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Births: Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, writer and statesman, 146; Alessandro Allori, painter, 1535; Johannes Sturm, educationist, 1589; William Broome, poet and translator, baptised 1689; Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes, French revolutionary leader, 1748; August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotzebue, playwright, 1761; Thomas Harper, trumpet virtuoso, 1787; Robert Theodor Odenwald, singer and choirmaster, 1838; Richard D'Oyly Carte, operatic impresario, 1844; Prince Bernhard von Bulow, statesman, 1849; John Scott Haldane, physiologist, 1860; Francois Coty (Francesco Giuseppe Spoturno), perfume manufacturer, 1874; Marcel Dupre, composer, 1886; Mrs Golda Meir (Goldie Meyerson, nee Mabovitch), Israeli prime minister, 1898; Mary Astor (Lucille Vasconcellos Langhanke), actress, 1906; William Motter Inge, playwright, 1913.

Deaths: Lorenzo Costa, painter, 1535; Henry Garnet, Jesuit priest, hanged for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot 1606; George Psalmanazar (real name not known), literary impostor and adventurer, 1763; James Morison, patent- pill purveyor, 1840; Thomas Hood, poet, 1845; Adolphe Adam, composer, 1856; Thomas Barry Sullivan, actor, 1891; Herbert Farjeon, critic and playwright, 1945; Henry Cornelius, film director, 1958; Karl Freund, film cameraman and director, 1969; George Lloyd Murphy, actor, dancer, singer and politician, 1992.

On this day: Jamaica was discovered by Columbus, 1494; Pedro Alvares Cabral, navigator, landed in Brazil, 1500; the Fifth Lateran Council began, 1512; the British defeated the French at the first Battle of Cape Finisterre, 1747; the first daily evening newspaper, the Star and Evening Advertiser, was issued in London, 1788; the first liberal constitution in Poland was accepted by the Diet, 1791; in France, Louis XVIII entered Paris and took the throne after the defeat of Napoleon, 1814; New Zealand was proclaimed a British colony, 1841; the first London production of the musical Show Boat was staged, 1928; the Festival of Britain opened, 1951; in the Antarctic, a new range of mountains was discovered with two peaks of over 13,000ft, 1956.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Alexander, Eventius and Theodulus, St James the Less, St Juvenal of Narni, St Philip the Apostle, St Philip of Zell and Saints Timothy and Maura.