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Today in History

1874
Hoosac Railroad Tunnel halves meet
1895
Alfred Nobel creates fund for Nobel Prizes
1940
Martial artist, instructor, actor and inventor of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee born in San Francisco, California
1942
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist and singer, Jimi Hendrix born in Seattle, Washington
1954
Actress and environmental activist, Patricia McPherson born in Oak Harbor, Washington
1955
Inventor, educator, comedian and actor, Bill Nye "the Science Guy" born in Washington, DC
1961
Gordie Howe plays in 1,000th NHL game
1961
Stage, television and screen actress, Samantha Bond born in London, England
1964
Actress Robin Givens born in New York City
1971
Soviet Mars 2 probe lands on Mars
1976
Screenwriter and actor, Jaleel White born in Pasadena, California
8
Horace, Latin poet, satirist, dies
43
Octavian, Antony and Lepidus form the triumvirate of Rome.
450
Death of Galla Placida
511
Clovis, king of the Franks, dies and his kingdom is divided between his four sons.
602
Byzantine troops in the Balkans mutiny
784
Death of St. Fergil of Salzburg "the Geometer"
1095
Pope Urban II calls for the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont: "God Wills It!"
1198
Death of Constance, widow of Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
1346
Death of St. Gregory of Sinai
1382
The French nobility, led by Olivier de Clisson, crush the Flemish rebels at Flanders.
1520
Magellan enters the Pacific Ocean
1582
William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway were married
1592
Death of John II, King of Sweden
1633
Death of Sir John Elliot in the Tower of London
1635
Marquise de Mainteon, mistress and 2nd wife of Louis XIV, King of France born
1655
Cromwell issues an Edict against the Royalist clergy
1701
Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer and inventor of the centigrade thermometer born
1779
The College of Pennsylvania became the University of Pennsylvania and the first legally recognized university in America.
1839
The American Statistical Association was founded in Boston.
1843
Cornelius Vanderbilt (Started the Staten Island Ferry) born
1852
Augusta Ada King, Lady Lovelace, died, heavily in debt, addicted to strong drink. She had been the assistant to the mathematical engineer Charles Babbage (the father of the computer).
1862
George Armstrong Custer meets his future bride, Elizabeth Bacon, at a Thanksgiving party.
1868
Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custers 7th Cavalry kills Chief Blackkettle and about 100 Cheyenne (mostly women and children) on the Washita River.
1874
Israeli statesman Chaim Weizmann born
1874
American historian Charles Beard born
1887
U.S. Deputy Marshall Frank Dalton, brother of the three famous outlaws, is killed in the line of duty near Fort Smith, Ark.
1889
Curtis P. Brady was issued the first permit to drive an automobile through Central Park in New York City. Mr. Brady had to pledge to New York's finest that he would not frighten the horses in the park.
1896
"Also Sprach Zarathustra" was premiered in Frankfurt with Strauss himself conducting. Strauss said at the time that it was his best work, but today it's not played much. The very beginning of it is famous, though, because it was used in the movie "2001."
1901
The War Department authorized creation of the Army War College to instruct commissioned officers. It was built in Leavenworth, Kan.
1909
The Southern novelist and film critic James Agee born
1910
New York's Pennsylvania Station opened.
1912
Broadway producer David (Margulois) Merrick (Hello, Dolly!, Beckett) born
1917
Children's entertainer "Buffalo Bob" Smith (Howdy Doody Time) born
1924
The largest crowd to see a high school football game went through the turnstiles in Los Angeles. Los Angeles High and Polytechnic High fought to a 7-7 tie. The attendance? 57,000 people.
1925
Actor Marshall Thompson born
1926
Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong recorded "You Made Me Love You" on Okeh Records.
1927
Former Treasury Secretary William Simon born
1928
A Stravinsky ballet was premiered. "The Fairy's Kiss" is an homage to Tchaikovsky.
1931
Paul Wittgenstein played the premiere of Ravel's left-handed piano concerto. Wittgenstein lost his right hand in wartime but decided to pursue his concert career anyway.
