1800-1860: World Events: Selected Occurrences Outside the United States
1800-1860: Chapter One: World Events: Selected Occurrences Outside the United States
by MARIL HAZLETT
China —Emperor Jia-quing (1796—1820); Tao Kuang (1820-1850); Yi-Chu (1850-1861).
France —Napoleon Bonaparte, first consul (1799—1804), emperor (1804-1814; 1815); King Louis XVIII (1814-1815; 1815-1824); Charles X (1824-1830); Louis Philippe (1830-1848); Louis Napoleon (later Emperor Napoleon III), president (1848-1852), emperor (1852-1871).
Great Britain —King George III (1760-1820); George, Prince of Wales (later George IV), regent (1811—1820); King George IV (1820-1830); William IV (1830-1837); Queen Victoria (1837-1901). Prime Ministers: William Henry Cavendish Bentnick, third Duke of Portland (1783; 1807-1809); William Pitt the Younger (1783-1801; 1804-1806); Henry Addington (1801-1804); William Wyndham Grenville, first Baron Grenville (1806-1807); Spencer Perceval (1809-1812); Robert Banks Jenkinson, second Earl of Liverpool (1812-1827); George Canning (1827); Lord Goderich (1827-1828); second Earl Grey (1830-1834); Lord Melbourne (1834; 1835-1839; 1839-1841); Robert Peel (1834; 1841-1845; 1845-1846); Lord John Russell (1846-1852); Edward Geoffrey Stanley, fourteenth Earl of Derby (1852); George Hamilton-Gordon, fourth Earl of Aberdeen (1852-1855); Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston (1855-1858; 1859-1866); Edward Geoffrey Stanley, fourteenth Earl of Derby (1858-1859).
Japan —Emperor Kokaku (1779-1816); Ninko (1817-1846); Komei (1846-1867). Shoguns: Ienari (1786-1837); Ieyoshi (1837-1853); Iesada (1853-1858); Iemochi (1858-1866).
Zulu Kingdom —Senzagakona (1781-1816); Sigujana (1816); Shaka (1816-1828); Dingane (1828-1840); Mpande (1840-1872).
1792-1804 —War for Haitian Independence
1803-1805; 1817-1818 —Mahratta Wars: Britain and allied Indian states versus Maharashtra
1803-1815 —Napoleonic Wars: Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia versus France
1804-1810 —West African Jihad (Holy War) of Moslem divine Usman dan Fodio
1813-1814 —Creek War: United States versus the Creek tribe
1822-1831 —First Ashanti War: Britain versus Ashanti people of present-day Ghana
1824-1826 —First Burmese War: Britain versus Burma
1826-1828 —Russo-Persian War
1828-1829 —Russo-Turkish War
1830-1832 —Black Hawk War: United States versus the Sac and Fox tribes
1830-1847 —French conquest of Algeria
1832-1833 —Turko-Egyptian War
1834-1839 —Carlist Wars: Spain versus the forces of the Royal Pretender Don Carlos
1835-1842 —Seminole War: United States versus the Seminole tribe
1838-1842 —First Afghan War: Britain versus Afghanistan
1839-1842 —First Opium War: Britain versus China
1846-1848 —Mexican War: United States versus Mexico
1848 —Schleswig-Holstein War: Prussia versus Denmark
1848-1849 —Austro-Sardinian War
1850-1863 —Armed conflict between Britain and Siam on the Malayan frontier
1852-1853 —Second Burmese War: Britain versus Burma
1856-1860 —Second Opium War: Britain versus China
1857-1858 —The Great Mutiny: Revolt of Sepoys (native troops) of the British East India Company
1858-1862 —French invasion of Cochin China
- Colonists in Freetown rebel against the Sierra Leone Company.
- Forces under Toussaint Louverture gain control of the French half of Hispan-iola and then invade the Spanish area of the island.
- Italian physicist Allessandro Volta invents the voltaic cell, the prototype of the electric battery.
- The Romantic movement in literature, art, and music begins in Europe. Major contributors include William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Joseph Mallord William Turner, and Ludwig van Beethoven.
- Feb. France ratifies a new constitution.
- 13 Mar. Gregorio Barnabo Chiaramonte becomes Pope Pius VII.
- 20 Mar. The French defeat the Turks at Heliopolis.
- 20 Mar.-21 Apr. The Pashas in Egypt lead a revolt against the French.
- 5 Apr. The British capture the island of Goree (off Senegal) from France.
- 14 June Napoleon Bonaparte defeats the Austrians at Marengo in Italy.
- 5 Sept. The French garrison on Malta surrenders to the English.
- 1 Oct. In the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso, Spain cedes the Louisiana Territory to France.
- 3 Dec. French forces defeat the Austrians at Hohenlinden, Bavaria.
- Jan. The Act of Union creates the United Kingdom of Great Britain; England and Ireland are to be governed by one parliament.
- 26 Jan. Toussaint Louverture captures the Spanish capital of Santo Domingo on Hispaniola; France sends an army to recapture the colony.
- 9 Feb. Austria and France sign the Treaty of Luneville in which France is to control Italy west of Venice.
- 11 Mar. The insane Czar Paul I is murdered and replaced by his son, Alexander I; the new czar withdraws Russia from the war against France.
- 21 Mar. At the Battle of Alexandria, Egypt, a British and Turkish force defeats the French.
- 2 Apr. A British fleet defeats the Danish navy at the Battle of Copenhagen.
- 10 June Tripoli declares war on the United States.
- July Louverture sends a constitution to France for Napoleon Bonaparte’s approval.
- 15 July Napoleon and Pius VII reach an agreement by which the French government will nominate bishops to be consecrated by the Pope.
- Aug. French forces in Egypt capitulate.
- 24 Dec. Richard Trevithick in England uses a steam engine to power a carriage.
- Portuguese traders begin the first successful crossing of the African continent from Angola to the Zambezi River, reaching Tete in 1811.
- Italian inventor Gian Domenico Romagnosi observes an electric current moving through a wire.
- Marie Grosholtz Tussaud, a Swiss wax modeler who had been commissioned in 1793 to make death masks of guillotine victims, opens a wax museum in London.
- The British Parliament passes the Factory Act to protect apprentices in textile mills.
- Nathaniel Bowditch of Salem, Massachusetts, publishes The New American Practical Navigator, correcting eight thousand errors in an earlier English text on navigation.
- Thomas Wedgwood, son of British potter Josiah Wedgwood, produces the first photographic image on paper coated with silver nitrate; however, the image fades quickly.
- 27 Mar. England and France sign the Treaty of Amiens; England accepts France’s conquests in Europe and gives up Malta, Elba, Minorca, and Cape Colony but keeps Ceylon and Trinidad.
- 11 Apr. Freetown settlers repulse Temnes warriors.
- 1 June Nguyen Phuc Anh proclaims himself Emperor Gia Long, changes the name of his country from Annam to Vietnam, and establishes the capital at Hue.
