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Births: Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing-machine, 1819; Nikola Tesla, electrician and inventor, 1856; Robert Frederick Blum, artist, 1857; Charles Bruce Bairnsfather, cartoonist, 1888; Simon Marks, first Baron Marks of Broughton, a founder of Marks and Spencer, 1888; Ian Mikardo, Labour MP, 1908.

Deaths: Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1228; Jan van Eyck, painter, 1440; Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia, 1677; Philip V, King of Spain, 1746; King Camp Gillette, inventor and manufacturer of the safety razor, 1932; Randall Thompson, composer, 1984.

On this day: Henry VIII divorced Anne of Cleves, 1540; Holland was joined to France under Napoleon, 1810; the Congress of Tucuman was held, at which Argentina declared its independence from Spain, 1816; in Edinburgh, Madeleine Hamilton Smith was acquitted of murder, the verdict being 'not proven', 1857; a massacre of Christians in Damascus started, 1860; the Treaty of Versailles was ratified by Germany, 1919; the Allies captured Caen in Normandy, 1944; the Bank of England issued pounds 20 banknotes (previous pounds 20 notes had been withdrawn in 1945), 1970; the Bahamas became independent, 1973.

Today is the Feast Day of St Everild, St Nicholas Pieck and his Companions, the Martyrs of Gorcum (Holland) and St Veronica de Julianis.


Births: John Calvin, religious reformer, 1509; Mrs Aphra Behn, playwright and novelist, baptised 1640; Capt Frederick Marryat, novelist, 1792; Robert Chambers, publisher and author, 1802; Camille Pissarro, painter, 1830; Marcel Proust, author, 1871; John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, sixth Viscount Gort, soldier, 1886; Carl Orff, composer, 1895.

Deaths: Hadrian (Publius Aelius Hadrianus), Roman emperor, 138; El Cid (Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar), Spanish hero, 1099; Ladislaus IV the Cumanian, King of Hungary, assassinated 1290; Henry II, King of France, killed 1559; William I, the Silent, Prince of Orange, assassinated 1584; Theodore II, Tsar of Russia, assassinated 1605; George Stubbs, animal painter, 1806; Louis-Jacques Mande Daguerre, photographic pioneer, 1851; (Ferdinand) Jelly Roll Morton, ragtime composer and pianist, 1941; Giorgio de Chirico, painter, 1978.

On this day: Henry VI of Lancaster was captured by the Yorkists at the Battle of Northampton, 1460; Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England, 1553; Peter III, Tsar of Russia, was dethroned, 1762; Mongolia was proclaimed an independent state, 1921; the Battle of Britain began, 1940; the first parking meters were installed in London, 1958; the Cable and Broadcasting Act was passed, permitting cable television to be operated, 1984.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Amelberga, Saints Rufina and Secunda, the Seven Brothers and St Felicity.