Born on March 17

763 Harun al-Rashid the fifth Abbasid Caliph. His birth date is debated, with various sources giving dates from 763 to 766. His surname translates to "the Just", "the Upright", or "the Rightly-Guided". Al-Rashid ruled from 786 to 809, during the peak of the Islamic Golden Age. His time was marked by scientific, cultural, and religious prosperity. Islamic art and music also flourished significantly during his reign. He established the legendary library Bayt al-Hikma in Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, and during his rule Baghdad began to flourish as a center of knowledge, culture and trade. During his rule, the family of Barmakids, which played a deciding role in establishing the Abbasid Caliphate, declined gradually. In 796, he moved his court and government to Ar-Raqqah in modern-day Syria
1231 Emperor Shijō the 87th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. This reign spanned the years 1232 through 1242
1473 James IV of Scotland the King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all of Great Britain, to be killed in battle
1508 Humayun now Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1531–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but regained it with Persian aid, with additional territory. At the time of his death in 1556, the Mughal empire spanned almost one million square kilometers
1519 Thoinot Arbeau the anagrammatic pen name of French cleric Jehan Tabourot. Tabourot is most famous for his Orchésographie, a study of late sixteenth-century French Renaissance social dance. He was born in Dijon and died in Langres
1523 Giovanni Francesco Commendone an Italian Cardinal and papal nuncio.
1548 Honda Tadakatsu a Japanese general of the late Sengoku through early Edo period, who served Tokugawa Ieyasu. Honda Tadakatsu was one of the Tokugawa Four Heavenly Kings along with Ii Naomasa, Sakakibara Yasumasa and Sakai Tadatsugu
1605 George II Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1626 - 1661. He was the son of Ludwig V and Magdalene of Brandenburg
1611 Robert Douglas Count of Skenninge a Scottish Field Marshal in the Swedish army, during the Thirty Years' War and the Swedish-Polish wars. He was a commander in the later stages of the Thirty Years' War
1628 François Girardon a French sculptor.
1643 Fabrizio Spada an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, and served as Secretary of State under Pope Innocent XII.
1665 Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre a French musician, harpsichordist and composer.
1676 Thomas Boston a Scottish church leader, theologian and philosopher.
1685 Jean-Marc Nattier born in Paris, the second son of Marc Nattier , a portrait painter, and of Marie Courtois , a miniaturist. He is noted for his portraits of the ladies of King Louis XV's court in classical mythological attire
1686 Jean-Baptiste Oudry a French Rococo painter, engraver, and tapestry designer. He is particularly well known for his naturalistic pictures of animals and his hunt pieces depicting game
1693 Countess Palatine Elisabeth Auguste Sofie of Neuburg the only surviving child of Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine. The Palatinate-Neuburg line went extinct with her father and was succeeded by the Palatinate-Sulzbach line. Her sons with Count Palatine Joseph Charles of Sulzbach would have been the indisputable heirs to the Electorate of the Palatinate, but they all died in infancy. She was the Hereditary Princess of Sulzbach by marriage
1704 Alexey Nagayev a Russian hydrographer, cartographer and an admiral. Coming from scanty noble family, he graduated from Petersburg Naval Academy and worked ibidem. During the Seven Years' War Nagayev headed the hydrographic expedition to the Prussian shores. He also compiled the first atlases of the Bering Sea and Baltic Sea. Despite the absence of meridional grid, Nagayev's maps have been used for over fifty years. In 1764-65 Nagayev has been the supreme commander of the Kronstadt port. A bay in the Okhotsk Sea is named after him
1725 Lachlan McIntosh a British-born American military and political leader during the American Revolution and the early United States. In a 1777 duel, he fatally shot Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence
