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Today in History

1932
Grammy Award winning country singer, Dottie West born Dorothy Marie Marsh in Frog Pond, Tennessee
1961
Superbowl champion NFL quarterback, Steve Young born in Salt Lake City, Utah
1962
Actress Nicola Bryant born in Guildford, England
1962
Second Vatican Council opens in Rome
1962
Academy Award nominated actress, Joan Cusack born in New York City
1975
Saturday Night Live premiers on NBC-TV
1976
The Gang of Four are arrested in Peking
961
Death of St. Bruno
1347
Death of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
1424
Count Jan Zizka, Bohemian military hero, dies of plague
1511
Pope Julius II forms the "Holy League"
1521
Pope Leo X names King Henry VIII of England "Defender of the Faith"
1531
The Catholics defeat the Protestants at Kappel during Switzerland's second civil war.
1540
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, gives Milan to his son Philip
1586
Trial of Mary, Queen of Scots
1649
Wexford, Ireland, sacked by Cromwell's troops
1727
George II of England crowned.
1759
Clergyman Mason Locke Weems, who invented the story of George Washington and the cherry tree.
1776
The first naval battle of Lake Champlain was fought during the American Revolution. American forces led by General Benedict Arnold suffered heavy losses, but managed to stall the British.
1779
Polish nobleman Casimir Pulaski was killed while fighting for American independence during the Revolutionary War Battle of Savannah, Georgia.
1811
The first steam powered ferry, Juliana, plies route between New York City and Hoboken.
1821
Englishman George Williams, founder of the YMCA. born
1830
Chopin's 1st Piano Concerto premiered. Warsaw audiences heard it first. It was a hit from the first hearing, unlike its successor, which struck critics as being diffuse and unmemorable.
1844
Food industry pioneer Henry John Heinz. born
1862
The Confederate Congress in Richmond passes a draft law allowing anyone owning 20 or more slaves to be exempt from military service.
1868
Thomas Alva Edison filed papers for his first invention electrical vote recorder to rapidly tabulate floor votes in Congress. Members of Congress rejected it.
1877
Outlaw Wild Bill Longley, who killed at least a dozen men, is hanged, but it took two tries; on the first try, the rope slipped and his knees drug the ground.
1881
Roll film for cameras was patented by D.H. Houston of Cambria, Wisconsin.
1884
First lady and author Eleanor Roosevelt. born
1890
The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in Washington DC.
1896
Classical composer Anton Bruckner died in Vienna. A member of the Romantic school, Bruckner's chorales and symphonies were heavily influenced by Wagner and Beethoven. He was employed as a cathedral organist at Linz and then from the 1860s he was also a professor at the Vienna Conservatory. Bruckner left his last symphony unfinished.
1899
Boers declare war on Great Britain. The term Boers refers to South Africans of Dutch heritage who kept the Calvinist religious tradition and the language of Afrikaans (a dialect of Dutch) They had fled British rule in the Voertrek and were later incorporated back into English South Africa which led to the a series of Boer Wars. In one of these Winston Churchill was captured and later escaped which made him famous.
1906
San Francisco school board orders the segregation of Oriental schoolchildren, inciting Japanese outrage.
1910
American journalist Joseph Alsop born
1915
Despite international protests, Edith Cavell, an English nurse in Belgium, is executed by Germans for aiding the escape of Allied prisoners.
1918
Choreographer Jerome Robbins born
1932
Singer Dottie (Dorothy) West (Marsh) (Here Comes My Baby, Country Sunshine, Is this Me?, Would You Hold It Against Me, What are We Doin' in Love) born
1937
Actor Ron Leibman. born
1942
The World War Two Battle of Cape Esperance began in the Solomons, resulting in an American victory over the Japanese.
1943
Country singer Gene Watson. born
1945
Negotiations between Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek and Communist leader Mao Tse-tung break down. Nationalist and Communist troops are soon engaged in a civil war.
1948
Singer-musician Daryl Hall. born
1950
Rhythm-and-blues musician Andrew Woolfolk (Earth, Wind and Fire) born
1950
The Federal Communications Commission authorizes the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) to begin commercial color TV broadcasts.
1950
Director Catlin Adams born
1953
Actor David Morse. born
1953
Country singer Paulette Carlson born
1958
The lunar probe "Pioneer One" was launched; it failed to go as far out as planned, fell back to Earth, and burned up in the atmosphere.
1961
Football player Steve Young born
1962
Pope John the 23rd convened the first session of the Roman Catholic Church's 21st Ecumenical Council, also known as "Vatican Two." This was the largest gathering of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in history.
1962
Actress Joan Cusack. born
1963
Jean Cocteau, who wrote the libretto to Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex," died. (French songbird Edith Piaf died the same day.)
1967
Actor Luke Perry born
1968
Actress Jane Krakowski ("Ally McBeal") born
1968
"Apollo Seven," the first manned Apollo mission, was launched with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Fulton Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham aboard.
1971
Rapper MC Lyte born
1975
Singer NeeNa Lee born
1975
Live from New York! It's Saturday Night! The late-night comedy show, "Saturday Night Live", made it's debut this night. George Carlin was the first guest host. Also in the cast, the wonderful ensemble of Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin and the voice of Don Pardo.
1975
William Jefferson Clinton and Hilary Rodham were married in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Bill was 29 and Hilary was just 27 years old.
