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Births: Fra Paolo Sarpi (Paulus Venetus), scholar and philosopher, 1552; Dr Florence Estienne Meric Casaubon, classical scholar, 1599; Claude- Joseph Vernet, painter, 1714; Dr Charles Hutton, mathematician, 1737; Friedrich Ludwig Dulon, flautist and composer, 1769; Letitia Elizabeth Landon, writer, 1802; Samuel Sebastian Wesley, composer, 1810; Sir Walter Besant, novelist and philanthropist, 1836; Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing, physician, 1840; Briton Riviere, artist, 1840; Henry Duff Traill, writer, 1842; Bion Joseph Arnold, electrical engineer, 1861; John Galsworthy, novelist and playwright, 1867.

Deaths: Augustus Montague Toplady, hymn-writer and author of "Rock of Ages", 1778; John William Fletcher, evangelist, 1785; Thomas Sheridan, actor, biographer and lexicographer, 1788; George Colman (the elder), playwright, 1794; Luigi Cagnola, architect, 1833; Johann Friedrich Herbart, philosopher, 1841; The Rev Henry Francis Cary, translator of Dante, 1844; William Buckland, Dean of Westminster and geologist, 1856; George Combe, phrenologist, 1858; Admiral David (James) Glasgow Farragut, naval officer, 1870; Richard Jefferies, naturalist and essayist, 1887; Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, first Viscount Northcliffe, newspaper proprietor, 1922; Sir Landon Ronald, composer and pianist, 1938; William Randolph Hearst, newspaper proprietor, 1951; Bertolt Brecht, writer, 1956; Henri- Edouard-Prosper Breuil, priest and archaeologist, 1961; Clifford Odets, playwright, 1963; Leonard Sidney Woolf, publisher, 1969; Jules Romains (Louis Farigoule), novelist, playwright and poet, 1972; Oscar Levant, composer and pianist, 1972; John Boynton Priestley, novelist and playwright, 1984.

On this day: the Portuguese defeated the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarotta, 1385; the French repulsed William of Orange at the Battle of Mons, 1678; Tristan da Cunha was annexed to Great Britain, 1816; Cologne Cathedral, started in 1248, was completed, 1880; Cetewayo, the Zulu chief, was received by Queen Victoria at Osborne, 1882; the landing of 2,000 US Marines helped to capture Peking, thus ending the Boxer uprising, 1900; the steamer Islander, carrying $3m in gold, struck an iceberg off Alaska and sank, with the loss of 70 lives, 1901; the British transport Royal Edward was sunk by a German U-boat in the Aegean, with the loss of 1,000 lives, 1915; the Little Entente between Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia was formed, 1920; the VIIth Olympic Games opened in Antwerp, 1920; the BBC showed its first feature film on television, The Student of Prague, with Anton Walbrook, 1938; the Atlantic Charter was enunciated by Churchill and Roosevelt, 1941; Japan surrendered to the Allies unconditionally, 1945; following rioting, British troops were moved to Northern Ireland to restore order, 1969; after peace talks in Cyprus broke down, Turkish troops launched an attack on Nicosia, 1974.

Today is the Feast Day of St Athanasia of Aegina, St Eusebius of Rome, St Fachanan, St Marcellus of Apamea, St Maximilian Kolbe.