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Today in History

1803
Architect and inventor, Joseph Aloysius Hansom born in York, England
1916
Soldier, spy and President of France from 1981 to 1995, François Mitterrand born in Jarnac, France
1947
Clothing designer and Golden Globe nominated actress, Jaclyn Ellen Smith born in Houston, Texas
1947
First Lady, Senator and 67th US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton born in Chicago, Illinois
1965
The Beatles appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire
1978
UN's World Health Organization declares smallpox eradicated
33
Traditional date of the death of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian Church
899
Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, dies, succeeded by Edward the Elder
1369
Charles V "the Wise," King of France, dedicates a monument to his personal chef, for a recipe for pickled fish
1440
Execution of Gilles de Rais, on charges of witchcraft and murder.
1520
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, crowned in France
1529
The Papal Legate leaves England without giving Henry VIII his divorce
1580
Drake returns to Plymouth
1595
Elizabeth I, Queen of England, approves the conversion of archers into musketeers
1644
Organization of English Royal Marines
1685
Domenico Scarlatti, son of Alessandro Scarlatti, prolific composer of piano sonatas. born
1774
The first Continental Congress, which protested British measures and called for civil disobedience, concludes in Philadelphia.
1800
Count Helmuth Karl Von Moltke, a Prussian Field Marshal, whose reorganization of the Prussian Army lead to military victories which allowed the unification of Germany. born
1823
The friendship between Carl Maria von Weber and Franz Schubert was permanently damaged when Schubert, in response to a request for a candid assessment of some of von Weber's music, replied that it didn't have enough melody.
1825
The Erie Canal opened in upstate New York, connecting Lake Erie and the Hudson River.
1834
Architect Joseph Hansom (inventor of the Hansom cab) born
1855
Charles Post (founder of Post cereals Post Toasties) born
1876
Actor H.B. (Henry Byron) Warner (Bulldog Drummond series, It's a Wonderful Life, Lost Horizon, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Ten Commandments) born
1881
The "Gunfight at the O-K Corral" took place in Tombstone, Arizona, as Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and "Doc" Holliday confronted Ike Clanton's gang. Three members of Clanton's gang were killed; Earp's brothers were wounded.
1894
Publisher John Knight (Knight-Ridder newspaper empire) born
1905
Norway signs a treaty of separation with Sweden. Norway chooses Prince Charles of Denmark as the new king; he becomes King Haakon VII.
1906
Boxer Primo Carnera (Heaviest heavyweight champion [270 pounds-3/1/34]: outweighed opponent by 86 lbs.) born
1906
Workers in St. Petersburg set up the first Russian "soviet," or council.
1911
College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Sid Gillman born
1911
Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson (God's Gonna Separate the Wheat from the Tares, Move on up a Little Higher, The Lord's Prayer, I Sing Because I'm Happy) born
1913
Musician Charlie Barnet (Cherokee, We're All Burnt Up, Where Was I?, Pompton Turnpike, I Hear a Rhapsody, Skyliners) born
1914
Early child star Jackie Coogan. Later he played Uncle Fester on The Addams Family. born
1916
French President Francois Mitterrand born
1919
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran born
1920
The Lord Mayor of Cork, Ireland, Terence McSwiney, died after a two-and-one-half-month hunger strike in a British prison cell, demanding independence for Ireland.
1929
Singer Neal Matthews (The Jordanaires) born
1934
Basketball player 'Hot Rod' (John) Hundley born
1942
Actor Bob Hoskins (Hook, Brazil, The Cotton Club, Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Heart Condition, Mermaids) born
1942
The US ship "Hornet" was sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands during World War Two.
1944
Singer Michael Piano (with the The Sandpipers Come Saturday Morning) born
1946
Singer musician Keith Hopwood (with the group Hermits: Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter, I'm Henry the Eighth I Am) born
1946
TV host Pat Sajak (Wheel of Fortune, The Pat Sajak Show) born
1946
Director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters series, Dave, Kindergarten Cop, Meatballs, Stripes) born
1947
Attorney First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton born
1947
Actress Jaclyn Smith (Charlie's Angels, Christine Cromwell, The Bourne Identity, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Goodbye Columbus) born
1949
Baseball manager Cleveland Indians Mike Hargrove born
1949
Baseball pitcher Steve Rogers born
1950
Football player Chuck Foreman (NFC Rookie of the Year born
1951
Singer Maggie Roche (The Roches) born
1951
Musician Bootsy Collins born
1953
Rock musician Keith Strickland (The B-52's) born
1954
Actor D.W. Moffett ("For Your Love.') born
1954
Actress Lauren Tewes (The Love Boat, Magic Kid, The China Lake Murders) born
1954
Chevrolet introduces the V-8 engine.
1956
International Atomic Energy Agency established.
1957
The Russian government announces that Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the nation's most prominent military hero, has been relieved of his duties as Minister of Defense. Khrushchev accused Zhukov as promoting his own "cult of personality" and saw him as a threat to his own popularity.
1958
Pan American Airways flew its first Boeing 707 jetliner from New York to Paris; the trip took eight hours and 41 minutes.
1962
Actor Cary Elwes born
1962
Actor Dylan McDermott ("The Practice") born
1963
Singer Natalie Merchant born
1963
Actress Marla Maples (Will Roger's Follies; married to Donald Trump) born
1967
The Shah of Iran crowned himself and his Queen after 26 years on the Peacock Throne.