- 10 June Toussaint Louverture is arrested and taken to France.
- 14 June Napoleon Bonaparte orders slavery to be reestablished in Santo Domingo and other French colonies.
- 2 Aug. A French plebiscite elects Napoleon consul for life.
- 1 Nov. Gen. Victor-Emmanuel Leclerc, sent to Santo Domingo to restore slavery and French power, dies of yellow fever.
- King Kamehaha I unites the eight islands of Hawaii.
- Wahhabi fundamentalists capture Mecca.
- English chemist John Dalton arranges a table of atomic weights.
- Cotton becomes the leading export of the United States.
- 20 Feb. The British seize Kandy, Ceylon, and leave a small force to protect their puppet king.
- 7 Apr. Toussaint Louverture dies in a French prison.
- 16 May After refusing to surrender Malta, England resumes war on France.
- 23-24 June British troops are massacred after an uprising in Kandy, Ceylon.
- 23 July An uprising in Ireland fails.
- 23 Sept. At the Battle of Assaye in India, British forces defeat the Mahrathas.
- Dec. The British capture Pondicherry from the Mahrathas.
- The Universities of Kazan and Kharkov in Russia are founded.
- The Code Napoleon, civil laws based on Roman statutes and egalitarian concepts of the French Revolution, spreads through France.
- The first vacuum-bottling factory, or cannery, opens near Paris.
- Feb. French authorities discover a Royalist plot to depose Napoleon Bonaparte.
- 21 Feb. In West Africa, Usman dan Fodio accuses Hausa kings of laxity in Islamic observances and declares a jihad, or holy war. By 1810 he will control all of the Hausa territory and form the Sokoto Empire.
- Oct. The Russian warship Nadezha enters the harbor at Nagasaki, Japan, but local authorities order it to leave.
- Oct. The British seize the Spanish treasure fleet carrying gold valued at $3 million.
- 8 Oct. Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaims himself Emperor Jaques I of Santo Domingo.
- 2 Dec. The Pope crowns Napoleon emperor of France.
- In West Africa, Kebbi and Zaria fall to Usman’s forces.
- The British House of Lords defeats a bill to abolish the slave trade.
- In Arabia, Wahhabi fundamentalists capture Medina.
- 11 Apr. Russia forms an alliance with Italy.
- 26 May Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself king of Italy in order to legitimize French claims to northern Italy.
- 4 June The United States and Tripoli sign a peace treaty.
- 9 Aug. Austria and England sign a treaty of alliance.
- 9 Oct. France and Naples agree to neutrality.
- 15-20 Oct. A French army defeats and captures an Austrian force at Ulm in western Germany.
- 21 Oct. At Cape Trafalgar off the coast of Spain, the Royal Navy under Horatio, Lord Nelson, destroys two-thirds of the French and Spanish fleets; Nelson is mortally wounded.
- 13 Nov. Napoleon occupies Vienna.
- 2 Dec. Napoleon defeats the Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz in present-day Czechoslovakia.
- 26 Dec. Francis II of Austria cedes Venetia, Istria, and Dalmatia to France.
- French inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard introduces a new attachment for weaving looms that will revolutionize the industry.
- The fur trade between America and China now exceeds $5 million annually. The Americans send ginseng and furs to China, and the Chinese send back teas, spices, and other goods. American vessels are also establishing trade contacts with the West and East Indies and the Philippines.
- African American boxer Bill Richmond is defeated in a match with the Englishman Tom Cribb.
- 12 Jan. French forces leave Vienna.
- 19 Jan. British forces arrive in South Africa to take Cape Colony.
- 23 Jan. A French army forces King Ferdinand of Naples to flee; Joseph Bonaparte becomes king of Naples the following month.
- 16 May British foreign minister Charles James Fox orders a naval blockade of the European continent.
- 27 June A British force from the Cape of Good Hope captures Buenos Aires.
- July A Sepoy mutiny occurs at Velore, India, and one thousand people are killed or wounded.
- Aug. A Spanish force from Montevideo recaptures Buenos Aires.
- 6 Aug. Napoleon Bonaparte has German states withdraw from the Holy Roman Empire and form the Confederation of the Rhine. In addition he forces Francis II of Austria to abdicate the title of Roman emperor.
- 13 Sept. A Prussian army moves into Thuringia.
- 17 Oct. Jacques I of Santo Domingo is assassinated; Henri Christophe takes control of the northern part of the island while Alexander Petion captures the southern area.
- 14 Oct. The French severely defeat the Prussians at Jena and Auerstadt in central Germany.
- 27 Oct. Napoleon occupies Berlin.
- 21 Nov. Napoleon’s Berlin Decree closes Europe to British trade and citizens by declaring that any neutral ship entering a British port would be denied access to any European port under French control.
- Dec. Russia and the Ottoman Empire go to war.
- Dec. Russian troops capture Bucharest.
- Katsina in West Africa falls to forces under Usman dan Fodio.
- Russians attack Japanese settlements on Sakhalin Island and Hokkaido.
- Great Britain retaliates against Napoleon Bonaparte’s Berlin Decree by requiring all neutral ships trading within the blockaded zones to get a special license.
- Off of Norfolk, Virginia, HMS Leopard fires on USS Chesapeake. The Chesapeake undergoes a search, and four members of the crew are impressed into the British Navy.
- The U.S. Congress passes the Embargo Act, forbidding all shipping with Europe.
- 7 Jan. Great Britain declares war on the Ottoman Empire.
- 7-8 Feb. Russian and Prussian forces halt Napoleon at Eylau in East Prussia.
- 19 Feb. A British fleet breaks through Turkish defenses at the Dardanelles.
- 25 Mar. Parliament bars British subjects from participating in the slave trade.
- 31 Mar. Great Britain attempts to invade Egypt but is defeated at Rosetta.
- 29 May Janissaries in the Ottoman Empire depose and kill Selim III, installing Mustapha IV as sultan.
- 14 June The French defeat the Russians at Friedland, East Prussia.
- 7-9 July Prussia cedes its west Elbean possessions to France’s German satellites and yields Polish territories to the grand duchy of Warsaw; Frederick August of Saxony becomes grand duke of Warsaw; Prussia joins the Continental System and remains garrisoned by Napoleon; and Czar Alexander I recognizes French conquests.
- Aug. A truce is declared between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.
- 7 Sept. The Danish fleet surrenders to the British after the bombardment of Copenhagen.
- 17 Dec. Napoleon issues the Milan Decree, which declares that all neutral ships that submitted to British search would be confiscated by the French.
- The United States bans the transatlantic slave trade.
- 1 Jan. Sierra Leone becomes a royal British colony, and the Royal Navy enforces the ban on the slave trade. By 1815 British officials capture six thousand slaves at sea and release them in the colony.
- 19 Mar. Charles IV of Spain abdicates in favor of Ferdinand VII, who turns the Spanish crown over to Napoleon Bonaparte in May.
