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Today in History

1494
Christopher Columbus lands in Jamaica
1825
Marine biologist, educator, author, and Royal Society Fellow, Thomas Huxley born in London, England
1929
Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winning singer and actress, Audrey Hepburn born in Brussels, Belgium
1949
Songwriter and country singer, Stella Parton born in Sevierville, Tennessee
1953
Ernest Hemingway receives Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea
1954
Actress and singer, Pia Zadora born in Hoboken, New Jersey
1959
Songwriter and Grammy Award winning singer, Randy Travis born in Marshville, North Carolina
1961
Health activist and actress, Mary McDonough born in Van Nuys, California
1970
National Guard troops kill four and wound nine student demonstrators at Kent State in Ohio
387
Death of St. Monica
1038
Death of St. Gothard
1291
The King of Cyprus arrives at Acre with reinforcements
1328
Treaty of Northhampton ratified by the English Parliament
1429
The Bastard of Orleans attacks the English besiegers of Orleans
1471
The Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury in the Wars of the Roses. (defeat of Queen Margaret of England by Edward IV)
1483
Edward V, King of England, arrives in London
1493
Line of Demarcation drawn; non-Christian world divided between Spain and Portugal by the Pope
1493
Pope Alexander VI, a Spaniard, decreed that all new lands discovered west of the Azores were Spanish.
1493
Columbus given a Spanish Coat-of-Arms
1494
During his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus sights Jamaica.
1626
Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island. He later 'bought' the island from the Wappinger Indians for trinkets said to be worth $24. The Indians thought they were merely granting "share" rights.
1640
Charles I prorogues the "Short Parliament" after 22 days
1654
K'ang-hsi, fourth emperor of the Ch'ing dynasty. born
1655
Bartolommeo di Francesco Cristofori, Italian harpsichord manufacturer, born. He was credited with designing the first pianoforte. born
1776
Rhode Island declared its freedom from England, two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
1780
The first Derby horse race was run at Epsom in England over a distance of one and a half miles.
1796
Educator Horace Mann born
1799
During the Fourth Mysore War, Sultan Tippu of Mysore was killed at Seringapatam.
1825
Thomas Henry Huxley, British naturalist and humanist and originator of the word agnostic born
1826
American landscape painter Frederick Church born
1827
John Hanning Speke, British explorer. He was the first European to see Lake Victoria, which he claimed was the source of born
1839
The Cunard shipping line was founded by Samuel Cunard of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1851
1st of the major San Francisco fires.
1860
Verdi wrote to his publisher asking for a loan to renovate his home.
1866
Woodward's Gardens opens to public.
1874
Wagner named his brand new home in Bayreuth "Wahnfried," which can be translated as "Dream Peace."
1875
The running of the Kentucky derby, "America's premier" thoroughbred horse race, was inaugurated.
1878
Phonograph shown for 1st time at the Grand Opera House.
1882
Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst, British painter and suffragette. She was the third member of her family to fight for votes for women. born
1886
At Haymarket Square in Chicago, a labor demonstration for an eight-hour work day turned into a riot when a bomb exploded.
1886
The first, practical phonograph, better known as the gramophone, was patented.
1889
New York Roman Catholic Cardinal Francis Spellman born
1904
The United States took possession of the Panama Canal Zone.
1909
Actor Howard DaSilva born
1916
Responding to a demand from President Wilson, Germany agreed to limit its submarine warfare, thereby averting a diplomatic break with Washington.
1918
Kakuei Tanaka, Japanese prime minister 1972-74. Disgraced later in the Lockheed bribery scandal, he was sentenced to four years in jail. born
1919
Students demonstrated in China against the Versailles Peace Conference decision to hand Germany's possessions in Shantung Province to Japan. Known as the May Fourth Movement, it led to the birth of the Chinese Communist Party.
1925
Luis Herrera Campins, Venezuelan president from 1978-84. born
1926
The first general strike in British history began. It was called by the Trades Union Congress and troops were called in to man essential services.
1927
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded.
1928
Jazz musician Maynard Ferguson born
1928
The president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak born
1929
Audrey Hepburn (Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Rusten) near Brussels, Belgium. Her first major movie role in "Roman Holiday" (1953) won her an Academy Award. She starred in such films as ``Roman Holiday,'' ``Breakfast at Tiffany's'' and ``My Fair Lady.'' born
1930
Opera singer Roberta Peters born
1931
Jazz musician Ed Cassid born
1932
Mobster Al Capone, convicted of income-tax evasion, entered the federal penitentiary in Atlanta.
