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Today in History

1000
Leif Erikson Day -- commemoration of Norse explorers landing in North America
1871
Great Chicago Fire
1876
First two-way telephone conversation
1940
Songwriter, guitarist, and singer, John Lennon born in Liverpool, England
1950
Teacher and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Jody Williams born in Brattlebor, Vermont
1975
Songwriter, guitarist, and singer, Sean Lennon born in New York City
2006
North Korea conducts underground nuclear test in North Hamkyong province coalmine
28
The Temple of Apollo is dedicate on the Palatine Hill in Rome.
272
Death of St. Denis The French martyr who was beheaded on a hill north of Paris (after that called Montmartre) and supposedly walked to Notre Dame with his head in his hand.
1000
Leif Ericson lands in North America and discovers "Vinland" (possibly New England)
1047
Death of Pope Clement II
1187
Saladin prays at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem
1192
Richard I, King of England, begins his return from the 3rd Crusade
1290
Last of the 16,000 Jews expelled by King Edward I leave England
1446
Hangul alphabet made official writing system of Korea
1469
Death of Florentine artist Fra Filippo Lippi. The teacher of Boticelli, he was known for his madonnas and religious murals.
1470
Henry VI of England restored to the throne.
1562
Death of Fallopius
1586
Agatha Weiss, Anna Dormar, and Christina Mayer burned for witchcraft in Waldsee, Germany
1635
Religious dissident Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1642
First Commencement held at Harvard University
1701
The Collegiate School of Connecticut -- later Yale University -- was chartered in New Haven.
1760
Austrian and Russian troops enter Berlin and begin burning structures and looting.
1776
A group of Spanish missionaries settled in present-day San Francisco.
1779
The first Luddite riots occurred in Manchester. Luddites opposed the use of machinery to spin thread, previously done by people. Luddite has continued to be used to indicate those in opposition to technology.
1825
The first Norwegian immigrants to America arrive on the sloop Restaurationen.
1855
The calliope was patented by Joshua Stoddard of Worcester, Massachusetts.
1859
Alfred Dreyfus, French artillery officer who was falsely accused of giving French military secrets to foreign powers born
1863
Confederate cavalry raiders return to Chattanooga having attacked Union General William Rosecrans' supply and communication lines all around east Tennessee.
1872
The first mail order catalog was delivered this day. It was only one page but it worked. It was sent out by Mr. Aaron Montgomery of the famous Montgomery Ward catalog and department stores.
1888
The public was first admitted to the Washington Monument.
1890
Aimee Semple McPherson founder of the Foursquare Gospel Church born
1891
First, a pan of Dvorak's Requiem. When performed in an English city, it, quote, "bored Birmingham so desperately that it was unanimously voted a work of extraordinary depth... which verdict I record with a hollow laugh and allow the subject to drop by its own portenous weight."
1899
Bruce Catton, U.S. historian and journalist, famous for his works on the Civil War born
1914
Germans take Antwerp, Belgium, after 12-day siege.
1923
Actor Fyvush Finkel born
1930
Laura Ingalls became the first woman to fly across the United States as she completed a nine-stop journey from Roosevelt Field, New York, to Glendale, California.
1934
King Alexander of Yugoslavia was assassinated by a Croatian terrorist during a state visit to France.
1936
The first generator at Boulder (later Hoover) Dam began transmitting electricity to Los Angeles.
1941
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (Republican, Mississippi) born
1941
President Franklin D. Roosevelt requests congressional approval for arming U.S. merchant ships.
1944
Rock musician (The Who) John Entwistle born
1945
Singer Nona Hendryx born
1946
The first electric blanket went on sale. It was sold in Petersburg, Virginia ($39.50).
1946
The Eugene O'Neill drama "The Iceman Cometh" opened at the Martin Beck Theater in New York.
1949
Singer Jackson Browne born
1949
Harvard Law School begins admitting women.
1950
Jody Williams an American teacher and aid worker who received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the campaign she led, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) born in Putney, Vermont
1951
Actor Robert Wuhl ("Arliss") born
1954
Musician James Fearnley (The Pogues) born
1955
Actor Scott Bakula born
1958
Football player Mike Singletary born
1958
Pope Pius the 12th died, nineteen years after he was elected to the papacy.
