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Today in History

1859
Author and creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle born in Edinburgh, Scotland
1938
Actor Richard Benjamin born in New York City
1942
Actress Barbara Parkins born in in Vancouver, British Columbia
1964
President Lyndon B. Johnson announces his "Great Society" social reform plans
1970
Supermodel and actress, Naomi Campbell born in London, England
1973
Xerox PARC researcher Bob Metcalfe describes the "Ethernet" protocol.
1990
Microsoft releases Windows 3.0
334
BC
Alexander the Great defeated Persian King Darius III at Granicus, Turkey.
337
Death of Constantine "the Great." He was largely responsible for turning the empire into a Christian state.
1200
The Peace of Le Goulet was signed, settling differences between King John of England and Philip of France.
1216
French invasion troops land in England
1246
Henry Raspe is elected anti-king by the Rhenish prelates in France.
1455
The opening battle in England's 30-year War of the Roses took place at St. Albans, when the Lancastrians defeated the Yorkists. King Henry VI is taken prisoner by the Yorkists at the Battle of St. Albans.
1457
Death of St. Rita
1509
Death of Henry VII Tudor, King of England
1511
Bologna captured by the French
1542
Council of Trent summoned by Pope Paul III
1570
The first modern atlas, containing 70 maps, was published in Belgium by Abraham Ortelius, a Flemish cartographer/map seller.
1621
1st wedding in New England, future Gov. Edward Winslow & Susanna White
1629
The Peace of Luebeck was signed, ending hostilities between the Holy Roman Empire and Denmark.
1761
The first life insurance policy in the United States was issued, in Philadelphia.
1783
William Sturgeon, English scientist who built the first practical electromagnet. born
1804
The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially begins as the Corps of Discovery departs from St. Charles, Missouri.
1807
Former Vice President Aaron Burr was put on trial for treason in Richmond, Virginia, but was acquitted in August.
1813
Wilhelm Richard Wagner in Leipzig. For nearly all of his adult life, Wagner would move to a new city, run up huge debts, and then leave. His personal life was a scandal: his affair with Bulow's wife Cosima was so advanced that he was now stepping out on her to have affairs. Composer notably of "Der Ring des Nibelungen" and "Lohengrin." born
1819
The first steam-propelled vessel to attempt a transatlantic crossing, the "Savannah," departed from Savannah, Georgia. (It arrived in Liverpool, England, on June 20th.)
1828
Pioneer eye surgeon, Albrecht Grafe who founded modern ophthalmology born
1840
An official order was issued ending the practice of sending convicts from Britain to the penal colony of Australia. Effective in August, the last ship arrived there in November.
1841
Henry Kennedy of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a patent for the first reclining chair.
1844
American artist Mary Cassatt was born in Pennsylvania. (Some sources list 1845). Most of her paintings and pastels were based on the theme of mother and child.
1849
Abraham Lincoln received patent number 6469 for the floating dry dock.
1856
Senator Brooks of South Carolina strikes Senator Sumner with a cane for his earlier condemnation of slavery.
1859
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes born
1863
Union general Ulysses S. Grants second attack on Vicksburg fails and a siege begins.
1868
Seven members of the Reno gang stole $98,000 from a railway car at Marshfield, Ind. It was the original "Great Train Robbery."
1872
The Amnesty Act restores civil rights to Southerners.
1874
Daniel Malan, South African prime minister from 1948-54 and architect of the apartheid system. born
1874
Verdi's "Requiem" was first performed in the majestic Church of San Marco in Milan.
1880
Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, South African mining magnate who formed the Anglo-American Corporation in 1917. born
1883
The same day Wagner died, and in the same city, Venice, Rossini conducted the premiere of his own opera, "The Young Italian Woman in Algiers." It was a success.
1885
French author-writer Victor Hugo died in Paris, France, at age 83. He was mourned as a national hero and buried in the Pantheon.
1891
The first public motion picture show was given. 147 members of the National Federation of Women's Clubs visiting Thomas Edison's lab viewed the film through a one-inch hole in a pine box. It showed a man bowling.
1892
A British dentist, Dr. Sheffield, invented the toothpaste tube.
1900
Edwin S. Votey of Detroit, Michigan, received a patent for his pianola a pneumatic piano player. The device could be attached to any piano.
1900
The Associated Press was incorporated in New York as a non-profit news cooperative.
1907
Actor Laurence Olivier. He won an Oscar in 1948 for "Hamlet." He made his debut at age 15 in "The Taming of the Shrew." His last film was "War Requiem" in 1988. born
1908
The Wright brothers register their flying machine for a U.S. patent..
1915
The worst train disaster in Britain took place when a troop train collided with a passenger train at Gretna Green, Scotland, killing 227.
1920
Astronomer,Thomas Gold who established the steady-state theory of the universe. born
1922
Movie reviewer Judith Crist born
1924
Singer Charles Aznavour born
1925
Sir John French, British soldier and commander of British forces on the western front 1914-15, died. His leadership was noted for its large loss of life, notably at Ypres
1927
Actor Michael Constantine born
1934
Composer Peter Nero born
1938
Actor Frank Converse born
1938
Actor-director Richard Benjamin born
1938
Actress Susan Strasberg born
1939
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini signed a "Pact of Steel" committing Germany and Italy to a military alliance.
