Births: Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon), philosopher, 1135; Sir John Hawkins, publisher, editor and historian, 1719; Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes, painter, 1746; Angelo Catelani, conductor and composer, 1811; Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen, economist, 1818; Charles Booth, shipowner and sociologist, 1840; Paul Verlaine, poet, 1844; Vincent van Gogh, painter, 1853; Sean O'Casey, playwright and writer, 1880; Melanie Klein (Reizes), child psychologist, 1882; Jo Davidson, sculptor, 1883; Joyce Carey, actress, 1898.

Deaths: Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban, military engineer, 1707; William Hunter, anatomist, obstetrician and medical writer, 1783; Rudolph Ackermann, printseller and publisher, 1834; George Bryan 'Beau' Brummel, dandy, 1840; Marie-Louise-Anne- Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, painter, 1842; John Caldwell Calhoun, statesman, 1850; Thomas Couture, painter, 1879; Tito Mattei, pianist, composer and conductor, 1914; Rudolf Steiner, social philosopher, 1925; Friedrich Bergius, inventor, 1949; Leon Blum, statesman, 1950; Airey Middleton Sheffield Neave, MP, barrister and author, killed 1979; James Cagney, actor, 1986.

On this day: the 'Sicilian Vespers' rebellion broke out when the Sicilians fought against the Angevin French domination of the island, 1282; 30 families led by Cornelius Jacobsen May sailed from Amsterdam to the New York area, 1624; the English parliament enacted the New England Restriction Act, which forbade the colonies of New England to trade with anyone except England, 1775; Joseph Buonaparte was made King of Naples, 1806; Britain and the Allies against Napoleon marched triumphantly into Paris, 1814; the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War between Russia on one side and England, France, Turkey and Sardinia on the other, 1856; a treaty for the purchase of Alaska from Russia for the sum of dollars 7.2m was submitted to the US Senate, 1867; Thomas Francis Bayard, first US ambassador to Great Britain, arrived at his post, 1893; President Lyndon Johnson agreed to the shipping of additional grain to aid the famine stricken starving millions of India, 1966; 13 people died when the US Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, was blown up by the Vietcong, 1966; President Reagan was shot in the chest by John W. Hinckley Jr, Washington DC 1981.

Today is the Feast Day of St John Climacus, St Leonard Murialdo, St Ludolf, St Osburga, St Rieul or Regulus and St Zosimus of Syracuse.

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