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Today in History

1645
Musician, cartographer, and explorer, Louis Jolliet born in Qu├ębec, Canada
1866
Author HG Wells born in London, England
1946
Musician. singer and songwriter, Barry Gibb born in the Isle of Man
1950
Emmy and Golden Globe award winning actor, comedian Bill Murray born in Wilmette, Illinois
1960
First televised presidential election debates take place in Chicago between candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy
1966
Chevrolet Camaro debuts
1968
Talk show host Ricki Lake born in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
1981
Independence Day in Belize
19
Death of Vergil
454
In Italy, Aetius, the supreme army commander, is murdered in Ravenna by Valentinian III, the emperor of the West.
1327
Edward II of England is murdered by order of his wife.
1372
Frederik I van Hohenzollern, monarch of Brandenburg (1417-40) born
1397
Beheading of Richard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey
1415
Frederick, III as Holy Roman Emperor, IV as King of Germany (1440-1493), V as ArchDuke of Austria born
1452
Girolamo Savonarola, Florentine monk, preacher, reformer. A Dominican from 1474, he was famous for his religious zeal. For 14 years he led in the reformation of Florence, before attacks on Alexander VI led to his excommunication. In 1498, he was convicted of heresy, hanged and burned. born
1520
Suliman "the Lawgiver" ("the Magnificent") becomes Sultan
1520
Death of Selim, Sultan of Turkey
1522
Martin Luther first published his German translation of the New Testament. His translation of the entire Bible was completed in 1534.
1527
Composer Matthaus Ludecus born
1529
Turks under Suleiman I lay siege to Vienna
1549
Death of Marguerite d'Anguoleme, Queen of Navarre
1558
Death of Charles V, King of Spain
1576
Death of Jerome Cardanus, mathematician
1645
Louis Joliet, French-Canadian explorer of the Mississippi River born
1673
James Needham returns to Virginia after exploring the land to the west, which would become Tennessee.
1706
Composer Jacob Wilhelm Lustig born
1728
Composer Louis Emmanuel Eadin born
1745
A Scottish Jacobite army of the Pretender Prince Charles Edward Stuart commanded by Lord George Murray routs the Royalist army of General Sir John Cope at Prestonpans.
1756
John Loudon McAdam, created macadam road surface (asphalt) born
1784
America's first daily paper, "The Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser" was published in Philadelphia.
1788
First Lady Margaret Taylor (Smith) (wife of 12th U.S. President, Zachary Taylor) born
1866
Charles Jean Henri Nicolle, bacteriologist, discovered that typhus fever is transmitted by body louse born
1866
Author and historian H.G. Wells (The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds) born
1874
Gustav Holst was born in Cheltenham, England. Holst's instrument was the trombone, though he also played keyboards. One of his best works, a concerto for two violins, is seldom played because one of the parts was made simple enough for one his students to play. born
1893
The first successful American-made, gasoline-operated motor car appeared on the streets of Springfield, Mass. It was designed and built by Charles and Frank Duryea.
1895
Juan de la Cierva, aeronautical engineer who invented the autogyro born
1897
The New York "Sun" ran its famous editorial that answered a question from eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon: "Is there a Santa Claus?" Francis P. Church wrote, in part: "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, ahd you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy."
1899
A painting of a dog listening to a record player was purchased by the Gramophone Company, parent of RCA Victor, for use as a trademark.
1902
British publisher Sir Allen Lane, who first introduced the low-priced paperback book born
1904
Exiled Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph dies of a "broken heart".
1912
Cartoon animator Chuck Jones born
1915
Stonehenge is sold by auction for 6,600 pounds sterling ($11,500) to a Mr. Chubb, who buys it as a present for his wife. He presents it to the nation three years later.
1918
Actor Rand Brooks born
1929
Fighting between China and the Soviet Union breaks out along the Manchurian border.
