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Births: Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), poet, 65 BC; Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, 1542; Queen Christina of Sweden, 1626; Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, 1708; Johann Georg von Zimmermann, author, 1728; Charles Wentworth Dilke, editor and critic, 1789; Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner, conductor and composer, 1791; Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel, artist, 1815; Rochus von Liliencron, theologian, philologist and musicologist, 1820; Bjornstjerne Bjornson, poet and playwright, 1832; George Alfred Henty, author of boys' books, 1832; Aristide Maillol, sculptor, 1861; Georges Melies, cinema pioneer, 1861; Georges-Leon-Jules- Marie Feydeau, playwright, 1862; Jean Julius Christian Sibelius, composer, 1865; George Norman Douglas, diplomat and writer, 1868; Padraic Colum, poet, 1881; Kenneth Lewis Roberts, novelist, 1885; Bohuslav Martinu, composer, 1890; James Grover Thurber, wit and cartoonist, 1894; Lee J. Cobb (Leo Jacob), actor, 1911.

Deaths: Sigismund, King of Hungary and Holy Roman Emperor, 1437; Adriaan Willaert, composer and choralist, 1562; Sir John Davies, lawyer and poet, 1626; John Pym, politician, 1643; Gerard Terborch, painter, 1681; Richard Baxter, clergyman and writer, 1691; Barthelemy d'Herbelot de Molainville, scholar and orientalist, 1695; Thomas Corneille, playwright, 1709; Thomas De Quincey, author, 1859; George Augustus Henry Sala, journalist, 1895; Herbert Spencer, writer and philosopher, 1903; Alphonse Legros, painter and etcher, 1911; Maximilian Johannes Maria Hubert, Count von Spee, vice-admiral, 1914; Gertrude Jekyll, architect, 1932; Golda Meir, Israeli prime minister, 1978; John Winston Lennon, former member of the Beatles group, shot in New York 1980; Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, New Zealand statesman, 1983.

On this day: Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII) became Prince of Wales, 1841; Pope Pius IX promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, 1854; the first world heavyweight boxing championship took place, between the Englishman Tom King and the American John Heenan, 1863; Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, was opened, 1864; the first traffic lights were erected in Westminster, London, 1868; the Echo newspaper was first published, 1868; Gustav V succeeded his father Oscar II to the throne of Sweden, 1907; Georges Carpentier knocked out Bombardier Billy Wells in the first round in the heavyweight boxing contest in London, 1913; the German fleet was sunk in the Battle of the Falkland Islands, 1914; the Bolsheviks were soundly defeated in the Russian election for the constituent Assembly, 1917; the London-to- Australia airmail service was started, 1934; Germany launched her first aircraft-carrier, the Graf Zeppelin, at Kiel, 1938; Great Britain, Australia and the US declared war on Japan, 1941; the Chinese Nationalist government transferred its capital from mainland China to Taipeh, on Taiwan island, 1949; Arthur Scargill was elected president of the National Union of Mineworkers, 1981; Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed an agreement eliminating all ground-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles, 1987.

Today is the Feast Day of The Immaculate Conception, St Eucharius, St Patapius, St Romaric and Sophronius of Cyprus.