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Today in History

Back to the Future...
1955
Lightning strikes Hill Valley's clock tower at precisely 10:04PM
1861
First US oil exports arrive in Europe
1929
Academy Award winning actress, Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1945
Guitarist, songwriter and singer, Neil Young born in Toronto, Ontario
1962
Political consultant, feminist and author, Naomi Wolf born in San Francisco, California
1970
National Figure Skating Champion and first US woman to triple axel in competition, Tonya Maxine Harding born in Portland, Oregon
1990
Tim Berners-Lee publishes the formal proposal for a "World Wide Web"
607
Death of Pope Boniface III
1035
Cnut the Great, Viking king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden, dies.
1094
Death of Duncan II, King of Scotland
1308
The Papal Commission investigating the Templars is seated
1493
Paracelsus, Switzerland, physician, alchemist born
1505
Death of Sir John Hawkins
1660
John Bunyan was arrested for unlicensed preaching. He was imprisoned for 12 years
1746
French physicist Jacques Charles born
1759
The German poet and dramatist Freidrich von Schiller
1767
Beethoven's mom and dad married. Ludwig would arrive three years and four weeks later.
1815
Women's suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton born
1833
Alexander Borodin was born, the love child of a Russian prince. Borodin produced Symphony No. 1 which was performed three years after that. This is an underrated work whose first movement turns a slow and somber opening idea into an upbeat and happy main theme. born
1840
The French sculptor Auguste Rodin (The Thinker.) born
1859
At the Cirque Napolon in Paris, Jules Lotard, who was billed as "the daring young man on the flying trapeze," made his dbut.
1866
Sun Yat-sen, father of modern China born
1867
Mount Vesuvius erupts.
1892
The first professional football game was played in Pittsburgh, between the Allegheny Athletic Association and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club.
1899
American evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody, 62, began his last evangelistic campaign in Kansas City, Missouri. Becoming ill during the last service, Moody was unable to complete his message, and died a short time later, on Dec 22.
1903
Actor (Lewis Offield) Jack Oakie (Lover Come Back, The Rat Race, Song of the Islands, Tin Pan Alley, The Texas Rangers) born
1908
Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun born
1915
Theodore W. Richards, of Harvard University, became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
1920
Actor Richard Quine (Babes on Broadway, For Me and My Gal, director: The World of Suzy Wong, Bell Book and Candle, Hour to Murder Your Wife, Sex and the Single Girl) born
1920
Singer Jo Stafford (Shrimp Boats [Are A-Comin', There's Dancin' Tonight], Jambalaya, Long Ago and Far Away, No Other Love, Candy, You Belong to Me, Make Love to Me) born
1920
Bbaseball got its first "czar" as Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was elected commissioner of the American and National Leagues.
1921
Representatives of nine nations gathered for the start of the Washington Conference for Limitation of Armaments.
1922
Actor (Michael Harrison) Sunset Carson (Stage Door Canteen, Rio Grande Raiders, Alias Billy the Kid) born
1922
Actress (Janet Cole) Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Planet of the Apes series, The Edge of Night, Backstairs at the White House) born
1925
Louis Armstrong recorded "My Heart" (one of his first recordings), starting a career that brought him worldwide fame.
1927
New Yorks Holland Tunnel officially opens.
1927
Canada is admitted to the League of Nations.
1927
Josef Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union as Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.
1928
The ocean liner Vestris sinks off the Virginia Cape with 328 aboard, killing 111.
1929
Princess Grace of Monaco, the former American movie star Grace Kelly (The Country Girl, To Catch a Thief, High Society, High Noon, Rear Window, Dial "M" for Murder) born
1930
Actress Ann Flood (The Edge of Night) born
1933
The first known photo of Loch Ness monster is taken.
1936
American playwright Eugene O'Neill was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
1939
Rhythm-and-blues singer Ruby Nash Curtis (Ruby and the Romantics) born
1940
Walt Disney released "Fantasia". One critic called the film, "as terrific as anything that has ever happened on the screen."
1941
The German army's drive to take Moscow was halted on the city's outskirts in World War II.
1942
The World War Two naval Battle of Guadalcanal began. (The Americans ended up winning a major victory over the Japanese.)
1943
Rhythm-and-blues singer Jimmy Hayes (Persuasions) born
1943
Actor-playwright Wallace Shawn born
1943
Singer Brian Hyland (Sealed with a Kiss, Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini, Let Me Belong to You) born
1944
Pro Football Hall of Famer Ken Houston born
1944
Rock musician Booker T. Jones (Booker T. & the MGs) born
1945
Singer-songwriter Neil Young (Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Heart of Gold, Philadelphia, group: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) born
1946
The first drive-up banking facility opened at the Exchange National Bank in Chicago, Illinois. There were 10 teller windows with slide-out drawers.
1948
Pro Football Hall of Famer Cliff Harris born
1948
Former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and several other World War Two Japanese leaders were sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal.
1950
Country singer Barbara Fairchild (The Teddy Bear Song, Kid Stuff) born
1954
Ellis Island closed after processing more than 20 million immigrants since opening in New York Harbor in 1892.
1956
Coronation of Lothair as King of France
1961
Olympic gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci born
1964
Rock musician David Ellefson (Megadeth) born
1966
Actor David Schwimmer born
1967
Pearl Bailey took over the lead in the Broadway musical, "Hello Dolly" on this day. 'Pearlie Mae' was a smash hit in the role.
1968
U.S. Supreme Court voids an Arkansas law banning the teaching of evolution in public schools.
1970
After a successful London run, Anthony Quayle starred in the Broadway opening of "Sleuth" this day.
1970
Figure skater Tonya Harding born
1971
President Richard Nixon announces the withdrawal of about 45,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam by February. While the military is responsible for fighting a war, its civilian superiors not only wage war but also determine how it will be fought.
