Births: John Ford, playwright, 1586; Henry Vaughan, poet, 1622; Johann David Heinichen, composer and theorist, 1683; Johann Gottlieb Naumann, composer, 1741; Vaclav Jan (Wenzel Johann) Tomasek, organist, pianist and composer, 1774; John Pierpont Morgan, financier, 1837; Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis (Constantine Cavafy), poet, 1863; Ian Hay (John Hay Beith), novelist, 1876; Sir (Charles) Leonard Woolley, archaeologist, 1880; Dame Margaret Teyte, soprano, 1888; Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, Soviet leader, 1894; Thornton Wilder, novelist and playwright, 1897; Lindsay Gordon Anderson, film, television and theatre director, 1923.

Deaths: Marie de Rabutin Chantal, Marquise de Sevign, 1696; Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, 1711; Benjamin Franklin, author, diplomat and scientist, 1790; Catherine Maria Fanshawe, painter and poet, 1834; William Henry Ireland, forger of Shakespearean manuscripts, 1835; James Thom, sculptor, 1850; Theodore Komisarjevsky, theatre director, 1954; General Mark Wayne Clark, soldier, 1984; Scott Brady (Gerald Tierney), actor, 1985.

On this day: at Dordrecht (Dort), Holland, the sea broke through the dykes, and 100,000 people were drowned, 1421; Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile signed their grant to Columbus, 1492; Martin Luther was excommunicated by the Diet of Worms, 1521; the Act of Supremacy was partially re-enacted in England, 1559; the Georgia Gazette newspaper was first issued, 1763; the Republic of Guatemala was founded, 1839; the Empire Theatre, London, opened as the Royal London Panorama, 1870; Turkey declared war on Greece, 1897; the comic opera Tom Jones was first produced, London 1907; Yugoslavia surrendered to the Germans, 1940; Premium Savings Bonds were introduced in Britain, 1956; junior army officers made an unsuccessful attempt to seize power in Ghana, 1969; the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition opened, 1958; the attempted invasion of Cuba took place at the Bay of Pigs, 1961; in Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek was replaced by Dr Gustav Husak as first secretary of the Communist Party, 1969; in Cambodia, the civil war ended after the capital, Phnom Penh, surrendered to the Khmer Rouge forces, 1975; a policewoman, Yvonne Fletcher, was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in London, 1984; the daughter of Josef Stalin, Mme Svetlana Alliluyeva, arrived in the US to settle, 1986.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aybert, St Donnan and Others, St Innocent of Tortona, St Mappalicus and Others, St Robert of Chaise-Dieu and St Stephen Harding.