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The Independent Culture
Births: Lope Felix de Vega Carpio, poet and playwright, 1562; Johann Friedrich Reichardt, composer, 1752; Jean-Germain Drouais, historical painter, 1763; Charles Kemble, actor and playwright, 1775; Joseph Lancaster, educationalist, 1778; Henry Mayhew, writer and journalist, 1812; John Larkin Hopkins, organist and composer, 1819; Michel-Marie-Charles Verlat, painter, 1824; Andrew Carnegie, industrialist and philanthropist, 1835; Carl Friedrich Benz, automobile pioneer, 1844; Jose Maria de Eca Queiros, novelist, 1845; Christian Felix Klein, mathematician, 1849; Bernhard Stavenhagen, conductor and pianist, 1862; Harley Granville Barker, actor, playwright and critic, 1877; Georg Kaiser, playwright, 1878; Leonard Sidney Woolf, publisher, 1880; Pope John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli), 1881; Helene Chadwick, actress, 1897; Arthur Schwartz, lawyer and popular composer, 1900.

Deaths: King Herod the Great, 4 BC; Prince William, son of Henry I, lost at sea in the White Ship, 1120; Andrea Doria, admiral and statesman, 1560; Edward Alleyn, actor and founder of Dulwich College, 1626; Giles Farnaby, composer, buried 1640; Isaac Watts, writer of hymns (including O God Our Help in Ages Past), 1748; Richard Glover, poet, 1785; Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey, sculptor and benefactor, 1841; Sir Augustus Wall Callcott, landscape painter, 1844; John Gibson Lockhart, editor and biographer, 1854; David Roberts, painter, 1864; Heinrich Barth, explorer, 1865; Dame Lilian Mary Baylis, founder of the Old Vic, 1937; Johannes Vilhelm Jensen, novelist, 1950; Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, industrialist and philanthropist, 1957; Dame Myra Hess, pianist, 1965; Upton Beall Sinclair, novelist, 1968; Yukio Mishima, novelist, 1970; Sir Anton Dolin (Sydney Francis Patrick Chippendall Healey-Kay), ballet dancer and choreographer, 1983; Geoffrey Edward Harvey Grigson, poet and critic, 1985; Dr Hastings Kamazu Banda, former president of Malawi, 1997.

On this day: the White Ship, bound from Normandy to England with 300 passengers aboard, was wrecked off Barfleur, with great loss of life, 1120; the English defeated the Scots at the Battle of Solway Moss, 1542; New York was evacuated by the British, 1783; Disraeli bought 44 per cent of the Suez Canal shares from the Khedive Ismail, 1875; Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Iolanthe was first performed in London, 1882; Ferdinand de Lesseps was put on trial with his companions for embezzlement in connection with the Suez Canal Company, 1892; the battleship HMS Bulwark was blown to pieces in the Medway off Sheerness with the loss of 800 lives, 1914; Strasbourg was entered by French troops, 1918; the Duchess Theatre, London, opened, 1929; King George II was restored to the throne of Greece after a referendum, 1935; the Royalty Theatre, Soho, London, closed, 1938; HMS Barham was sunk by a U-boat off Sollum, with the loss of 868 lives, 1941; the play The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie, opened in London, 1952; twelve new local radio stations were authorised by the Government, 1969; in Greece, President Papadopoulos was deposed after a military coup, and was succeeded by General Phaidon Gizikis, 1973; the colony of Surinam (Dutch Guiana) became an independent republic, 1975.

Today is the Feast Day of St Mercurius of Caesarea and St Moses the Martyr.