Births: George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, courtier, 1592; Thomas Corneille, playwright, 1625; Benjamin Harrison, 23rd US President, 1833; Kristina Nilsson, soprano, 1843; Raymond-Nicolas-Landry Poincare, statesman, 1860; Shaul Tchernichowski, Hebrew poet, 1875; Howard Phillips Lovecraft, novelist, 1890; Jim Reeves, country singer, 1924.

Deaths: Johan de Witt, statesman, with his brother Cornelis, murdered by the mob, 1672; Sir Charles Sedley, playwright, 1701; Pope Pius VII, 1823; Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, philosopher, 1854; William Miller, 'nursery' poet, 1872; Joseph Kenny Meadows, artist, 1874; Mrs Charles Kean (Ellen Tree), actress, 1880; Jules Laforgue, poet, 1887; William Adolphe Bouguereau, painter, 1905; William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, 1912; Paul Ehrlich, biochemist, 1915; Vilfredo Pareto, economist and sociologist, 1923; Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein), politician, murdered 1940; Bernard William Griffin, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, 1956; Jessie Matthews, singer, dancer and actress, 1981; George Adamson, conservationist in Africa, killed 1989.

On this day: the Austrians defeated the French at the Battle of Saragossa, 1710; the exploration party under Burke and Wills started from Melbourne, Australia, 1860; the railway strike in Britain ended, 1911; the German army occupied Brussels, 1914; in the US the Detroit News began operating radio station WWJ, 1920; the Imperial Economic Conference at Ottawa ended, 1932; Calder Hall nuclear- power station began operating, 1956; the French colony of Senegal became independent, 1960; the first London performance of the musical show Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was presented, 1962; Russian troops invaded Czechoslovakia, and fighting broke out in Prague, 1968; following the coup in the Soviet Union, supporters of Boris Yeltsin fortified barricades and thousands demonstrated outside the Russian parliament building, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of St Amator or Amadour, St Bernard of Clairvaux, St Oswin, St Rognwald or Ronald and St Philibert.

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