- Apr. In the Bayonne Decree, Napoleon orders the seizure of U.S. ships entering French, Italian, or Hanseatic ports. The French will eventually seize $10 million in U.S. ships and cargo. However, the British also are plundering approximately one in eight U.S. vessels at sea as well as impressing U.S. sailors into the Royal Navy.
- 2 May A Spanish uprising starts against the French.
- June Muhammad ‘Ali begins the conquest of Upper Egypt.
- 15 July Joachim Murat becomes king of Naples after Joseph Bonaparte abdicates to become king of Spain.
- 20 July French troops occupy Madrid, but the Spanish drive them out.
- 28 July Mahmud II becomes sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
- Sept.-Oct. At Erfurt in central Germany the French and Russians affirm their alliance.
- Nov. Napoleon leads two hundred thousand men into Spain.
- 2 Dec. Napoleon occupies Madrid and imprisons the royal family three days later.
- Usman dan Fodio takes over Kano in northern Nigeria. He founds the city of Sokoto and establishes control of the Islamic movement over the entire Hausa region.
- Finland becomes an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire.
- Samuel Somering invents the electric telegraph.
- Jan. Parliament learns that the mistress of the duke of York is selling army commissions.
- 12 Mar. England and Persia form an alliance.
- 12 Mar. A coup d’etat in Sweden deposes King Gustavus IV.
- Apr. The Austrians invade Bavaria, but Napoleon Bonaparte defeats them.
- 25 Apr. The British East India Company signs a treaty with Ranjot Singh, ruler of Lahore.
- 1 May Napoleon annexes the papal states to France.
- 3 May Russia declares war on Austria.
- 12 May Napoleon captures Vienna.
- 21-22 May Napoleon is defeated by the Austrians at Aspern, Austria.
- 5 June The duke of Sudermania becomes King Charles XIII of Sweden.
- 12 June The Catholic Church excommunicates Napoleon.
- 5-6 July The French army defeats the Austrians at Wagram near Vienna.
- 5 July Napoleon orders the imprisonment of Pope Pius VII.
- 14 July The British seize Saint-Louis, Senegal, from France.
- 27-28 July A British army under Sir Arthur Wellesley defeats Joseph Bonaparte’s Spanish army at Talavera de Reina, and as a result Wellesley becomes Viscount Wellington of Talavera.
- 26 Sept. The Turks defeat the Russians at Silistria in present-day Bulgaria.
- 14 Oct. Austria and France sign a peace treaty.
- 16 Dec. Napoleon divorces Josephine.
- Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla launches the eleven-year Mexican War for Independence with the cry “viva religion, viva America, death to bad government!”
- Portugal agrees to a gradual abolition of the slave trade.
- French chemist Louis-Nicolas Vaquelin identifies nicotine as the active chemical in tobacco.
- 6 Jan. France and Sweden declare peace.
- 11 Mar. Napoleon marries Maria Luisa, an eighteen-year-old Austrian archduchess.
- 9 July Napoleon annexes Holland.
- 25 Aug. Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha requests that the Ottoman Empire grant Egypt autonomy.
- 27 Oct. U.S. president James Madison orders the occupation and annexation of West Florida, currently occupied by Spain. Congress officially annexes West Florida to the Mississippi Territory on 14 May 1812.
- 16 Dec. Representatives of New Spain present grievances to the Spanish Cortes.
- 31 Dec. Czar Alexander I withdraws from the Continental System.
- Spain debates abolishing the slave trade; Cuban planters object and defeat the move.
- English engineer John Blenkinsop invents a two-cylinder steam locomotive.
- English novelist Jane Austen publishes Sense and Sensibility.
- Earthquake tremors rock the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, rising and sinking the earth’s crust between five and twenty-five feet.
- From their capital in Riyadh, the Wahabis rule all of Arabia, except present-day Yemen.
- The Estados Unidos of Venezuela, led by Francisco de Miranda and Simon Bolivar, declare independence from Spain, initiating a decade-long civil war with Spanish general Pablo Morillo.
- 5 Feb. Parliament appoints the prince of Wales as regent for King George III, who has gone mad.
- Mar. Riots occur in Nottingham, England, as unemployed workers destroy the textile machinery that put them out of work.
- 1 Mar. Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha, Ottoman viceroy in Egypt, massacres rebellious Mamluks.
- 21 Mar. Father Migeul Hidalgo y Costilla is captured in Mexico.
- 7 July A general congress in Venezuela declares independence.
- 31 July Father Migeul Hidalgo is executed at Chihuahua.
- 14 Aug. Paraguay declares independence.
- 18 Sept. The Dutch surrender Java to the British.
- Russia and Sweden sign a secret alliance.
- Swiss orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt begins an ascent of the Nile River to Korosko, then travels across the Red Sea and eventually to Mecca.
- Dingiswayo, Zulu chief, begins consolidating military forces in southern Africa.
- In order to exploit the sea otter trade, the Russians establish Fort Rossiya on the Pacific Coast, just north of Bodega Bay in present-day California.
- The United States declares war on Great Britain as a result of the disputes over the shipping rights of nations neutral in the European conflict.
- Swiss novelist Johann Rudolph Wyss publishes the Swiss Family Robinson, a collection of stories told by his father.
- English novelist Jane Austen publishes Pride and Prejudice.
- 13 Aug. The Creeks, who allied with the British in the War of 1812, massacre settlers at Fort Mims in present-day Alabama, under the leadership of Red Eagle (William Weatherford). This act initiates the Creek Indian War.
- 5 Oct. In southeastern Ontario, U.S. forces led by Gen. William Henry Harrison defeat a British army under Gen. Henry Proctor. Shawnee chief Tecumseh is slain, and U.S. forces burn Fairfield, an Indian mission village. This victory secures the Old Northwest territories for the United States.
- 9 Mar. Great Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria sign the Quadruple Alliance against France.
- 29 Mar. Militia forces under Andrew Jackson defeat the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River. The Creeks cede two-thirds of their land to the United States, which will form the present-day state of Alabama.
- 30 May The First Treaty of Paris, signed by France, Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, establishes a preliminary peace in Europe.
- 4 June Louis XVII, in exile since 1795, is restored to the French throne.
- 24-25 Aug. British troops burn Washington, D.C. in retaliation for the American sacking of York (present-day Toronto), Canada, in 1813.
- 24 Dec. The Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain; territories are returned to their prewar status.
- 25 Dec. Australian Anglican missionary Samuel Marsden is the first to preach the Christian gospel to the Maoris in New Zealand.
- African American sailor and businessman Paul Cuffe tries to establish a colony of freed American slaves in Africa, near Sierra Leone.
- Because of increasing repression in Spain, Italy, and especially Germany, European Jews lose gains made during the Napoleonic era.
- 8 Jan. American troops led by Andrew Jackson defeat a British army at the Battle of New Orleans two weeks after Great Britain and the United States sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war.
- 27 Feb. Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba.
- 20 Mar. Louis XVIII flees Paris, and the Hundred Days begins as Napoleon assumes control of France.
