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Today in History

1703
Hurricane kills thousands in the British Isles
1839
300,000 killed by cyclone in Coringa, India
1867
Alfred Nobel patents dynamite
1926
Hugo Award winning author, Poul Anderson born in Bristol, Pennsylvania
1936
Choreographer and dancer, Trisha Brown born in Aberdeen, Washington
1944
Lawyer, economist, professor, speechwriter, actor, and comedian, Benjamin Jeremy Stein born in Washington, DC
1947
Emmy Award winning actor, John Larroquette born in New Orleans, Louisiana
1955
Dancer and choreographer, Bruno Tonioli born in Ferrara, Italy
1971
Emmy Award winning actress Christina Applegate born in Hollywood, California
1976
"The Last Waltz" farewell concert of The Band at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco
1177
Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem fell to the Sultan of Egypt
1185
Election of Pope Urban III
1185
Death of Pope Lucius III
1215
John I "Lackland," King of England, sends to Hubert de Burgh for "40 bacon pigs of the fattest and least good for eating" to fuel the fire in the mine under the tower of Rochester Castle
1277
Election of Pope Nicholas III
1314
Coronation of Louis IV as King of Germany
1491
Treaty signed between Spain and the Moors in Granada
1556
Jacques Davy Duperron French cardinal, remembered especially for his part in the conversion of King Henry IV of France to Roman Catholicism. born
1562
Lopez da Vega born
1609
Henrietta Marie of France, Queen to Charles I, King of England born
1638
Catherine of Branganza, wife of Charles II, King of England born
1715
This was a big day for one Thomas Masters who became the first American to be granted an English patent. Tom was the first to master the fine art of cleaning and curing Indian corn.
1748
The Christian hymnodist Isaac Watts. He wrote innumerable hymns of the church, including "When I survey the wondrous cross" and "O God, our help in ages past." born
1758
In the French and Indian War, the British captured Fort Duquesne in present-day Pittsburgh.
1763
Artist Jean-Germain Drouais He was a historical painter who was one of the leading early Neoclassicists in France. born
1783
More than 6,000 British troops evacuated New York City after signing the peace treaty ending the Revolutionary War.
1817
The first sword swallower to perform in America gave a show in New York City. Senaa Samma, from Madras, India, was obliged to use an American sword "as a substitute for the one lately stolen from him by some villain."
1835
Industrialist Andrew Carnegie
1844
Pioneer German automobile designer Karl Benz born
1846
Social reformer Carry Nation born
1849
German mathematician Felix Klein born
1863
Union ends the siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., with the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tenn.
1867
Alfred Nobel invents dynamite.
1876
Colonel Ronald MacKenzie destroys Cheyenne Chief Dull Knife's village, in the Bighorn Mountains near the Red Fork of the Powder River, during the so-called Great Sioux War.
1880
Missionary John Flynn. He was moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Australia from1939 through 1942. He was a missionary to the country's wild central and northern inland, and in 1928 founded what later became the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. born
1881
Pope John the 23rd was born Angelo Roncalli near Bergamo, Italy. born
1882
A Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, "Iolanthe," was premiered in New York and in England simultaneously. It was the only way to protect the copyright in both hemispheres.
1884
John B. Meyenberg of St Louis patented evaporated milk.
1896
Virgil Thomson was born in Kansas City. Thomson was one of the most influential American music critics of the 20th century, partly because he was one of the American composers who had studied with Nadia Boulanger. born
1912
The American College of Surgeons was founded in Springfield, Illinois.
1913
Science writer Lewis Thomas born
1914
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe DiMaggio born
1919
Radio station WTAW in College Station, Texas, broadcast the first play-by-play description of a football game, between Texas and Texas A&M.
1920
Actor Ricardo Montalban born
1921
Hirohito becomes regent of Japan. 1923 broadcasting from England to America for the first time.
1926
American writer of science fiction and fantasy Poul Anderson born
1928
Jazz singer Etta Jones born
1930
Earthquake kills 187 in Shizouka, Japan.
1931
Jazz musician Nat Adderley born
1933
Actress Kathryn Crosby born
1936
The Anti-Comintern Pact, an agreement between Japan and Germany to collaborate in opposition to the spread of communism, was signed.
1940
Singer Percy Sledge born
1942
Actor Tracey Walter born
1944
Singer Bob Lind born
1944
Baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis died at age 78.
1944
Author, actor and game show host Ben Stein born
1944
CBS Radio presented "The FBI in Peace and War" for the first time. It became one of the longest-running crime shows on radio - lasting 14 years.
1946
Supreme Court grants Oregon Indians land payment right from the U.S. government
1947
Actor John Larroquette born
1947
Movie director Jonathan Kaplan ("The Accused") born
1947
Movie studio executives meeting in New York agreed to blacklist the "Hollywood Ten" who were cited for contempt of Congress the day before.
1949
"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" appeared on the music charts this day and became THE musical hit of the Christmas season. Although Gene Autry's rendition is the most popular, 80 different versions of the song have been recorded, with nearly 20,000,000 copies sold.
1952
Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap," listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest running play, opened in London.
1955
The Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation in interstate travel.
1957
President Eisenhower suffered a slight stroke.
1960
John F. Kennedy Junior born
1960
Singer Amy Grant born
1963
Football player Bernie Kosar born
1963
The body of President Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
1966
Singer Stacy Lattisaw born
1967
INCENSE AND PEPPERMINTS by Strawberry Alarm Clock peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart.
1971
Actress Christina Applegate born
1973
Maximum speed limits were cut to 55 MPH this day, by U.S. Presidential order. It was an energy conservation measure and was also intended to save an estimated 9,000 lives each year.
1973
Greek President George Papadopoulos was ousted in a bloodless military coup.
