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Births: Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick ("The Kingmaker"), 142; Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, explorer, 1643; Benoit Audran, artist and engraver, 1661; Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, organist and composer, 1710; Dugald Stewart, philosopher and mathematician, 1753; Andreas Hofer, Tirolean patriot, 1767; Conradin Kreutzer, conductor and composer, 1780; Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding, landscape painter, 1787; Thomas Cook, travel agent and temperance advocate, 1808; Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, banker, 1808; George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist, 1819; Jose Augusto Ferreira Veiga d'Arneiro, composer, 1838; George Robert Gissing, novelist, 1857; Cecil James Sharp, founder of the English Folk Dance Society, 1859; Jean-Baptiste Marchand, explorer, 1863; Wassily Kandinsky, abstract painter, 1866; Andre-Paul Guillaume Gide, writer, 1869; Leopold Charles Maurice Stennet Amery, statesman, 1873; General Charles-Andre Marie-Joseph de Gaulle, French president, 1890; Howard Hoagland (Hoagy) Carmichael, songwriter, 1899; Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, composer, 1913.

Deaths: Sir Martin Frobisher, navigator, 1594; Edward Teach (Blackbeard the pirate), killed off the American coast 1718; Robert Clive, Baron Clive, soldier and statesman, committed suicide 1774; Alicia (Alison) Cockburn, poet, 1794; John Stackhouse, botanist, 1819; Francois Levaillant, traveller and ornithologist, 1824; John Thadeus Delane, editor of The Times, 1879; William Bell Scott, artist and poet, 1890; John Byrne Leicester Warren, third Baron de Tabley, poet, 1895; Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan, composer, 1900; John Griffith (Jack) London, novelist, 1916; Lorenz Milton (Larry) Hart, lyricist, 1943; Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, astronomer, 1944; Sir George Clausen, painter, 1944; Alfred Edward Woodley Mason, writer, 1948; Joseph Guy Ropartz, composer, 1955; Clive Staples Lewis, writer, 1963; Aldous Leonard Huxley, writer, 1963; John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th US president, assassinated 1963; Mae West, actress, 1980; Sterling Holloway, actor and comedian, 1992; Anthony Burgess (John Anthony Burgess Wilson), novelist, philologist, composer and critic, 1993.

On this day: Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, 1497; The Siege of Rhodes, by Sir William D'Avenant, the first opera in England, was staged at Rutland House, Charterhouse Yard, London, with music by Matthew Lock, Henry Lawes and Captain Henry Cook, 1656; the Prussians were defeated by the Austrians at Breslau, 1757; the Belgian Congress voted for a monarchy, 1830; the first New York opera house - the Astor Place - opened, 1847; Cape Colony forbade the landing of convicts, and forced a British ship to sail on to Tasmania, 1849; a rising of Arab slave- holders was suppressed in the Upper Congo by the Belgians, 1892; the uncompleted Williamsburg Bridge across the East River, New York City, was destroyed by fire, 1902; the world's largest turbine liner, the Cunard Carmania, left Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York, 1905; the Cunard liner Mauretania arrived at New York after her maiden voyage, 1907; the first battle of Ypres ended, 1914;the Turks and the British army fought the indecisive Battle of Ctesiphon, 1915; treasury notes of the value of pounds 1 and ten shillings were replaced by Bank of England notes, 1928; the first coelocanth "living fossil fish" was caught off Cape Province, South Africa, 1938; Juan Carlos of Bourbon was sworn in as King of Spain, 1975; Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister, 1990.

Today is the Feast Day of St Cecilia or Cecily and Saints Philemon and Apphia.