Births: Albrecht Durer, painter and engraver, 1471; Philip II, King of Spain, 1527; Alexander Pope, poet and satirist, 1688; Elizabeth Fry (Gurney), prison reformer, 1780; Henri Rousseau, primitive painter, 1844; Willem Einthoven, physiologist, 1860; Thomas Wright (Fats) Waller, songwriter and pianist, 1904; Raymond William Stacy Burr, actor, 1917.

Deaths: Henry VI, King of England, murdered, 1471; Hieronymus Fabricius, physician, 1619; James Graham, first Marquess of Montrose, Scottish royalist, executed, 1650; Christopher Smart, poet, 1771; Franz von Suppe (Francesco Cavaliere Suppe Demelli), composer, 1895; Ronald Arthur Annesley Firbank, novelist, 1926; Jane Addams, sociologist, 1935; Dino Grandi, Conte de Mordano, politician, 1988.

On this day: St Helena was discovered by the navigator, Joao da Nova Castell, 1502; Napoleon was defeated by the Austrians at the Battle of Aspern- Essling, 1809; Captain William Hobson proclaimed British sovereignty over the whole of New Zealand, 1840; Gold was discovered in Australia, 1851; the Treaty of Frankfurt was ratified, 1871; the Manchester Ship Canal was officially opened, 1894; Summer Time (daylight saving) was begun in Britain, 1916; Charles A. Lindbergh reached Paris at the end of his flight across the Atlantic, 1927.

Today is the Feast Day of St Andrew Bobola, St Godfric and St Theophilus of Corte.


Births: Gerard de Nerval (Gerard Labrunie), poet and writer, 1808; Wilhelm Richard Wagner, composer, 1813; Felix-Joseph-Auguste Bracquemond, painter and engraver, 1833; Sir Aston Webb, architect, 1849; Emile Sauret, violinist and composer, 1852; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, novelist, 1859; Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, mining magnate, 1880; Giacomo Matteotti, politician, 1885; Laurence Kerr Olivier, Lord Olivier, actor and director, 1907.

Deaths: Constantine the Great, Roman Emperor, 337; Francesco Guicciardini, historian and diplomat, 1540; Maria Edgeworth, novelist, 1849; Julius Plucker, mathematician and physicist, 1868; Alessandro Francesco Manzoni, poet, 1873; Victor-Marie Hugo, author, 1885; Augusta, Lady Gregory, poet, playwright and theatre director, 1932; Ernst Toller, revolutionary, playwright and poet, 1939; Cecil Day Lewis, poet and author, 1972; Rajiv Gandhi, former Indian prime minister, assassinated 1991.

On this day: Louis VIII of France invaded England, landing at Stonor, 1216; the title 'baronet' was created when James I ennobled 18 men, 1611; the first parliament of New South Wales was opened, 1856; the Blackwall Tunnel under the Thames was officially opened, 1897; the Strand Theatre, London, opened, 1905; Frederick William Pethick-Lawrence, his wife Emmeline and Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragists, were sentenced to nine months imprisonment, 1912; the Italian-German alliance was signed in Berlin, 1939; the battle for the German battleship Bismarck started, 1941; the Organisation of African Unity was formed in Addis Ababa, 1963; Goya's painting of the Duke of Wellington, stolen from the National Portrait Gallery in 1961, was found in a Birmingham railway carriage, 1965; Ceylon changed its named to Sri Lanka and became a republic, 1972.

Tomorrow is Pentecost (Whit Sunday) and the Feast Day of St Aigulf of Ayoul or Bourges, Saints Castus and Aemilius, St Helen of Caernarvon, St Humility, St Joachima de Mas, St Julia of Corsica, St Quiteria, St Rita (Margarita) of Cascia and St Romanus.

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