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Today in History

1778
Benjamin Franklin is sent to France as an American ambassador
1814
Francis Scott Key pens the "Star Spangled Banner"
1934
Author and social activist, Kate Millet born in St. Paul, Minnesota
1936
Teacher, writer, director and actor, Walter Koenig born in Chicago, Illinois
1944
Dancer, singer, and actress, Joey Heatherton born Davenie Johanna in New York City
258
Martryrdom of St. Cyprian
407
Death of St. John Chrysostom
891
Death of Pope Stephen V
1131
Coronation of Fulk and Melissande as King and Queen of Jerusalem
1146
Zangi of the Near East is murdered. The Sultan Nur ad-Din, his son, pursues the conquest of Edessa.
1190
Philip II of France and Richard I of England join forces at Messina, Sicily (3rd Crusade)
1321
Death of Dante Alighieri
1486
German occultist and alchemist Agrippa von Nettesheim born
1523
Death of Pope Adrian VI 1
1531
Philipp Apianus German cartographer born
1544
Henry VIII, King of England, takes Boulogne
1637
Pierre Vernier, inventor of vernier caliper, dies
1722
Composer Joseph Paul Ziegler born
1737
Micheal Haydn was born. He was popular and his compositions were popular, too. At the time he was thought to be better than his brother at one kind of music: - religious. Franz Josef Haydn shared that opinion. Mozart admired Michael Haydn.(Die Sch"pfung) born
1741
German composer George Frederick Handel, 56, finished composing his oratorio, "The Messiah." He wrote the score, start-to-finish, in only 24 days, subsisting primarily on coffee.
1742
Judge James Wilson signer of the Declaration of Independence born
1748
Composer Johann Paul Schulthesius born
1761
Composer Pavel Lambert Masek born
1768
Composer Georg Johann Schinn born
1769
Baron Freidrich von Humbolt, German naturalist and explorer who made the first isothermic and isobaric maps born
1791
Louis XVI solemnly swears his allegiance to the French constitution.
1792
Italian marquis and premier of Toscane Gino Capponi born
1812
Napoleon I's invasion of Russia reaches its climax as his Grande Armee enters Moscow--only to find the enemy capital deserted and burning, set afire by the few Russians who remained.
1814
Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland. Key was on board the British frigate to negotiate the release of a captured friend.
1817
Author and judge Theodor Storm (Imense China) born
1847
US forces under General Winfield Scott took control of Mexico City.
1849
Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov born
1853
The Allies land at Eupatoria on the west coast of Crimea.
1862
At the battles of South Mountain and Crampton's Gap, Maryland Union troops smash into the Confederates as they close in on what will become the Antietam battleground.
1864
Lord Robert Cecil, one of the founders of the League of Nations and its president from 1923 to 1945 born
1867
Artist and illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, "Gibson Girl" creator born
1883
Margaret Sanger, American pioneer leader in the birth control movement born
1886
The typewriter ribbon is patented.
1899
While in New York, Henry Bliss becomes 1st automobile fatality
1899
Film director-producer Hal Wallis born
1901
President McKinley died in Buffalo, New York, of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.
1901
Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in as the 26th President of the United States upon the death of William McKinley.
1911
Russian Premier Piotr Stolypin mortally wounded in assassination attempt at Kiev opera house.
1914
Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger on television born
1921
Constance Baker Motley, first African-American women to be appointed a federal judge born
1927
Bob Jones University opened in Greenville, South Carolina, and eighty-eight students registered for the first fall term.
1927
Modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice, France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of her sports car.
1933
Actress Zoe Caldwell born
1934
Feminist author Kate Millett born
1936
A typewriter that could notate music was patented in Germany. It didn't catch on. To this day most composers write in longhand, even with the advent of computer programs for writing music.
1936
Actor Walter Koenig born
1938
Actor Nicol Williamson born
1940
Congress passed the Selective Service Act, providing for the first peacetime draft in US history.
1943
German troops abandon the Salerno front in Italy. The Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team fought bravely in eight major campaigns.
1944
Singer-actress Joey Heatherton born
1947
Singer Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (Sha Na Na) born
1947
Actor Sam Neill born
1950
On the heels of the landing at Inchon, the U.S. Eight Army and South Korean allies break out of the Pusan Perimeter.
1954
Singer Barry Cowsill born
1955
Rock musician Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) born
1956
Actor Joe Penny ("Jake and the Fatman") born
1959
Singer Morten Harket (a-ha) born
1959
Country singer John Berry born
1959
The Soviet space probe "Luna Two" became the first manmade object to reach the moon as it crashed onto the lunar surface.
1959
Actress Mary Crosby born
1960
Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia form OPEC. Lessons learned in the savage 1972 Eastertide Offensive paid off at the Battle of Khafji almost two decades later.
1963
The first surviving American quintuplets were born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to MaryAnn and Andrew Fischer.
1964
Actress Faith Ford born
1965
The situation comedy "My Mother The Car" premiered on NBC TV.
1966
Operation Attleboro, designed as a training exercise for American troops, becomes a month-long struggle against the Viet Cong.
1968
Actor Dan Cortese born
1970
Rock musician Craig Montoya (Everclear) born
1971
Actress Kimberly Williams born
1972
The family drama series "The Waltons" premiered on CBS.
1973
Rapper Nas born
1975
Pope Paul the Sixth declared Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton the first US-born saint in the Roman Catholic Church.
1982
Lebanon's president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was killed by a bomb.
1982
Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly actress Grace Kelly, died at age 52 of injuries from a car crash the day before.
1983
The U.S. House of Representatives voted, 416-0, in favor of a resolution condemning the Soviet Union for shooting down a Korean jetliner on Sept. 1, calling it a "cold-blooded, barbarous attack."
