Click to follow
Births: Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, playwright and poet, 1671; James Mill, philosopher and historian, 1773; Alexander Ivanovich Herzen, journalist and politician, 1812; Johann Georg Mettenleiter, composer, 1812; Friedrich Robert Volkmann, composer, 1815; Gustave Moreau, painter, 1826; Rene Lalique, jewellery designer, 1860; Louis Raemaekers, artist and cartoonist, 1869; Harry Houdini (Erich Weiss), magician and escapologist, 1874; Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, aircraft designer, 1890; Sir John Betjeman, poet, 1906.

Deaths: Richard I (Coeur de Lion), King of England, killed in battle 1199; Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, 1490; Raphael Sanzio, painter, 1520; Albrecht Durer, artist, 1528; Sir Francis Walsingham, statesman, 1590; John Stow, historian and antiquary, 1605; Sir William Hamilton, diplomat and archaeologist, husband of Emma Hamilton, 1803; Niels Henrik Abel, mathematician, 1829; Giovanni Pascoli, poet, 1912; Edward Arlington Robinson, poet, 1935; Robert Courtneidge, theatrical producer, 1939; Jules Jean-Baptiste Vincent Bordet, bacteriologist, 1961; Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky, composer, 1971; Milton Ager, popular composer, 1979; Jimmy Kennedy, songwriter, (South of the Border), 1984; Isaac Asimov, biochemist and science fiction writer, 1992; Greer Garson (Eileen Evelyn Greer), actress, 1996.

On this day: St Paul's Cathedral and other churches were badly damaged following an earthquake tremor in London, 1580; Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape, South Africa, to establish a trading station for the Dutch East India Compay, 1652; 20 slaves were burned or hanged following a revolt in New York, 1712; George Washington was elected as first US president, 1789; the British captured the city from the French at the Battle of Badajoz, 1812; the Mormon Church was organised by Joseph Smith at Fayette, New York, 1830; the Koh-i-Noor diamond was sent from India to become part of the British Crown Jewels, 1850; during the American Civil War, the Battle of Shiloh started, 1862; Vancouver, British Columbia, was founded, 1886; the first modern Olympic Games were inaugurated at Athens, 1896; on his seventh attempt, the American Admiral Robert Edwin Peary reached the North Pole, 1909; the United States declared war on Germany, 1917; Britain and the US agreed on joint control of the Phoenix Islands, central Pacific, this to last for 50 years, 1939; having invaded Greece and Yugoslavia, Germany issued an ultimatum calling for their surrender, 1941; after Rommel's retreat in North Africa, the British and US armies linked up, 1943; the Yamato, and five other Japanese warships, were sunk by US carrier aircraft near Kyushu, 1945; in Britain, Sir Anthony Eden became prime minister, 1955; Early Bird, the first commercial communications satellite, was launched in the United States, 1965; Walter William Herbert and three companions reached the North Pole after making the first complete surface crossing, 1969.

Today is the Feast Day of St Celestine I, pope, St Eutychius of Constantinople, St Marcellinus of Carthage, St Prudentius of Troyes and St William of Eskilsoe.