1932
Gail Sheehy, the American author who wrote the pop-psychology book Passages born
1935
"Eeny Meeny Miney Mo" was recorded by Ginger Rogers and Johnny Mercer. The tune was recorded at Decca Records in Los Angeles.
1935
Boxer Willie (Wilfred) Pastrano (Light Heavyweight Champion 1963-1965) born
1935
Drummer Al Jackson born
1937
The stage play, "Pins and Needles" opened in New York City. The cast consisted of members of the ILGWU (the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). The show ran two years. We bet it was a stitch.
1937
Author Gail Henion Sheehy (The Silent Passage Pathfinders) born
1939
The play "Key Largo," by Maxwell Anderson, opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York.
1940
Actor Bruce Lee (Liu Yuen Kam) born
1942
Rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix (Foxy Lady, Purple Haze) born
1942
During World War Two, the French navy at Toulon scuttled its ships and submarines to keep them out of the hands of the Nazis.
1944
Eddie Rabbitt born
1948
Actor James Avery born
1950
Swimmer Hans Fassnacht born
1952
Football player Ike Harris born
1953
Playwright Eugene O'Neill died in Boston at age 65.
1953
Russian rock musician Boris Grebenshikov born
1954
Alger Hiss, convicted of being a Soviet spy, is freed after 44 months in prison.
1957
Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg born
1959
Rock musician Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds) born
1962
Rock musician Mike Bordin (Faith No More) born
1962
Rock musician Charlie Benante (Anthrax) born
1963
Actor Fisher Stevens born
1964
Actress Robin Givens (Head of the Class, A Rage in Harlem) born
1967
Lyndon Johnson appoints Robert McNamara to presidency of the World Bank.
1967
Charles DeGaulle vetoes Britains entry into the Common Market again.
1967
The Association, a California group, earned a gold record for the hit, "Never My Love" on Warner Bros. Records. The group also earned worldwide fame for other hits including "Windy", "Cherish" and "Along Comes Mary."
1970
Rapper Skoob (DAS EFX) born
1970
Syria joins the pact linking Libya, Egypt and Sudan. history.
1970
Pope Paul the Sixth, visiting the Philippines, was slightly wounded at the Manila airport by a dagger-wielding Bolivian painter disguised as a priest.
1972
Black Entertainment Television host Rachel born
1973
The Senate voted 92-to-three to confirm Gerald R. Ford as vice president, succeeding Spiro T. Agnew, who'd resigned.
1976
Actor Jaleel White ("Family Matters") born
1978
San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk, a gay-rights activist, were shot to death inside City Hall by former supervisor Dan White.
1983
183 people were killed when a Colombian Avianca Airlines Boeing 747 crashed near Madrid's Barajas airport.
1984
Artificial heart recipient William J. Schroeder speaking for the first time since the implant, asked for a can of beer -- a wish that was granted two days later.
1984
The Treasury Department proposed a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. Tax Code.
1985
The British House of Commons approved the Anglo-Irish accord giving Dublin a consultative role in the governing of British-ruled Northern Ireland.
1986
Lou Holtz signed a five-year pact to lead the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Holtz left the head coaching job with the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota to take the position.
1986
Published reports said the FBI was investigating whether fired National Security Council aide Oliver L. North had destroyed papers from his personal files as the Iran-Contra affair began to unravel.
1987
French hostages Jean-Louis Normandin and Roger Auque were freed by their pro-Iranian captors in West Beirut, Lebanon.
1988
The United States was hit by a flood of worldwide criticism for its refusal a day earlier to allow PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to address the United Nations.
1988
Actor John Carradine, known for his roles in horror films, died in Milan, Italy, at age 82.
1989
107 people were killed when a bomb blamed on drug traffickers destroyed a Colombian Boeing 727.
1989
University of Chicago doctors implanted part of a woman's liver in her 21-month-old daughter in the nation's first living donor liver transplant.
1990
The Senate Armed Services Committee opened hearings on the Persian Gulf crisis.
