British gunboats fire on Beirut on September 9, and the city falls as troops led by General James Charles Napier (1782-1853) land on October 11. The Convention of Alexandria is completed by Napier on November 27: Egyptian viceroy Mohammed Ali agrees to relinquish claims to Syria and to return the Ottoman fleet, and is allowed to retain hereditary rule of Egypt.
Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), introduces the ritual of afternoon tea in Britain, although tea has been available in England since the late 1600s.
Chemist Christian F. Schönbein (1799-1868) discovers ozone, although it will not be identified in the atmosphere until the 1850s. In 1845 Schönbein will discover nitrocellulose (sometimes called "nitrocotton" or "guncotton").
Charles Darwin's Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle appears.
Etudes sur les glaciers, by Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), is published.
The oil-immersion microscope is invented by Giovanni Battista Amici (1786-1863), a former professor of mathematics who is now the director of the observatory at the Royal Museum in Florence, and an astronomer to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The objective lens of this microscope is immersed in a drop of oil which sits on top of the object under study; this helps to minimize aberrations caused by the light source.
The saxophone is invented in Belgium, by the 26-year old instrument maker Antoine Joseph Sax (1814-1894). The polka makes its U.S. debut, introduced by the ballerina Fanny Elssler (1810-1884), who had brought the dance to Paris in 1834.
The World's Anti-Slavery Convention is held in London, but excludes women participants (they are only allowed to observe from a balcony, behind a curtain). Boston abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) refuses to attend for that reason.
The penny post is introduced in Britain by Rowland Hill, in January, and the first adhesive postage stamps, called "Penny Blacks", are sold on May 1 ( 64 million of them are printed by the inventor Jacob Perkins). Hill's influential Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicability had appeared in 1837.
Although the population of New York City has more than doubled in 20 years (now more than 310,000), 90% of the U.S. population is living in rural areas.
Durgin Park's restaurant opens in Boston, and Antoine's Restaurant opens in New Orleans.
William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), running as the Whig candidate, defeats Democrat Martin van Buren, and becomes the 9th President of the United States. His campaign slogan, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too" is tremendously successful. When Harrison dies from pneumonia the following year, only a month after his inauguration, his Vice-President John Tyler (1790-1862) becomes President.
Following the report by Lord Durham on Canadian Constitution, Parliament passes the Act of Union, which unites Upper and Lower Canada.
Socialist Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865) publishes Quest ce-que la propriété ("What is Property?"), in Paris.
Sordello, by Robert Browning (1812-1889), is published in London.
The Treaty of Waitangi is signed, and New Zealand is made a British colony.
There are 138 daily newspapers in the U.S., and this number will increase significantly in the next two decades (there will be more than 370 by 1860); still, daily newspapers will remain too expensive for mass consumption for several decades.
The U.S.S. Creole, a ship carrying slaves from Virginia to Louisiana, is seized by the slaves on board and taken to Nassau, where they are free.
The population of Ireland is more than 10 million, an increase of more than 2 million people in about a decade.
The first centralized government bureau of statistics is founded in Belgium by the mathematician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet (1781-1840).
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty, between the U.S. and Canada, is signed by Secretary of State Daniel Webster and Baron Ashburton Alexander Baring. The Treaty fixes the border between the Canada and the State of Maine.
The Berlin zoo opens.
The New York State Fair is held for the first time, in Syracuse, New York. The Fair is the first in the tradition of U.S. state fairs with agricultural and domestic themes.
Jön Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848) converts charcoal into graphite, and thus observes two different forms of the same element, or chemical "allotropy".
Charles Thomas Jackson (1805-1880) discovers the anesthetic properties of ether.
With help from a number of New England intellectuals, George Ripley and his wife Sophia Dana Ripley, found a commune and school called Brook Farm, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Thomas Wilson Dorr (1805-1854), a lawyer in Providence, founds a People's Party to rewrite the Rhode Island charter of 1836. He proposes a new constitution that would extend suffrage and introduce a range of liberal reforms.
As the "Opium War" between Britain and China continues, the British proclaim, and China cedes, sovereignty over Hong Kong.
The first novel in the series called "Leatherstocking Tales", The Deerslayer, by James Fennimore Cooper (1789-1851), is published, and The New York Tribune begins publication. In London, the periodical Punch begins publication, and Charles Dickens' novel The Old Curiosity Shop appears.
"Self-Reliance", by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) [essay II in Essays: First Series] is published, as is Thomas Carlyle's (1795-1881) "Heroes and Hero-Worship".
