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Births: Francis II, King of France, 1544; James Watt, inventor of the modern condensing steam engine, 1736; Johann Elert Bode, astronomer, 1747; Isidore-Auguste Marie-Francois Comte, philosopher, 1798; Robert Edward Lee, Confederate general, 1807; Edgar Allan Poe, author and poet, 1809; Sir Henry Bessemer, engineer, 1813; Paul Cezanne, painter, 1839; August Ferdinand Hermann Kretzschmar, musicologist, 1848; Boris Blacher, composer, 1903; Iris Guiver Wilkinson (Robin Hyde), novelist and journalist , 1906.

Deaths: Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, courtier, poet and soldier, executed 1547; William Congreve, playwright, 1729; Louis-Joseph Ferdinand Herold, composer, 1833; Isaac D'Israeli, writer, 1848; Jean-Baptiste Paulin, painter, 1855; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, journalist and socialist, 1865; Henri Regnault, painter, 1871; Henri-Victor Regnault, physicist and chemist, 1878; George Henry Boughton, painter, 1905.

On this day: King Edward III established the Order of the Garter, 1348; John Wilkes was expelled from the House of Commons for seditious libel, 1764; King Louis XVI was tried at the French Convention, 1793; the Duke of Wellington took Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812; the coast of Antarctica was discovered by the American sailor Captain Charles Wilkes, 1840; Verdi's opera Il Trovatore was performed for the first time, Rome 1853; Massenet's opera Manon was first performed, Paris 1884; Britain and Egypt established aCondominium over the Sudan, 1899; the first raid on England by Zeppelins took place, when bombs were dropped on Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn, 1915; an explosion occurred at Woolwich Arsenal, the East London munitions factory, with 450 casualties, including 69 fatalities, 1917; Burma was invaded by the Japanese, 1942; Indira Gandhi became prime minister of India, 1966.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Abachum and Audifax, St Albert of Cashel, St Canute IV of Denmark, St Charles of Sezze, St Fillan or Foelan, St Germanicus, St Henry of Uppsala, Saints Marius and Martha, St Messalina, St Nathalan and St Wulfstan.