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Today in History

The Hobbit...
Bilbo reaches the Lonely Mountain
General Hospital...
1981
Luke and Laura marry
1869
Opening of the Suez Canal
1873
Blues composer and musician, WC Handy born in Florence, Alabama
1896
Author Joan Lindsay born in St Kilda East, Victoria, Australia
1907
Beloved American actor Burgess Meredith (Twilight Zone, Batman, Rocky) born in Cleveland, Ohio
1940
Nazis imprison 380,000 people in the Warsaw Ghetto [photo]
1967
Actress Lisa Bonet born in San Francisco, California
1093
Death of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland
1240
Death of St. Edmund of Abingdon
1272
Death of Henry III, King of England
1302
Death of St. Gertrude of Helfta
1326
Edward II, King of England, captured by his wife and Barons
1532
Fall of the Inca Empire to Pizarro and the Spanish; Pizarro seizes Incan emperor Atahualpa
1621
The Papal Chancery first adopted January 1st as the beginning of the calendar year. Previously, March was the first month, which explains why our modern names for the 9th and 12th months begin with prefixes meaning "7" (sept), "8" (oct) "9" (nov) and "10" (dec).
1776
British troops captured Fort Washington during the American Revolution.
1801
Beethoven wrote another one of his poignant letters about his deafness. In this one, to a friend named Wegeler, Beethoven said, quote, "I will wrestle fate; it shall never drag me down." At this point Beethoven still had eight of his nine symphonies ahead of him.
1841
Napoleon Guerin of New York City patented the cork life preserver (a jacket containing 18 to 20 quarts of grated cork)
1864
Union General William T. Sherman and his troops began their "March to the Sea" during the Civil War.
1873
American composer W.C. (William Christopher) Handy, known as the "Father of the Blues" (St. Louis Blues) born
1875
Dr. William G. Arlington Bonwill of Philadelphia, PA patented the dental mallet used to impact gold into cavities.
1885
Canadian rebel Louis Riel was executed for high treason.
1889
Broadway director and playwright George S. Kaufman (The Cocoanuts, A Night at the Opera, [w/Moss Hart]: The Man Who Came to Dinner, You Can't Take It with You) born
1894
James McCosh dies. He was a Scottish-born theologian and educator. He was one of the first orthodox clergymen in the United States to accept and defend the theory of Evolution.
1896
Actor Jim Jordan ( Fibber McGee and Molly) born
1900
The Philadelphia Orchestra was launched.
1901
George Gallop born
1901
Henry Fournier drove a mile in 51 4/5 seconds, becoming the first auto racer to drive more than a mile a minute in competition -- in Brooklyn, NY.
1904
Jazz guitarist and band leader Eddie (Albert) Condon (promoter of Dixieland Jazz) born
1907
Oklahoma became the 46th state admitted to the Union.
1908
Conductor Arturo Toscanini made his debut in the United States. He appeared at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, conducting "Aida".
1909
Actor Burgess Meredith (The Big Event Gloria, Mr. Novak, Search, The Day of the Locust, Rocky series, Advice and Consent, Grumpy Old Men, In Harm's Way, Of Mice and Men; author: So Far, So Good a Memoir) born
1920
Golfer Gene Littler (U.S. Open winner 1961) born
1922
Actor Royal Dano (Mr. Lincoln, Ghoulies 2, The Red Badge of Courage, Huckleberry Finn, The Right Stuff, Johnny Guitar, The Trouble with Harry) born
1928
Actor Clu Gulager born
1930
Football player Bob Watson born
1931
Singer and sonwriter of folk songs Bob Gibson born
1931
Blues musician Hubert Sumlin born
1932
The Palace in New York City closed its doors. It was the most famous vaudeville theatre in America. Later, it became a movie house with live performances preceding the flicks; notable acts included: the team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in their heyday and Abboty & Costello.
1933
The United States and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations. President Roosevelt sent a telegram to Soviet leader Maxim Litvinov, expressing hope that US-Soviet relations would "forever remain normal and friendly."
1935
The Rodgers and Hart musical, "Jumbo" opened in New York City, for a run of 233 performances.
