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Births: Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame), astrologer and prophet, 1503; Henry IV of Navarre, King of France, 1553; Daniel Neal, cleric and historian, 1678; James Bruce, explorer of Africa, 1730; Roger Eliot Fry, painter and critic, 1866; George VI, King, 1895; Paul Eluard (Eugene Grindel), poet, 1895; Kurt von Schuschnigg, Austrian chancellor, 1897; Shirley Jackson, author, 1919.

Deaths: Sir John Oldcastle, Baron Cobham, hanged and burnt 1417; James V, King of Scotland, 1542; Thomas Rymer, archaeologist, 1713; Giovanni Battista Cipriani, painter and engraver, 1785; George Washington, first US president, 1799; Albert, Prince Cons o rt, 1861; Sir Oswald Walters Brierly, marine painter, 1894; Maurice Baring, novelist, playwright and poet, 1945; Stanley, first Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, statesman, 1947; Sir Stanley Spencer, painter, 1959; Walter Lippmann, journalist, 1974; Myrna Loy (K a terina Myrna Williams), actress, 1993.

On this day: Mary acceded to the Scottish throne, 1542; the St James's Theatre, London, opened as the Prince's Theatre, 1835; Germany put her first U-boat into service at Kiel, 1906; Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole, 1911; Crete was formally annexedto Greece, 1913; Constance, Countess Markievicz (Sinn Fein) became the first woman to be elected to the British parliament, although she did not take her seat, 1914; women in Britain voted for the first time at the General Election, 1918; the League of Nations condemned and expelled the Soviet Union for aggression against Finland, 1939; Archbishop Makarios became the first president of the Republic of Cyprus, 1959.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Fingar or Gwinnear and Phiala, St John of the Cross, St Nicasius of Rheims, St Spiridion and St Venantius Fortunatus.