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Births: Taddeo Zuccaro (Zucchero), painter, 1529; Edward Alleyn, actor and founder of Dulwich College, 1566; Giacomo Torelli, theatrical designer, 1608; John Thomson, landscape painter, 1778; Marguerite Gardiner, Countess Blessington, author and journalist, 1789; Zerah Colburn, infant prodigy in mathematics, 1804; August Horn, pianist and composer, 1825; Amilcare Ponchielli, composer, 1834; Engelbert Humperdinck, composer, 1854; Baron Carl Auer von Welsbach, chemist, inventor of the gas mantle, 1858; Adolph Appia, theatrical designer, 1862; Sir Roger David Casement, Irish nationalist, 1864; 'Gentleman Jim' James John Corbett, heavyweight boxer, 1866; Edwin Evans, music critic and author, 1874; Edgar Rice Burroughs, novelist and creator of 'Tarzan', 1875; Francis William Aston, physicist, 1877; Rex Ellingwood Beach, novelist, 1877; Othmar Schoeck, composer, 1886; Rocky Marciano (Rocco Marchegiano), heavyweight boxer, 1923.

Deaths: Hadrian IV, Pope (Nicholas Breakspear, the only Englishman to be Pope), 1159; Jacques Cartier, explorer, 1557; Marin Mersenne, mathematician, 1648; Louis XIV, the 'Sun King' of France, 1715; Sir Richard Steele, essayist and playwright, 1729; William Clark, explorer of the north- west country, 1838; Sir Richard Westmacott, sculptor, 1856; William Yarrell, zoologist, 1856; Samuel Coleridge Taylor, composer, 1912; Moreton Frewen, entrepreneur, 1924; William Wymark Jacobs, short-story writer, 1943; Guy Burgess, spy, 1963; Ilya Grigoriyevich Ehrenburg, novelist and poet, 1967; Siegfried Lorraine Sassoon, writer, 1967; Francois Mauriac, poet and novelist, 1970.

On this day: the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus took place, 70; the Covenanters were defeated by Montrose at Tippermuir, 1644; the world's first triangular postage stamps were issued by the Cape of Good Hope, 1853; the foundation stone of the Ottawa Parliament building was laid by the Prince of Wales, 1860; Cannon Street railway terminus, London, was opened for passenger traffic, 1866; the Siege of Metz started, 1870; the Prussians defeated the French at the Battle of Sedan, 1870; Britain signed a peace treaty with the Zulus, 1879; the Severn Tunnel was opened for goods traffic, 1886; in Russia, St Petersburg was renamed Petrograd, 1914; nearly 200,000 people were killed in earthquakes in Tokyo and Yokohama, 1923; Albania was declared a kingdom, and Zogu I became king, 1928; Poland was invaded by Germany, and Danzig Free City was seized, 1939; after overthrowing King Idris I, Col Gadaffi seized power in Libya, 1969; Qatar became independent, 1971.

Today is the Feast Day of St Drithelm, St Fiacre, St Giles or Aegidius, St Lupus or Leu of Sens, St Priscus of Capua, St Sebbe and St Verena.