1940
Actor Michael Sarrazin born
1941
Actor Paul Winfield born
1942
Actress Barbara Parkins born
1943
Betty Williams, Northern Irish peace activist and Nobel Prize winner. born
1943
The Third Communist International, known as COMINTERM, was dissolved by the Soviet Union in a gesture to the West.
1943
Baseball's Tommy John born
1945
U.S. troops captured Yonabaro on Okinawa island, Japan.
1946
George Best, one of the greatest Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballers, in Belfast. born
1947
The "Truman Doctrine" was enacted as Congress appropriated military and economic aid for Greece and Turkey.
1950
The "Four Last Songs" of Richard Strauss were premiered in London by the Wagnerian diva Kirsten Flagstad. Strauss had died the previous year.
1950
Songwriter Bernie Taupin (Lyricist with Elton John) born
1955
Police in Bridgeport, Connecticut, canceled a dance scheduled at the Ritz ballroom to be headlined by Fats Domino. Authorities say it is because they found "rock and rolls dances might be featured.""
1956
Actor Al Corley ("Dynasty") born
1959
Singer Morrissey born
1961
Country musician Dana Williams (Diamond Rio) born
1962
Rock musician Jesse Valenzuela (The Low Watts) born
1966
Rhythm-and-blues singer Johnny Gill (New Edition) born
1966
16-year-old Bruce Springsteen recorded his first song, "That's What You'll Get," with his band, the Castilles.
1967
Rock musician Dan Roberts (Crash Test Dummies) born
1967
"Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," public television's longest-running children's program, premiered on PBS. Rogers is a Presbyterian minister from Pittsburgh.
1967
Fire at the Brussels department store "L'Innovation" killed over 320 people.
1969
The lunar module of "Apollo Ten" separated from the command module and flew to within nine miles of the moon's surface in a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing.
1970
Model Naomi Campbell born
1972
The island nation of Ceylon became the republic of Sri Lanka with the adopting of a new constitution.
1972
President Nixon became the first president to visit Russia. His talks in Moscow with the Russian leaders led to the S.A.L.T. Agreement in 1977.
1972
Cecil Day-Lewis, English poet and Poet Laureate, died.
1973
Singer Donell Jones born
1974
Actress A.J. Langer ("Brooklyn South") born
1979
Canadians went to the polls in parliamentary elections that put the Progressive Conservatives in power, ending the eleven-year tenure of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
1981
In Britain, Peter Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper) was jailed for life after being convicted of 13 counts of murder.
1983
Four more people died in the wake of floods that were ravaging the Gulf Coast, bringing the death toll in several days of Southern storms to 33.
1984
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law firms may not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion or national origin in promoting young lawyers to the status of partner.
1985
U.S. sailor Michael L. Walker was arrested aboard the aircraft carrier Nimitz, two days after his father, John A. Walker Jr., was apprehended; both were later convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.
1985
Baseball player Pete Rose passes Hank Aaron as National League run scoring leader with 2,108.
1986
The House of Representatives approved legislation calling for major import restraints, despite President Reagan's warning that burgeoning protectionism would launch new trade wars.
1987
A deadly tornado devastated the small West Texas town of Saragosa, killing 30 people and injuring 162. The storm destroyed 61 houses and leveled the community center and church.
1987
An Iraqi missile hits the American frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf.
1988
Janos Kadar installed by the Soviet Union as head of Hungary's Communist Party in 1956 -- was replaced by Prime Minister Karoly Grosz.
1989
In a serious blow to Chinese Premier Li Peng, more than 100 top military leaders vowed to refrain from entering Beijing to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations.
1989
Soviet authorities announced curbs on the number of staff at the British embassy and other institutions in Moscow, from 375 to 205.
1989
India test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile, igniting worries over nuclear proliferation and a spiraling arms race on the subcontinent.
1990
After years of conflict, pro-Western North Yemen and pro-Soviet South Yemen merged to form a single nation, the Republic of Yemen.
1990
Boxer Rocky Graziano died in New York at age 71.
1991
Soviet President Gorbachev asked the world's industrialized nations for $100 billion in economic loans and grants to bolster the Soviet economy.
1991
Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born wife of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was designated to lead his Congress Party through national elections, one day after his assassination.
1992
After a reign lasting nearly 30 years, Johnny Carson hosted NBC's "Tonight Show" for the last time, telling his audience, "I bid you a very heartfelt good night." (Carson was succeeded by Jay Leno.)
1993
The United States, Russia, France, Britain and Spain agreed to enforce safe areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but stopped short of endorsing President Clinton's proposal to use military force.
1994
A worldwide trade embargo against Haiti went into effect to punish Haiti's rulers for not reinstating the country's ousted leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
1994
Rwandan rebels seized the key government army barracks in Kigali, removing the biggest obstacle in their drive to capture the capital.