In London, a photograph appears in a newspaper for the first time.
In Paris, street lights made from arc lamps are demonstrated.
The poet, philologist, and Breslau University professor August Heinrich Hoffman (1798-1874) authors the lyrics to "Deutschland, Deutschland Uber alles."
The population of London is about 2.24 million; Paris 935,000; Berlin 300,000. Less than 13% of the U.S. population of 17 million live in cities with populations greater than 8,000.
The Opium War between China and Britain ends with the Treaty of Nanking.
John Charles Frémont (1813-1850), a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, maps the Oregon Trail.
Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890) publishes Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population of Great Britain. The influential report describes the squalid living conditions in the slums of English milltowns, and demonstrates that the working class suffer disproportionately from disease. The "Chadwick Report" will inspire the Health of Towns Association.
The Massachusetts State Legislature enacts a child labor law that limits the working hours of children under 12 years-old to 10 hours per day.
In Commonwealth v. Hunt, a case involving the Boston Journeyman Bootmakers Society, the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that trade unions are legal. The ruling revises the common law that treated such unions as criminal conspiracies.
Die Thierchemie, by chemist Baron Justus von Liebig (1803-1873), is published, and the science of biochemistry begins.
In May, Edgar Allan Poe's (1809-1849) story "The Masque of the Red Death" appears in Graham's Magazine. The first part of "The Mystery of Marie Roget" appears in Snowdon's Ladies Companion, in November.
Samuel Dana describes the role of phosphates in the action of manure as a fertilizer, and the artificial fertilizer, superphosphate, is introduced by Sir John Bennett Lawes (1814-1900).
Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli (1817-1891) publishes Zur Entwicklungsgeschicte des Pollens. His paper describes cell division in plants with remarkable accuracy, and discusses seed formation in flowering plants.
The term dinosaur is coined by Richard Owen (1804-1892) to describe a class of animals that we now believe were dominant on the Earth for approximately 175 million years.
The change in the observed frequency of waves emitted from a source, moving relative to the observer, is described by Christian Johann Doppler (1803-1853). This phonomenon is now known as the "Doppler Effect" (you can listen to the effect, from a car horn moving about 30 miles/hour, if you can play an .au file).
On the uniform motion of heat in homogeneous solid bodies, by William Thomson (1824-1907), is published. Thomson's concern with the physics of cooling bodies will draw him into debates concerning the age of the Earth. In 1846 he calculates that the Earth can be no more than 100 million years old.
That the nervous system uses electricity in communicating between different parts of the body is demonstrated by Emil Heinrich du Bois-Reymond (1818-1896). He founds the field of electrophysiology.
In Southern Africa, Natal and Gambia become British colonies.
In the Battle of Hyderabad, the British army under the direction of Sir Charles Napier, defeats the armies of India's emirs of Sind.
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) is appointed the Poet Laureate of England. In January, he writes "While Beams of Orient Light Shoot Wide and High".
Euten-Eller ("Either-Or"), by the 30 year-old philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855).
From observing the irregularities in the orbit of Uranus, John Couch Adams (1819-1892) calculates the position of an eighth, as yet unidentified, planet. Two years later, without knowledge of Adams' work, Urbain Leverrier (1811-1877) uses these same irregularities to calculate the position and argue for the existence of the additional planet. The planet is not observed until 1846.
Jerome Increase Case, a 24 year-old farmer from Oswego County, New York, introduces the J. I. Case Threshing Machine. The J. I. Case Company will manufacture farm equipment and will become the the largest thresher producer in the world.
"The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever", by physician and Harvard professor of medicine Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) is published.
Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) presents a report detailing the mistreatment of mental patients to the Massachusetts State Legislature, which decides to enlarge the Worcester Insane Asylum nevertheless.
Yellow fever breaks out in the Mississippi Valley. The fever will kill 13,000.
Samuel Morse received a grant of $30,000 from the U.S. Congress to construct a telegraph line between Washington and Baltimore. Morse's line will be completed and used for the first time in 1844.
In Potsdam, Felix Mendelssohn's (1809-1847) music to Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream is performed for the first time. (You can listen to the "Wedding March" if you can play .au files.) In Dresden, Richard Wagner's opera Der fliegende Holländer is premiered.
In London, The Economist and Sunday News of the World begin publication. The weekly circulation of the latter will exceed 6 million within a year, making it the largest in the world.
The first tunnel under the Thames opens on March 25, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859). The Thames Tunnel connects Rotherhithe and Wapping, London.
Approach to Venice, by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851), appears.
