Births: Andreas Osiander (Hosemann), religious reformer, 1498; Philip V, King of Spain, 1683; Sir William Edward Parry, Arctic explorer, 1790; John Ella, violinist and writer, 1802; Jean-Baptiste- Charles Dancla, violinist, 1818; Albert Abraham Michelson, physicist, 1852; Sir Stanley Unwin, publisher, 1884; Thomas Godfrey Polson Corbett, second Baron Rowallan, Chief Scout, 1895; Oliver Hazard Perry La Farge, author, 1901; Sir Ralph David Richardson, actor, 1902; Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, 1906; Jean Genet, playwright and essayist, 1910; Edith Piaf (Edith Giovanna Gassion), singer, 1915.

Deaths: Anastasius I, Pope, 401; Matteo Maria Boiardo, poet, 1494; Vitus Jonassen Bering, navigator, 1741; Jean-Baptiste Vanloo, painter, 1745; Frederick Melchior, Baron von Grimm, statesman and wit, 1807; David Hartley the younger, statesman and inventor, 1813; Benjamin Smith Barton, naturalist, 1815; Emily Bronte, novelist, 1848; Joseph Mallord William Turner, painter, 1851; Sir Paul Gavrilovich Vinogradoff, lawyer and historian, 1925; Robert Andrews Millikan, physicist, 1953.

On this day: Huguenots and Catholics clashed at the Battle of Dreux, 1562; Napoleon Bonaparte recaptured Toulon from Alexander Hood, 1793; during the American-British war of 1812, the Toronto parliament building was set alight, and Fort Niagara was taken by the British, 1813; the US recognised the independence of Hawaii, 1842; over 500 people died following a volcanic eruption in the New Hebrides, 1913; the German luxury liner Columbus was scuttled by her crew after being intercepted by a British destroyer, 1939; the British evacuated Penang, 1941; an air service between London and Moscow was begun, 1957; eight crew members were drowned from the Penlee lifeboat of Mousehole, Cornwall, and eight from the Union Star coaster, 1981; Ted Hughes was appointed Poet Laureate, 1984.

Today is the Feast Day of St Anastasius I of Antioch, St Gregory of Auxerre, St Nemesius of Alexandria and St Timothy.


Births: Nicholas Sanson, cartographer, 1599; Pieter de Hooch, painter, 1629; John Wilson Croker, politician and reviewer, 1780; William Burn, architect, 1789; Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet, designer and military painter, 1792; Thomas Graham, chemist, 1805; Friedrich Kuhmstedt, organist and composer, 1809; Leopold von Meyer, pianist, 1816; The Rev Edwin Abbott Abbott, headmaster and theologian, 1838; Teresa Schwartze, portrait painter, 1852; Harvey Samuel Firestone, industrialist, 1868; Lorenzo Perosi, priest and composer, 1872; Theodore Francis Powys, novelist, 1875; Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, statesman, 1894; Lt-Gen Sir Frederick Arthur Montague Browning, 1896; Robert Jemison Van de Graaff, physicist and inventor, 1901.

Deaths: Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, AD 107; Ambroise Pare, surgeon, 1590; Emmerich von Vattel, jurist, 1767; Thomas Hill, literary patron, prototype of 'Paul Pry', 1840; Henry Harland, novelist and editor, 1905; Emile-Francois Loubet, statesman, 1929; Erich Friedrich Wilhelm von Ludendorff, general, 1937; James Hilton, novelist, 1954; Moss Hart, playwright, 1961; John Ernst Steinbeck, novelist, 1968; Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, prime minister, assassinated 1973; Robert Walden Cassotto (Bobby Darin), singer, 1973; Artur Rubinstein, pianist, 1982; Gwen Berryman, actress ('Doris Archer'), 1983; Bill Brandt, photographer, 1983.

On this day: the first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was held, 1560; Peter the Great's reformation of the Russian calendar was announced, 1699; the last issue of the original Spectator was published, 1714; the State of Texas was incorporated in the United States, 1845; the State of South Carolina seceded from the American Union, 1860; the first London performance of the operetta Madame Pompadour was presented, 1923; Karl Renner became the first president of the new Austrian republic, 1945; the first atomic ice- breaker, the Russian Lenin, began operating, 1959; Wladyslaw Gomulka, Polish Communist leader, resigned office after riots by workers, 1970; Romuald Spasowski, Polish ambassador to the US, was granted political asylum in the United States, 1981; two Townsend Thoresen ferries collided off Harwich, with the loss of six lives, 1982.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Ammon and his Companions, St Dominic of Silos, St Philogonius and St Ursicinus.

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