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Today in History

LOTR...
Frodo wounded at Weathertop
490
BC
Greek soldier Pheidippides runs 26+ miles to Athens after the Persian defeat at Marathon
1678
Pilgrim's Progress published. However, the copy for the first edition of the First Part of The Pilgrim's Progress was entered in the Stationers' Register on 22 December 1677. The book was licensed and entered in the Term Catalogue for the following Hilary Term, 18 February 1678; this date would customarily indicate the time of publication, or only slightly precede it
1918
Comic actor and the voice of Top Cat, Arnold Stang born in New York City
1925
Electrical engineer and supercomputer architect, Seymour Cray born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
1934
Actress Brigitte Bardot born Camille Javal in Paris, France
1939
Germany and Soviet Union divide Poland
1968
Actress Naomi Watts born in Kent, England
1972
Burlesque artist, model and actress, Dita Von Teese born Heather Renée Sweet in Rochester, Michigan
490
BC
The Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon. A Greek soldier ran 26 miles to tell Athenians of the victory and died after his announcement. His feat provided the model for the modern marathon race.
48
Ptolemy
106
Pompey the Great (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus) born
235
Pontian resigned as Pope
551
Confucius (traditional Chinese date) born
780
Death of St. Lioba
855
The Emperor Lothar dies in Gaul, and his kingdom is divided between his three sons
876
Death of Louis, founder of the German Kingdom
929
Death of St. Weceslaus
1066
William the Conqueror invades England. Valour in the centuries since William the Conqueror built this now ruined royal fortress.
1106
King Henry of England defeats his brother Robert at the Battle of Tinchebrai and reunites England and Normandy.
1193
Death of Robert de Sable, 11th Master of the Templars
1197
Death of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
1238
King James I of Spain, "the Conqueror," defeats Moors
1542
The Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo, who was exploring northwest shores of Mexico under the Spanish flag, sailed into San Diego Bay. It was the first European sighting of California.
1573
Michelangelo da Caravaggio, Italian painter. He did many religious paintings in a realistic style, which was a great influence on later painters such as Rembrandt and Rubens. born
1607
Samuel de Champlain and his colonists return to France from Port Royal Nova Scotia.
1704
A statute was enacted by the colony of Maryland, giving ministers the right to impose divorce on "unholy couples."
1745
The British national anthem God Save the King was sung for the first time. (Drury Theater in London)
1781
American forces in the Revolutionary War, backed by a French fleet, began their siege of Yorktown Heights, Virginia. (last battle of the the Revolutionary War)
1785
David Walker, Black American Abolitionist whose pamphlet Appeal . . . to the Colored Citizens of the World . . . , urging slaves to fight for their freedom, was one of the most radical documents of the antislavery movement. born
1787
Congress voted to send the just-completed Constitution of the United States to state legislatures for their approval.
1789
Richard Bright, British physician who was the first to describe the clinical manifestations of the kidney disorder known as Bright's disease, or nephritis. born
1790
Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy died, leaving Haydn a fairly large pension provided he kept the title of Esterhazy Kapellmeister. The new prince, Anton, fired the Esterhazy orchestra, but in the process saved so much money that he was able actually to add to Haydn's annuity.
1803
Prosper Mrime, the French novelist whose novel "Carmen" provided the story for Bizet's opera. born
1808
Andover Theological Seminary first opened in Massachusetts, under sponsorship of the Congregational Church.
1820
German social philosopher Friedrich Engels born
1839
American educator and feminist leader Frances E. Willard. She was the first woman college president in America born
1841
Georges Clemenceau, French prime minister during World War I born
1850
Flogging was abolished as a form of punishment in the US Navy.
1865
Elizabeth Anderson became the first licensed physician in Britain.
1874
Colonel Ronald Mackenzie raids a war camp of Comanche and Kiowa at the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, slaughtering 2,000 of their horses.
1885
George de Forest Brush, American painter noted for his penetrating representations of family groups. born
1886
The Belgian violin master Eugene Ysaye was married. One of the wedding gifts he and his bride received was a piece of music; the haunting Violin Sonata in A major by Cesar Franck.
