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Today in History

1884
Farmer, railroad worker, clerk and 33rd President of the United States, Harry S Truman born in Lamar, Missouri
1886
Druggist John Pemberton creates formula for Coca ColaTM in his backyard
1926
US Navy seaman, actor and comedian, Don Rickles born in New York City
1940
Pop singer Ricky Nelson born in Teaneck, New Jersey
1940
Grammy Award winning singer Toni Tennille born in Montgomery, Alabama
1972
US institutes mining of Haiphong Harbor
1984
Soviet Union announces boycott of Los Angeles Olympic games
1984
Actress Julia Whelan born in Oregon
615
Death of Pope Boniface IV
1147
Death of St. Peter of Tarentaise
1191
Richard I and his army land on Cyprus
1222
Coronation of Henry VII, King of Germany
1373
Dame Julian of Norwich experiences visions of the Passion of Christ
1429
The siege of Orleans ended when French troops stormed the English forts in the Hundred Years War.
1444
Island of St. Michael, Azores, discovered
1500
Peter Martyr [Pietro Martine Vermighi], Italian humanist born
1521
St. Peter Canisius born
1541
Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto discovered the Mississippi River.
1559
In England, the Act of Supremacy was passed by which the new Queen Elizabeth I became ``Supreme Governor'' of the Church of England; the Act of Uniformity was passed and a Common Prayer book was introduced.
1575
Marriage of Count Ferenc Nadasdy and Elizabeth Bathory
1641
The House of Lords passes the Bill of Attainder against the Earl of Strafford
1660
Charles II proclaimed King of England
1786
Thomas Hancock, founded British rubber industry born
1794
Antoine Lavoisier, the French chemist who discovered oxygen and is considered the father of modern chemistry, was executed on the guillotine by the Revolutionary Convention during France's Reign of Terror.
1828
Jean Henri Dunant, Swiss founder of the Red Cross Society and a co-founder of the Young Men's Christian Association. He was co-winner of the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 born
1829
Louis Moreau Gottschalk was born. Gottschalk was a New World Liszt, famous for his flashy piano performances. His concerts were built around elaborate variations on popular themes. He had a "rock star" sort of career complete with love scandals and close escapes.
1846
The first major battle of the Mexican War was fought at Palo Alto, Texas, resulting in victory for General Zachary Taylor's forces.
1847
Robert W. Thompson of England patented the rubber tire.
1849
The first recognized international yacht race was won by Pearl of Bermuda, beating the U.S. yacht, Brenda.
1852
The Treaty of London was signed by Britain, France, Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden, guaranteeing the integrity of Denmark.
1873
John Stuart Mill, British pioneering political economist and exponent of Utilitarianism, died.
1879
George Selden of Rochester, N.Y., filed for the first patent for an automobile. It was granted in 1895.
1880
French novelist Gustave Flaubert, whose works included ``Madame Bovary,'' died.
1884
The 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, near Lamar, Missouri. Truman was the last of the nine presidents who did not attend college. Admirers nicknamed him, "Give 'em Hell Harry". He became president on the death of President Roosevelt. born
1886
Atlanta pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invented the flavor syrup for "Coca-Cola." World wide consumption of Coke is currently over 12 million gallons daily.
1902
Mount Pelee on Martinique erupted and destroyed the town of St. Pierre; over 30,000 people were killed.
1903
Paul Gauguin, French post-impressionist painter, died in Tahiti.
1921
Sweden abolished capital punishment.
1926
Environmentalist Sir David Attenborough. born
1926
Comedian Don Rickles born
1928
Former Kennedy administration official (Ted) Theodore Sorenson born
1929
Norway annexed Jan Mayen island.
1932
Boxer Sonny Liston born
1939
The electric starting gate, invented by Clay Puett, was used for the first time at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California.
1940
Actor-singer Rick Nelson (Rick Hilliard Nelson) was born in Teaneck, New Jersey. Rick died in a plane crash near DeKalb, Texas, on New Year's Eve, 1985.
1940
Author Peter Benchley (JAWS) born
1941
Singer John Fred (John Fred and His Playboy Band) born
1941
Actor James Mitchum born
1942
The Battle of the Coral Sea ended when a U.S. fleet turned back a Japanese invasion force heading for Port Moresby in New Guinea.
1942
Jockey Hall-of-Famer Angel Cordero Junior born
1943
Singer Toni Tennille born
1944
Rock singer Gary Glitter (Paul Gadd) born
1944
A Czech-Soviet agreement was signed dealing with possible entry of Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia.
1944
The first "eye bank" was established, in New York City.
1945
King Leopold of Belgium was freed by the U.S. 7th Army.
