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Today in History

LOTR...
Gandalf escapes from Orthanc
1846
Elias Howe patents the sewing machine
1897
Lattimer Massacre in Pennsylvania
1934
Right fielder Roger Maris [.260BA 275HR 851RBI] born in Hibbing, Minnesota
1943
Nazi forces occupy Rome
1945
Grammy Award winning guitarist and singer, José Feliciano born in Lares, Puerto Rico
1949
Author, columnist and televison journalist, Bill O'Reilly born in New York City
1953
Oscar nominated actress, Amy Irving born in Palo Alto, California
1957
Emmy Award winning actress, Kate Burton born in Geneva, Switzerland
1960
Academy Award Winning actor, Colin Firth born in Grayshot, England
1963
School desegregation begins in Alabama
422
Election of Celestine as Pope
453
Death of St. Pulcheria, Empress of Byzantium
1067
Death of Godgifu, wife of the Earl Leofric of Mercia (we know her as Lady Godiva)
1087
William I, the Norman duke who conquered England, died. (The Conqueror had become quite fat in his later years, and his decaying body leaked from the coffin.) He left the kingdom to his son William Rufus.
1224
The Franciscans (founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi) first arrived in England. They were originally called "Grey Friars" because of their gray habits. (The habit worn by modern Franciscans is brown.)
1305
Death of St. Nicholas of Tolentino
1419
John the Fearless is murdered at Montereau, France, by supporters of the daupin.
1487
Pope Julius III Italian pope(1550-55) who promoted the Jesuits born
1533
Christening of Elizabeth I, Queen of England
1547
The Duke of Somerset leads the English to a resounding victory over the Scots at Pinkie Cleugh.
1585
Composer Ercole Porta born
1588
Thomas Cavendish, third man to circumnavigate the globe, returns to England
1588
Composer Nicholas Lanier born
1608
John Smith was elected president of the Jamestown colony council in Virginia.
1623
Lumber and furs are the first cargo to leave New Plymouth in North America for England.
1628
Piet Heyn siezes 80 tons of Spanish silver in Cuba
1629
The Dutch West India Company institutes the "Patron" system in their New World colonies
1634
Prince Ferdinand's army starts for Brussels
1638
Marie Therese, Queen-Consort of France born
1713
English scientist and clergyman John Needham born
1718
The Collegiate School at New Haven, CT, changed its name to Yale. (Congregationalists, unhappy with an increasing religious liberalism at Harvard, had founded Yale, the third oldest college in America, in 1701.)
1736
Carter Braxton, US farmer and signer of the Declaration of Independence born
1751
Italian violinist, composer and conductor Bartolomeo Campagnoli born
1752
English architec tJohn Soane (Bank of England, Soane Museum) born
1754
William Bligh, British naval officer who was the victim of two mutinies, the most famous on the HMS Bounty which was taken over by Fletcher Christian. born
1794
America's first non-denominational college, Blount College (later the University of Tennessee), was chartered.
1797
Mary Wollstonecraft, the pioneer English feminist writer, died from complications following the birth of her daughter Mary Godwin. Mary would later marry the poet Shelley and write Frankenstein.
1813
Oliver H. Perry sent the message, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours," after an American naval force defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. U.S. naval units under the command of Capt. Oliver Perry defeated a British squadron in the Battle of Lake Erie. This was the first defeat ever for a British naval squadron.
1819
Canadian hymnwriter Joseph Scriven. The accidental drowning of his bride-to-be the night before their wedding led to a life of depression; yet he also authored the hymn of comfort, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." born
1823
Simon Bolivar, who led the wars for independence from Spain in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, was named president of Peru, with dictatorial powers.
1838
Hector Berlioz's opera "Benvenuto Cellini" premiered in Paris. It flopped.
1839
Publisher Isaac Funk (the Funk of Funk and Wagnalls) born
1846
Elias Howe patents the first practical sewing machine in the U.S.
1847
John Roy Lynch, first African-American to deliver the keynote address at a Republican National Convention born
1850
In the midst of a gold rush, California enters the Union as the 31st state.
1855
Sevastopol, under siege for nearly a year, capitulates to the Allies.
1861
Confederates at Carnifex Ferry, Virginia, fall back after being attacked by Union troops. The action is instrumental in helping preserve western Virginia for the Union.
1885
Carl Van Doren, historian and critic who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography on Benjamin Franklin. born
1886
American poet Hidla Doolittle (who published under the name H.D.) She lived most of her adult life as an expatriate in England and Switzerland. born
1889
American political author Edmund O'Brien. He wrote The Last Hurrah (supposedly based on Boston mayor James J. "Honey" Fitzgerald, Rose Kennedy's father) born
1892
Physicist Arthur Holly Compton born
1903
English critic Cyril Connolly born
1907
Actress Fay Wray. The Beauty that broke the heart of the Beast (King Kong), born in Alberta, Canada. born
1912
J. Vedrines becomes the first pilot to break 100 m.p.h. barrier.
1913
Lincoln Highway opens as 1st paved coast-to-coast highway. It is old US 30 now.
