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Today in History

1939
Golden Globe Award winning actor, Paul Hogan born in Lightning Ridge, Australia
1943
Comedian and Emmy Award winning actor, Chevy Chase born in Woodstock, New York
1949
Golden Globe Award winning actress, Sigourney Weaver born in Manhattan, New York
1978
First VisiCalc prototype
1998
House of Representatives votes 258-176 to authorize open-ended impeachment inquiry of President William Jefferson Clinton
451
4th Ecumenical Council opened (Council of Chalcedon)
622
Muhammad enters Medina
705
Death of Caliph Abd al-Malik, in Damascus
1085
St Mark's Cathedral in Venice was consecrated.
1179
Death of Odo de Saint-Amand, 8th Master of the Templars
1191
Prince John Plantagenet picked to replace Longchamp as head of the English government while King Richard I was in Palestine
1585
Renaissance composer Heinrich Schtz in Kostritz, Saxony. born
1608
John Clarke, the founder of Newport, Rhode Island, and one of the champions of religious liberty in the colonies, was born in Suffolk, England.
1869
J. Frank Duryea, with his brother, invented 1st auto built & operated in the US. born
1869
The 14th president of the United States, Franklin Pierce, died in Concord, New Hampshire.
1871
The Great Chicago Fire erupted while another deadly blaze broke out in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Over 4 square miles of Chicago was distroyed. The fire continued to burn for three days. Over 250 people died, 90,000 were left homeless when one-third of the city was destroyed.
1890
World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker born
1892
Sergei Rachmaninoff first publicly performed his piano "Prelude in C-sharp Minor" in Moscow.
1895
Argentinian dictator Juan PerĂ³n born
1896
Dow Jones starts reporting an average of industrial stocks.
1905
English film star Elsa Lanchester . Her husband was Charles Laughton. She starred in the 1835 horror classic Bride of Frankenstein, in which in the prologue she also played Mary Shelley. born
1918
Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee became a World War I hero by single-handedly capturing a hill in the Argonne Forest of France, killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing 132 others.
1922
Pioneering South African heart-transplant surgeon Dr. Christian Barnard born
1934
Bruno Hauptmann was indicted for murder in the death of the infant son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh.
1935
Wedding bells pealed this day for a singer and a bandleader who tied the knot, making radio history together. The bandleader was Ozzie Nelson and the singer was Harriet Hilliard.
1936
Entertainment reporter Rona Barrett born
1939
Australian film star Paul Hogan. born
1940
Rhythm-and-blues singer Fred Cash (The Impressions) born
1941
Reverend Jesse Jackson born
1943
Comedian Chevy Chase born
1943
Author R.L. Stine ("Goosebumps") born
1944
The first broadcast of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet was heard on the CBS Radio Network. The show would continue on radio until 1953 and on ABC-TV from 1952 to 1966. This event coincided with Ozzie and Harriet Nelson's ninth wedding anniversary.
1944
Country singer Susan Raye born
1945
President Truman announced that the secret of the atomic bomb would be shared only with Britain and Canada.
1948
TV personality Sarah Purcell born
1949
Actress Sigourney Weaver (Susan) She took her professional name from a name in a list of Gatsby's guests in Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. born
1950
Rhythm-and-blues singer Robert "Kool" Bell (Kool & the Gang) born
1951
Rock singer Johnny Ramone born
1953
Country singer-musician Ricky Lee Phelps born
1954
Actor Michael Dudikoff born
1956
Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game ever in the World Series as the New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 2-0.
1956
Actress Stephanie Zimbalist born
1957
The Brooklyn Baseball Club announced it was accepting an offer to move the Dodgers from New York to Los Angeles.
1959
Bolivia.
1961
Rock musician Mitch Marine (Tripping Daisy) born
1963
Rock singer Steve Perry (Cherry Poppin' Daddies) born
1965
Rock musician C.J. Ramone (The Ramones) born
1966
Singer-producer Teddy Riley born
1967
Argentinian-born Communist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, an important figure in the
1970
Actor-screenwriter Matt Damon born
1970
Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn was named winner of the Nobel Prize for literature.
1979
Rhythm-and-blues singer Byron Reeder (Mista) born
1981
At the White House, President Reagan greeted former presidents Carter, Ford and Nixon, who were preparing to travel to Egypt for the funeral of Anwar Sadat.
1982
All labor organizations in Poland, including Solidarity, were banned.
1983
The Baltimore Orioles won the American League championship, defeating the Chicago White Sox 3-0. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 for the National League title.
1984
In an address to the U.N. General Assembly, the president of El Salvador, Jose Napoleon Duarte, unexpectedly offered to hold peace talks with leftist guerrillas.
1984
Anne Murray won the Country Music Association's Album of the Year Award for "A Little Good News." Murray was the first woman to win this award.
