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Today in History

1846
Inventor and engineer, George Westinghouse born in Central Bridge, New York
1853
Antioch College becomes first public school to admit both men and women
1942
Actress and Bond girl, Britt Ekland born in Stockholm, Sweden
1961
First GPSS manual published
1963
Academy Award nominated actress Elisabeth Shue born in Wilmington, Delaware
1970
Actress, singer-songwriter and musician, Amy Jo Johnson born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
1973
Israel attacked by Egypt and Syria
105
Germanic tribes defeat Romans at battle of Arausio
877
Death of Charles "the Bald," King of France; Louis "the Stammerer" succeeds him
891
Election of Formosus as Pope
1014
The Byzantine Emperor Basil earns the title "Slayer of Bulgers" after he orders the blinding of 15,000 Bulgerian troops.
1238
Dedication of the Cathedral of St. Peter, Petersborough, England
1510
Dr. John Key (John Caius) born
1536
William Tyndale, the English translator of the New Testament, is strangled and burned at the stake for heresy at Vilvorde, France. His last words were "O Lord, open the King of England's eyes."
1555
Ferenc Nadasdy born
1600
"Euridice," the oldest extant opera, first performed
1683
Thirteen families from Krefeld, Germany, arrived in present-day Philadelphia to begin Germantown, one of America's oldest settlements. They were the first German-Protestant Mennonites in America, invited by William Penn.
1769
Captain Cooke landed on the coast of New Zealand.
1801
Napoleon Bonaparte imposes a new constitution on Holland.
1820
Jenny Lind, "the Swedish Nightingale," was born in Stockholm. born
1846
Inventor and manufacturer George Westinghouse born
1847
Charlotte Bront's Jane Eyre was published.
1853
Antioch College opened in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It was the first nonsectarian school to offer equal opportunity for both men and women.
1866
The Reno brothers--Frank, John, Simeon and William--commit the country's first train robbery near Seymore, In., netting $10,000.
1882
The Polish composer Karol Szymanowski was born. Szymanowski's music is tonal but very chromatic, something like Richard Strauss with a little Scriabin thrown in. born
1884
The Naval War College was established in Newport, Rhode Island.
1887
The Swiss architect Le Courbousier - possibly the most influential city planner of the 20th century. born
1889
The Moulin Rouge in Paris first opened its doors to the public.
1889
Thomas Edison shows his first motion picture
1891
Charles Stewart Parnell, the "Uncrowned King of Ireland," died in Brighton, England.
1892
Alfred, Lord Tennyson died
1899
Southern novelist Caroline Gordon born
1905
Tennis champion Helen Wills Moody born
1908
Actress Carol Lombard (Alice Peters) born
1909
Mark Twain's daughter, an operatic soprano, married a Russian-born conductor. You will recall that it was Mark Twain who wrote that Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
1914
Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian entomologist and adventurer whose Kon-Tiki expedition established the possibility that Polynesians may have originated in South America born
1925
Hiroshi H. Miyamura born in Gallup, New Mexico. Corporal Miyamura was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions near Taejon-ni, Korea, April 24 and April 25, 1951. For more than two years his Medal of Honor was a tightly guarded secret (the first Medal of Honor was classified Top Secret by the military) because Corporal Miyamura was captured by the North Koreans and held as a prisoner of war. It was feared that if his captors knew of his status as a Medal of Honor winner, he would be singled out for torture and death. Following his release on 20 August 1953, he was repatriated to the United States and was honorably discharged from the Army shortly thereafter. His medal was presented to him by President Eisenhower in October of 1953 at the White House.
1925
Author-journalist Shana Alexander born
1927
The era of talking pictures arrived with the opening of "The Jazz Singer," starring Al Jolson, a movie which featured both silent and sound-synchronized scenes.
1930
The president of Syria, Hafez Assad born
1939
In an address to the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler denied having any intention of war against France and Britain.
1941
German troops renew their offensive against Moscow.
