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Today in History

3114
BC
Mayan Calendar begins (August 11th on the Gregorian calendar)
1620
Mayflower sails from England for the New World with 102 passengers
1766
Pioneer of modern atomic theory, physicist John Dalton born in Manchester, England
1901
President McKinley shot by Leon Czolgosz
1937
Actress and comedienne, Jo Anne Worley born in Lowell, Indiana
1947
Golden Globe Award winning actress Jane Curtin born in Wellesley, Massachusetts
1958
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy born in Atlanta, Georgia
1968
Independence Day in Swaziland
394
Theodosius becomes sole ruler of Italy after defeating Eugenius at the Battle of the River Frigidus.
972
Death of Pope John VIII
1298
Venice defeats Genoa; Marco Polo taken prisoner
1422
Sultan Murat II ends a siege of Constantinople
1522
Return of Magellan's fleet. One of the five ships that set out in Ferdinand Magellan's trip around the world makes it back to Spain. Only 15 of the original 265 men that set out survived. Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.
1565
Spanish land at St. Augustine, Florida
1566
Death of Suliman, "the Lawgiver," called "the Magnificent" Selim II "the Sot" becomes Sultan of Turkey
1577
Sculptor and architect Pietro Tacca, Italian (Aanbidding of the Point) born
1620
Composer Isabella Leonarda born
1620
149 Pilgrims set sail from England aboard the Mayflower, bound for the New World.
1622
Spanish galleon "Atocha" sinks in hurricane; treasure found in 1985
1627
Composer Pierre Verdier born
1628
Endecott & Puritans land at Salem Bay Colony
1633
Composer Sebastian Knupfer born
1644
Composer Juan Bautista Jose Cabanilles born
1648
Composer Johann Schelle born
1688
Imperial troops defeat the Turks and take Belgrade, Serbia.
1697
Amsterdam regent, banker and merchant Willem Gideon Deutz born
1702
Composer Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber born
1711
Heinrich Melchior Mohlenberg, founder of the US Lutheran church born
1716
1st lighthouse in US built, in Boston.
1729
German englightened philosopher Mozes Mendelssohn(Haksalah) born
1757
Marie Joseph du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette. French soldier and statesman who aided George Washington during the American Revolution. born
1766
English physicist John Dalton. He developed atomic theory of matter. born
1781
Austria publisher and composer Anton Diabelli born
1788
German painter F. Wilhelm von Schadow born
1791
A day after he finished it, Mozart's "La Clemenza de Tito" was performed in Prague. The empress didn't like it. She hailed Mozart's next-to-last opera as "German swinery."
1793
French General Jean Houchard and his 40,000 men begin a three-day battle against an Anglo-Hanoveraian army at Hondschoote, southwest Belgium, in the wars of the French Revolution.
1800
Catherine Esther Beecher, educator who promoted higher education for women born
1805
Horatio Greenough, American neoclassical sculptor, writer. born
1811
James Melville Gilliss, founded Naval Observatory in Washington. born
1819
Thomas Blanchard of Middlebury, CT, patented a machine called the lathe. Blanchard said it was invented for the manufacturing of gun stocks. His lathe did the work of 13 operators.
1837
The Oberlin Collegiate Institute of Ohio went co-educational.
1860
Jane Addams known for her work as a social reformer, pacifist, and founder of Hull House in Chicago in 1889. In 1931 she became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. born
1861
Union General Ulysses S. Grant's forces capture Paducah, Kentucky from Confederate forces.
1869
The 1st westbound train arrives in San Francisco.
1870
The last British troops to serve in Austria are withdrawn.
1876
Southern Pacific line from Los Angeles to San Francisco completed.
1888
Financier-diplomat-bootleger Joseph P. Kennedy born
1899
Theatrical producer Billy Rose (Rosenberg) (songwriter of Me and My Shadow, That Old Gang of Mine, It's Only a Paper Moon, Does the Spearmint Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight, More than You Know, Barney Google) born
1901
President Willliam Mckinley is shot while attending a reception at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, by 28- year-old anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Mckinley, who dies eight days later. He becomes the third American president assassinated.
1907
Luxury liner Lusitania leaves London for New York on her maiden voyage.
1909
Word was received that Adm. Robert Peary had discovered the North Pole five months earlier, on April 6, 1909.
1910
One of the most magnificent works in the entire classical repertory was premiered. Ralph Vaughan Williams's "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," which features two string ensembles, one small and one large, answering each other from two ends of a hall in huge.
1913
French pilot Adolphe Pegoud first to "loop the loop."
1918
The German Army begins a general retreat across the Aisne, with British troops in pursuit.
1920
Jack Dempsey knocked out Billy Miske in the third round of a heavyweight title bout at Benton Harbor, Michigan.
1937
Comedian JoAnne Worley born
1937
The Soviet Union accuses Italy of torpedoing two Russian ships in the Mediterranean.
1939
Country singer David Allen Coe born
1939
South Africa declared war on Germany.
