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Today in History

Memorial Day
1431
19 year old Joan of Arc burned at the stake by English tribunal in Rouen, France
1908
The voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck Elmer Fudd and 100's more, actor Mel Blanc born in San Francisco, California
1936
Actress and human rights activist Ruta Lee born in Montreal, Québec
1939
British Academy Film award winning actor Michael J. Pollard born in Passaic, New Jersey
1944
Colossus Mark II operational
1958
First Memorial Day services held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virgina
1964
Country singer Wynonna Judd born Christina Claire Ciminella in Ashland, Kentucky
1975
Wisconsin National Youth Science Camp delegate, VP of geographic services at Google and CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer born in Wausau, Wisconsin
542
Death of Arthur I, King of England
849
Frankish Empire divided between Charles, Louis & Lothar, Worms
1249
Assassination of Reginald II, King of the Isle of Man
1252
Death of St. Ferdinand of Castile
1257
Founding of the University of Marberg, Germany
1265
Dante Alighieri, Italian poet born
1323
A truce is proclaimed in the Scottish Wars, to last for thirteen years
1379
Death of Henry II of Trastamara, King of Castile-Leon
1416
Jerome of Prague, theologian, burned as a heretic by the Church
1431
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France, at age 19. She had been convicted of sorcery.
1498
Columbus sets out from Spain on his third voyage
1536
Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour, his 3rd wife
1539
Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto lands on the coast of Florida.
1574
Death of Charles IX, King of France
1593
Death of Christopher Marlowe, playwright. Murky inconsistencies cloud the various accounts of Marlowe's death but it is most commonly held that he was stabbed to death during a disagreement over a tavern bill. He was buried on the 1st of June in the churchyard of St Nicholas at Deptford
1631
"La Gazette de France" first published
1635
Treaty of Prague ends Thirty Years War
1640
Death of Peter Paul Rubens, painter
1854
The territories of Nebraska and Kansas were established.
1866
Bedrich Smetana's opera "The Bartered Bride," which was to become the world's most popular Czech opera, was premiered in Prague. It was not much of a success. Smetana would spend the next several years revising it, it enjoys success nowadays.
1883
12 people were trampled to death when a rumor that the recently opened Brooklyn Bridge was in imminent danger of collapsing triggered a stampede.
1908
Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and many other cartoon characters born
1909
Band leader Benny Goodman born
1911
Indianapolis saw its first long-distance auto race; Ray Harroun was the winner.
1922
The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington DC, by Chief Justice William Howard Taft.
1926
Christine Jorgensen, who gained notoriety for undergoing a sex-change operation born
1926
Country musician Johnny Gimble born
1927
Actor Clint Walker born
1936
Actress Ruta Lee born
1936
Actor Keir Dullea born
1937
A battle between police and strikers at the Republic Steel Corp. plant in Chicago killed 10 people and wounded 90.
1938
Walter Piston's "Incredible Flutist" was premiered by the Boston Symphony.
1939
Actor Michael J. Pollard born
1943
American forces secured the Aleutian island of Attu from the Japanese during World War Two.
1951
Actor Stephen Tobolowsky born
1958
Unidentified soldiers killed in World War Two and the Korean conflict were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
1958
Actor Ted McGinley born
1961
Actor Ralph Carter born
1962
One of the towering masterworks of the 20th century was premiered. Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem" was composed for the rededication of the rebuilt St. Michael's Cathedral in Coventry. The church had been bombed out in World War Two.
1964
Country singer Wynonna born
1964
Rock musician Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) born
1971
Rock musician Patrick Dahlheimer (Live) born
1971
The American space probe "Mariner Nine" blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Florida, on a journey to Mars.
1972
Actor Trey Parker born
1974
Rapper Cee-Lo (Goodie Mob) born
1980
Pope John Paul II arrived in France on the first visit by the head of the Roman Catholic Church since the early 19th century.
1981
Actor Blake Bashoff born
1982
Spain became NATO's 16th member, the first country to enter the western alliance since West Germany in 1955.
1987
Soviet Defense Minister Sergei L. Sokolov and the chief of Soviet air defenses were fired, two days after West German pilot Mathias Rust entered Soviet airspace in a small plane and flew all the way to Moscow's Red Square.
1988
On the second day of the Moscow summit, Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, giving a toast at a state dinner, called for closer contacts with Americans, adding, "This should be done without interfering in domestic affairs, without sermonizing or imposing one's views and ways."
1989
US Representative Claude Pepper (Democrat, Florida), a champion of the nation's elderly, died in Washington at age 88.
1989
Student demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in Beijing erected a 33-foot statue they called the "Goddess of Democracy."
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrived in Washington for his summit with President Bush.
1991
The US Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors can be sued for the legal advice they give police and can be forced to pay damages when that advice leads to someone's rights being violated.
