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Today in History

1850
Author Robert Louis Stevenson born in Edinburgh, Scotland
1940
Walt Disney's landmark animated movie Fantasia premieres in New York city
1955
Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and Tony Award winning actress, Whoopi Goldberg born Caryn Elaine Johnson in New York City
1959
Actress Caroline Goodall born in London, England
1971
Mariner 9 enters Mars orbit
1982
Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated in Washington D.C.
2005
Chicago Bear Nathan Vasher returns missed field goal 108 yards against SF 49ers
2009
NASA confirms the discovery of substantial amounts of water on the moon
354
Birth of St. Augustine of Hippo, greatest of the Early Latin Church Fathers. born
444
Death of St. Brice
867
Death of St. Nicholas I, Pope
1002
Ethelred the Redeless massacres the Danes in England
1179
Death of St. Homobonus
1312
Edward III, King of England. born
1460
Death of Prince Henry "the Navigator," of Portugal
1474
In the Swiss-Burgundian Wars, Swiss infantry shatters the army of Charles the Bold at Hericourt near Belfort, countering his march to Lorraine.
1486
German theologian Johann Eck, Martin Luther's principal Roman Catholic opponent. born
1572
Cyril Lucaris Patriarch of Constantinople born
1715
Battle of Sheriffmuir in Scotland.
1775
During the American Revolution, US forces captured Montreal.
1789
Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a friend in which he said, "this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
1806
Pike's Peak is discovered, but not climbed, by Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike during an expedition to locate the source of the Mississippi.
1814
Union Civil War general Joseph Hooker born
1831
Scottish physicist James Maxwell born
1833
Actor Edwin Booth. A major force in English and American theater until his last appearance as Hamlet in 1891. He was the older brother of John Wilkes Booth. born
1835
Texans officially proclaim independence from Mexico, and calls itself the Lone Star Republic, after its flag, until its admission to the Union in 1845. The Alamo's 13 days of glory.
1838
American religious leader Joseph F(ielding) Smith, sixth president (1901-18) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints born
1843
Donizetti's final opera "Dom Sebastian" was premiered, and someone asked the composer which of his operas he liked most. "How can I say?" he replied. "A father always favors his crippled child, and I have so many!"
1843
Mt Rainier in Washington State erupts.
1850
Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, A Child's Garden of Verses) born
1856
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis born
1875
"Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto, like the first pancake, is a flop." So wrote Nicolai Soloviev in the "New Vremya" of St. Petersburg.
1878
New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace offers amnesty to many participants of the Lincoln County War, but not to gunfighter Billy the Kid.
1893
Edward A. Doisy, Biochemist, discoverer of vitamin K (Nobel 1943). born
1895
The first shipment of canned pineapple from Hawaii.
1907
Paul Corno achieves the first helicopter flight.
1913
Actor Alexander Scourby (The Big Heat, Affair in Trinidad) born
1914
The brassiere was first patented.
1916
The Battle of the Somme, in which 60,000 lost their lives, ended.
1916
Actor Jack Elam (Support Your Local Sheriff, High Noon, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Cannonball Run series, Pocketful of Miracles, Rawhide, Temple Houston, The Texas Wheelers, The Dakotas) born
1916
Actor Jack Elam born
1916
Australian composer Septimus Kelly died, a battle fatality in France. He was 35.
1921
The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, was released.
1922
Actor (Josef Schliessmayer) Oskar Werner (Ship of Fools, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Voyage of the Damned, Fahrenheit 451) born
1922
Actress Madeleine Sherwood (The Flying Nun's Mother Superior, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Broken Vows, Sweet Bird of Youth). born
1924
Actress Linda Christian (The Devil's Hand, Athena) born
1927
After seven years of construction and over $48 million, the Holland Tunnel, was opened under the Hudson River, linking New York City and New Jersey.
1929
Berlin critic Max Chop hailed Darius Milhaud as "arch-amateurish."
1930
The first revolving milk platform was used in Plainsboro, NJ. For the first time, 1,680 cows could be milked in seven hours.
1932
Actor Richard Mulligan (Soap, Empty Nest, S.O.B., The Hero, The Group, Little Big Man, Diana) born
1933
The first recorded "sit-down" strike in the United States was staged by workers at the Hormel Packing Company in Austin, Minn.
1934
Producer-director Garry Marshall (The Odd Couple, Mork & Mindy, Happy Days; director: A League of Their Own, Pretty Woman, Beaches; comedy writer: Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show) born
1938
Actress Jean Seberg (Paint Your Wagon, The Mouse that Roared, Airport, Joan of Arc, Bonjour Tristesse) born
1940
The Walt Disney animated movie "Fantasia" had its world premiere in New York.
