[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

1833
Composer Johannes Brahms born in Hamburg, Germany
1840
Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky born in Votkinsk, Russia
1895
Alexander Popov demonstrates first radio
1901
Academy Award winning actor Gary Cooper born in Helena, Montana
1922
Emmy Award winning actor Darren McGavin born in Spokane, Washington
1933
Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, Johnny Unitas born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1945
Nazis surrender to Allied Forces at Reims
1945
Emmy Award winning actress Robin Victory in Europe Strasser born in New York City
1950
Emmy award winning television journalist, lawyer and moderator of NBC's Meet the Press for over 16 years, Tim Russert born in Buffalo, New York
1952
Integrated circuit concept published
1954
Film director Amy Heckerling born in Bronx, New York
1968
Model, singer and actress Traci Lords born Nora Louise Kuzma in Steubenville, Ohio
1993
Space Shuttle Endeavour launched
1998
Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler for $40 billion
685
Death of Marwan, Caliph
721
Death of St. John of Beverly
877
Charles the Bald institutes a tax to pay the Danes to leave Seine area
973
Death of Otto I "the Great," Holy Roman Emperor
1406
Henry IV, King of England, directs John Colepepper to arrest one Thomas Northfield, Dominican, on charges of Witchcraft
1429
English siege of Orleans broken by Joan of Arc
1525
Thomas Munzer, leader of the German Peasant's Revolt, beheaded
1574
Pope Innocent X born
1577
Queen Elizabeth forbids Puritan meetings in England
1603
Arrival of King James VI of Scotland and I of England in London
1634
Convicted of libeling Queen of Charles I, William Prynne loses both ears
1641
The House of Lords gives reluctant consent to the Bill of Attainder against Strafford 1641
1663
In London, the first Theatre Royal in Drury Lane was opened under a charter granted by King Charles II.
1765
HMS Victory, the British battleship and flagship of Lord Nelson, was launched at Chatham, Kent.
1789
The first inaugural ball was held in New York in honor of President and Mrs. George Washington.
1812
English poet Robert Browning in London. born
1824
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was premiered in Vienna. The composer had accepted a commission for the work from the London Symphony, but reneged on the contractual promise to let it be played in London first.
1825
Italian composer Antonio Salieri died in Vienna, Austria.
1832
Otto of Bavaria was chosen king of Greece by the great powers at the conference of London.
1833
Composer Johannes Brahms, regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 19th century music, was born in Hamburg, Germany. He wrote four symphonies and two piano concerti which have become standards in the classical repertoire.
1840
Composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in the Ural region of Russia. At 37, Tchaikovsky married. It may have been the dumbest thing he ever did. His bride knew Tchaikovsky was gay but thought she could change him. Wealthy Nadia von Meck supported Tchaikovsky for 13 years. His works included the ballet scores for ``The Nutcracker,'' ``Swan Lake'' and ``Sleeping Beauty.''
1847
The American Medical Association was founded in Philadelphia.
1848
In Warsaw, Polish workers surrendered after Prussian troops put down a rebellion.
1863
In the American Civil War the battle of Vicksburg began when Sherman reinforced Grant and split the Confederate armies under Pemberton in two. The battle and siege lasted until July 4.
1892
Yugoslav leader Josef Broz Tito. He was the Yugoslav partisan leader and president of post-war Yugoslavia from 1945 until 1980 born
1901
Actor Gary Cooper (Frank James Cooper) was born in Helena, Montana. His films included "Sergeant York," for which he won his first Academy Award, 'High Noon' and 'The Plainsman'. born
1909
Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid instant camera born
1912
Columbia University approved final plans for awarding the Pulitzer Prize in several categories. The award was established by Joseph Pulitzer.
1915
1,198 people, including 63 children, died when a German torpedo sank the British liner Lusitania off the Irish coast. 114 of the victims were American. The incident contributed to the U.S. entry into World War I.
1918
Romania signed the Treaty of Bucharest with Germany and Austria-Hungary; the treaty was nullified in November when the Central Powers collapsed.
1919
Eva Peron, first lady of Argentina during the populist government of Juan Peron. She died of cancer aged 33. born
1922
Actor Darren McGavin (some sources list May 5) born
1928
The age at which women could vote in Britain was lowered from 30 to 21.
1931
Singer Teresa Brewer born
1933
Football Hall-of-Famer Johnny Unitas born
1937
In the United States, the first coast to coast radio broadcast took place when Herbert Morrison described the explosion on the airship Hindenburg which took place the day before.
1939
Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.
1939
Singer Johnny Maestro born
1939
Singer Jimmy Ruffin born
1941
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra recorded "Chattanooga Choo Choo" for RCA Victor.
