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Today in History

1820
The Essex, a whaling ship out of Nantucket, is attacked by an 80-ton sperm whale
1866
Pierre Lallement files bicycle patent
1925
New York Senator Robert F "Bobby" Kennedy born in Brookline, Massachusetts
1943
Actress Veronica Harnel born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1946
Guitarist and singer, Duane Allman born in Nashville, Tennesse
1947
Guitarist, songwriter and singer, Joe Walsh born in Wichita, Kansas
1947
Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary marries Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh
1956
7-time Golden Rasberry Award winning actress, Bo Dererk born in Long Beach, California
1984
S.E.T.I. founded
1985
Microsoft releases Windows 1.0
869
Death of St. Edmund, King of the East Angles, killed by the Danes at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England
1022
Death of St. Bernward
1175
Saint Edmund of Abington distinguished scholar, outspoken archbishop of Canterbury, one of the most virtuous and attractive figures of the English church, whose literary works strongly influenced subsequent spiritual writers in England. born
1183
Saladin lays siege to Castle Kerak, and refuses to bombard the part of the castle where a marriage was taking place.
1272
Edward I was proclaimed King of England.
1376
Richard II invested as Prince of Wales
1497
Vasco da Gama rounds Cape of Good Hope, thus discovering the water route to India
1564
Spanish expedition sets out to colonize the Philippines
1578
36 persons executed as witches in Kilkenny, Ireland
1602
Otto von Guericke, German physicist, engineer, and natural philosopher who invented the first air pump and used it to study the phenomenon of vacuum and the role of air in combustion and respiration. born
1614
Louis XIII is declared "of age" as King of France
1620
Peregrine White was born aboard the "Mayflower" in Massachusetts Bay -- the first child born of English parents in present-day New England.
1726
Oliver Wolcott American public official who signed the Declaration of Independence (1776) and helped negotiate a settlement with the Iroquois (1784). born
1752
Thomas Chatterton Chief poet of the 18th-century "Gothic" literary revival, England's youngest writer of mature verse, and precursor of the Romantic movement. born
1761
Pius VIII, Italian pope from March 1829 to November 1830. Original name was Francesco Saverio Castiglioni. born
1780
Britain declared war on Holland.
1789
New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
1851
Botanist John Merle Coulter born
1864
Bruckner's Mass in D minor was presented at the cathedral in Linz. A contemporary account says the bishop was overcome with emotion to the point where he could not proceed with the service.
1866
The rotary crank bicycle was patented, by Pierre Lallemont in Paris, France. The bike, incidentally, was known as "the bone shaker."
1884
Norman Thomas, six times the Socialist Party candidate for U.S. president born
1887
The "Mephisto Waltz" of Franz Liszt got pasting in the Boston Gazette. The reviewer declared that the work, quote, "had about as much propriety on the program after Schumann and Handel as a wild boar would have in a drawing room."
1888
William Bundy invents the first timecard clock.
1889
Edwin Powell Hubble American astronomer who is considered the founder of extragalactic astronomy and who provided the first evidence of the expansion of the universe. born
1900
"Dick Tracy" cartoonist Chester Gould born
1908
Author and TV commentator Alistair Cooke born
1910
Revolution broke out in Mexico, led by Francisco I. Madero.
1914
Fashion designer (Marchese deBarsento) Emilio Pucci born
1914
The State Department starts requiring photographs for passports
1916
Singer-actress Judy Canova (The Howdy Doody Show) born
1917
Senator Robert Byrd (Democrat, West Virginia) born
1918
A wild bore reviewed Prokofiev's "Scythian Suite" in the publication Musical America. He implied that an audience had applauded it to look hip.
1919
Actress Evelyn Keyes born
1920
Actress Gene Tierney (Laura, The Pleasure Seekers) born
1921
Actress Phyllis Thaxter born
1923
Economist Beryl Sprinkel born
1925
Singer June Christy (Tampico, Shoo-Fly Pie, How High the Moon) born
1925
Former U.S. Senator and U.S. attorney general Robert Kennedy born
1925
Robert F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.
