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Births: Roger II, King of Sicily, 1095; Hermann Samuel Reimarus, theologian and philosopher, 1694; James Edward Oglethorpe, colonist and founder of Georgia, 1696; Jean- Etienne Liotard, painter, 1702; Carl Friedrich Abel, composer, 1723; John Crome ('Old Crome'), painter, 1768; Franz Abt, composer and conductor, 1819; Jean-Henri Fabre, naturalist, 1823; Charles Stuart Calverley, poet and parodist, 1831; William Hale White ('Mark Rutherford'), novelist, 1831; John Nevil Maskelyne, magician, 1839; Teresa Carreno, pianist, 1853; Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini, composer, 1858; Edwin Arlington Robinson, poet, 1869; Edgard (Edgar Victor Achille- Charles) Varese, composer, 1883; Deems Taylor, composer, 1885; Pierre Brasseur (Pierre-Albert Espinasse), actor, 1905.

Deaths: Aulus Vitellius, Roman emperor, beheaded AD 69; Francois Clouet (Janet), painter, 1572; Maximilien de Bethune, Duc de Sully, soldier and statesman, 1641; Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino), painter, 1666; Richard Alleine, author, 1681; Michel Baron (Michel Boyron), actor and playwright, 1729; Jan Dismas Zelenka, composer, 1745; Simon Mathurin Lantara, painter, 1778; James Harris, grammarian, 1780; Sir Philip Francis, civil servant and author, 1818; The Rev Martin Joseph Routh, scholar, 1854; George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist, 1880; Henry Watterson, journalist and politician, 1921; Dwight Lyman Moody, evangelist, 1899; Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing, psychiatrist, 1902; Nathanael West (Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein), novelist, 1940; Franz Boas, anthropologist, 1942; Helen Beatrix Potter, author and artist, 1943; Harry Langdon, silent film comedian, 1944; Richard Frederick Dimbleby, television commentator, 1965; Josef von Sternberg, film director, 1969; Darryl Francis Zanuck, film producer, 1979; David Penhaligon, MP, killed in a car accident 1986.

On this day: the Gregorian calendar was introduced into Germany and Switzerland, 1583; James Stuart, the Old Pretender, landed at Peterhead, 1715; the first pantomime in England was staged at the Lincoln's Inn Theatre, 1716; Beethoven's fifth and sixth (Pastoral) symphonies were first played, Vienna 1808; Savannah, Georgia, was occupied by General Sherman commanding the Unionist forces, 1864; Alfred Dreyfus was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment on Devil's Island, 1895; the Ministry of Pensions was first set up, 1916; the musical show Lilac Time was first produced in London, 1922; the Merapi volcano in Java erupted, causing over 700 deaths, 1930; the musical show Balalaika opened in London, 1936; the musical show High Button Shoes was first produced in London, 1948; the withdrawal of British and French forces from Port Said was completed, 1956; Southern Rhodesia left the Commonwealth, 1966; Kurt Waldheim was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1971; a violent earthquake in Guinea resulted in over 400 deaths, 1983; a Pan Am jumbo jet crashed on to the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, killing all 259 passengers and crew, and 11 people on the ground, 1988.

Today is the Feast Day of St Chaeremon and Others, St Flavian of Tuscany, St Ischyrion and St Zeno.