1891
Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, died in virtual obscurity in New York City
1892
Mansfield University hosted the first night football game at Smythe Park in Mansfield, Pennsylvania.
1895
At a convention in Atlanta, three Baptist groups merged to form the National Baptist Convention. It is today the largest African-American denomination in America and the world.
1901
CBS Chairman William Paley born
1902
TV variety show host Ed Sullivan born
1904
A woman is placed under arrest for smoking a cigarette on New York's Fifth Avenue.
1905
German heavyweight boxer Max Schmeling born
1909
The modern British poet Stephen Spender born
1909
Cartoonist Al Capp born
1913
Race riots in Harriston, Mississippi, kill 10 people.
1916
English actor Peter Finch born
1919
Tom Harmon, American football player, a Heisman Trophy winner, who was one of the greatest tailbacks in collegiate football history. born
1920
In baseball's biggest scandal, a grand jury indicted eight players of the Chicago White Sox for throwing the 1919 World Series with the Cincinnati Reds.
1923
Actor William Windom born
1924
Italian film director Marcello Mastroianni born
1924
Two US Army planes landed in Seattle, Washington, having completed the first round-the-world flight in 175 days. The flight was made in 57 hops, each one averaging 483 miles. The actual flying time was 351 hours.
1925
Actor Arnold Stang born
1926
Comedian Jerry Clower born
1928
Seymour R. Cray, American electronics engineer who was the preeminent designer of the large, high-speed computers known as supercomputers. born
1930
Country singer Tommy Collins born
1934
Actress Brigitte Bardot born
1934
The first issue of "The Sword of the Lord" was published. Founded by Baptist evangelist John R. Rice, 39, it became the largest independent Christian weekly for years, and was recognized by liberals as the "voice of fundamentalism."
1935
Blues singer Koko Taylor born
1938
Singer Ben E. King born
1939
During World War Two, Germany and the Soviet Union agreed on a plan to partition Poland.
1943
Actor J.T. Walsh born
1945
Robert Todd Duncan sang the role of Tonio in I Pagliacci at the New York City Opera, the first black in America to sing in an opera with an otherwise all-white cast.
1946
Singer Helen Shapiro born
1947
Actor Jeffrey Jones born
1950
Movie writer-director-actor John Sayles born
1952
Actress Sylvia Kristel born
1959
Explorer VI, the U.S. satellite, takes the first video pictures of earth.
1964
Actress-comedian Janeane Garofalo born
1967
TV personality Moon Zappa born
1967
Walter Washington took office as the first mayor of the District of Columbia.
1968
Rhythm-and-blues singer Sean Levert (Levert born
1970
Actress Mira Sorvino born
1972
Japan and Communist China agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations.
1974
First lady Betty Ford underwent a mastectomy at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland, following discovery of a cancerous lump in her breast.
1975
Country singer Mandy Barnet born
1978
Albino Luciani, who was elected as Pope to succeed Paul VI and who chose the name John Paul I, died after a Papacy of one short month. Rumors persist about his having been poisoned. He was found dead the following morning.
1987
US Representative Patricia Schroeder (Democrat, Colorado) announced in Denver that she would not run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
1987
Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze met in New York to discuss, among other things, the case of American journalist Nicholas Daniloff, accused by the Soviets of spying.
1988
President Reagan vetoed legislation designed to toughen curbs in textile, apparel and shoe imports, arguing it would have "disastrous effects" on the economy at a time when exports were growing.
1989
Deposed Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii at age 72.
1990
The exiled emir of Kuwait visited the White House, where he told President Bush the Iraqis were destroying and looting his country.
1991
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev praised President Bush's pledge to drastically reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and promised to ''reciprocate.''
1991
U.N. weapons inspectors ended a five-day standoff with Iraq over documents relating to Iraq's nuclear weapons program.
1991
Jazz great Miles Davis died in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 65.
1992
A Pakistani jetliner crashed in Nepal, killing all 167 people aboard.
1992
Aides to President Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton met in Dallas with supporters of Ross Perot, who hinted afterward he might re-enter the presidential race.
1993
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton went to Capitol Hill to begin selling the administration's health care plan to Congress.
1994
"Cats" 5,000th Broadway performance (joins Chorus Line & Oh! Calcutta!)
