Anniversaries

Births: Philip I, King of Spain, 1478; Anthony Ashley Cooper, first Earl of Shaftesbury, statesman, 1621; Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, astronomer and mathematician, 1784; Gregor Johann Mendel, Augustinian monk and botanist, 1822; Heinrich Proch, song composer, 1809; Sir Herbert Stanley Oakeley, composer and organist, 1830; The Rev William Archibald Spooner, originator of 'spoonerisms', 1844; Frederick William Rolfe ('Baron Corvo'), writer, 1860; Gus Elen (Ernest Augustus Elen), music-hall artiste, 1862; Lev Borisovich Kamenev, politician, 1883; Selman Abraham Waksman, biochemist, 1888; Artur von Seyss-Inquart, Nazi High Commissioner of Bohemia, 1892; James Whale, film director, 1896; Stephen Vincent Benet, poet and novelist, 1898; Alexander Calder, bent-wire and metal sculptor, 1898.

Deaths: Simon Langham, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1376; Charles VII of France, 1461; Henry III of France, assassinated 1589; John Dalton, poet, 1763; Emmanuel-Henri Louis-Alexandre de Launay, Comte d'Antraigues, publicist, and his wife, an opera singer, murdered by a servant 1812; George Shaw, naturalist, 1813; Giuseppi Piazzi, monk and astronomer, 1826; Wilson Barrett (William Henry), actor and playwright, 1904; James Whitcombe Riley, poet, 1916; John Meade Falkner, novelist, 1932; Florenz Ziegfeld, theatrical producer, 1932; John Dillinger, 'Public Enemy No 1', shot dead in an ambush 1934; William Lyon Mackenzie King, statesman, 1950; Carl Sandburg, poet, 1967; Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler, archaeologist, 1976.

On this day: the French defeated the English at the Battle of Saintes, 1242; the English defeated the Scots, led by Wallace, at the Battle of Falkirk, 1298; Belgrade was besieged by the Ottoman Turks, 1456; Alexander Mackenzie crossed Canada overland and reached the Pacific, 1793; the English fleet drove off the French at the Battle of Cape Finisterre, 1805; in Spain, the Duke of Wellington defeated the French at the Battle of Salamanca, 1812; the Mormons, moving westwards, reached the site of Salt Lake City, 1847; Federal troops stopped the Confederates at the Battle of Atlanta, 1864; in Russia, Alexander Kerensky became prime minister, 1917; Wiley Post completed the first round-the-world solo air flight in seven days, 18 hours, 49 minutes, 1933; the Bretton Woods Conference on international monetary policy ended, 1944; in Britain, bread rationing started, 1946; after six years in exile, King Leopold III returned to Belgium, 1950; the Russian unmanned spacecraft Venera 8 made a soft landing on Venus, 1972; Greece and Turkey agreed to a cease-fire in Cyprus, 1974; the first London performance of the musical show A Chorus Line was staged, 1976.

Today is the Feast Day of St John Lloyd, St Joseph of Palestine, St Mary Magdalen, St Philip Evans, St Vandrille or Wandregesilus.

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