Born on February 23

1187 Ferdinand Count of Flanders reigned as jure uxoris Count of Flanders and Hainaut from his marriage to Countess Joan, celebrated in Paris in 1212, until his death. He was born in Coimbra, and he was an Infante of Portugal as the fourth son of King Sancho I of Portugal and Dulce of Aragon
1187 Peter I Count of Urgell the second son of King Sancho I of Portugal and his wife Dulce, infanta of Aragon, and would eventually become Count of Urgell and Lord of the Balearic Islands.
1417 Pope Paul II Pope from 30 August 1464 to his death in 1471.
1417 Louis IX Duke of Bavaria Duke of Bavaria-Landshut from 1450. He was a son of Henry XVI the Rich and Margaret of Austria
1443 Matthias Corvinus King of Hungary and Croatia from 1458. After conducting several military campaigns, he was elected King of Bohemia in 1469 and adopted the title Duke of Austria in 1487. He was the son of John Hunyadi, Regent of Hungary, who died in 1456. In 1457, Matthias was imprisoned along with his older brother, Ladislaus Hunyadi on the orders of King Ladislaus V of Hungary. Ladislaus Hunyadi was executed, causing a rebellion that forced King Ladislaus to flee Hungary. After the king died unexpectedly, Matthias's uncle Michael Szilágyi persuaded the Estates to unanimously proclaim Matthias king on 24 January 1458. He began his rule under his uncle's guardianship, but he took control of government within two weeks
1583 Jean-Baptiste Morin (mathematician) a French mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer.
1633 Samuel Pepys now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. Although Pepys had no maritime experience, he rose by patronage, hard work, and his talent for administration to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and subsequently King James II
1646 Tokugawa Tsunayoshi the fifth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty of Japan. He was the younger brother of Tokugawa Ietsuna, thus making him the son of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the grandson of Tokugawa Hidetada, and the great-grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu
1648 Arabella Churchill (royal mistress) the mistress of King James II, and the mother of four of his children.
1649 John Blow an English Baroque composer and organist, appointed to Westminster Abbey in 1669. His pupils included William Croft, Jeremiah Clarke and Henry Purcell. In 1685 he was named a private musician to James His only stage composition, Venus and Adonis , was thought to influence Henry Purcell's later opera Dido and Aeneas. In 1687 he became choirmaster at St Paul's Cathedral, where many of his pieces were performed. In 1699 he was appointed to the newly created post of Composer to the Chapel Royal
1664 Georg Dietrich Leyding a German composer and organist associated with the North German school.
1680 Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville a colonizer, born in Montreal, Quebec, and an early, repeated governor of French Louisiana, appointed 4 separate times during 1701-1743. He was a younger brother of explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. He is also known as Sieur de Bienville
1682 Christian Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels a duke of Saxe-Weissenfels-Querfurt and member of the House of Wettin.
1685 George Frideric Handel a German Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Born in a family indifferent to music, Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London , and became a naturalized British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition
1687 Gustaf Otto Douglas a Swedish mercenary, grandson of Robert Douglas, Count of Skenninge. He was captured by Russians during the Battle of Poltava. He was eventually employed by the Russian army during the Great Northern War, and in 1717 was placed in charge of the occupation of Finland. While resident in Turku, Douglas is reputed to have killed a Russian attendant during festivities of some kind. After being sentenced to imprisonment, Douglas bought his freedom with the lives of two hundred Finns, followed by the same number of horses, one from each of the families of these men. Douglas is believed to have made several inhumane pronouncements on the scorched earth policy he employed during the occupation of Finland. By making the land uninhabited and uninhabitable, he sought to leave nothing for his former employers the Swedes to retake. He is generally believed to have been a more cruel and sadistic figure even than his Russian superiors, and bears comparison with Kurtz of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, particularly when one considers the 10,000 slaves estimated to have been taken to Russia from Finland during the Greater Wrath
1689 Samuel Bellamy an English pirate who operated in the early 18th century. Though his known career as a pirate captain lasted little more than a year, he and his crew captured at least 53 ships under his command – making him the wealthiest pirate in recorded history – before his death at age 28. Called "Black Sam" in Cape Cod folklore because he eschewed the fashionable powdered wig in favor of tying back his long black hair with a simple band, Bellamy became known for his mercy and generosity toward those he captured on his raids. This reputation earned him another nickname, the "Prince of Pirates". He likened himself to Robin Hood, with his crew calling themselves "Robin Hood's Men"
1708 Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg a member of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and the father of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom.