1942
Country singer Lorrie Collins born
1943
Rock musician (Brian Poole & The Tremeloes) Ricky West born
1945
Actress Robin Strasser born
1945
Gen. Dwight Eisenhower accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany from General Alfred Jodl.
1945
The 1944 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded; winners included John Hersey for his novel "A Bell for Adano," Mary Chase for her play "Harvey," and Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal for his picture of the Iwo Jima flag-raising.
1945
Baseball owner Branch Rickey announced the organization of the United States Negro Baseball League, consisting of six teams.
1946
Singer-songwriter Bill Danoff born
1950
TV commentator Tim Russert born
1951
Actor Robert Hegyes born
1951
Russia was admitted to participate in the 1952 Olympic Games - by the International Olympic Committee.
1954
Movie writer-director Amy Heckerling ("Clueless") born
1954
The 55-day Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam ended with Vietnamese insurgents overrunning French forces.
1959
Actor Michael E. Knight ("All My Children") born
1960
Leonid Brezhnev replaced Marshal Kliment Voroshilov as president of the Supreme Soviet.
1960
Leonid Brezhnev announced that Francis Gary Powers, pilot of the U-2 plane shot down on May 1, had confessed to being on an intelligence mission for the CIA.
1962
Rock musician Phil Campbell (Motorhead) born
1963
The United States launched the "Telstar II" communications satellite.
1965
Rock singer-musician Chris O'Connor (Primitive Radio Gods) born
1968
Actress Traci Lords born
1973
Benjamin Britten had open heart surgery.
1975
President Ford formally declared an end to the "Vietnam era." In Ho Chi Minh City -- formerly Saigon -- the Viet Cong staged a rally to celebrate their takeover.
1980
Paul Geidel, convicted of second-degree murder in 1911, was released from prison in Beacon, New York, after serving 68 years and 245 days -- the longest-ever time served.
1984
A $180 million out-of-court settlement was announced in the "Agent Orange" class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who charged they had suffered injury from exposure to the defoliant.
1985
The Edmonton Oilers set a National Hockey League record for playoff wins - 12. Edmonton won its second Stanley Cup with a 7-3 win over the Chicago Black Hawks.
1985
10 years after the Vietnam War ended, New York City honored Vietnam veterans with a huge ticker tape parade.
1985
Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth announced plans to institute mandatory drug testing for all baseball personnel except major-league players.
1986
The Senate Finance Committee approved a plan to make the most sweeping changes in the U.S. income tax laws in more than 40 years. (A compromise version was signed by President Reagan the following October.)
1987
Shelly Long made her last appearance on the TV show "Cheers." Long, who played cocktail server, Diane Chambers, to often hilarious results, left the hit comedy to pursue a movie career.
1987
Rep. Stewart McKinney, R-Conn., died of AIDS at age 56, the first member of Congress identified as a victim of the disease.
1987
Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, dogged by reports about his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, put his campaign on hold and flew home to Denver to be with his family.
1988
"Winning Colors" won the 114th running of the Kentucky Derby, becoming the third filly to win the event.
1989
Both sides claimed victory in Panama's national elections, with the opposition also charging a pattern of fraud.
1990
Latvia elected Ivars Godmanis as prime minister; Moscow sought more information about the republic's attempt to leave the Soviet Union.
1990
The White House put aside President Bush's pledge of no new taxes, saying talks to strike a budget deal with Congress would have "no preconditions."
1991
Doctors said that President Bush's recent bout with an irregular heartbeat was caused by a mildly overactive thyroid gland, a condition they said was easily treatable.
1992
President Bush visited riot-scarred Los Angeles.
1992
The space shuttle "Endeavour" blasted off on its maiden voyage.
1992
A 203-year-old proposed constitutional amendment barring Congress from giving itself a midterm pay raise received enough votes for ratification as Michigan became the 38th state to approve it.
1993
President Clinton proposed dramatic changes in political campaign financing.
1993
In South Africa, representatives of 23 political parties signed a declaration of intent to hold multiracial elections within a year.
1994
Norway's most famous painting, "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, was recovered almost three months after it was stolen from an Oslo museum. It was found undamaged in a hotel in south Norway.
1994
Japan's Justice Minister Shigeto Nagano resigned after his attempts to whitewash past Japanese military aggression provoked a diplomatic row in Asia.
1994
South Africa's democratic era started in earnest as new ANC-dominated provincial legislatures met and blacks took political power for the first time in more than three centuries.
1995
Jacques Chirac, the conservative mayor of Paris, won France's presidency in his third attempt defeating Lionel Jospin in a runoff to end 14 years of Socialist rule.
1995
Leaders of 54 nations that fought on both sides in World War II signed olive leaves in London in a ceremony of reconciliation.
