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Births: Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, composer, 1809; Horace Greeley, newspaper editor, 1811; Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman medical practitioner, 1821; Walter Bagehot, economist, author and journalist, 1826; Robert Arthur Talbot Gas coyne Cecil, third Marquess of Salisbury, 1830; Frederick Niecks, musicologist, 1845; Sir James Jebusa Shannon, painter, 1862; Field Marshal Hugh Montague Trenchard, first Viscount Trenchard, 1873; Gertrude Stein, author, 1874; Carl Theodor Dreyer, film director, 1889; Priaulx Rainier, composer, 1903; Luigi Dallapiccola, composer, 1904.

Deaths: John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 1399; Richard ``Beau'' Nash, gambler and dandy, 1762; Nicholas-Edme Restif de la Bretonne, novelist, 1806; Johann Beckmann, economist, 1811; Thomas Hope, collector and novelist, 1831; Sir Henry James Sumner Maine, professor of law, 1888; Sir Morell Mackenzie, physician, 1892; Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (nee Elgee) or ``Speranza'', poet, 1896; Edward Charles Pickering, astronomer, 1919; John Lane, publisher, 1925; Edward Phillips Oppenheim, author of t hrillers, 1946; Felix-Edouard Justin-Emile Borel, mathematician, 1956; Boris Karloff (William Henry Pratt), actor, 1969; Teferi Bante, prime minister of Ethiopia, assassinated 1977; John Cassavetes, actor, director and screenwriter, 1989.

On this day: Bartholomew Diaz landed at Mossal Bay, Cape of Good Hope, 1488; Illinois was organised as a Territory of the United States, 1809; Greece was declared to be independent under the protection of France, Russia and Britain, 1830; the Parliament Buildings at Ottawa were destroyed by fire, 1916; the United States and Germany broke off diplomatic relations, 1917; an international socialist conference was held in Berne, Switzerland 1919; Kiev, in the Ukraine, was captured by the Bolsheviks, 1919; the first London performance of the musical show The Student Prince in Heidelberg was staged, 1926; Berlin was bombed in daylight by the Allies using over 1,000 aircraft, 1945; the Benelux economic treaty was signed, 1958; Mr Harold Macmillan, as Prime Minister, made his ``Wind of Change'' speech in Cape Town, South Africa, 1960; the Soviet spacecraft Luna 9 reached the Moon, sending back television pictures, 1966.

Today is the Feast Day of St Anskar, St Blaise, St Ia the Virgin, St Laurence of Canterbury, St Laurence of Spoleto, St Margaret ``of England'' and St Werburga.