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Today in History

1824
Mexico becomes a federal republic
1853
Crimean war begins as the Ottoman Empire declares war on Russia
1903
Physicist and inventor of the first electronic digital computer, John Vincent Atanasoff born in Hamilton, New York
1937
Author Jackie Collins born in London, England
1941
Author Anne Rice born in New Orleans, Louisiana
1946
Political activist and Academy Award winning actress, Susan Sarandon born in New York City
1957
First space vehicle, Sputnik I, launched
1988
Televangelist Jim Bakker indicted for fraud
1189
Capture of Gerard de Ridefort, 10th Master of the Templars, at the Siege of Acre
1209
Otto IV crowned Holy Roman Emperor
1244
The Damascus Moslems, with their allies the Templars, Hospitalers, and other Franks, march on Cairo and the Khwarismians
1289
Louis X "the Quarreler", King of France born
1530
Martin Luther wrote a letter about music. "There are doubtless a number of seeds of good in those who like music," he wrote, adding that "the devil flees song much as he flees a sermon."
1535
1st complete English translation of the Bible printed by London printer Miles Coverdale, 47. He was a good translator who later served on two other translation committees. He was also popular as a Lutheran preacher.
1550
Charles IX, King of Sweden born
1626
Richard Cromwell, Puritan Lord Protector of England born
1636
1st code of law for Plymouth Colony
1648
Peter Stuyvesant of NY establishes America's 1st volunteer firemen
1669
Death of Rembrandt
1777
American forces under General George Washington were defeated by the British in a battle at Germantown, Pennsylvania. British General Sir William Howe repels George Washington's last attempt to retake Philadelphia, compelling Washington to spend the winter at Valley Forge.
1814
French painter of peasant life, Jean Fran├žois Millet. The Gleaners, The Man with the Hoe, and The Angelus were popular prints in the 19th century. born
1822
Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th president of the United States, in Delaware, Ohio.
1858
English devotional writer Dorothy Frances Gurney. During her lifetime she published two volumes of verse, as well as a small devotional work entitled, 'A Little Book of Quiet.' born
1861
Western-scene artist Frederick Remington born
1861
The Union ship USS South Carolina captures two Confederate blockade runners outside of New Orleans, La.
1872
Alexander Zemlinsky was born. Zemlinsky was Arnold Schoenberg's teacher, and there is clear evidence that Zemlinsky had the idea of serial music before Schoenberg did. Schoenberg not only got the credit, he also got the girl, marrying Zemlinsky's daughter. born
1874
Kiowa leader Santanta, known as "the Orator of the Plains," surrenders in Darlington, Texas. He is later sent to the state penitentiary, where he commits suicide October 11, 1878.
1890
Mormons in Utah renounced polygamy.
1890
Catherine Booth, 61, wife of Salvation Army founder William Booth dies. Her last words were: 'The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under but over. Do not be concerned about dying; go on living well, the dying will be right.'
1895
Silent film comedian Buster (Joseph F.) Keaton in Piqua, Kansas. (Sherlock, Jr. and The General) born
1895
The first US Open golf tournament was held, at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island.
1905
Orville Wright pilots the first flight longer than 30 minutes. The flight lasted 33 minutes, 17 seconds and covered 21 miles.
1910
An opera by a 13-year-old boy was premiered in Vienna. "The Snowman" was written by Erich Korngold, who went on to be a famous Hollywood soundtrack composer.
1914
Critic Brendan Gill born
1914
The first German Zeppelin raids London.
1917
Comedian Jan Murray born
1924
Actor Charlton Heston born
1929
Country singer Leroy Van Dyke born
1931
The comic strip "Dick Tracy," created by Chester Gould, made its debut.
1932
Actress Felicia Farr born
1940
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps, where the Nazi leader sought Italy's help in fighting the British.
