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Births: Jean de la Fontaine, poet and fable writer, 1621; Tom Cribb, pugilist, 1781; Karl Franz Friedrich Chrysander, musical scholar, 1826; Joseph Chamberlain, statesman, 1836; Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich, Count von Zeppelin, soldier and inventor, 1838; John Davison Rockefeller, millionaire, 1839; Sir Arthur John Evans, archaeologist, 1851; Harry Von Tilzer (Harry Gumm), composer, 1872; Percy Aldridge Grainger (George Percy), composer and pianist, 1882; Mary Agnes Hamilton, novelist, 1884; Richard (Edward Godfree) Aldington, novelist and critic, 1892; Alec (Alexander Raban) Waugh, writer, 1898; Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, politician, 1908; Billy Eckstine (William Clarence Eckstein), singer and bandleader, 1914.

Deaths: Pope Gregory XV, 1623; Robert South, clergyman and orator, 1716; Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet, at sea, Spezia, Italy 1822; Sir William Edward Parry, Arctic explorer, 1855; Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'), artist, 1882; Henry Havelock Ellis, physician and author, 1939; Vivien Leigh (Vivian Mary Hartley), actress, 1967; Michael Wilding, actor, 1979; Frank Hampson, creator of 'Dan Dare', 1985.

On this day: Vasco da Gama, navigator, set sail from Lisbon with four ships on a voyage to India, 1497; a French victory at Fort Ticonderoga stemmed the advance of the British upon Quebec, 1758; the last bare-knuckle boxing contest, between John Lawrence Sullivan and Jake Kil-rain, and lasting 75 rounds, took place at Richburg, Missouri, 1889; the Ziegfeld Follies opened for the first time, New York, 1907; Serbia declared war on Bulgaria, 1913; Britain took over the East African Protectorate as Kenya Colony, 1920; General Douglas MacArthur was appointed commander of United Nations forces in Korea, 1950.

Today is the Feast Day of St Adrian III, pope, Saints Aquila and Prisca or Priscilla (husband and wife), St Grimbald, St Kilian and his Companions, St Procopius of Caesarea, St Raymund of Toulouse, St Sunniva and her Companions and St Withburga.