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Today in History

1513
Balboa sees the Pacific Ocean
1789
The Bill of Rights, first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, are passed by Congress
1947
Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs born in Breckenridge, Minnesota
1952
Actor Mark Hamill born in Oakland, California
1952
Activist, author and actor, Christopher Reeve born in New York City
1969
Academy Award winning actress Catherine Zeta Jones born in Treboeth, Wales
1981
Sandra Day O'Connor becomes first woman on US Supreme Court
2002
Vitim impact event in Siberia, Russia
813
Death of al-Amin ibn Harun al-Rashid
1066
Saxon King Harold defeated the Norwegians at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.
1267
England recognizes Llywelyn and his heirs as Kings of Wales, and recognizes the borders of their territories
1392
Death of St. Sergius of Radonezh
1396
The last great Christian crusade, led jointly by John the Fearless of Nevers and King Sigismund of Hungary, ends in disaster at the hands of Sultan Bajazet I's Ottoman army at Nicopolis.
1493
Christopher Columbus set sail from Cadiz, Spain, with a flotilla of 17 ships on his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
1506
Death of Philip I "the Fair," King of Spain
1513
Spanish explorer Vasco Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and became the first known European to see the Pacific Ocean.
1555
Peace of Augsburg
1598
In Sweden, King Sigismund is defeated at Stangebro by his Uncle Charles.
1644
Ole Rmer, Danish astronomer who proved that speed of light is finite born
1657
Imre Thkly, Hungarian patriot born
1690
The first American newspaper, called "Public Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic," appeared in Boston. Issuing form the London Coffee House, it was a four-fold sheet but with only three pages of print and no advertisements. Harris promised more issues if there were a "glut of occurrences." Harris' journalistic endeavors were brought to an end because his publication made too many injudicious remarks against Massachusetts Governor Simon Bradstreet.
1725
Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, designed & built 1st automobile. born
1775
American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen was captured by the British as he led an attack on Montreal.
1789
The first United States Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. (Ten of the amendments became the Bill of Rights.)
1804
On this election day in American voters cast separate votes for presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Previously, the runner-up in the presidential race was named vice-president.
1818
The first blood transfusion using human blood (instead of animal blood) was done in London at Guy's Hospital.
1846
American General Zachary Taylor's forces capture Monterrey, Mexico.
1847
Vinnie Ream, who sculpted President Abraham Lincoln from life shortly before he was slain. born
1849
Johann Strauss the Elder died after catching scarlet fever from the daughter of his live-in lover. She immediately moved out and fled, apparently worried that she might be blamed for his death. Johann Strauss the Younger took over the family dance band business.
1865
The National Bank of Concord, Massachusetts, was robbed of $310,000, the first significant bank robbery in American history. Langdon W. Moore was said to have perpetrated it.
1890
Nadia von Meck wrote Tchaikovsky that she could no longer afford to send him the checks that he was living on.
1890
Congress establishes Yosemite National Park.
1890
Mormon president Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto formally renouncing the practice of polygamy.
1897
Novelist William Faulkner in New Albany, Mississippi. His books were mostly set in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. His works include The Sound and The Fury and Intruder in the Dust born
1905
American painter Mark Rothko born
1905
Sports columnist Walter "Red" Smith born
1906
Soviet composer Dimitri Shostakovich. He wrote 15 symphonies born
1909
The first National Aeronautic Show opens at Madison Square Garden.
1915
An allied offensive is launched in France against the German Army.
1918
Brazil declares war on Austria.
1918
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Phil Rizzuto born
1919
Alabama governor George Wallace. born
1919
President Wilson collapsed after a speech in Pueblo, Colorado, during a national speaking tour in support of the Treaty of Versailles.
1927
Conductor Sir Colin Davies born
1931
ABC News correspondent Barbara Walters born
1932
Glenn Gould, concert pianist best known for his Bach interpretations born
1933
The public is shown the Shroud of Turin for the first time in 400 years.
