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Births: Pope Pius II, 1405; Gianbattista Marino, poet, 1569; Luca Giordano ('Fa-Presto'), painter, 1632; Richard 'Beau' Nash, dandy, 1674; Giovanni Antonio Canale (Canaletto), painter, 1697; Peter II, Tsar of Russia, 1715; Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, artillery officer and author, 1741; Thomas Phillips, portrait painter, 1770; Thomas Love Peacock, novelist and poet, 1785; Christian Friedrich Schonbein, chemist, 1799; Frederick III, Emperor of Germany, 1831; Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, painter, 1844; Henri Bergson, philosopher, 1859; Edgar Del Valle de Paz, pianist and composer, 1861; James Truslow Adams, historian, 1878; Fannie Hurst, novelist, 1889.

Deaths: Pope Gregory XII, 1417; Philippe de Commynes, statesman and historian, 1511; Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 1541; Jakob Jordaens, painter, 1678; Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough, 1744; Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, statesman, 1865; Charles Babbage, mathematician and computer inventor, 1871; Charles-Francois Gounod, composer, 1893; John Callcott Horsley, painter, 1903; Alfred Binet, psychologist, 1911; Thomas Alva Edison, inventor, 1931; Jose Ortega y Gasset, philosopher and statesman, 1955; Elizabeth Arden (Florence Nightingale Graham), cosmetics company founder, 1966; Pierre Mendes-France, statesman, 1982.

On this day: the Edict of Nantes was revoked by King Louis XIV of France, 1685; the Allies launched a massive attack against the French at the Battle of Leipzig, 1813; the last state lottery was drawn in Britain, 1826; Alaska was officially transferred to the United States by Russia, 1866; Aldwych and Kingsway, London, were opened, 1905; the British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) was formed, 1922; Rheims Cathedral was reconsecrated, 1937; Erich Honecker resigned as head of the East German state, 1989; Hungary was proclaimed a free republic, with an end to Communist rule, 1989.

Today is the Feast Day of St Gwen of Cornwall, St Justus of Beauvais and St Luke.