Births: Jacopo Sannazaro, poet, 1456; Henry Glapthorne, playwright, 1610; Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach, philosopher, 1804; Charles Lucas, cellist, organist, conductor and composer, 1808; John Stuart Blackie, classical scholar, 1809; Giulia Grisi, soprano, 1811; Henri-Joseph Harpignies, landscape painter, 1819; Gerard Manley Hopkins, poet, 1844; Helen Beatrix Potter, author and illustrator, 1866; Marcel Duchamp, Surrealist painter, 1887; Marie Lohr, actress, 1890; Rudy (Hubert Prior) Vallee, singer, 1901; John Thomson Stonehouse, former Postmaster General, 1925; Clarence Malcolm Boden Lowry, novelist, 1909; Jacqueline Onassis (Jacqueline Lee Bouvier), widow of President John Kennedy and of Aristotle Onassis, 1929.

Deaths: Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, Chancellor to King Henry VIII, executed 1540; John Speed, historian and cartographer, 1629; Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, poet and soldier, 1655; Abraham Cowley, poet, 1667; Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, priest, composer and violinist, 1741; Johann Sebastian Bach, composer, 1750; Georges Couthon, revolutionary, executed 1794; Maximilien-Francois Marie-Isidore de Robespierre, revolutionary leader, executed 1794; Louis-Antoine Leon-Florelle de Richebourg de St Just, revolutionary leader, executed 1794; Giuseppe Sarti, composer, 1802; Nathan Mayer Rothschild, banker, 1836; Mortimer Collins, poet and novelist, 1876; Sir Moses Haim Montefiore, philanthropist and centenarian, 1885; Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Plehve, Russian Minister of the Interior, assassinated 1904; William James Mayo, surgeon and co-founder of the Mayor Clinic, 1939; Otto Hahn, nuclear physicist, 1944; Margot (Emma Alice Margaret) Asquith, writer, 1945; Frank Loesser, popular composer and lyricist, 1969.

On this day: the Roman emperor Maximus was defeated near Aquileia by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius I, 388; potatoes were first brought to England from Colombia, 1586; the Battle of Warsaw began, when Charles V Gustav of Sweden invaded Poland, 1656; the Forth and Clyde Canal was opened, 1790; the Walcheren Expedition, under the Earl of Chatham and Sir Richard Strachan, set out, 1809; the British under Arthur Wellesley defeated the French at the Battle of Talavera, 1809; Peru declared its independence from Spain, 1821; in the US, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, 1868; Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, 1914; the IXth Olympic Games opened in Amsterdam, 1928; the 34,000-ton Cunard-White Star liner Mauretania was launched at Cammell- Laird's yard at Birkenhead, 1938; in New York, a B-25 bomber crashed into the tower of the Empire State Building, setting the building ablaze and killing 13, 1945; Edward Heath became leader of the Conservative Party, 1965; an earthquake took place in the Tangshan area of China, with more than 800,000 deaths, 1976.

Today is the Feast Day of St Botvid, Saints Nazarius and Celsus and St Samson of Dol.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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