1935
Journalist Elizabeth Drew born
1944
Actress Joanna Pettet (Best Sellers, Casino Royale, Double Exposure, Captains and the Kings, Knots Landing) born
1945
Dancer Martine Van Hammel (American Ballet Theatre) born
1946
Basketball player Jo Jo White (Boston Celtics playoffs) born
1948
Actor Steve Railsback born
1950
Actor David Leisure (Empty Nest) born
1950
Football player born
1958
Six inches of snow fell on Tucson, Arizona, catching many by surprise
1959
The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music" opened on Broadway.
1959
Master champion 1987, golfer Larry Mize born
1961
House Speaker Samuel T. Rayburn died in Bonham, Texas, having served as speaker since 1940 except for two terms.
1962
Rock musician Mani (The Stone Roses) born
1963
Tennis player Zina Garrison-Jackson born
1964
Baseball player Dwight Gooden ("The Doctor" record for most strikeouts in a rookie season: Rookie of the Year born
1966
Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard was acquitted in his second trial of charges he'd murdered his pregnant wife, Marilyn, in 1954.
1967
Actress Lisa Bonet (The Cosby Show, A Different World, Angel Heart, Bank Robber) born
1968
B-J Thomas's ``Hooked On A Feeling'' was released.
1969
Actress Tammy Lauren ("Martial Law") born
1969
Rhythm-and-blues singer Bryan Abrams (Color Me Badd) born
1970
Actress Martha Plimpton (The Goonies, Parenthood, The Mosquito Coast) born
1970
Anne Murray received a gold record for "Snowbird". She became the first Canadian recording artist to receive a gold record.
1973
"Skylab Three," carrying a crew of three astronauts, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on an 84-day mission.
1973
President Nixon signed the Alaska Pipeline measure into law.
1974
NBC-TV began a two-night showing of the award-winning motion picture, "The Godfather", starring Marlon Brando. The film represented the highest price ever paid for a movie shown on TV. NBC paid Paramount Pictures $10 million for the showing of the picture.
1975
Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears rushed for 105 yards in a game against the San Francisco '49ers. It was Payton's first game of 100 plus yards. He did it over 50 times throughout his career and added two 200-yard games, as well.
1977
Olympic gold medal figure skater Oksana Baiul born
1981
Actor William Holden was found dead in his apartment in Santa Monica, California; he was 63.
1982
An agreement was announced in the 57th day of a strike by National Football League players.
1984
Actress Kimberly J. Brown born
1984
The space shuttle Discovery returned to Earth with the first two satellites ever plucked from space.
1985
Joan Baez sang for Polish labor leader Lech Walesa at his home in Gdansk. The two also discussed human rights.
1986
Frank Sinatra left a Rancho Mirage, California, hospital one week after undergoing surgery for diverticulitis .
1986
Gerber Products announced intentions to produce baby food in plastic jars, instead of glass - a first for the industry.
1986
The first comic miniseries was presented, as "Fresno" poked fun at soap operas -- on CBS-TV.
1987
The US Supreme Court upheld, eight-to-zero, the federal mail and wire fraud convictions of former "Wall Street Journal" reporter R. Foster Winans and two co-defendants in connection with an insider-trading scheme.
1988
Estonia's parliament declared the Baltic republic "sovereign," but stopped short of complete independence.
1988
Voters in Pakistan cast ballots in their first open election in more than a decade, resulting in victory for populist candidate Benazir Bhutto.
1989
Six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter were shot to death at their residence in San Salvador, capital of the Central American nation of El Salvador. Scandal ensued when it became evident that the Salvadoran government, closely allied with Washington, included military officers capable of doing things like this if they suspected missionaries of aiding rebels.
1990
Four of the so-called "Keating Five" went before the Senate Ethics Committee to deny any wrongdoing in helping failed savings-and-loan owner Charles H. Keating Jr.
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev told an angry Soviet legislature he would fire government and military officials blocking his reform plans.
1991
Boris Yeltsin issued a series of decrees that effectively transferred control of his republic's economy from Soviet central government to the Russian Federation.