1994
Ferry boat Estonia capsize & sinks in East Sea, 909 killed
1994
"Ed Wood" premieres
1995
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat signed an accord to transfer much of the West Bank to the control of its Arab residents.
1996
With the United States abstaining, the UN Security Council passed a resolution indirectly calling on Israel to close an archaeological tunnel in Jerusalem that had touched off fighting between Israelis and Palestinians.
1996
Landmark legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants in the United States won House passage as part of a giant federal spending bill.
1996
Asteroid 1991 CS passes closer than 5 million miles to Earth
1996
Orioles' Roberto Alomar suspended 5 games for spitting at ump
1997
Newscaster David Brinkley, 74, retires after 54 years in broadcasting
1997
Swiss voters overwhelmingly endorsed their government's liberal drug policies, including the controversial state distribution of heroin to hardened addicts.
1997
Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals hit his 58th home run on the final day of the regular season as his team beat the Chicago Cubs, 2-to-1.
1998
Hurricane "Georges" plowed into the Gulf Coast, weakening to a tropical storm but pouring rain at an inch-an-hour pace. President Clinton declared an emergency late in the day.
1999
The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a state can give visitation rights to grandparents when, after a divorce or some other family split, the children's parents say no. (In June, the court had ruled that Washington state went too far in letting grandparents and others seek visitation, but it stopped short of giving parents absolute veto power over who gets to visit their children.)
2005
ALA observes banned book week
2005
U.S. house majority leader DeLay indicted, steps down temporarily
2005
FCC extends 911 deadline for VoIP
2005
Emerging technologists showcased at MIT
2005
Fuel hike plans spark unrest across Indonesia
2005
French ferry raided by military forces
2005
U.S. Senate debates ten year sunset for federal agencies
2005
9/11 Anthrax investigation quietly loses urgency
2005
MIT's "$100 laptop" to be unveiled in November MIT's
2005
Microsoft invested 4 billion USD into Xbox division
2006
Toll New Zealand announces that the Overlander train service will stay
2006
India's Sania Mirza beats Martina Hingis at the Korea Open
2006
1993 Mumbai blasts: One more guilty verdict, five others acquitted
2006
2008 GOP convention to be in Minnesota
2006
New Zealand Reserve Bank phone hacker not convicted
2006
New York City considers stricter regulations on trans fat
2007
Nightwish release 'Dark Passion Play', most expensive album in Finnish history
2007
Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan
2007
Rugby World Cup: Georgia claim first World Cup victory
2007
Hate Crime victim finds assailant on Facebook
2007
Canadian woman marries New Zealand man on radio show
2007
Trust formed to protect New Zealand's free speech
2007
Japanese journalist shot and killed in Myanmar
2007
Anglican Church of Australia approves female bishops
2007
Insurgent commander Abu al-Tunisi declared dead in airstrike - one year after first report of death
2007
At least 9 protesters killed, 11 wounded in Myanmar
2007
Movie 'The Assassination of Jesse James' leaked on the internet
2008
Wikileaks claims news organisations pressured to remove articles on billionaire fraudster
2008
Vancouver-Kingsway riding is clash between NDP and Liberals
2008
Wales loses all BBC TV and Radio services
2008
McCain and Obama face off in U.S. presidential candidate debate
2008
Fire hits Egyptian national theatre
2008
Vatican accepts Juan Pablo Cafiero as Argentine Ambassador
2008
United Kingdom to introduce graphic images on cigarette packets
2008
US pastors plan to defy law and endorse candidates
2008
Home of controversial book publisher set ablaze
2009
Apple announces two billionth download from App Store
2009
Lewis Hamilton wins Singapore Grand Prix
2009
Suspect arrested for murder of Iraq's entire taekwondo team
2009
Indian lunar mission Chandrayaan finds water on moon
2010
Utah police investigate polygamist family from reality show 'Sister Wives'
2010
Former professional wrestler Giant González dies aged 44
2010
Polish soldier killed in eastern Afghanistan
2010
Gunman commits suicide at University of Texas
2011
Journalist forbidden to leave Belarus
2012
Singer Andy Williams dies at 84

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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