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Births: Gustavus Vasa, King of Sweden, 1496; Emma (Lyon), Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson, 1765; Justus, Freiherr von Liebig, chemist, discoverer of chloroform, 1803; Edward Lear, artist, humorist and versifier, 1812; Florence Nightingale, pioneer of nursing, 1820; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet and and pre-Raphaelite painter, 1828; Gabriel-Urbain Faure, composer, 1845; Leslie Charteris (Leslie Charles Bowyer Yin), novelist and creator of 'The Saint', 1907.

Deaths: Waldemar the Great, King of Denmark, 1182; August Wilhelm von Schlegel, poet and critic, 1845; Sir Charles Barry, architect, 1860; Daniel- Francois-Esprit Auber, composer, 1871; Joris-Karl (Charles-Marie-Georges) Huysmans, writer, 1907; Amy Lowell, poet, 1925; John Edward Masefield, poet, 1967.

On this day: the French were defeated at Oporto by General Sir Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington), 1809; the General Strike in Britain collapsed, 1926 Captain Amundsen crossed the North Pole in the airship Norge, 1926; the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth took place, 1937; in Britain, the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18, 1969.

Today is Ascension Day and the Feast Day of St Dominic of the Causeway, St Epiphanius of Salamis, St Ethelhard, St Germanus of Constantinople, St John Stone, St Modoaldus, Saints Nereus and Achilleus, St Pancras of Rome and St Rictrudis.