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Births: George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, courtier, 1592; Thomas Corneille, playwright, 1625; Bernardo O'Higgins, patriot, 1778; Jons Jakob, Baron Berzelius, chemist, 1779; Benjamin Harrison, 23rd US President, 1833; Kristina Nilsson, soprano, 1843; Christian Berard, painter and sculptor, 1902; Jim Reeves, country singer, 1924.

Deaths: Lord Herbert of Cherbury, philosopher and poet, 1648; Johan de Witt, statesman, with his brother Cornelis, murdered by the mob 1672; Sir Charles Sedley, playwright, 1701; William Miller, 'nursery' poet, 1872; Jules Laforgue, poet, 1887; William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, 1912; Paul Ehrlich, biochemist, 1915; Vilfredo Pareto, economist and sociologist, 1923; Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein), Russian revolutionary murdered 1940; Bernard William Griffin, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, 1956; Jessie Matthews, singer, dancer and actress, 1981; George Adamson, conservationist in Africa, killed 1989.

On this day: the Austrians defeated the French at the Battle of Saragossa, 1710; the exploration party under Burke and Wills started from Melbourne, Australia, 1860; the railway strike in Britain ended, 1911; the German army occupied Brussels, 1914; Calder Hall nuclear-power station began operating, 1956; Senegal became independent, 1960; Russian troops invaded Czechoslovakia, 1968; following the coup in the Soviet Union supporters of Boris Yeltsin fortified barricades and thousands demonstrated outside the Russian parliament building, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of St Amator or Amadour, St Bernard of Clairvaux, St Oswin, St Rognwald or Ronald and St Philibert.


Births: Philip II (Philip-Augustus), King of France, 1165; St Francis de Sales, bishop, 1567; Jean-Baptiste Greuze, painter, 1725; William Murdock, inventor, 1754; William IV, King, 1765; Jules Michelet, historian, 1798; Auguste Bournonville, dancer and choreographer, 1805; Sir Francis Hastings Doyle Bt, poet, 1810; Gustave-Adolphe Hirn, physicist and meteorologist, 1815; Charles Gerhardt, chemist, 1816; Otto Goldschmidt, pianist and composer, 1829; William 'Count' Basie, jazz pianist and bandleader, 1904.

Deaths: Richard Crashaw, poet, 1649; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, author, 1762; William Maginn, poet and journalist, 1842; Charles Joseph Kickham, novelist and poet, 1882; Sir Aston Webb, architect, 1930; Leonard Constant Lambert, composer, 1951; Sir Jacob Epstein, sculptor, 1959; Benigno Aquino, politician, assassinated 1983.

On this day: Wellington defeated the French forces under General Junot at the Battle of Vimiero, 1808; the Mona Lisa painting was stolen from the Louvre, 1911; the London dock strike ended, 1923; Civil Defence was started in Britain, 1939; the Dumbarton Oaks conference started, 1944; it was announced in the Soviet Union that the coup had failed and that President Gorbachev had been reinstated, 1991.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Abraham of Smolensk, Saints Bonosus and Maximian, Saints Luxorius, Cisellus and Camerinus, St Pius X, pope, and St Sidonius Apollinaris.