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Today in History

1898
Aviator Wiley Post, first solo flight around the world, born in Van Zandt County, Texas
1920
Grammy Award winning comedian and actor, Rodney Dangerfield born in Babylon, New York
1932
Emmy Award winning actor, Robert Vaughn born in New York City
1940
BAFTA Award winning animator, writer and director, Terry Gilliam born in Medicine Lake, Minnesota
1943
Tennis champion Billie Jean King born in Long Beach, California
1958
Inventor, author, baroness, and award winning actress, Jamie Lee Curtis born in Santa Monica, California
1963
President John F Kennedy shot in Dallas, Texas
1968
The Beatles release the White Album
1990
Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister
2005
Angela Merkel becomes German Chancellor
1220
After promising to go to the aid of the Fifth Crusade within nine months, Frederick II is crowned emperor by Pope Honorius III.
1247
Death of Robin Hood (according to Winken de Ward, printer, 1n 1495)
1307
Pope Clement orders the arrest of all Templars
1316
Death of John I, King of France
1515
Mary of Guise, wife of James V, King of Scotland 1643 French explorer of North America Rene Robert de la Salle born
1542
New laws are passed in Spain giving protection against the enslavement of Indians in America.
1621
Poet John Donne is elected dean of St. Paul's
1633
First settlers for Maryland sailed from England
1718
English pirate Edward Teach -- better known as "Blackbeard" -- was killed during a battle off the Virginia coast.
1819
English novelist George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) born
1847
In New York, the Astor Place Opera House, the city's first operatic theater, is opened.
1873
American lawyer Horatio G. Spafford's four daughters drowned when their passenger ship, while crossing the Atlantic, collided with another and sank. One month later, as his own ship passed over the spot of the earlier tragedy, Spafford penned the words to the enduring hymn, "It is Well With My Soul."
1880
On this day, Lillian Russell made her vaudeville debut in New York City.
1890
French statesman and military leader Charles de Gaulle President of France 1958-1969 born
1898
Wiley Post, the first pilot to fly solo around the world born
1899
Composer Hoagy Carmichael (Stardust) born
1899
The Marconi Wireless Company of America was incorporated under laws of the State of New Jersey.
1906
The "S-O-S" distress signal was adopted at the International Radio Telegraphic Convention in Berlin.
1909
Helen Hayes appeared for the first time on the New York stage this day. She was a member of the cast of "In Old Dutch", which opened at the Herald Square Theatre.
1914
Founder of PONY League baseball for youngsters Lew Hays born
1919
A Labor conference committee in the U.S. urges an eight hour work day and a 48-hour week.
1921
Comedian Rodney (Jacob Cohen) Dangerfield (Caddyshack, Easy Money, Back to School, Natural Born Killers, The Dean Martin Show) born
1923
Movie director Arthur Hiller (The Americanization of Emily, Author! Author!, Man of La Mancha, Plaza Suite, The Silver Streak) born
1928
British King George is confined to bed with congested lung; the queen is to take over duties.
1928
"Bolero" by Maurice Ravel made its debut in Paris.
1932
Actor Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) born
1935
Actor Michael (Calinieff) Callan born
1940
Animator and movie director Terry Gilliam (Monty Python series, And Now for Something Completely Different ) born
1941
Actor Tom Conti (American Dreamer, The Norman Conquests series, The Quick and the Dead, Saving Grace) born
1942
Astronaut Guion S. Bluford born
1943
Lyricist Lorenz Hart died in New York at age 48.
1943
Tennis player Billie Jean (Moffitt) King born
1949
Singer musician Steve Van Zandt born
1950
A train wreck in New York City killed 79 people.
1950
Rock musician Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads; The Tom Tom Club) born
1950
Baseball player Greg Luzinski born
1953
Pianist Craig Hundley born
1958
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda, Forever born
1958
Rock singer Jason Ringenberg (Jason & the Scorchers) born
1961
Actress Mariel Hemingway (Delirious, Falling from Grace, born
1961
The film, "A Man for All Seasons" opened this day in New York City.
