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Today in History

1811
First steamboat reaches New Orleans from Pittsburgh via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
1924
Naval Officer, Nobel Peace prize laureate and 39th US President, Jimmy Carter born in Plains, Georgia
1928
US Marine sergeant, civil engineer and actor, George Peppard born in Detroit, Michigan
1935
Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning actress and singer, Julie Andrews born in Walton-on-Thames, England
1938
Pin-up model, actress, producer and director, Stella Stevens born in Yazoo City, Mississippi
1940
Albert Einstein becomes a US citizen
1950
Actor Randy Quaid born in Houston, Texas
1971
Walt Disney World opens in Orlando
1989
Denmark legalizes same sex civil unions
331
Alexander the Great decisively shatters King Darius III's Persian army at Gaugamela (Arbela), in a tactical masterstroke that leaves him master of the Persian Empire.
1207
Birth of Henry III, King of England born
1273
Rudolf of Hapsburg is elected emperor in Germany.
1310
A General Council of the Church is held at Vienne
1404
Death of Pope Boniface IX
1410
Election of Jobst as King of Germany
1478
Plague breaks out in Florence
1528
Papal Legates arrive in England to discuss the divorce of Henry VIII, King of England, from Catherine of Aragon
1588
The feeble Sultan Mohammed Shah of Persia, hands over power to his 17-year old son Abbas.
1708
John Blow, the composer of the first true opera in English, Venus and Adonis, died and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
1733
Brahms did not compose symphonies until his middle age, and Rameau did not produce his first opera until he was in his fifties. The first one was premiered on this day. It was a success, so much so that Rameau was to compose only stage music for the next 30 years.
1781
Naval Capt. James Lawrence, hero of the War of 1812 born
1785
Philadelphia published the first city directory.
1791
In Paris, the National Legislative Assembly holds its first meeting.
1800
Spain ceded Louisiana to France in a secret treaty.
1811
The first steamboat reached New Orleans vi the Mississippi. It was called the New Orleans, and was owned by Nicholas J. Roosevelt. It left from Pittsburgh and carried a crew of nine, four servants, a dog, and Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt.
1837
Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, first unit of black soldiers in Civil War born
1847
Maria Mitchell, American astronomer, discovers a comet and is elected the same day to the American Academy of Arts--the first woman to be so honored. The King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery.
1865
The composer of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was born in Paris. Paul Dukas was to teach music for a living, and he was very critical of his students. But he was also critical of himself. Very little of his music survives because he destroyed a lot of it. born
1878
General Lew Wallace is sworn in as governor of New Mexico Territory. He went on to deal with the Lincoln County War, Billy the Kid and write Ben-Hur.
1881
William Edward Boeing, founded aircraft company. born
1883
American churchman A. B. Simpson founded the first school in America to train missionaries, in New York City. Called the Missionary Training Institute in 1894, its name was changed to Nyack College in 1972.
1885
Special delivery mail service began in the United States.
1889
American scholar and devotional writer, Ralph W. Sockman. His best-remembered poem begins: "I met God in the morning, when my day was at its best...." born
1890
Yosemite National Park is dedicated in California.
1890
Congress passed the McKinley Tariff Act, which raised tariffs to a record level.
1893
Novelist Faith Baldwin born
1896
The US Post Office established Rural Free Delivery, with the first routes in West Virginia.
1896
Yosemite becomes a National Park.
1903
The first World Series opened in Boston. The Boston Pilgrims of the American League went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League on October 13, in the eighth game of a best-of-nine series.
1904
Russian-born American virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz born
1908
Henry Ford introduced the Model T automobile to the market; each car cost $825. Over 15 million Model Ts are eventually sold, all of them black.
1910
Outlaw Bonnie Parker (Rowena, Texas) born
1913
A monument was erected in Salt Lake City to honor the sea gulls who ate the grasshoppers which were threatening the crops of the Mormon settlers in 1848. Mahonri Young, grandson of Brigham Young, dedicated the statue.
