TODAY: Births: Louis XIV, the "Sun King" of France, 1638; John Wisden, cricketer and cricket records compiler, 1826; Darryl Francis Zanuck, film producer, 1902; Arthur Koestler, author, 1905; John Cage, composer and pianist, 1912.

Deaths: Pieter Brueghel the Elder, painter, 1569; John Home, clergyman and playwright, 1808; Dr William McGillivray, naturalist, 1852; Jules- Elie Delaunay, painter, 1891; Charles-Pierre Peguy, poet, killed in action, 1914; Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, WWII pilot, 1982.

On this day: Malta was surrendered to the British by the French after Nelson's fleet had blockaded them, 1800; the island of Heligoland was seized from Denmark by the British, 1807; the Russo-Japanese War ended following the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth, US, 1905; the first Battle of the Marne began, 1914; the US declared its neutrality in World War II, 1939; Brussels was liberated by the Allies, 1944; terrorists of the Arab Black September group killed 11 Israelis at the Olympic Games in Germany, 1972.

Today is the Feast Day of St Bertinus, St Genebald of Laon, St Laurence Giustiniani and Saints Urban and Theodore and their Companions.

TOMORROW: Births: Marie-Joseph Paul-Yves Roch-Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, statesman and soldier, 1757; John Dalton, chemist and physicist, 1766; Vincent Novello, organist, composer and founder of the music publishers, 1781; Carl Ferdinand Pohl, writer and bibliographer, 1819; Sir Henry Walford Davies, organist and composer, 1869; Montagu Collet Norman, banker, 1871; John James Rickard Macleod, one of the discoverers of insulin, 1876; Billy Rose (William Samuel Rosenberg), producer and lyricist, 1899; King Peter of Yugoslavia, 1923.

Deaths: Suleyman I (the Magnificent; the "Lawgiver"), Sultan of Turkey, 1566; Jean-Baptiste Colbert, statesman, 1683; Edmund Gibson, Bishop of Lincoln and writer, 1748; Sir Joseph Archer Crowe, consular official and art critic, 1896; Sir James Guthrie, painter, 1930; Arthur Rackham, illustrator, 1939; Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, South African prime minister, assassinated 1966; Rodney Robert Porter, biochemist, 1985.

On this day: Richard I defeated the Saracens at the Battle of Arsouf, 1191; the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in the Mayflower from Plymouth (6 September Old Style; 16 September New Style), 1620; the Great Fire of London came to an end, 1666; the first free lending library in Britain opened in Manchester, 1852; the first telephone exchange in Britain opened in Lombard Street, London, 1879; the first cricket test match in England was played at the Oval between England and Australia, 1880; T.W. Burgess swam the English Channel from South Foreland to Cape Gris Nez, 1911; Juliana became Queen of the Netherlands, 1948; India invaded West Pakistan, 1965; Swaziland became an independent kingdom, 1968; the Soviet ruling council recognised the independence of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of St Cagnoald or Chainoaldus, Saints Donatian, Laetus and Others and St Eleutherius of Spoleto.

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