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Births: Erasmus Bartholin, physicist, 1625; James Gillray, caricaturist, 1756; Queen Adelaide, consort of William IV, 1792; Sir George Grove, engineer and editor, Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1820; William Thomas Best, organist and composer, 1826; Robert Hausmann, cellist, 1852; Annie Oakley (Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee (Moses)), crack shot, 1860; Sir William Alexander Craigie, lexicographer, 1867; John Nicholson Ireland, composer, 1879; John Logie Baird, television pioneer, 1888; Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, painter, 1889; Jean-Robert Borotra, tennis-player, 1898; Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, film director, 1899; Felix Wankel, engineer, 1902; Sir Basil Urwin Spence, architect, 1907; Archbishop Makarios III (Michael Christodolou Mouskos), priest and president of Cyprus, 1913.

Deaths: Gerard David (Gheeraert Davit), painter, 1523; Jeremy Taylor, theologian, 1667; Acisclo Antonio Palomino de Castro y Velasco, painter and art historian, 1726; Rene-Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec, physician and inventor of the stethoscope, 1826; Sir Martin Archer Shee, portrait painter, 1850; Ferdinand-Victor Eugene Delacroix, painter, 1863; Edward John Trelawny, traveller and author, 1881; Sir John Everett Millais, painter, 1896; Domenico Morelli, painter, 1901; Pearl Mary Teresa Craigie ('John Oliver Hobbs'), novelist and playwright, 1906; Florence Nightingale, nursing pioneer, 1910; Jules-Emile Frederic Massenet, composer, 1912; Walter Runciman, first Baron Runciman, shipowner, 1937; Herbert George Wells, novelist, 1946; Henry Williamson, novelist, 1977.

On this day: Cortes, leading his Spanish troops, took Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), 1521; the French armies were defeated at Blenheim by the Austrians and English, 1704; Cape of Good Hope Province was ceded to Britain by the Dutch, and it became a British Colony, 1814; Dr Leichhardt and his party set out to explore the area between Moreton Bay and Port Essington, Australia, 1844; earthquakes in Peru and Ecuador destroyed four cities and killed over 25,000 people, 1868; Manila in the Philippines was captured by US forces, 1898; Mustapha Kemal (Ataturk) was elected president of Turkey, 1923; over 13,000 people died in floods in the Honan, Hunan and Kwantung areas of China, 1924; the Central African Republic became independent, 1960; the frontier between East and West Germany was closed after the East Germans sealed the border, 1961; the last hangings in Britain took place when two men were executed for murder at Liverpool and Manchester, 1964; the last US troops left Vietnam, 1972.

Today is the Feast Day of St Benildus, St Cassian of Imola, St Hippolytus of Rome, St Maximus the Confessor, St Narses Klaietus, St Pontian, pope, St Radegund, queen, St Simplician of Milan, St Wigbert.


Births: Fra Paolo Sarpi (Paulus Venetus), scholar and philosopher, 1552; Dr Florence Estienne Meric Casaubon, classical scholar, 1599; Claude- Joseph Vernet, painter, 1714; Dr Charles Hutton, mathematician, 1737; Friedrich Ludwig Dulon, flautist and composer, 1769; Letitia Elizabeth Landon, author, 1802; Samuel Sebastian Wesley, composer, 1810; Sir Walter Besant, novelist and philanthropist, 1836; Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing, physician, 1840; Briton Riviere, artist, 1840; Henry Duff Traill, journalist and author, 1842; Bion Joseph Arnold, electrical engineer and inventor, 1861; John Galsworthy, novelist and playwright, 1867.

Deaths: Augustus Montague Toplady, hymn-writer and author of 'Rock of Ages', 1778; John William Fletcher, evangelist, 1785; Thomas Sheridan, actor, biographer and lexicographer, 1788; George Colman (the elder), playwright, 1794; Luigi Cagnola, architect, 1833; Johann Friedrich Herbart, philosopher, 1841; the Rev Henry Francis Cary, translator of Dante, 1844; William Buckland, Dean of Westminster and geologist, 1856; George Combe, phrenologist, 1858; Admiral David (James) Glasgow Farragut, naval officer, 1870; Richard Jefferies, naturalist and essayist, 1887; Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, first Viscount Northcliffe, newspaper proprietor, 1922; Sir Landon Ronald, composer and pianist, 1938; William Randolph Hearst, newspaper proprietor, 1951; Bertolt Brecht, writer, 1956; Henri- Edouard Prosper Breuil, priest and archaeologist, 1961; Clifford Odets, playwright, 1963; Leonard Sidney Woolf, publisher, 1969; Jules Romains (Louis Farigoule), novelist, playwright and poet, 1972; Oscar Levant, composer and pianist, 1972; John Boynton Priestley, novelist and playwright, 1984.

On this day: the Portuguese defeated the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarotta, 1385; the French repulsed William of Orange at the Battle of Mons, 1678; Tristan da Cunha was annexed to Great Britain, 1816; Cologne Cathedral was completed, 1880; Cetewayo, the Zulu chief, was received by Queen Victoria at Osborne, 1882; the landing of 2,000 US Marines helped to capture Peking, thus ending the Boxer uprising, 1900; the steamer Islander, carrying dollars 3m in gold, struck an iceberg off Alaska and sank, with the loss of 70 lives, 1901; the British transport Royal Edward was sunk by a U-boat in the Aegean, with the loss of 1,000 lives, 1915; the Little Entente between Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia was formed, 1920; the VIIth Olympic Games opened in Antwerp, 1920; the BBC showed its first feature film on television, The Student of Prague, with Anton Walbrook, 1938; the Atlantic Charter was enunciated by Winston Churchill and FD Roosevelt, 1941; Japan surrendered to the Allies unconditionally, 1945; following rioting, British troops were moved to Northern Ireland to restore order, 1969; after peace talks in Cyprus broke down, Turkish troops launched an attack on Nicosia, 1974.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Athanasia of Aegina, St Eusebius of Rome, St Fachanan, St Marcellus of Apamea, St Maximilian Kolbe.