[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

1931
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu born in Klerksdorp, South Africa
1948
Poet, essayist, naturalist and author, Diane Ackmerman born in Waukegan, Illinois
1951
Singer and songwriter, John Mellencamp born in Seymour, Indiana
1974
Police stop Congressman Wilbur Mills' car and Fanne Fox jumps into water
1979
Mother Teresa of Calcutta awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
1985
Woody shows up for work at Cheers
336
Death of St. Mark, Pope
929
Death of Charles III "the Simple," King of France
1346
David II, King of Scots made prisoner at Neville's Cross
1498
Hans Holbein the Younger, a German artist and printmaker who worked in a Northern Renaissance style best known as one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century, born
1542
Rodriguez Cabrillo discovers Catalina Island, off California
1571
In the last great clash of galleys, the Ottoman navy is defeated at Lepanto, Greece, by a Christian naval coalition under the overall command of Spain's Don Juan de Austria.
1573
William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury born
1576
John Marston, English satirist, dramatist born
1765
Delegates from nine of the American colonies meet in New York to discuss the Stamp Act Crisis and colonial response to it. This "Stamp Act Congress" went on to draft resolutions condemning the Stamp and Sugar Acts, trial without jury and taxation without representation as contrary to their rights as Englishmen.
1777
The second Battle of Saratoga began during the American Revolution. (The British forces, under General John Burgoyne, surrendered ten days later.)
1849
The Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley, who wrote "Li'l Orphant Annie," born
1849
Author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 40. Never able to overcome his drinking habits, he was found in a delirious condition outside a saloon uttering "Lord, help my poor soul." He had been on a sustained drinking binge and had been drawn into a gang of derelicts who were being taken from one polling place to another in Baltimore to cast ballots.
1868
Cornell University was inaugurated in Ithaca, New York.
1870
Grand Ole Opry star Uncle Dave Macon born
1885
Neils Bohr, Danish physicist who won the Nobel Prize for physics and later worked on the first atom bomb born
1888
Henry Wallace, 33rd vice president of the United States and 1948 independent candidate for president born
1900
Heinrich Himmler, chicken farmer who became the head of the German Gestapo in Hitler's Germany born
1905
Andy Devine (Jeremiah Schwartz) TV cowboy sidekick born
1911
Singer Vaughn Monroe (Racing with the Moon, Riders in the Sky, There I Go, Rum and Coca Cola, There! I've Said It Again, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Ballerina, They were Doing the Mambo; actor: Meet the People, Carnegie Hall, Singing Guns) born
1914
Actor Alfred Drake (Capurro) (Tony Award Kiss Me Kate, Oklahoma) born
1916
In the most lopsided football game on record, Georgia Tech humbled Cumberland University, 222-0.
1917
Actress June Allyson (Best Foot Forward, The Glen Miller Story, Little Women, Strategic Air Command; TV host: The Dupont Show with June Allyson; wife of actor, Dick Powell) born
1922
Singer, actress Martha Stewart (Haworth) (Those Two) born
1927
Actress Diana Lynn (Loehr) (Bedtime for Bonzo, The Kentuckian, The Annapolis Story, My Friend Irma, Miracle of Morgan's Creek) born
1927
Singer Al Martino born
1931
Desmond Tutu, South African Black archbishop who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 born
1940
Artie Shaw and his Orchestra recorded Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" for RCA Victor.
1943
Former National Security Council aide Oliver North born
1949
Country singer Kiernan Kane (The O'Kanes) born
1949
The Republic of East Germany was formed.
1949
Iva Toguri D'Aquino, better known as Tokyo Rose, is sentenced to 10 years in prison for treason. She was paroled in 1956, pardoned in 1977.
1951
Singer John Mellencamp born
1953
Actress Christopher Norris born
1953
Rock musician Tico Torres (Bon Jovi) born
1954
Marian Anderson became the first black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York.