1933
Country singer Ian Tyson (Ian and Sylvia) born
1934
Country singer Royce Kendall (The Kendalls) born
1937
German Chancellor Adolf Hitler meets with Italian Premier Benito Mussolini in Munich.
1938
President Franklin Roosevelt urges negotiations between Hitler and Czech President Benes over the Sudetenland.
1939
Rhythm-and-blues singer Jesse Russell (The Persuasions) born
1942
The War Labor Board orders equal pay for women in the United States.
1943
Actor Robert Walden born
1943
The Red Army retakes Smolensk from the Germans who are retreating to the Dnieper River in the Soviet Union.
1944
Actor-producer Michael Douglas born
1947
Model Cheryl Tiegs born
1949
Actor-director Anson Williams born
1949
Actress Mimi Kennedy born
1952
Actor Christopher Reeve born
1952
Actor Mark Hamill born
1952
Actor Colin Friels born
1954
François Duvalier ("Papa Doc") was elected president of Haiti.
1954
Elvis Presley's second single, "Good Rockin' Tonight," was released. That night, Presley made what would be his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry -- after which he was advised to go back to truck driving.
1957
With 300 US Army troops standing guard, nine black children forced to withdraw from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, because of unruly white crowds were escorted to class.
1958
Actor Michael Madsen born
1959
President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev begin Camp David talks.
1961
Actress Heather Locklear born
1962
John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
1962
to become the new world heavyweight champion
1965
Basketball player Scottie Pippen born
1965
Muhamnmad Ali defeated Sonny Liston one minute into the rematch, but ther World Boxing Association did not recognizxe Ali as champion because of his political views.
1968
Actor Will Smith born
1969
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones born
1973
Actress Bridgette Wilson born
1974
Scientists warn that continued use of aerosol sprays will cause ozone depletion, which will lead to increased risk of skin cancer and global weather changes. This remains a widespred belief but it is still an unproved theory.
1978
144 people were killed when a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 and a Cessna private plane collided over San Diego.
1979
The musical "Evita" opened on Broadway.
1980
alcohol overdose. He was 33. His death precipitated the break-up of Led Zeppelin.
1981
Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the US Supreme Court.
1986
Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze met again in New York to discuss the cases of Nicholas Daniloff and Gennadiy Zakharov, who were accused of spying in the Soviet Union and the United States, respectively.
1987
The Senate unanimously approved the nomination of Judge William S. Sessions to be the new director of the FBI.
1988
Former "first brother" Billy Carter died in Plains, Georgia, at age 51.
1988
Florence Griffith Joyner won the women's 100-meter dash at the Seoul Olympics.
1988
Republican George Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis clashed over deficits, drugs and the Pledge of Allegiance in their first presidential debate.
1990
In a videotaped message to Americans, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein warned that if President Bush launched a war against his country, "it would not be up to him to end it."
1990
The UN Security Council voted 14-1 to impose an air embargo against Iraq. (Cuba cast the lone dissenting vote.)
1991
The U.N. Security Council unanimously ordered a worldwide arms embargo against Yugoslavia and all its warring factions.
1991
A national commission faulted the government for a lack of leadership in the fight against AIDS.
1991
Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie died in Lyon, France, at age 77.
1992
A judge in Orlando, Florida, ruled in favor of Gregory Kingsley, a 12-year-old boy seeking a "divorce" from his biological parents.
1992
The Mars Observer blasted off on a $980 million mission to the Red Planet (the probe disappeared just before entering Martian orbit in August 1993).
1993
Three US soldiers in Somalia were killed when their helicopter was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade.
1995
Ross Perot announced he would form a new Independence Party that would field its own White House candidate and would try to be the swing vote in congressional races.
1996
Stone-throwing protests by thousands of Palestinians angered by Israel's decision to open an archaeological tunnel near Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound led to battles with Israeli troops in which seven people died.
