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Today in History

1881
Author PG Wodehouse born in Surrey, England
1951
I Love Lucy premieres on CBS
1956
First FORTRAN manual published
1959
Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse born in Fall River, Massachusetts
1959
Sarah, Duchess of York born Sarah Margaret Ferguson in Marylebone, England
1965
First draft card burned at University of California, Berkeley
70
BC
Roman poet Virgil born
614
Lothar, King of the Franks, issues the Edict of Paris
1389
Death of Pope Urban VI
1417
Pope Gregory XII resigns from office
1522
Cortes promoted to Captain-General and Governor of New Spain
1529
The troops of Suliman "The Lawgiver" abandon the siege of Vienna
1538
A Royal decree exempted all but Spanish colonists from the Inquisition in America
1542
Akbar, Indian Moghul Emperor born
1558
Louis Cappel French Huguenot theologian and Hebrew scholar. born
1565
French Huguenot settlers surrender to Spanish, are massacred in Florida
1582
Death of St. Theresa of Avila
1582
The Gregorian calendar was adopted in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal.
1590
Election of Pope Urban VII
1608
Evangelista Torricelli, inventor of the barometer born
1783
Francois Pilatre de Rozier makes the first manned flight in a hot air balloon. The balloon was a Montgolfiere suspended on cables with a straw fire providing the hot air. The first flight was let out to 82 feet, but over the next few days the altitude increased up to 6,500 feet.
1789
George Washington began the first presidential tour, visiting the New England states.
1813
During the land defeat of the British on the Thames River in Canada, the Indian chief Tecumseh, now a brigadier general with the British Army (War of 1812), was killed.
1815
Schubert composed 18 songs. That was a prolific pace even for him. One of the songs he wrote that day was the "Wiegenlied."
1820
Florence Nightingale, hospital reformer. born
1829
Asaph Hall, astronomer, discovered the moons of Mars, Phobos & Deimos born
1830
Helen Hunt Jackson, writer and poet, born. She became an "influential muckraker" and wrote A Century of Dishonor which traced the native American and US relations. Her book helped bring about changes in US government policies following the Wounded Knee Massacre.
1844
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche born
1844
Johann Strauss the Younger found one of his waltzes so popular that his orchestra had to repeat it 19 times.
1858
Boxing champion John L. Sullivan born
1860
Grace Bedell writes to Lincoln, telling him to grow a beard.
1879
Actress Jane Darwell She played Ma Joad in the 1940 John Ford film of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. born
1881
English writer and humorist P.G. Wodehouse born
1892
The U.S. government convinced the Crow Indians to give up 1.8 million acres of their reservation for 50 cents per acre.
1892
An attempt to rob two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas, ends in disaster for the Dalton gang as four of the five outlaws are killed and Emmet Dalton is seriously wounded.
1900
One of the finest symphony halls in the world is the one used in Boston, Boston's Symphony Hall opened.
1905
C. P. Snow, British novelist and scientist born
1908
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith born
1914
The Clayton Antitrust Act was passed.
1917
Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Junior born
1917
Actress Jan Miner ("Madge the Manicurist") born
1917
Mata Hari (Gertrude Zelle), a Dutch dancer who had spied for the Germans, was executed by a firing squad outside Paris.
1920
Author Mario Puzo (The Godfather, Fourth K) born
1924
Former Chrysler chairman Lee (Lido) Iacocca born
1926
Actress Jean Peters born
1928
The German dirigible "Graf Zeppelin" landed in Lakehurst, New Jersey, on its first commercial flight across the Atlantic.
1934
Actor Peter Haskell (Robot Wars, Child's Play, Christina, Bracken's World, The Law and Harry McGraw Rituals) born
1937
Singer - songwriter Barry McGuire (The New Christy Minstrels: Green, Green) born
1937
Actress Linda Lavin born
1937
The Ernest Hemingway novel "To Have and Have Not" was first published.
1939
New York Municipal Airport, later re-named LaGuardia Airport, was dedicated.
1942
Actress-director Penny Marshall born
1942
Rock musician Don Stevenson (Moby Grape) born
1945
The former premier of Vichy France, Pierre Laval, was executed.
1946
Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering poisoned himself hours before he was to have been executed.
1946
Musician Richard Carpenter born
1946
Actor Victor Banerjee born
1951
Tennis player Roscoe Tanner born
1951
The situation comedy "I Love Lucy" premiered on CBS.
1953
Singer Tito Jackson born
1954
Actor Jere Burns born
1955
Actress Tanya Roberts born
1959
Britain's Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson born
1962
Rock musician Mark Reznicek (Toadies) born
1964
It was announced that Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev had been removed from office. He was succeeded as premier by Alexei N. Kosygin and as Communist Party secretary by Leonid I. Brezhnev.
1964
Cole Porter, renowned lyricist and composer, died at age 73.
1966
President Johnson signed a bill creating the Department of Transportation.
1969
Peace demonstrators staged activities across the country, including a candlelight march around the White House, as part of a moratorium against the Vietnam War.
1970
Singer Ginuwine born
1976
In the first debate of its kind between vice-presidential nominees, Democrat Walter F. Mondale and Republican Bob Dole faced off in Houston.