1985
The hijackers of the Italian cruise ship "Achille Lauro" killed American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, dumping his body and wheelchair overboard.
1986
State Department spokesman Bernard Kalb resigned over a reported effort by the Reagan administration to mislead the news media about Libya.
1987
U-S helicopter gunships in the Persian Gulf sank three Iranian patrol boats after an American observation helicopter was fired on. (Two of six Iranian crewmen taken from the water later died.)
1988
Pope John Paul the Second journeyed to eastern France, where he addressed the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights.
1989
The Oakland A's won the American League pennant for the second year in a row by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays.
1990
The House approved a revised deficit-reducing budget plan, and both chambers of Congress approved stopgap legislation to end a government shutdown.
1990
American doctors Joseph E. Murray and E. Donnall Thomas were named recipients of the Nobel Prize for medicine.
1990
Israeli police opened fire on rioting Palestinians on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, killing 17.
1991
The U.S. Senate postponed its vote on Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court nomination to investigate allegations that he'd sexually harassed a former aide, Anita Hill.
1992
West Indian poet Derek Walcott was named winner of the Nobel Prize in literature.
1992
Former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt died in Unkel, Germany, at age 78.
1993
The government issued a report absolving the FBI of wrongdoing in its final assault in Texas on the Branch Davidian compound, which went up in flames, killing as many as 85 people.
1994
President Clinton, responding to the massing of Iraqi troops near the Kuwaiti border, warned Saddam Hussein not to misjudge "American will or American power" as he ordered additional U.S. forces to the region.
1995
On the final day of his fourth U.S. pilgrimage, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at Oriole Park in Baltimore.
1996
Pope John Paul the Second underwent a successful operation to remove his inflamed appendix.
1996
American economist William Vickrey and British professor James Mirrlees were named co-winners of the Nobel economics prize. (The 82-year-old Vickrey died just three days later.)
1997
Scientists reported the Mars Pathfinder had yielded what could be the strongest evidence yet that Mars might once have been hospitable to life.
1997
The House opened its own set of hearings on campaign fund-raising abuses.
1997
Gueorgui Makharadze, a diplomat from the Republic of Georgia, pleaded guilty in Washington to charges stemming from a car crash that killed Maryland teen-ager Jovianne Waltrick.
1998
Portuguese novelist Jose Saramago won the Nobel Literature Prize.
1998
The House triggered an open-ended impeachment inquiry against President Clinton in a momentous 258-176 vote; 31 Democrats joined the Republican majority in opening the way for nationally televised impeachment hearings.
1999
A damage award to State Farm auto insurance customers swelled to nearly $1.2 billion after a judge in Illinois ruled that the nation's largest auto insurer committed fraud by using generic auto-body repair parts. (The $730 million award of actual and punitive damages came on top of a jury's $456 million verdict in the same class-action lawsuit.)
1999
President Clinton dedicated a new U.S. embassy in Ottawa, Canada.
1999
Laila Ali, the 21-year-old daughter of Muhammad Ali, made her professional boxing debut by knocking out opponent April Fowler 31 seconds after the opening bell in Verona, N.Y.
2005
Strong earthquake hits Pakistan, north India, Afghanistan
2005
Five arrested in Italian art smuggling
2005
Iraq on verge of civil war, head of Arab league fears
2005
Nations begin to offer aid to regions afflicted by Indian subcontinent earthquake
2005
GAO ruled parts of Education Department contracts illegal
2005
Robotic cars successfully complete 132-mile DARPA Grand Challenge race
2005
President Bush may veto amendment that bans detainee mistreatment
2005
British police arrest ten due to terrorism suspicions
2005
Google launches online RSS reader
2006
Venezuelan opposition holds large rally
2006
Fernando Alonso wins Japanese Grand Prix
2006
USA qualify for 2007 Rugby World Cup in France
2007
Umbrella unfurling for demanding suffrage in Hong Kong
2007
Alex Necochea and Bryn Bennett: the 'Guitar Heroes' of Bang Camaro
2007
Four killed as helicopter escorting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf crashes
2007
Dida and Milan face UEFA charges over Celtic fan incident
2008
Central banks worldwide cut interest rates
2008
Passenger plane crashes in Nepal killing 18
2008
Dozens injured by sudden change in altitude on Qantas jet
2008
Frog-killing fungus spreads across Panama Canal towards South America
2009
Romanian trade unions threaten more protests
2009
Two people killed after Typhoon Melor hits Japan
2009
UK Royal Mail workers vote in favour of strike action
2009
Guinea to launch investigation into killing of protestors
2009
No-confidence vote initiated against Romanian cabinet
2009
Powerful car bomb blast hits Kabul, Afghanistan
2010
Bomb attack in Londonderry, Northern Ireland injures two police officers
2010
Nineteen killed in Burma ferry disaster

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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