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Births: Prince Rupert of Bavaria, Royalist commander, 1619; Gabrielle-Emilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Chatelet, writer, 1706; Domenico Cimarosa, composer, 1749; Jean-Baptiste Girard, priest and educator, 1765; Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, baptised 1770; Francois-Marius Granet, painter, 1777; Sir Humphry Davy, chemist and inventor, 1778; Sir George Hayter, painter, 1792; Joseph Henry, physicist, 1797; John Greenleaf Whittier, poet and essayist, 1807; Thomas Woolner, sculptor and poet, 1825; Jules-Alfred-Huot de Goncourt, novelist and historian, 1830; Berthold Tours, composer, 1838; Ford Madox Ford (Ford Hermann Hueffer), novelist, 1873; William Lyon MacKenzie King, statesman, 1874; J. Robertson Hare, actor, 1891; Erskine Preston Caldwell, novelist, 1903; Walter Greenwood, novelist and playwright, 1903; Stanley Raymond (Ray) Noble, composer and conductor, 1903; Willard Frank Libby, chemist, 1908.

Deaths: Pope Gregory VIII, 1187; Sir William Gascoigne, Lord Chief Justice, 1413; Thomas Guy, bookseller and philanthropist, 1724; Simon Bolivar, South American patriot, 1830; Kaspar Hauser, the foundling 'wild boy' of Nuremberg, 1833; Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, hydrographer, 1857; Lewis Henry Morgan, anthropologist and lawyer, 1881; Louis-Marie-Alphonse Daudet, novelist, 1897; Baron Ferdinand James de Rothschild, banker, 1898; Bernard Quaritch, bookseller, 1899; William Thomson Kelvin, first Baron Kelvin, physicist, 1907; Leopold II, King of the Belgians, 1909; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, physician, 1917; Peter Philip Heseltine Warlock, composer and editor, committed suicide 1930; Robert Malise Bowyer Nichols, poet, 1944; Sir Bernard Henry Spilsbury, pathologist, 1947; Harold Edward Holt, statesman, drowned 1967.

On this day: Drake's ship The Pelican (afterwards called The Golden Hind) sailed out of Plymouth on a round-the-world voyage, 1577; Simon Bolivar became president of Colombia, 1819; the Lyric Theatre opened, London 1888; the first radio message was sent across the Atlantic, 1902; the Wright brothers made their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, 1903; Britain proclaimed a protectorate over Egypt, 1914; King George II was deposed after a rebellion by the Greek army, 1923; Mussolini denounced the Franco-Italian agreement of 1935, 1938; the battleship Graf Spee was scuttled near Montevideo, after the Battle of the River Plate, 1939; President Roosevelt proposed 'Lease- Lend' for Britain, 1940; New York was snowed under by 27in of snow, 1947; petrol rationing was imposed in Britain due to the closing of the Suez Canal, 1956; Alec Rose arrived at Melbourne in his ketch Lively Lady after a solo voyage from Portsmouth of five months, 1967; Zulficar Ali Bhutto became prime minister of Pakistan, 1971; 31 people were killed when Arab guerrillas hijacked a West German airliner at Rome airport, 1973; the musical Hans Andersen was first produced, London 1974.

Today is the Feast Day of St Begga, St Lazarus, St Olympias, St Sturmi and St Wivina.