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Today in History

1895
Rodeo rider and stuntman, Enos Edward "Yakima" Canutt born in Snake River Hills, Washington
1898
Author, soldier and Cambridge professor, C. S. Lewis born in Belfast, Ireland
1908
Congressman and civil rights leader, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr born in New Haven, Connecticut
1929
Admiral Richard Byrd flys over South Pole
1933
R&B singer, songwriter and musician, John Mayall born in Macclesfield, England
1935
Golden Globe Award winning actress, Diane Ladd born in Meridian, Mississippi
1940
Grammy Award winning jazz musician, Chuck Mangione born in Rochester, New York
1971
Model and actress, Gena Lee Nolin born in Duluth, Minnesota
1972
Nolan Bushnell releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game
1975
In a letter to Paul Allen, Bill Gates refers to their informal partnership as "Micro-soft"
496
Death of St. Gelasius, Pope
741
Death of St. Gregory, Pope
799
Charlemagne returned Pope Leo III to Rome
1198
Death of al Aziz, Caliph of Egypt
1226
Coronation of Louis IX as King of France
1268
Death of Pope Clement IV
1314
Death of Philip IV "the Fair," King of France
1378
Death of Charles IV, King of Germany
1416
Italian painter Giovanni Bellini, famous for his altarpieces and historical and mythological paintings, died.
1484
Convention of Spanish Inquisitors held; Constitution of the Holy Office written, under Tomas de Torquemada
1489
Margaret, Wife of the King of Scotland born
1503
Imprisonment of Caesare Borgia
1516
Death of Giovanni Bellini
1519
Magellan sights South America
1530
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, onetime adviser to England's King Henry the Eighth, died.
1531
Death of Thomas Wolsey
1596
Philip II, King of Spain, admits his nation is bankrupt
1600
Peter Heylin born
1632
The master of the French Baroque, Jean-Baptiste Lully, was born. Lully is the composer who actually stabbed himself in the foot with the staff he was using to conduct and died from the resulting infection. born
1643
Claudio Monteverdi died in Venice. If the records of the time are correct, Monteverdi lived to be 76.
1787
Louis XVI promulgates an edict of tolerance, granting civil status to Protestants.
1803
Austrian physicist Christian Doppler born
1832
Author Louisa May Alcott born
1835
Chinese Empress Dowager Tz'u Hsi born
1849
English electrical engineer John Fleming, who devised the radio tube-diode born
1864
Colonel John M. Chivington's 3rd Colorado Volunteers massacre Blackkettles's camp of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado. The Indians were waiting for terms of surrender when they were killed.
1872
Horace Greeley, who founded the daily New York Tribune in 1841, died an insane man just three weeks after losing the presidential election to U.S. Grant.
1877
Thomas Edison demonstrated his invention, a hand-cranked phonograph that recorded sound on grooved metal cylinders. Edison shouted verses of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" into the machine, which played back his voice.
1890
The first Imperial Diet was opened in Japan. It consisted of a House of Peers and a House of Representatives.
1890
The first Army-Navy football game was played. The Navy Middies won, 24-0.
1895
Film choreographer Busby Berkeley born
1898
British writer and lay theologian C.S. Lewis born
1900
Mildred Elizabeth Sisk, the infamous Axis Sally who broadcast propaganda from Nazi Germany to Allied troops during the Second World War. born
1908
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., politician and Civil Rights leader. born
1911
German atomic physicist Konrad born
1924
Italian composer Giacomo Puccini died in Brussels before he could complete his opera "Turandot." His death was shortly after a throat cancer operation. (It was finished by Franco Alfano.)
1927
Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Vin Scully born
1928
Former Senator & presidential candidate Paul Simon (Democrat, Illinois) born
1929
Navy Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd radioed that he'd made the first airplane flight over the South Pole.
1934
Blues singer-musician John Mayall born
1939
Soviet planes bomb an airfield at Helsinki, Finland.
1939
The USSR broke off diplomatic relations with Finland prior to the Soviet attack on the country.
1940
Composer-musician Chuck Mangione born
1941
Pop singer Denny Doherty (The Mamas & the Papas) born
1941
Country singer Jody Miller born
1943
Actress Diane Ladd born
1944
Pop singer-musician Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals) born
1945
The monarchy was abolished in Yugoslavia and a republic proclaimed.
1946
Skier Suzy Chaffee born
1947
The UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the partitioning of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.
1948
Metropolitan Opera is televised for the first time as the season opens with "Othello."
1949
Comedian Garry Shandling born
1949
U.S. announces it will conduct atomic tests at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1952
President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower kept his campaign promise to visit Korea to assess the ongoing conflict.
1954
Movie director Joel Coen ("Fargo") born
1955
Actor-comedian Howie Mandel born
1956
The musical "Bells Are Ringing," starring Judy Holliday, opened on Broadway.
1957
Actor Jeff Fahey born
1961
"Enos" the chimp was launched from Cape Canaveral aboard the "Mercury-Atlas Five" spacecraft, which orbited earth twice before returning.
1962
Actor Andrew McCarthy born
1963
President Johnson named a commission headed by Earl Warren to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
1964
Actress Kim Delaney born
1964
Actor Don Cheadle born
1964
The U.S. Roman Catholic Church instituted sweeping changes in the liturgy, including the use of English instead of Latin.
1965
Musician Wallis Buchanan (Jamiroquai) born
1965
Actor-producer Neill Barry born
1967
Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announced he was leaving the Johnson administration to become president of the World Bank.