1991
Former Democratic Gov. Edwin Edwards of Louisiana was overwhelming elected, defeating former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke.
1991
House Democrats reported that Salvadoran Defense Minister Gen. Rene Ponce had planned the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter.
1992
The UN Security Council voted to authorize a naval blockade on the Danube River and the Adriatic coast to tighten economic sanctions on Yugoslavia.
1992
A federal judge in Los Angeles refused to reconsider the Navy's appeal of an injunction that forced the service to reinstate sailor Keith Meinhold, the first openly homosexual person on active duty in the U.S. military.
1992
President-elect Clinton and Democratic congressional leaders held a news conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, in which they pledged a "new era" of action.
1993
The Senate voted, 69-to-30, to approve a measure designed to protect people who provide or seek abortions from physical attacks or intimidation by abortion opponents.
1994
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting California from implementing most provisions of Prop 187, the voter-approved measure that would deny most public services to illegal aliens.
1994
President Clinton, ending a five-day trip to Asia, discussed human rights with Indonesian President Suharto.
1994
The government reported consumer prices rose one-tenth of one percentage point in October.
1995
President Clinton threatened anew to veto the latest Republican offer to end a three-day partial government shutdown.
1995
Democrats savaged House Speaker Newt Gingrich for claiming Clinton had snubbed him recently aboard Air Force One.
1995
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno disclosed she had
1997
China's most prominent pro-democracy campaigner, Wei Jingsheng, arrived in the United States after being released from a prison where he'd spent nearly 18 years.
1998
House Democrats re-elected Dick Gephardt as their leader.
1998
The Supreme Court ruled that union members can file discrimination lawsuits against employers even when labor contracts require arbitration.
1999
13-year-old Nathaniel Abraham, among the youngest murder defendants in U.S. history, was convicted in Pontiac, Michigan, of second-degree murder for shooting a stranger outside a convenience store with a rifle when he was 11. (He was sentenced to juvenile detention; the decision on whether he will serve adult prison time was deferred.)
2005
U.S. Producer Price Index shows inflation at bay
2005
Farmers clash amidst high security at APEC summit in South Korea
2005
Mass poultry vaccination planned by China
2005
FDA ruling on emergency contraceptive pill questioned
2005
Increased tension in border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia
2005
US admits use of white phosphorus in Iraq
2005
More from APEC: EU not backing down
2006
Two Brampton residents announce 2010 Ontario mayoral intentions
2006
Canada's west coast battles high winds
2006
U.S. soldiers kill 9 suspected al-Qaeda members near Baghdad
2006
Doctor: Hoodies are a health risk
2006
Jolie finds playing slain journalist's wife challenging
2006
Flag-lowering ceremony at Wagah border becomes more peaceful
2006
Queen Elizabeth II to visit the United States
2006
Joseph Kabila declared winner of Congo Presidential election
2006
Economist Milton Friedman dies at 94
2006
French inspection: North Korean ship has no illegal cargo
2006
Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale "by owner"
2006
House Democrats name Pelosi speaker
2006
Mobile homes exploded as tornado kills eight in North Carolina
2006
Alleged Russian spy captured in Montreal, Canada
2006
Britain's "Grey Train Robbery" solved
2006
Singapore student is world's fastest text messenger
2007
Former Wisconsin teacher's aide faces sex charges
2007
Indonesian air industry signs safety deal ahead of EU ban review
2007
Cyclone Sidr kills hundreds in Bangladesh
2008
Massive 7.5 earthquake strikes Indonesia
2009
White House considers sending Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Illinois
2009
At least 32 dead after snowstorms in China
2009
UK soldier shot dead in Afghanistan, number of military personnel killed in country increases to 233
2009
Edward Woodward, English actor, dies aged 79
2009
Non-industrial emissions key for meeting Kyoto targets in Europe
2010
Iraqi government approves power-sharing deal eight months after elections
2010
NASCAR: Edwards wins Kobalt Tools 500
2010
At least 53 killed, over 90 injured in Shanghai apartment fire
2011
Poll shows former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich as latest GOP presidential frontrunner
2012
South Korean presidential candidate promises to legalise non-ActiveX technologies for banking

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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