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Today in History

1492
Columbus lands in the Bahamas
1717
Our Lady of Aparecida Day in Brazil
1932
Comedian and social activist, Dick Gregory born in St Louis, Missouri
1950
Miss California, singer and actress, Susan Anton born in Oak Glen, California
1960
Nikita Khrushchev pounds the desk with his shoe during a speech at the UN
1976
TechTV personality Sarah Lane born in Santa Cruz, California
638
Death of Pope Honorius I
678
Martyrdom of St. Leger
1303
Death of Pope Boniface VIII
1385
Geoffrey Chaucer receives the office of Justice of the Peace
1492
Christopher Columbus arrived with his expedition in the present-day Bahamas. Columbus believed he had reached India.
1518
Martin Luther, summoned before the Diet of Augsburg, refuses to recant
1537
Edward VI, King of England, by Caesarian section (The only son of Henry VIII by his third wife Jane Seymour) born
1537
Death of Queen Jane (Seymour) of England
1576
Rudolf II, the king of Hungary and Bohemia, succeeds his father, Maximillian II, as Holy Roman Emperor.
1614
Henry More, English Neo-Platonist philosopher born
1680
Arthur Collier, idealist philosopher and theologian remembered for his concept of human knowledge. born
1722
Shah Sultan Husayn surrenders the Persian capital of Isfahan to Afgan rebels after a seven month siege.
1773
The commonwealth of Virginia made provision for the establishing the first hospital in America for persons with mental illnesses.
1775
Lyman Beecher, U.S. Presbyterian clergyman in the revivalist tradition. born
1798
Pedro I, founder of the Brazilian empire and first emperor of Brazil. born
1809
Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, dies under mysterious circumstances in St. Louis.
1815
William Joseph Hardee, Confederate general in the American Civil War (1861-65) who wrote a popular infantry manual used by both the North and the South. born
1858
Isaac Newton Lewis, U.S. Army officer and inventor best known for the Lewis machine gun, widely used in World War I and later. born
1860
Elmer Sperry, who devised practical uses for the gyroscope born
1861
The Confederate ironclad "Manassas" attacked the northern ship "Richmond" on the Mississippi River.
1865
Sir Arthur Harden, English biochemist and corecipient with Hans von Euler-Chelpin of the 1929 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, born
1870
General Robert E. Lee died in Lexington, Virginia, at age 63.
1872
English composer Ralph Vaughn Williams born
1872
Apache leader Cochise signs a peace treaty with General O.O. Howard in Arizona Territory. At times cruel, Chiricahua Chief Cochise had courage and was devoted to the truth.
1875
Alistair Crowley, a major figure in occultism. born
1879
American poet Wallace Stevens. born
1891
Edith Stein, Roman Catholic convert from Judaism, Carmelite nun, philosopher, and spiritual writer who was executed by the Nazis because of her Jewish ancestry. She is regarded as a modern martyr. born
1912
Alice Childress, African-American playwright, novelist, and actress, known for her realistic stories about the enduring optimism of black Americans. born
1915
English nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans in occupied Belgium during World War One.
1920
Construction began on the Holland Tunnel between New York City and New Jersey.
1923
Founder of Weight Watchers Jean Nidetch born
1925
Charles Gordone, U.S. playwright who became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize with the Broadway production of his gritty barroom drama No Place to Be Somebody born
1928
The artificial respirator, called usually an iron lung, was first demonstrated in a Boston hospital.
1929
Blues singer Nappy Brown born
1929
sugar and the enzyme action involved. born
1932
Comedian-activist Dick Gregory born
1933
Bank robber John Dillinger escaped from a jail in Allen County, Ohio, with the help of his gang, who killed the sheriff.
1933
Alcatraz becomes a federal prison (unofficially).
1934
Richard (Alan) Meier, U.S. architect noted for his refinements of and variations on classic Modernist principles born
1935
Luciano Pavarotti born
1935
Singer Sam Moore (formerly of Sam and Dave) born
1935
Sportscaster Tony Kubek born
1942
Melvin Franklin, U.S. bass singer with the Temptations. born
1942
During World War Two, Attorney General Francis Biddle announced that Italian nationals in the United States would no longer be considered enemy aliens.
1945
President Truman awarded a medal of honor to Desmond T. Doss for his valor as a medical corpsman on Okinawa. Doss was the first conscientious objector so honored.
1947
T-V reporter Chris Wallace born
1949
Eugenie Anderson becomes the first woman U.S. ambassador.
1950
Actress-singer Susan Anton born
1960
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev removed one of his shoes and pounded it on his desk during a speech before the United Nations.
1962
Rhythm-and-blues singer Claude McKnight (Take 6) born
1964
The Soviet Union launched a "Voskhod" space capsule with a three-man crew on the first manned mission involving more than one crew member.
1968
Actor Adam Rich born
1969
Rhythm-and-blues singer Garfield Bright (Shai) born
1969
Country musician Martie Seidel (Dixie Chicks) born
1970
Actor Kirk Cameron born
1970
President Richard Nixon announces the pullout of 40,000 more American troops in Vietnam by Christmas.
1971
The rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway.
1971
The House of Representatives passes the Equal Rights Amendment 354-23.
1973
President Nixon nominated House Minority Leader Gerald Ford for the vice presidency to replace Spiro Agnew, who had resigned in disgrace two days earlier.
1981
Barbara Mandrell walked away with the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year honor, for the second year in a row.