1970
The "Doonesbury" comic strip debuts in 28 newspapers.
1972
National security adviser Henry Kissinger declared, "Peace is at hand" in Vietnam.
1975
Anwar Sadat became the first Egyptian president to pay an official visit to the United States.
1977
The experimental space shuttle "Enterprise" glided to a bumpy but successful landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1978
Singer Mark Barry (BBMak) born
1979
South Korean President Park Chung-hee was shot to death by the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Jae-kyu.
1987
In Miami, an investor who had suffered heavy stock market losses shot and killed a brokerage manager and wounded his personal broker, then turned the gun on himself.
1988
A French pharmaceutical company, Roussel Uclaf, announced it would halt worldwide distribution of RU-486, a pill to induce abortions, because of "an outcry of opinion at home and abroad." (The French government ordered the company to reverse itself two days later.)
1989
Washington DC attorney Paul Tagliabue was tapped by NFL team owners to be the league's new commissioner, succeeding Pete Rozelle.
1990
William S. Paley, the founder of CBS Inc., died in New York at age 89.
1990
Wayne Gretzky became the first NHL player to reach 2,000 points.
1990
The State Department issued a warning that terrorists could be planning an attack on a passenger ship or aircraft.
1992
Voters in Canada rejected a constitutional reform package known as the Charlottetown Accord. Robert C. Stempel resigned as chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors Corporation.
1993
Deborah Gore Dean, a central figure in the Reagan-era HUD scandal, was convicted of 12 felony counts of defrauding the government, taking a payoff and lying to Congress. (Dean was later sentenced to three concurrent 21-month prison sentences; however, five of her convictions were later overturned, and Dean has requested a new trial.)
1994
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali of Jordan signed a peace treaty during a ceremony attended by President Clinton.
1995
The House passed, 227-203, a Republican balanced-budget bill that would shrink the federal government, cut taxes and return power to the states.
1995
The Cleveland Indians won their second game of the World Series by defeating the Atlanta Braves, 5-4, in Game Five.
1996
Federal prosecutors cleared Richard Jewell as a suspect in the Olympic park bombing, ending a three-month ordeal for the former security guard.
1996
The New York Yankees won their first World Series since 1978, defeating the Atlanta Braves 3-to-2 in game six.
1997
The Florida Marlins became the youngest franchise to win the World Series with a 3-to-2 victory in the eleventh inning over the Cleveland Indians in the seventh and final game.
1997
Chinese leader Jiang Zemin arrived in Honolulu en route to a White House summit with President Clinton.
1998
The Education Department reported that the default rate on student loans had fallen into single digits for the first time.
1998
Russian President Boris Yeltsin was ordered by his doctors to cancel a one-day trip to Austria so he could recuperate from high blood pressure and extreme fatigue.
1999
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study which said the number of Americans considered obese soared from about one in eight in 1991 to nearly one in five in 1998.
1999
The New York Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves, 6-5, to take a 3-0 lead in the World Series.
2005
France banning Skype from universities
2005
Japan likely to change law to allow female heirs to the throne
2005
Italian university legislation sparks protests from students and staff
2005
Suicide bomber strikes Israeli coastal town
2005
Google announces new database service on blog
2006
New Zealand Xtra broadband "unleashed"
2006
Former South Korean president Choi Kyu-hah dies
2006
NASA launches STEREO spacecraft
2006
Seven British soldiers face war crimes charges
2006
U.S. Republican Party television ad bashes Canada
2006
Malformed chicken dies in New Zealand
2006
Coup leader finds little proof of Thaksin's alleged corruption
2006
Interview with Vicky Dhillon, City Council candidate for Wards 9 & 10 in Brampton, Canada
2006
'Evidence against ISI not clinching' says Indian National Security Adviser
2007
Oil prices reach all-time high; pass US$91.00 per barrel
2007
FEMA employees pose as fake reporters during press conference
2007
Canadian burglars face 355 charges
2007
Leaked emails show UK RAF were aware of Nimrod problems prior to fatal crash
2007
Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan
2007
Major League Soccer Playoffs: Chicago Fire vs. DC United
2007
ISIS says target of Israeli airstrike in Syria was a nuclear facility
2008
Bus accident in Buffalo, New York leaves at least eight injured
2008
India's Jet Airways posts biggest quarterly loss in three years
2008
FBI asked to assist in murder, kidnap investigation of Jennifer Hudson's relatives
2008
Syrian government: U.S. helicopters attack farm on Syria-Iraq border
2008
All 2500 runners in Lake District race accounted for after flood
2008
Scores killed by flooding in Yemen
2008
1700 runners still unaccounted for in UK's Lake District following flood
2009
Afghanistan prepares for presidential runoff election
2009
Hopes for treaty on climate begin to wither
2009
Tunisia holds presidential and parliamentary elections
2009
Academy Award-winning film director Paul Haggis leaves Scientology
2009
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić boycotts genocide trial
2009
Zimbabwean police raid MDC party's offices
2009
At least nine dead after cholera outbreak in Kenyan slum
2010
Over 100 dead and hundreds missing in Indonesia after tsunami destroys island villages
2010
Over 250 dead in Haiti cholera outbreak, thousands infected
2010
Magnitude 7.7 earthquake strikes off Indonesia coast
2010
G20 agrees to avoid currency war, also agrees to reduce trade imbalances
2010
Fernando Alonso wins Korean Grand Prix
2012
Qatari leader visits Gaza

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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