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Births: Jean de la Fontaine, poet and writer of fables, 1621; Fitz-Greene Halleck, poet, 1790; Joseph Chamberlain, statesman, 1836; Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich, Count von Zeppelin, soldier and inventor, 1838; John Davison Rockefeller, millionaire, 1839; Sir Arthur John Evans, archaeologist, 1851; Alfred Binet, psychologist, 1857; Ferguson Wright Hume (Fergus Hume), novelist, 1859; Walford Graham Robertson, playwright and artist, 1866; Harry Von Tilzer (Harry Gumm), composer, 1872; Percy Aldridge Grainger (George Percy), composer and pianist, 1882; Mary Agnes Hamilton, novelist, 1884; Stanton Macdonald-Wright, abstract painter, 1890; Richard (Edward Godfree) Aldington, novelist and critic, 1892; Alec (Alexander Raban) Waugh, writer, 1898; George Antheil, composer, 1900; Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, politician, 1908; Billy Eckstine (William Clarence Eckstein), singer and bandleader, 1914.

Deaths: Christiaan Huygens, physicist, 1695; Robert South, clergyman and orator, 1716; Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet, at sea at Spezia, Italy, 1822; Sir Henry Raeburn, portrait painter, 1823; Sir William Edward Parry, Arctic explorer, 1855; Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'), artist, 1882; Anthony Hope (Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins), novelist, 1933; Henry Havelock Ellis, physician and author, 1939; Vivien Leigh (Vivian Mary Hartley), actress, 1967; Michael Wilding, actor, 1979; Frank Hampson, creator of 'Dan Dare', 1985.

On this day: Vasco da Gama, navigator, set sail from Lisbon with four ships on a voyage to India, 1497; the Battle of Poltava was fought, when Peter the Great of Russia soundly defeated the invading Swedish army of Charles XII, 1709; a French victory at Fort Ticonderoga stemmed the advance of the British upon Quebec, 1758; the last bare-knuckle boxing contest, between John Lawrence Sullivan and Jake Kilrain, and lasting 75 rounds, took place at Richburg, Missouri, 1889; General Douglas MacArthur was appointed commander of UN forces in Korea, 1950.

Today is the Feast Day of St Adrian III, pope, Saints Aquila and Prisca or Priscilla (husband and wife), St Grimbald, St Kilian and his Companions, St Procopius of Caesarea, St Raymund of Toulouse, St Sunniva and her Companions and St Withburga.