Anniversaries

Births: Jean-Franois Millet, painter, 1642; Edward Gibbon, historian, author of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1737; Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, author and women's rights champion, 1759; Andreas Jakob Romberg, violinist and composer, 1767; Charles Robert Cockerell, architect, 1788; Samuel Finlay Breese Morse, inventor of the Morse Code, 1791; Abraham Louis Niedermeyer, composer and educationist, 1802; Friedrich, Freiherr von Flotow, composer, 1812; Herbert Spencer, philosopher, 1820; Ulysses Simpson Grant, general and 18th US President, 1822; Edward Whymper, mountaineer and artist, 1840; Albert von Keller, painter, 1844; Maurice Baring, novelist, playwright and poet, 1874; Wallace Carothers, chemist and developer of nylon, 1896; Ludwig Bemelmans, juvenile author and illustrator, 1898; Cecil Day Lewis, poet and novelist, 1904.

Deaths: Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, 1404; Ferdinand Magellan, navigator, killed by Philippine natives, 1521; Gerrit van Honthorst, painter, 1656; Jan Josephszoon van Goyen, landscape painter, 1656; Theodore III, Tsar of Russia, 1682; James Bruce, explorer, 1794; Sir William Jones, orientalist, 1794; Thomas Stothard, painter and illustrator, 1834; William Charles Macready, actor-manager, 1873; Emile de Girardin, political journalist, 1881; Ralph Waldo Emerson, author, 1882; Henry Hobson Richardson, architect, 1886; Alexander Nikolaievich Scriabin, composer and pianist, 1915; Harold Hart Crane, poet, committed suicide 1932; Kwame Nkrumah, former president of Ghana, 1972.

On this day: the English defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar, 1296; the Allies - Austrians and Russians - defeated the French at the Battle of Cassano, and extinguished the Cisalpine Republic, 1799; the US forces captured Toronto (York), 1813; the Order of St Michael and St George was founded, 1817; the London Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park opened, 1828; Christina Rossetti, aged 12, produced her first book of poems, 1842; 1,450 people died when the Sultana steamboat exploded on the Mississippi, 1865; Gounod's opera Romeo and Juliet was first performed, Paris 1867; Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey, was overthrown by Young Turks and was succeeded by Mohammed V, 1909; it was stated that Germany would have to pay £650m reparations for damage done by her forces in the First World War, 1921; the Carlton Theatre, London (now a cinema), opened, 1927; the Piccadilly Theatre, London, opened, 1928; Guernica, northern Spain, was destroyed in bombing by German aircraft, 1937; it was announced that men aged 20-21 would be conscripted, 1939; German troops occupied Athens, 1941; Britain recognised the state of Israel, 1950; Georgi Malenkov became leader in the Soviet Union, 1954; Sierra Leone became independent, 1961.

Today is the Feast Day of St Anthimus of Nicomedia, St Asicus or Tassach, Saints Castor and Stephen, St Floribert of Lige, St Maughold or Maccul, St Zita.

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