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Today in History

1520
Ferdinand Magellan reaches Pacific Ocean
1805
Archeologist John Lloyd Stephens born in Shrewsbury, New Jersey
1912
Albanian Independence Day
1933
Televison, Broadway and Emmy Award winning screen actress, Hope Lange born in Redding, Connecticut
1941
Actress Laura Antonelli born in Pola, Italy
1943
Academy, Grammy, and Emmy award winning pianist, singer, and songwriter, Randy Newman born in Los Angeles, California
1949
Actor and Grammy Award winning musician, Paul Shaffer born in Fort William, Ontario
1962
Emmy and Grammy Award winning comedian and actor, Jon Sterwart born in New York City
1967
Model and actress, Anna Nicole Smith born Vickie Lynn Hogan in Harrison County, Texas
1969
The Rolling Stones release Let It Bleed
1995
US 55 mph national speed limit ends
749
Abu'l'Abbas declared Caliph
765
Death of St. Stephen the Younger
1494
End of the French occupation of Florence
1520
Magellan begins crossing the Pacific Ocean.
1520
Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name.
1572
Death of Agnolo di Cosimo (Bronzino), painter
1592
Abahai, Manchurian leader; established Ch'ing dynasty born
1628
John Bunyan, English preacher and writer who wrote Pilgrim's Progress. born
1682
French composer Jean-Baptiste Lully, composer of ballets and introducer of ballets into opera. born
1729
Natchez Indians massacre most of the 300 French settlers and soldiers at Fort Rosalie, Louisiana.
1757
English poet William Blake born
1829
Anton Rubenstewas born. Rubenstewas an important figure Russian musical life the 19th century and one of his symphonies was one of the most frequently performed classical works for several generations. born
1837
John Hyatt, inventor of celluloid born
1859
Washington Irving, one of the most important figures of early National American literature, died. ("Legend of Sleepy Hollow")
1866
Architect Henry Bacon, designer of the Lincoln Memorial born
1872
The Modoc War of 1872-73 begins northern California when fighting breaks out between Modoc Chief CaptaJack and a cavalry detail led by CaptaJames Jackson.
1895
The first automobile race took place between Chicago and Waukegan, Illinois. America's auto race starts; 6 cars, 55 miles, winner averaged 7 MPH. The winner was James FranklDuryea, who won $2,000 from the Chicago "Times-Herald."
1895
The pianist Jose Iturbi was born Valencia. Iturbi recorded a piano version of "Ritual Fire Dance" from "El Amor Brujo" that was one of the best-selling 78 rpm records of all time, and started a tradition of arranging that work for virtuosos on various instruments. born
1908
Claude Levi-Strauss, French anthropologist born
1919
Virginia-born Lady Nancy Astor became the first woman member of the British Parliament.
1925
The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville's famed home of country music, made its radio debut on station WSM.
1929
Motown Records founder Berry Gordy born
1931
Actress Hope Lange born
1936
Former presidential hopeful Gary Hart born
1938
Movie director Michael Ritchie ("Downhill Racer," "The Candidate") born
1940
Singer-songwriter Bruce Channel born
1941
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise depart Pearl Harbor to deliver F4F Wildcat fighters to Wake Island.
1942
A fire at the Coconut Grove nightclub Boston killed 491 people. Most victims suffocated or were trampled to death.
1943
President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalmet Tehran during World War Two.
1943
Singer Randy Newman born
1946
CBS News correspondent Susan Spencer born
1948
Edward Land's instant camera went on sale.
1949
"Late Show" orchestra leader Paul Shaffer born
1950
Actor Ed Harris born
1950
Korea, 200,000 Communist troops launch attack on UN forces.
1956
Country singer Kristine Arnold (Sweethearts of the Rodeo) born
1958
The United States fired an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time.
1958
The African nation of Chad became an autonomous republic withthe French community.
1959
Actor Judd Nelson born
1961
Ernie Davis become s the first African American to wthe Heisman Trophy.
1962
Rock musician Matt Cameron (Soundgarden) born
1963
Cape Canaveral is renamed Cape Kennedy
1964
The United States launched the space probe "Mariner Four" on a course to Mars.
1968
Rhythm-and-blues singer Dawn Robinson (En Vogue) born
1971
The Anglican Church ordains the first two women as priests.
1975
President Ford nominated Federal Judge John Paul Stevens to the US Supreme Court seat vacated by William O. Douglas.
1977
Larry Bird was introduced as "College Basketball's Secret Weapon" with a cover story Sports Illustrated. The rest is history.
1979
An Air New Zealand DC-10 en route to the South Pole crashed into a mountaAntarctica, killing all 257 people aboard.
1981
Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant won his 315th game to become college football's all-time career victory leader surpassing Amos Alonzo Stagg's record.
1982
An 88-nation world trade conference meeting Geneva agreed on a new set of guidelines for encouraging free trade and halting a tide of global protectionism.
1983
The space shuttle Columbia blasted into orbit, carrying six astronauts who conducted experiments using the $1 billion Spacelab the shuttle's cargo bay.
1983
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir met with President Reagan at the White House to discuss ways to strengthen U.S.-Israeli military and economic ties.
1984
Senate Republicans elected Bob Dole of Kansas to be Senate majority leader the 99th Congress.
1985
The Irish Senate approved the Anglo-Irish accord concerning Northern Ireland.
1985
Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis celebrated Thanksgiving with a dinner of irradiated turkey and freeze-dried vegetables, and launched a satellite from the cargo bay.
1986
The United States violated ceilings the unratified SALT II nuclear arms treaty as another Air Force B-52 bomber capable of carrying atomic-tipped cruise missiles became operational.
