Born on December 29

1550 García de Silva Figueroa a Spanish diplomat, and the first Western traveller to correctly identify the ruins of Takht-e Jamshid in Persia as the location of Persepolis, the ancient capital of the Achaemenid Empire and one of the great cities of antiquity.
1552 Henri Prince of Condé (1552–1588) a French Prince du Sang and Huguenot general like his more prominent father, Louis I, Prince of Condé.
1570 Wilhelm Lamormaini a Jesuit theologian, and an influential figure as confessor of the Habsburg emperor Ferdinand II during the Thirty Years' War.
1644 Philips van Almonde a Dutch Lieutenant Admiral, who served in his nation’s maritime conflicts of the 17th and early 18th centuries.
1695 Jean-Baptiste Pater a French rococo painter.
1709 Elizabeth of Russia the Empress of Russia from 1741 until her death. She led the country into the two major European conflicts of her time: the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War. On the eve of her death, Russia spanned almost 6,250,000 square miles
1713 Nicolas Louis de Lacaille a French astronomer. Note that the birth date given here is that of his baptism; babies were normally baptised on the day that they were born. The traditional birth date of 15 March 1713 has been questioned due to many infants of the Roman Catholic Church being baptised on the day of their birth in the 17th and 18th centuries
1721 Madame de Pompadour a member of the French court and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to her death. She was trained from childhood to be a mistress, and learned her trade well. She took charge of the king’s schedule and was an indispensable aide and advisor, despite her frail health and many political enemies. She secured titles of nobility for herself and her relatives, and built a network of clients and supporters. She paid careful attention not to alienate the Queen, Marie Leszczyńska. She was a major patron of architecture and decorative arts such as porcelain. She was a patron of the philosophes of the Enlightenment, including Voltaire. Hostile critics at the time said she was responsible for the Seven Years' War, and generally tarred her as a malevolent political influence. Historians are more favourable, emphasizing her successes as a patron of the arts and a champion of French pride
1753 Wilhelmine Gräfin von Lichtenau the official mistress of King Frederick William II of Prussia from 1769 until 1797 and was elevated by him into the nobility. She is regarded as politically active and influential in the policy of Prussia during his reign
1766 Charles Macintosh a Scottish chemist and inventor of waterproof fabrics. The Mackintosh raincoat is named for him
1767 Louis Joseph Lahure a general from the Southern Netherlands in the service of the First French Republic and First French Empire. He was the son of Nicolas Lahure and Marie-Thérèse du Buisson. His name is inscribed on the Arc de triomphe in Paris
1772 Louis-Simon Auger a French journalist, literary critic and playwright.
1778 Johann Simon Hermstedt one of the most famous clarinettists of the 19th century. A German, he served as court clarinettist to Duke Günther I of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, and taught the Duke to play the clarinet. All four of Louis Spohr's clarinet concertos and several of his other clarinet works, as well as Carl Maria von Weber's Grand duo concertant, were written with Hermstedt's skills in mind and were dedicated to him. Hermstedt also composed a few works for wind instruments himself
1778 Georg Anton Friedrich Ast a German philosopher and philologist.
1787 Michael Lunin a Russian political philosopher, revolutionary, Mason, Decembrist, a Lieutenant of the Grodno Life Guards regiment and a participant of the Franco-Russian Patriotic War of 1812. After a successful career in the military during the Napoleonic invasion, he became involved with multiple liberal Russian secret societies in the early 19th century, including the Union of Salvation and the Union of Welfare, as well as the Northern Society and the Southern Society. After the Decembrist Revolt took place in 1825, he was arrested due to his affiliations with the men responsible, and was subsequently exiled to a labor camp in Siberia. Lunin spent time in Finnish jails, three different prisons in Siberia, and lived on a farm under the watchful eye of the government during his life as an exile. Known for keeping good spirits and maintaining a firm defiance of autocratic rule, Lunin was eventually imprisoned again for writing in "opposition" to the Russian government, and lived out the rest of his life in a cell
1788 Christian Jürgensen Thomsen a Danish antiquarian who developed early archaeological techniques and methods.
1788 Tomás de Zumalacárregui a Basque Carlist general.
1796 Ferdinand von Wrangel a Baltic German explorer and seaman in Russian service, Honorable Member of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences, a founder of the Russian Geographic Society. He is best known as chief manager of the Russian-American Company, in fact governor of the Russian settlements in present day Alaska
1796 Johann Christian Poggendorff a German physicist born in Hamburg. By far the greater and more important part of his work related to electricity and magnetism. Poggendorff is known for his electrostatic motor which is analogous to Wilhelm Holtz's electrostatic machine. In 1841 he described the use of the potentiometer for measurement of electrical potentials without current draw
1800 Charles Goodyear an American self-taught chemist and manufacturing engineer who invented and developed a process to vulcanize rubber in 1839, which he improved while living and working in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1844, and for which he received patent number 3633 from the United States Patent Office on June 15, 1844.