1716 Antoine-Joseph Pernety a French writer. At various times he was a Benedictine, and librarian of Frederic the Great of Prussia. Together with the Polish Count Tadeusz Grabianka, also influenced by the Christian mysticism of Swedenborg he founded in 1760 the secret society of ‘Rite hermétique’ or Illuminati of Avignon
1723 Richard Price a Welsh moral philosopher and nonconformist preacher. He was also a political pamphleteer, active in radical, republican, and liberal causes such as the American Revolution. He was well-connected and fostered communication between a large number of people, including Founding Fathers of the United States
1723 William Chambers (architect) a Scottish-Swedish architect, based in London. Among his best-known works are Somerset House, London, and the pagoda at Kew. Chambers was a founder member of the Royal Academy
1729 Josiah Hornblower an English engineer and statesman in America Belleville, New Jersey. He was a delegate for New Jersey in the Continental Congress in 1785 and 1786
1744 Mayer Amschel Rothschild believed to have become the wealthiest family in human history. Referred to as the "founding father of international finance," Rothschild was ranked seventh on the Forbes magazine list of "The Twenty Most Influential Businessmen of All Time" in 2005
1745 Ivan Starov a Russian architect from Petersburg who devised the master plans for Yaroslavl, Voronezh, Pskov, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, and many other towns in Russia and Ukraine. His radial urban master plan for Yaroslavl , cleverly highlighting dozens historic churches and towers, is recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites
1749 Gertrud Elisabeth Mara a German operatic soprano.
1750 Princess Catherine of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck a daughter of Peter August of Holstein-Beck, who was a Russian field marshal and governor of Estonia, and his second wife, Countess Natalia Golovina.
1752 Simon Knéfacz a Hungarian monk and Burgenland Croatian writer.
1756 František Josef Gerstner a Bohemian physicist and engineer.
1758 Vasily Kapnist a Russian and Ukrainian poet and playwright who wrote in somewhat rough Russian.
1762 Claude Juste Alexandre Legrand a French general. He commanded French divisions at several notable battles of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He rose to senator on 5 April 1813, then Pair de France on 4 June 1814 and chevalier de Saint-Louis on 27 June 1814. He organised the defence of Chalon-sur-Saône in 1814 and died in Paris in 1815 of wounds received beside the River Berezina
1779 Prince Octavius of Great Britain the 13th child and eighth son of King George III and his queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Six months after the death of his brother Prince Alfred, Octavius was inoculated with the smallpox virus. Several days later, he became ill. His subsequent death at the age of four devastated his parents, and in particular his father. George bemoaned his son's death, of whom he was exceedingly fond; the king's later bouts of madness would involve hallucinations of his young son
1779 Johann Caspar Aiblinger a German composer.
1782 Johann Baptist Emanuel Pohl an Austrian botanist, entomologist, geologist, and physician.
1792 José Joaquín de Herrera a moderate Mexican politician who served as president of Mexico three times , as well as a general in the Mexican Army during the Mexican-American War.
1795 Josiah Mason an English industrialist, engaged in pen manufacture and other trades, and a philanthropist. He founded Mason Science College in 1875, which later became the University of Birmingham
1800 Sir William Jardine 7th Baronet a Scottish naturalist.
1803 Princess Alexandrine of Prussia the wife and consort to Paul Frederick, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin as well as the daughter of Frederick William III of Prussia and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
1805 Johan Jakob Nervander a Finnish poet, physicist and meteorologist.
1808 Pyotr Kireevsky a Russian folklorist many of whose materials remain unpublished to this day.
1809 William Sprague (Michigan) a minister and politician in the U.S. state of Michigan.
1813 Franz Delitzsch a German Lutheran theologian and Hebraist. Born in Leipzig, he held the professorship of theology at the University of Rostock from 1846 to 1850, at the University of Erlangen until 1867, and after that at the University of Leipzig until his death. Delitzsch wrote many commentaries on books of the Bible, Jewish antiquities, Biblical psychology, a history of Jewish poetry, and Christian apologetics
1815 Franz Antoine an Austrian horticulturalist and gardener.
1817 George Frederic Watts a popular English Victorian painter and sculptor associated with the Symbolist movement. He said "I paint ideas, not things." Watts became famous in his lifetime for his allegorical works, such as Hope and Love and Life. These paintings were intended to form part of an epic symbolic cycle called the "House of Life", in which the emotions and aspirations of life would all be represented in a universal symbolic language
1819 Julius Roger a German medical doctor, entomologist and folklorist who worked in Ratibor, in Upper Silesia, most notable for having arranged to build hospitals in Groß Rauden, Pilchowitz, plus the current public hospital in Rybnik.
1820 Jakob Stämpfli a Swiss politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council.
1820 David Kalisch a German playwright and humorist.
1822 Giovanni Battista de Rossi an Italian archaeologist, famous even outside his field for rediscovering early Christian catacombs.
1826 Edmund Evans a prominent English wood engraver and colour printer during the Victorian era. Evans specialized in full-colour printing, which, in part because of his work, became popular in the mid-19th century. He employed and collaborated with illustrators such as Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway and Richard Doyle to produce what are now considered to be classic children's books. Although little is known about his life, he wrote a short autobiography before his death in 1905 in which he described his life as a printer in Victorian London
1827 Raffaele Monaco La Valletta S.T.D. J.U.D. was a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Secretary of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office
1831 Hendrik Willem Mesdag a Dutch marine painter.
1834 Gustav Nachtigal a German explorer of Central and West Africa. He is further known as the German Empire's consul-general for Tunisia and Commissioner for West Africa. His mission as commissioner resulted in Togoland and Kamerun becoming the first colonies of a German colonial empire. The Gustav-Nachtigal-Medal, awarded by the Berlin Geographical Society, is named after him