1987
A South African Airways Boeing 747 crashed into the Indian Ocean with the loss of all 159 people aboard, shortly before it was due Mauritius for refueling.
1987
A South African Airways Boeing 747 crashed into the Indian Ocean with the loss of all 159 people aboard.
1988
President-elect Bush announced that MarlFitzwater, President Reagan's chief spokesman, was staying on for his administration.
1988
Major U.S. banks boosted their prime lending rate a half a percentage point to 10.5 percent.
1989
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci arrived New York after escaping her homeland by way of Hungary.
1990
Margaret Thatcher resigned as prime minister of Britaduring an audience with Queen Elizabeth the Second, who conferred the premiership on John Major.
1990
Margaret Thatcher resigned as prime minister of Britain during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, who conferred the premiership on John Major.
1991
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev expressed unhappiness over reports that the United States might move toward diplomatic recognition of Ukraine after the republic's upcoming independence referendum.
1992
Bosnia-Herzegovina, a breakthrough the relief effort came with the delivery of 137 tons of food and supplies to the isolated town of Srebrenica.
1992
King William's Town, South Africa, four people were killed, about 20 injured, when black militant gunmen attacked a country club.
1993
The British government confirmed reports of contacts with the Irish Republican Army that were aimed at ending the violence British-ruled Northern Ireland.
1993
TV personality Garry Moore died on Hilton Head, South Carolina, at age 78.
1994
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered a Wisconsprison by a fellow inmate.
1994
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was clubbed to death a Wisconsprison by a fellow inmate; while cleaning a toilet.
1994
Norwegian voters rejected European Union membership.
1994
Sixties war protester Jerry Rubdied Los Angeles, two weeks after being hit by a car; he was 56.
1995
President Clinton continued to press his case for sending 20,000 U.S. ground troops to Bosnia.
1995
President Clinton signed a $6 billion road bill that ended the federal 55 mph speed limit.
1996
A stuck hatch on the space shuttle "Columbia" prevented two astronauts from going on a spacewalk (a second planned spacewalk also had to be canceled; engineers later discovered a loose screw had jammed the hatch mechanism).
1996
Defense Secretary William Perry joined US soldiers the mud and freezing raof Bosnia-Herzegovina to deliver a Thanksgiving message of discipline and patience for their still-unfinished peacekeeping mission.
1997
India's powerful Congress Party withdrew its support from India's ruling coalition, forcing Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral to resign.
1998
Some Republicans expressed disappointment and outrage over President Clinton's written responses to 81 questions from the House Judiciary Committee concerning the Monica Lewinsky affair, with one accusing the president of "word games."
1999
Hsing-Hsing, the popular giant panda who arrived at the National Zoo in 1972 as a symbol of U.S.-China detente, was euthanized at age 28 because of his deteriorating health.
2005
SpaceX scrubs Falcon I rocket launch
2005
Confidential EU report about Israels annexation of East Jerusalem
2005
Mr. Miyagi passes away, Thanksgiving Day
2005
Official reveals $44 billion budget for U.S. intelligence
2005
ABC's "Alias" to end run in May 2006 ABC's
2005
NBC cancels "Three Wishes"
2005
Congressman Cunningham admits taking bribes
2005
Monday's no-confidence vote may signal end of current Canadian goverment
2005
'Guantanamo'-style detention facility under construction on Australian Island
2005
Paul McCartney slams Chinese fur practices, rules out future concerts in China
2005
Warrant issued for the arrest of Ric Flair
2005
Detroit Lions fire coach Mariucci, two assistant coaches
2006
Liberals, BQ, win Canadian by-elections
2006
Canadian House of Commons passes Quebecois nation motion
2006
Duck hunters asked to help monitor spread of Avian Flu
2006
New Zealand Telecom could be split into three
2006
Sanjay Dutt found guilty under Arms Act in 1993 Mumbai blasts case
2006
Union Coal Minister Shibu Soren convicted in the murder case by Delhi court
2006
Korea: Delegates prepare for negotiations
2006
Australian report shows emissions increase "more than doubled since the 1990s"
2006
Pope begins official visit to Turkey
2007
Google to invest in alternative energy
2007
DHS video confirms details of leaked internal memo on al-Qaeda threat, and more
2007
Third night of unrest is calmer in Paris suburbs
2007
Teenage girl shot dead by Swiss army recruit
2007
Statement of "joint understanding" released after Annapolis Conference
2007
British teacher faces 40 lashes over teddy bear's name
2007
NASA unveils detailed map of Antarctica
2007
Five arrested in British football corruption probe
2007
Councillors from Taichung City don't apologize about bully scandal at Baseball World Cup
2008
British soldier jailed for 10 years for spying for Iran
2008
UK retailers MFI and Woolworths collapse
2008
Gunman opens fire inside store in California, USA
2008
Second Bangkok airport closed, protests continue
2008
Spain launches €11 billion stimulus package
2008
William Gibson, American playwright, dies at age 94
2008
Thai PM declares state of emergency over airport blockades
2009
Zimbabwean cargo plane crashes in Shanghai; three dead
2009
Ferry capsizes in Bangladesh, at least five dead and 50 missing
2009
Suspected bomb derails Moscow-St Petersburg train, kills at least 25
2009
Namibia votes in presidential election
2010
Wikileaks website attacked; millions of files to be released tonight
2010
Felix Loch wins season opening World Cup luge race in Austria
2010
'Astonishing' figures show 800 Scottish NHS staff earning over £140,000
2010
Files will risk 'countless' lives, Obama administration warns Wikileaks
2010
Four aftershocks hit central Chile; no damages reported
2011
US study examines suicide trends in depressed youth
2011
Death toll from Borneo bridge collapse reaches eleven
2012
Thousands protest constitutional decree in Tahrir Square, Egypt

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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