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Today in History

1483
Martin Luther born in Eisleben, Germany
1871
Henry Stanley finds Dr. David Livingstone
1929
Composer, songwriter and author, Marilyn Bergman born in Brooklun, New York
1935
Theoretical astrophysicist and cosmologist Professor Igor Dmitriyevich Novikov born in Moscow
1942
Nobel Prize winning economist, Robert F Engle born in Syracuse, New York
1949
Tony Award winning choreagrapher, actress and dancer, Ann Reinking born in Seattle, Washington
1951
Direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service begins in the US
1956
Actor and comedian, Sinbad born David Adkins in Benton Harbor, Michigan
1969
Sesame Street premiers on PBS
1975
Wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald
461
Death of Pope Leo "the Great"
627
Death of St. Justus of Canterbury
1143
Death of Fulk of Anjou
1241
Death of Pope Celestine IV
1483
Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, was born in Eisleben, Germany. born
1531
Thomas Bilney, English Reformation leader, burned at the stake
1549
Death of Pope Paul III
1668
Francois Couperin was born in Paris. He was one of the greatest Baroque composers France produced, but in his day the French thought nobody understood music except Italians. born
1697
William Hogarth, English artist and engraver born
1728
Playwright Oliver Goldsmith (She Stoops to Conquer, The Vicar of Wakefield) born
1775
The United States Marine Corps was formed by order of the Continental Congress.
1782
In the last battle of the American Revolution, George Rodgers Clark attacks Indians and Loyalists at Chillicothe, in Ohio Territory.
1793
Physician and Naturalist Jared Kirtland (found 1st Kirtland's Warbler [now, a rare bird]) born
1801
Kentucky outlaws dueling.
1819
Cyrus West Field, financier known for the success of the 1st transatlantic cable. born
1865
Captain Henry Wirz, commandant of Andersonville (Georgia) Prison, hanged for excessive cruelty.
1871
journalist-explorer Henry M. Stanley found missing Scottish missionary David Livingstone in central Africa. Stanley delivered his famous greeting: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Livingstone replied: "Yes, and I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you."
1882
Frances Perkins, first woman cabinet member--Secretary of Labor. born
1885
The world's first motorcycle, designed by Gottlieb Daimler, makes its debut.
1891
1st Woman's Christian Temperance Union meeting held (in Boston)
1895
John Knudsen Northrop, aircraft designer. born
1900
The play, "Floradora" opened in New York City and was received by cheering audiences.
1904
Busoni's Piano Concerto premiered in Berlin. It may be the longest piano concerto ever written. It will fit on CD.
1907
Jane Froman (singer Alone, I Believe) born
1911
The Carnegie Corporation of New York is established, the first of the great foundations for scholarly and charitable works.
1911
President Taft ends a 15,000-mile, 57-day speaking tour.
1912
Baseball player and manager Birdie (George) Tebbetts born
1916
Composer and Band director Billy May (many of Sinatra's Capitol hits) born
1917
41 women from 15 states were arrested outside the White House for suffragette demonstrations. American women won the right to vote three years later.
1919
George Fenneman announcer for radio and tv Life - Groucho Marx born
1919
The American Legion held its first national convention, in Minneapolis.
1925
Actor Richard (Jenkins) Burton (Camelot, Hamlet, Anne of the Thousand Days, Becket, The Desert Rats, The Longest Day, Look Back in Anger, The Night of the Iguana, The Robe, The Sandpiper, The Taming of the Shrew, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) born
1928
Hirohito was enthroned as Emperor of Japan.
1932
Pianist and composer Paul Bley (Open to Love, Fragments, My Standard; founding member: Jazz Composers Guild) born
1935
Actor Roy Scheider (All that Jazz, Blue Thunder, Marathon Man, The French Connection, Jaws series, 2010, 52 Pickup, seaQuest DSV) born
1937
Actor Albert Hall born
1939
The first air-conditioned automobiles were on display today at the Auto Show in Chicago.
1940
Native American rights activist Russell Means born
1944
Lyricist Tim Rice (Jesus Christ, Superstar, Evita, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; film scores: Gumshoe, Odessa File) born
1946
Actress Alaina Reed-Hall born
1947
Singer David Loggins (Please Come to Boston) born
1948
Rock singer-musician Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) born
1949
Actress-dancer Ann Reinking (Pippin, All that Jazz, Annie, Mickey and Maude) born
1949
Singer songwriter (Yvonne Vaughn) Donna Fargo (The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A., Funny Face) born
1950
Singer Ronnie Hammond (So in to You, Imaginary Lover) born
1950
Monty Woolley starred as "The Magnificent Montague", which debuted on NBC radio.
