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Births: Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman medical practitioner, 1821; Walter Bagehot, economist, author and journalist, 1826; Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne Cecil, third Marquess of Salisbury, 1830; Frederick Niecks, musicologist, 1845; Sir James Jebusa Shannon, painter, 1862; Field Marshal Hugh Montague Trenchard, first Viscount Trenchard, 1873; Gertrude Stein, author and critic, 1874; Carl Theodor Dreyer, film director, 1889; Alvar Aalto, architect, 1898; Priaulx Rainier, composer, 1903; Luigi Dallapiccola, composer, 1904.

Deaths: John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 1399; Germain Pilon, sculptor, 1590; Richard 'Beau' Nash, gambler and dandy, 1762; George Crabbe, poet, 1832; Sir Henry James Sumner Maine, professor of law, 1888; Sir Morell Mackenzie, physician, 1892; Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (Elgee or 'Speranza'), poet, 1896; Edward Charles Pickering, astronomer, 1919; Oliver Heaviside, physicist, 1925; John Lane, publisher, 1925; Edward Phillips Oppenheim, author of thrillers, 1946; Boris Karloff (William Henry Pratt), actor, 1969; John Cassavetes, actor, director and screenwriter, 1989.

On this day: Bartholomew Diaz landed at Mossal Bay, Cape of Good Hope, 1488; British forces under Sir Samuel Auchmuty took Montevideo, 1807; Illinois was organised as a Territory of the United States, 1809; the US and Germany broke off diplomatic relations, 1917; an international socialist conference was held in Berne, Switzerland, 1919; the Bolsheviks captured Kiev, 1919; the first London performance of the musical show The Student Prince in Heidelberg was staged, 1926; 256 people were killed and the New Zealand cities of Napier and Hastings almost destroyed in an earthquake, 1931; 1,000 Allied aircraft bombed Berlin in the daylight, 1945; the Allies captured Colmar, 1945; the Benelux economic treaty was signed, 1958; Harold Macmillan, as Prime Minister, made his 'Wind of Change' speech in Cape Town, South Africa 1960; the Soviet spacecraft Luna 9 reached the Moon, sending back television pictures, 1966.

Today is the Feast Day of St Anskar, St Blaise, St Ia the Virgin, St Laurence of Canterbury, St Laurence of Spoleto, Saint Margaret 'of England' and St Werburga.