- 18 June The British and the Prussians defeat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium.
- 22 June Napoleon abdicates, and Louis XVIII is returned to the throne. Napoleon is exiled to St. Helena, a British island in the South Atlantic, and dies there on 5 May 1821.
- 20 Nov. The Treaty of Paris allows the military occupation of France by allied troops.
- British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge publishes Kubla Khan.
- After the death of Senzangakoma, chief of the Zulu people scattered along the Tugelo River, another chief, Shaka, begins to gain control.
- Because of a volcanic explosion in the East Indies a year earlier, the resulting dust left in the atmosphere causes much of the world to experience a cold summer.
- 16 Jan. Brazil declares itself an empire, led by the prince regent of Portugal.
- 5 May Carl August of Saxe-Weimar declares the first German state constitution.
- 9 July Argentina (the United Provinces of La Plata) declares independence.
- July Andrew Jackson initiates the Seminole War after he sends troops to Florida to destroy Negro Fort, a refuge for Indians and escaped slaves.
- Swami Bhikkanaji Maharaja and his followers in India split from the Sthanakavasis and form the Jain sect of Terapathis.
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel publishes the Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker woman in England, founds the Society for the Reformation of Prison Discipline. Her goals are to reform the notorious London penitentiary known as Newgate and to draw attention to the plight of female prisoners everywhere.
- 28 Apr. The United States and Great Britain sign the Rush-Bagot Treaty, which limits the warships on the Great Lakes to four for each nation.
- 14 July French writer Madame de Stael dies; her salon was of international importance to politics and culture.
- Shaka establishes the Zulu Empire.
- British novelist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley publishes Frankenstein.
- 6 Jan. Through the Treaty of Mundoseer the British gain control of the dominion of the Hoplkar of Indore and the Rajputana states in India.
- 12 Feb. Dictator Bernardo O’Higgins proclaims the Republic of Chile independent from Spain. In April the Spanish make their last unsuccessful attempt to reclaim Chile at the Battle of Maipo.
- 20 Oct. The Canadian-U.S. boundary is extended westward along the 49th parallel from the Lake of the Woods (present-day boundary of Manitoba, Ontario, and Minnesota) to the Rocky Mountains.
- 21 Nov. At the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, France joins the four Great Powers in the Quintuple Alliance, and allied troops leave France.
- 20 Nov. Simon Bolivar declares independence for Venezuela.
- The Savannah completes the first steamship journey across the Atlantic in twenty-six days.
- Sikh leader Ranjit Singh conquers Kashmir.
- After the long delay caused by the Napoleonic Wars, the Spanish national art gallery, the Prado Museum, opens in Madrid.
- 6 Feb. Sir Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company founds Singapore.
- 22 Feb. According to the terms of the Transcontinental Treaty between Spain and the United States, Spain rescinds land claims east of the Mississippi River and gains Texas. Spain does not ratify the treaty until 1820.
- 7 Aug. Revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar wins a decisive battle with the Spanish Royalists at Boyaca.
- 16 Aug. In response to a large rally for broader representation in Parliament, the British government sends the cavalry to St. Peter’s Field in Manchester. The ensuing confrontation results in eleven deaths at what later will be called the Peterloo Massacre.
- 20 Sept. The Frankfurt Diet issues the Carlsbad Decrees, measures that suppress political freedom in order to control revolutionary tendencies in Germany.
- 17 Dec. Simon Bolivar becomes president of an independent Colombia.
- French chemists Pierre Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaime Caventou isolate quinine.
- Thomas Robert Malthaus publishes Principles of Political Economy.
- For the first time the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh is surveyed on the southern banks of the Tigris River. Later excavations will reveal artifacts from 6,000 B.C.
- Egypt begins a two-year campaign to conquer the Sudan.
- Football first appears on American college campuses, primarily as a way for up-perclassmen to haze freshmen.
- Jules Sebastian Cesar Dumont d’Urville discovers the statue of Venus de Milo on the Greek island of Melos.
- 1 Jan.-7 Mar. A revolution in Spain forces King Ferdinand VII to restore the 1812 constitution.
- 27 Jan. Russian naval officer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellinghausen sails completely around the continent of Antarctica, describing it as an enormous, boundless field of ice.
- 29 Jan. George III, king of Great Britain, dies after years of insanity, and George IV assumes the throne.
- 13 Feb. French revolutionaries assassinate Charles Ferdinand de Bourbon, presumably the last of the Bourbons.
- 24 Aug. In Oporto, Portugal, the Portuguese army supports a rebellion against the Spanish-supported regency. The revolution gains popular support and results in a liberal constitution.
- Spain recognizes Mexico’s independence.
- Ireland’s population has reached nearly seven million, nearly one-half the combined population of England, Wales, and Scotland.
- 6 Mar. A Greek from Constantinople, Alexander Ypsilanti, initiates an uprising at Iasi in Moldavia, resulting in the Greek War for Independence from the Ottoman Empire.
- 14 June With the help from Turkish and Albanian forces, Egyptian soldiers take over Sennar, in the eastern Sudan, and capital of the Funj Sultanate. They depose Badi VI, and Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha, the Ottoman pasha of Egypt, furthers his empire through the eastern Sudan.
- 24 June In the final battle of the Venezuelan War for Independence, Simon de Bolivar defeats Spanish royal forces at Carabobo.
- 2 July The British government recognizes the Hudson Bay Company, which controls Prince Rupert’s Land, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta, and western parts of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.
- 28 July José Francisco de San Martín declares Peru’s independence after driving the Spanish out of Lima.
- 15 Sept. Guatemala declares independence from Spain.
- 28 Nov. Panama declares independence from Spain.
- 1 Dec. The Republic of Santo Domingo is founded, independent of Spain.
- Muhammed ‘Ali, Ottoman pasha of Egypt, directs his empire on a program of economic development based around the export of cotton to Europe.
- Liberia is founded as a colony for freed slaves.
- 27 Jan. Greece declares independence from the Ottoman Empire.
- 7 Sept. Dom Pedro I declares Brazil independent of Portugal and later proclaims himself emperor of Brazil.
- 16 Sept. Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and British foreign secretary, commits suicide for no apparent reason; George Canning takes his office.
- 20 Oct. Under provisions of the Quadruple Alliance the Congress of Verona agrees to a French invasion of Spain.
- 14 Dec. At the Congress of Vienna, Great Britain refuses to intervene in the Spanish revolution while other nations refuse to interfere in the Greek War for Independence. These developments mark the end of the congress system of European diplomacy.
- Charles Babbage begins work on a calculating machine.
- 19 Mar. Internal tensions force Emperor Augustus de Iturbide of Mexico to abdicate.
- 7 Apr. France invades Spain and removes Ferdinand VII from the Spanish throne.
- 31 Aug. France returns Ferdinand VII to the throne after crushing the Spanish rebels.
- 2 Dec. U.S. president James Monroe issues the Monroe Doctrine, which warns world powers to stay out of the Western Hemisphere.