1951
Actor Jack Scalia (Pointman, The Devlin Connection, Dallas, High Performance, Berrenger's, Hollywood Beat, Storybook, Shattered Image, Wolf, Tequila & Bonetti) born
1951
Direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service began as Mayor M. Leslie Denning of Englewood, New Jersey, called his counterpart in Alameda, California.
1952
U.S. Supreme Court upholds the decision barring segregation on interstate railways.
1953
Football player Rusty Chambers born
1954
The Iwo Jima Memorial was dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.
1955
Movie director Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day") born
1956
Actor Actor Matt Craven ("LA Doctors") born
1956
Actor-comedian Sinbad born
1956
Billie Holiday returned to the New York City stage at Carnegie Hall after a three-year absence. The concert was called a high point in jazz history.
1959
Actress Mackenzie Phillips (One Day at a Time, American Graffiti, Eleanor & Franklin) born
1964
Australia begins a draft to fulfill its commitment in Vietnam.
1969
Twenty years after the first release of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", Gene Autry received a gold record for the single on this day.
1969
The classic, "Sesame Street" debuted on 170 Public Broadcasting Stations and 20 commercial outlets. Created by the Children's Television Workshop, the show starred endearing characters including Gordon, Susan, Bob, Bert, Ernie, the Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and, of course, Big Bird!
1971
Two women are tarred and feathered in Belfast for dating British soldiers, while in Londonderry, Northern Ireland a Catholic girl is also tarred and feathered for her intention of marrying a British soldier.
1972
Hijackers divert a jet to Detroit, demanding $10 million and ten parachutes.
1975
The UN General Assembly approved a resolution equating Zionism with racism (however: the world body repealed the resolution in December 1991).
1975
The ore-hauling ship "Edmund Fitzgerald" and its crew of 29 vanished during a storm in Lake Superior.
1976
The Utah Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for convicted murderer Gary Gilmore to be executed: according to his wishes. (The sentence was carried out the following January.)
1979
Rock musician Chris Jannou (Silverchair) born
1980
Voyager I flies past Saturn.
1982
Actress Heather Matarazzo born
1982
The newly finished Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened to its first visitors in Washington DC.
1982
Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev died at age 75 after 18 years in power.
1985
Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana, during their visit to Washington D.C., attended morning services at the National Cathedral, toured the National Gallery of Art and were hosts at a dinner party at the British Embassy.
1986
President Ronald Reagan refuses to reveal details of the Iran arms sale.
1986
Camille Sontag and Marcel Coudari, two Frenchmen who had been held hostage in Lebanon, were released.
1987
President Reagan, seeking to shore up the embattled US dollar, declared the currency had fallen far enough and that his administration was "not doing anything to bring it down."
1988
The Department of Energy announced that Texas would be the home of a $4.4 billion atom-smashing super collider. However, support for the project declined as cost estimates soared, and Congress finally voted in October 1993 to kill it.
1989
Workers began punching a hole in the Berlin Wall, a day after East Germany abolished its border restrictions.
1990
Secretary of State James A. Baker III returned to Washington, claiming success in his week-long diplomatic tour aimed at shoring up the anti-Iraq coalition.
1990
Chandra Shekhar was sworn in as India's new prime minister.
1991
"Silk Stalkings" TV Crime Drama debut on USA.
1991
Publishing magnate Robert Maxwell was buried in Israel, five days after his body was recovered off the Canary Islands.
1992
President Bush dismissed State Department official Elizabeth Tamposi for her role in a pre-election search for passport records of his rivals, Democrat Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.
1993
A jury in Manassas, Virginia, acquitted John Wayne Bobbitt of marital sexual assault against his wife, Lorena, who'd sexually mutilated him. Mrs. Bobbitt was later acquitted of malicious wounding.
1993
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the so-called "Brady Bill," which called for a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases.
1994
Iraq, hoping to win an end to trade sanctions, recognized Kuwait's borders.
1994
Prominent attorney Louis Nizer died in New York at age 92.
1994
U.S. officials said the United States planned to stop enforcing the arms embargo against the Bosnian government the following week, despite opposition in the U.N. Security Council to lifting the ban.
