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Today in History

1644
Founder of Pennsylvania, writer William Penn born in London, England
1890
Five-star US Army General and 34th President of the United States, Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower born in Denison, Texas
1927
Actor Sir Roger Moore born in London, England
1939
Fashion designer Ralph Lauren born in Bronx, New York
1947
Chuck Yeager breaks sound barrier
1952
Street magician, actor and comedian, Harry Anderson born in Newport, Rhode Island
1962
Aerial photos show Soviet missles in Cuba
1977
Glamour model Bianca Beauchamp born in Montreal, Qu├ębec
1987
18-month-old Jessica McClure falls 22 feet down abandoned well in Midland, Texas and is rescued 58 hours later.
222
Death of St. Callixtus I
1066
William, Duke of Normandy, led his invading army to victory over England's King Harold at Hastings. Crowned King William, he is known to history as William the Conqueror.
1307
William de Nogaret reads the Mandate of Maubuisson againt the Templars to the leading members of the University of Paris
1495
A Statute is enacted in England regulating the content of feather-bed stuffing
1536
Garcilaso de la Vega, Spanish poet, dies
1549
The Duke of Somerset, the Lord-Protector of England is sent to the Tower
1586
Mary, Queen of Scots goes on trial for conspiracy against Elizabeth I of England
1600
Death of Luis de Molina, theologian
1619
The English poet and sonneteer Samuel Daniel died.
1633
James II, King of England the son of King Charles I and Queen Henriette Marie. He was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and replaced by William III and Mary II. born
1644
William Penn, the English Quaker who founded Pennsylvania born
1651
Laws are passed in Massachusetts forbidding the poor to adopt excessive styles of dress.
1656
The Massachusetts General Court makes it illegal to harbour a Quaker
1712
English politician George Grenville. His policy of taxing the American colonies, initiated by his Revenue Act of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765, started the train of events leading to the American Revolution. born
1773
Britain's East India Company tea ships' cargo is burned at Annapolis, Md.
1774
1st declaration of colonial rights in America.
1806
Napoleon Bonaparte crushes the Prussian army at Jena, Germany.
1832
Blackfeet Indians attack American Fur Company trappers near Montana's Jefferson River, killing one.
1834
A patent for a corn planter was issued to Henry Blair of Glenross, Maryland. He was the first African-American to receive a patent
1857
Elwood Haynes, auto pioneer, built one of the first US autos born
1880
Apache leader Victorio is slain in Mexico.
1882
Irish political leader Eamon de Valera born
1888
English short-story master writer Katherine Mansfield born
1890
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States born
1893
U.S. actress Lillian Diana Gish, her dramatic and masterful use of gestures and her expressive eyes earned her accolades as "the First Lady of the Silent Screen." born
1894
E. E. (Edward Estlin) Cummings, American poet and painter who first attracted attention, in an age of literary experimentation, for his eccentric punctuation and phrasing. born
1912
Former President Theodore Roosevelt, campaigning for a return to office, was shot in Milwaukee. He refused to have the wound treated until he finished his speech.
1916
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop born
1917
Mata Hari, a Paris dancer, is executed by the French after being convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans. For more, see Amy Elizabeth Thorpe, World War II Version of the Legendary Mata Hari
1924
Schoenberg's opera "Die Gluckishe Hand" was premiered.
1924
Gabriel Faure wrote his wife that he intended to make sure some of his work did not survive him. Faure, then 79 years old and not well, told her he would give her sketches and rough drafts to put in the fireplace.
1927
Actor Roger Moore born
1933
"The Chalk Circle," by Schoenberg's in-law Zemlinsky, was performed.
1933
Nazi Germany announced it was withdrawing from the League of Nations.
1937
Movie director Carroll Ballard ("Fly Away Home") born
1938
Former White House counsel John W. Dean the Third born
1938
Country singer Melba Montgomery born
1939
Fashion designer Ralph Lauren born
1940
Singer Cliff Richard born
1940
British pop singer Cliff Richard born
1943
Actor Greg Evigan born
1944
Actor Udo Kier ("Armageddon") born
1944
British and Greek troops liberated Athens, ending three years of World War II occupation by German troops.
1944
German Field Marshal Rommel, suspected of complicity in the July 20th plot against Hitler, is visited at home by two of Hitler's staff and given the choice of public trial or suicide by poison. He chooses suicide and it is announced that he died of wounds.
1946
Singer-musician Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues) born
1947
Air Force test pilot Charles E. ("Chuck") Yeager became the first person to break the sound barrier as he flew the experimental Bell X-One rocket plane over Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1947
Chuck Yeager exceeds the speed of sound in the Bell XS-1.
1952
Actor Harry Anderson born
1956
Golfer Beth Daniel born
1958
Singer-musician Thomas Dolby born
1960
The idea of a Peace Corps was first suggested by Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy to an audience of students at the University of Michigan.
1964
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
1965
Singer Karyn White born
1970
Country musician Doug Virden (Sons of the Desert) born
1974
Country singer Natalie Maines (Dixie Chicks) born
1975
Singer Shaznay Lewis (All Saints) born
1977
Singer Bing Crosby died outside Madrid, Spain, at age 73.
1978
Singer Usher born
1986
Holocaust survivor and human rights advocate Elie Wiesel was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
1987
A real-life drama began in Midland, Texas, as 18-month-old Jessica McClure slid 22 feet down an abandoned well at a private day care center. (Hundreds of rescuers worked 58 hours to free her.)
