23rd April is an important date because two important and worldwide known writers died on this day: Cervantes and Shakespeare. It is a special day for England too: the day of the country's patron saint (St. George).

In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Day) would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla.

Although 23 April is often stated as the anniversary of the deaths of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, this is not strictly correct. Cervantes died on 22 April and was buried on 23 April according the Gregorian calendar; however, at this time England still used the Julian calendar. While Shakespeare died on 23 April by the Julian calendar in use in his own country at the time, he actually died eleven days after Cervantes because of the discrepancy between the two date systems. The apparent correspondence of the two dates was a fortunate coincidence for UNESCO.

The exact day on which Shakespeare was born is actually unknown, but church records show that he was baptized on April 26, and three days was a customary amount of time to wait before baptizing a newborn.

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) was one of the world's greatest writers. He was born in Stratford-on-Avon and wrote thirty-seven plays.

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