The French war in Morocco ends with the Treaty of Tangiers.
The Dominican Republic is established on the island of Hispaniola, as Santo Domingo gains independence from Haiti.
Democratic party candidate James Polk defeats Whig Henry Clay by fewer than 40,000 votes, and becomes President of the United States. Polk's margin of victory in the electoral college, however, is considerably greater (170-105).
Summer on the Lake, by feminist and transcendentalist Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), is published. Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century will appear in 1845.
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation is published anonymously, and will go through a series of successful editions. The book is read by both popular and scholarly audiences (Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin were influenced by it), and while most scientists criticized the work, it clearly advocated an evolutionary theory concerning the natural world. The author of the book was Robert Chambers (1802-1871), who repeatedly revised the book to address his critics, and continued to publish anonymously.
Karl Marx (1818-1883) meets Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) in Paris.
In England, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) is founded by George Williams (1821-1905).
The Guardia Civil is introduced in Spain.
The second part of the Geology of the Beagle, Charles Darwin's Geological Observations on Volcanic Islands Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, is published. Darwin's book claims to supply evidence for the geological theories of Charles Lyell (1797-1875), from areas that Lyell himself had never seen.
That all the cells in an organism are generated from successive divisions of the egg cell is described by Rudolf Albert von Kölliker (1817-1905). Kölliker shows that the egg is itself a cell.
In Lancashire, the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers is founded as a cooperative society.
Mathematician Hermann Günther Grassmann (1808-1877) publishes his Die lineale Ausdehnunglehre, ein neuer Zweig der Mathematik, which treats vectors in more than three dimensions. Grassmann's work is not well-understood during his lifetime.
In Hartford, Connecticut, dentist Horace Wells (1815-1848) uses nitrous oxide as an anesthetic; he is the first to do so.
A report on the 4-year U.S. Expedition to Antarctica and the Pacific Northwest is published by Charles Wilkes (1798-1877).
The bird known as Pinguinus impennis, or Great Auk, becomes extinct, as the last one is killed near Iceland. The birds has been hunted aggressively for years, its feathers sold primarily in Europe.
In March, Florida becomes part of the U.S., as the 27th state. Texas, which was created as a Republic in 1836, is annexed by an act of Congress, and will become the 28th state; Mexico breaks off relations with the U.S., over the Texas decision, on March 28.
Scientific American is founded by Alfred Beach (1826-1896). The first issue is published on August 28. The publication, in newspaper format, presents science for the general reader.
The bridge spanning the Allegheny River, at Pittsburgh, designed by engineer John Augustus Roebling (1806-1869), opens in May. It is the first wire cable suspension aqueduct bridge in the world. In 1846, Roebling will build a suspension bridge spanning the Monongahela River.
Portland is founded near the junction of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, in the Oregon territory. The area is named after the city of Portland, Maine, which has been established for more than 200 years.
The U.S. weekly, Police Gazette, begins publication.
Excavations at Nimrud and Kiyunik, in Iraq, are begun by archaeologist Austen Henry Layard (1817-1894).
Baylor University is founded in Texas. Queen's College is founded by the British government in Belfast. The Royal College of Chemistry is founded in England.
The U.S. Congress declares that the first Tuesday following the first Monday in the month of November shall be the day of Presidential and Vice Presidential elections.
Leukemia is first described by the pathologist Rudolph Carl Virchow (1821-1902).
Michael Faraday (1791-1867) proposes that light may consist of waves of electromagnetism. He also describes the phenomena of diamagnetism and paramagnetism, which he explains in terms of his concept of a magnetic field.
The Brussels Power Loom is invented by Erastus B. Bigelow (1814-1879). A machine for combing cotton is patented by Joshua Heilman.
Die Lage der arbeitenden Klassen in England ("The Condition of the Working Class in England"), by Friedrich Engels is published. Engels is 25.
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" appears in the New York Evening Mirror. Poe's collection The Raven and Other Poems is published.
A war between the East India Company's (British) forces and the Sikhs begins in India.
On January 13, the U.S. formally declares war on Mexico.
The potato famine continues in Ireland, and by 1851 more than a million people will have starved in Ireland alone , and more than 1.5 million will have emigrated.
On June 28, Britain's Corn Law is repealed by an act of Parliament. The Law had been replaced in 1844 by the Corn Importation Law, but had not been repealed.
The planet Neptune is discovered (i.e. first observed) on September 23, by Johann Gottfried Galle (1812-1910), then the director of the Breslau Observatory. Galle names the new planet after the Roman God of the Sea (Greek: Poseidon).
