Click to follow
Births: Pope Gregory XIII, 1502; James Harrington, political theorist, 1611; Joseph Buonaparte, King of Naples, 1768; Eilhard Mitscherlich, chemist, 1794; Millard Fillmore, 13th US president, 1800; Sigismond Fortune Francois Thalberg, pianist and composer, 1812; Robert Nicoll, poet, 1814; Heinrich von Stephan, politician and pioneer of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), 1831; Titus Charles Constantin, conductor, 1835; St Bernadette of Lourdes (Marie-Bernarde Soubirous), 1844; Carl Laemmle, film producer, founder of Universal Pictures, 1867; Charles-Pierre Peguy, poet and socialist, 1873; Adolph Zukor, film magnate, 1873; Albert Alick (Al) Bowlly, singer, 1899; Francis-Jean-Marcel Poulenc, composer, 1899.

Deaths: Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, 1536; Nicholas Hillyarde, first English miniaturist painter, 1619; Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fenelon, priest and author, 1715; Allan Ramsay, poet, 1758; Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, engraver and painter, 1801; Sir Thomas Lawrence, painter, 1830; John Hookham Frere, author and poet, 1846; Thomas Waghorn, traveller, 1850; Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, physician and women's rights champion, 1912; Henry Arthur Jones, playwright, 1929; Andrei Bely (Boris Nikolayevich Bugaev), novelist and poet, 1934; Nikola Tesla, inventor, 1943; Alvar Lidell, broadcaster, 1981; Dr Alfred Kastler, physicist, 1984; Trevor Wallace Howard, actor, 1988.

On this day: the University of Glasgow was founded, 1450; Calais, held by the English, was recaptured by France, 1558; Galileo discovered the four satellites of Jupiter, 1610; Jean-Pierre Blanchard, with Dr John Jeffries, crossed the Channel by balloon from England to France, 1785; the first national election in the US was held, 1789; the London General Omnibus Company started operating, 1857; the first woman was elected as foreman of a jury in Britain, 1921; a picture-by-wire service was established between Britain and Germany, 1930; Princess Juliana of the Netherlands married Prince Bernhard, The Hague 1937; the Forsyte Saga series began on BBC 1, 1967.

Today is Christmas Day in the Orthodox Church and the Feast Day of St Aldric, St Canute Lavard, St Lucian of Antioch, St Raymund of Penafort, St Reinold, St Tillo and St Valentine.