1945
President Truman announced in a radio address that World War Two had ended in Europe. He officially declared VE Day, the end of World War II in Europe.
1947
Henry Gordon Selfridge, founder of Selfridge's department store in London, died.
1948
Readers of "Sovietskaya Musica" were getting their May edition, which included an attack on Shostakovich. It accused him of "sadistic determination" in his Fourth Symphony. "Meaninglessness is multiplied by meaninglessness," the critic huffed.
1951
Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) born
1951
Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) born
1952
William Fox, U.S. film producer, died; he founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915 which later became 20th Century Fox.
1953
Rock musician Billy Burnette (Fleetwood Mac) born
1954
Actor David Keith born
1954
Actor Stephen Furst born
1955
Rock musician (drummer) Alex Van Halen born
1958
Vice President Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.
1959
Football player Ronnie Lott born
1962
The musical comedy "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" opened on Broadway.
1964
Actress Melissa Gilbert born
1964
Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) born
1968
Country musician Del Gray (Little Texas) born
1970
Construction workers broke up an anti-war protest on New York's Wall Street.
1973
The siege of Wounded Knee in South Dakota ended peacefully as militant Indians who had occupied the tiny prairie settlement for almost 10 weeks began to file out and surrender to the authorities.
1975
Singer Enrique Iglesias born
1977
In Amsterdam, Peter Menten, a Dutch art dealer and Nazi collaborator, went on trial for murdering Polish Jews in order to obtain their art collections.
1978
David R. Berkowitz pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to the six murder charges against him in the "Son of Sam" .44-caliber shootings that had terrified New Yorkers.
1983
Secretary of State George P. Shultz wrapped up a two-week tour of the Middle East, during which he had discussed with officials a plan for withdrawing foreign troops from Lebanon.
1984
The Soviet Union declared it would not take part in the Los Angeles Olympics, citing fears over security for its athletes.
1985
Actress Julia Whelan ("Once and Again") born
1985
President Reagan addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. About a third of the deputies walked out, waved protest signs or booed as Reagan criticized the Soviet Union.
1985
The first cans of "New" Coke went on the market on the 99th anniversary of Coca-Cola. The company soon realized that the introduction was a mistake and its customers still preferred "The Real Thing.""
1986
The premier of Soviet Ukraine, Alexander Lyashko, told reporters that 84,000 people had been evacuated from settlements near the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
1986
The Coca-Cola Company, celebrating the centennial of its flagship beverage in Atlanta, announced it was revising the soft drink's labels.
1987
An angry and defiant Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life, including his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
1988
French President Francois Mitterrand was elected to a second seven-year term, defeating conservative challenger Jacques Chirac.
1988
Science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein died in Carmel, California, at age 80. His works included ``Stranger in a Strange Land.''
1989
Janos Kadar, the architect of modern Hungary, was dropped from from his ceremonial post of Communist Party president and from his post on the policy-making Central Committee of the party.
1989
Former President Jimmy Carter, a leader of an international team observing Panama's elections, declared that the armed forces were defrauding the opposition of victory.
1990
One crewman was killed, 18 others injured in a pre-dawn fire that broke out aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Conyngham during routine operations in the Atlantic, about 100 miles southeast of Norfolk, Virginia.
1990
Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich, head of the Roman Catholic church in Ireland, died during a pilgrimage to the French shrine of Lourdes.
1990
The Estonian parliament voted to change the country's name to Republic of Estonia from the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic.
1991
Concert pianist Rudolf Serkin died in Guilford, Vermont, at age 88.
1991
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of American forces in the Persian Gulf War, received a hero's welcome as he addressed Congress.
1991
CIA Director William H. Webster announced his retirement; he was eventually succeeded by Robert Gates.
1992
President Bush wound up two emotional days in riot-ravaged Los Angeles, promising to work harder in Washington to enact a "common-sense agenda" of conservative proposals to help urban America.
1993
The Muslim-led government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire.
1994
President Clinton announced a shift in U.S. policy toward Haitian refugees, saying there would be offshore screening of boat people seeking political asylum.
1994
Actor George Peppard died at age 65.
1995
A monster storm began dumping 18 inches of rain on southeast Louisiana, flooding homes and killing five people.
1995
Germans and leaders of the main wartime Allies who defeated them 50 years ago gathered side by side in Berlin to honor the dead of the Second World War.
1995
On the 50th anniversary of Nazi Germany's capitulation in World War II, leaders representing the victorious powers gathered in Berlin to remember the dead and pledge peace for the future.
1996
Postal inspectors wrapped up a two-year sting operation in 36 states against the nation's biggest child pornography ring.