The Smithsonian Institution is founded with the £100,000 bequest which was given by James Smithson (1765-1829) in 1829.
The heat produced by the sun's light, reflected off the moon, on the Earth at night, is measured by Macedonio Melloni (1798-1854).
Nitroglycerine is discovered by chemist Ascanio Sobrero (1811-1870), although he uses to term "pyroglycerine". Because of the risks involved in its production, it will not be manufactured commercially for more than a decade.
The view advocated by Theodor Schwann (1810-1882), that plant cells are formed as buds on the surface of existing cells, is disputed and shown to be false by Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli (1817-1891).
The lock-stitch sewing machine is patented by Elias Howe (1819-1867).
Le Peuple ("The People"), by historian Jules Michelet (1798-1874), is published. Fyodor Dostoyevsky's (1821-1881) first novella, Poor Folk (Bednyye lyudi), is published to great acclaim in Russia.
A system for figuring out the magnetic force exercised by a current on a single charged particle is proposed by physicist Wilhelm Eduard Weber (1804-1891). As Carl Freidrich Gauss (1777-1855) had described a system of basic units for measuring magnetism a year earlier, Weber formulated such a system for the measurement of electricity. The unit of magnetic flux, the weber, is named after him.
The philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883) and sociologist and businessman Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) publish Manifest des Kommunismus (The Communist Manifesto). The Manifesto predicts the collapse of industrial capitalism, and describes the philosophy of communism.
U.S. forces capture Mexico City in the Battle of Chapultepec, and badly defeat the Mexican forces led by General Santa Anna, in the Battle of Buena Vista.
The State of Michigan is the first to abolish the death penalty in the U.S..
In his Account of a New Anesthetic Agent, obstetrician Sir James Simpson (1811-1870) argues that chloroform, a substance he discovered, is a better anesthetic than nitrous oxide or ether. Simpson has begun to use chloroform as an anesthetic in chidbirth.
Liberia is proclaimed an independent republic. Colonized in 1821 by freedmen, with the backing of the American Colonization Society, the republic's first president is Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1809-1876), a native Virginian.
The concept of an ideal is introduced in the theory of numbers by Ernst Kummer (1810-1893). He will use the concept of ideal complex numbers to show that Fermat's Last Theorem is true for all the regular primes.
The North Star, an abolitionist newspaper, begins publication in Rochester, New York. The paper is founded by escaped slave Frederick Douglass (1817-1895), with money heearned as a result of his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, which had been published in 1845.
The Factory Act is passed in Britain. It forbids women and children between the ages of 13 and 18 to work more than 10 hours per day.
In London, an influenza epidemic breaks out, and will kill roughly 15,000 in the next two years.
On October 1, Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) discovers a comet. Mitchell, who has taught herself mathematics and science while working as a librarian on Nantucket, and she becomes the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 1848.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), and Wuthering Heights, by her sister Emily Brontë (1818-1848), are published.
The brightness of stars is measured with new precision in Results of Observations at the Cape of Good Hope, published by John Herschel (1792-1871). The study completes a survey of the southern sky that had been undertaken by Edmund Halley (1656-1742).
The rotary, or "lightning" printing press is patented by Richard March Hoe (1812-1886). It is used first by the Philadelphia Public Ledger.
Manual of Botany, by naturalist Asa Gray, is published. Gray's book lists all the known plants in the northern part of the United States.
A 15 year-old baker's apprentice, Hanson C. Gregory, "invents" the ring doughnut, in Camden, Maine.
Über die Erhaltung der Kraft ("On the Conservation of Force"), by Hermann Ludwig von Helmholtz (1821-1894), is published. It articulates what later becomes known as the Conservation of Energy.
Using a device he developed to continuously measure blood pressure, Karl Friedrich Wilhelm argues that the circulation of the blood is a purely mechanical process that can be explained by ordinary physics.
The reality of the famine in Ireland is described to U.S. readers, as "The Starvation in Ireland" appears in the New York Evening Post.
A popular revolt, led by students and workers in Paris, leads to the abdication of of King of France, Louis-Phillipe. A new republic is proclaimed by the revolutionists. On December 10, Prince Louis-Napoléon (1808-1873) is elected president, supported by the Party of Order.
Rebellions and revolts of various sorts take place throughout Europe (e.g. Milan, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Hungary and Bohemia). Most of the major revolts will be put down, often brutally, by 1849.
Gold is discovered in California in January, at Sutter's Mill on the American River. By the end of the year thousands will have come to look for gold.