1992
President Bush ordered the seizure of Yugoslav government assets in the United States after the United Nations imposed sanctions in an effort to force Yugoslavia to observe a cease-fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1993
Emerson Fittipaldi won the 77th Indianapolis 500, driving at an average speed of 157.207 miles-an-hour.
1994
The UN Security Council warned North Korea to stop refueling a nuclear reactor and allow UN monitors to perform full inspections.
1994
Mormon Church president Ezra Taft Benson died in Salt Lake City at age 94.
1995
In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic demanded guarantees of no further NATO air attacks and de facto recognition of a self-styled Serb state.
1996
The House called off a contempt-of-Congress vote after President Clinton's aides turned over one-thousand pages of papers and a long-sought list of documents in the travel office firings.
1996
Britain's Prince Andrew and the former Sarah Ferguson were granted an uncontested decree ending their ten-year marriage.
1997
Child molester Jesse K. Timmendequas was convicted in Trenton, New Jersey, of raping and strangling a seven-year-old neigbhor, Megan Kanka, whose 1994 murder inspired "Megan's Law," requiring that communities be notified when sex offenders move in. (Timmendequas was later sentenced to death.)
1998
Northern Afghanistan was rocked by a powerful earthquake believed to have killed up to five-thousand people.
1998
Pakistan set off another nuclear blast.
1998
A tornado tore through Spencer, South Dakota, killing six people.
1999
Astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery rigged cranes and other tools to the exterior of the international space station during a spacewalk; then, the astronauts entered the orbiting outpost for three days of making repairs and delivering supplies.
1999
Kenny Brack won the crash-marred Indianapolis 500, driving a car owned by racing legend A.J. Foyt.
2000
Former Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey died in Scranton at age 68.
2000
Gordon "Tex" Beneke, a singer and sax player with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, died in Costa Mesa, California, at age 86
2000
President Clinton arrived in Portugal as he opened a week-long visit to Europe.
2005
Huge Gay Pride parade held in Brazil
2005
Amnesty International urges international investigations of top U.S. officials
2005
Class of 9/11 graduates West Point
2005
Polish writer Tomasz Pacyński dies
2005
UK and U.S. bombing raids against Iraq increased in 2002
2006
Australian PM doesn't support Queensland party amalgamation
2006
New Zealand to get new postal codes
2006
U.S. Military truck crash kills civilians; Kabul riots
2006
Operation Marham:India rushes aid to Indonesia
2006
East Timor: President Gusmão takes emergency powers to quell unrest
2006
Dutch pedophiles set to go political
2006
Former chaplain at Guantanamo tells about abuse and underage prisoners
2006
Bomb blasts near Greek Minister's house
2007
Chinese stock markets plunge after tax increase
2007
Nightwish announce Anette Olzon as new lead vocalist
2007
Iran typifies Islamic justice, says chief judicial official
2007
New Zealander on oxygen machine dies after power disconnection
2007
Thai Rak Thai dissolved, ex-premier Thaksin banned from politics
2007
F-15 fighter jet crashes near Vincennes, Indiana, USA
2007
Lordi to star in horror movie
2007
US places man with TB under quarantine, launches search for contactees
2007
Arnold Schwarzenegger marks three day visit to Canada
2007
Oldbury nuclear power station suffers fire
2008
Officer who killed Polish dissident during Communist era sentenced to 4 years prison
2008
Ban on cluster bombs adopted by 111 countries
2008
X performs at the TLA in Philadelphia
2008
First fertilised fish fossil found
2008
Serie A 2008–09: Inter Milan fire Mancini
2008
Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, May 2008
2009
Major 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Honduras
2009
Protesters against police violence surround London's Scotland Yard
2009
Explosion in Chinese mine kills 25
2009
Nineteen-year sentence for murder handed down to music producer Phil Spector
2009
UN hides facts about war in Sri Lanka, says French Le Monde
2009
Gun attack at Iranian election office injures three
2009
British MP condemns deportation of man to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
2009
Oil prices reach six-month high
2010
Facebook blocked in Bangladesh
2010
Ice Hockey: Blackhawks take first Stanley Cup Finals game in 11-goal thriller
2010
Israel declines appeals to sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
2010
Canada keeping eye on Deepwater Horizon spill
2010
'Statues of Democracy' removed in Hong Kong
2010
BP: Plug for underwater oil leak in Gulf of Mexico fails
2010
At least thirty dead after bus accident in India
2011
Brazilian surfer wins world championship in Pichilemu, Chile
2011
University of Chicago's Mansueto Library suffers power outage
2011
Former Hungarian president Ferenc Mádl dies aged 80
2011
Blatter set to be re-elected as FIFA suspends two senior officials
2011
Egypt opens border crossing with Gaza
2012
Charles Taylor gets 50 years for war crimes
2012
U.S. Congressman Thad McCotter denied ballot in re-election primary race; announces write-in campaign
2013
'Cartoons country' festival in Moscow: in pictures

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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