Births: Pope Sixtus V, 1520, Maximilien de Bethune, Duc de Sully, statesman, 1560; William Drummond of Hawthornden, poet, 1585; Heinrich (Harry) Heine, poet and journalist, 1797; the Rev Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, biographer, 1815; Ernst Werner von Siemens, inventor, 1816; Edwin George Monk, organist and musical director, 1819; Sir Joseph Noel Paton, painter, 1821; Franz von Lenbach, painter, 1836; Lucien-Germain Guitry, actor, 1860; Talcott Parsons, sociologist, 1902; Balthazar Johannes Vorster, South African nationalist, 1915.

Deaths: Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon), philosopher, 1204; Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, 1250; Donatello (Donato de Betto Bardi), sculptor, 1466; Manoel I, King of Portugal, 1521; Konrad von Gesner, physician and naturalist, 1565; Francois Viete de la Bigotiere, advocate and mathematician, 1603; Charles de Lafosse, painter, 1716; Anthony Collins, philosopher and writer, 1729; Christian Furchtegott Gellert, poet and writer of fables, 1783; Dr Samuel Johnson, lexicographer, 1784; William Calcraft, shoemaker and hangman, 1879; Sir John Sparrow David Thompson, prime minister of Canada, 1894; Samuel Gompers, labour leader, 1924; Wassily Kandinsky, abstract painter, 1944; Robert John Strutt, fourth Baron Rayleigh, physicist, 1947; 'Grandma Moses' (Mrs Thomas Salmon Moses - Anna Mary Robertson), primitive painter, 1961; Henry Green (Henry Vincent Yorke), novelist, 1973; Mary Renault (Mary Challans), novelist, 1983.

On this day: the first assembly of the Council of Trent opened, 1545; Sir Francis Drake left Plymouth on his voyage around the world, 1577; New Zealand was discovered by Abel Janszoon Tasman, 1642; the Barebones Parliament ended, 1653; Basutoland became a native state under British protection, 1843; Port Arthur was occupied by Russian forces, 1897; in the United States, Italo Marcioni patented the first ice-cream cone, 1903; a treaty guaranteeing the independence of Ethiopia was signed between France, Great Britain and Italy, 1906; the P & O vessel Delhi was lost off the Moroccan coast, but passengers and crew were saved, 1911; Dr Lee De Forest demonstrated the first sound-on-film movie in the United States, 1923; Nanking, China, was taken by Japanese troops, 1937; the Battle of the River Plate was fought, 1939; South Africa refused to place South West Africa under the trusteeship of the United Nations, 1950; a spell of extreme cold weather killed over 200 people in the United States, 1960; Malta was proclaimed a republic, 1974.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aubert of Cambrai, St Eustratius of Sebastea, St Judocus or Josse, St Lucy and St Othilia or Odilia.

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