1931
Actor Larry Hagman born
1934
Poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen born
1935
Actor-comedian Henry Gibson born
1937
"The Hobbit," by J.R.R. Tolkien, was first published.
1937
Women's airspeed record set at 292 mph by American pilot Jacqueline Cochran.
1938
A hurricane struck parts of New York and New England, causing widespread damage and claiming more than 600 lives.
1941
The German Army cuts off the Crimean Peninsula from the rest of the Soviet Union.
1942
British forces attack the Japanese in Burma. Detachment 101 harried the Japanese in Burma and provided close support for regular Allied forces
1944
Author-comedian Fannie Flagg born
1944
U.S. troops of the 7th Army, invading Southern France, Cross the Meuse River.
1947
Author Stephen King born
1947
Musician Don Felder (The Eagles) born
1949
The People's Republic of China was proclaimed by its Communist leaders.
1950
Actor-comedian Bill Murray born
1954
Rock musician Philthy Animal (ex-Motorhead) born
1957
"Perry Mason," starring Raymond Burr, premiered on CBS TV. It continued for 9 years becoming the longest running lawyer series ever to appear on TV.
1958
Movie producer-writer Ethan Coen ("Fargo") born
1959
Actor-comedian Dave Coulier born
1960
Actor David James Elliott ("JAG") born
1961
Actress Nancy Travis ("Almost Perfect") born
1962
Actor Rob Morrow born
1964
Malta gained independence from Britain.
1967
Country singer Faith Hill born
1967
Rock musician Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies) born
1968
Actress-talk show host Ricki Lake born
1968
Rapper Trugoy the Dove (De La Soul) born
1971
Actor Alfonso Ribeiro ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "In the House") born
1977
President Carter defended budget director Bert Lance as he announced Lance's resignation. Lance had been accused of a series of illegal acts in banking.
1978
Two Soviet astronauts set a space endurance record after 96 days in space.
1982
National Football League players began a 57-day strike, their first regular-season walkout ever.
1983
Actor Joseph Mazzello ("Jurassic Park") born
1986
Delegates to the 35-nation East-West security conference in Stockholm, Sweden, agreed on information-sharing measures designed to reduce the risk of accidental war in Europe.
1987
A US helicopter gunship disabled an Iranian vessel, the "Iran Ajr," that was caught laying mines in the Persian Gulf; four Iranian crewmen were killed, 26 wounded and detained. NFL players went on strike, mainly over the issue of free agency.
1988
The Soviet women's gymnastics team won the gold medal at the Seoul Summer Olympics, with Romania placing second and East Germany, third.
1989
Twenty-one students in Alton, Texas, died when their school bus, involved in a collision with a truck, careened into a water-filled pit.
1989
General Colin Powell was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
1989
Hurricane "Hugo," packing winds of up to 135 miles-an-hour, crashed into Charleston, South Carolina.
1990
During a meeting of the Supreme Soviet, President Mikhail S. Gorbachev scolded legislators for dragging its feet on an economic rescue plan, and asked for sweeping new emergency powers to stabilize the economy.
1991
An 18-hour hostage drama ended in Sandy, Utah, as Richard L. Worthington, who had killed a nurse and seized control of a hospital maternity ward, finally freed his nine captives, including a baby who was born during the hostage situation.
1992
President Bush addressed the UN General Assembly, offering US support to strengthen international peacekeeping.
1992
Former defense secretaries Melvin Laird and James R. Schlesinger told a congressional committee the Pentagon had known American airmen were alive in Laos at the end of the Vietnam War and were not returned.
1993
Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced he was ousting the hard-line, Communist-dominated Congress that had long opposed his reforms. The police drama "NYPD Blue" premiered on ABC TV.
1994
Prosecutors from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties announced that child molestation charges would not be filed against singer Michael Jackson; however, the case would remain open until 1999.
1995
House Republicans unveiled partial details of their plan for Medicare aimed at achieving $270 billion in savings over seven years.
1996
The board of all-male Virginia Military Institute voted to admit women.
