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Births: Prince Rupert of Bavaria, Royalist commander, 1619; Gabrielle- Emilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Chatelet, writer, 1706; Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, baptised 1770; Sir Humphry Davy, chemist and inventor, 1778; Sir George Hayter, painter, 1792; Jules-Alfred Huot de Goncourt, novelist and historian, 1830; Ford Madox Ford (Ford Hermann Hueffer), novelist, 1873; J. Robertson Hare, actor, 1891; Erskine Preston Caldwell, novelist, 1903; Walter Greenwood, novelist and playwright, 1903; Stanley Raymond (Ray) Noble, composer and conductor, 1903; Willard Frank Libby, chemist, 1908.

Deaths: Pope Gregory VIII, 1187; Sir William Gascoigne, Lord Chief Justice, 1413; Thomas Guy, bookseller and philanthropist, 1724; Simon Bolvar, South American patriot, 1830; Kaspar Hauser, the foundling "wild boy" of Nuremberg, 1833; Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, hydrographer, 1857; Louis-Marie Alphonse Daudet, novelist, 1897; Baron Ferdinand James de Rothschild, banker, 1898; Bernard Quaritch, bookseller, 1899; Sir William Thomson, first Baron Kelvin of Largs, physicist, 1907; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, physician, 1917; Peter Philip Heseltine Warlock, composer and editor, committed suicide 1930; Robert Malise Bowyer Nichols, poet, 1944; Sir Bernard Henry Spilsbury, pathologist, 1947; Harold Edward Holt, statesman, drowned 1967; Dana Andrews (Carver Daniel Andrews), actor, 1992.

On this day: Drake's ship The Pelican (afterwards called The Golden Hind) sailed out of Plymouth on a round-the-world voyage, 1577; Simon Bolvar became president of Colombia, 1819; the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, opened, 1888; the first radio message was sent across the Atlantic, 1902; the Wright brothers made their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, 1903; a protectorate over Egypt was proclaimed by Britain, 1914; following a blizzard, New York received 27 inches of snow, 1947; due to the closing of the Suez Canal, petrol rationing was imposed in Britain, 1956; after Arab guerrillas hijacked a West German airliner at Rome airport, 31 people were killed, 1973.

Today is the Feast Day of St Begga, St Lazarus, St Olympias, St Sturmi and St Wivina.