- Ludwig van Beethoven composes the Ninth Symphony.
- English inventor William Sturgeon develops the first electromagnet.
- The United States establishes the Bureau of Indian Affairs in order to negotiate treaties and to provide health care.
- 17 Mar. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands and Great Britain signs the Treaty of London. The Dutch cede Malacca and abandon claims to Singapore in return for Benkulen in Sumatra.
- 11 May In war with Burma, Great Britain takes Rangoon.
- 16 Sept. Louis XVIII dies, and Charles X becomes king of France.
- 12 Dec. The last Spanish army in South America surrenders.
- Great Britain allows trade unions to form.
- Over the course of the next two years English explorer John Franklin maps approximately eight hundred miles of the Canadian Arctic Coast in an effort to find the Northwest Passage.
- 6 Aug. The Republic of Bolivia declares independence from Peru.
- 25 Aug. Uruguay declares independence from Brazil.
- 29 Aug. Portugal recognizes Brazilian independence.
- Nov. Stocks and bonds prices drop precipitously in Europe, forcing many bankruptcies; in part, bad harvests during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars cause the crisis.
- 26 Dec. In St. Petersburg the Decembrist uprising breaks out over who will succeed Czar Alexander I. Alexander had named his younger brother, Nicholas, as his successor, but his older brother, Constantine, challenged the succession. After the uprising was quelled Nicholas I ruled for thirty years.
- Scottish explorer Alexander Gordon Laing is murdered two days after leaving Timbuktu on the Niger River in Mali. He was the first European to reach this city from the north, crossing the Sahara Desert.
- Persia declares war on Russia after its military forces occupy the Causcaus.
- Nguan Nguan edits Confucius’s writings.
- A global cholera epidemic begins in India.
- 24 Feb. The Treaty of Yandabu ends the First Burmese War.
- 15-16 June At the orders of Ottoman sultan Mahmud II the Turks’ standing army, the Janissaries, are massacred in their barracks.
- The Church Missionary Society founds Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, the first institution of higher education in West Africa.
- Russian czar Nicholas I issues harsh anti-Jewish conscription laws, which use compulsory military service to force conversions.
- 26 Jan. Peru secedes from Colombia.
- 26 Mar. German composer Ludwig van Beethoven dies. He had been deaf since 1817 but still completed nine symphonies, an opera, and various concertos and sonatas.
- Apr. After serving in the Greek cause for independence Ioannes Antonios Kapodistras is elected ruler of Greece.
- 6 July Great Britain, France, and Russia guarantee Greek independence in the Treaty of London.
- 15 Nov. The Creek Indians cede to the federal government their remaining lands in what is now the southeastern United States.
- King Radama I of Madagascar dies, and his queen, Ranavalona I, succeeds him. The queen pursues policies of avoiding foreign influences and entanglements while the British and the French launch unsuccessful naval and military campaigns in retaliation.
- Haiku poetry master Issa, who revived the Japanese art form, dies.
- 26 Apr. Nicholas I, Russian czar, declares war on the Ottoman Empire to serve national interests and aid Greek patriots.
- 9 May The British Parliament repeals the Test Act of 1673, which had forbidden Roman Catholics and Protestant nonconformists from holding public office. This act had been an attempt to marginalize the Irish threat of civil uprisings.
- 22 Sept. Zulu king Shaka is assassinated; his rule had established the Zulus as the dominant military power in southern Africa.
- David Walker publishes Walker’s Appeal … with a Preamble to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular and Very Expressly to Those of the United States of America, a plea for blacks to rise up against slavery. States in the southern United States try to prevent its printing and sale.
- French inventor Louis Braille, blind from an accident at age three, publishes his alphabet for the blind.
- 14 Sept. The Russo-Turkish War ends with the Treaty of Adrianople. Serbia and Greece gain autonomy; the Ottomans lose influence in the Balkans; and Russia gains strategic outposts at the mouth of the Danube River and along the Black Sea.
- 4 Dec. The British government in India outlaws the practice of suttee in which widows throw themselves on their husbands’ funeral pyres as a mark of devotion.
- In a climate of social reforms, such as abolition and an ascending middle class, the Chartism Movement gains strength in Great Britain. Its leaders believe in universal suffrage for men, secret balloting, no property requirements for Parliament members, and annual elections. Over the course of the next twenty years Chartists present petitions backing these demands, totaling more than one million signatures. Their movement declines after 1848, but by the end of the century most of their demands have been codified in British law.
- The U.S. Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, which authorizes the president to relocate American Indians west of the Mississippi River into the rather loosely defined Indian Territory. Over the next ten years, the federal government forces approximately sixty thousand Indians westward.
- Ferdinand VII repeals the Salic Law in order to name his heir, Isabella, to the throne of Spain; civil uprisings follow.
- July Charles X attempts to suspend the French constitution by decreeing the Five Ordinances; Paris citizens riot and begin the July Revolution.
- 2 Aug. Charles X abdicates, ending the line of Bourbon rulers in France.
- 17 Dec. Simon de Bolívar dies. A leader in the Venezuelan Revolution, he also assisted independence movements in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and other South American countries.
- Hunters bring in a record haul of more than 687,000 seals from the North Atlantic Ocean, dealing a horrible blow to seal populations.
- James Clark Ross, Scottish explorer, plots the position of the magnetic North Pole.
- The Indian state of Mysore, a former center of rebellion against European policies, comes under British control.
- Prussia makes a major attempt, the first of its kind, to reforest its lands in Europe.
- An epidemic of Asiatic cholera strikes North America, killing more than fifteen thousand people in New Orleans, Quebec, and Montreal. The disease spreads westward, decimating Indian populations.
- U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall hands down his decision in Worcester v. Georgia, declaring the Cherokees had sovereignty over their own lands and those people within them.
- 2 Aug. The U.S. Army forces defeat Black Hawk, leader of the Sac and Fox Indians, in Wisconsin.
- 21 Sept. Scottish poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott dies. One of his better-known works is Ivanhoe, first published in the United States in 1819.
- Antonio López de Santa Anna becomes president of Mexico, eventually declaring himself dictator.
- Charles Lyell publishes the Principles of Geography.
- Stephen Fuller Austin, American settler in Texas, travels to Mexico City to negotiate with Santa Anna on behalf of other white Texans. Mexican officials accuse him of treason and throw him in jail for eighteen months. After he is released and returns to Texas he agitates against Santa Anna’s repressive policies.
- 25 May Chile adopts a constitution.
- 8 July In the Treaty of Unkiar, Russia and the Ottoman Empire agree to a mutual aid pact.
- 29 Aug. Thomas Fowell Buxton founds the Antislavery Society of Great Britain.
- Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal enter into the Quadruple Alliance.
- Bantu peoples and whites on the eastern frontier of Cape Colony clash in the Sixth Kafir War.
- The Carlist Wars begin in Spain.