1995
"The CBS Evening News" resumed a single-anchor format with Dan rather, after Connie Chung was dropped from the broadcast.
1995
The Supreme Court ruled, 5-to-4, that states cannot limit service in Congress without amending the Constitution.
1996
Japan settled lawsuits which bought to an end the mercury poisoning case called Minamata, named after the village where hundreds died between 1953-60 by eating mercury-tainted seafood.
1996
President Clinton counterattacked against Republican criticism of his foreign policy during a commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut; the president then traveled to New York where he was cheered by sailors from four nations aboard the USS Intrepid
1997
Russian President Boris Yeltsin sacked defense minister Igor Rodionov and head of the general staff Viktor Samsonov for failing to carry through military reforms.
1997
In a case that drew national attention, Kelly Flinn, the Air Force's first female bomber pilot certified for combat, accepted a general discharge, thereby avoiding court-martial on charges of adultery, lying and disobeying an order. The defense began presenting its case in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh.
1998
Federal Judge Norma Holloway Johnson ruled that Secret Service agents could be compelled to testify before the grand jury in the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
1998
Voters in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland turned out in force to cast ballots giving resounding approval to a Northern Ireland peace accord.
1999
Columbine High School seniors wearing blue-and-silver gowns marched single file in a graduation ceremony that mixed celebration of the day with sorrow for victims of the recent massacre.
2000
A committee of the Arkansas Supreme Court recommended that President Clinton be disbarred for giving false testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. (Clinton later agreed to give up his Arkansas law license for five years.)
2000
The Supreme Court struck down, 5-to-4, a federal law that shielded children from sex-oriented cable TV channels.
2005
Greece wins Eurovision song contest
2005
Endangered cow cloned in Brazil
2005
Mongolia's ex-communists ahead going into Sunday's election
2005
Martin claims victory in Charlotte
2005
Restrictions imposed in China textile trade with U.S.
2005
BBC prepared for news blackout as staff strike
2005
Mayors back global warming pact
2005
Storms lash northern New Zealand
2005
Venture capital investment in Ireland soars by 35%
2006
Five dead in Louisiana church shooting
2006
Downer welcomes Australian nuclear energy debate
2006
NSW govt to rebuild high school with private funding
2006
One of Saddam Hussein's defense lawyers thrown out of court
2006
Chief of World Health Organization dies
2006
PM John Howard's nuclear push causes alarm
2006
Steel major Arcelor ready to reconsider Mittal's offer
2006
Seven year old boy swims from Alcatraz to San Francisco
2006
Ian Paisley rejects Sinn Fein nomination
2006
Montenegro secedes from Serbia
2006
Sweden wins World Ice Hockey Championships
2006
Mark Rocket first New Zealander to book Virgin space flight
2006
Britain expects troops out of Iraq within next 4 years
2006
Researchers say Ozone Hole "likely to contract, may disappear"
2007
California senator opposed to cell-phones involved in cell-phone related crash
2007
Imam Khamenei says anti-US policies stronger than Hiroshima bomb
2007
Murder charge to be brought in Litvinenko death
2007
Thai puppeteer Sakorn Yang-keawsot dies at 85
2007
Large explosion rocks Turkish capital
2007
French Open 2007: Zvonareva withdraws
2007
English football: Adebayor signs new Arsenal contract
2007
Spirit Rover on Mars finds water made 'silica-rich soil'
2007
China warns US to avoid trade confrontation
2007
An "irresponsible" strike An
2007
Two bomb explosions witnessed in Beirut
2008
UEFA Champions League Final: Manchester United vs. Chelsea F.C.
2008
First supernova seen during explosion breakout
2008
Oil price reaches new high
2008
Swedish men suspected of nuclear plant sabotage released
2008
Indiana Jones returns to the screens
2008
19 Kenyans arrested for 'witch' killings
2008
Signs of ancient hydrothermal vents found on Mars
2009
Egyptian billionaire MP, former policeman to hang for Lebanese pop star's murder
2009
FBI arrests four in alleged plot to bomb Bronx synagogues, shoot down plane
2010
English footballer Beckham visits British troops in Afghanistan
2010
Indian airliner crashes; nearly 160 presumed dead
2010
Car bomb in Iraq leaves at least 30 dead
2010
Hong Kong chief executive invites opponent to television debate
2010
Times Square bomb suspects arrested in Pakistan
2010
Clinton warns North Korea of "provocative behavior"
2010
Volunteers collaborate in reconstruction of Lolol, Chile
2010
Former Illinois governor Blagojevich asks US Supreme Court to delay corruption trial, prosecutors to respond by Friday
2011
Libya releases four foreign journalists
2011
Four killed in militant attack on Karachi military base
2011
Pope speaks with astronauts in orbit for first time
2011
Two dead as earthquake strikes Kütahya, Turkey
2012
British musician Robin Gibb dies at age 62
2013
Same-sex marriage passes third reading in House of Commons

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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