1942
Actress Britt Ekland born
1942
Impressionist Fred Travalena born
1946
Singer Millie Small born
1949
American-born Iva Toguri D'Aquino, convicted of being Japanese wartime broadcaster "Tokyo Rose," was sentenced in San Francisco to ten years in prison and fined ten-thousand dollars.
1950
Singer-musician Thomas McClary born
1951
Rock singer Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon) born
1954
Rock singer-musician David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) born
1964
Singer Matthew Sweet born
1965
Patricia Harris takes post as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, becoming the first African-American U.S. ambassador.
1966
Hanoi insists the United States must end its bombings before peace talks can begin.
1971
Rapper Kitty (B-Rock and the Bizz) born
1973
War erupted in the Middle East as Egypt and Syria attacked Israel during the Yom Kippur holiday.
1973
Actor Ioan Gruffudd born
1976
In his second debate with Jimmy Carter, President Ford asserted there was "no Soviet domination of eastern Europe." (Ford later conceded he'd misspoken.)
1979
Pope John Paul the Second, on a week-long US tour, became the first pontiff to visit the White House, where he was received by President Carter.
1981
Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat is assassinated in Cairo by Islamic fundamentalists while reviewing a military parade.. He is succeeded by Vice President Hosni Mubarak.
1983
Cardinal Terence Cooke, the spiritual head of the Archdiocese of New York, died at age 62.
1986
A crippled Soviet nuclear submarine sank in the Atlantic Ocean about 1,200 miles east of New York, three days after a fire and explosion that the Soviets said had killed three crew members.
1987
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted nine-to-five against the nomination of Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court, and both supporters and opponents predicted rejection by the full Senate.
1988
General Augusto Pinochet, the president of Chile, conceded defeat in a referendum held the day before to determine whether he should receive a new eight-year term of office. Pinochet, however, stayed president until his term ran out in 1990.
1989
Two Swiss Red Cross workers were kidnapped by terrorists in Lebanon.
1989
Actress Bette Davis died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, at age 81.
1989
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev joined in festivities in East Berlin marking the 40th anniversary of East Germany, a celebration marred by the recent emigration of thousands of refugees to the West.
1990
President Bush vetoed stopgap spending legislation passed by Congress following the collapse of a deficit-reducing budget agreement.
1990
The space shuttle Discovery blasted off on a four-day mission.
1991
Reports surfaced that a former personal assistant to Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill, had accused Thomas of sexually harassing her.
1991
Cable News Network obtained and aired a videotape made in Beirut, Lebanon, of American hostage Terry Anderson, who quoted his captors as saying they would have "very good news."
1991
Elizabeth Taylor married for the 8th time. She wed construction worker Larry Fortensky, whom she met in 1988 in the Betty Ford Center. She was married at the Michael Jackson estate.
1992
For the first time since formally entering the presidential race, Ross Perot appeared in a paid, 30-minute broadcast on CBS-TV in which he appealed for Americans to join his independent bid.
1992
The UN Security Council voted unanimously to establish a war crimes commission for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1992
President Bush appointed Mary Fisher to the National Commission on AIDS, replacing Magic Johnson.
1993
Basketball superstar Michael Jordan announced his retirement. (Jordan attempted a minor-league baseball career, but returned to the Chicago Bulls in March 1995.)
1993
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chief Yasser Arafat held their first official meeting in Cairo, Egypt, to begin work on realizing terms of the Israeli-PLO accord.
1994
In an address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, South African President Nelson Mandela warned against the lure of isolationism, saying the post-Cold War focus of the United States should be on eliminating tyranny, instability and poverty.
1995
Boeing Company's largest group of union workers went on a 69-day strike after voting down a new three-year contract offer.
1995
President Clinton delivered an address in which he defended his stewardship of U.S. foreign policy and spoke out against what he said was a spreading mood of isolationism.
1996
President Clinton and Bob Dole clashed vigorously over taxes, trustworthiness and spending priorities in a prime-time debate in Hartford, Connecticut.