1937
Rock musician Dick Dale born
1937
Jazz musician Ron Carter born
1938
Dr. Douglas Hyde became the first president of Ireland under its new constitution.
1938
Singer Tyrone Davis born
1941
ABC-TV political commentator George F. Will born
1942
The Battle of the Coral Sea began. It was a turning point in World War II, with Japan losing 39 ships and the United States, one.
1942
Singer-songwriter Nick Ashford born
1943
Rock musician Ronnie Bond (Bullis) born
1944
Pop singer Peggy Santiglia (The Angels) born
1944
Actor Paul Gleason ("The Thin Red Line") born
1945
During World War II, Field Marshall Montgomery announced German forces in the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany agreed to surrender unconditionally.
1946
A two-day riot at Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay ended, the violence having claimed five lives.
1949
Country singer Stella Parton born
1950
Actor-turned-clergyman Hilly Hicks born
1951
Singer Jackie Jackson (The Jacksons) born
1955
Jazz musician Danny Brubeck born
1956
Actress-singer Pia Zadora born
1959
Country singer Randy Travis born
1959
Football punter Rohn Stark born
1959
The winners of the first Grammy Awards were Modugno's "Volare," as record of the year. Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn" won album of the year. The Champs "tequila won best R&B performance.
1961
Actress Mary McDonough ("The Waltons") born
1961
Rock singer Jay Aston (Bucks Fizz) born
1961
A group of "Freedom Riders" left Washington for New Orleans to challenge racial segregation in interstate buses and bus terminals.
1964
The Moody Blues were formed in Birmingham, England. Members included Denny Laine, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick. The band reorganized in 1967 with Justin Hayward as lead vocalist.
1964
The Pulitzer Prize jury failed, for the first time, to award winners in the areas of fiction, drama and music.
1970
National Guardsmen killed four students at Kent State University in Ohio during a demonstration against the Vietnam war.
1972
Rock musician Mike Dirnt (Green Day) born
1976
Rock musician Jose Castellanos (Save Ferris) born
1976
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser announced that "Waltzing Matilda" would serve as his country's national anthem at the upcoming Olympic Games.
1979
Singer Lance Bass ('N Sync) born
1980
Marshal Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, died three days before his 88th birthday.
1982
An Argentine jet fighter sank the British destroyer H.M.S. Sheffield during the Falkland Islands war.
1983
William D. Ruckleshaus, nominated by President Ronald Reagan to again head the Environmental Protection Agency, told a Senate hearing there would be no "hit lists," "political decisions" or "sweetheart deals" under his leadership.
1984
Poland's premier, General Wojciech Jaruzelski and Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko signed a 15-year economic cooperation agreement in Moscow.
1985
Western leaders wrapped up a summit in Bonn by urging a "substantial reduction" in barriers to free trade.
1985
"Spend A Buck" won the 115th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
1986
As heads of the leading industrial democracies gathered in Tokyo for their annual economic summit, saboteurs fired five homemade rockets at the state guest house; no injuries resulted.
1987
For the first time, live models were used for Playtex bra ads. This time, models didn't have to be mannequins or women wearing the undergarments OVER dresses. The use of live models crossed a previously taboo line.
1987
Pope John Paul II ended his five-day visit to West Germany, with a call for religious freedom in the Soviet bloc and praise for those who had opposed the "mass hysteria and propaganda" of the Nazi era.
1988
Three French hostages -- Marcel Carton, Marcel Fontaine and Jean-Paul Kauffmann -- were released in Beirut by pro-Iranian kidnappers.
1988
A year-long amnesty program for illegal aliens in the United States who met certain conditions was coming to a close, with thousands of applicants lining up nationwide on the last day.
1989
Fired White House aide Oliver North was convicted of shredding documents and two other crimes and acquitted of nine other charges stemming from the Iran-Contra affair.
1990
The South African government and the African National Congress concluded talks in Cape Town with a joint statement agreeing on a "common commitment toward the resolution of the existing climate of violence.""
1991
Strike the Gold won the 117th Kentucky Derby.
1991
President Bush suffered shortness of breath while jogging at Camp David; he was rushed to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where doctors found he was experiencing an irregular heart beat.
1992
Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton toured riot-ravaged Los Angeles streets, blaming the destruction on what he called 12 years of Republican neglect.
1992
About 70,000 Thais protested against the appointment of Suchinda Kraprayoon, an unelected general, as prime minister.
1993
The final performance of the current New York Philharmonic program. Michael Torke said his new fanfare "Run" has a jogging rhythm and a positive feel. Bartok's "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta" dates from 1936 but has a modern, action-movie sound even today.
