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Births: Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame), astrologer and prophet, 1503; Tycho Brahe, astronomer and mathematician, 1546; Henry IV of Navarre, King of France, 1553; James Bruce, explorer of Africa, 1730; Roger Eliot Fry, painter and critic, 1866; George VI, King of England, 1895; Kurt von Schuschnigg, Austrian Chancellor, 1897; Shirley Jackson, author, 1919.

Deaths: James V, King of Scotland, 1542; Thomas Rymer, archaeologist, 1713; Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1715; Giovanni Battista Cipriani, painter and engraver, 1785; Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, composer, 1788; George Washington, first US president, 1799; John Claudius Loudon, botanical writer on botoany, 1843; Albert, Prince Consort, 1861; Richard Redgrave, painter, 1888; Maurice Baring, novelist, playwright and poet, 1945; Stanley, first Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, statesman, 1947; Sir Stanley Spencer, painter, 1959; Walter Lippmann, journalist, 1974; Salvator de Madariaga y Rojo, author and diplomat, 1978; Andrei Dimitrievich Sakharov, scientist, 1989.

On this day: Mary acceded to the Scottish throne, 1542; the first section of the London and Greenwich railway opened, 1836; Germany put her first U-boat into service at Kiel, 1906; Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole, 1911; Constance, Countess Markievicz (Sinn Fein) became the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament, although she did not take her seat, 1914; the Danish people voted by a large majority to sell the Danish West Indies to the United States, 1916; women in Britain voted for the first time at the General Election, 1918; Puccini's opera Gianni Schicchi was first performed, Milan 1918; women were granted the vote in Turkey, 1934; the League of Nations condemned and expelled the Soviet Union for aggression against Finland, 1939; Archbishop Makarios became the first president of the Republic of Cyprus, 1959.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Fingar or Gwinnear and Phiala, St John of the Cross, St Nicasius of Rheims, St Spiridion and St Venantius Fortunatus.