1983
Maytag was the last company to make hand-operated washers. The last Maytag wringer-washer was made this day.
1986
The superpower meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, ended in stalemate, with President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev unable to agree on arms control or a date for a full-fledged summit in the United States.
1987
In Houston, Vice President George Bush formally launched his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Former Kansas Governor Alfred ("Alf") M. Landon died at his Topeka home at age 100.
1988
Federal prosecutors announced that Sundstrand Corporation had agreed to plead guilty to fraud charges and pay a $115 million settlement for overbilling the Pentagon for airplane parts over five years.
1989
The House approved a statutory federal ban on desecration of the American flag. (The Senate defeated the measure a week later.)
1990
The Cincinnati Reds won the National League pennant, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-1.
1990
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to condemn Israel's security forces for killing 17 Palestinian demonstrators on the Temple Mount.
1991
Testifying for a second day on sexual harassment charges leveled by law professor Anita Hill, Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas told the Senate Judiciary Committee he'd "rather die than withdraw," and repeated his denial of Hill's allegations.
1992
Several hundred people were killed when an earthquake struck Cairo, Egypt.
1993
The Toronto Blue Jays won their second straight American League pennant, defeating the Chicago White Sox in six games.
1993
Hundreds of militant right-wingers in Haiti cheered as an American warship retreated in a major setback for the United Nations mission to restore democracy.
1994
Panama granted political asylum to ousted Haitian military leader Raoul Cedras. The Magellan space probe ended its four-year mapping mission of Venus, plunging into the planet's atmosphere.
1995
After a 48-hour delay, the U.S.-brokered cease-fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina went into effect.
1996
President Clinton signed into law the Water Resources Development Act, which authorized federal water projects across the country.
1996
Thousands of Hispanic-Americans marched in Washington to push for simplified citizenship procedures and a seven-dollar minimum wage.
1997
President Clinton opened his first trip to South America as he arrived in Venezuela.
1997
Singer John Denver was killed in the crash of his privately built aircraft in Monterey Bay, California; he was 53.
1998
Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, died five days after he was beaten and lashed to a fence; two men were charged with his murder. Russell Henderson later pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping. A second suspect, Aaron McKinney, was sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.
1998
Three Americans won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for blood vessel research.
1999
NBA Hall of Famer Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain died at his Los Angeles home at age 63.
1999
Pakistan's military overthrew the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
1999
Ahmed H. Zewail of the California Institute of Technology won the Nobel Prize for chemistry; Dutch scientists Gerardus 't Hooft and Martinus J.G. Veltman won the Nobel Prize for physics.
2005
African Union hostages freed by Darfur rebels
2005
Thai PM sues newspaper for 500 million baht
2005
Yahoo launches new Podcast Search
2005
EBay buys VeriSign payment service division
2005
Bali nine lawyer challenges police on legality of drug case
2005
Bad weather makes life tougher for quake survivors
2005
Australian senator Barnaby Joyce crosses floor
2005
Syrian Interior Minister dead from apparent suicide
2005
Microsoft and Yahoo team up to make IM clients compatible
2005
US Homeland Security Department doubts credibility of New York subway threat
2005
China successfully launches Shenzhou VI manned rocket
2005
Constitution changes do not convince most Sunni parties
2005
Singapore Exam Board sets mathematically impossible question
2005
Heating bills, oil price rise predicted
2006
Barbra Streisand heckled during concert
2006
Blunkett: Brown supported Iraq war to save job
2006
Canadian Liberal Leadership frontrunner, Ignatieff, refused to attend debate in Toronto
2006
"Corrupt" New Zealand government to repay $768,000
2006
Dove's Real Beauty looks at photoshoot techniques in commercial
2006
Trial of New Zealand teacher murderer still months away
2006
Delhi Police question South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs over match-fixing scandal in 2000
2006
Former U.S. President Gerald Ford hospitalized
2006
French parliament approves bill on Armenian Genocide denial
2006
US court indicts man for treason
2007
Al Gore and Climate Panel awarded Nobel Peace prize 2007
2007
Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book
2007
Creationism dangerous in education: Council of Europe resolution
2007
Turkey outraged over U.S. Armenian genocide resolution
2007
Book Fair 2.0; On bloggers, ebooks and pirates
2007
Kordia's annual report shows increase in profit
2007
Violence increases as Darfur peace talks approach
2007
TaiwanRFID shows the applications at the exhibition and seminar
2008
Florida officials investigating controversial MMA fight
2008
Zanu-PF attempts to reassign Zimbabwean ministries, MDC angered
2008
Bush deploys military in the US for active duty as federal response force
2009
British FTSE index reaches one-year high, other European markets rise
2009
Chinese court sentences six to death for Xinjiang riots
2009
Greece’s newly elected Prime Minister pays first foreign visit to Turkey
2009
Irish priest seized by gunmen in the Philippines
2009
Denver win USAFL National Championship
2009
Minor tears found in Gordon Brown's retina
2009
Leader of Indian BJP party visits Navi Mumbai to support candidates for general election
2009
3,000 protest plan to construct skyscraper in St Petersburg, Russia
2009
Body found in Auckland, New Zealand drain
2009
41 killed by suicide bombing near Pakistan's Swat valley
2010
Swedish man uses webcam to broadcast suicide live on internet
2011
Habertürk media sparks outrage over woman’s murder photo in Turkey
2012
USA raises tariffs on inexpensive Chinese solar panels

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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