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Births: Elias Ashmole, antiquarian, 1617; Carolus Linnaeus, botanist, 1707; Franz Anton Mesmer, physician, 1734; Giovanni Battista Viotti, violinist and composer, 1753; Sir Charles Barry, architect, 1795; Otto Lilienthal, pioneer aviator, 1848; Douglas Fairbanks (Douglas Elton Thomas Ulman), actor, 1883; Herbert Marshall, actor, 1890; John Bardeen, physicist, an inventor of the transistor, 1908.

Deaths: Girolamo Savonarola, Florentine priest and reformer, strangled and burnt at the stake 1498; James Otis, American lawyer, 1783; Henrik Johan Ibsen, playwright, 1906; Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, outlaws, killed in an ambush 1934; John Davison Rockefeller, industrialist and philanthropist, 1937; Lord Austin (Herbert Austin), motor manufacturer, 1941; Heinrich Himmler, Nazi leader, committed suicide 1945.

On this day: Joan of Arc was taken prisoner by the English, 1430; King Henry VIII was divorced from Catherine, 1533; the Defenestration of Prague took place, beginning the Thirty Years' War, 1618; Marlborough defeated the French at the Battle of Ramillies, 1706; the Associated Press News Service was founded in New York, 1900; Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, 1915; the British Parliament agreed a plan for the independence of Palestine, but this was denounced by both Arabs and Jews, 1939; the decoration of the George Cross was inaugurated, 1939; Israel announced the capture of Adolf Eichmann, former Nazi chief, 1960.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aldhelm, St Desiderius of Vienne, St Euphrosyne of Polotsk, St Guibert, St Ivo of Chartres, St John Baptist dei Rossi, St Leontius of Rostov and St William of Rochester.