1492 was a notable year. It was the year that Columbus set sail for the New World. It was the year that the Jews were kicked out of Spain. And on this date, the first grammar for the Spanish language was delivered to Queen Isabella. And it was almost 5oo years later, I was introduced to that grammar – although for me it was the Mexican version of Spanish in high school.

In 1572 in the midst of religious wars in Europe, France tried a marriage proposal to dampen the conflict. Huguenot King Henry III of Navarre married the Catholic Margaret of Valois. In 1920 the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified to guarantee women’s suffrage -though it took more than 50 years before they could get a credit card in their own name, so progress was not swift.

In 1587 Virginia Dare was the first child born to English parents in the New World. In 1750 Italian composer and conductor Antonio Salieri was born – to be the rival to Mozart. In 1774 Meriwether Lewis started to explore his world – which would lead all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Roberto Clemente began his all-too-short life in 1934 but spent it as a shining light to help others as did the still remaining First Lady Rosalyn Carter (1927). This was also the birthdate for two standout actors – Patrick Swayze (1952) and Robert Redford (1936).

Notables who passed on this date include French novelist and playwright Honore de Balzac (1850), American psychologist and author B F Skinner (1990), American journalist and author Robert Novak (2009), former Sec Gen of the UN Kofi Annan (2018) and English stage and film actor Ben Cross (2020), most famously seen in Chariots of Fire.