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The Independent Culture
Births: Georges de la Tour, painter, 1593; Tobias George Smollett, physician and writer, 1721; Charles Watson Wentworth, second Marquis of Rockingham, statesman, 1730; Dr David Livingstone, explorer and missionary, 1813; Johannes Josephus Herman Verhulst, composer and conductor, 1816; Sir Richard Francis Burton, scholar and explorer, 1821; Albert Pinkham Ryder, painter, 1847; William Jennings Bryan, politician, 1860; Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev, founder of Diaghilev ballet company, 1872; Max Reger, teacher and composer, 1873; Sir John Hubert Marshall, archaeologist, 1876; Joseph Albers, abstract painter and poet, 1888.

Deaths: Thomas Killigrew, playwright, 1683; Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, explorer, murdered by his own men in Texas 1687; Thomas William Daniell, landscape painter, 1840; Mary Anning, finder of Ichthyosaurus fossil, 1847; William Henry Playfair, architect, 1857; Friedrich Wilhelm Schadow-Godenhaus, painter, 1862; George Richmond, painter, 1896; Antoine- Thomson d'Abbadie, explorer and scientist, 1897; Arthur James Balfour, first Earl Balfour, statesman, 1930; Edgar Rice Burroughs, novelist and creator of "Tarzan", 1950; Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Romanian prime minister, 1965; Stephen Graham, travel writer, 1975; Faith Cuthrell Baldwin, romantic novelist, 1978; Alan Badel, actor, 1982.

On this day: the Rev John White formed the New England Company in Massachusetts Bay, 1628; the US Senate refused to ratify the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations Covenant, 1920; the opera Faust by Gounod was performed in Paris for the first time, 1859; Sydney Harbour bridge was officially opened, 1932; following an internal dispute, British parachute troops took over the Caribbean island of Anguilla, 1969; Willy Brandt and Willi Stoph, heads of West and East Germany, met for the first time at Erfurt, 1970; during a severe gale, the 1,260-foot television mast at Emley Moor, Yorkshire, crashed to the ground, 1970; the first London performance of the musical show On the Twentieth Century was staged, 1980.

Today is the Feast Day of St Alcmund, prince of Northumbria, St John of Panaca, St Joseph (husband of the Virgin) and St Landoald.