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Births: Henry King, poet and prelate, baptised 1592; Richard Savage, poet, 1697; Niccolo Piccinni, opera composer, 1728; Willoughby Bertie, fourth Earl of Abingdon, music patron and composer, 1740; Francois-Joseph Talma, actor-manager, 1763; Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, artist, 1793; Karl August Krebs, composer, 1804; Franz Brentano, philosopher, 1838; Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson, actor-manager, 1853; Andre Michelin, tyre maker, 1853; General Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton, commander at Gallipoli, 1853; Jenny Julia Eleanor Marx, socialist, daughter of Karl Marx, 1855; Edward Gordon Craig, theatre designer, 1872; Robert William Service, writer and poet, 1874; Joan Rosita Forbes, traveller and writer, 1890; Karl Freund, cinema photographer, 1890; Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar, Cuban dictator, 1901; Ethel Merman (Zimmerman), singer and actress, 1909.

Deaths: Edmund Spenser, poet, 1599; Edward Gibbon, historian, 1794; General Sir John Moore, died of wounds at Corunna, 1809; Edmund Lodge, biographer, 1839; Amilcare Ponchielli, composer, 1886; Clement-Philibert-Leo Delibes, composer, 1891; Arnold Bocklin, painter, 1901; Marshall Field, department store owner, 1906; Carole Lombard (Jane Alice Peters), actress, killed in an air crash, 1942; Arturo Toscanini, conductor, 1957; Robert Jemison Van de Graaff, nuclear physicist, 1967.

On this day: Ivan the Terrible, first Russian Tsar, crowned, 1547; Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, abdicated, 1556; the Spanish were defeated at Cape St Vincent by Admiral George Rodney, 1780; the Battle of Corunna was fought, 1809; Brazil became an Empire under John, Prince Regent of Portugal, 1816; Aden was annexed to British India, 1839; the Algeciras Conference, deciding the independence and liberty of Morocco was held, 1906; the British expedition led by Ernest Shackleton reached the magnetic South Pole, 1909; following a fire in Osaka, Japan, 30,000 were rendered homeless when 5,000 houses were burnt, 1912; in the US, the 18th Amendment was ratified, which prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages, 1920; the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations was held in Paris, 1920; the US Senate voted against joining the League of Nations, 1920; the BBC magazine the Listener was first published, 1929; Vincent Auriol was elected President of France, 1947; Colonel Gaddafi became prime minister of Libya, 1970; after a rule of 37 years, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi left Iran with his family, 1979; the Gulf war started with the launch of Operation Desert Storm, when allied air attacks were made on Iraq and occupied Kuwait, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of St Berard and Others, St Fursey, St Henry of Cocket, St Honoratus of Arles, St Marcellus I, pope and St Priscilla.


Births: Leonhard Fuchs, physician and botanist, 1501; Pope Pius V, 1504; Thomas Fairfax, third Lord Fairfax, Parliamentary army commander, 1612; Benjamin Franklin, printer and diplomat, 1706; George Lyttelton, first Lord Lyttelton, statesman and poet, 1709; Stanislaw II, King of Poland, 1732; Francois-Joseph Gossec, composer, 1734; Conte Vittorio Alfieri, poet, 1749; Sir James Hall, geologist, 1761; Karl Kempter, composer, 1819; August Friedrich Leopold Weismann, geneticist, 1834; Douglas Hyde, poet, historian and first president of the Irish Republic, 1860; David Lloyd George, First Earl Lloyd George, statesman, 1863; Konstantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev (Konstantin Stanislavsky), actor- manager, 1863; David Beatty, first Earl Beatty, naval officer, 1871; Mack Sennett, film producer, 1880; Sir Edward Montague Compton Mackenzie, novelist, 1883; Ronald Arthur Annesley Firbank, novelist, 1886; Al Capone, gangster, 1899; Nevil Shute (Norway), novelist, 1899.

Deaths: Murad III, Sultan of Turkey, 1595; Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, composer, 1751; Pietro Francesco Cavalli, composer, 1676; Carlo Dolci, painter, 1686; John Ray, naturalist, 1705; Juan Cristostomo Arriaga, composer, 1826; Emile-Jean-Horace Vernet, painter, 1863; George Petrie, antiquary, 1866; Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, painter, 1867; Alexander Sergeyevich Dargomitzhsky, composer, 1869; Edmond- Francois-Valentin About, writer, 1885; Paul-Jacques-Aime Baudry, painter, 1886; George Bancroft, diplomat and historian, 1891; Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 19th US President, 1893; Charles-Marie Leconte de Lisle, poet, 1894; Frederic William Henry Myers, poet and scholar, 1901; Quintin Hogg, merchant and founder of the Polytechnic, 1903; Admiral Sir Henry Keppel, naval officer and writer, 1904; Sir Francis Galton, explorer and anthropologist, 1911; Terence Hanbury White, author, 1964; Neil Miller Gunn, novelist, 1973; David Garnett, novelist, 1981.

On this day: the city of Baghdad, population about one million, was captured and destroyed by the Mongol hordes under Hulagu, 1258; the Papal See was removed from Avignon to Rome, 1377; the Scottish rebels defeated Hawley at the Battle of Falkirk, 1746; Captain Cook's ship Resolution was the first to cross the Antarctic Circle, 1773; the Duke of Wellington was appointed Commander in Chief of the British Army, 1827; the Sand River Convention, under which Britain recognised the independence of the Transvaal, was signed 1852; the Star, a London evening newspaper, was first published, 1888; Hawaii was proclaimed a republic, 1893; Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole one month after Amundsen, 1912; Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish diplomat, was arrested by the Russians, 1945; Senegal and the French Sudan united to form the Federal State of Mali, 1959; after a US air collision, a hydrogen bomb was lost in the sea near Spain. It was recovered three months later, 1966; Gary Gilmore, a double murderer, was executed by firing squad at Utah State prison, 1977.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Antony the Abbot, St Genulf or Genou, St Julian Sabas, St Richimir, St Sabinus of Piacenza, Saints Speusippus, Eleusippus and Meleusippus and St Sulpicius II or Sulpice of Bourges.