1914
The six-day Battle of the Marne ends, halting the German advance into France.
1914
Film director Robert Wise born
1915
Actor Edmond O'Brien (Academy Award-winning actor Barefoot Contessa; Seven Days in May, Birdman of Alcatraz, Fantastic Voyage, Pete Kelly's Blues, The Long Hot Summer) born
1919
New York City welcomed home General John J. Pershing and 25,000 soldiers who'd served in the US First Division during World War One.
1923
In response to a dispute with Yugoslavia, Mussolini mobilizes Italian troops on Serb front.
1928
Singer Yma Sumac (Zoila Imperatriz Charrari Sumac del Castillo) You're not a crossword puzzle fan if you've never heard of her. (singer w/4 octave range: LP: Legend of the Sun Virgin) born
1929
Golfer Arnold Palmer. He won four Masters, two British Opens and one U.S. Open born
1934
Baseball's Roger Maris (NY Yankees outfielder) born
1934
Charles Kuralt, "On the road..." for CBS. born
1937
Country singer Tommy Overstreet born
1939
Canada declared war on Germany.
1939
Actor Greg Mullavey born
1940
Jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers born
1941
Christopher Hogwood. Hogwood's dedication to early music, and to the use of period instruments, helped to put a lot more Baroque music on CD. born
1942
Singer Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night) born
1945
Actor Tom Ligon ("Another World") born
1945
Singer Jose Feliciano born
1945
Vidkun Quisling was sentenced to death in Norway for collaborating with the Nazis.
1948
Actress Judy Geeson (To Sir with Love, Danger UXB) born
1948
Margaret Trudeau (Sinclair) (author 1st Lady - wife of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau [1968-1979]) born
1948
Mildred Gillars, accused of being Nazi wartime radio broadcaster "Axis Sally," was indicted in Washington DC for treason.
1950
Rock musician Joe Perry (Aerosmith) born
1951
Florence Chadwick of San Diego, California, became the first American woman to swim the English Channel from both coasts.
1952
West Germany offers Israel $540 million in compensation for Nazi atrocities.
1953
Actress Amy Irving (Yentl, Crossing Delancy, The Competition, Benefit of the Doubt, Carrie, Honeysuckle Rose) born
1953
Swanson sells it's first "TV Dinner".
1955
"Gunsmoke" premiered on CBS television. It ran until 1975, becoming the longest-lasting TV Western. It had begin three years earlier on radio, with William Conrad as Matt Dillon. James Arness played this role on the TV series.
1957
Actress Kate Burton born
1958
Director Chris Columbus ("Home Alone") born
1960
Rock singer-musician David Lowery (Cracker) born
1960
Actor Colin Firth born
1961
Jomo Kenyatta returns to Kenya from exile, during which he had been elected president of the Kenya National African Union.
1962
The Naval Sea Cadets was organized,
1963
Twenty black students entered public schools in Birmingham, Tuskegee and Mobile, Alabama, following a standoff between federal authorities and Governor George C. Wallace.
1966
Rock musician Robin Goodridge (Bush) born
1967
Rock singer-musician Miles Zuniga (Fastball) born
1968
Rapper Big Daddy Kane born
1974
Actor Ryan Phillippe ("I Know What You Did Last Summer") born
1976
A British Airways Trident collided with a Yougoslave charter DC-9 over Zagreb, Yugoslavia, killing 176 people aboard the two planes. This was the world's worst mid-air collision.
1977
Convicted murderer Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant, became the last person to date to be executed by the guillotine in France. (France abolished capital punishment in 1981.)
1979
Four Puerto Rican nationalists imprisoned for a 1954 attack on the U.S. House of Representatives and a 1950 attempt on the life of President Truman were granted clemency by President Carter.
1983
Pope John Paul II began a four-day visit to Vienna, Austria.
1984
Democratic presidential nominee Walter F. Mondale unveiled a $177 billion deficit-reduction plan that called for $85 billion in higher taxes.
1985
In El Salvador, Ines Guadelupe Duarte Duran, the eldest daughter of President Jose Napoleon Duarte, was kidnapped by leftist rebels. She was freed the following month as part of a prisoner exchange.
1986
CBS Inc. announced that embattled chairman and chief executive Thomas H. Wyman was stepping down.
1987
Pope John Paul the Second arrived in Miami, where he was welcomed by President and Mrs. Reagan, to begin a ten-day tour of the United States.
1987
One of the finest classical works of the current generation and one of the few Minimalist works to enjoy broad popularity was recorded for the first time: Shaker Loops by John Adams.
1988
Steffi Graf of West Germany achieved tennis' first Grand Slam since Margaret Court in 1970 by winning the US Open women's final.
1988
Gretchen Elizabeth Carlson of Minnesota was crowned Miss America.
1989
West German Boris Becker won the men's title at the U.S. Open, defeating top-seeded Ivan Lendl.
1989
Hungary gave permission for thousands of East German refugees and visitors to emigrate to West Germany.