1926
Actress-comedian (Catherine Balotta) Kaye Ballard born
1927
Actress Estelle Parsons born
1929
Leo Reisman and his Orchestra recorded "Happy Days are Here Again" for Victor records. The now classic was recorded just three weeks AFTER the stock market crash that plunged the nation into The Great Depression.
1929
The radio program "The Rise of the Goldbergs" debuted on the NBC Blue Network.
1929
Golfer Don January (1967 PGA Champion) born
1931
The first commercial teletype service was introduced this day by American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
1932
TV personality Richard Dawson (Hogan's Heroes; TV host Family Feud) born
1939
Comedian Dick Smothers born
1939
Singer Kim Weston born
1940
Singer Tony Butala (Group born
1942
Senator Joseph Biden (Democrat, Delaware) born
1942
Singer Norman Greenbaum born
1943
Actress Veronica Hamel born
1945
Singer Dan McBride (Group born
1945
24 Nazi leaders went on trial before an international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany.
1946
Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff born
1946
Musician Duane Allman (Group born
1947
Singer Joe Walsh (Group born
1947
Britain's future queen, Princess Elizabeth, married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh: in a ceremony broadcast worldwide from Westminster Abbey.
1947
The first presentation of "Meet the Press" aired on NBC-TV (consisting of two stations). The panel interview program became the longest-running series on network television.
1948
Actor Richard Masur born
1956
Actress (Cathleen Collins) Bo Derek (10, Bolero, Woman of Desire) born
1957
Reggae musician Jim Brown (UB40) born
1959
Actress Sean Young born
1959
One of America's great rock jocks was fired from WABC Radio in New York. The 'Moondoggy' himself, Alan Freed, was axed in the midst of the payola music scandal. Freed left WABC while he was on the air. He was replaced in mid-record by Fred Robbins, who later became a nationally-known entertainment reporter for Mutual Radio.
1960
The famed actor of the silver screen, Clark Gable, at the age of 59 with a heart attack.
1962
Rock musician Todd Nance (Widespread Panic) born
1965
Rapper Sen Dog (Cypress Hill) born
1965
Rapper Mike D (The Beastie Boys) born
1966
The musical, "Cabaret" opened on Broadway for the first of 1,166 stellar performances. Joel Gray starred in the hugely successful, box-office smash that is an adaptation of both the play, "I Am a Camera" and the novel, "Goodbye to Berlin."
1967
The Census Clock at the Commerce Department ticked past 200 million.
1967
Actress Ming-Na Wen born
1969
The Nixon administration announced a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phaseout.
1969
Soccer star, Pel collected his 1,000th career goal in Rio de Janeiro.
1971
Isaac Hayes, of Memphis, TN got his first #1 hit as the "Theme from Shaft" began a two week stay at the top of the charts.
1974
Actress Marisa Ryan born
1975
Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination. He lost to incumbent Gerald Ford, who was defeated by Democrat Jimmy Carter.
1975
After nearly four decades of absolute rule, Spain's General Francisco Franco died, two weeks before his 83rd birthday.
1977
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to address Israel's parliament.
1984
35 years and 11 months after the very first McDonald's hamburger was sold, the 50 billionth burger was made by Edward Rensi, president of Mickey D's. The milestone was celebrated at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.
1984
The largest crowd to see the unveiling of a Hollywood Walk-of-Fame star turned out as Michael Jackson got his piece of the sidewalk right in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre in Los
1987
Investigating police said arson was unlikely in a London subway fire that took 30 lives.
1988
Egypt and China announced they were recognizing the Palestinian state proclaimed by the Palestine National Council.
1989
More than 200,000 people rallied peacefully in Prague, Czechoslovakia, demanding democratic reforms and the ouster of Communist Party leader Milos Jakes.
1990
The Soviet Union again rebuffed President Bush's efforts to rally support for a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing military force against Iraq.
1990
The space shuttle Atlantis landed at Cape Canaveral, Florida, after completing a secret military mission.
1990
Saddam Hussein ordered another 250,000 Iraqi troops into Kuwait.