1997
President Clinton pulled open the door of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, as he welcomed nine blacks who'd faced hate-filled mobs 40 years earlier.
1997
The NBC prime-time drama "E-R" did its season premiere live for the Eastern United States, then repeated the performance live for the West Coast.
1997
The FBI released more of its secret files on John Lennon's anti-war activities. The files had been sought by University of California professor Jon Wiener.
1997
Sportscaster Marv Albert ended his trial in Arlington, Virginia, by pleading guilty to assault and battery charges; within hours, NBC fired him.
1998
Hurricane "Georges" raked the Florida Keys with sheets of rain and 105 mile-an-hour winds, but spared Florida the kind of devastation seen across the Caribbean.
1998
Mark McGwire hit his 66th home run, just 45 minutes after Sammy Sosa hit his 66th homer of the season.
1999
Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley squared off in back-to-back speeches to the Democratic National Committee as each sought support for his 2000 presidential campaign.
2005
Hasegawa retains Bantamweight title
2005
Three detained for Thai marine deaths
2005
Switzerland citizens vote on extending freedom rights from 15 to 25 European countries
2005
UK mobile provider begins TV-on-phone trial
2005
Polish parliamentary election - unofficial results
2005
Switzerland citizens vote Yes to freedom of circulation to new EU states
2005
Google Toolbar for Firefox now out of beta
2005
Gay teachers' status uncertain after Polish election
2005
Church of Scientology does not see humor in website dedicated to Tom Cruise
2005
Controversy over effects of new bankruptcy law on victims of Katrina
2006
New Zealand government denies financial assistance for Overlander
2006
Kurt Angle signs with TNA Wrestling
2006
Clinton calls Fox interview "conservative hitjob"
2006
India nominates "Rang De Basanti" for the Oscars
2006
Jimmy Wales: First draft of new version of GFDL license expected soon
2006
Virgin Rail train collides with car near Copmanthorpe, killing driver
2007
Interview with U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo
2007
Iranian President Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia University
2007
John Howard announces $560 million for medical research
2007
Gay World Cup begins in Buenos Aires
2007
Canadian soldier killed in southern Afghanistan
2007
Volcano erupts without warning in New Zealand, two injured
2007
John Howard sets green energy targets
2007
Protests mark Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia University
2007
Flights around the US disrupted because of equipment failure
2007
Transport for London wins first Anti-Social Behaviour Order against graffiti vandal
2007
Judge rules stem cell proposal to remain on New Jersey ballot
2007
Aid for Australian farmers increased to $1 billion
2008
FBI begins widespread financial probe of 26 firms
2008
Nine children abandoned at hospital emergency room in Nebraska, USA
2008
CanadaVOTES: NDP incumbent Wayne Marston running in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
2008
Newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky gives birth to baby boy
2008
Voluntary sterilization of poor women proposed by Louisiana state legislator
2008
Pakistani, United States troops in gun battle
2008
Bush addresses nation on economic crisis; Congress debates bailout
2008
Incomplete data may mislead doctors into overprescribing expensive medicines
2008
UN inspectors banned from North Korean nuclear facility
2008
New study claims Stonehenge was a place of healing
2009
Airliner crash wounds four in Durban, South Africa
2009
Al-Qaeda warns Saudi Arabia of attacks
2009
Vienna mayor criticises cancellation of Michael Jackson tribute concert
2009
Manson Family killer Susan Atkins dies in prison
2009
'Last Ottoman' dies at age 97
2009
Iran announces its building of a second nuclear power plant
2009
Renault's F1 sponsors quit as Grosjean crashes on same corner as Piquet
2009
MMS comes to American iPhones
2010
Collingwood and St. Kilda draw AFL Grand Final
2010
Slovenian cyclist Jure Robič dies in traffic accident aged 45
2010
Unlicensed London taxi driver jailed for raping passenger
2011
Saudi Arabian women gain right to vote, run in elections
2011
Nepal plane crash kills 19

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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