1733 Carsten Niebuhr renowned for his participation in the 1761 Danish Arabia Expedition.
1741 William Withering an English botanist, geologist, chemist, physician and the discoverer of digitalis.
1747 Johannes Jährig a German Mongolist and translator of Tibetan and Mongolian texts.
1748 William Coxe (historian) an English historian and clergyman who served as a traveling companion and tutor to nobility from 1771 to 1786. He wrote numerous historical works and travel chronicles. Ordained a deacon in 1771, he served as a rector and then archdeacon of Bemerton near Salisbury from 1786 until his death
1751 Anders Dahl a Swedish botanist and student of Carolus Linnaeus. The dahlia flower is named after him
1754 Madame Roland Marie-Jeanne Phlippon Roland, better known simply as Madame Roland and born Marie-Jeanne Phlippon , was, together with her husband Jean-Marie Roland de la Platière, a supporter of the French Revolution and influential member of the Girondist faction. She fell out of favour during the Reign of Terror and died on the guillotine
1764 William Pinkney an American statesman and diplomat, and the seventh U.S. Attorney General
1772 Charles Leclerc a French Army general and husband to Pauline Bonaparte, sister to Napoleon Bonaparte.
1777 Patrick Brontë an Irish Anglican clergyman and writer who spent most of his adult life in England and was the father of the writers Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë and of Branwell Brontë, his only son. Patrick outlived all his children and outlived his wife, the former Maria Branwell, by forty years
1777 Roger B. Taney the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864. He was the eleventh United States Attorney General. He is most remembered for delivering the majority opinion in Dred Scott Sandford , that ruled, among other things, that African-Americans, having been considered inferior at the time the Constitution was drafted, were not part of the original community of citizens and, whether free or slave, could not be considered citizens of the United States
1780 Thomas Chalmers a Scottish minister, professor of theology, political economist, and a leader of the Church of Scotland and of the Free Church of Scotland. He has been called "Scotland's greatest nineteenth-century churchman"
1780 August Leopold Crelle a German mathematician. He was born in Eichwerder near Wriezen, Brandenburg, and died in Berlin. He is the founder of Journal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik. He befriended Niels Henrik Abel and published seven of Abel's papers in the first volume of his journal
1780 James Atkinson (Persian scholar) a surgeon, artist and Persian scholar - "a Renaissance man among Anglo-Indians".
1781 Ebenezer Elliott an English poet, known as the Corn Law rhymer for his leading the fight to repeal the Corn Laws which were causing hardship and starvation among the poor. Though a factory owner himself, his single-minded devotion to the welfare of the labouring classes won him a sympathetic reputation long after his poetry ceased to be read
1785 Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmermann a French pianist, composer, and music teacher.
1788 Heinrich von Heß an Austrian soldier and field marshal, who entered the army in 1805 and was soon employed as a staff officer on survey work.
1794 Thomas Maclear an Irish-born South African astronomer who became Her Majesty's astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope.
1796 Jean-François Bayard a French playwright. He was the nephew of fellow playwright Eugène Scribe
1798 Jacob Ettlinger a German rabbi and author, and one of the leaders of Orthodox Judaism. He is sometimes referred to as the Aruch la-Ner because of his noteworthy publication by that same name
1799 Heinrich Leo a Prussian historian born in Rudolstadt, his father being chaplain to the garrison there.
1801 Pius Zingerle an Austrian Orientalist.
1803 Alphonse Toussenel a French naturalist, writer and journalist born in Montreuil-Bellay, a small meadows commune of Angers; he died in Paris on April 30, 1885.
1804 Jim Bridger among the foremost mountain men, trappers, scouts and guides who explored and trapped the Western United States during the decades of 1820-1850, as well as mediating between native tribes and encroaching whites. He was of English ancestry, and his family had been in North America since the early colonial period
1805 Manuel García (baritone) a Spanish singer, music educator, and vocal pedagogue. He is credited with the invention of the first laryngoscope
1807 Karl Mathy a Badensian statesman.
1811 Karl Gutzkow a German writer notable in the Young Germany movement of the mid-19th century.
1813 Anton Dominik Fernkorn a German-Austrian sculptor. He was born in Erfurt, Thuringia and died in Vienna
1817 Auguste Gendron a French painter.
1817 Pasquale Stanislao Mancini an Italian jurist and statesman.
1819 Alecu Russo a Moldavian Romanian writer, literary critic and publicist.
1820 Patrick Edward Connor a Union General during the American Civil War. He was most famous for his campaigns against Native Americans in the American Old West
1820 Jean Ingelow an English poet and novelist.