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Births: Fernandez Alvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba, military leader, 1507; George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1562; Giuseppe Aprile, singer and teacher, 1738; James Boswell, Dr Johnson's biographer, 1740; William Hayley, poet and biographer, 1745; Edward Collet May, teacher of singing, 1806; Jean-Joseph-Charles- Louis Blanc, socialist, 1811; Hippolyte-Jean Giraudoux, author, 1882; Edward Alexander Wadsworth, painter, 1889; Fanny Brice (Borach), actress, dancer and singer, 1891; Paul Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda chief, 1897; Henry Green (Henry Vincent Yorke), novelist, 1905.

Deaths: Sir Walter Raleigh, seafarer and writer, executed 1618; James Shirley, poet and playwright, 1666; Jean le Rond d'Alembert, encyclopaedist, 1783; Luke Hansard, printer to the House of Commons, 1828; John Leech, humorist, artist and caricaturist, 1864; Leon Czolgosz, assassin of President McKinley, electrocuted 1901; Joseph Pulitzer, newspaper publisher, 1911; Felix-Joseph-Auguste Bracquemond, painter, lithographer and engraver, 1914; Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett, author of Little Lord Fauntleroy, 1924; Gustav V, King of Sweden, 1950; Ursula Bloom (Mrs Gower Robinson), author, 1984.

On this day: the Austrians were defeated by the Prussians under Frederick II at Freiberg, 1762; the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart was first performed, Prague 1787; the Opera Comique Theatre in the Strand was opened, London 1870; the Convention of Constantinople was held, where it was agreed that the Suez Canal should be open to all vessels, 1888; the British South Africa Company was granted its charter, 1889; the Russians drove back Austrian and German forces at the Battle of Warsaw, 1914; the Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment was set up, 1945; Tanganyika and Zanzibar were united to form Tanzania, 1964; the international exhibition Expo-67 was opened in Montreal, 1967.

Today is the Feast Day of St Colman of Kilmacduagh, The Martyrs of Douay, St Narcissus of Jerusalem and St Theuderius or Chef.