1996
The first international war crimes proceeding since Nuremberg opened at The Hague in the Netherlands, with a Serbian police officer, Dusan Tadic, facing trial on murder-torture charges. (A year later on this date, Tadic was convicted of brutalizing prisoners, but was acquitted of more serious crimes, including murder.)
1997
The Army accused its top enlisted man, Sergeant Major of the Army Gene McKinney, of sexual misconduct. (At his court-martial, McKinney was acquitted of sexual misconduct, but found guilty of obstruction of justice.)
1997
A U.S. government study criticised Switzerland for dealing in Nazi gold during World War II.
1997
Chrysler Corporation and United Auto Workers agreed to a new contract, ending a damaging 28-day engine-plant strike.
1998
The parent company of Mercedes-Benz agreed to buy Chrysler Corporation for more than $37 billion.
1998
Londoners voted overwhelmingly to elect their own mayor for the first time in history. (The mayoral election will take place in May 2000.)
1999
A jury in Pontiac, Mich., ordered "The Jenny Jones Show" to pay $25 million to the family of Scott Amedure, a gay man who was shot to death after revealing a crush on Jonathan Schmitz, a fellow guest on the talk show.
1999
NATO jets struck the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three people and injuring 20; President Clinton called the attack a "tragic mistake."
2000
Actor-producer-author Douglas Fairbanks Junior died in New York at age 90.
2000
President Vladimir Putin took the oath of office in Russia's first democratic transfer of power.
2000
A second fire was set to contain an earlier blaze that was begun to clear brush on the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico; the second fire blew out of control, destroying more than 200 homes and damaging part of the Los Alamos National Laboratory before it was controlled.
2005
Muslim opens first Arab Holocaust museum in Nazareth
2005
CARTOSAT-I and HAMSAT satellites launched precisely by PSLV-C6, will have longer life
2005
United States begins testing equipment for demolition of a major VX nerve gas stockpile
2005
20-horse field for Derby dash
2005
Chili finger suspect arrives in San Jose, California for trial
2005
North Carolina church kicks out Democrats
2005
Reactions to Apple's OS X Tiger
2005
Kentucky Derby field chart
2006
PAP returned to power in Parliamentary Elections, Singapore
2006
Iraqis celebrate deaths of British troops
2006
Sudan will welcome UN Peacekeepers in Darfur
2006
Human Rights Watch implicates 600+ in war prisoner abuse
2006
Iran says it may withdraw from Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
2006
The Sultan's Elephant entertains London
2006
1 dead, 13 injured in Dublin bus pursuit
2006
March against new French copyright law
2006
Michael Schumacher wins the European Grand Prix
2006
UK Government report into UFOs released
2006
Australian veteran Nine Network reporter dies
2007
88th annual Brita Kongreso draws to a close
2007
Prayers on TV mandatory in Iran
2007
Iran's leader appoints new members to cultural council
2007
15th anniversary of Russian Federation Armed Forces.
2007
Wreckage of Kenya Airways flight 507 found in jungle; All 114 on board killed
2007
Palestinian Islamists attack children's festival in Gaza Strip
2007
President-elect Sarkozy promises change for France
2008
Aid starts to reach Myanmar
2008
Explosion in Chelmsford, Essex
2008
Scientology branch in Germany drops legal fight against government surveillance
2008
Floating wreckage of Brazilian plane carrying four UK businessmen recovered
2008
Obama projected winner in North Carolina primary, Clinton wins Indiana by narrow margin
2008
Italy: Berlusconi announces new government
2009
Five arrested in Canada after C$2 million armoured car robbery
2009
Porsche and Volkswagen automakers agree to merger
2009
US automaker GM reports losses of $6 billion
2009
Several groups seek to purchase Saturn auto brand
2009
Major League baseball player Manny Ramirez receives 50-game ban
2010
US economy added 290,000 jobs last month, unemployment at 9.9%
2010
UK elections: Hung parliament, Cameron to negotiate with Liberal Democrats
2010
US stocks see 9% drop before making recovery
2010
Voters turned away from polling stations in UK general elections
2011
Al-Qaeda says bin Laden death will 'not be wasted'; Pentagon releases videos of terrorist leader in compound
2011
27 believed dead in Indonesian plane crash
2011
Australia, Malaysia closing in on refugee agreement
2011
Obama decides against the release of graphic photos of bin Laden
2012
Gary Johnson wins Libertarian Party presidential nomination
2012
U.S. study says Type 2 diabetes in youth is hard to control
2013
Caloundra defeat Nambour 24-10 in week seven of Sunshine Coast Rugby Union
2013
Black and Blue Belles win in Canberra Roller Derby League blowout
2013
13th Annual Beverly Hills film festival opens
2013
Solar powered plane completes first leg of transcontinental trip

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.

Select a section