Births: Grinling Gibbons, sculptor and woodcarver, 1648; John Hoppner, portrait painter, 1758; Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, painter, 1758; Sir Charles William (Karl Wilhelm) Siemens, metallurgist and inventor, 1823; Margaret Oliphant, novelist and historian, 1828; Jose Echegaray y Eizaguirre, writer and scientist, 1832; Dr Hans Richter, conductor, 1843; Remy de Gourmont, critic, 1858; Maurice de Vlaminck, painter, 1876; Robert Emmet Sherwood, playwright, 1896; Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield), rhythm and blues singer, 1915; Anthony Perkins, actor, 1932.

Deaths: Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon, 1284; Frederick II, King of Denmark, 1588; Thomas Churchyard, poet and pamphleteer, 1604; John Napier, mathematician and inventor of logarithms, 1617; Oliver Goldsmith, playwright, 1774; Joseph-Jerome Le Francais de Lalande, astronomer, 1807; Andre Massena, Duc de Rivoli and Prince d'Essling, soldier, 1817; John Campbell, philanthropist and founder of the Religious Tract Society of Scotland, 1840; William Henry Harrison, ninth US President, 1841; Sir William Crookes, physicist and chemist, 1919; Karl Friedrich Benz, automobile engineer, 1929; Andre Michelin, tyre manufacturer, 1931; Ghazi, King of Iraq, 1939; Martin Luther King, clergyman and civil-rights leader, assassinated 1968; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, executed 1979; Gloria Swanson (Gloria Josephine Mae Swenson), actress, 1983.

On this day: the University of Basle, Switzerland, was founded, 1460; Ignatius of Loyola became the first Superior-General of the Jesuits, 1541; Francis Drake completed his circumnavigation of the world and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I, 1581; King James II ordered his Declaration of Indulgence to be read in churches, 1687; during the American Civil War, the Battle of Yorktown started, 1862; gold was discovered in the Yukon, 1896; a Chinese republic was proclaimed in Tibet, 1912; the first London performance of the musical show The New Moon was staged, 1929; the dirigible airship Akron crashed off the New Jersey coast, with the loss of 73 lives, 1933; British troops captured Addis Ababa, 1941; the International Civil Aviation Organisation was established, 1947; the North Atlantic Treaty (Nato) was signed in Washington, 1949; a US Air Force transport aircraft carrying orphans from Saigon crashed on take-off from Vietnam, killing 155, 1975.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Agathopus and Theodulus, St Benedict the Black, St Isidore of Seville, St Plato and St Tigernach.

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