1963
President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. Texas Governor John B. Connally was seriously wounded. A suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald, was arrested. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became the 36th president of the United States.
1963
Death of C.S. Lewis, 65, Anglican scholar, novelist and Christian apologist. Author of: "The Chronicles of Narnia", "The Screwtape Letters," "The Great Divorce," "Perlandria."
1964
Actor Stephen Geoffreys born
1965
The production of "Man of LaMancha", including the classic, "The Impossible Dream", opened in New York City for the first of 2,328 performances.
1966
Actor Nicholas Rowe born
1967
Tennis player Boris Becker (youngest Wimbledon Men's Champat age 17) born
1967
The UN Security Council approved Resolution 242, which called for Israel to withdraw from territories it captured in 1967, and implicitly called on adversaries to recognize Israel's right to exist.
1972
The State Department ended a 22-year ban on U.S. travel to China.
1973
Britain announces a plan for moderate Protestants and Catholics to share power in Northern Ireland.
1975
Juan Carlos was proclaimed King of Spain.
1975
"Dr. Zhivago" appeared on TV for the first time. The production, including, "Somewhere My Love" had earned $93 million from theatre tickets over ten years. NBC paid $4 million for the broadcast rights.
1977
The Anglo-French supersonic Concorde jetliner began scheduled flights to New York from London and Paris.
1977
Tony Orlando returned to the concert stage after a self-imposed three month retirement following the suicide death of his good friend, Freddie Printz. Orlando appeared in concert in San Carlos, California.
1980
Actress Mae West died in Hollywood at age 87.
1984
Actress Scarlett Johannson ("The Horse Whisperer") born
1984
Fred Rogers of PBS' "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" presented a sweater, knitted by his mother, to the Smithsonian Institution as "a symbol of warmth, closeness and caring," according to museum officials.
1985
The largest swearing-in ceremony, ever, took place as 38,648 immigrants became citizens of the United States, after six days of rallies around the country. Chrysler Corporation's Lee Ioccoca helped preside over the event.
1986
Justice Department finds memo in Lt. Col. Oliver North's office on the transfer of $12 million to contras from Iran arms sale.
1986
Mike Tyson was only 20 years and 4 months old on this day, becoming the youngest to wear the world heavyweight boxing crown. He knocked out Travor Berbick in Las Vegas, NV.
1987
The government of Nicaragua released 985 political prisoners in a show of compliance with a Central American peace plan.
1988
Americans honored President Kennedy on the 25th anniversary of his assassination, with 25-hundred people turning out in Dallas, and visitors stopping by his gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery.
1989
The space shuttle "Discovery" blasted off at night.
1989
The president of Lebanon, Rene Moawad, was assassinated less than three weeks after taking office.
1990
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, having failed to win re-election of the Conservative Party leadership on the first ballot, announced her resignation.
1990
President Bush, his wife, Barbara, and top congressional leaders shared Thanksgiving dinner with U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.
1991
Egypt's Bhoutros Bhoutros-Ghali was chosen to be the next United Nations Secretary-General.
1991
In an attempt to break a deadlock, the Bush administration proposed that Middle East peace talks resume in Washington, D.C.
1992
President-elect Bill Clinton met in Little Rock, Arkansas, with sometime-critic Jesse Jackson, who praised the future chief executive as a leader who could "make the nation whole."
1993
Mexico's Senate overwhelmingly approved the North American Free Trade Agreement.
1993
Striking flight attendants at American Airlines called off their four-day-old job action after President Clinton helped broker an agreement to submit the dispute to binding arbitration.
1994
A gunman opened fire inside the District of Columbia's police headquarters; the resulting gunbattle left two FBI agents, a city detective and the gunman dead.
1994
Serb fighters in northwest Bosnia set villages ablaze in response to a retaliatory airstrike by NATO.
1995
Acting swiftly to boost the Balkan peace accord, the U.N. Security Council suspended economic sanctions against Serbia and eased the arms embargo against the states of the former Yugoslavia.
1995
The Commerce Department reported the U.S. trade deficit had narrowed to its lowest level in nine months.