1805 Asa Packer an American businessman who pioneered railroad construction, was active in Pennsylvania politics, and founded Lehigh University.
1808 Andrew Johnson the 17th President of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson became president as he was Vice President at the time of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. The new president favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves, and he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The first American president to be impeached, he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote
1809 Albert Pike an American attorney, Confederate officer, writer, and Freemason.
1809 William Ewart Gladstone a British Liberal politician. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person, and served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister; he resigned for the final time when he was 84 years old
1811 Francisco Palau a Catalan Discalced Carmelite friar and priest. Growing up in the chaos of the Peninsular War in Spain, he followed both the life of a hermit and of a missionary preacher in the rural regions of Catalonia. He founded the School of Virtue—which was a model of catechetical teaching for adults—in Barcelona. In 1860 he founded a mixed Congregation of Third Order of Discalced Carmelites, including both Brothers and Sisters, in the Balearic Islands. The legacy of this foundation is carried on by two religious congregations of women who serve throughout the world
1813 Karel Sabina a Czech writer and journalist.
1816 Carl Ludwig a German physician and physiologist.
1820 Tytus Chałubiński a Polish physician and co-founder of the Polish Tatra Society.
1821 John Francis Campbell a renowned Scottish author and scholar who specialised in Celtic studies. Campbell was known as an authority on Celtic folklore and of the Gaelic peoples in particular. His most famous published work is the bilingual Popular Tales of the West Highlands , The Celtic Dragon Myth and separate Gaelic texts
1825 Sylvester Krnka a Czech gunsmith and inventor, best known for his M1867 Russian Krnka.
1826 Leopold von Pebal an Austrian chemist.
1827 Karl Otto Weber a German surgeon and pathologist born in Frankfurt am Main.
1830 Ezra Meeker an American pioneer who traveled the Oregon Trail by ox-drawn wagon as a young man, migrating from Iowa to the Pacific Coast. Late in life he worked to memorialize the Trail, repeatedly retracing the trip of his youth. Once known as the "Hop King of the World", he was the first mayor of Puyallup, Washington
1834 Nikolay Shustov a Russian painter and member of the Imperial Academy of Arts.
1837 Princess Bathildis of Anhalt-Dessau a Princess of Anhalt-Dessau and member of the House of Ascania by birth. As the wife of Prince William of Schaumburg-Lippe she was a Princess of Schaumburg-Lippe by marriage. She was a younger sister of Grand Duchess Adelaide of Luxembourg
1838 Clemens Winkler a German chemist who discovered the element germanium in 1886, solidifying Dmitri Mendeleev's theory of periodicity.
1839 Casimiro Gennari an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and was former Prefect of the Congregation of the Council.
1841 Adolph Nehrkorn a German ornithologist and collector of bird eggs.
1841 Alexander Beggrov a Russian landscape and marine art painter of Baltic German origin, notable for his seascapes and Saint Petersburg cityscapes.
1843 Elisabeth of Wied the Queen consort of Romania as the wife of King Carol I of Romania, widely known by her literary name of Carmen Sylva. Elisabeth was the aunt of William of Albania
1843 William Hemsley (botanist) an English botanist and 1909 Victoria Medal of Honour recipient.
1846 Maurice Rollinat a French poet.
1847 Sergey Andreevsky a Russian writer, poet, literary critic and lawyer, best known for his The Book About Death , published posthumously in 1922. As a literary critic Andreevsky is credited with being the first to positively review Fyodor Dostoyevsky. His essay Karamazov Brothers is regarded as one of the best of its kind. Andreevsky did a lot to revive interest in early 19th-century Russian poetry, notably Yevgeny Baratynsky whom he for the first time introduced to the general readership
1849 William Cunningham (economist) a British economist and churchman. He was an eminent economic historian, a proponent of the historical method in economics, and an opponent of free trade
1853 Horace Chilton a printer, lawyer, and Democratic United States Senator from Texas.
1855 August Kitzberg an Estonian writer.
1856 Thomas Joannes Stieltjes a Dutch mathematician. He was born in Zwolle and died in Toulouse, France. He was a pioneer in the field of moment problems and contributed to the study of continued fractions
1859 Elizabeth Forbes (artist) one of her most popular works. She was friends with the artists James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Walter Sickert, both of whom influenced her work. Her etchings in particular are said to show the influence of Whistler
1860 Gyula Makovetz a Hungarian journalist and chess player.
1864 Juan Benlloch i Vivó a Valencian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Burgos from 1919 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1921.