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Births: Georg Agricola (Bauer), mineralogist, 1490; Michiel Adriaanszoon de Ruyter, naval commander, 1607; Daniel Whitby, clergyman and commentator, 1726; Simon-Mathurin Lantara, landscape painter, 1729; Joseph Liouville, mathematician, 1809; John Passmore Edwards, newspaper proprietor and philanthropist, 1823; John Wesley Powell, geologist and explorer, 1834; William Morris, socialist, artist, poet and typographer, 1834; Andrew William Mellon, financier, 1855; Ub Iwerks, film animator, co-creator with Disney of 'Mickey Mouse', 1901; Terrence Steven (Steve) McQueen, actor, 1930.

Deaths: the Caliph Haroun-al-Rashid, 809; Pope Nicholas V, 1455; Queen Elizabeth I, 1603; Samuel Scheidt, composer, 1654; John Harrison, horologist and inventor of the marine chronometer, 1776; Thomas Attwood, organist and composer, 1838; James Stark, painter, 1859; Julius Adam, lithographer, 1874; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet, 1882; Francois-Auguste-Marie Mignet, historian, 1884; Sir Edwin Arnold, scholar and poet, 1904; Jules Verne, novelist, 1905; John Millington Synge, playwright, 1909; Mrs Humphry Ward (Mary Augusta Arnold), novelist, 1920; Charlotte Mary Mew, poet, 1928; Harold Joseph Laski, politician and economist, 1950; Auguste Piccard, deep-sea explorer and balloonist, 1962; Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, first Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, 1976; Ernest Howard Shepard, artist and illustrator ('Winnie the Pooh'), 1976; Yvonne Mitchell, actress and novelist, 1979.

On this day: after King James (James I of England, James VI of Scotland), ascended the throne of England, the English and Scottish crowns were united, 1603; Cipiani Potter, later first principal of the Royal Academy of Music, gave the academy's first music lesson, 1823; the University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge ended in a dead heat, 1877; a Royal Commission on decimal coinage reported against changing the existing system, 1920; the national loaf was introduced into Britain, 1942; it was announced that direct rule would be imposed on Northern Ireland, 1972; President Isabel Peron of Argentina was deposed after a bloodless military coup, 1976.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aldemar, St Catharine of Vadstena, St Irenaeus of Sirmium, St Simon of Trent and St William of Norwich.