Births: Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, author and statesman, 1469; John Scott Haldane, physiologist, 1860; Francois Coty (Francesco Giuseppe Spoturno), perfume manufacturer, 1874; Mrs Golda Meir (Goldie Meyerson, nee Mabovitch), Israeli prime minister, 1898; Mary Astor, actress, 1906; William Motter Inge, playwright, 1913.

Deaths: Lorenzo Costa, painter, 1535; Herbert Farjeon, critic and playwright, 1945; Karl Freund, cameraman and director, 1969; Bruce Cabot (Jacques Etienne de Bujac), actor, 1972; George Lloyd Murphy, actor, dancer, singer and politician, 1992.

On this day: Jamaica was discovered by Columbus, 1494; the first liberal constitution in Poland was accepted by the Diet, 1791; New Zealand was proclaimed a British colony, 1841; the Festival of Britain opened, 1951.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Alexander, Eventius and Theodulus, St James the Less, St Juvenal of Narni, St Philip the Apostle, St Philip of Zell and Saints Timothy and Maura.