1914
Former Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin born
1920
Actor Walter Matthau (Walter Matuschankyasky) born
1921
Actor James Whitmore born
1924
William Rehnquist, chief justice of the United States born
1924
Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States (Interesting FACT - Jimmy Carter was the first US president that was born in a hospital). born
1927
Actor Tom Bosley born
1933
Actor Richard Harris born
1935
Actress-singer Julie Andrews born
1936
Actress Stella Stevens born
1936
General Francisco Franco was proclaimed the head of an insurgent Spanish state.
1942
The German Army grinds to a complete halt within the city of Stalingrad.
1943
Allied forces captured Naples during World War Two.
1944
The U.S. First Army begins the siege Aachen, Germany.
1945
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew born
1946
Twelve Nazi war criminals are sentenced to be hanged at Nuremberg trials-- Karl Donitz, Hermann Goring, Alfred Jodl, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachin von Ribbentrop, Fritz Saukel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Julius Streicher, and Alfred Rosenberg.
1947
Actor Stephen Collins born
1949
Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-tung raised the first flag of the People's Republic of China during a ceremony in Beijing.
1950
Actor Randy Quaid born
1957
Singer Howard Hewett born
1959
Singer Youssou N'Dour born
1961
Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit his 61st home run during a 162-game season, compared to Babe Ruth's 60 home runs during a 154-game season.
1962
Johnny Carson succeeded Jack Paar as regular host of NBC's "Tonight" show.
1964
The Free Speech Movement was launched at the University of California at Berkeley.
1968
Country singer Kelly Willis born
1968
Rock singer-musician Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra) born
1971
Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida.
1974
Singer Keith Duffy (Boyzone) born
1974
Five Nixon aides--Kenneth Parkinson, Robert Mardian, Nixon's Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell-- go on trial for conspiring to hinder the Watergate investigation.
1975
Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in a fight billed as the "Thriller in Manila."
1986
Former President Jimmy Carter's presidential library and museum were dedicated in Atlanta with help from President Reagan.
1987
Eight people were killed when an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale and an aftershock measuring 5.3 struck the Los Angeles area.
1988
In a continuing shakeup of the Soviet leadership, Mikhail Gorbachev was confirmed as president, succeeding Andrei A. Gromyko.
1989
Thousands of East Germans received a triumphal welcome in West Germany after the communist government agreed to let them leave for the West.
1990
President Bush, addressing the U.N. general Assembly, again condemned Iraq's takeover of Kuwait, but also suggested an unconditional withdrawal could help speed an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
1990
Minority Serbs in Croatia proclaimed autonomy.
1990
Air Force Gen. Curtis E. LeMay died at March Air Force Base in California at age 83.
1991
President Bush strongly condemned the military coup in Haiti, suspending U.S. economic and military aid and demanding the immediate return to power of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
1992
The US Senate voted 93-to-six to approve the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Texas billionaire Ross Perot jumped back into the presidential race.
1992
The USS Saratoga accidentally fired missiles at a Turkish destroyer in the Aegean Sea; five people were killed.
1993
In a case that drew national concern, 12-year-old Polly Klaas was abducted from her Petaluma, California, home by a knife-wielding intruder; her body was found more than two months later. (A suspect, Richard Allen Davis, was later convicted and sentenced to death.)
1994
National Hockey League team owners began a 103-day lockout of their players.
1994
The United States and Japan reached a series of trade agreements, averting a threatened trade war.
1995
Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine other defendants were convicted in New York of conspiring to attack the United States through bombings, assassinations and kidnappings.
1995
An earthquake in southwestern Turkey killed about 90 people.
1996
The minimum wage rose 50 cents to $4.75 cents an hour.
1996
NASA began turning over day-to-day shuttle operations to private industry.
1996
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met at the White House.
1996
A federal grand jury indicted Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski in 1994 mail bomb slaying of ad executive.
1997
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu freed Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin. (Yassin was freed to secure the release of two Mossad agents arrested in Jordan following a botched assassination attempt against Hamas political leader Khalid Mashaal.)
