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

Today in History

1892
Last Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary, and Queen of Bohemia, Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma born in Lucca, Italy
1918
CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace born in Brookline, Massachusetts
1942
Billboard pop hit singer Tommy Roe born in Atlanta, Georgia
1946
Emmy Award winning actress Candice Bergen born in Beverly Hills, California
1949
Grammy Award winning songwriter, pianist and singer, Billy Joel born in Levittown, New York
1951
Actress Alley Mills born in Chicago, Illinois
1955
Kermit the Frog makes his television debut on NBC affiliate WRC-TV's Sam and Friends in Washington, DC
1960
USFDA approves sale of birth control pills
1974
Formal impeachment hearings against President Richard M. Nixon commence
1994
Nobel Peace prize recipient Nelson Mandela inaugurated as president of South Africa
389
Death of St. Gregory of Nazianzus
480
Julius Nepos, last legitimate Western Roman Emperor, dies
1204
Election of Baldwin I as Emperor of Rumania
1247
Death of Richard de Bures, 17th Master of the Templars
1271
Prince Edward and the English arrive at Acre (8th Crusade)
1386
Treaty of Windsor
1432
Charges of Witchcraft dismissed against Margery Jourdemain, John Virley, and John Ashwell, in England
1476
Charles, Duke of Burgundy, reviews his troops near Lausanne, Switz.
1492
Death of Lorenzo de Medici "The Magnificent"
1502
Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain on his fourth and final voyage to the New World.
1607
1st Episcopal celebration of the Eucharist in America, Jamestown
1641
Execution of the Earl of Strafford
1671
Thomas Blood, the Irish adventurer better known as Captain Blood, stole the crown jewels from the Tower of London.
1740
Giovanni Paisiello was born in Taranto. In his lifetime his operas, more than a hundred of them, were acclaimed the most. But Paisiello also composed a lot of symphonies, quartets and some keyboard concertos.
1754
The first American newspaper cartoon was published. The illustration in Benjamin Franklin's "Pennsylvania Gazette" showed a snake cut into sections, each part representing an American colony; the caption read, "Join or die."
1785
British inventor Joseph Bramah patented the beer-pump handle.
1793
European explorer Alexander Mackenzie began a journey from Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean via the Bella Coola River, the first to use a route north of Mexico.
1800
Abolitionist John Brown in Torrington, Connecticut. Brown was convicted by the Commonwealth of Virginia of treason, murder and inciting slaves to rebellion; he was hanged on December 2, 1859. born
1825
The first gas-lit theater in America opened. It was the Chatham Theatre in New York City.
1868
A little town in Northwestern Nevada was named Reno after General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer of the Civil War. The town was first settled by the Washoe Indians who used the area for festivals and ceremonies.
1873
Howard Carter, the Egyptologist who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen born
1882
Henry J. Kaiser, built Liberty Ships, Jeeps born
1907
Igor Stravinsky's youthful Symphony in E-flat was performed privately. The concert was arranged by Stravinsky's teacher Rimsky-Korsakov. No composer ever tended his own P-R as much as Stravinsky and he did a good job of downplaying anyone else's influence on his music.
1913
The 17th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for the election of senators by popular vote rather than selection by state legislatures, was ratified.
1914
Country singer Hank Snow born
1918
CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace born
1926
Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett became the first men to make an airplane flight over the North Pole.
1927
Canberra replaced Melbourne as the capital of Australia.
1930
A starting gate was used for the first time in a Triple Crown race. The gate was rolled into place at the Preakness at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Gallant Fox won the race.
1934
Actor-writer Alan Bennett born
1936
Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson born
1936
Actor Albert Finney born
1936
Italy annexed Ethiopia as Benito Mussolini celebrated in Rome.
1936
The first sheet of postage stamps of more than one variety went on sale in New York City.
1937
Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) born
1939
Musician Nokie Edwards (The Ventures) born
1940
Vivien Leigh made her American stage debut, starring with Laurence Olivier in "Romeo and Juliet.""