1955
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma born
1957
Michael W. (Whitaker) Smith born
1960
Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and Republican opponent Richard M. Nixon held the second of their broadcast debates.
1961
Actress Judy Landers born
1963
President Kennedy signed the documents of ratification for a nuclear test ban treaty with Britain and the Soviet Union.
1963
Bobby Baker resigned as Senate Democratic secretary after being charged in a $300,000 civil suit for using his influence for personal monetary gains.
1968
Rock singer-musician Thom York (Radiohead) born
1968
The Motion Picture Association of America adopted its film-rating system, ranging from "G" for "general" audiences to "X" for adult patrons only.
1968
Singer Toni Braxton born
1969
Rock musician Leeroy Thornhill (Prodigy) born
1979
Pope John Paul II concluded his week-long tour of the United States with a Mass on the Washington Mall.
1981
Egypt's parliament named Vice President Hosni Mubarak to succeed the assassinated Anwar Sadat.
1982
The Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical "Cats," featuring the popular song "Memory," opened on Broadway.
1984
President Reagan and Democratic challenger Walter F. Mondale clashed in a debate in Louisville, Ky., with each candidate denouncing the other's proposals for dealing with the federal budget deficit.
1985
A mud slide in Ponce, Puerto Rico, killed an estimated 500 people in the island's worst disaster this century.
1985
Palestinian gunmen hijacke the Italian cruise ship "Achille Lauro" in the Mediterranean with more than 400 people aboard.
1986
President Reagan met at the White House with recently freed Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov, and said afterward that a substantive improvement in Soviet human rights was crucial for a superpower summit in the United States.
1987
President Reagan's advisory commission on AIDS was left seemingly in disarray as its chairman, Dr. W. Eugene Mayberry, and its vice-chairman, Dr. Woodrow A. Myers Junior, resigned.
1988
The Labor Department reported the nation's unemployment rate for September 1988 fell back to July's level of five-point-four percent, after going up to five-point-six percent in August.
1989
Hungary's Communist Party renounced Marxism in favor of democratic socialism during a party congress in Budapest.
1990
House and Senate Democrats put together a modified budget proposal, following the failure of an earlier plan and the veto of stopgap spending legislation by President Bush.
1990
Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achilles Lauro in the Mediterranean with more than 400 people aboard. American hostage Leon Klinghoffer was murdered by the hijackers.
1991
University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments in her presence when she worked for him, and urged the U.S. Senate to investigate her claims. Thomas denied Hill's allegations.
1992
Trade representatives of the United States, Canada and Mexico initialed the North American Free Trade Agreement during a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas.
1992
A secret military tribunal in Peru sentenced Abimael Guzman, the mastermind and top leader of the Shining Path guerrilla movement, to life in prison without parole.
1993
President Clinton ordered more troops, heavy armor and naval firepower to Somalia, but also announced he would pull out all Americans by the end of March 1994.
1993
Death claimed choreographer Agnes de Mille at age 88
1993
Actor Cyril Cusack dies at age 82
1994
President Clinton ordered Army troops on alert and dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf after Iraqi troops were spotted moving south toward Kuwait.
1994
President Clinton held a news conference in which he expressed frustration over failures in his legislative agenda, blaming Republicans for "trying to stop it, slow it, kill it or just talk it to death."
1995
A magnitude-7 earthquake struck Indonesia, killing more than 80 people.
1995
New York's Central Park was transformed into a giant open-air cathedral as Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass before a flock of 130,000.
1996
The Irish Republican Army detonated two car bombs inside the British army's headquarters in Northern Ireland, wounding 31 people.
1996
The effects of a Canadian Auto Workers strike against General Motors spread across the border as 18-hundred-50 workers were laid off at two US parts plants.
1997
Senator Fred Thompson (Republican, Tennessee), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee investigating fund-raising abuses, accused the White House of "a clear pattern of delay, foot-dragging, concealing."
1997
Former White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes defended using the White House to raise Democratic money, telling the committee, "We played by the rules."