1996
Spanish bullfighter Luis Miguel ``Dominguin,'' known as the world's best bullfighter in the 1950s, died aged 69; his exploits inspired writer Ernest Hemingway and who had a string of affairs with Hollywood stars.
1996
Julie Andrews declined her Tony Award nomination after her show, "Victor/Victoria," was snubbed for best musical.
1996
Former Nazi SS captain Erich Priebke went on trial in Rome charged with involvement in the killing of 335 men and boys in Italy's worst World War II atrocity.
1996
South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for blacks and whites.
1997
After months of railing against Democrats for taking foreign money, the Republican Party announced it had returned $122,400 in contributions from a Hong Kong company.
1997
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi flew to impoverished Niger in apparent defiance of a U.N. ban on flights from Libya.
1997
President Clinton assured Central American leaders during a summit in Costa Rica that they need not fear mass deportations of immigrants who'd sought refuge in the United States during US-backed conflicts.
1998
Big Tobacco settled with the state of Minnesota for $6.6 billion as the state's lawsuit was about to go to a jury; Minnesota became the fourth state to settle with the tobacco industry over the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses.
1999
NATO expressed regret for a mistaken attack on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, but pledged to pursue the bombing campaign. Demonstrators in Beijing threw rocks and smashed cars at the U.S. Embassy.
1999
The Citadel, South Carolina's formerly all-male military school, graduated its first female cadet, Nancy Ruth Mace.
1999
British actor Sir Dirk Bogarde died in London at age 78.
2000
The remains of Cardinal John O'Connor were entombed inside New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral after a funeral Mass that drew thousands of mourners, including President Clinton.
2000
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to ban discrimination based on weight or height.
2005
Anti-Bush protest in Amsterdam
2005
Disneyland marks 50th anniversary
2005
Google suffers DNS outage
2005
Mars rover engineers build test sandbox
2005
British supermarket Tesco wants to start a film downloading service
2005
Bus drivers strike for six days in Auckland
2005
UUP leader loses seat in UK General Election
2005
New Zealand recalls squid boats
2005
VE Day 60th anniversary commemorated across Europe & USA
2005
Satellite imagery shows viewing stand for North Korean nuclear test
2006
Apple Corps loses court case against Apple Computer
2006
Rescue of Tasmanian miners delayed
2006
Thailand election was invalid, rules court
2006
Union criticizes East London Line 'privatisation'
2006
Soft drink foes cheer victory, lament remaining junk foods in schools
2006
Anti-censorship developers targeting China's "Great Firewall"
2006
Theo Walcott is the big surprise in Eriksson's preliminary World Cup squad
2006
U.S. President George W. Bush nominates Gen. Michael Hayden as director of CIA
2006
Sex-for-aid spreads in war-torn Liberia
2007
Tajik president meets Khamenei in Tehran
2007
Parti Québécois leader steps down
2007
NCAA Sports: Mid-Con name to be dropped in favor of Summit League
2007
NASA observes largest supernova on record
2007
Six arrested in plot against US army base in New Jersey
2007
Dunedin Subway manager sacks New Zealand worker for sharing drink, lays theft charges
2008
UN Secretary General releases new statement as UN aid starts to reach Myanmar
2008
Police kill gunman in London, England
2008
DEA raids San Diego State University dorms
2008
Leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq arrested
2008
Leader of Lord Our Righteousness Church jailed on charges of sexual contact with minors
2008
Angry driver takes out cyclist pack
2009
Televangelist Pat Robertson compares same-sex marriage to child molestation, pedophilia
2009
Parents prosecuted after homeopathic treatment leads to daughter's death
2009
Over 13,500 evacuated after wildfire in California
2010
Death toll from China rainstorm reaches 65
2010
Boat in DR Congo capsizes, 80 feared dead
2010
Football: Falkirk relegated from Scottish Premier League
2010
Two Egyptian peacekeepers killed in Darfur by gunmen
2010
Ice Hockey: Detroit Red Wings beat San Jose Sharks 7-1 in fourth NHL quarter final match
2010
British National Party loses all seats in Barking & Dagenham after elections
2010
Nineteen Spanish airports closed due to ash
2010
New York's Staten Island Ferry crashes, 60 injured
2011
Passenger flight diverted to New Mexico after 'security threat'
2011
Queensland cab conversations to be recorded
2011
Gaddafi loyalists allegedly using Red Cross helicopters to bomb rebel held city
2012
Albert Pujols ends his worst homerun drought
2012
Australian women win VISA Water Polo International
2012
Thai petrochemical accident kills twelve

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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