1995
Searchers in Katmandu, Nepal, rescued 549 hikers after a massive avalanche struck the Himalayan foothills, killing 24 tourists and 32 Nepalese.
1995
Defying international appeals for clemency, Nigeria's military rulers hanged playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa along with eight other anti-government activists.
1996
A bomb ripped through a crowd of mourners in a Moscow cemetery, killing 14 people and wounding nearly 50 (authorities later charged the head of an Afghan war veterans fund with masterminding the bombing, saying the target was a rival veterans group).
1996
David Brinkley hosted his last "This Week With David Brinkley," the Sunday morning ABC news show.
1996
The Bosnian Serbs' new military commander (Major General Pero Colic) was sworn in, a day after General Ratko Mladic, a war crimes suspect, was dismissed.
1997
A judge in Cambridge, Mass., reduced Louise Woodward's murder conviction to manslaughter and sentenced the English au pair to the 279 days she'd already served in the death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen.
1997
A Jury in Fairfax, Virginia, convicted Mir Aimal Kasi of one count of capital murder, one count of first-degree murder and eight additional charges stemming from a shooting attack outside CIA headquarters in January 1993.
1997
WordCom Inc. and MCI Communications Corp. agreed to a $37 billion merger.
1998
The Pentagon stepped up the movement of warships to the Persian Gulf as the Clinton administration swept aside the idea of negotiations with Iraq over UN weapons inspections rejected by the Iraqis.
1999
Investigators said the flight data recorder from EgyptAir Flight 990 showed things were normal until the autopilot mysteriously disconnected and the Boeing 767 began what appeared to be a controlled descent.
1999
President Clinton decided to delay and shorten a trip to Greece in reaction to growing security concerns and the prospect of violent anti-American demonstrations.
2005
Over 30 killed in a Baghdad restaurant bombing
2005
U.S. asks Czech Republic to grant asylum to Guantanamo Bay prisoners
2005
EU's human rights court endorses Turkish headscarf ban
2005
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warns Pennsylvania town of disaster
2006
U.S. Senate majority goes to Democrats
2006
Opposition to John Bolton's appointment to the UN grows
2006
Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO for Opera speaks against DotMobi
2006
Canadian PM to amend Criminal Code, drugged drivers to be charged
2006
MI5 Chief: surprised and alarmed by speed of radicalisation of Muslims in UK
2006
Study tests the use of Google as an aid for medical diagnoses
2006
New stadium in Auckland for 2011 rugby world cup preferred by NZ government
2007
Criss Angel challenges Uri Geller and Jim Callahan over paranormal claims
2007
TECA celebrates 60-year anniversary with Taipei Audio Video Fair
2007
Greek opposition party's members vote for president
2007
Ancient volcano in Yellowstone National Park is rising
2007
Indian Socialist leader Jugal Kishore Raibir passes away
2007
More US recalls: Fish pool toy rips fingernail off child, numerous toys with excessive lead
2007
Mukasey confirmed and sworn in as Attorney General for US
2008
Irish Obama song proves popular on Internet
2008
India wins Gavaskar Border trophy defeating Australia 2-0
2008
US Secret Service officer arrested during prostitution sting
2008
Strong 6.5 earthquake strikes China
2009
Emergency declared in El Salvador after torrential rains
2009
Creator of website satirizing Glenn Beck on winning domain name case
2009
China loans Ethiopia US$349 million for construction of expressway
2009
Christchurch, NZ man admits murdering wife and neighbour and having sex with bodies
2009
Heavy 6.7 earthquake strikes Indonesia; at least one killed
2009
Two Kenyans kidnapped in Somalia by gunmen
2009
Zimbabwe projects 15% average growth over next five years
2009
NATO, Afghan police seize 250 tons of suspected bomb-making material
2009
NATO: 130 militants killed in Afghanistan
2009
France sends special envoy to North Korea
2009
Prospects for a space elevator rise
2009
Korean navies exchange fire
2009
Ousted Thai PM arrives in Cambodia to take up government post
2009
Vitaly Ginzburg, Russian academician and physicist, dies at age 94
2010
Nokia takes over Symbian OS development
2010
Czech Republic Minister of Transport banned from driving
2010
Pentagon unable to explain 'mystery missile' video
2010
Drunken passenger triggers UK-Dominican Republic flight's diversion to Bermuda
2011
Right-to-die activists reveal euthanasia for Dutch patient with severe dementia
2012
Seventeen soldiers die in Turkey helicopter crash

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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