Born on March 31

356 Aelia Flaccilla a Roman empress and first wife of the Roman Emperor Theodosius She was of Hispanian Roman descent. During her marriage to Theodosius, she gave birth to two sons — future Emperors Arcadius and Honorius — and a daughter, Aelia Pulcheria. She was titled Augusta, as her coinage shows
1347 Frederick III Duke of Austria buried in the Ducal Crypt.
1360 Philippa of Lancaster Queen of Portugal from 1387 until 1415 as the wife of King John Born into the royal family of England, her marriage secured the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance and produced several children who became known as the "Illustrious Generation" in Portugal.
1373 Catherine of Lancaster Queen of Castile as the wife of King Henry III of Castile.
1425 Bianca Maria Visconti Duchess of Milan from 1450 to 1468.
1499 Pope Pius IV Pope from 25 December 1559 to his death in 1565. He is known for presiding over the final session of the Council of Trent
1504 Guru Angad the second of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was born in the village of Sarae Naga in Muktsar District in Punjab on 31 March 1504. The name Lehna was given shortly after his birth as was the custom of his Hindu parents. He was the son of a small but successful trader named Pheru Mal. His mother's name was Mata Ramo. Baba Narayan Das Trehan was the Guru's Grandfather, whose ancestral house was at Matte-di-Sarai near Muktsar
1519 Henry II of France a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis III, Duke of Brittany, in 1536
1536 Ashikaga Yoshiteru the 13th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1546 to 1565 during the late Muromachi period of Japan. He was the eldest son of the 12th shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiharu; and his mother was a daughter of Konoe Hisamichi. When he became shogun in 1546 at age 11, Yoshiteru's name was Yoshifushi ; but some years later in 1554, he changed his name to the one by which he is conventionally known today. His younger brother Ashikaga Yoshiaki would become the fifteenth shogun
1555 Elizabeth Stuart Countess of Lennox the wife of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox. She was the mother of Arbella Stuart, a close claimant to the English and Scottish thrones
1571 Pietro Aldobrandini an Italian Cardinal and patron of the arts.
1576 Countess Louise Juliana of Nassau the eldest daughter of William of Nassau, Prince of Orange and his third spouse Charlotte de Bourbon-Montpensier.
1596 René Descartes a French philosopher, mathematician and writer who spent most of his life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the father of modern philosophy, and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. In particular, his Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes' influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system — allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two-dimensional coordinate system — was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, crucial to the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the scientific revolution and has been described as an example of genius. He refused to accept the authority of previous philosophers, and refused to trust his own senses. Descartes frequently sets his views apart from those of his predecessors. In the opening section of the Passions of the Soul, a treatise on the early modern version of what are now commonly called emotions, Descartes goes so far as to assert that he will write on this topic "as if no one had written on these matters before". Many elements of his philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like Augustine. In his natural philosophy, he differs from the schools on two major points: First, he rejects the splitting of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejects any appeal to final ends—divine or natural—in explaining natural phenomena. In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation
1621 Andrew Marvell an English metaphysical poet and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1659 and 1678. As a metaphysical poet, he is associated with John Donne and George Herbert. He was a colleague and friend of John Milton. His poems include "To His Coy Mistress", "The Garden", "An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland", "The Mower's Song" and the country house poem "Upon Appleton House"
1635 Patrick Gordon a general and rear admiral in Russia, of Scottish origin. He was descended from a family of Aberdeenshire, holders of the small estate of Auchleuchries near Ellon. The family were connected with the noble branch of Haddo. He assumed the name Leopold at the Catholic confirmation shortly before he died
1644 Henry Winstanley an English painter and engineer who constructed the first Eddystone lighthouse.
1651 Charles II Elector Palatine Elector Palatine from 1680 to 1685. He was the son of Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine and Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel
1670 Louis Auguste Duke of Maine a legitimised son of the French king Louis XIV and his official mistress, Madame de Montespan. The king's favourite son, he was the founder of the semi-royal House of Bourbon-Maine named after his title and his surname
1675 Pope Benedict XIV Pope from 17 August 1740 to his death in 1758.
1684 Francesco Durante a Neapolitan composer.
1685 Johann Sebastian Bach a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth
1696 Mattia Bortoloni an Italian painter of the Rococo period, mainly active in the area of Bergamo and Venice.
1718 Mariana Victoria of Spain an Infanta of Spain by birth and was later the Queen of Portugal as wife of King Joseph The eldest daughter of Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese, she was engaged to the young Louis XV of France at the age of seven. Rejected due to her age, the marriage never took place and she was sent back to Spain. In 1729 she was married to the son of John V of Portugal. As the mother of Maria I of Portugal, she also acted as regent of Portugal during the last months of her husband's life and acted as advisor to her daughter in her reign
1723 Frederick V of Denmark king of Denmark and Norway and Duke of Schleswig and Holstein from 1746 until his death, son of Christian VI of Denmark and Sophia Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. "Prudentia et Constantia" was the motto he chose for his reign
1730 Étienne Bézout a French mathematician who was born in Nemours, Seine-et-Marne, France, and died in Avon , France.