- Victor Hugo publishes The Hunchback of Notre Dame in France.
- 15 July Maria Cristina de Bourbon, queen regent for the infant Queen Isabella of Spain, declares an end to the Spanish Inquisition, which had been in operation for nearly 350 years.
- Dutch settlers in South Africa, known as the Boers, begin the Great Trek, calling themselves the Voortrekkers. Twelve thousand Voortrekkers leave Cape Colony to escape British oppression. By the next year they establish the Republics of Natal, Transvaal (later the South African Republic), and the Orange Free State.
- Ferdinand I becomes emperor of Austria.
- Prince Matsukata of Japan is born.
- Dec. Texas revolutionary forces seize San Antonio in the first battle of their war of independence.
- American inventor Samuel Colt patents the Colt revolver in England.
- Charles Louis Bonaparte tries to incite a revolt in Strasbourg and is exiled to America.
- Novelist Fritz Reuter is condemned to death for treason, but his sentence is reduced to thirty years in a Prussian prison.
- 24 Feb. At the Alamo, a fortified mission in San Antonio, a force of fewer than two hundred Texans refuses to surrender to a Mexican army of three thousand.
- 2 Mar. Texas declares its independence from Mexico and adopts a constitution that allows for slavery within its territory.
- 6 Mar. The Alamo falls to Mexican troops; the entire garrison except for a woman, child, and servant are killed.
- 21 Apr. At San Jacinto, Sam Houston leads Texan troops in a victory over the Mexican army, forcing Santa Anna to acknowledge the independent Republic of Texas.
- William IV, king of Great Britain, dies, and Queen Victoria ascends the throne; her reign extends until 1901.
- Ole Rynning, a Scandinavian immigrant in America, publishes A True Account of America for the Information and Help of Peasants and Commoners, a text that encourages a large influx of immigrants to the United States from Scandinavia.
- Canadian troops set fire to the Caroline, an American ship transporting supplies to Canadian insurgents.
- Sioux Indian chief Sitting Bull is born.
- 29 Jan. Russian poet Aleksander Sergeevich Pushkin dies after fighting a duel over his wife.
- 30 May In the Treaty of Tafna, France agrees to respect the boundaries of Algerian territory held by Abd-el-Kader, emir of Mascara.
- 5 Dec. Radical Canadian reformer William Lyon Mackenzie leads an abortive attack against Toronto in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837.
- Uruguay declares war against Argentina.
- Christian VII succeeds his uncle Frederick IV, king of Denmark.
- Abdul Mejid I becomes the sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
- 1 Oct. George Eden, British governor general of India, instigates the First Anglo-Afghan War in order to close off Afghanistan to other foreign powers.
- 1 Oct. U.S. Army forces the Cherokee Indians on the Trail of Tears, a forced migration from their homelands in the Southeast to the Great Plains. More than four thousand Indians die, and more than twenty other Indian nations are also exiled.
- Western powers recognize Belgium as an independent, neutral state.
- John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood enter the jungles at the Guatemala-Honduras borders and discover ancient Mayan ruins.
- A Danish journal called Light Reading for the Danish People describes the discovery of a prehistoric woman’s body at the bottom of a peat bog.
- 27 June Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh dies, and within ten years the British will rule most of his former holdings in Punjab.
- 25 Sept. France recognizes the Republic of Texas.
- 4 Nov. The First Opium War begins between China and Great Britain.
- Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville publishes the last two volumes of La Democratie en Amerique, a sociopolitical study of American life.
- Queen Victoria of England marries Prince Albert.
- King of Prussia Frederick William III dies, and Frederick William IV ascends the throne.
- The Protocol de Droits is signed at the London Conference on the Turko-English conflict, closing the Black Sea to Russian warships.
- An act of Parliament unites Upper and Lower Canada.
- Fritz Reuter, a German poet imprisoned in 1836 for treason, is set free by general amnesty.
- English colonist Edward John Eyre crosses the Australian continent through its interior deserts, traveling from Adelaide to Albany.
- British manufacturers in the Niger Delta begin producing palm oil.
- Charles Seafield, an Australian writer, publishes Das Kajutenbuch, an adventure novel about Texas.
- Slaves carried on board the American vessel Creole seize the ship and sail to Nassau, where the local government sets them free.
- Great Britain establishes the colony of New Zealand.
- Lajos Kossuth becomes the nationalist leader in Hungary.
- Victor Hugo is elected to the Academie Francaise.
- The British Parliament passes the Constitution Act, granting limited self-government to the Australian colony of New South Wales.
- Sports lovers establish the Olympic Club in Montreal, Canada, and make plans to have competitive gatherings whenever they meet.
- 6 Jan. British Anglo-Indian forces evacuate Kabul after a revolt led by Shah Suja. The local Afghan tribes massacre nearly seventeen thousand en route, and this event ends the First Afghan War.
- 5 May The first railroad disaster occurs when a heavily loaded train derails on its return from Louis-Philippe’s public birthday celebration at Versailles. Fifty-three passengers die from injuries and fire, which rages through the locked wooden carriages.
- 9 Aug. The United States and Great Britain sign the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, establishing the northeastern Canadian border.
- 29 Aug. The First Opium War ends with the Treaty of Nanking; China cedes Hong Kong to the British.
- The British agree to respect Maori land rights in New Zealand, but disputes follow and lead to a five-year period of uprisings.
- Queen Isabella becomes ruler of Spain after a military revolt.
- 12 Feb. The British annex the Sind, a region in present-day Pakistan.
- 11 Apr. Gambia is separated from Sierra Leone and becomes a British colony.
- Aug. Cherokee Indian Sequoya dies; he was responsible for developing the Cherokee alphabet and helping the tribe establish a republican form of government.
- Oct. The Young Ireland movement plans a rally for more than one million, but British troops break up the operation.
- Charles XIV of Sweden dies, and his son succeeds to the throne.
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels meet in Paris.
- China and the United States sign a treaty of peace and commerce.
- The U.S. Senate rejects the annexation of Texas.
- A British court finds Irishman Daniel O’Connell, an advocate of Irish independence, guilty of political conspiracy.
- The potato crop fails in Ireland, and famine strikes the country. By 1851 nearly one-third of the Irish population will either die from starvation and typhoid or emigrate.
- Ramon Costilla is elected President of Peru and establishes a strong central government.
- British citizen Sir Austen Layard begins excavations of Nineveh.
- Revolts break out in Poland, and Austria annexes Cracow.
- Wheat and potato crops fail in France, leading to an economic slump.
- Louis Napoleon flees to London.
- German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle is the first to observe the planet Neptune.
- Norbert Rillieux, New Orleans resident and freed slave, invents a vacuum pan that revolutionizes the sugar refining process.
- 10 Feb. The British win the First Sikh War in India and annex Kashmir.
- 13 May The United States declares war on Mexico.
- 26 May Britain repeals the Corn Laws, partially in response to the Irish famine and the need to lower the price of bread.