1997
In Pearl, Mississippi, 16-year-old Luke Woodham stabbed his mother to death, then went to school with a rifle and opened fire, killing his former girlfriend and another student and wounding six others.
1998
Seeking to head off threatened NATO attacks, Yugoslavia's Serb leadership invited foreign experts to investigate massacres in Kosovo.
1998
Darryl Strawberry of the New York Yankees was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his colon. (After treatment, Strawberry returned to the game in August of 1999.)
1999
South Korean activists thanked the U.S. government for promising to investigate an Associated Press report that U.S. forces allegedly killed several hundred refugees at the start of the Korean War. But the protesters also demanded the United States punish some of the veterans involved and compensate the victims' relatives.
2005
Researchers: Wild gorillas seen using tools
2005
Junk food to be banned in English schools
2005
Minimum wage in United Kingdom increases to £5.05
2005
New Zealand airlines relax knife regulations
2005
Apple agrees to replace iPod nanos with cracked screens
2005
Lethal explosions hit Bali
2005
Connecticut becomes third U.S. state to allow same-sex civil unions
2005
Santa Ana Volcano Erupts in El Salvador
2005
Google formally submits bid to provide free WiFi in San Francisco
2006
Hurricane Isaac heads toward Atlantic Canada
2006
U. Michigan Wolverines retake "Little Brown Jug" from U. Minnesota Golden Gophers
2006
Minimum wage in United Kingdom increases to £5.35
2006
Michael Schumacher wins Chinese Grand Prix
2006
Highway overpass collapses near Montreal
2006
Wild ducks in Illinois test positive for "low pathogenic" Bird Flu virus
2006
New book by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward claims CIA warned Rice before 9/11
2006
New video shows 9/11 hijackers attending Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan
2006
Mumbai Police investigations indicate Pakistani role in 11/7 serial blasts
2007
Fatal fall in Yellowstone National Park
2007
Rugby World Cup: Argentina and France qualify for quarter finals
2007
Man with grenades arrested outside US embassy in Austria
2007
Thousands of Monks in Burma to be imprisoned; Thousands more reported dead
2007
Nokia acquires Navteq
2007
Senegal threatens withdrawal of troops from Darfur
2007
Finnish department store Stockmann bids for fashion chain Lindex
2007
Dow Jones closes at all-time record high
2007
Hirsi Ali returns to the Netherlands
2007
Singer Britney Spears loses custody battle
2007
Fred Thompson raises nearly nine million dollars, falls short of expectations
2007
UEFA Cup 2007–08: Kahn, Klose out; Podolski in
2007
A-League 2007-08: Round 6 Results
2007
Champion AFL footballer Chris Mainwaring dies
2008
Nepal names 6 year old girl a 'living goddess'
2008
CanadaVOTES: Animal Alliance (AAEVPC) party leader Liz White running in Toronto Centre
2008
Fifteen killed in apartment fire in Osaka, Japan
2009
Death toll from tsunami in Southeast Asia increases
2009
Rhode Island borrows $90 million from US for jobless claims
2009
British nursery worker admits sexually abusing children
2009
US to withdraw over 4,000 troops from Iraq
2009
Suspected US missile strike kills eight Taliban fighters
2009
Philippines braces for next storm
2009
Tropical Storm Olaf forms in the Pacific
2009
Protests in Ecuador kill one, injure 49
2009
Typhoon Ketsana reaches Cambodia; up to eleven people killed
2009
Over 700 killed after earthquake in Indonesia
2009
Police describe bloody evidence in NY Sen. Monserrate assault trial
2010
New planet found in 'Habitable Zone'
2010
NASA's new space capsule to be ready for test flights by 2013
2010
Man dies in Serbian enclave; could not call ambulance
2011
'Fascinating' and 'provocative' research examines genetic elements of bipolar, schizophrenia
2012
2,200 jobs to be lost as JJB Sports goes into administration
2012
California passes law banning gay-to-straight therapy
2012
Iranian news agency apologises for reproducing The Onion article

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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