1959
Actor Michael Pare born
1961
Rock singer-musician (The BoDeans) Kurt Neumann born
1964
Country singer Gary Bennett (BR5-49) born
1967
Latin American guerrilla leader Ernesto "Che" Grevara was assassinated while attempting to incite revolution in Bolivia. His remains were identified in July 1997.
1967
Doc Severinsen replaced Skitch Henderson as the NBC Tonight Show Orchestra musical director of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
1969
Singer P.J. Harvey born
1973
Priscilla Presley, was divorced from Elvis -- in Santa Monica, CA. Ms. Presley got $1.5 million in cash, $4,200 per month in alimony, half interest in a $750,000 home plus about 5% interest in two of Elvis' publishing companies.
1975
Singer-musician Sean Ono Lennon born
1975
Andrei Sakharov, father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, became the first Soviet citizen to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
1975
Emperor Hirohito of Japan visits San Francisco.
1978
Actor Randy Spelling ("Sunset Beach") born
1981
Actor ("Home Improvement") Zachery Ty Bryan born
1983
James Watt, facing Senate condemnation for a racially insensitive remark, resigned as President Reagan's interior secretary.
1984
One day after Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte unexpectedly offered to hold peace talks with leftist rebels, a coalition of guerrillas accepted the proposal.
1985
The hijackers of the "Achille Lauro" cruise liner surrendered after the ship arrived in Port Said, Egypt.
1985
Yoko Ono dedicated "Strawberry Fields," a 2.5 acre garden memorial to John Lennon in New York City's Central Park.
1986
The U.S. Senate convicted U.S. District Judge Harry E. Claiborne of "high crimes and misdemeanors," making him the fifth federal official to be removed from office through impeachment.
1986
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Phantom of the Opera" opened in London.
1987
Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork, his rejection by the Senate a virtual certainty, angrily told reporters he would not ask that his nomination be withdrawn.
1987
Author, politician and diplomat Clare Boothe Luce died in Washington at age 84.
1988
Yugoslav President Raif Dizdarevic warned citizens in a national radio and television address that continued nationalist and economic unrest could lead to a state of emergency.
1989
The official Soviet news agency Tass reported that an unidentified flying object, complete with a trio of tall aliens, had visited a park in the city of Voronezh.
1989
The San Francisco Giants won the National League championship by defeating the Chicago Cubs.
1990
President Bush told a news conference he would be willing to consider higher income tax rates for the wealthy, but later appeared to back off that stand.
1991
President Bush declared "total confidence" in his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, who was accused of sexual harassment by former aide Anita Hill.
1992
The UN Security Council voted to ban all military flights over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The 102nd Congress adjourned.
1993
Special US envoy Robert Oakley traveled to Somalia in an attempt to revive a tentative peace agreement reached by Somali clan leaders.
1994
The United States sent troops and warships to the Persian Gulf after Saddam Hussein sent tens of thousands of elite troops and hundreds of tanks toward the Kuwaiti border.
1995
Americans Edward B. Lewis and Eric F. Wiechaus and German Christiane Nuesslein-Volhard won the Nobel Prize for medicine for studies of how genes control early embryo development.
1995
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 shook the west coast of Mexico, killing 51 people.
1995
Americans Edward B. Lewis and Eric F. Wieschaus and German Christiane Nuesslein-Volhard won the Nobel Prize for medicine for studies of how genes control early embryo development.
1995
Saboteurs pulled 29 spikes from a stretch of railroad track, causing an Amtrak train to derail in Arizona; one person was killed and about 100 were injured.
1996
Two Americans and a Briton shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry while three Americans won the physics prize.
1996
Vice President Al Gore and Jack Kemp debated in St. Petersburg, Florida.
1996
In the opening game of the American League Championship series, 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier turned a probable fly out into a game-tying home run by reaching over the right-field wall at Yankee Stadium and sweeping the ball into the stands with his baseball glove (the Yankees won, 5-to-4 in eleven innings).
1997
Hurricane "Pauline" struck Acapulco, Mexico, killing 150 or more people.