1940
Producer-director James L. Brooks ("As Good As It Gets") born
1941
Musician Pete Birrell (Freddie and the Dreamers) born
1942
Singer Tommy Roe born
1944
Jimmie Davis, who wrote the song "You Are My Sunshine," became the Governor of Louisiana.
1944
Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) born
1945
Musician-producer Steve Katz (Blood, Sweat and Tears) born
1945
US officials announced that the midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.
1946
Actress Candice Bergen born
1946
Singer Clint Holmes born
1947
Actor Anthony Higgins born
1949
Prince Louis II of Monaco died shortly after delegating his powers to Prince Rainier, who began his reign on April 11, 1950.
1949
Singer-songwriter Billy Joel born
1950
Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) born
1951
Actress Alley Mills ("The Wonder Years") born
1960
Baseball player Tony Gwynne born
1960
The United States became the first country to use the birth control pill legally.
1961
In a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow condemned television programming as a "vast wasteland."
1962
Singer Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) born
1974
The House Judiciary Committee opened its hearing on the possible impeachment of President Nixon
1975
Singer Tamia born
1976
Ulrike Meinhof, a leader of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group, hanged herself in prison.
1977
Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) born
1978
The bullet-riddled body of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro, who'd been abducted by the Red Brigades, was found in an automobile in the center of Rome.
1979
Eighteen people were killed when troops opened fire on terrorist occupying San Salvador cathedral in El Salvador.
1980
A Liberian freighter rammed a bridge in Florida's Tampa Bay, collapsing part of the span and dropping 35 people to their deaths. A new $240 million Sunshine Skybridge opened seven years later, on April 30, 1987.
1980
Actress Rosario Dawson born
1980
Pope John Paul II and the Archbishop of Canterbury met for the first time in Ghana.
1983
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called a general election for June 9, eleven months earlier than she was required to, and the result was a larger majority in Parliament for the Conservatives.
1984
In a nationally broadcast address, President Reagan appealed to the public and Congress to support his policies in Central America.
1985
Capping a 10-day European tour with a speech before Portugal's assembly in Lisbon, President Reagan lashed out at the leaders of the Soviet Union and Nicaragua.
1986
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, said he'd been told by Soviet officials that they were working to encase the damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor in concrete.
1987
All 183 people aboard a Polish jetliner were killed when the plane, bound for New York, crashed and burned in Warsaw after the pilot made an emergency return.
1988
Education Secretary William J. Bennett announced he would leave his position in mid-September.
1989
President Bush complained that Panama's elections were marred by "massive irregularities," and he called for worldwide pressure on General Manuel Antonio Noriega to step down as military leader.
1990
The Soviet Union held its Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, celebrating the defeat of the Nazis during World War II.
1990
President Bush and congressional leaders announced plans for emergency budget talks, with tax increases and spending cuts on the negotiating table.
1991
William Kennedy Smith was charged with rape, nearly six weeks after Patricia Bowman accused him of attacking her at the Kennedy family estate in West Palm Beach, Florida (he was acquitted at trial).
1991
President Bush met at the White House with U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who relayed Iraq's rejection of a U.S.-backed proposal for a U.N. civilian force in northern Iraq.
1992
President Bush, back in Washington after a visit to riot-torn Los Angeles, promised in a radio speech that he would work with the Democrat-controlled Congress on proposals to help American cities.
1992
A methane gas explosion roared through the Westray coal mine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, killing 26 miners. The bodies of 11 men were recovered. Further recovery was called off due to the danger of a cave-in.
1993
The White House said President Clinton had directed Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher to contact US allies to discuss how they could ensure Serbia's promise to cut supplies to the Bosnian Serbs.
1994
South Africa's newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country's first black president. Madnela promised a South Africa for "all its people, black and white."
1995
The city of Kinshasa, Zaire, was placed under quarantine after an outbreak of the Ebola virus.
1995
President Clinton arrived in Moscow for a summit with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
1995
The United States returned 13 Cuban boat people to their homeland, the first refugees to be sent back under a new policy bitterly protested by Cuban-Americans.
1996
In dramatic video testimony to a hushed courtroom in Little Rock, Arkansas, President Clinton insisted he had nothing to do with a $300,000 loan at the heart of the criminal case against his former Whitewater partners.