- 14 June The Bear Flag Revolt in California topples the Mexican government in the area.
- 7 July California becomes a U.S. Territory.
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels issue the first edition of the Communist Manifesto.
- Black military leader Faustin Elie Soulouque becomes president of Haiti.
- U.S. forces capture Mexico City.
- English novelist Emily Bronte completes Wuthering Heights, a tragic tale of embittered love, while her sister Charlotte Bronte publishes Jane Eyre.
- 24 Aug. Liberia becomes the first independent republic under a constitutional government in Africa. Joseph Jenkins Roberts becomes its first president.
- Oct.-Nov. The Sonderbund War begins in Switzerland.
- France ends slavery in all its possessions.
- The U.S. Senate approves a treaty with New Grenada allowing travel rights across the isthmus of Panama.
- After the failure of the liberal revolutions in Europe many well-educated European Jews, particularly from the Reform branch, migrate to the United States.
- Nasr-ed-Din becomes the new shah of Persia.
- Jan. A revolution occurs in Sicily.
- 2 Feb. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the Mexican War and cedes to the United States territories that will eventually become parts of California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. It also sets the southern border of Texas at the Rio Grande and grants $15 million to Mexico for compensation.
- 24 Feb. The February Revolution breaks out in France, and the king of France, Louis Philippe, abdicates the throne. Students, workers, and the middle class form the Second Republic and advocate liberal reform.
- Mar. King Charles Albert of Sardinia sets up a limited parliamentary government for his people, declares war on the Austrians occupying the richest regions of Italy, and then abdicates after suffering a military defeat.
- 20 Mar. The Second Sikh War begins.
- 23 Apr. A Polish revolt in Warsaw is suppressed.
- June The French minister of war of the Second Republic brutally suppresses the June insurrection of unemployed workers in Paris.
- Aug. Austrian troops suppress the Viennese Revolution.
- 29 Aug. The British defeat the Boers at Boomplatz in South Africa. The Boers retreat across the Vaal River to Transvaal.
- 24 Nov. Pope Pius IX flees Rome.
- 2 Dec. Hapsburg emperor Ferdinand I abdicates in favor of his nephew, Francis Joseph.
- 10 Dec. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, is elected president of France’s Second Republic.
- Tories in Canada riot against the passage of the Rebellion Losses Bill, setting fire to and destroying the Montreal Parliament buildings.
- Charles Dickens publishes David Copperfield.
- Celebrated Japanese artist, painter, and wood engraver Hokusai dies.
- Jan. British forces win the Battle of Chilianwala in the Second Sikh War.
- 12 Mar. Sikh forces surrender to the British at Rawalpindi, ending the Second Sikh War.
- 23 Mar. At Novara, Austrian forces defeat a Sardinian army. Afterward Sardinian king Charles Albert abdicates in favor of Victor Emmanuel II.
- 28 Mar. Frederick William IV of Prussia is elected “Emperor of the Germans” in an attempt to unify Germany.
- 30 Mar. In a treaty with Maharajah of Lahore, Great Britain annexes Punjab.
- 14 Apr. Hungary declares independence with Lajos Kossuth as president.
- 25 Apr. French troops intervene in the papal states.
- 11 May Guiseppe Garibaldi’s forces enter Rome.
- 5 June Denmark establishes its first constitution.
- 18 June The German National Assembly is forcibly dispersed.
- 3 July French troops restore Pius IX and crush the Roman Republic.
- 6 Aug. The war between Austria and Sardinia ends with the Peace of Milan.
- A movement toward “realism” begins in Western literature; major contributors include Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky, and Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.
- An epidemic of Asiatic cholera sweeps through the midwestern United States, after having struck the South in 1849.
- Alfred Tennyson publishes In Memoriam.
- Austrian monk and budding geneticist Gregor Mendel discovers the principles of heredity.
- Scottish chemist James Young finds a method to produce oil from cannel coal and shale.
- Hung Hsiu-ch’uan leads the Taiping Rebellion by organizing a revolt of native Chinese against the Ch’ing emperor and overlords. More than twenty million Chinese peasants lose their lives before the rebellion ends in 1854.
- Arab caravans from the eastern coast of Africa have established regular trade routes into the interior.
- The Xhosa, a Bantu tribe, and the British fight the Eighth Kafir War in the southeastern Cape of Good Hope colony. The Xhosa, their pastoral lives threatened by British and Boer settlements, commit a near mass social suicide by destroying their own corn and cattle.
- Jan.-Mar. The British blockade Greece in order to force Greece to pay the interest on an international loan.
- 2 Mar. Rent banks are established in Prussia, allowing peasants to purchase the land they had been renting.
- 20 Mar. Frederick William IV of Prussia summons a German parliament to form an anti-Austrian coalition.
- 12 Apr. Pius IX returns to Rome.
- 19 Apr. Great Britain and the United States sign the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty in which both countries renounce exclusive control of the Isthmus of Panama.
- 9 July Controversial leader of the Muslim sect of Babism, the Bab, is executed in the public square of Tabriz, Persia, on charges of heresy. His followers rebel, and as many as twenty thousand die in the resulting conflict.
- 16 July The French Assembly passes the Loi Tingey, which requires authors of newspaper articles to sign their names.
- 18 Aug. French novelist Honoré de Balzac dies.
- The Landlord and Tenant Act in Great Britain initiates reform in land leasing practices.
- American millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt establishes a steamship route from New York City to California through Nicaragua.
- French physicist Jean Bernard Leon Foucault conducts pendulum experiments to show that the earth rotates on its axis.
- The French establish a trading port at Cotonau, in present-day Benin, West Africa.
- The St. Petersburg-Moscow line, the first major railroad in Russia, opens.
- Frederick Scott Archer, an English artist, invents the wet plate method of photography, which is used for the next twenty years.
- In New South Wales sheep rancher Edward Hammond Hargraves discovers gold. Over the next ten years Australia’s population nearly triples from the immigration of gold-seeking British, Germans, and Americans.
- 2 Dec. Louis Napoleon, president of the French Republic, proclaims himself dictator after a coup d’etat.
- Omar Pasha and his Turkish army invade Montenegro, and the forces of Prince Danilo II defeat them near Ostrag. The Turks withdraw, but the international world does not recognize Montenegro’s independence.
- In South Africa, Great Britain renounces sovereignty over the Transvaal area, and the Boer Republic and the Orange Free State Republic establish themselves.
- Catastrophic flooding dramatically alters the course of the Yellow River in China. Hereafter it enters the Yellow Sea, hundreds of miles north of its original riverbed.
- The Boers of Transvaal raid Dimawe, capital of the Kwena tribe, ruled by the Christian king Sechele.
- Al-Haij Umar, leader of the Muslim Tijaniyya brotherhood, launches a holy war against the non-Muslim Mandingo and Bambara kingdoms in western Sudan.
- Hungary’s provisional government becomes permanent, and Austrian rule separates Transylvania and Serbian Voivodina from Hungary.
