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Births: Otto the Great, Holy Roman emperor, 912; Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon, 1221; Francois-Noel Babeuf, socialist, 1760; Thomas Attwood, organist and composer, 1765; Franklin Pierce, 14th US President, 1804; James Thomson, poet, 1834; William H. Bonney (Billy the Kid), outlaw, 1859; Marie Konstaninova Bashkirtseff, writer and painter, 1860; Sir Gilbert Horatio George Parker, writer and politician, 1862; Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell, zoologist, 1864; Valdemar Poulsen, inventor in 1898 of the tape recorder, 1869; Manuel de Falla, composer, 1876; Sir John Scoular Buchanan, flying pioneer, 1883; Boris Karloff (William Henry Pratt), actor, 1887.

Deaths: Ladislas V, King of Hungary, 1457; Angelo Allori (Il Bronzino), painter and poet, 1572; Thomas Tallis, organist and composer, 1585; Richard Hakluyt, geographer, 1616; William Bentinck, first Earl of Portland, statesman, 1709; Sophia Dorothea, Electress of Hanover, 1726; L'Abbe Antoine-Francois Prevost D'Exiles, writer, 1763; Sir Roger Newdigate, antiquary, 1806; Johann Elert Bode, astronomer, 1826; Sir John Barrow, administrator and biographer, 1848; Thomas Seddon, landscape painter, 1856; Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen, murderer, executed 1910; Walter Greaves, painter, 1930; Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge, Orientalist and museum curator, 1934; Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, playwright, 1934; Percival Christopher Wren, novelist, 1941; Francis Webb, poet, 1973; Andre-Georges Malraux, novelist, 1976; Merle Oberon (Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson), actress, 1979; Leslie Mitchell, radio and television presenter, 1985.

On this day: Moliere's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme was first performed in Paris, 1670; the first pillar box was erected (at St Helier, Jersey), 1852; Luxembourg was separated from the Netherlands, 1890; Luxembourg was separated from the Netherlands, 1890; the Emperor Pedro II of Brazil was overthrown and the country was declared a republic, 1891; HMS Rawalpindi was sunk by the German craft Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off Iceland, 1939; Dr Who was first shown by the BBC, 1963; more than 4,000 people lost their lives in a violent earthquake in southern Italy, 1980; John Major became Prime Minister, 1990.

Today is the Feast Day of St Alexander Nevsky, prince, St Amphilochius, St Clement I, pope, St Columbanus, St Felicitas, St Gregory of Girgenti and St Trudo or Trond.