1976
The so-called "Gang of Four," Chairman Mao Tse-tung's widow and three associates are arrested in Peking, setting in motion an extended period of turmoil in the Chinese Communist Party.
1984
space shuttle "Challenger" astronaut Kathy Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space.
1985
Actress Michelle Trachtenberg born
1985
Arab-American activist Alex Odeh was killed by a bomb blast in Santa Ana, California.
1986
President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev opened two days of talks concerning arms control and human rights in Reykjavik, Iceland.
1987
Thousands of homosexual rights activists marched through Washington to demand protection from discrimination and more federal money for AIDS research and treatment.
1988
Violence began to subside in Algeria, where mass rioting by youths had broken out a week earlier, prompting the government to declare a state of siege.
1989
The House narrowly approved an amendment to an appropriations bill that would restore Medicaid for abortions in cases of rape or incest. (President Bush vetoed the bill, and the veto was upheld.)
1990
About 60,000 people rallied in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in support of a government proposal to seize all Communist Party property without compensation.
1990
Octavio Paz was named the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, the first Mexican writer so honored.
1991
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, law professor Anita Hill accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexually harassing her; Thomas then reappeared before the panel to denounce the proceedings as a "high-tech lynching."
1991
Comedian Redd Foxx died in Los Angeles at age 68.
1992
President Bush, Democrat Bill Clinton and independent candidate Ross Perot met for the first of three debates, this one held at Washington University in St. Louis.
1993
In Haiti, army-backed toughs prevented American troops from landing as part of a UN peace mission and drove away US diplomats waiting to greet the soldiers.
1993
Yasser Arafat won endorsement for his peace accord with Israel from the Palestine Central Council.
1994
Iraqi troops began moving north, away from the Kuwaiti border.
1994
The Colorado Supreme Court declared the state's anti-gay rights measure unconstitutional.
1994
U.S. troops in Haiti took over the National Palace.
1995
Americans Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland and Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their controversial work warning that gases once used in spray cans and other items are destroying Earth's protective ozone layer.
1995
Ten Republican presidential candidates used their first televised forum to politely compete for support in the New Hampshire primary.
1996
Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor won the Nobel Peace Prize for their pro-democracy efforts in troubled East Timor.
1997
Authorities reported no survivors from the overnight crash of an Argentine jetliner in Uruguay which killed all 74 people on board.
1998
Pope John Paul II decreed the first Jewish-born saint of the modern era: Edith Stein, a nun who died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
1999
Dr. Guenter Blobel of New York's Rockefeller University won the Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering how proteins find their rightful places in cells.
2005
U.S. poll numbers sink on Iraq
2005
Former SA Deputy President Appears In Court
2005
Warrants issued for 28 in Iraqi corruption scandal
2005
Moderate earthquake hits Indonesia
2006
French teacher in hiding after criticizing Islam
2006
New Zealand Government announces record surplus
2006
Trains collide in eastern France
2006
India's Kiran Desai wins Booker Prize for "The Inheritance of Loss"
2006
Giant camel bones found in Syria
2006
Canadian MP Belinda Stronach has first interview since affair with Tie Domi
2006
New agitations over cartoons of Prophet Mohammed
2006
Chinese soldiers shoot Tibetans crossing into Nepal
2006
Dark matter lacks extra gravitational force
2006
Geneva bomb scare causes chaos
2006
Small aircraft crashes into building in New York City
2006
U.S. promises not to invade North Korea
2006
French schoolgirl injured with stones in playground
2006
PM Blair says India's nuclear programme should not be compared to N. Korea's
2006
Imagination Movers to shoot Disney series pilot
2007
Frankfurt International Book Fair opens
2007
PV Taiwan 2007: ITRI Taiwan awards winners of Jinyi Award and shows the solutions on photovoltaic industry
2007
Doris Lessing wins Nobel Prize for Literature
2007
McGuinty wins re-election in Ontario General Election
2007
AMC Airlines charter plane makes emergency landing on belly in Istanbul
2007
PV Taiwan starts with photovoltaic solutions and applications
2008
PAD plan protest for Monday; Thai political crisis ongoing
2008
Iceland and United Kingdom in diplomatic dispute over financial crisis
2008
Preliminary report released on Spanair disaster that killed 154
2008
Several injured in suicide bomb blast near police lane, Islamabad
2008
NFL: Cowboys cornerback Pacman Jones can't discuss police incident
2008
Bush attempts to reassure Americans in radio address
2008
'Troopergate' investigation finds Palin abused her power
2008
Police in Bathurst, NSW assaulted with "sex toy"
2008
G7 says "all available tools" will be used to solve crisis
2009
17 killed after Cambodian ferry capsizes
2009
22 hostages freed after raid in Pakistani army headquarters
2009
Boyzone member Stephen Gately dies at age 33
2010
Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive
2010
NASCAR: Tony Stewart wins Pepsi Max 400
2010
Andrew Marr angers bloggers, describing them as 'inadequate, pimpled and single'
2011
Gilad Shalit to be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners

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.

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