1941
Jews over the age of six in German-occupied areas were ordered to wear yellow Stars of David.
1942
Country singer Mel McDaniel born
1943
The United States asks the Chinese Nationals to join with the Communists to present a common front to the Japanese.
1944
Actress Swoosie Kurtz born
1944
During World War Two, the British government relaxed blackout restrictions and suspended compulsory training for the Home Guard.
1947
Comedian-actress Jane Curtin (SNL, Kate and Allie, and my favorite 3rd Rock.) born
1948
Rhythm-and-blues musician Claydes Smith (Kool & The Gang) born
1948
Queen Juliana of the Netherlands was crowned.
1952
Canadian television broadcasting began in Montreal.
1953
The last American and Korean prisoners are exchanged in Operation Big Switch, the last official act of the Korean War.
1958
Actor-comedian Jeff Foxworthy born
1959
The first Barbie Doll was sold this day by Mattel Toy Corporation. Today, the original Barbie, along with her pals, Ken and Skipper, are collectors items, although new versions are continually being produced.
1960
Actor-comedian Michael Winslow ("Police Academy") born
1960
Rock musician Perry Bamonte (The Cure) born
1961
Pop musician Pal Waaktaar (a-ha) born
1963
Country singer Mark Chesnutt born
1964
Actress Rosie Perez born
1965
Indian troops invade Lahore; Pakistan paratroopers raid Punjab.
1966
South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd was stabbed to death by a deranged page during a parliamentary session in Cape Town.
1968
Swaziland gains independence from Britain (National Day).
1969
Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Anthony (Az Yet) born
1969
Singer CeCe Peniston born
1970
Palestinian guerrillas seized control of three jetliners which were later blown up on the ground in Jordan after the passengers and crews were evacuated.
1971
Rock singer Dolores O'Riordan (The Cranberries) born
1972
The Summer Olympics resumed in Munich, West Germany, a day after the deadly hostage crisis that claimed the lives of elevtn Israelis and five Arab abductors.
1974
Actor Justin Whalen ("Lois and Clark"). born
1974
Rock singer Nina Persson (The Cardigans) born
1975
Glen Campbell hit #1 this day, when "Rhinestone Cowboy" went to number one on the Billboard pop music chart. It had reached number one on the country chart on August 23rd.
1975
Czechoslovakian tennis star Martina Navratilova, in New York for the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, requested political asylum.
1976
A Soviet pilot lands his MIG-25 in Tokyo and asks for political asylum in the United States.
1978
James Wickwire of Seattle and Louis Reichardt of San Francisco became the first Americans to reach the summit of Pakistan's K-2, the world's second-highest mountain.
1979
Rapper Foxy Brown born
1982
Polish dissidents seized the Polish Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, and demanded an end to martial law in Poland. They eventually surrendered.
1983
The Soviet Union admitted shooting down Korean Air Lines flight 007 five days after it happened, saying the fighter pilots involved did not know their target was a civilian aircraft.
1984
The Soviet Union announced that Marshal Nikolai V. Ogarkov had been removed as chief of the general staff and first deputy defense minister, and had been replaced by Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev.
1984
Country music star, Ernest Tubb, died at the age of 70. Tubb was from Crisp, Texas and was known as the Texas Troubadour. Tubb recorded "I'm Walking the Floor Over You" and sold more than three million copies of this tune. Tubb was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1965.
1985
All 31 people aboard a Midwest Express Airlines DC-9 were killed when the Atlanta-bound jetliner crashed just after takeoff from Milwaukee's Mitchell Field.
1986
22 worshipers were killed when two gunmen attacked a synagogue in Istanbul, Turkey, with machine guns and grenades, then took their own lives.
1987
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore succeeded in separating seven-month-old Benjamin and Patrick Binder, twin brothers from Ulm, West Germany, who were joined at the head, after 22 hours of surgery.
1988
A 25-hour drama began as technical problems kept a two-man Soviet space crew from returning to Earth aboard a "Soyuz" space capsule. (The problems were cleared up, and the crew landed safely the next day.)
1988
Lee Roy Young becomes the first African-American Texas Ranger in the force's 165-year history.
1989
The National Party, the governing party of South Africa, suffered its worst election setback in four decades in parliamentary elections, losing nearly a quarter of its seats to far-right and anti-apartheid rivals.
1990
Iraq increased pressure on trapped Westerners, warning that anyone trying to leave without permission could face life in prison.
1991
In the Soviet Union, the State Council, a new executive body composed of President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and republic leaders, recognized the independence of the Baltic states.
1991
Russian legislators voted to restore the name St. Petersburg to Russia's second largest city. The city, founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, had its name changed to Petrograd in 1914 and to Leningrad in 1924.
1992
An unidentified 35-year-old man who was the recipient of a transplanted baboon liver died at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center ten weeks after receiving the organ.
1993
Automakers Renault of France and Volvo of Sweden announced they would merge; however, Volvo canceled the deal the following December.
1993
President Clinton visited South Florida, where he met with residents recovering from Hurricane "Andrew."