1974
Actress Angela Watson ("Step By Step") born
1976
Singer Tevin Campbell born
1980
The US space probe "Voyager One" came within 77,000 miles of Saturn.
1982
Yuri V. Andropov was elected to succeed the late Leonid I. Brezhnev as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee.
1983
Lionel Richie began the first of four consecutive weeks on top of the music charts as "All Night Long (All Night)" became the most popular song in the U.S..
1983
President Ronald Reagan, having concluded a visit to Japan, arrived in South Korea, where he addressed the nation's parliament, telling its members, "America is your friend and we are with you."
1984
Spacewalker Joseph Allen became the first astronaut to rescue a satellite as the "Discovery" space shuttle made a $35 million rescue. When capturing the wayward satellite, Allen might have told mission control, "Hey, I can see HBO in here! The Movie Channel, too! And, look, there's Showtime! Way cool!" The Palapa B-2 satellite was secured in Discovery's cargo bay for return to Earth.
1985
Arthur James Walker, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, was sentenced in Norfolk, Virginia, to life in prison for his role in a spy ring run by his brother, John A. Walker Jr.
1985
Xavier Suarez was elected Miami's first Cuban-American mayor.
1986
Iran's U.N. ambassador, Said Rajaie-Khorassani, denied his government had arranged for the release of hostages in Lebanon in exchange for U.S.-made arms.
1987
Boris Yeltsin is fired as head of the Moscows Communist party for criticizing the slow pace of reform.
1987
The American Medical Association issued a policy statement saying it was unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone solely because that person had AIDS or was HIV positive.
1988
The Palestine National Council, the legislative body of the PLO, opened a four-day meeting in Algiers, during which delegates proclaimed an independent Palestinian state.
1989
Abortion rights advocates rallied in cities across the country, including Washington, D.C.
1990
Japanese Emperor Akihito formally assumed the Chrysanthemum Throne.
1990
Actress Eve Arden died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 82.
1991
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev stated he didn't believe U.S. warnings that a revolt was brewing before hard-liners staged their coup, but that he had discounted their information.
1991
Robert Gates was sworn in as CIA director.
1992
In his first formal post-election news conference, President-elect Clinton presented a detailed blueprint for action once he took office, and promised his administration would have the strictest ethical guidelines in history.
1993
Singer Michael Jackson canceled a world tour, citing a dependence on painkillers.
1993
Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago was accused by a former pre-seminary student of sexual abuse supposedly committed more than a decade earlier (the accuser, Steven J. Cook, later withdrew his charge).
1993
Former Nixon White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman died in Santa Barbara, California, at age 67.
1994
Olympic track-and-field gold medalist Wilma Rudolph died in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 54.
1994
President Clinton arrived in the Philippines to open a campaign for free trade in Asia and to commemorate World War II Allied victories in the Pacific.
1995
Israel's ruling Labor Party unanimously approved Shimon Peres as its new leader, replacing slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
1995
The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on a mission to dock with the Russian space station Mir.
1996
A Saudi Boeing 747 jetliner collided shortly after takeoff from New Delhi, India, with a Kazak Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, killing 349 people.
1996
Pontiac, Michigan, Jonathan Schmitz, a guest on "The Jenny Jones Show," was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting Scott Amedure, a gay man who'd revealed a crush on Schmitz during a taping of the program. (Schmitz was later sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison.)
1997
Ramzi Yousef was convicted in New York of masterminding the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
1997
Four US businessmen and a Pakistani were killed by gunmen in Karachi, Pakistan, apparently in retaliation for the murder conviction of Mir Aimal Kasi in the shooting deaths of two CIA employees.
1997
Jury selection began in Sacramento, California, in the trial of accused Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski.
1998
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley filed a $433 million lawsuit against the firearms industry, declaring that it had created a public nuisance by flooding the streets with weapons deliberately marketed to criminals.
1999
President Clinton signed a sweeping measure knocking down Depression-era barriers and allowing banks, investment firms and insurance companies to sell each other's products.
1999
An earthquake struck western Turkey, killing at least 834 people.
2005
Paul McCartney to be "beamed up" in first live concert to be broadcast in space
2005
Warning in Colombia about possible volcanic eruption
2005
Fires at Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in South Australia
2005
Pirates hijack Thai merchant ship off Somali coast
2005
French journalist beaten in Tunis
2005
Canadian Mike Mintenko retires from swimming
2006
New Zealand students given credits for simple tasks
2006
Palestinian Foreign Minister: No peace with Israel
2006
Court orders ex-cricketer out of Bigg Boss
2006
Queen Elizabeth II unveils New Zealand Memorial in London
2007
King of Spain tells Hugo Chavez to 'shut up' during summit
2007
Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger on the Bush family feud, neoconservatives and the Christian right
2007
Baseball World Cup: Highlights from Day 4 to Day 6
2007
Study: kidney damage increasing, patients remain unaware
2007
Oil spill near Black Sea as storm sinks three ships
2007
Large fire on London 2012 Olympics site
2007
Chunichi Dragons win the Konami Cup
2007
25 divisions in Taiwan echoed "Taiwan Walking Day"
2008
Russia rejects latest US proposal on missile defense
2009
Judge known for jailing pirates shot dead in Bossaso, Somalia
2009
Scientists find key human language gene
2009
Three more scientists resign from UK ACMD drugs advisory council
2009
At least ten soldiers killed in Pakistan clashes
2009
At least twenty dead after landslides in Tanzania
2009
Washington, D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad executed by lethal injection
2010
Man cleared of Belfast bomb attempt on retrial after eleven years
2011
Scottish police force apologises for double-murder by sex offender

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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