1991
California Democrat Alan Cranston accepted a Senate reprimand for his dealings with former savings-and-loan chief Charles H. Keating Jr., but then denied he was guilty of many of the allegations.
1992
The United States and the European Community announced they had resolved a dispute over E-C farm subsidies; however, French officials expressed dissatisfaction.
1992
Fire seriously damaged the northwest side of Windsor Castle, the favorite weekend home of Britain's Queen Elizabeth the Second.
1993
The US Senate ended a filibuster against the Brady Bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, and passed it by a vote of 63-to-36; the Senate also approved legislation implementing the North American Free Trade Agreement, 61-to-38.
1994
The Angolan government and rebels signed a treaty in Zambia to end 19 years of war, even as fighting continued in their homeland.
1995
Federal employees idles during a government shutdown returned to their jobs.
1995
Olympic figure skating champion Sergei Grinkov died of a heart attack in Lake Placid, New York.
1995
BBC Television broadcast an interview with Princess Diana, who admitted being unfaithful to Prince Charles.
1995
Radio stations began airing a new Beatles recording, "Free As a Bird," which had debuted on ABC-TV the night before.
1996
House Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be speaker for a second term. Thirty-nine people were killed when fire broke out in a building in Hong Kong.
1997
Prodded by Russia, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein agreed to allow US arms monitors back into his country, ending a three-week crisis that had raised fears of a military confrontation with the United States.
1998
President Clinton wrapped up a visit to Japan and flew to South Korea.
1998
Forty-six states embraced a $206 billion settlement with cigarette makers over health costs for treating sick smokers.
1998
Israel turned over an additional two percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians.
1999
A day after violent anti-American protests in Greece, President Clinton sought to heal old wounds by acknowledging the United States had failed its "obligation to support democracy" when it backed Greek's harsh military junta during the Cold War.
2005
Tunisian Muslim says apologise to Baha'is
2005
Bomb blasts hit south Thailand market town Sungai Golok
2005
60th anniversary of Nuremberg trials marked
2005
Israeli Labor Party leaves government; early election ahead
2005
German BND claims U.S. exaggerated Iraq WMD claims
2005
Deer and other animals found dead at Ball State University
2005
APEC wraps up
2005
Coal mine floods in northern China: 12,000 mines ordered to close
2006
Two Palestinians die, at least seven others are wounded as Israeli attacks continue
2006
Stephen Harper meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao during APEC summit
2006
New Zealand town subject to window smashers
2006
UK soldiers kill rare African animal
2006
MSN browser upgrade leaves users frozen
2006
UN calls on Israel, Palestinian groups to end their conflict, urges enquiry into Israeli actions
2006
Basel's railway station shut down after shoot-out
2006
New look for The Times of London
2006
90 days detention still on Blair's agenda
2006
New Zealand's exams start today
2007
French transportation strike spreads to civil servants
2007
International Space Station astronauts complete spacewalk
2007
Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life
2007
American football coach Lloyd Carr retires from Michigan
2007
UK government loses personal information of 25 million people
2007
USA ended Cuba's defense at Baseball World Cup
2007
Thousands march in gay pride parade in Buenos Aires
2008
Grenade attack on Thai protesters kills one, injures at least 20
2008
NTSB continues investigation of near-collision in Pennsylvania, United States
2008
Los Angeles wildfires are nearly contained
2008
Negotiations for hijacked Saudi oil tanker begin
2008
UN to deploy over 3000 more troops to Congo
2009
Suspected US drone attack kills eight in Pakistan
2009
UK lawyer comments on court case against Boeing over London jet crash
2009
Ireland requests replay of FIFA World Cup play-off with France
2009
Severe flooding hits Cumbria, England
2009
Victims of London jetliner crash sue Boeing
2009
Suicide bomber kills sixteen in Afghanistan
2009
Mutated strain of H1N1 virus detected in US and Norway
2009
UK family wins asbestos payout in death of railway worker
2010
Dominican comedian Freddy Beras-Goico dies aged 69
2010
British airport closed after small jet transporting transplant organ crashes
2011
Three-car accident in Birmingham, England leaves eight injured
2012
Israel sets 36 hour ultimatum for Hamas

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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