1997
In a blow to both Democrats and Republicans, President Clinton used his line-item veto to kill 38 military construction projects.
1997
The space shuttle "Atlantis" returned to Earth, bringing home American astronaut Michael Foale after a tumultuous four and a-half months aboard "Mir."
1997
American biology professor Stanley B. Prusiner won the Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering "prions," described as "an entirely new genre of disease-causing agents."
1998
With a House vote set on launching an open-ended impeachment inquiry, Democrats rushed to counter Republican plans while still underscoring their disapproval of President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.
1999
In Mexico, furious rains sent swollen rivers raging through the streets of the Gulf coast city of Villahermosa and caused mudslides; dozens of deaths were reported in eastern Mexico's coastal mountain ranges.
1999
The NFL awarded its newest franchise to Houston instead of Los Angeles, leaving the second-largest TV market in the nation without a football team.
2005
Romania to host Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2006
2005
French parliamentarian questions Jacques Chirac's Elysée budget
2005
Australia's High Court rules mod-chips are legal
2005
Democrat staffers obtained Maryland lt. governor's credit report illegally
2005
Threat on New York City subway system heightens security alert level
2005
Explosion at Point Comfort plastics plant
2005
IRA assets worth 30 million pounds investigated
2005
US Senate approves rules regulating detainee treatment
2005
Fujimori intends to run for Peruvian presidency
2005
Romanian president to hold referendum on unicameral parliament
2005
Five soldiers killed in Southern Thailand
2005
Sri Lanka blast injures one
2005
Twenty killed in Lake George USA boating accident
2006
Haze in South East Asia worsens
2006
Mass grave with 51 bodies from the Nazi era found in Germany
2006
Plant explosion in Apex, North Carolina
2006
Six Power Meetings confirmed on Iran's nuclear crisis
2006
Clint Brown, TV3 presenter, gives "unsatisfactory" letter of apology
2006
Interview with Curtis Grant, Regional Council candidate for Wards 2 & 6 in Brampton, Canada
2006
Vatican considering abolishing limbo
2006
Canada's PM gets award for public service in Calgary
2006
Small hole found in Space Shuttle Atlantis
2006
Wrong flag causes diplomatic faux pas in Poland
2006
Same-sex marriage ban upheld in California
2006
Jack Straw, Leader of the British House of Commons urges Muslim women to drop full veil
2006
Security Council set to adopt non-binding text on N. Korea
2007
Rugby World Cup: Australia 10 - 12 England
2007
African burial ground in New York City dedicated as National Monument
2007
Sam's Club recalls beef patties nationwide following reported illnesses
2007
New York City homeless man allegedly torched by teenagers
2007
2007/08 FA Premier League: Manchester United vs. Wigan Athletic
2007
President Bush defends U.S. interrogation tactics
2007
Dozens killed in Congo plane crash, transport minister fired
2007
US scientist says he created first 'artificial life form'
2007
Rugby World Cup: New Zealand 18 - 20 France
2007
New Zealand Marilyn Manson concert evacuated due to fire scare
2007
Darfur rebels threaten to pull out of peace talks
2007
Registered sex offender arrested for luring MySpace teenager to meeting
2007
RuPaul speaks about society and the state of drag as performance art
2008
Worldwide markets fall precipitously
2008
UK government to spy on phone, email, browsing, of entire population
2009
UN offices in Pakistan hit by suicide bomber
2009
Nine killed by car bomb in Iraq, 31 injured
2009
Rwandan genocide suspect arrested in Uganda
2009
Chilean court jails ex-army officers for murdering witness in Croatian arms deal
2009
Tropical Storm Henri forms in the Atlantic
2009
Istanbul to host IMF meetings
2009
Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" wins Man Booker Prize 2009
2009
Former Costa Rican president sentenced to jail on charges of corruption
2009
Typhoon Melor on path towards Japan
2010
Plane crash in the Bahamas kills eight
2010
Remaining Expedition 25 crew to launch to International Space Station
2011
Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs dies aged 56

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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