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Today in History

St. Andrew's Day
1835
Steamboat pilot, soldier, printer, lumberjack, miner & author, Mark Twain born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri
1874
Statesman, soldier, author, and UK Prime Minister during World War II, Sir Winston Churchill born in Woodstock, Oxfordshire
1920
Vaudeville dancer and actress, Virginia Mayo born Virginia Clara Jones in St Louis, Missouri
1929
Emmy Award winning actor Dick Clark born in Mount Vernon, New York
1940
Lucille Ball marries Desi Arnaz
1955
Rock songwriter and singer, Billy Idol born in Stanmore, England
1958
Body building champion, Juliette Bergmann born in Vlaardingen, Netherlands
1965
Emmy Award winning actor Ben Stiller born in New York City
1966
Independence Day in Barbados
2000
UK's Countryside and Rights of Way Act codifies the 'Right to Roam'
538
St. Gregory of Tours born
722
Boniface invested as Bishop of Germany
1016
Death of Edmund "Ironside," King of England
1216
Pope Innocent III orders Jews to wear a special badge
1420
Marriage of Gilles de Rais to Catherine de Thonars
1466
Andrea Doria, Genoese statesman, admiral born
1485
Coronation of Henry VII as King of England
1508
Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio born
1521
Death of Pope Leo X
1554
Philip Sidney, English poet, statesman, soldier born
1603
Death of Khwaja Muhammed Baqui Billah, Sufi mystic and missionary
1616
"The Margaret," loaded with colonists, lands at Hampton, Virginia
1633
Arrest of Father Urbain Grandier, for witchcraft
1654
William Habington, English poet, dies.
1667
Irish satirist Jonathan Swift satirist, wrote "Gulliver's Travels" born
1700
8,000 Swedish troops under King Charles XII defeated a force of at least 50,000 Russians at the Battle of Narva. At least 10,000 Russians died in the battle. The Swedish Army lost 600. Charles XII died on this day in 1718.
1782
The United States and Britain signed preliminary peace articles in Paris, ending the Revolutionary War.
1803
Spain completed the process of ceding Louisiana to France.
1804
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase went on trial, accused of political bias. (He was acquitted by the Senate.)
1810
Oliver Fisher Winchester, rifle maker. born
1835
Novelist Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) born
1838
Mexico declares war on France.
1853
In the Crimean War, the Russian fleet attacked and destroyed the Turkish fleet and part of the harbor at the battle of Sinope.
1874
British statesman Sir Winston Churchill born
1875
A.J. Ehrichson of Akron, Ohio, patented the oat-crushing machine.
1876
The New Free Press of Vienna, this critic who praised Brahms and condemned Wagner and Bruckner announced that Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" was so dissonant that, quote, "this love bliss runs down the spine like a cold snakeskin."
1900
Irish author Oscar Wilde died in Paris.
1906
President Theodore Roosevelt publicly denounces segregation of Japanese school children in San Francisco.
1912
Movie director Gordon Parks born
1918
Actor Efrem Zimbalist Junior (some sources say 1923) born
1920
Actress Virginia Mayo born
1924
Former New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm born
1927
Actor Richard Crenna born
1927
Leos Janacek wrote I were soon to settle my account with life." He was 74 when he wrote that, in the midst of the most phenomenal Indian summer any composer ever had.
1929
TV personality and producer Dick Clark born
1930
Radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy born
1931
Country singer Teddy Wilburn born
1936
London's famed Crystal Palace, constructed for the International Exhibition of 1851, was destroyed in a fire.
1937
Country singer-recording executive Jimmy Bowen born
1937
Actor Robert Guillaume born
1939
The Russo-Finnish War started after the Soviet Union failed to obtain territorial concessions from Finland.
1940
Lucille Ball and Cuban musician Desi Arnaz were married. They would divorce in the 1950's - after the 1954 season run on "I Love Lucy."
1944
Singer Luther Ingram. born
1944
Singer Rob Grill (The Grassroots) born
1947
Playwright David Mamet born
1948
Communists complete the division of Berlin, installing the government in the Soviet sector.
1949
Chinese Communists captured Chungking.
1950
Sealtest concentrated milk was offered for sale by the Clover Dairy of Wilmington, Delaware.
1952
Actor Mandy Patinkin born
1953
Musician Shuggie Otis born
1954
Singer June Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) born
1954
Country singer Jeannie Kendall (The Kendalls) born
1954
Elizabeth Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, was injured when an 8-pound meteorite crashed through the roof of her house.
1955
Singer Billy Idol born
1962
Football and baseball player Bo Jackson born
1962
U Thant of Burma was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, succeeding the late Dag Hammarskjold.
1963
Rapper Jalil (Whodini) born
1965
Actor-director Ben Stiller born
1966
The former British colony of Barbados became independent.
1967
Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower announced their engagement.
1974
India and Pakistan decide to end a 10-year trade ban.
1975
Country singer Mindy McCready born
1975
Israel pulled its forces out of a 93-mile-long corridor along the Gulf of Suez as part of an interim peace agreement with Egypt.
1979
John Paul II is first pope in 1,000 years to attend an Orthodox mass.
1981
The United States and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva aimed at reducing nuclear weapons in Europe.
1982
The motion picture "Ghandi," starring Ben Kingsley as the spiritual leader who led India to independence from Britain, had its world premiere in New Delhi.
1982
President Ronald Reagan arrived in Brasilia, Brazil, to begin a four-nation tour of Latin America.
1983
Robert Sullivan, convicted of the 1973 robbery and murder of assistant restaurant manger Donald Schmidt, was executed by the state of Florida despite an appeal from Pope John Paul II to spare him.