1988
The government reported that wholesale prices had risen a moderate four-tenths of one percent in September.
1989
Colombia extradited three suspected drug traffickers to the United States as part of a war on the cocaine cartel.
1990
Composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein died in New York at age 72.
1992
Russia's worst serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, was convicted of mutilating and killing 52 women and children (he was executed in 1994).
1992
The Nobel Prize for chemistry went to American Rudolph A. Marcus; the prize for physics went to George Charpak of France.
1993
US helicopter pilot Michael Durant and a Nigerian peacekeeper were freed by Somali fighters loyal to Mohamed Farrah Aidid. In Haiti, gunmen assassinated Justice Minister Guy Malary, a supporter of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
1994
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to PLO leader Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
1994
Kidnapped Israeli soldier Nachshon Waxman was killed when Israeli commandos raided the hideout of Islamic militants in Jerusalem.
1995
An armed gunman seized a bus carrying South Korean tourists in Moscow's Red Square (commandos stormed the bus the next day, killing the gunman and freeing four remaining hostages).
1995
The Atlanta Braves won the National League pennant by beating the Cincinnati Reds, 6-0, to complete a four-game sweep.
1996
Madonna gave birth to a daughter, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon.
1996
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 6,000 for the first time, ending the day at 6,010.
1996
Archer Daniels Midland Company said it would plead guilty to two charges and pay 100 million dollars to settle a federal price-fixing case.
1997
The Florida Marlins won the National League championship, defeating the Atlanta Braves 7-to-4 in game six.
1997
The Nobel Prize in economics went to Americans Robert C. Merton and Myron S. Scholes for their work on derivatives.
1997
Novelist Harold Robbins died in Palm Springs, California, at age 81.
1998
Cleveland Amory, animal rights advocate and author, died in New York at age 81.
1998
The San Diego Padres won the National League pennant, beating the Atlanta Braves, 5-0, in Game 6 of their championship series.
1998
"Polka king" Frankie Yankovic died in Tampa, Florida, at age 83.
1998
Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize in economics.
1999
President Clinton accused Senate Republicans of recklessness and irresponsibility for defeating the nuclear test ban treaty, and pledged the United States would refrain from testing despite the treaty's rejection.
1999
Julius Nyerere, Tanzania's first president, died in a London hospital at age 77.
1999
Japan's Sumitomo Bank and Sakura Bank announced they would merge.
2005
Neolithic noodles found in Qinghai, China
2005
Snakehead fish appear in large numbers near Potomac River
2005
Australian Senate inquiry to new anti-terrorism laws to take place in one day
2005
Astros defeat Cardinals in second game of NLC
2005
Anti-terror raid in The Hague
2005
Tornado jet crashes in Scotland
2005
Ubuntu releases third version of popular Linux distribution
2005
Daniel Craig to be new James Bond
2005
Virginia crime commission endorses tougher dog law legislation
2005
UK's highest court to rule on use of information extracted under torture
2005
South African government issues first seizure order on farm
2005
Bush has a rehearsed tele-conference with US troops in Iraq
2005
Girl's flu case found to be drug-resistant
2006
Canadian PM: Liberal leadership hopefuls 'anti-Israeli'
2006
UN security council to vote on North Korean sanctions
2006
General Assembly elects Ban Ki-moon as next UN chief
2006
"One-litre car" may help traffic pollution
2006
Italy qualify for 2007 Rugby World Cup in France
2006
Benedict XVI meets Dalai-Lama
2006
Cheetahs and Blue Bulls draw 28-28 in Currie Cup rugby final
2006
New roadmap unveiled for Northern Ireland devolution
2006
Controversy-plagued Element 118, the heaviest atom yet, finally discovered
2006
U.S. outlaws online gambling
2006
Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank
2006
New method of displaying time patented
2006
Romania through to 2007 Rugby World Cup in France
2006
Mediterranean diet reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease, study concludes
2006
American Idol argument ends in three years probation
2006
Thai Muslim separatists kill & behead man in presence of blindfolded daughter
2006
New policy at Madani High School requires non-Muslim girls to wear hijabs
2007
Burma's military rulers arrest leaders of pro-democracy protests
2007
Australian MotoGP won by Casey Stoner
2007
Taipei Samsung Running Festival: A combination with charity, technology, and sports
2007
More allegations filed against Oral Roberts University
2007
Rugby World Cup: South Africa 37 - 13 Argentina
2007
Report says Israeli air strike targeted Syrian nuclear reactor
2007
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification (South America): Colombia vs. Brazil
2007
Chris McCormack, Chrissie Wellington win Ironman Triathlon
2007
Australian Prime Minister calls federal election
2008
US Army sergeant asserts Posse Comitatus is not being violated
2008
Thai Queen attends protester cremation as report indicates explosive tear gas used
2008
Chula Vista, California becomes model for blight control laws in the US
2008
American Paul Krugman wins Nobel prize for economics
2008
OpenOffice.org 3.0 released by Sun Microsystems
2009
Luis Soltren surrenders in 1968 hijacking of Pan Am 281
2009
Chomsky book banned from Guantanamo Bay
2009
American singer and actor Al Martino dies at age 82
2009
South African police clash with demonstrators
2009
US Senate panel approves healthcare reform bill
2011
Dennis Ritchie, C programming language creator, dies aged 70
2012
Actor and television host Gary Collins dies aged 74

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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