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Births: Thomas Campion, composer and poet, 1567; Jan Swammerdam, entomologist, 1637; Cotton Mather, American colonist and writer, 1663; Francis II, Emperor of Austria and last Holy Roman Emperor, 1768; Charles Darwin, naturalist, 1809; Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President, 1809; George Meredith, novelist, 1828; Marie Lloyd (Matilda Alice Victoria Wood), music-hall artiste, 1870; John Llewellyn Lewis, labour leader, 1880; William 'Buster' Collier, actor, 1902.

Deaths: Lady Jane Grey, Queen for nine days, executed 1553; George Heriot, jeweller and philanthropist, 1624; Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux, novelist, 1763; Ts'ao Hsueh-ch'in, novelist and playwright, 1763; Immanuel Kant, philosopher, 1804; Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, mathematician, 1856; Lillie Langtry (Emily Charlotte Le Breton), actress, 1929; Marie-Eugene-Henri Fouques Duparc, composer, 1933; Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, architect, 1941; Tom Keating, art counterfeiter, 1984; Henry Hathaway, film-maker, 1985.

On this day: the French were defeated by the English at the Battle of the Herrings (Rouvray), 1429; over 1,000 French troops made an unsuccessful invasion attempt on the coast of Pembrokeshire, 1797; Alexander Graham Bell's telephone was demonstrated between Boston and Salem, 1877; the London County Council was formed, 1889; the Manchu dynasty was overthrown, and China became a republic, 1912; George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue was first performed in New York, 1924; in the United States, it was announced that Borazon, a material harder than diamonds, had been made, 1957.

Today is the Feast Day of St Antony Kauleas, St Ethelwald of Lindisfarne, St Julian the Hospitaller, St Ludan, St Marina or Pelagia and St Meletius. Today is also the beginning of Ramadan.


Births: Robert Dodsley, poet and bookseller, 1703; Giovanni Giuseppe Cambini, violinist and composer, 1746; Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill, politician, 1849; Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (Shalyapin), operatic bass singer, 1873; Eleanor Farjeon, writer, 1881; Sir Neville Pearson, publisher, 1898; Georges Simenon, novelist, 1901.

Deaths: Sweyn, King of Denmark, 1014; Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, executed 1542; Benvenuto Cellini, sculptor and goldsmith, 1571; Charles-Ferdinand, Duc de Berri, heir presumptive to the French throne, assassinated 1820; Wilhelm Richard Wagner, composer, 1883; Alphonse Bertillon, criminologist, 1914; Georges-Henri Rouault, expressionist painter, 1958; Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst, suffragette, 1958; Lily (Alice Josephine) Pons, singer, 1976; Jean Renoir, film maker, 1979.

On this day: William and Mary ascended the throne, 1689; the Glencoe Massacre took place, when the Campbells murdered the Macdonalds, 1692; the first coalition against France was formed by Britain, Austria, Prussia, Holland, Spain and Sardinia, 1793; Strauss's waltz 'The Blue Danube' was first played in Vienna, 1867; the Nuffield Foundation was set up, 1943; Alexander Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union, 1974.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Catherine dei Ricci, St Ermenilda or Ermengild, St Licinius or Lesin, St Martinian the Hermit, St Modomnoc, St Polyeuctes of Melitene and St Stephen of Rieti.