1996
John F. Kennedy Junior married Carolyn Bessette in a secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, Georgia.
1996
President Clinton and Republican rival Bob Dole agreed to face off in two debates without Ross Perot.
1997
Saying their persistent demands for a special investigation had been vindicated, senior Republicans insisted Attorney General Janet Reno seek appointment of an independent counsel to look into White House fund-raising activities, a day after the Justice Department revealed it had begun a preliminary review
1998
Hurricane Georges roared through Puerto Rico and the northeast Caribbean.
1998
Olympic gold medal track star Florence Griffith Joyner was found dead at her home in Mission Viejo, California; she was 38.
1998
President Clinton's videotaped grand jury testimony was publicly broadcast; in it, Clinton tussled with prosecutors over "the truth of my relationship" with Monica Lewinsky.
1999
The House Banking Committee opened an inquiry into allegations of a huge money-laundering scheme involving the Russian mob and the Bank of New York.
1999
A powerful earthquake struck Taiwan, killing at least 2400 people.
2005
Florida Keys evacuated in preparation for Rita
2005
Tennessee closes down Christian ex-gay camp for treating mental illness without a license
2005
Jet Blue airliner lands with broken nose gear
2005
Arizona applies ban on autodialers to mobile phone spam
2006
Four fallen Canadian soldiers return home
2006
Space shuttle Atlantis cleared for landing
2006
New Zealand songwriter Don McGlashan wins second Silver Scroll
2006
Near collision between military and civilian planes in India
2006
Wales to call time on smoking in April 2007
2006
Microsoft to release HD-DVD, upgrades to 1080p, on Xbox 360
2006
Thai military bans political party meetings
2006
Eyewitness account: from the streets of Bangkok
2006
Space shuttle Atlantis lands
2006
Canadian PM Harper makes speech at UN in New York
2006
Head of CBC network considers defecation as pleasurable as sex
2006
Dutch ministers to resign over prison fire
2006
Kaizer Chiefs' Fans go on the Rampage
2006
Venezuelan President Chavez criticises U.S. President Bush in U.N. address
2007
UN Security Council extends Afghan force mandate
2007
Two Michigan children, aged 9 and 11, charged with sex crimes
2007
Peruvian crater caused by meteor
2007
Suspicious package found outside South Carolina coffee shop
2007
Court papers filed on behalf of God respond to lawsuit by Nebraska Senator
2007
Nail bomb explodes beneath UK teacher's car
2007
27 dead after consuming poisonous alcohol
2007
ITV postpones broadcast of British Comedy Awards
2007
Student arrested over "art" shirt with exposed wiring at Boston Airport
2007
Russia apologises for violating Finnish airspace
2007
Experimental AIDS vaccine fails
2007
Rugby World Cup: France 25 - 3 Ireland
2007
Two students shot at Delaware State University
2008
Accidental email brings product placement agency under fire
2008
Fresh floods in India claims sixteen lives
2008
Large Hadron Collider damaged, to be shut down for repairs
2008
Violence erupts in Germany between left and right wing protesters
2008
KJ Noons stripped of EliteXC Lightweight Title
2008
Two people die in bus crash in North Yorkshire
2008
WWE SmackDown Results from Nashville, TN for September 19, 2008
2008
2008-09-21: CCTV footage shows bombing of Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan
2008
Rumors of Oprah Winfrey's death a hoax
2008
Award winning singer George Michael cautioned after caught with drugs in London public toilet
2009
Premier League: United snatch victory in dramatic Manchester derby
2009
More than 100 killed in southern Sudan tribal clash
2009
Ten dead after earthquake in Bhutan
2009
Students in Rhode Island school attacked by wasps
2010
The King's Speech wins People's Choice Award at Toronto Film Festival
2011
Camp Pendleton, California: helicopter crash kills two US marines
2012
Hailemariam Desalegn sworn in as Ethiopia's prime minister

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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