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Births: Leonhard Fuchs, physician and botanist, 1501; Benjamin Franklin, printer and diplomat, 1706; George Lyttelton, first Lord Lyttelton, politician and poet, 1709; Francois-Joseph Gossec, composer, 1734; Sir James Hall, geologist, 1761; August Friedrich Leopold Weismann, geneticist, 1834; David Lloyd George, first Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor, prime minister, 1863; Konstantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev (Konstantin Stanislavsky), actor-manager, 1863; Sir Edward Montague Compton Mackenzie, novelist, 1883; Al Capone, gangster, 1899; Nevil Shute (Norway), novelist, 1899.

Deaths: Theodosius I, Eastern Roman Emperor, 395; Murad III, Sultan of Turkey, 1595; Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, composer, 1751; Pietro Francesco Cavalli, composer, 1676; Carlo Dolci, painter, 1686; John Ray, naturalist, 1705; Juan Cristostomo Arriaga, composer, 1826; Emile-Jean- Horace Vernet, painter, 1863; George Petrie, antiquary, 1866; Jean- Auguste-Dominique Ingres, painter, 1867; Alexander Sergeyevich Dargomitzhsky, composer, 1869;

Edmond-Francois-Valentin About, writer, 1885; Paul-Jacques-Aime Baudry, painter, 1886; George Bancroft, diplomat and historian, 1891; Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 19th President of the United States, 1893; Charles-Marie Leconte de Lisle, poet, 1894; Frederic William Henry Myers, poet and scholar, 1901; Quintin Hogg, merchant and founder of the Polytechnic, 1903; Admiral Sir Henry Keppel, sailor and writer, 1904; Sir Francis Galton, explorer and anthropologist, 1911; Carl Haag, painter, 1915; Terence Hanbury White, author, 1964; Neil Miller Gunn, novelist, 1973.

On this day: the city of Baghdad, population about 1 million, was captured and destroyed by the Mongol hordes under Hulagu, 1258; the Papal See was removed from Avignon to Rome, 1377; the Scottish rebels defeated Hawley at the Battle of Falkirk, 1746; Captain Cook's ship Resolution was the first to cross the Antarctic Circle, 1773; the Duke of Wellington was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, 1827; the Sand River Convention, under which Britain recognised the independence of the Transvaal, was signed 1852; Hawaii was proclaimed a republic, 1893; Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole one month after Amundsen, 1912; Senegal and the French Sudan united to form the Federal State of Mali, 1959; after a US air collision, a hydrogen bomb was lost in the sea near Spain. It was recovered three months later, 1966; Gary Gilmore, a double murderer, was executed by firing squad at Utah State prison, 1977.

Today is the Feast Day of St Antony the Abbot, St Genulf or Genou, St Julian Sabas, St Richimir, St Sabinus of Piacenza, Saints Speusippus, Eleusippus and Meleusippus and St Sulpicius II or Sulpice of Bourges.