1998
Matthew Shepard, a gay college student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, robbed and left tied to a wooden fence post outside of Laramie; he died five days later. (Russell Henderson later pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping; a second suspect, Aaron McKinney, has yet to stand trial.)
1998
The Justice Department sued Visa and MasterCard, the nation's largest credit card networks, on grounds they were restraining competition and limiting consumer choice.
1999
American Home Products Corp. resolved one of the biggest product liability cases ever by agreeing to pay up to $4.83 billion to settle claims that the fen-phen diet drug combination caused dangerous heart valve problems.
2005
Australian Immigration department removal of citizen was unlawful
2005
Unexploded WW2 Bomb discovered at Schiphol Airport
2005
IAEA and its director ElBaradei are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
2005
Autodesk to buy Alias
2005
British Columbia teachers dropping the chalk and walking out
2005
Premium gas discounted for a few hours
2005
Red tide affects South Padre Island, Mexico
2005
Film about Travis County DA's investigation of Texas election of 2002
2005
President of Peruvian Truth Commission reports death threats, anti-semitic hatemail
2005
U.S. watchdog group lists "most corrupt members of Congress"
2005
Google, Sun Microsystems to collaborate on software development
2005
White House denies that God told Bush to invade Iraq
2005
First Trojan horse to affect handheld gaming console found
2005
Internet backbone hosts feud, disconnecting users
2005
U.S. force-feeding Guantanamo hunger strikers
2005
Washington Monument evacuated due to false bomb threat
2005
Fall sweeps through Texas
2006
All Ferrari front row for Japanese Grand Prix
2006
Blunkett defines the main task for us all
2006
Bratsk hydroelectric plant gets new turbine
2006
Cheetahs and Blue Bulls to meet in Currie Cup rugby final
2006
Top ranked France to play Scotland this afternoon in football
2006
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya shot dead
2006
Gibson has given his first interview since anti-Semitic rant
2006
20,000 Poles demonstrate on the streets of Warsaw
2006
French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez announces retirement
2006
Scotland: Three murdered schoolboy for "being white"
2007
1.4 million in China flee deadly storm
2007
An interview with gossip columnist Michael Musto on the art of celebrity journalism
2007
U.S. General David Petraeus accuses Iran of fueling war in Iraq
2007
Rugby World Cup: Argentina 19 - 13 Scotland
2007
Bus and train collision kills at least 28 in Cuba
2007
Rugby World Cup: South Africa 37 - 20 Fiji
2007
Abused girl in Arizona found with 100 wounds
2007
At least 7 killed in Wisconsin shooting rampage
2007
Kimi Räikkönen wins Chinese Grand Prix
2007
Appendix has purpose: Scientists
2007
Referendum about CAFTA-RD in Costa Rica
2008
Witnesses: Doomed train had green light
2008
Tattoo with identifying details leads to prosecution of thief in Bristol, UK
2008
Report says disappearing life threatens biodiversity
2008
Stock markets worldwide continue to fall
2008
Icelandic Internet bank suspends UK accounts
2009
Over two million people displaced by flooding in India
2009
Greek Prime Minister sworn in, new cabinet appointed
2009
Large magnitude 7.8 earthquake, aftershock strikes Vanuatu region
2009
Italian court overturns law preventing trial of Prime Minister Berlusconi
2009
40 injured after attacks in Thailand
2009
Demonstrators and police clash at IMF meetings in Istanbul
2009
New ring discovered around Saturn, could explain dark side of its moon
2010
Major fire results in significant damage to Texas apartment complex
2010
Charlie the smoking chimpanzee dies aged 52
2010
Australian Dollar reaches a 27 year high
2010
Two Santa Clara, Utah teens in critical condition after lightning strike
2011
South African parliament questioned over media policy
2012
Electric vehicles can be less green than classic fuel cars, Norwegian study finds

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.

Select a section