1997
Dario Fo, the unabashed leftist playwright who was prosecuted by Italy, denounced by Roman Catholic Church leaders and barred from the United States, won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1998
Ariel Sharon returned to the center of power in Israel as the country's new foreign minister.
1999
The United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Co. reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, hours after a handful of workers walked off the job when a strike deadline passed.
1999
In boxing's first sanctioned battle of the sexes, Margaret MacGregor defeated Loi Chow by winning all four rounds on all three judges' cards in a promotion held in Seattle.
2005
Oracle buys Innobase
2005
California bans sale of violent video games to minors
2005
More troops for southern Thailand troubles
2005
Weekend violence in Darfur complicates peace talks
2005
VeriSign acquires Weblogs.com
2005
Hurricane Vince on track for Europe
2005
Ottawa plans tax windfall to deal with budget surplus
2006
Russia estimates larger yield for N. Korea nuclear test
2006
Controversy follows after Canadian PM skips vote for hockey game
2006
Craig Lowndes and Jamie Wincup become "Kings of the Mountain"
2006
North Korea claims it has conducted a nuclear test
2006
France to ban smoking in public places
2006
New Zealand seventh in Czech Republic A1GP feature race
2006
Municipal elections in Belgium: Flemish Interest halted in Antwerp but advancing elsewhere
2006
Google purchases YouTube for $1.65 billion
2006
Tropical Storm Norman forms southwest of Baja California
2006
Jamie Lee Curtis quits acting
2007
At least 150 militants and 50 Pakistani troops killed in clashes
2007
Iraq's President supports U.S. Senate plan to decentralize Iraq
2007
A-League 2007–08: Round 7 Results
2007
Basque city car bomb injures bodyguard
2007
Wolfsburg player draws criticism for withdrawal from squad
2007
TAITRONICS Autumn 2007: A 3-in-1 combination and great innovations
2007
USPTO partially confirms validity of Amazon "1-click patent"
2008
Markets down across the world; Dow Jones falls below 9,000
2008
Rap music fan sentenced to Beethoven, pays fine instead
2008
French author Le Clézio wins the Nobel Prize in Literature
2008
IMF: World on brink of recession; prepares special loan program
2008
UK motorway closed for several hours, heavily congested due to woman on bridge
2008
US presidential candidate Barack Obama has 50% support
2008
Zimbabwe cancels education year for 4.5 million after political and economic troubles
2008
At least twelve killed after building collapses in Alexandria, Egypt
2008
Nobel Peace Prize misused says Norwegian lawyer and activist
2008
Leading Sky News anchor Bob Friend dies at age 70
2008
Iceland nationalises Kaupthing Bank
2009
Coulthard says Piquet should have been punished for F1 cheating
2009
US Senate finance committee to vote on health care bill
2009
US deficit reaches record $1.4 trillion
2009
26 killed after mine accident in China
2009
Macedonia says compromise with Greece over name dispute possible
2009
Iran court sentences opposition activist to death
2009
BBC receives 487 complaints after 'Dancing' race row
2009
18 hospitalized after gas attack in school in Valga, Estonia
2009
Bomb explosion in Pakistani market kills 49
2009
Aid agencies warn of food shortages in flood-hit India
2009
Bus driver convicted of killing eleven after falling asleep in California crash
2009
At least 160 killed by landslides in the Philippines
2009
Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize
2009
European Parliament committee backs visa-free travel for Balkan countries
2010
Macaque kills newborn in Malaysia
2010
Scientology defector arrested after attempting to leave organization
2010
Winning British EuroMillions lottery ticket worth £113 million claimed
2010
Afghan provincial governor killed in mosque bomb attack
2010
Additional damage to reservoir prompts evacuation of Kolontar, Hungary
2010
Patient in Buckinghamshire hospital was treated in toilet, inquiry hears
2010
Chilean miners rescue to begin on Tuesday, Minister Mañalich announces
2010
Remaining Expedition 25 crew launch to space
2012
Tomatoes, watermelons, peppers reduce stroke risk, Finnish study suggests
2012
Australian scientists develop culture to destroy reef-killing starfish
2012
On the campaign trail, September 2012
2012
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez re-elected

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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