1983
President Reagan pocket-vetoed legislation that would have tied continued military aid for El Salvador to its progress on human rights and land reform.
1984
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl visited President Reagan at the White House to discuss arms control issues.
1986
Time magazine published an interview with President Reagan, who described fired national security staffer Oliver North as a "national hero."
1987
An interview broadcast by NBC, Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev acknowledged that his country was engaged in "Star Wars"-related research, but said there were no plans to build a space-based system against nuclear attack.
1987
Author James Baldwin died in St. Paul de Vence, France, at age 63.
1988
The Soviet Union stopped jamming broadcasts of Radio Free Europe for the first time in 30 years.
1988
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company was declared the winner of the corporate free-for-all to take over RJR Nabisco Incorporated with a bid of $24.53 billion.
1989
Alfred Herrhausen, chairman of West Germany's largest bank, was killed in a bombing in Bad Homburg. The Red Army Faction claimed responsibility.
1989
President Bush left Washington for his first summit with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev that took place aboard ships off the Mediterranean island of Malta.
1990
President Bush announced that Secretary of State James Baker III would go to Iraq in a last-ditch diplomatic peace effort.
1990
President Bush named outgoing Florida Governor Bob Martinez to head the nation's war on drugs.
1990
procedures.
1991
Boris Yeltsin's Russian Federation agreed to bail out Mikhail Gorbachev's central Soviet government from a budget crisis that threatened to cut off the salaries of millions of workers and paralyze the country.
1992
The U.S. Supreme Court voting 6-3 sustained women's basic right to abortion
1993
President Clinton signed into law the Brady bill, which requires a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.
1993
Authorities in California arrested Richard Allen Davis, who confessed to abducting and slaying 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma.
1994
Rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and wounded in New York during a robbery.
1994
Two passengers died and nearly one-thousand others and crew members fled the cruise ship "Achille Lauro" after it caught fire off the coast of Somalia; the ship sank two days later. (The Achille Lauro had gained notoriety in 1985 when it was hijacked by Palestinian extremists.)
1995
President Clinton became the first U.S. chief executive to visit Northern Ireland, where he implored Roman Catholics and Protestants alike not to surrender to the impulses of "old habits and hard grudges," proving once again his poor understanding of world problems.
1996
Some 150-thousand people filled the streets of Belgrade to protest Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
1996
1960's novelty singer Tiny Tim, best remembered for his rendition of "Tiptoe Thru' the Tulips," died in Minneapolis.
1997
Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus formally handed in his government's resignation in the wake of a campaign financing scandal.
1997
In Tajikistan, French hostage Karine Mane was killed with five suspected kidnappers when a grenade exploded during a failed rescue operation; a companion had been released hours earlier.
1998
Deutsche Bank AG officially announced it was acquiring Bankers Trust Corporation for more than $10 billion.
1998
Quebec's separatist premier, Lucien Bouchard, was returned to power, but with only 43 percent of the vote, setting back the Parti Quebecois' goal of seeking independence from Canada.
1999
The opening of a 135-nation trade gathering in Seattle was disrupted by at least 40,000 demonstrators, some of whom clashed with police.
2005
Australian Senate passes resolution opposing death penalty in shadow of Van Nguyen execution
2005
Groups prepare for December WTO talks
2005
Virginia Governor commutes 1,000th US execution
2005
EU states warned on CIA prisons
2005
Computer professionals celebrate 10th birthday of A.L.I.C.E.
2005
U.S. military covertly pays to run stories in Iraqi press
2005
Xbox 360 shortages expected on debut day in Europe
2006
Kurdish operating system under investigation by Turkish attorney general
2006
Don Brash, ex-leader of New Zealand National Party, leaves politics
2006
India's economy grows annual 9.2% in Q2
2006
Armed troops take control of Suva, Fiji
2006
US lawsuit challenges church as polling place
2006
New Zealand MPs to receive payrise
2006
Ganguly makes comeback in Indian Test squad
2007
Science curriculum director resigns from Texas Education Agency
2007
Daredevil Evel Knievel dies at age 69
2007
German pilot Elly Beinhorn dies, aged 100
2007
Sudanese protesters demand death for British teacher
2007
Minnesota oil pipeline explosion and fire kills two
2007
British teacher convicted of insulting Islam in Sudan
2007
Hostage taker surrenders peacefully at Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire campaign office
2008
Jørn Utzon, Sydney Opera House architect, dies at the age of 90
2008
Riots in Nigeria kill nearly 400
2008
Tourists struggle to escape as Bangkok airport blockades enter sixth day
2009
Iran to build ten new uranium enrichment plants
2009
Five dead, ten critically injured after van carrying children rolls on Louisiana highway
2009
Soviet statue returns to Moscow
2009
Porfirio Lobo wins Honduran presidential elections
2009
Chelsea Clinton engaged to banker Marc Mezvinsky
2009
LHC sets new particle energy acceleration record
2009
Boat accident in Democratic Republic of the Congo kills at least 73
2009
Prime Minister of Vanuatu loses seat over paperwork error
2010
Tony Blair debates religion with Christopher Hitchens in Canada
2010
Gibraltarian Chief Minister suggests joint sovereignty with Spain
2010
Wikileaks cable disclosure shows Arab fears of Iranian ambitions
2010
European Commission to investigate anti-competitive allegations against Google
2011
California judge jails Michael Jackson doctor
2011
Study: Fish reduces Alzheimer's disease risk
2012
Locally designed, low emissions car launched in Qatar
2012
Sandra Fluke nominated by Time magazine for Person of the Year

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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