1996
O.J. Simpson took the stand as a hostile witness in the wrongful death lawsuit filed against him, saying it was "absolutely not true" that he'd killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
1996
Martin Bryant, who'd gunned down 35 people at Port Arthur, Australia, was sentenced to life behind bars with no chance for parole.
1997
UN weapons experts returned to work in Iraq, searching eight sites for signs the Iraqis might have worked on biological, chemical or other banned arms during a three-week forced halt in inspections.
1998
The CBS News program "60 Minutes" aired videotape of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, an advocate of assisted suicide, administering lethal drugs to Thomas Youk (yowk), a terminally ill patient. Kevorkian, who challenged prosecutors to charge him, was later convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to ten to 25 years in prison.
1999
During a visit to the former communist country of Bulgaria, President Clinton promised tens of thousands of cheering Bulgarians in Sofia that "you too shall overcome" in their difficult struggle for democracy and prosperity.
2005
Electronic Frontier Foundation sues Sony over CD technology
2005
Fischer suffers seizure, collapses during Red Wings game
2005
UK children's charities announce merger
2005
Angela Merkel elected new German chancellor
2005
Iraqi groups call for US pull-out
2005
Former DeLay aide pleads guilty in corruption case
2005
Alleged Bush-Blair Al-Jazeera bombing transcript leaked
2005
Christmas Island detention centre reopened
2006
164 foot diameter Large Millimeter telescope on the summit of Mexico's Sierra Negra activated
2006
Bush's daughter's purse snatched
2006
French postal service is back on the rails
2006
Winter session of the Parliament of India begins today
2006
Nine killed in Kolkata leather factory fire
2006
Honda Civic tops Canada's list of most stolen cars
2006
Handcuffed Philadelphia man shoots himself
2006
Canada to have free vote on reopening gay marriage debate
2006
Lebanese Christian leader assassinated
2006
Israel's Supreme Court recognizes foreign same-sex marriages
2006
Cabinet to discuss UK nuclear deterrent for the first time tomorrow
2006
New Zealand National party pays back owed GST
2006
Chemical plant fire decimates Danvers, Massachusetts neighboorhood
2006
NZ National party leader wants book based around his emails published
2006
Polish mine explosion kills 8
2006
State funeral approved by Canadian House of Commons
2007
Batavia Air 737 loses piece of wing in flight, lands safely
2007
Political scandal in Italy: reported interference on major media
2007
Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent land first throw quadruple salchow
2007
English Football Association sacks national team manager Steve McClaren
2007
In the spirit of US Thanksgiving tradition, two turkeys receive presidential pardon
2007
U.S. warships temporarily denied entry to Hong Kong
2007
Australian Liberal Party criticised over fake pamphlets
2008
Militants, pirates may fight over Saudi oil tanker
2008
Another grenade attack in Thailand injures eight
2008
Somali pirates now hold 134 Filipino seafarers hostage
2008
US Nazi leader talks about Barack Obama, the economy and more
2009
2010 Sakurai Prize awarded for 1964 Higgs Boson theory work
2009
Indonesian ferry sinks, at least nine dead
2009
Winfrey announces end of 'Oprah'
2009
US healthcare bill passes Senate vote
2009
Canadian loses health benefits after company finds joyful Facebook pictures
2009
Afghan Member of Parliament escapes assasination attempt
2009
Australian Football League to hold match in China
2009
Bomb explosions in northeastern India kill at least seven
2009
Republican groups suspected in gun battle with, failed bombing of, Northern Irish police
2009
Iraqi lawmakers delay vote on electoral law
2009
Saudi Arabia fears Hajj swine flu outbreak as four pilgrims die
2009
Astronaut's baby born 200 miles below him
2009
Ex-cosmonaut Konstantin Feoktistov dies; Soviet space pioneer was 83
2009
Pirates seize Greek-owned ship off coast of Yemen
2010
NASCAR: Edwards wins Ford 400; Johnson claims championship
2011
Historic Scottish island castle wins the lottery

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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