1993
The United States handed over control of the relief effort in Somalia to the United Nations.
1994
The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved European Union plans to admit Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden to the 12-nation bloc.
1994
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed a historic accord on Palestinian autonomy that granted self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.
1995
An Iranian nuclear official said spent fuel from Iran's Russian-made reactors, potential raw material for nuclear bombs, would be returned to Russia for safeguarding.
1996
A 13-year era of Socialist rule ended in Spain when conservative leader Jose Maria Aznar was appointed prime minister.
1996
"Grindstone" won the Kentucky Derby, giving trainer D. Wayne Lukas an incredible sixth straight victory in a Triple Crown race.
1997
IBM's Deep Blue computer defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov, evening their six-game series at one game apiece.
1997
Cerefino Jimenez Malla became the first Gypsy beatified in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.
1997
Wijayananda Dahanayake, former prime minister of Sri Lanka, died.
1998
Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, California, under a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty.
1998
In Vatican City, the commander of the Swiss Guard, Alois Estermann, and his wife were found shot to death in their apartment; a Vatican inquiry concluded that a corporal, Cedric Tornay, had shot the couple and then turned the gun on himself.
1999
Tornadoes roared across the Plains for a second straight day.
1999
Work crews struggled to restore electricity across Serbia after NATO strikes on major power grids left Belgrade and other cities in the dark.
1999
Five New York police officers went on trial for the torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. (One officer later pleaded guilty; a second was convicted; three were acquitted.)
2000
The "ILOVEYOU" e-mail virus infected computer networks and hard drives across the globe, spawning various imitations.
2000
Londoners chose political maverick Ken Livingstone to be their first elected mayor.
2005
Romanian presidential advisor resigns
2005
Turbolinux adopted by China's largest bank
2005
Romanian media workers ask Iraqi ambassador for help regarding kidnapped journalists
2005
Refurbished cafeteria opens in Romanian parliament
2005
Constanţa shipyard revenues increase by 63.5 percent in 2004
2005
Romanian student wins NASA Space Settlement Design Contest
2005
New Mars Orbiter arrives for launch
2005
U.S. newspaper circulation continues 20-year slide
2005
Tito remembered 25 years after his death
2005
Charity haircuts and collaborative art at spring festival in Cambridge, Massachusetts
2005
Former Haitian Prime Minister Neptune reported close to death
2005
Saskatchewan man escapes black bear attack
2005
Boston's Faneuil Hall selects performers
2005
New York City Subway N service to be restored to Coney Island May 29, via the Sea Beach Line
2005
Twelve more moons of Saturn discovered
2005
Serbia - Pahomije's case moved to Nis
2005
Partizan increases its lead
2005
Italian biggest win at Italian Lottery Superenalotto
2006
Rescue attempts continue for Tasmanian miners
2006
Former Victorian Premier considers political comeback
2006
Picasso's painting sold for $95.2 million
2006
Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey meet in Thessalonika
2006
States challenge to Australian Work Choices Act begins
2006
Celebrations for the time 01:02:03, 04/05/06
2006
Lava flows from Mount Merapi
2006
Zacarias Moussaoui to serve life in prison
2006
Soft drink companies to stop high school soda sales
2006
Voting day for local elections in England
2007
Royal Canadian Mint unveils world's largest gold coin
2007
Ulster Volunteer Force announces it will put weapons "beyond reach"
2007
Protesters in Israel call for resignation of Prime Minister
2007
Taliban resurgent in Pakistan on enforcement of Sharia law
2007
Fugitive Cuban soldiers in failed skyjacking
2007
Plane crashes in McAllen,Texas; two dead
2007
Mercury astronaut Walter Schirra dies, aged 84
2007
Khamenei denounces US 'bullying', praises martyrdom operations
2007
Party supporting Scottish independence from UK wins elections
2008
Three children taken from New Mexico compound
2008
Rescuers hunt Brazilian plane carrying four UK passengers
2008
351 dead after Burma cyclone
2008
Microsoft drops bid for Yahoo
2009
Swine flu cases worldwide top 1,000
2009
Indo-Canadian teens kidnapped, found dead in car
2010
US criticizes Iran for remarks at nuclear conference
2010
Investigation into US Airways river ditching in New York completed
2010
Continental and United Airlines to merge
2010
Severe flooding leaves 28 dead in southern United States
2010
California governor Schwarzenegger vetoes smoking ban in parks
2010
6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Chile
2010
Iraq starts manual vote recount
2011
'Where is your god now?': London policemen on trial accused of beating Muslim
2012
Kony campaign faces ridicule, praise

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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