February 17, 1821
Lola Montez, actress, dancer, courtesan, mistress and Countess of Landsfeld, was born Eliza Gilbert in Co. Sligo on February 17, 1821. After her birth, her family moved to India, but Lola was sent to several boarding schools in England. She eloped at the age of 16 with Lieutenant Thomas James, but the two separated after five years. It was at this time that Lola Montez adopted her stage name and began dancing. She found success in Europe, particularly Germany, as a courtesan, becoming the mistress of Ludwig I, the German King of Bavaria. His relationship with Montez was not embraced German people, especially when he gave her a title. It is believed that their relationship may have spurred on the 1848 revolutions in the German free states, forcing Montez to flee to America.