1968
Pop singer Jonathan Knight (New Kids on the Block) born
1968
Rock musician Martin Carr (Boo Radleys) born
1971
Actress Gena Lee Nolin ("Baywatch") born
1974
A a bill to outlaw the Irish Republican Army became law in Britain.
1981
Actress Natalie Wood drowned in a boating accident off Santa Catalina Island, California, at age 43.
1982
By a vote of 114-21, the UN General Assembly renewed its demand that the Soviet Union withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
1983
President Reagan, ending two days of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, agreed on joint defense measures with Israel to counter what he called a growing Soviet threat in the Middle East.
1984
Taking what he called "the Coors cure," artificial heart recipient William J. Schroeder got out his hospital bed for the first time since his operation to sip the can of beer he had requested.
1985
Two spacewalking astronauts from the shuttle Atlantis assembled a 45-foot beam and a pyramid-shaped structure in a test of techniques that might be used in future space construction.
1986
Actor Cary Grant died in Davenport, Iowa, at age 82.
1987
Cuban detainees released 26 hostages they'd been holding for more than a week at the Federal Detention Center in Oakdale, Louisiana.
1987
A Korean Air jetliner disappeared off Burma, with the loss of all 115 people aboard; South Korean authorities charged North Korean agents had planted a bomb aboard the aircraft.
1988
A divided US Supreme Court ruled that the rights of criminal defendants are not violated when police unintentionally fail to preserve potentially vital evidence.
1988
Senate Democrats elected George Mitchell of Maine to be majority leader, the post being vacated by Robert Byrd of West Virginia.
1989
Romanian Olympic gymnastic hero Nadia Comaneci fled to Hungary. She eventually came to the United States.
1990
The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing ``all necessary means,'' including military force, against Iraq if it does not withdraw from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991. It was the first such resolution since U.N. sponsorship of the Korean War in 1950.
1991
The chairman of the Soviet Union's State Bank said his institution had halted all payments to the national government because it had run out of money.
1991
Actor Ralph Bellamy died in Santa Monica, California, at age 87.
1991
A dust storm in Coalinga, California, triggered a massive pileup by more than 250 vehicles on Interstate 5, killing 15 people and injuring more than 100.
1992
A refugee center in western Germany was firebombed as violence against foreigners continued, despite a police crackdown on neo-Nazis.
1993
The British government won praise and encouragement in the House of Commons as it defended its secret contacts with the Irish Republican Army.
1994
The House passed the revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade by a vote of 288-146.
1994
Fighter jets attacked the capital of Chechnya and its airport hours after Russian President Boris Yeltsin demanded the breakaway republic end its civil war.
1995
President Clinton opened a five-day European trip in London, where he met with Prime Minister John Major, and addressed the British Parliament.
1996
A UN court sentenced a Bosnian Serb army soldier (Drazen Erdemovic) to ten years in prison for his role in the massacre of 1,200 Muslims -- the first international war crimes sentence since World War Two.
1996
John C. Salvi the Third, serving a life sentence for fatally shooting two abortion clinic receptionists, hanged himself in his Massachusetts prison cell.
1997
Former Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young, the city's first black mayor who held office for an unprecedented five terms, died at age 79. games."
1998
Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected legalizing heroin and other narcotics.
1999
Protestant and Catholic adversaries formed an extraordinary Northern Ireland government designed to bring together every branch of opinion within the bitterly divided society.
2005
Greenpeace protest disrupts Tony Blair CBI speech
2005
"7th Heaven" television series comes to an end
2005
Thai Government rejects amnesty proposal for southern insurgents
2005
Tropical Storm Epsilon forms as Atlantic hurricane season comes to an end
2005
Canadian government falls in non-confidence vote
2005
German, Iraqi driver abducted in Iraq
2005
Suicide bombers blast two Bangladeshi cities
2006
Canada to revisit same-sex marriage issue next week
2006
Polonium 210 traces found on three British Airways aircraft
2006
Two fallen Canadian soldiers return home from Afghanistan
2006
Hell Pizza condom advertisements: complaints upheld
2006
Hare Krishna village in Kazakhstan - fears of further demolition
2006
New Zealand company planning for monorail in Wellington
2007
Protesters march for free speech in New Zealand
2007
Musharraf quits as chief of army staff in Pakistan
2007
Records, competitiveness and creations centre-stage at Soochow International 24H Ultra-Marathon
2007
Sue Gardner appointed as Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director
2007
Climate conference in Bali begins on Monday
2007
Wikimedia Foundation among World Economic Forum's 2008 Technology Pioneers
2007
Utah taser incident triggers debate and death threats
2007
Tarja Turunen commences first tour since leaving Nightwish
2007
2007/08 UEFA Cup: Sporting Braga vs. Bayern Munich
2007
Bomb hoax at Royal Ontario Museum
2007
Venus was once more Earth-like than previously thought
2007
Italian ex-prime minister Berlusconi calls for a new party
2008
Mumbai sieges come to an end
2009
Obama declares tougher emission targets before Copenhagen summit
2010
Canadian-born actor Leslie Nielsen dies aged 84
2010
Professional wrestler shot dead in Mexico City; murder investigation launched
2010
US economist tells Portugal to seek bailout
2010
Pope Benedict XVI to visit Benin in 2011
2011
'America’s Toughest Sheriff' to endorse Rick Perry for U.S. President
2012
Of cabbages and things: Dutch researchers study wasp hyperparasitoid

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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