1941
Author Jackie Collins born
1941
Author Anne Rice born
1945
Actor Clifton Davis born
1946
Actress Susan Sarandon born
1949
Actor Armand Assante born
1950
Actor Alan Rosenberg ("Cybill") born
1957
Producer Russell Simmons born
1957
The television series "Leave It to Beaver" premiered on CBS. It ran until 1963, when Beaver was a middle teen.
1957
The Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into orbit. The satellite, built by Valentin Glushko, weighed 184 pounds and was launched by a converted Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Sputnik orbited the earth every 96 minutes at a maximum height of 584 miles. In 1958, it reentered the earth's atmosphere and burned up.
1958
The first trans-Atlantic passenger jetliner service was begun by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) with flights between London and New York.
1959
Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) born
1961
Singer Jon Secada born
1965
Pope Paul the Sixth became the first reigning pontiff to visit the Western Hemisphere as he addressed the UN General Assembly.
1968
Cambodia admits that the Viet Cong use their country for sanctuary.
1970
Rock musician Andy Parle (Sapce) born
1970
Rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.
1972
Judge John Sirca puts the gag rule on the Watergate break-in case.
1976
Actress Alicia Silverstone born
1976
In Gregg v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court lifts the ban on the death sentence in murder cases. This restored the legality of capital punishment, which not been practiced since 1967. The first execution following this ruling was Gary Gilmore in 1977.
1976
Agriculture secretary Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over a joke he'd made about blacks.
1978
Funeral services were held at the Vatican for Pope John Paul I.
1979
Actress Rachel Leigh Cook born
1980
Actor Jimmy Workman ("As Good As It Gets") born
1980
The highest-scoring major college football game was played - the final score was Oklahoma 82, Colorado 42.
1985
Islamic Jihad issued a statement saying it had killed American hostage William Buckley. (Fellow hostage David Jacobsen, however, later said he believed Buckley had died of torture injuries four months earlier.)
1986
The Soviet Union informed the United States that a fire had broken out aboard a Soviet nuclear submarine in the Atlantic Ocean, but that there was no danger of an explosion or radiation leakage.
1987
Actor Michael Charles Roman born
1987
National Football League owners staged their first games since the players union went on strike, with non-striking and replacement personnel on the gridiron at sparsely attended stadiums.
1988
Indian professor Mithileshwar Singh, freed the day before by his Lebanese kidnappers, told reporters in Damascus, Syria, that his captors had treated him well during his 20 months of imprisonment, but that "there is no substitute for freedom."
1989
Fawaz Younis, a Lebanese hijacker convicted of commandeering a Jordanian jetliner with two Americans aboard in 1985, was sentenced in Washington.
1990
The first meeting of the reunified Germany's parliament took place in the Reichstag. The building had not been used by German lawmakers since Adolf Hitler banned all political parties from it with the exception of the Nazis in the 1930's.
1992
An Israeli Boeing 747 cargo jet crashed into an Amsterdam apartment complex, killing 43 people.
1993
Dozens of cheering, dancing Somalis dragged the body of an American soldier through the streets of Mogadishu.
1993
In Moscow, the occupation of the Russian parliament building ended as tanks and paratroopers flushed out hard-line opponents of Boris Yeltsin.
1994
Exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide vowed in an address to the U.N. General Assembly to return to Haiti in 11 days.
1994
President Clinton welcomed South African President Nelson Mandela to the White House.
1995
Hurricane Opal battered the Florida panhandle.
1995
Pope John Paul II, proclaiming himself a "pilgrim of peace," arrived in the United States for a five-day visit.
1996
A judge in Philadelphia issued an injunction preventing major league baseball umpires from striking for the remainder of the postseason over an incident in which Roberto Alomar of the Baltimore Orioles spat on umpire John Hirschbeck.
1997
Hundreds of thousands of men attended a Promise Keepers rally on the mall in Washington DC, in one of the largest religious gatherings in US history.
1998
Russian envoys warned Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that NATO might launch air-strikes unless he took "decisive measures" to end the humanitarian crisis in the southern province of Kosovo.
1998
Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso won re-election.
