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Births: King Henry VII, 1457; Giovanni Alfonso Borelli, mathematician and astronomer, 1608; George Hamilton Gordon, fourth Earl of Aberdeen, statesman, 1784; Louis-Joseph- Ferdinand Herold, composer, 1791; Charles George Gordon, general and hero of Khartoum, 1833; Colette (Gabrielle Sidonie Colette), author, 1873; Ruby Mildred Ayres, novelist, 1883; Auguste Piccard, balloonist and deep sea explorer, 1884; Ernst Lubitsch, film director, 1892; Paul Jackson Pollock, artist, 1912.

Deaths: Charlemagne, Frankish emperor, 814; King Henry VIII, 1547; Sir Francis Drake, sailor, at sea 1596; Sir Thomas Bodley, scholar and founder of the Bodleian Library, 1613; Thomas Treadgold, engineer, 1829; Vicente Blasco Ibanez, writer and politician, 1928; George Edward Bateman Saintsbury, literary critic and historian, 1933; Mikhail Mikhailovich Ippolitov- Ivanov, composer, 1935; William Butler Yeats, poet and playwright, 1939; Sir Samuel Henry William Llewellyn, portrait painter, 1941; Herbert Ernest Bates, novelist, 1974.

On this day: the Diet of Worms began, 1521; Edward VI acceded to the throne of England, 1547; the penal colony at Botany Bay, New South Wales, was founded, 1788; Paris surrendered to the German army, 1871; the Carnegie Institution was established in Washington, United States, 1902; the Ruhr became fully under the control of French forces, 1923; the dictatorship by Miguel Primo de Rivera in Spain came to an end, 1930; Shanghai was occupied by the Japanese, 1932; the British Eighth Army retreated to El Alamein, 1942; the US space shuttle Challenger exploded moments after take-off, killing six astronauts and a woman teacher, 1986; the Independent on Sunday was first published, 1990.

Today is the Feast Day of St Amadeus of Lausanne, St Paulinus of Aquileia, St Peter Nolasco, St Peter Thomas and St Thomas Aquinas.