantanamo Bay detention camp
2006
Two Christchurch, New Zealand, hospitals have a virus outbreak
2007
Horse racing: Curlin wins Preakness Stakes
2007
Fighting erupts between Lebanese army and Islamist group
2007
David Hicks transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Australian prison
2007
Three dead, three wounded in Idaho, USA shooting
2007
UK's Radio 1 "Big Weekend" closes, sinister plot game continues
2008
Abel prize awarded to John G. Thompson and Jacques Tits
2008
Detroit Red Wings win NHL Western finals
2008
Asbestos discovery triggers evacuation and closure of New Jersey middle school
2008
Ma Ying-jeou becomes President of Republic of China
2008
Explosives found in California cave
2008
Ted Kennedy diagnosed with brain tumor
2009
Canadian nuclear reactor shutdown causes worldwide medical isotope shortage
2009
Airplane crash in Indonesia kills 100
2009
Oleg Yankovsky, prominent Russian actor, dies at age 65
2009
Daniel Carasso, name-giver and leader of Danone, dies at 103
2009
Canadian still faces public beheading in Saudi Arabia
2010
Works valued at €100 million stolen from the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
2010
Surf's up in Chile; championship competition in Pichilemu
2010
YouTube, Facebook blocked in Pakistan
2011
Obama supports Middle East protesters in speech
2012
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg marries girlfriend Priscilla Chan

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.

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