1999
An Illinois jury ordered State Farm to pay $456 million to 4.7 million customers in a lawsuit accusing the nation's largest car insurer of using inferior parts for auto body repairs. (Four days later, the judge ruled State Farm had committed fraud, and awarded $730 million in actual and punitive damages on top of the jury verdict. State Farm is appealing.)
2005
Microsoft Office 12 will support PDFs
2005
Physics Nobel Prize awarded for insights into light
2005
Energy companies to raise consumer rates
2005
European court upholds asset freeze in terrorist case
2005
"Junk" foods may affect aggressive behaviour and school performance
2005
Iraqi insurgents guilty of war crimes, says Human Rights Watch
2005
Apple plans another special event
2005
British comedian Ronnie Barker dies
2005
Bush may deploy military if bird flu breaks out
2005
High tides sweep west Galveston Bay
2006
Historic 'Tree of Knowledge' dies in Queensland, Australia
2006
2,887 ecstasy tablets intercepted at New Zealand International Mail Centre
2006
US Nationwide Pollution Permit Restrictions Upheld
2006
Nobel Prize in chemistry for insight into cells
2006
New allegations over the US e-mail scandal hit the Republican party
2006
Hubble discovers 16 new planets
2006
2,000 homeless after 4-hectare fire in Bislig City, Philippines
2007
Howard K. Stern files lawsuit against former MSNBC, FOX News journalist over Anna Nicole book
2007
North Korea agrees to disable its main nuclear reactor
2007
North and South Korea sign peace pact
2007
Australian government approves Tasmanian pulp mill
2007
Australian treasurer declares that he is "a lot of fun"
2007
AFL: Gary Ablett wins Geelong's best and fairest
2007
NASA says star system contains 'earth-like planet' in the making
2007
Thousands of trapped miners rescued in South Africa
2007
Former Canadian PM still recovering after heart surgery
2007
Stolen Leonardo da Vinci painting recovered by police
2007
2007/08 UEFA Cup: Copenhagen vs. Lens
2007
2007/08 UEFA Cup: October 4 results
2007
2007/08 UEFA Cup: Belenenses vs. Bayern Munich
2007
Major League Soccer Season: Toronto FC vs. Red Bull New York
2008
Newly released script from 1970s would have been used as announcement after nuclear attack in UK
2008
OJ Simpson found guilty in kidnapping, armed robbery case
2008
Lordi release music video for Finnish chart-topper 'Bite It Like a Bulldog'
2008
Suspect in 1998 bombing of US embassy in Tanzania won't face death penalty
2008
Nebraska teacher sentenced to 6 years for sex with student
2008
Hurricanes may be associated with sunspots
2008
Study estimates first human HIV infection 100 years ago
2008
U.S. Senate approves revised bailout package after controversial additions
2008
Mother, daughter accused of stealing of husband's $3.5 million lottery ticket
2008
Fiery collision between prison van and truck kills seven in Alabama, US
2009
Ireland votes 'Yes' to Lisbon Treaty
2009
Greece to hold general elections
2009
Second stone circle found one mile from Stonehenge
2009
Israeli police and Palestinians clash in Jerusalem
2009
FBI arrests, charges man over nude videos of US presenter Erin Andrews
2009
Typhoon Parma threatens Taiwan
2009
Eight US soldiers killed in Afghanistan after clash with millitants
2009
Sebastian Vettel wins Japanese Grand Prix
2009
US free speech lawyer defends satire of Glenn Beck
2009
Greek man arrested over alleged plot to hijack Emirates airliner at Karachi airport
2009
Report says global warming may cause 25m malnourished children by 2050
2009
France considers chemically castrating sex offenders
2010
Church van flips killing four, injuring fifteen in Georgia, US
2010
U.S. issues travel alert for Europe amidst fears of Al Qaeda attack
2010
School bus crash kills one student in Georgia, US
2010
Moderate earthquake hits Crete, Greece
2010
Plane crash on Catalina Island injures three, causes bush fire
2010
NASCAR: Greg Biffle wins Price Chopper 400

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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