1941
Actor Dack (Norman) Rambo (Dallas, All My Children, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Sword of Justice, The New Loretta Young Show) born
1941
Mel Stottlemyre born
1942
The minimum draft age was lowered from 21 to 18.
1942
The three-day naval battle for Guadalcanal begins. Marine Sergeant Al Schmid lost an eye while heroically manning a machine gun in bloody fighting on Guadalcanal.
1943
Leonard Bernstein replaced an indisposed Bruno Walter as conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Thus began a legendary career and worldwide appreciation for Bernstein's many compositions with the orchestra.
1945
Charles de Gaulle is elected president of France.
1946
Country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard born
1946
The first artificial snow was produced by Vincent J. Schaefer on Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts this day.
1947
Actor/Cartoon Voicist, Joe Mantegna (Simpsons' Fat Tony). born
1947
Actor Joe Mantegna born
1948
The Archbishop of Canterbury received the original manuscript of "Alice in Wonderland" from the Library of Congress. An American outbid others trying to secure the document, but donations allowed the English to buy it back for the British Museum.
1952
Harvard's Paul Zoll is the first to use electric shock to treat cardiac arrest.
1953
Musician Andrew Rankin (The Pogues) born
1953
Figure skater Charlie Tickner (Bronze medalist Olympics ; U.S. Champion [1977, 1978, 1979, 1980]) born
1955
Actress-comedian (Caryn Johnson) Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, The Color Purple, Sister Act series, Made in America, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Comic Relief, The Whoopi Goldberg Show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Bagdad Cafe) born
1955
NBC showed the first live TV program from a foreign country (noncontiguous). Scenes from Havana, Cuba were seen by viewers of Dave Garroway's "Wide Wide World" program.
1956
The Supreme Court ruled in a case from Montgomery, Ala., that segregation on interstate buses is unconstitutional.
1957
Actor Chris Noth (Law & Order, Burnzy's Last Call, Jakarta, Baby Boom) born
1959
Actress Tracy Scoggins (Lois and Clark - The New Adventures of Superman, Hawaiian Heat, Dynasty, The Colbys, Alien Intruder, Dead On, The Gumshoe Kid) born
1963
Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde born
1964
Rock musician Walter Kibby (Fishbone) born
1967
Carl Stokes is inaugurated mayor of Cleveland, the first black mayor of a major city.
1968
Actor Steve Zahn born
1969
Speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew accused network television news departments of bias and distortion, and urged viewers to lodge complaints.
1974
Karen Silkwood, a technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium plant near Crescent, Oklahoma: was killed in a car crash.
1975
One of the great lounge lizard songs of all time, "Feelings" by Morris Albert, went gold this day.
1977
After 43 years as a regular feature in hundreds of newspapers, Al Capp brought his comic strip, "Li'l Abner" to a final conclusion.
1982
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington.
1985
21-year-old New York Met Dwight Gooden became the youngest pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. In 1984, he was "Rookie of the Year."
1985
Some 23,000 residents of Armero, Colombia, died when a gigantic mudslide, triggered by the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, buried the city.
1986
President Ronald Reagan publicly acknowledged that the United States had sent "defensive weapons and spare parts" to Iran in an attempt to improve relations, but denied the shipments were part of a deal to free hostages in Lebanon.
1987
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega unveiled an eleven-point proposal in Washington for a cease-fire that called for the Contra rebels to lay down their weapons and accept an amnesty.
1988
Former Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubcek received an honorary degree in Italy, the first time he was allowed outside his country in 18 years.
1989
Polish labor leader Lech Walesa received the Medal of Freedom from President Bush during a White House ceremony.
1990
Members of Congress demanded a larger role in the Persian Gulf policy of the U.S. following President Bush's decision to send more U.S. troops to the region.
1990
Secretary of State James A. Baker III told reporters in Hamilton, Bermuda, the Persian Gulf crisis threatened world recession and the loss of American jobs.
1991
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a Senate-passed bill guaranteeing many workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family emergencies.
1991
The government reported that wholesale prices had risen seven-tenths of one percent the previous month, their biggest leap in a year.
1992
Riddick Bowe won the undisputed heavyweight boxing title in Las Vegas with a unanimous decision over Evander Holyfield.