1974
Former UN Secretary-General U Thant died in New York at age 65.
1974
The Irish Republican Army was outlawed in Britain following the deaths of 21 people in a pub bombing in Birmingham.
1984
William J. Schroeder of Jasper, Indiana, became the second man to receive a Jarvik-7 artificial heart during a 6 hour operation at Humana Hospital Audubon in Louisville, Kentucky. He lived 620 days on the device.
1986
The Iran-Contra affair erupted as President Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels.
1987
Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago, died at age 65 after suffering a heart attack in his City Hall office
1988
An earthquake centered in eastern Canada and measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale was felt widely across Canada and in the northeastern United States.
1989
More than half a million demonstrators gathered in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where they scoffed at a Communist Party shakeup and cheered Alexander Dubcek, the reformer ousted in 1968.
1990
Poland held its first popular presidential election, resulting in a plurality of votes for Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, who won a runoff the next month.
1991
President Bush threatened to veto anti-crime legislation heading for a final vote in Congress, accusing Democrats of producing a bill that would actually weaken law enforcement.
1991
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev suffered a setback in his bid to hold the Soviet Union together when leaders of seven republics refused to endorse a treaty creating a new political union.
1992
The Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced within US borders, had advanced at a brisk three-point-nine percent seasonally adjusted annual rate during the third quarter of 1992.
1992
The Czech parliament voted to split the country into separate Czech and Slovak republics beginning January 1, 1993.
1993
Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Sedki escaped an attempt on his life when Islamic militants detonated a car bomb near his motorcade.
1993
Violence broke out in the Gaza Strip, a day after Israeli undercover soldiers killed Imad Akel, the head of the military wing of Hamas.
1993
Author Anthony Burgess died in London at age 76.
1994
Sony Corporation co-founder Akio Morita retired as chairman of the electronics giant for health reasons.
1994
NATO warplanes buzzed the besieged "safe haven" of Bihac in northwest Bosnia, but did not carry out airstrikes against rebel Serbs.
1995
Serbs in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo took to the streets by the thousands to protest the peace plan, vowing to fight to the death.
1995
Ireland voted to legalize divorce in the closest result in the nation's polling history, a margin of less than 1 percent.
1995
In his weekly radio address, President Clinton appealed to America's values and interests as he pleaded for support for the Bosnia peace agreement.
1996
Testifying for a second day at a civil trial, O.J. Simpson again denied killing Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but couldn't explain how blood believed to be the victims' got into his Bronco, or how he suffered hand cuts.
1996
President Clinton won a victory on the trade front by getting Pacific Rim leaders meeting in the Philippines to accept the year 2000 as a deadline for cutting tariffs on information technology.
1997
President Clinton and Pacific Rim leaders meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, approved a rescue strategy for Asian economies shaken by plunging currencies, bank failures and bankruptcies.
1997
Teamsters President Ron Carey announced he was taking an unpaid leave of absence to fight an election overseer's decision barring him from a rerun.
1998
Britain's highest court ruled that former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, whose extradition was being sought by Spain, could not claim immunity from prosecution for crimes committed during his rule.
1998
Comedian Flip Wilson died in Malibu, California, at age 64.
1998
Chinese President Jiang Zemin arrived in Tokyo for the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Japan since World War Two.
1999
Five-year-old Elian Gonzalez was rescued by a pair of sport fishermen off the coast of Florida. Elian was one of three survivors from a boat carrying 14 Cubans that had sunk two days earlier in the Atlantic Ocean; his rescue set off an international custody battle between relatives in Miami and Elian's father in Cuba.
2005
Venezuela provides discounted heating oil to Massachusetts
2005
Brian Lara becomes second person to score 11 000 runs
2005
Turkey found buried alive in an Austin, Texas yard
2005
Calvin-Hope rivalry gets new digs
2005
Peter Forsberg scores two in win over the Boston Bruins
2005
Electoral council sets new dates for elections in Haiti
2005
EU cuts sugar subsidies
2006
Australian wheat kickback report handed to Governor-General
2006
Cheney meets with King Abdullah in Riyadh
2006
Buddhist relic collection tours North America and world
2006
Pakistan and China sign free-trade deal
2006
Traces of radiation found where Litvinenko ate
2007
Australia Votes 2007: Rudd to become 26th Prime Minister
2007
US to reduce troops in Iraq by 5,000 in December
2007
Australia Votes 2007: Outgoing treasurer will not stand for Liberal leadership
2007
Western Texas and southeastern New Mexico under 'winter storm warnings'
2007
The Onion: An interview with 'America's Finest News Source'
2007
Pan-Green and Pan-Blue Coalitions battled intensively before the 2008 Legislators' Election in Taiwan
2008
'King Taksin operation' enters second day, Thai government disrupted
2008
Ship sunk by Indian navy was a fishing boat, says owner
2008
Australian government introduces "Fair Work" to parliament
2008
Flood deaths in Brazil rise to 84
2009
Israel announces 10 month halt to settlement construction in West Bank
2009
Death of Kentucky census worker considered suicide
2009
School closed after five-year-old boy dies from suspected swine flu in Buckinghamshire, England
2009
Sakurai Prize awarded for Higgs boson theories
2010
Jawbone found in Aruba is not Natalee Holloway's
2010
29 presumed dead after second explosion at New Zealand mine
2010
Pichilemu, Chile's Wastewater Treatment Plant to be inaugurated
2010
Korean Peninsula on the 'brink of war': DPRK
2010
English jury returns mix of verdicts in policeman's serial rape trial
2011
Scottish football team Hibernian appoint new manager
2011
Scientists sequence small genome of a pest: spider mite
2012
'Gangnam Style' becomes most watched YouTube video ever

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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