1994
Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds and Gerry Adams, the head of the IRA's political ally, Sinn Fein, made a joint commitment to peace after their first face-to-face meeting.
1995
Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record by playing his 2,131st consecutive game.
1995
Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as he was called back to the witness stand at the O.J. Simpson trial.
1995
The Senate Ethics Committee voted unanimously to recommend expulsion of Sen. Bob Packwood, accused of sexual and official misconduct.
1995
Hurricane Luis moved away from the Caribbean after lashing resort islands.
1996
Eddie Murray of the Baltimore Orioles hit his 500th career home run during a game against the Detroit Tigers, joining Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as the only players with at least 3000 hits and 500 homers.
1996
The death toll from Hurricane "Fran" rose to 17 in Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas.
1997
Weeping masses gathered in Calcutta, India, to pay homage to Mother Teresa, who had died the day before at age 87.
1997
Britain bade farewell to Princess Diana with a funeral service at Westminster Abbey.
1998
Divers working off Nova Scotia found the flight data recorder from Swissair Flight 111, which had crashed, killing all 229 people on board (however, it turned out the recorder had stopped working several minutes before the crash).
1998
Japanese movie director Akira Kurosawa died in Tokyo at age 88.
1999
In Detroit, striking teachers and the school board agreed on a tentative agreement aimed at ending a weeklong walkout. (The teachers ratified the contract two days later.)
2005
Wheelchair-bound Australian rescued in New Orleans
2005
Fire kills 32 in theatre in Beni Suef, Egypt
2005
Munich delays switch to Linux
2005
Linux installed on 2,460 desktop computers in Italian schools
2005
Allegations President Bush staged photo-ops in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina tragedy
2005
French President Chirac remains hospitalized
2005
Actor Bob Denver dies at 70
2005
Antony & The Johnsons win Mercury Music Prize
2005
New Orleans police officer commits suicide
2005
Iraqi president says Saddam confessed to crimes
2005
Girls Aloud win Popjustice £20 Music Prize
2005
Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students
2005
Australian Aborigines sprayed by crop-duster
2005
Manned mission to Mars at least 20 years away, easier than first trip to Moon
2005
UK regulator warns MasterCard
2005
Sony breaks UK launch sales record with PlayStation Portable
2005
Portia de Rossi talks about Ellen DeGeneres, sexuality
2006
Teenager sentenced to four years for manslaughter
2006
Turkish Parliament approves sending troops to Lebanon
2006
Calderón declared Mexican president-elect
2006
British PM Tony Blair pressured by resignations
2006
Princess Kiko gives birth to imperial baby boy
2006
Israel to end Lebanon blockade
2006
President Bush admits secret CIA detention centres
2006
American Academy of Pediatrics supports dairy for lactose intolerant children
2006
Pakistan President Musharraf in Kabul for talks
2006
Rumour of Kola Nuclear accident appear to be false
2007
Australian TV show The Chaser breaches APEC security; 11 charged
2007
Belgian triathletes race at North Sea coast
2007
Police called to investigate after tenant draws swastikas in landlord's house
2007
UK jets shadow Russian bombers
2007
Former Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau criticised in new book "Brian Mulroney: Memoirs 1939-1993"
2007
Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti dies at age 71
2007
Sex of recently-born panda still a mystery
2007
Ousted PM Thaksin bemoans freezing of Swiss assets
2008
'Invitational Games for the Deaf, Taipei 2008' starts, new slogan for 2009 Summer Deaflympics unveiled
2008
Japan's Prime Minister Fukuda announces resignation
2008
Rachel Rice wins Big Brother UK's series
2008
Interim report blames ice for British Airways 777 crash in London
2008
Bristol Organic Food Festival lauched, 100 thousand expected to attend
2008
NSW Premier Iemma quits, replaced by Rees
2008
Storms hit UK, five dead
2009
Corks fly in wine truck fire in Wyoming, US
2009
Nine people die after Philippine ferry sinks
2009
Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount's college football career ends with a punch
2009
Australian rules football: West Gippsland Football League Semi Finals
2009
Man charged with attempted murder in £40 million London jewel heist
2009
Van Jones environmental jobs adviser to US President Barack Obama resigns
2009
Two jockeys killed in fire in North Yorkshire, England
2010
Independent Member of Australian Parliament calls for better indigenous policy
2010
Six dead in arson attack in Bridgetown, Barbados
2010
Nine dead after small plane crashes in New Zealand
2010
Samsung releases its first tablet computer
2010
Australian rules football: Gippsland Football League semi finals
2010
Obama announces plan to build roads, railroads and runways
2011
Shooting at diner in Carson City, Nevada
2012
On the campaign trail, August 2012
2012
Prince Harry meets Maddison Elliott, youngest Australian Paralympic gold medallist ever
2012
Al Jazeera website restored after Al-Rashedon hack
2012
IPC drops Pistorius, South African-requested prosthetic cheating investigation
2012
Wheelchair rugby gets underway at London Paralympics

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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