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Births: King Richard II, 1367; St Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans, 1412; Giuseppe Sammartini, composer, 1695; David Dale, manufacturer and philanthropist, 1739; Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, balloonist, 1745; Louis-Marie de la Haye, Vicomte de Cormenin, jurist, 1788; George Thomas Doo, engraver, 1800; Anna Maria Hall (Fielding), novelist, 1800; Heinrich Schliemann, archaeologist, 1822; Paul-Gustave Dore, illustrator and engraver, 1833; Max Karl August Bruch, composer, 1838; Clarence King, geologist, 1842; Franz Xaver Scharwenka, pianist and composer, 1850; Samuel Alexander, philosopher, 1859; Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin, composer, 1872; Fred Niblo (Federico Nobile), film director, 1874; Carl Sandburg, poet, 1878; Tom Mix (Thomas Edwin Mix), actor, 1880; Khalil Gibran, writer, 1883.

Deaths: Baldassare Peruzzi, architect and painter, 1536; Seth Ward, bishop, mathematician and astronomer, 1689; John Dennis, critic and playwright, 1734; Thomas Birch, biographer and historian, 1766; Jean-Etienne Guettard, naturalist and geologist, 1786; Rodolphe Kreutzer, violinist and composer, 1831; Fanny Burney (Madame d'Arblay), novelist and diarist, 1840; Hartley Coleridge, author and poet, 1849; Louis Braille, deviser of a blind alphabet, 1852; Fanny (Frances) Wright, social reformer, 1852; James 'Jubilee Jim' Fisk, gold market speculator, shot in a quarrel, 1872; Richard Henry Dana, novelist and lawyer, 1882; Gregor Johann Mendel, monk and geneticist, 1884; Philip Danforth Armour, food manufacturer, 1901; Georg Cantor, mathematician, 1918; Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US President, 1919; Andre-Rene-Louis Maginot, politician, 1932; Archibald Joseph Cronin, novelist, 1981; John Birks ('Dizzy') Gillespie, trumpeter, 1993; Rudolf Hametovich Nureyev, dancer, 1993.

On this day: King Alfred defeated the Danes at the Battle of Ashdown, 871; Harold was crowned King of England in succession to Edward the Confessor, 1066; King Henry VIII was married to Anne of Cleves, 'the Flanders Mare', 1540; Samuel Morse gave the first public demonstration of his electric telegraph, 1838; Lord Roberts and his troops captured Kandahar, 1879; many deaths were caused by a cyclone in Georgia and other states, 1892; New Mexico became the 47th of the United States, 1912; the Allies began to evacuate Gallipoli, 1916; the new Sadler's Wells Theatre opened in London, 1931; the Battle of the Bulge ended, 1945; Britain recognised the Communist regime in China, 1950.

Today is Epiphany (Feast of the Three Kings), Twelfth Night, Old Christmas Day and the Feast Day of St Erminold, St Guarinus or Guerin of Sion, St John de Ribera, St Raphaela Porras and St Wiltrudis.