1732 Joseph Haydn a prominent and prolific composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio and his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet"
1740 Panoutsos Notaras a leading figure of the Greek War of Independence, serving several times as president of the Greek national assemblies and legislative bodies.
1747 Johann Abraham Peter Schulz a German musician and composer. Today he is best known as the composer of the melody for Matthias Claudius's poem "Der Mond ist aufgegangen" and the Christmas carol "Ihr Kinderlein kommet"
1757 Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt a Finnish, Swedish and Russian courtier and diplomat. In Finland, he is considered one of the great Finnish statesmen. Born in Tarvasjoki, Finland, he was the great grandson of Charles XII of Sweden's general, Carl Gustaf Armfeldt. His advice to Russia's Tsar Alexander I was of utmost importance for securing the autonomy of the Grand Duchy of Finland
1777 Charles Cagniard de la Tour a French engineer and physicist.
1778 Coenraad Jacob Temminck a Dutch aristocrat, zoologist, and museum director.
1787 Nangklao the third monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri, ruling from 21 July 1824 to 2 April 1851. He succeeded his father, Buddha Loetla Nabhalai, as the King of Siam. His succession was unusual according to the traditions because Nangklao was a son of a concubine rather than a queen. His accession was perceived by foreign observers as having usurped the prior claim of Prince Mongkut, who was a legitimate son of Buddha Loetla Nabhalai born to a queen, Srisuriyendra. Under the old concept of Thai monarchy, however, a proper king must emulate Maha Sammata in that he must be "elected by the people." Ironically, Prince Mongkut may have later contributed to this misconception, when he feared that his own accession might be perceived by foreign observers as a usurpation
1794 Thomas McKean Thompson McKennan a 19th-century politician and lawyer who served as the 2nd United States Secretary of the Interior under President Millard Fillmore.
1796 Hermann Hupfeld German Orientalist and Biblical commentator. He is known for his historical-critical studies of the Old Testament
1798 Carl Gottlieb Peschel a German painter. He was a member of the Nazarene movement
1800 Osip Senkovsky a Polish-Russian orientalist, journalist, and entertainer.
1803 Duchess Marie Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin daughter of Frederick Louis, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and consort of Georg, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg.
1808 James Pinckney Henderson a United States and Republic of Texas lawyer, politician, soldier, and the first Governor of the State of Texas.
1809 Nikolai Gogol a Ukrainian Russian-language dramatist, novelist and short story writer.
1809 Edward FitzGerald (poet) an English poet and writer, best known as the poet of the first and most famous English translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The writing of his name as both FitzGerald and Fitzgerald is seen. The use here of FitzGerald conforms with that of his own publications, anthologies such as Quiller-Couch's Oxford Book of English Verse, and most reference books up until about the 1960s
1809 Otto Lindblad a Swedish composer. He is most famous for the musical score of Kungssången, the Swedish royal anthem
1813 Auguste Carayon a French Jesuit author and bibliographer.
1819 Chlodwig Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst a German statesman, who served as Chancellor of Germany and Prime Minister of Prussia from 1894 to 1900. Prior to his appointment as Chancellor, he had served in a number of other positions, including as Prime Minister of Bavaria , German Ambassador to Paris , Foreign Secretary and Imperial Lieutenant of Alsace-Lorraine. He was regarded as one of the most prominent liberal politicians of his time in Germany
1821 Fritz Müller a German biologist who emigrated to southern Brazil, where he lived in and near the German community of Blumenau, Santa Catarina. There he studied the natural history of the Atlantic forest south of São Paulo, and was an early advocate of Darwinism. He lived in Brazil for the rest of his life. Müllerian mimicry is named after him
1822 Dmitry Grigorovich a Russian writer, artist, and art critic.
1823 Mary Boykin Chesnut a South Carolina author noted for a book published as her Civil War diary, a "vivid picture of a society in the throes of its life-and-death struggle." She described the war from within her upper-class circles of Southern planter society, but encompassed all classes in her book. She was married to a lawyer who served as a United States senator and Confederate officer. Mary was a secret abolitionist. Her husband was strongly pro-slavery but she thought very poorly of slavery
1823 Ernest Doudart de Lagrée the leader of the French Mekong Expedition of 1866-1868.
1824 Dietrich Brandis a German forester who worked with the British Imperial Forestry Service in colonial India. He is considered the father of tropical forestry
1831 Archibald Scott Couper a Scottish chemist who proposed an early theory of chemical structure and bonding. He developed the concepts of tetravalent carbon atoms linking together to form large molecules, and that the bonding order of the atoms in a molecule can be determined from chemical evidence
1838 Léon Dierx a French poet born in Saint-Denis in 1838. He came to Paris to study at the Central School of Arts and Manufactures and subsequently settled there, taking up a post in the education office. He became a disciple of Leconte de Lisle and one of the most distinguished of the Parnassians. At the death of Stéphane Mallarmé in 1898 he was acclaimed prince of poets by les jeunes. His works include: Aspirations ; Poèmes et poésies ; Lèvres closes ; Paroles d'un vaincu ; La Rencontre, a dramatic scene and Les Amants. His Poésies complètes were crowned by the French Academy. A complete edition of his works was published in 2 vols., 1894-1896. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1901