1990
British Conservatives chose John Major to succeed Margaret Thatcher as party leader. Subsequently, he would be named prime minister.
1991
Israel signaled its anger with what it regarded as the high-handedness of the United States by rejecting an invitation to attend Mideast peace talks in Washington on Dec. 4.
1991
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution paving the way for the establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation in war-ravaged Yugoslavia.
1992
President-elect Clinton met for more than an hour with former President Reagan in Los Angeles.
1992
Rebel forces in Venezuela tried but failed to overthrow President Carlos Andres Perez for the second time in ten months.
1993
In his weekly radio address, President Clinton said enacting comprehensive anti-crime legislation was the first priority for 1994, saying, "We have to be concerned that in both our cities and our rural areas, the value of life has been cheapened."
1994
Defense Secretary William Perry, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," suggested the Bosnian government had lost the war in the Balkans, and acknowledged NATO was powerless to stop the Serbs.
1995
President Clinton presented his case for sending 20,000 U.S. troops on a peacekeeping mission to Bosnia, saying in a prime-time address that "in the choice between peace and war, America must choose peace.""
1995
House Speaker Newt Gingrich ruled out a 1996 presidential run.
1996
A federal judge blocked enforcement of a California initiative to dismantle affirmative action, saying civil rights groups had a "strong probability" of proving it unconstitutional.
1996
Evan C. Hunziker, an American jailed by North Korea on spy charges, was set free, ending a three-month ordeal.
1997
A day after saying it would open its presidential palaces to international observers, Iraq declared that UN weapons monitors were not included in the invitation.
1997
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York was marred when a gust of wind knocked part of a lamppost onto a 34-year-old woman, fracturing her skull and leaving her in a coma for almost a month.
1998
President Clinton wrote the House Judiciary Committee that his testimony in the Monica Lewinsky affair was "not false and misleading."
1999
Northern Ireland's biggest party, the Ulster Unionists, cleared the way for the speedy formation of an unprecedented Protestant-Catholic administration.
2003
President George W. Bush spends Thanksgiving with U.S. troops in Iraq
2005
One third of English pubs allowed to extend their opening hours
2005
Four US soldiers face disciplinary action for burning Taliban soldiers' bodies
2006
Eden Park to be upgraded for New Zealand's Rugby World Cup
2006
John Key new leader of New Zealand National Party
2006
Spanish cyclist Isaac Gálvez dies after crash in Ghent, Belgium
2006
Korea: Multilateral negotiations may resume soon
2006
Canadian Cabinet Minister resigns over Harper's Quebec motion
2006
Labor government retains power in Victorian election
2006
Greg Chappell under fire for his remarks on Indian MPs
2006
Rajnath re-elected as chief of Bharatiya Janata Party
2007
Students protest Holocaust denier's appearance at Oxford debate
2007
Second night of rioting in Paris suburb, Villiers-le-Bel
2007
Middle East peace conference begins in Annapolis, Maryland
2007
UK prime minister says donations were not lawfully declared
2007
NFL: Redskins' Sean Taylor dies
2007
Mascots for Vancouver 2010 Olympics based on native mythology
2008
Standoffs remain after Mumbai attacks
2008
Airbus A320 crashes off French coast, 7 missing or dead
2008
UK coach driver jailed for triple-death crash near London
2009
Golfer Tiger Woods injured in car crash
2009
UN nuclear chief says negotiations with Iran at 'dead end'
2009
77 dead after flooding in Saudi Arabia
2010
Scottish judge criticises medical care of murdered baby
2010
Qantas says A380 aircraft are safe to fly after 'serious' incident
2010
Saudi Arabia announces 149 al-Qaeda arrests in last eight months
2010
Teen charged over 'bomb attempt' at US Christmas celebration
2010
Wikileaks to release thousands of secret documents; 'international embarrassment' likely
2011
Borneo bridge collapse: death toll reaches four, many remain missing
2011
GOP presidential candidate Gary Johnson considers Libertarian Party run
2012
Fujitsu launches cloud website for dog pedometer service
2012
Agencies choose yearlong crew for International Space Station

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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