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The Independent Culture

Births: Trajan, Roman emperor, 53; Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, soldier and statesman, 1583; Titus Oates, impostor and fabricator of the "Popish Plot", 1649; Sophia Dorothea, Electress of Hanover, 1666; Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard, Baron von Steuben, Prussian general, 1730; John Campbell, first Baron Campbell, Lord Chancellor, 1779; Sir Francis Seymour Haden, surgeon and etcher, 1818; Jose de la Cruz Porfirio Daz, Mexican leader, 1830; William Howard Taft, 27th US President, 1857; Bruno Walter (Schlesinger), conductor, 1876; Hans Arp, painter, engraver, sculptor and poet, 1887; Robert Charles Benchley, humorist, 1889; Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, detective story writer, 1890; Frank Martin, composer, 1890; Jean Renoir, film director, 1894; Tom Conway (Thomas Charles Sanders), actor, 1904; Margaret Mary Lockwood, actress, 1916.

Deaths: Sir Thomas Overbury, poet, poisoned while in the Tower of London 1613; Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork, 1643; Sidney, first Earl of Godolphin, statesman, 1712; William Huskisson, statesman, run down by the locomotive Rocket 1830; Arthur Henry Hallam, historian, 1833; Isambard Kingdom Brunel, engineer, 1859; John Hanning Speke, explorer, shot by accident 1864; John Frederick Lewis, painter, 1876; William Seward Burroughs, adding machine pioneer, 1898; Jose Echegaray y Eizaguirre, writer and scientist, 1916; Silas Kitto Hocking, novelist, 1935; Thomas Clayton Wolfe, novelist, 1938; Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern, composer, 1945; Geoffrey Francis Fisher, Lord Fisher of Canterbury, former archbishop of Canterbury, 1972; Gustaf VI Adolf, King of Sweden, 1973.

On this day: General Howe took New York, 1776; to halt the French occupation, the Russians set fire to Moscow, 1812; Guatemala was declared independent, 1821; the Manchester and Liverpool railway opened, during which ceremony, the world's first railway accident occurred (see Huskisson above), 1830; Sir George Cayley, aviation pioneer, described his glider, 1852; Jumbo, a famous circus elephant, was hit and killed by a goods train in Ontario, Canada, 1885; tanks were first used in battle by the British Army at the Somme, 1916; Russia was proclaimed a republic by Alexander Kerensky, 1917; in Germany, the Nuremberg laws were passed, outlawing Jews and making the Swastika the official flag of the country, 1935; Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler at Berchtesgaden over the Czech crisis, 1938; Konrad Adenauer was elected Chancellor of West Germany, 1949; Nikita Khrushchev began a 12-day visit to the United States, 1959; the first traffic wardens went on duty in London, 1960; The Sun newspaper was first published, 1964;

Today is the Feast Day of St Achard or Aichardus, St Catherine of Genoa, St Mirin, St Nicetas the Goth and St Nicomedes.