- France establishes a convict settlement at lie du Diable (Devil’s Island) off the north coast of French Guiana in order to replace the colonial labor forces lost by the abolition of slavery. Most prisoners sent there die from disease and neglect.
- 17 Jan. According to the terms of the Sand River Convention, the British recognize the independence of the Boer Republic of Transvaal, which in 1856 reorganized as the South African Republic.
- 24 Sept. Henri Giffard, French balloonist, pilots a steam-engine-powered balloon on a trip over Paris.
- 2 Dec. Louis Napoleon, president and dictator of the French Republic, has himself crowned emperor as Napoleon III.
- 20 Dec. The British government, at the urging of the East India Company, annexes Pegu Province in South Burma.
- In the Gadsden Purchase the United States acquires parts of southern Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico.
- In a prelude to the Crimean War, France and Russia both intervene in a boundary dispute in Turkish-ruled Jerusalem. Russia uses this opportunity to bring in more troops in order to dominate the Turks.
- Nicholas Pike introduces the house sparrow to New York City in order to control cankerworms. The sparrows eventually spread through most of North America.
- 27 Sept. The American mail ship Arctic and French steamer Vesta collide in a fog east of Newfoundland. Separate westbound and eastbound steamer lanes are then established in the Atlantic.
- 2 Oct. Dominique Arago, the French physicist responsible for investigating electro-magnetism, dies.
- In Ethiopia, Lij Kassa defeats the alliance of Ras Ali and Ras Ubie, gains control over the northern and central regions, and crowns himself Emperor Tewo-doros.
- 27 Mar. The Crimean War begins pitting the Ottoman Empire, France, and Great Britain against Russia.
- 31 Mar. Japan and the United States sign the Treaty of Kanagawa after four American warships appear in Tokyo Bay. The treaty establishes diplomatic and trade relations and breaks Japan’s isolation from the outside world.
- July A fourteen-year revolution breaks out in Spain, and Queen Mother Christina flees Spain.
- 21 Oct. Florence Nightingale travels to the Crimea, where her nursing work sets important foundations for modern nursing and public health. She introduces sanitary measures to curb the diseases that kill more soldiers than combat.
- 5 Nov. At the Battle of Inkerman, Anglo-French forces win a decisive victory in the Crimean War.
- 30 Nov. Egyptian viceroy Said Pasha grants the concession for the Suez Canal to French engineer Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps. Work begins in 1859, and the canal opens ten years later.
- 8 Dec. Pope Pius IX defines what has become the prevailing doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
- The Ayulta Revolt in Mexico unseats Antonio López de Santa Anna, in part through the liberal reforms urged by Benito Pablo Juarez.
- The Australian Provincial Parliament adopts a White Australia policy, excluding Chinese immigrants.
- 2 Mar. Alexander II succeeds his father, Nicholas I, as czar of Russia. He attempts to lift some of his father’s harsh legislation targeting Jews, but no significant reform takes place.
- 11 Sept. In the Crimean War, British and French forces take Sevastopol, the main Russian port on the Black Sea.
- 11 Nov. Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard dies. His ideas emphasized the relationship of the individual to objective fact rather than importance of the fact itself.
- When lightning strikes a church on the island of Rhodes, off the coast of present-day Turkey, gunpowder stored in the vault explodes and kills approximately four thousand people.
- Civil war breaks out in Zululand over the disputed succession between the sons of Mpande.
- French novelist Gustave Flaubert publishes Madame Bovary.
- English inventor Henry Bessemer invents a process for refining steel.
- Workers discover the fossils of a Neanderthal man near present-day Dusseldorf, Germany.
- 30 Mar. Great Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire, Sardinia, and Russia sign the Treaty of Paris and end the Crimean War.
- 8 Oct. The Second Anglo-Chinese War breaks out after Chinese officials search the vessel Arrow and lower its British flag.
- 19 Oct. Sayyid II of the Al-Busayyid Dynasty, who ruled almost seven miles of coastline in East Africa, dies.
- Gold is discovered near Melbourne, Australia. The population of Victoria province doubles in one year, in large part from British migration.
- French engineer Germain Sommeillier invents the compressed air drill. Great Britain’s Queen Victoria declares Ottawa to be the capital of Canada.
- Russian writer Alexander Herzen smuggles the journal Kolokol into Russia. It urges the freedom of the serfs and makes appeals to Russian revolutionaries.
- The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa holds synod and decides to separate white and non-white worshippers.
- 10 May The Sepoy Mutiny breaks out in India, and evolves into a popular uprising against the British. The British and their allies, the Sikhs of Punjab, put down the revolt by July.
- 1 Aug. Giuseppe Garibaldi establishes an agenda for the unification of Italy.
- 5 Sept. French philosopher Auguste Comte, founder of sociology, dies.
- A gold rush in western Canada, along the Fraser River, draws nearly twenty-five thousand people.
- Scottish botanist Robert Brown, who identified the nucleus as an essential element to a living cell, dies.
- Basuto warriors defeat an invading force of Boers from the Orange Free State.
- The French begin the conquest of the Amnan Empire in present-day Vietnam.
- In India, British forces besiege Jhansi, massacre approximately five thousand inhabitants, and then carry out a reign of terror.
- Thomas Austin introduces rabbits into Australia, and they soon decimate sheep grazing areas.
- Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncherov, a Russian author, publishes Oblomov, a social analysis of the stagnating Russian nobility.
- Oct. Spain declares war on Morocco after a series of frontier incidents. Peace is restored the following April.
- 17 Feb. The French capture the southern city of Saigon, and Vietnam becomes a French colony. The religious persecution of the Amnamese regime put to death nearly 150,000 Christians since 1827.
- 19 Apr. The Italian War breaks out as a result of Austria’s demand that the Piedmont, part of the kingdom of Sardinia, be disarmed.
- 28-29 June The first dog show is held at Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
- 24 Nov. Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. His argument proposes that natural selection within the species is the main engine of evolution. Much of his data comes from his observations in the Galapagos Islands, and his theory challenges traditional Christian beliefs of creation.
- 28 Dec. Thomas Babington Macauley, English poet and historian, dies. His best-known work is the History of England from the Accession of James II.
- British colonists and several Maori tribes fight in the New Zealand Wars.
- 23 Jan. Great Britain and France sign a treaty making it easier to trade between the two countries. This agreement moves Europe toward a policy of free trade and away from the mercantilist tradition.
- 24 Mar. French leader Napoleon III and Camillo Benso, prime minister of Sardinia, sign the Treaty of Turin, which forces Sardinia to relinquish the provinces of Savoy and Nice to France.
- 29 June English physician Thomas Addison dies. He is famous for recognizing Addi-son’s disease, atrophy of the outer layer of the adrenal gland.
- 14 Sept. French tightrope walker Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on stilts on a cable stretched 160 feet above the falls.
- 21 Sept. German philosopher and professional pessimist Arthur Schoepenauer dies. Some of his works include On the Will in Nature and The Basis of Morality.