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Births: Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, playwright and poet, 1671; James Mill, philosopher and historian, 1773; Gustave Moreau, painter, 1826; Harry Houdini (Erich Weiss), stage magician and escapist, 1874; Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, aircraft designer, 1890; Sir John Betjeman, poet, 1906.

Deaths: Richard I (Coeur de Lion), King of England, killed in battle 1199; Albrecht Durer, artist, 1528; Sir William Hamilton, diplomat and archaeologist, husband of Emma Hamilton, 1803; Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky, composer, 1971; Isaac Asimov, biochemist and author, 1992.

On this day: St Paul's Cathedral and other churches were badly damaged following an earthquake tremor in London, 1580; George Washington was elected as first US president, 1789; the Mormon Church was founded by Joseph Smith at Fayette, New York, 1830; the Koh-i-Noor diamond was sent from India to become part of the British Crown Jewels, 1850; the first modern Olympic Games were inaugurated at Athens, 1896; the US declared war on Germany, 1917; Sir Anthony Eden became prime minister, 1955; Early Bird, the first commercial communications satellite, was launched in the US, 1965; Walter William Herbert and three companions reached the North Pole after making the first complete surface crossing, 1969.

Today is the First Day of Passover and the Feast Day of St Celestine I, pope, St Eutychius of Constantinople, St Marcellinus of Carthage, St Prudentius of Troyes and St William of Eskilsoe.