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Births: Henry II, king, 1133; Matthew Merian the Younger, engraver and painter, 1621; Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guerin, painter, 1783; Alexander Ivanovich Herzen, journalist and writer, 1812; Arturo Toscanini, conductor, 1867; Bela Bartk, composer, 1881; Jean Sablon, singer, actor and composer, 1906; Alan John Percivale Taylor, historian, 1906.

Deaths: Nicholas Hawksmoor, architect, 1836; "Novalis" (Friedrich Leopold, Freiherr von Hardenberg), poet, 1801; Frederic Mistral, Provencal poet, 1914; Achille-Claude Debussy, composer, 1918; John Drinkwater, poet and playwright, 1937; John Derrick Mordaunt Snagge, broadcaster, 1996.

On this day: the Council of Pisa met, 1409; Robert (I) Bruce was crowned King of Scots at Scone, Perthshire, 1306; Sir Walter Raleigh was granted a patent to exploit Virginia, 1584; Titan, one of Saturn's "moons", was discovered by Christiaan Huygens, 1655; the British parliament abolished the slave trade, 1807; Rotherhithe pedestrian tunnel beneath the Thames was opened, 1843; the Italians invaded Abyssinia (Ethiopia), 1895; 350,000 gallons of alcoholic liquor was dumped into the Chicago river by US prohibitionist law agents, 1922; King George of Greece was deposed, and a republic was proclaimed, 1924; the Fascist government in Italy claimed to have received 99 per cent of the votes in the general election, 1929; Hamlet became the first British film to win an Academy Award for "Best Picture", 1949; the European Community was established, 1957; President Ayub Khan of Pakistan resigned, and General Yahya Khan, the army commander-in-chief took over, proclaiming martial law, 1969; the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Khalid ibn Abdul Aziz, succeeded to the throne, 1975.

Today is Lady Day (Feast of the Annunciation) and the Feast Day of St Alfwold, St Barontius, St Dismas, the Good Thief, St Hermenland, St Lucy Filippini and St Margaret Clitherow.