1993
President Clinton used his weekly radio address to make yet another pitch for the North American Free Trade Agreement, then flew to Memphis, Tennessee, where he delivered an anti-crime speech to black ministers at the Temple Church of God in Christ.
1994
President Clinton, visiting the Philippines, sought to assure world leaders that his party's severe losses in midterm elections wouldn't undercut his foreign policy.
1994
Sweden voted to join the European Union.
1994
A heavily armed gunman traded fire with San Francisco police, hitting two police officers, a paramedic and another person before being killed.
1995
The government braced for an imminent partial shutdown as President Clinton vetoed one budget bill and prepared to veto another in a fiscal standoff with Republicans.
1995
Seven people, including five Americans, were killed when a bomb exploded at a military training facility in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
1996
An all-white jury in Pittsburgh acquitted a suburban police officer, John Vojtas, in the death of black motorist Jonny Gammage in a verdict that angered black activists.
1996
Sergeant Loren B. Taylor, a drill sergeant who'd had sex with three women recruits at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, was given five months in prison and a bad-conduct discharge in the first sentencing of the burgeoning Army sex scandal.
1996
A grand jury in St. Petersburg, Florida, declined to indict police officer Jim Knight, who had shot black motorist TyRon Lewis to death the previous month; the decision prompted angry mobs to return to the streets.
1997
The United Nations decided to withdraw all weapons inspectors from Iraq after Saddam Hussein ordered Americans on the UN team out.
1998
President Clinton agreed to pay Paula Jones $850,000 to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit ending the four-year legal battle that spurred the impeachment proceedings against him.
1999
The Navy recovered the cockpit voice recorder from EgyptAir Flight 990, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean October 31 with the loss of all 217 people aboard.
1999
Lennox Lewis became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, winning a unanimous decision over Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas.
1999
Donald Mills, last surviving member of the singing Mills Brothers, died in Los Angeles at age 84.
2001
Afghan opposition fighters rolled into Kabul after Taliban troops slipped away under cover of darkness, abandoning the capital without a fight. Eight foreign aid workers - two Americans, two Australians and four Germans - held captive in Afghanistan for three months were freed from a prison by anti-Taliban fighters.
2001
President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at the White House, where they pledged to slash Cold War-era nuclear arsenals by two-thirds but remained at odds over American plans to develop a missile defense shield.
2005
Ariane 5 rocket launch postponed
2005
Chinese hunger strike continues at Australian detention centre
2005
Sony to suspend use of controversial CD software
2005
Clinton speaks at Rabin memorial service
2005
20,000 South Koreans take to the streets to protest APEC
2005
UN pressures Iran with nuclear compromise plan
2005
World Trade, Bird Flu to be discussed at APEC
2005
British man fully "recovers" from HIV
2005
French police ban public meetings and increase security measures in Paris
2005
New South Wales water supply problems continue
2006
Alberta premier Ralph Klein joke outrages Liberal MP Belinda Stronach
2006
Orcon New Zealand to provide television via Internet
2006
Former Guantanamo detainees convicted in Morocco
2006
UK to step up anti-terror legislation
2006
Man apologizes for grandfather's duty as a concentration camp guard
2006
Gerald Ford oldest living US President ever
2006
Bush's job approval rating plummets
2006
UFDR rebels seize second town in Central Africa Republic
2006
World climate conference in Nairobi
2007
US denies plans for attack on Iran amid report of hunt for evidence against Iran
2007
American politician Augustus F. Hawkins dies at 100
2007
Intel launches 45nm "Penryn" processor aiming for energy-efficiency
2007
H5N1 strain of Avian Flu found in the UK
2007
US interrogators complain of "sickening" pressure for evidence on Iran
2008
Jailed former Taiwanese President on hunger strike
2008
Iranian diplomat abducted in Pakistan
2008
BBC Radio Bristol presenter fired over 'racist' phone call
2008
Bone marrow transplant potentially linked to cure of patient with AIDS
2008
Taliban in Pakistan captures convoy bound for NATO troops
2008
Protesters demonstrate in front of Latter-day Saint temple in L.A.
2008
Second school in Haiti collapses
2009
British Airways and Iberia agree to merge
2009
Irish priest freed from month long captivity in the Philippines
2009
Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini seriously injured in motorcycle accident
2009
Mozambican opposition rejects election results, calls for another vote
2009
Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology
2010
US Supreme Court refuses to block "don't ask, don't tell" policy in US Military
2010
Court jails Gloucestershire, UK cop who left freezing man to die
2010
West Palm Beach, Florida plane crash kills four
2010
Aung San Suu Kyi release orders 'signed'

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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