1996
The National Party, which inflicted apartheid on South Africa then helped break the hated system, decided to quit Nelson Mandela's two-year-old government of national unity, effective June 30.
1997
During a visit to a rain forest in Costa Rica, President Clinton urged nations not to sacrifice their environment in pursuit of economic gain.
1998
Indonesian President Suharto left his troubled country for a summit in Egypt with a warning his army would quell violence over his 32-year rule and the worsening economy.
1999
Furious Chinese demonstrators hurled rocks and debris into the U.S. Embassy in a second day of protests against NATO's bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.
1999
A chartered bus carrying members of a casino club on a Mother's Day gambling excursion flipped off a highway in New Orleans, killing 22 people.
2000
Former Governor Edwin Edwards, who was known for nod-and-a-wink politics but always evaded prosecutors, was convicted for the first time, on charges he extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen applying for riverboat casino licenses. The former four-term Democratic governor was found guilty along with his son Stephen of fraud and racketeering. (Edwards was sentenced to ten years in prison and fined a quarter of a million dollars.)
2000
A draft statement prepared by a U.N. conference on nuclear disarmament singled out Israel for being the only country in the Middle East that hasn't signed onto the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
2000
Failed Republican presidential candidate John McCain decided to endorse former rival George W. Bush at their Tuesday summit, despite misgivings about the Texan's agenda.
2005
Romanian Humanist Party changes name to Conservative Party
2005
Nuclear waste leaks at Sellafield facility on Cumbrian coast, England
2005
Ex-ambassador comes fifth in election in UK Foreign Secretary's seat whilst trying to highlight alleged torture in Uzbekistan
2005
Victory Day 60th anniversary commemorated in Russia
2005
US VX nerve gas disposal test a success
2005
75 Iraqi militants reported dead in U.S. offensive
2005
Grafton, New York Peace Pagoda celebrates birth of Buddha with Flower Festival
2005
Long shots dashed hopes of favorites in Derby race
2006
Tasmanian miners rescued
2006
Varanasi bombings suspect shot in Kashmir
2006
Australian Budget for 2006-2007 released
2006
Third Australian miner laid to rest
2006
Bush announces food aid to Darfur, AU faces fund crisis
2006
Australian "3 CDMA" customers have 90 days to move to 3G
2006
Ahmadinejad sends letter to George W. Bush
2006
High school seniors take last-chance exit test while judge prepares to strike it down
2006
Buncefield oil depot tank 'was overflowing'
2006
China enters UN human rights council
2006
British Foreign Secretary: no plans for Iran
2007
Warner Brothers ban movie previews in Canada
2007
Northern Ireland has home rule returned
2007
Trial 'soon' for aid worker who facilitated release of Italian journalist in Afghanistan
2007
Video released with demands for exchange of BBC correspondent
2007
Iraqi school children killed in US air strike
2007
Subtropical storm brews off eastern Florida, USA
2007
Canadian television show to debut in French speaking countries
2007
Scientists to bring all species together in Encyclopedia of Life
2007
Atlantic Canada to investigate lotto winnings
2008
Search for Brazilian plane with four UK passengers called off after seven days
2008
US denies arrest of al-Masri, al-Qaeda in Iraq leader
2008
Price of crude oil reaches new record high
2008
Bristol police involved in standoff at a residence
2008
Thabo Mbeki visits Zimbabwe amid rising violence
2008
Myanmar criticised for hampering aid; UN resumes relief efforts
2009
Five biggest US banks told to raise $74.6 billion; fail "stress tests"
2009
Recession hits Australian asbestos victims fund
2009
Wildfire in California displaces 30,000
2009
2,000 face redundancy at English steelworks
2010
7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia
2010
Football: Chelsea beat Wigan to win fourth Premier League title
2012
Former Ukraine PM Yulia Tymoshenko to end hunger strike, daughter announces
2012
Rick Santorum endorses Mitt Romney for US president
2012
Mexico and world react to murdered journalists
2013
Lord Falconer proposes bill to legalise assisted dying for terminal ill in UK

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