The eighth moon of Saturn, called Hyperion, is discovered independently by George and William Bond, in the U.S., and William Lasswell (1799-1880), in England, as they observe the ring plane crossing that continues into 1849.
The Treaty of Guadalupe, is signed, ending a two-year war between the U.S. and Mexico. The Treaty gives the U.S. Arizona, California, part of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah in exchange for $15 million.
The first convention for Women's Rights is held in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19 and 20. The convention was organized by feminists Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902). The State of New York this year approves legislation that allows married women to own real estate.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is founded. Joseph Henry (1797-1898), who had been appointed the first secretary of the Smithsonian in 1846, is the first secretary of the AAAS, which is modeled after The British Association for the Advancement of Science. The British Association has been in existence for 17 years.
The American Medical Association is founded in Philadelphia, with a mission "to promote the science and art of medicine and the betterment of public health."
On the archetype and homologies of the vertebrate skeleton, by Richard Owen (1804-1892), is published. In the book Owen argues that the skull, and other parts of the body, are formed by the modification of the vertebra of different animals.
An absolute scale of temperatures is proposed by William Thomson (1824-1907). Thomson will become Baron Kelvin of Largs, in 1892, and the scale will come to bear his name.
The field of stereochemisty begins, as Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) separates two forms of tartaric acid.
The Oneida Community is founded, in upstate New York.
The terms thrombosis and embolus are coined by Rudolph Carl Virchow (1821-1902). The former names the formation of blood clots, while the latter is the name for a blood clot that may move and subsequently block blood vessels.
Principles of Political Economy, by John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), is published. Mill is employed by the East India Company.
Karl Marx writes Wage, Labor and Capital. Marx has founded a new newspaper in Cologne, Neue Rheinische Zeitung.
The names given to the great variety of apples grown in the U.S. begin to be standardized by the American Pomological Society. In Dorchester, Massachusetts, Enoch Bartlett begins to market a variety of pear known in Europe as the bon chrétien.
Botanist F. C. Gärtner (1772-1850) publishes Versuche und Beobachtungen über die Bastarderzeugung im Pflanzenreiche. The book describes thousands of experiments, many involving the production of hybrids, on more than 500 species of plants. Mendel will study this book in detail when he attends the University of Vienna in the early 1850s, and will cite the book in the opening of his paper of 1865.
In the U.S., the first female M.D. is graduated from Geneva Medical College in Syracuse, New York. Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) will go on to found the New York Infirmary, in 1853, and, after moving to England in 1869, she will found the London School of Medicine for Women.
As news of the gold in California has now spread throughout the U.S., tens of thousands rush to the state from around the country. These prospective prospectors are known as "Forty-Niners". The gold rush also produces: a surge in sales of the McCormick reaper, by farmers whose workers have gone West; the invention of the "meat biscuit", by Gail Borden (1801-1874), who offers it as a portable food source to friends setting out for California; and the immigration of Domingo Ghirardelli to San Francisco, where he sells tents to those headed for the gold fields.
A treaty between Britain and the Maharajah of Lahore authorizes British annexation of Punjab, as British troops continue to defeat the Sikhs.
Handbuch des Erdmagnetismus ("Handbook of Terrestial Magnetism"), by Johann von Lamont (1805-1879), is published.
Hariet Tubman (1820-1913) flees a plantation in Maryland, where she is a slave, and begins working in the network known as the UndergroundRailroad, in order to free, or aid escaped slaves in the U.S.
The U.S. Department of the Interior, is established by act of Congress on March 5. It will subsume both the U.S. Patent Office, formerly a part of the State Department, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In describing SadieCarnot's theory of heat, published in 1824, WilliamThomson (1824-1907) uses the term "thermodynamics."
The speed of light is measured by physicist Armand Fizeau (1819-1896) to be approximately 186,000 miles per second.
The Free Academy opens in New York City. The institution, which will not charge tuition, will become the College of the City of New York (CCNY) in 1866.
Henry David Thoreau's A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and "Resistance to Civil Government" (often referred to as "Civil Disobediance") are published.
A unmanned Montgolfier balloon is used to drops bombs on Venice. This is the first time a bombing has been conducted from the air. Venice submits to Austria, after having declared its independence in 1848.
Inventor Joseph Monier (1823-1906) patents a method to reinforce concrete using iron bars.
A four-valve steam engine is patented by George Henry Corliss (1817-1888).
The bacillus responsible for the disease anthrax (a word which derives from the Greek word for coal) is discovered by Aloys-Antoine Pollender.