1984
Israel's new coalition government came into being, with Shimon Peres of the Labor Party as prime minister and Yitzhak Shamir of the Likud bloc as foreign minister promising to exchange roles for the second half of their terms.
1984
56-year-old balloonist Joe Kittinger became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon. He left Caribou, Maine, in a 10-story-tall helium-filled balloon named "Rosie O'Grady's Balloon of Peace."
1985
Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon released the Reverend Benjamin Weir, an American missionary, after holding him captive for 16 months.
1985
Susan Akin of Mississippi was crowned Miss America at the pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1986
President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, appeared together on radio and television to appeal for a ''national crusade'' against drug abuse.
1987
Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole resigned to devote herself to the presidential campaign of her husband, Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole.
1988
Hurricane "Gilbert" slammed into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula after forcing thousands of residents to flee.
1988
Bad weather forced Pope John Paul the Second to make an unscheduled stop in Johannesburg during a tour of southern Africa.
1989
Joseph T. Wesbecker, a 47-year-old pressman on disability for mental illness, shot and fatally wounded eight people and wounded 12 others at a printing plant in Louisville, Kentucky, before taking his own life.
1990
During the Persian Gulf crisis, the Navy reported that American troops had fired a warning shot at an Iraqi tanker, then boarded it briefly before allowing it to proceed.
1991
The government of South Africa, the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party signed a national peace pact.
1991
Secretary of State James A. Baker III met with leaders of the Baltic nations, which had declared independence from the Soviet Union.
1991
Carolyn Suzanne Sapp of Hawaii was crowned Miss America.
1992
Germany cut key interest rates for the first time in five years, an action the United States and European Community nations had been urging to help spur a world economic recovery.
1993
Israel and Jordan signed a framework for negotiations, a day after the signing of a PLO-Israeli peace accord.
1993
British tourist Gary Colley was shot and killed, his female companion wounded, at a highway rest stop in Florida. (Two suspects later received life sentences; two others received lesser sentences.)
1994
On the 34th day of a strike by players, Acting Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced the 1994 season was over. Twenty-six of the 28 owners voted to cancel the final days of the regular season.
1995
NATO called a temporary halt to its aerial pounding of Serb rebels while a U.S. envoy tried to clinch an agreement on withdrawing the Serbs' big guns from around Sarajevo.
1997
Overcoming fears of violence, Bosnians flooded polling stations to vote in local elections. At the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, "Law & Order" won best drama series while "Frasier" again won best comedy series.
1998
Ten people were charged in what prosecutors said was the largest Cuban spy ring ever uncovered in the US since Fidel Castro came to power. (Five men later pleaded guilty to lesser charges; the trial of the other five has been postponed until May 2000.)
1998
President Clinton, struggling to regain his footing from the Monica Lewinsky scandal, pledged during a speech in New York to work with America's allies to deal with the "biggest financial challenge facing the world in a half-century."
1999
Hurricane Floyd clobbered the Bahamas, toppling power lines, ripping roofs off homes and pushing a roiling sea into streets before heading toward the southeastern United States.
1999
Indonesian soldiers looted the abandoned U.N. mission in East Timor, just hours after 110 UN personnel and 1,300 East Timorese were evacuated and flown to safety to end a 10-day siege.
2005
Wal-Mart accused of workers rights violations
2005
First Nestorian search engine goes online
2005
Lexmark releases printer with built-in CD burner
2005
Senate questions Roberts in confirmation hearings
2005
Camel Rock Festival held in Scilly
2005
Light stopped for over a second
2005
Lingering Ophelia lashes at U.S. Carolinas coast
2005
Panic-buying as petrol protests sweep Britain
2006
Chavez says planted demolitions in World Trade Center 'plausible'
2006
Former Texas governor Ann W. Richards dies at 73
2006
Son of actress and model Anna Nicole Smith dead
2006
Liverpool Biennial art festival starts
2006
NASA: Arctic Sea's icecap is melting
2006
Congress approves Mexican border fence
2006
ATM in Virginia Beach hacked to give out four times more money
2006
Dutch minister of Justice under fire for "promotion of Sharia law"
2006
Parkdale-High Park, Ontario by-election campaign goes negative
2006
Iranian scientists claim to have found new treatment for AIDS
2006
Turkey bomb blast death toll rises
2006
Menorca airport's new terminal collapses
2007
Rugby World Cup: South Africa defeat England
2007
Blood recipients contract HIV in Peru
2007
Twenty20 World Championship: Kenya vs Sri Lanka
2007
Twenty20 World Championship: England vs Australia
2007
O.J. Simpson named suspect in robbery
2007
YouTube user gets instant fame for video defending Britney Spears
2007
Kennedy Center names honors recipients
2007
Preliminary report sheds light on SAS landing gear incident
2007
Chris Langham given ten months for downloading child porn
2007
Twenty20 World Championship: India vs Pakistan
2007
UK bank gets emergency support
2007
Aside from Semicon Taiwan - An attraction of "exiderdome" by Siemens
2007
Large earthquake rattles Indonesia; Seventh in two days
2008
Canada's leadership debate: the Green Party will take part
2008
Noel Edmonds, British TV presenter, starts boycott of TV license fee in UK
2008
Alaska Airlines set to cut up to 1000 jobs
2008
Researcher claims unmarked grave contains 1950 Lake Michigan plane crash victims
2008
Russian Boeing 737 crashes with 88 aboard
2008
Delhi rocked by bomb blasts
2009
UK airplane bomb plotters sentenced, sent to jail
2009
Norwegian politicians face voter suppression allegations
2009
Bruce Forsyth takes pay cut on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing
2009
Riots in Hamburg, Germany injure dozens
2010
American professional wrestler Mike "Bastion Booger" Shaw dies aged 53

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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