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Births: Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux, playwright and novelist, 1688; Karl Mikael Bellmann, song-writer, 1740; Tadeusz Andrzej Bonawentura Kosciuszko, Polish patriot, 1746; William Harrison Ainsworth, novelist, 1805; Sir Michael Andrew Agnus Costa, conductor and composer, 1808; Myles Birket Foster, painter, 1825; Fernand Leger, cubist painter, 1881; Edwin John Pratt, poet, 1883; Ugo Betti, playwright, 1892; Bernard Rogers, pianist and composer, 1893; Ludwig Erhard, statesman, 1897; Jacques Prevert, poet and novelist, 1900; Charles Augustus Lindbergh, aviator, 1902; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian, 1906.

Deaths: Lucius Septimius Severus, Roman emperor, 211; Antonio Pollaiuolo (de Jacobo Benci), sculptor, 1498; John Rogers, Protestant martyr, burned at the stake 1555; Louis Elzevier, printer, 1617; John Hamilton Mortimer, historical painter, 1779; Edward Sapir, linguist and anthropologist, 1939; Lord (Montagu Collet) Norman, banker, 1950; Sir William Darling, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 1962; Karen Carpenter, singer, 1983; Liberace (Wladiziu Valentino), entertainer, 1987.

On this day: the secessionist states met at Montgomery, Alabama and formed the Confederate States of America, 1861; the Ashanti War ended following the Battle of Kumasi, 1874; the Russo-Japanese war began, when Port Arthur was besieged, 1904; a naval blockade of Germany was announced by Britain, 1915; the command of the German Army was assumed by Adolf Hitler, 1938; the Yalta Conference opened, when Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met, 1945; Ceylon (later known as Sri Lanka) became an independent state, 1948; sweet rationing ended in Britain, 1953; the Sunday Times issued the first colour supplement in Britain, 1962; a Japanese Boeing 727 crashed into Tokyo Bay, killing 133 people, 1966; the world's largest hovercraft (165 tonnes) was launched at Cowes, 1968; after an earthquake in Guatemala, more than 23,000 people were killed, 1976; in Ethiopia, the head of state, Brig-Gen Teferi Bante and six others were executed by military council, 1977.

Today is the Feast Day of St Andrew Corsini, bishop, St Isidore of Pelusium, St Joan of Valois, St John de Britto, St Joseph of Leonessa, St Modan, St Nicholas Studites, St Phileas, St Rembert and St Theophilus the Penitent.