Click to follow
The Independent Online
Births: Hadrian, Roman emperor, 76; Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset, courtier and poet, 1638; Sir John Vanbrugh, playwright, baptised 1664; William Congreve, playwright, 1670; Farinelli (Carlo Broschi), castrato singer, 1705; Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, 1712; Pierre- Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, playwright, 1732; Charles James Fox, politician, 1749; Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, author and composer, 1776; Edith Newbold (Jones) Wharton, novelist, 1862; Ann Todd, actress, 1909.

Deaths: Caligula, Roman emperor, assassinated 41; Jan Kollar, poet and scholar, 1852; Adam Black, politician and publisher, 1874; Lord Randolph Churchill (Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill), politician, 1895; Amedeo Modigliani, painter and sculptor, 1920;Capt Adrian Jones, sculptor, 1938; Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, statesman, 1965; St John Greer Ervine, playwright and critic, 1971; George Cukor, film director, 1983.

On this day: Henry III, King of England, married Eleanor of Provence, 1236; Cape Horn was rounded by Willem Corneliszoon Schouten, 1616; gold was first discovered by James Marshall at Sutter's sawmill in California, 1848; Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunovwas first performed, Petrograd, 1874; the first train passed over the Forth Bridge, 1890; the first Conscription Bill was passed by the House of Commons, 1916; the Central Statistical Office was founded, 1941; Mae West made a London stage debut in her own play Diamond Lil, 1948.

Today is the Feast Day of St Babylas of Antioch, St Felician of Foligno, St Francis of Sales and St Macedonius the Barley-eater.