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Births: Louis XII, King of France, 1462; John Pyke Hullah, conductor and composer, 1812; Charles Stewart Parnell, Irish nationalist leader, 1846; Fanny Davies, pianist, 1861; Sir John Monash, engineer and general, 1865; Helen Keller, blind, deaf and mute scholar and teacher, 1880; Guilhermina Suggia, cellist, 1888; Sidney Coe Howard, playwright, 1891.

Deaths: Giorgio Vasari, painter and art historian, 1574; Nicholas Tindal, historian, 1774; James Lewis Macie Smithson, scientist and founder of the Smithsonian Institution, 1829; Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), murdered in prison 1844; Christian Gottfried Ehrenburg, naturalist, founder of protozoology, 1876; Harriet Martineau, novelist and economist, 1876; Sir Arthur David Waley, orientalist, 1966; Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, former Shah of Iran, 1980.

On this day: the Ladies' Mercury, the first woman's magazine, was issued, 1693; King George II led the Pragmatic Army (British, Hanoverians and Hessians), defeating the French at the Battle of Dettingen - the last time a British monarch led his troops in the field, 1743; Bonnie Prince Charlie, disguised as a maid, escaped to Skye, 1746; Joshua Slocum completed the first solo voyage around the world, 1898; the Central London Electric Railway was opened, running between Shepherd's Bush and the Bank, 1900; the first nuclear power station was opened at Obninsk, near Moscow, 1954; a French airbus with 216 passengers was hijacked to Libya by the PLO, 1976; the independence of the Djibouti republic was proclaimed, 1977.

Today is the Feast Day of St Cyril of Alexandria, St George Mtasmindeli, St John of Chinon, St Ladislas, king of Hungary, St Samson of Constantinople, the Martyrs of Arras and St Zoilus of Cordova.