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Births: Constantine the Great, Roman emperor, 280; James Robinson Planche, playwright and herald, 1796; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet, 1807; Richard Garnett, librarian, 1835; Dame Ellen Alicia Terry, actress, 1847; Rudolf Steiner, social philosopher, 1861; Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, painter, 1863; Sir John Alexander Hammerton, editor and critic, 1871; Enrico Caruso, operatic tenor, 1873; Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer, mathematician, 1881; Charles Herbert Best, co-discoverer of insulin as a diabetes treatment, 1899; Marino Marini, sculptor, 1901; John Ernst Steinbeck, author, 1902; James Thomas Farrell, novelist, 1904.

Deaths: John Evelyn, diarist, 1706; John Arbuthnot, satirist and creator of the character 'John Bull', 1735; Francis Marion (the 'Swamp Fox'), American revolutionary commander, 1795; Alexander Porfirievich Borodin, composer, 1887; Samuel Pierpont Langley, astronomer and aeronaut, 1906; Adam Sedgwick, zoologist, 1913; Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, painter, 1927; Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, physiologist, 1936; Peter Behrens, architect, 1940; John Dickson Carr (Carter Dickson), writer of detective stories, 1976; Edward Dahlberg, author, 1977.

On this day: the first trade mission from Russia reached London, 1558; the Boers defeated the British at Majuba Hill, South Africa, 1881; the British Labour Party was founded, with Ramsay MacDonald as secretary, 1900; the Reichstag in Berlin burned following what was called a 'Communist plot' by Hitler, 1933; General Franco's government in Spain was recognised by Britain and France, 1939; Borley Rectory, England's most haunted house, burned down, 1939; the Japanese attacked Java, starting the two-day battle, 1942; the Gulf War ended after Iraqi troops retreated and Kuwait was liberated, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of St Alnoth, St Anne Line, St Baldomerius or Galmier, St Gabriel Possenti, St Herefrith of Louth, St John of Gorze, Saints Julian, Cronion, Besas and Eunus, St Leander of Seville and St Thalelaeus the Hermit.


Births: Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, essayist, 1533; Henry Stubbs, physician and author, 1632; Rene-Antoine-Ferchault de Reaumur, inventor of a thermometer scale, 1683; Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Grozon, Marquis de Montcalm de Saint-Veran, commander in Canada, 1712; Daniel Carl Solander, botanist, 1733; Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger, theologian, 1799; Elias Parish-Alvars, harpist and pianist, 1808; Berthold Auerbach, novelist, 1812; William Henry Giles Kingston, author of books for boys, 1814; Sir John Tenniel, artist and illustrator, 1820; Rachel (Elizabeth Felix), actress, 1821; Charles Blondin (Jean- Francois Gravelet), tight-rope walker, 1824; Sir Charles Santley, bass-baritone, 1834; Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, surgeon and missionary, 1865; Douglas McGarel Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham, Lord Chancellor, 1872; Henri-Edouard-Prosper Breuil, archaeologist and priest, 1877; Ben Hecht, journalist and screenwriter, 1894; Vicente Minelli, film director, 1913; Sir Peter Brian Medawar, immunologist, 1915.

Deaths: Robert Fabyan, chronicler, 1513; Christian IV, King of Denmark, 1648; Francisco de Zurbaran, painter, 1664; Manuel John Johnson, astronomer, 1859; Jacques-Raymond Brascassat, painter, 1867; Henry James, novelist, 1916; Friedrich Ebert, president of Germany, 1925; Eugene Arnold Dolmetsch, early music enthusiast, 1940; Rajendra Prasad, first president of the Republic of India, 1963; Henry Robinson Luce, magazine publisher, 1967.

On this day: John Wesley signed the 'deed of declaration' of the Wesleyan faith, 1784; the Tichborne claimant, Arthur Orton, was found guilty of perjury, 1874; the last British troops left India, 1948; the first London production of the musical show Cabaret was presented, 1968; a General Election in Britain resulted in no overall majority, 1974; Peter Lorenz, a West German opposition leader, was kidnapped by anarchists, 1975; after a London underground train crashed into a siding at Moorgate, 42 people were killed, 1975; Spain withdrew from the Spanish Sahara territory, 1976.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of The Martyrs of the Plague at Alexandria, St Hilarus, pope, St Lupicinus, St Oswald of Worcester, St Proterius and St Romanus.