1990
Iran agreed to resume full diplomatic ties with one time enemy Iraq. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein offered free oil to developing nations in a bid to win their support.
1991
The Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.
1992
A federal jury in Minneapolis struck down professional football's limited free agency system.
1992
Less than two months before Election Day, President Bush unveiled a repackaged economic manifesto which included a possible one-percentage-point across-the-board tax-rate cut.
1993
The cult series "The X-Files" premiered on Fox Television.
1993
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton lashed out at what she called "standpat, negative, nay-saying" opponents of health reform in an address to state legislators at George Washington University.
1994
President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and top national security advisers met at the White House to discuss Haiti, but made no final decisions.
1994
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario defeated Steffi Graf to win the U.S. Open women's championship.
1995
NBC's ''ER'' won eight Emmy Awards, but lost best dramatic series to ABC's ''NYPD Blue;'' NBC's ''Frasier'' won five awards, including best comedy series.
1995
A plane carrying members of a skydivers club crashed in Shacklefords, Va., killing 10 parachutists, the plane's pilot and a man on the ground.
1996
Hurricane "Hortense" pounded Puerto Rico, causing at least 21 deaths and destroying thousands of homes.
1996
The Senate dealt a double defeat to gay-rights activists, voting to reject same-sex marriage in federal law and killing a separate bill that would have barred job discrimination against gays.
1997
Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy pleaded innocent to charges of accepting $35,000 in sports tickets, travel and lodging from companies regulated by the Agriculture Department.
1998
Northwest Airlines and its striking pilots announced an agreement to end a nearly two-week-old walkout.
1998
President Clinton met with members of his Cabinet to apologize, ask forgiveness and promise to improve as a person in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
1999
The U.S. government began freeing 14 Puerto Rican nationalists granted clemency by President Clinton.
1999
A federal judge ordered an end to busing and other means of achieving racial balance in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the North Carolina school system that pioneered urban busing in the United States after a landmark Supreme Court ruling three decades earlier.
2005
British Gas announces a hike in energy bills of 14.2%
2005
Red Cross is not in New Orleans for Katrina, Guard raced it to Superdome
2005
All major American TV networks show charity concert for Katrina victims
2005
One week before German federal election, the race is wide-open again
2005
Wendy’s finger pointers plead guilty of crime
2005
FEMA head relieved of duties
2005
Saudi Arabia agrees with the US on joining the WTO
2005
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens opens in San Jose, CA, USA
2005
Read Santa Clara marks tenth anniversary
2005
Single-engine plane crashes into home in Cyprus
2005
Swedish minister wants more free-to-air channels in the terrestrial television network
2005
Irish dancing record broken in Cork
2005
Australia proposes new anti-terror laws
2006
Michael Schumacher wins Italian Grand Prix, announces plans to retire
2006
Jack Layton reaffirmed as Canadian New Democratic leader with 92% support
2006
Extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis strain emerges in South Africa
2006
Sharapova takes U.S. tennis title
2006
Thai election rerun likely in November
2007
General Petraeus: 30,000 troops may be able to leave Iraq by next summer
2007
Winners of Taiwan Sports Elite Awards named in Kaohsiung
2007
Al-Qaeda says another bin Laden tape to be released
2007
Over 30 killed in Mexico dynamite truck explosion
2007
6.8 earthquake strikes off coast of Colombia
2007
Blasts in Mexico rips gas and oil pipelines
2007
Cassini space probe to flyby Saturn's moon Iapetus
2007
Jurors begin deliberation in the Phil Spector murder trial
2007
Elections Canada stands by decision, Muslims not required to remove veils at polls
2007
Stars "schmooze" at Toronto International Film Festival party Stars
2007
Rumsfeld calls Afghanistan a 'big success'
2007
Bayern Munich Starlet wins awards at FIFA U17 World Cup
2007
Altercation erupts between rock musicians at MTV Music Video Awards
2008
Asif Ali Zardari sworn in as President of Pakistan
2008
Felipe Massa wins Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton first to cross the finish line
2008
Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il reported to have suffered 'serious' stroke
2009
American children's show Reading Rainbow ends 26 year run
2009
Two freight trains collide in Pakistan
2009
Government forces kill 17 rebels in northern Yemen
2009
Hurricane Fred churns the Atlantic
2009
One of Great Britain's "most wanted" criminals arrested in the Netherlands
2010
BP report into Gulf of Mexico disaster lays blame on other contractors
2010
New flotilla planned to set sail for Gaza Strip
2010
Large gas main explodes in San Bruno, California neighborhood
2010
Pastor of Florida church cancels plans to burn Qur'an, later reconsiders
2010
Air Zimbabwe pilots 'face dismissal' over pay strike
2011
Out of space in outer space: Special report on NASA's 'space junk' plans
2012
ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology
2012
Hellen Saohaga's London performance second best for Solomon Islands at Olympics, Paralympics
2012
Athletics concludes at London Paralympics with the marathon
2012
Pakistani footballer Abdul Ghafoor dies aged 71

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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