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Births: Michelangelo (Michelagniolo Buonarroti), painter, sculptor and poet, 1475; Francesco Guicciardini, Florentine statesman and historian, 1483; Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, novelist and playwright, 1619; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet, 1806; Joseph Schad, pianist and composer, 1812; George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier, caricaturist and novelist, 1834; Oskar Straus, composer, 1870; Bronson James Albery, theatrical manager, 1881; Adolfo Salazar, musicologist and composer, 1890; Lou Costello (Louis Francis Cristillo), actor and comedian, 1906; Frankie Howerd (Francis Alex Howard), comedian, 1922.

Deaths: Davy Crockett, frontiersman, killed at the Alamo 1836; John Stevens, lawyer, inventor and pioneer of steamships, 1838; Jean-Baptiste Girard (Pre Gregoire), priest and educationist, 1850; Peter von Cornelius, painter, 1867; Louisa May Alcott, novelist, 1888; Gottlieb Daimler, mechanical engineer, 1900; William Worrell Mayo, a founder of the Mayo clinic, 1911; John Edward Redmond, politician, 1918; Alfred von Tirpitz, naval commander and statesman, 1930; John Philip Sousa, bandmaster and composer, 1932; John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, sculptor, 1941; Sir Halford John Mackinder, geographer, 1947; David Ivor Novello (Davies), composer and playwright, 1951; George Formby, singer and comedian, 1961; Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison, statesman, 1965; Zoltan Kodaly, composer, 1967; Donald Maclean, former diplomat and Soviet agent, 1983; Melina Mercouri (Amalia- Maria Mercouri), Greek minister of culture and former screen actress, 1994.

On this day: the Battle and Siege of the Alamo, Texas, ended, when there were only six survivors left of 155 Texans, 1836; Verdi's opera La Traviata was first performed, Venice 1853; Serbia was proclaimed a kingdom, 1882; King Milan of Serbia abdicated, and his 13-year-old son, Alexander, acceded to the throne, 1889; British soldiers were granted the right to wear spectacles on or off duty, 1902; the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon- Avon was destroyed by fire, 1926; frozen food was first put on sale by the Birdseye company, 1930; Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast and Togoland) became independent, 1957; US banks were closed by order of President Roosevelt, (reopened 9 March), 1933; the US Air Force began daylight bombing raids on Berlin, 1944.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Balred and Bilfrid, St Cadroe, St Chrodegang of Metz, St Colette, Saints Cyneburga, Cyneswide and Tibba, St Cyril of Constantinople, St Fridolin, St Ollegarius or Oldegar and Saints Perpetua and Felicity.