1987
Frantic efforts continued in Midland, Texas, to save 18-month-old Jessica McClure, who had fallen 22 feet down an abandoned well the day before. (Jessica was freed the following evening.)
1988
The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Oakland A's, 5-to-4, in the World Series opener that featured a dramatic game-winning home run hit by Kirk Gibson.
1989
The NHL's Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings surpassed Gordie Howe's scoring record of 1,850 points, in a game against the Edmonton Oilers.
1989
South African officials released eight prominent political prisoners, including Walter Sisulu, a leader of the African National Congress.
1990
South Africa's Separate Amenities Act, which barred blacks from public facilities for decades, was formally scrapped.
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev was named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
1991
Despite sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, the Senate narrowly confirmed the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, 52-to-48.
1992
The State Department acknowledged that it had improperly handled requests for the passport file of Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton.
1993
President Clinton sent six warships to the waters off Haiti to enforce trade sanctions in the face of defiant Haitian military rulers.
1993
Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk were named winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end apartheid.
1994
Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to his country, three years after being overthrown by army rulers.
1994
The U.N. Security Council welcomed Aristide's return by voting to lift stifling trade sanctions imposed against Haiti.
1995
Six Israel soldiers were killed in Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon in an ambush blamed on the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah.
1996
C-S-X Corporation announced plans to buy Conrail Incorporated for $8.4 billion to create the nation's third-largest railroad.
1997
British Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green twice drove a jet-powered car in the Nevada desert faster than the speed of sound, officially shattering the world's land-speed record.
1997
NASA's plutonium-powered "Cassini" spacecraft rocketed flawlessly toward Saturn.
1997
Six scientists, three of them American, won Nobel Prizes in chemistry and physics for cellular and atomic research.
1997
The Cleveland Indians won the American League championship, defeating the Baltimore Orioles 1-to-0 in game six. |
1998
The White House and congressional leaders struck agreement on a $500 billion spending package, ending a week of election-season budget brinkmanship.
1998
The Federal Reserve made surprise cuts in two key interest rates, igniting an explosive rally on Wall Street.
1998
President Clinton opened Mideast summit talks in Maryland that resulted in the Wye River land-for-peace agreement.
1999
The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
1999
Irish tenor Josef Locke, whose life inspired the 1992 film "Hear My Song," died in County Kildare, Ireland, at age 82.
2005
Iraq to hold constitution vote today
2005
Australian Minister 'leaks' draft of anti-terror bill
2005
Study finds marijuana use leads to brain development in rats
2005
Joachim to attempt breaking record for static cycling
2005
Grenade set off outside Tajik ministry
2005
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark gives birth to male child
2005
Malawi appeals for further humanitarian aid
2005
Deceased Indonesian man had suspected case of bird flu
2005
Dog flu spreads across the US
2005
Welsh swimming squad named for 2006 Commonwealth Games
2005
Explosion outside Trinidad nightclub wounds more than 10
2005
UK Christian group plans to highlight concerns about new law by using it to ban the Qur'an
2006
"Friday the 13" Buffalo, New York snow storm in pictures
2006
6.7 magnitude quake shakes Hawaii
2006
Germany to assume command of UN's maritime task force in Lebanon
2006
2012 Olympics clash with Ramadan
2006
Bodies found along Florida highway identified
2007
American trio wins the Nobel Prize in Economics
2007
Putin warned of assassination plot
2007
'Conference of the Americas' announced for 2008
2007
Sam Brownback on running for President, gay rights, the Middle East and religion
2007
Belgian resistance heroine Andrée de Jongh dies at 90
2007
Death toll, vehicle count rise in California truck pileup
2007
Two planes collide at London's Heathrow airport
2007
First Airbus A380 delivered
2007
United Kingdom's Liberal Democrat leader resigns
2007
Anti-terrorism raids in New Zealand
2007
Intel Developer Forum Taipei Autumn starts with Mobility and Internet Experience
2008
Al-Qaeda in Iraq second-in-command reported killed during US raid
2008
UK government stops compulsory testing of fourteen-year-olds
2008
Sixth arrest warrant issued for Thailand's former PM Thaksin
2008
Secret memos reveal Bush administration endorsed enhanced interrogation techniques
2008
Excessive surgeries swell Medicare costs in United States
2008
US Federal deficit reaches record high of $455 billion
2009
Boyzone manager Louis Walsh pays tribute to Stephen Gately
2009
6-year-old boy in Colorado found alive, unhurt after runaway balloon allegedly carried him away
2009
Leona Lewis assaulted at book signing in London, England
2009
Obama signs Pakistan aid bill worth US$7.5 billion
2009
WWE Hall of Fame manager Captain Lou Albano dies at 76
2009
UK sending additional 500 troops to Afghanistan
2010
Four miners trapped in Ecuador mine
2010
Nevada Republican opposes Angle for US Senate over 'extreme' anti-abortion position
2010
Brazilian astronomers propose new model of our galaxy
2010
Tropical Storm Paula weakens to remnant low
2010
District of Columbia Public Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee announces resignation

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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