Births: James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, 1649; Theobald Bohm, flautist and composer, 1794; Elias Lonnrot, folklorist, 1802; Isambard Kingdom Brunel, engineer, 1806; Charles-Pierre Baudelaire, poet, 1821; Eadweard Muybridge (Edward James Muggeridge), photographer and inventor, 1830; Leopold II, King of the Belgians, 1835; Sir Charles Holroyd, painter and etcher, 1861; Erich Charles Proteus Steinmetz, electrical engineer, 1865; Leon Blum, statesman, 1872; Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, artist, 1879; Sol Hurok, theatrical impresario, 1888; Efrem Zimbalist, violinist, 1889; Paul Bustill Robeson, actor and singer, 1898; Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell, statesman, 1906; Victor Vasarely, Op Art painter, 1908; Sir Robert Murray Helpmann, dancer, 1909.

Deaths: Edward IV, King of England, 1483; Lorenzo de' Medici ('The Magnificent'), Florentine statesman, 1492; Francois Rabelais, author, 1553; Francis Bacon, Viscount St Albans, statesman, 1626; Simon Fraser, twelfth Baron Lovat, Jacobite, last man to be beheaded in England, 1747; Jacques Necker, financier and statesman, 1804; John Opie, infant prodigy, painter and illustrator, 1807; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet and pre-Raphaelite painter, 1882; Isabella II, Queen of Spain, 1904; Charles Conder, artist, 1909; Edward Thomas, poet, killed in action 1917; Mrs Patrick Campbell (Beatrice Stella Tanner), actress, 1940; Frank Lloyd Wright, architect, 1959; Sir Basil Henry Blackwell, bookseller and publisher, 1984.

On this day: the Mongol armies defeated the Poles and Germans at the Battle of Liegnitz (Wahlstatt), 1241; Botany Bay, Australia, was discovered by Captain James Cook, 1770; the National Gallery, London, was opened, 1838; General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, ending the American Civil War, 1865; the Hudson Bay Company agreed to cede its territorial rights to Canada, 1869; the world's first full-length colour film, The World, the Flesh and the Devil, a British production, was shown at the Holborn Empire, London, 1914; Latvia proclaimed her independence, 1918; the USS Liberty exploded in Bari harbour, Italy, killing 360 people, 1945; the Suez Canal was cleared for all shipping, 1957; Georgia voted to secede from the Soviet Union, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of St Gaucherius, St Hugh of Rouen, St Mary Cleophas, St Uramar and St Waldetrudis or Waudru.


Births: James V, King of Scotland, 1512; Hugo Grotius (Huig de Groot), jurist and theologian, 1583; John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, poet and courtier, 1647; Sir John Pringle, physician, 1707; Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, 1755; William Hazlitt, essayist and critic, 1778; Auguste-Joseph Franchomme, cellist, 1808; Lewis Wallace, novelist, author of Ben Hur, 1827; William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, 1829; Joseph Pulitzer, newspaper proprietor and founder of the Prizes, 1847; Arthur Melville, painter, 1855; Eugene (Eugen) Francis Charles D'Albert, pianist and composer, 1864; George Arliss (George Augustus Andrews), actor, 1868; Claire Booth Luce, playwright, 1903.

Deaths: Agostino Agazzari, composer, 1640; Joseph-Louis Lagrange, astronomer, mathematician and physicist, 1813; Alexander Nasmyth, painter, 1840; Giovanni Battista Amici, astronomer and optician, 1863; Jean-Baptiste Andre Dumas, chemist, 1884; Algernon Charles Swinburne, poet, 1909; Khalil Gibran, writer, 1931; Edgar Middleton, journalist and playwright, 1939; Auguste-Marie Louis Lumiere, cine pioneer, 1954; Michael Curtiz (Mihaly Kertesz), film director, 1962; Evelyn Arthur St John Waugh, novelist, 1966; Antonia White, journalist and novelist, 1980.

On this day: bananas were displayed in a London shop window, 1633; the United States patent system was established, 1790; Napoleon's army under General Soult was defeated by the Allies in the Battle of Toulouse, 1814; the first British settlers arrived at Algoa Bay, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, 1820; the Catholic Emancipation Bill was passed by Parliament, 1829; the New York Tribune (later Herald-Tribune) was first published, 1841; the Chartists met on Kennington Common, London, and presented their petition to Parliament, 1848; George Eliot's novel The Mill on the Floss was published, 1860; Finland was granted a constitution by Russia, 1861; the Archduke Maximilian of Austria became Emperor of Mexico, 1864; Phineas T. Barnum's circus first opened, Brooklyn, New York, 1871; Paul von Hindenburg was re-elected President of Germany, 1932; the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes was sunk by Japanese dive bombers in the Bay of Bengal, 1942; the US Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill, 1960; the US submarine Thresher was lost off Cape Cod, with all the crew of 125, 1963; over 3,000 people were killed after severe earthquakes occurred in Iran, 1972; Golda Meir resigned as Prime Minister of Israel, 1974; the first London performance of the musical show Chicago was staged, 1979.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Bademus, St Fulbert of Chartres, St Macarius or Macaire of Ghent, St Michael de Sanctis, St Paternus of Abdinghof and The Martyrs under the Danes.