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The Independent Culture

Births: Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, inventor of the mercury thermometer, 1686; Jean-Paul Marat, politician and physician, 1743; Victoria, Queen and Empress, 1819; Jan Christiaan Smuts, soldier and statesman, 1870; George Formby (William Hoy Booth), singer and comedian, 1904.

Deaths: Nicolaus Copernicus, astronomer, 1543; Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury, statesman, 1612; Samuel Palmer, landscape painter, 1881; Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, musician, 1974; Hermione Ferdinanda Gingold, actress, 1987; Hamish Hamilton, publisher, 1988;Lord Wilson of Rievaulx (John Harold Wilson), former prime minister, 1995.

On this day: Malcolm IV became king of Scotland, 1153; Lambert Simnel, pretender to the English throne, was crowned in Dublin, 1487; Samuel Morse sent his first telegraphic message in his code from Washington to Baltimore, 1844; Westminster Bridge across the Thames was opened, 1862; Brooklyn Bridge, New York, was opened, 1883.

Today is the Feast Day of St David I of Scotland, Saints Donatian and Rogatian, St Nicetas of Pereaslav and St Vincent of Lerins.