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Births: Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik), astronomer, 1473; David Garrick, actor, 1717; Richard Cumberland, playwright, 1732; Luigi Boccherini, cellist and composer, 1743; Sir William Fairbairn, engineer, 1789; Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, geologist, 1792; Adelina Patti, soprano, 1843; Hans Dahl, painter, 1849; Svante August Arrhenius, physicist, 1859; Sven Anders Hedin, explorer, 1865; Alvaro Obregon, revolutionary and president of Mexico, 1880; Merle Oberon (Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson), actress, 1911; Stan Kenton (Stanley Newcomb), jazz band-leader, 1912; Lulu Carson McCullers (Smith), novelist, 1917.

Deaths: Sir Henry Savile, scholar and philanthropist, 1622; Elizabeth Carter, poet, translator and scholar, 1806; Georg Buchner, playwright, 1837; Bernard Barton, poet, 1849; Charles-Francois Daubigny, landscape painter, 1878; Charles Blondin (Jean-Francois Gravelet), tight-rope walker, 1897; Sir Herbert Hamilton Harty, conductor, 1941; Andre-Paul-Guillaume Gide, novelist, 1951; John Grierson, documentary film maker, 1972; Luigi Dallapiccola, composer, 1975.

On this day: the rebels were defeated by King Henry IV at Bramham Moor, 1408; the Peace of Westminster was signed, under which New Netherlands (New York) became British, 1674; Napoleon Buonaparte established himself as First Consul, 1800; bread riots took place in Liverpool, 1855; the phonograph was patented by Thomas Alva Edison, 1878; the International Drug Convention was signed in Geneva, 1924; British troops from Kenya invaded Italian Somaliland, 1941; Darwin, Australia, was bombed by Japanese aircraft, 1942; an agreement for the independence of Cyprus was signed in London by the prime ministers of Britain, Turkey and Greece, 1959; the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its forces from Cuba, 1963; after failing to come to an agreement over the fishing dispute, Iceland broke off diplomatic relations with Britain, 1976.

Today is the Feast Day of St Barbatus, St Beatus of Liebana, St Boniface of Lausanne, St Conrad of Piacenza and St Mesrop.


Births: Marie-Alexandre Guenin, violinist and composer, 1744; Henry James Pye, poet, 1745; Adam Black, politician and publisher, 1784; Charles-Auguste de Beriot, violinist and composer, 1802; Honore Daumier, caricaturist and painter, 1808; Henri Vieuxtemps, violinist and composer, 1820; William Terriss (William Charles James Lewin), actor and matinee idol, 1847; Bela Kun, communist, 1885; Charles Vincent Massey, statesman and diplomat, 1887; Georges Bernanos, novelist, 1888; Dame Marie Rambert (Cyvia Rambam, later Miriam Ramberg), founder of the Ballet Rambert, 1888; Carl Mayer, film director, 1892; Ansel Easton Adams, photographer, 1902; Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin, Russian leader, 1904.

Deaths: Pope Martin V, 1431; James I, King of Scotland, assassinated 1437; Luca della Robbia, sculptor, 1482; Gentile Bellini, painter, 1507; Nathan Field, actor and playwright, buried 1633; Aurungzebe, last Mogul emperor of India, 1707; Mrs Elizabeth Rowe (Singer), author and poet, 1736; Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, 1790; Andreas Hofer, Tyrolean patriot, executed 1810; Joseph Hume, physician and social reformer, 1855; Augustin-Eugene Scribe, playwright, 1861; Robert Edwin Peary, Arctic explorer, 1920; Laurence Housman, playwright, novelist and illustrator, 1959; Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, archaeologist, 1960; Percy Aldridge Grainger, composer, 1961; Chester William Nimitz, admiral, 1966; Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov, author, 1984.

On this day: Admiral Blake defeated the Dutch fleet under Van Tromp off Portsmouth, 1653; Alexander Hamilton, First Secretary of the US Treasury, introduced his Funding Bill to Congress, 1790; Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), was captured by the British, 1803; Austria declared herself to be bankrupt, 1811; the French defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Saragossa, 1809; a great storm raged in England, with much damage to the Crystal Palace, and the steeple of Chichester Cathedral was blown away, 1861; the Netherlands West Indies were purchased by the United States, 1917; Anthony Eden resigned as British Foreign Secretary, 1938; John Glenn, astronaut (now a Senator), was launched into space in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7, 1962; the first London production of the musical show Mame took place, 1969; new-design pounds 10 notes were issued, showing a portrait of Florence Nightingale, 1975; poisonous fumes from a volcano in Java resulted in 175 deaths, 1979.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Eleutherius of Tournai, St Eucherius of Orleans, St Sadoth, Saints Tyrannio, Zenobius and their Companions and St Wulfric.