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TODAY: Births: Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, author and statesman, 146; Mrs Golda Meir (Goldie Meyerson, nee Mabovitch), Israeli prime minister, 1898. Deaths: Henry Garnet, Jesuit priest, hanged for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot, 1606; Thomas Hood, poet, 1845; Adolphe Adam, composer, 1856; Herbert Farjeon, critic and playwright, 1945. On this day: Jamaica was discovered by Columbus, 1494; the British defeated the French at the first Battle of Cape Finisterre, 1747; the first daily evening newspaper was issued in London, the Star and Evening Advertiser 1788; New Zealand was proclaimed a British colony, 1841; the first London production of the musical show Show Boat was staged, 1928; 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.

TOMORROW: Births: Joseph Whitaker, publisher of Whitaker's Almanack, 1820; Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist and natural historian, 1825; John Hanning Speke, discoverer of the source of the Nile, 1827; Alice Liddell, the original of Alice in Wonderland, 1852; Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst, artist and feminist, 1882; Israel Moses Sieff, Baron Sieff, president of Marks and Spencer, 1889; Sir Archibald Hector McIndoe, plastic surgeon, 1900; Audrey Hepburn (Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston) actress, 1929. Deaths: Sir Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell Bt, author, 1969; Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, 1980; Diana Dors (Fluck), actress, 1984. On this day: the first Derby was run at Epsom, 1780; the Cunard shipping line was founded, 1839; Natal was proclaimed a British colony, 1843; the Daily Mail was first published, 1896; work on excavating the Panama Canal began, 1904; the General Strike began, 1926; "Waltzing Matilda" became the national anthem of Australia, 1976; Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first woman Prime Minister, 1979. Today is the Feast Day of St Augustine Webster, St Cyriacus or Judas Quiriacus, St Florian of Lorch, St Gothard or Godehard, St John Houghton, St Pelagia of Tarsus, St Robert Lawrence, St Richard Reynolds and St Venerius of Milan.