|Pirates and Privateers
The History of Maritime
Cindy Vallar, Editor
P.O. Box 425,
Keller, TX 76244-0425
Time Line of History
Piracy & Privateering, Maritime, Scottish, & Events
(updated 19 July 2023)
This time line is a work in
progress. It incorporates events important
to pirate history, as well as important
historical happenings at sea, in Scotland,
and around the world. Although pirates gave
allegiance to no nation, they didn't work in
a void. What happened on land could and did
impact what happened at sea. Dates are
divided into centuries first, then by year,
and if the exact date is known, by month and
day within that year.
Special thanks to Luis for his
assistance in researching some of these dates.
Special thanks to those who have
caught my errors and let me know.
Like a Pirate Day, September 19
National Maritime Day,
the 1st Century
4th & 5th Centuries
6th & 7th Centuries
Zheng Yi marries a
prostitute, who becomes known as Zheng
Yi Sao (Cheng I Sao). He also inherits
his father's pirate fleet and
blockades the Portuguese port of
between the United States and France
Thomas Jefferson sends the US Navy
to blockade Tripoli.
1: The United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland becomes the
official name of Britain per the
Acts of Union passed by Parliament
the previous summer.
26: Yusuf Karamanli, pasha of Tripoli,
declares war on the United States,
which becomes known as the First
Barbary War (Tripolitan War). It is
also the first war that the United
States fights on foreign territory and
April 2: The Royal
Navy, under the command of Admiral
Horatio Nelson, defeats the Danish
fleet after Nelson "turns a blind
eye" to Admiral Sir Hyde Parker's
signal command to cease fighting.
The engagement is known as the
Battle of Copenhagen.
10: Tripoli declares war on the
United States, after the infant
country refuses to pay tribute.
7: Toussaint L'Ouverture declares
January 29: John Beckley
of Virginia becomes the first
Librarian of Congress.
February 2: The first leopard is
placed on exhibit in the United
States. Bostonians can view the cat
for twenty-five cents.
8: Samuel Willard receives a patent
for the banjo clock.
March 16: The first United
States Military Academy is established
at West Point in an act of Congress.
25: The Treaty of Amiens (Peace of
Amiens) temporarily ends hostilities
between Britain and France.
3: Washington City is incorporated.
It is the capital of the United
States, and will eventually be known
as Washington, DC.
15: The French ship Héros departs
Haiti carrying a prisoner, Toussaint
4: The United States Military
Academy opens in West Point, New
August 21: The West India
shipping to and from the
Caribbean, opens in London.
25: Touissant L'Ouverture is
imprisoned in France.
2: The British Royal Navy fires fire
bombs and phosphorus rockets on
Copenhagen to prevent Denmark from
surrendering its fleet of ships to
April 30: Robert Livingston and
James Monroe sign the treaty
to purchase the Louisiana Territory
from France for $15,000,000. The
United States nearly doubles in size.
22: First public library in the United
States opens in Connecticut.
9: The first horses arrive in Hawaii.
20: The US Senate ratifies the
31: USS Philadelphia runs
aground in Tripoli harbor and her
commander, William Bainbridge,
surrenders the ship. The 365 men
aboard become prisoners, and the
Tripolitans refloat the frigate for
their own use.
20: United States assumes control of
New Orleans, Louisiana. William C. C.
Claiborne becomes governor of the
1: Haiti becomes the first nation
ever founded by former slaves and
prohibits slavery when it declares
its independence from France.
16: Lieutenant Stephen Decatur and a
handful of volunteers sail into
Tripoli harbor and blow up the
captured USS Philadelphia.
4: Irish convicts stage what becomes
known as the Castle Hill Uprising,
Australia's first rebellion.
April : Zheng Yi (Cheng
I) blockades the port of Macao for two
May 14: Meriwether Lewis and
William Clark head west from Saint
Louis, Missouri to map the new
Louisiana Territory at the behest of
11: Vice President Aaron Burr and
former Secretary of the Treasury
Alexander Hamilton fight a duel.
Burr's shot wounds Hamilton, who dies
the next day.
2: Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself
Emperor of France.
Zheng Yi (Cheng I) and
seven other leading pirates sign a
confederation pact to impose law and
order over unruly Chinese pirates. He
divides this force into six fleets,
each known by the color of the flag it
30: London Dock opens to shipping. It
covers 100 acres and can accommodate
27: US Marines attack Tripoli.
Captain William Bainbridge and 292
officers and men of the USS Philadelphia
are released from imprisonment
June 5: "Tornado
Alley" has its first recorded
tornado. It occurs in southern
10: Yussif Karamanli signs a treaty
with the United States, bringing an
end to the First Barbary War.
21: Naval fleets of France and Spain
(a total of 33 ships), under the
command of Admiral
de Villeneuve, battle the British
fleet of 27 ships at the Battle of
Trafalgar. 19 Franco-Spanish ships
are lost or captured. Admiral Lord
Horatio Nelson dies aboard HMS Victory.
He is buried at St. Paul's Cathedral
in London the following January.
19: Guided by Sacagewea, explorers
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
reach the Pacific Oceans.
Cai Qian’s pirates are
defeated by Qing army and local
militia in China, but he escapes.
Zheng Yi attacks
Fulton pens a manuscript entitled Submarine
Navigation and Attack.
British Admiralty rescinds its orders
that sentences of a dozen or more
lashes with the cat-o'-nine-tails must
be preceded by a court-martial.
and Instructions relating to His
Majesty's Service at Sea are
issued. These supercede those
published in 1731. They require any
chaplain who is appointed to serve on
a ship must be of high moral
9: State funeral of Admiral Viscount
Horatio Nelson. His body is interred
in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.
1,000 years, the Holy Roman Empire
is officially ended.
7: Robert Wedgwood patents carbon
paper in London.
November 21: Napoleon issues the
Berlin Decree, which states that he
intends to blockade Great Britain and
forbids the importation of British
goods into Europe, but he lacks the
means to enforce it before the Fall of
Zheng Yi dies during
storm at sea. His widow, Zheng Yi Sao,
and Zhang Bao assume command of
Chinese pirate confederation.
The Chinese pirate
confederation’s Red Flag Fleet numbers
300 junks and 20,000 to 40,000 men.
19: Vice President Aaron Burr is
arrested in Alabama on charges of
treason. He is later acquitted.
March 2: The US
Congress bans the
importation of slaves.
25: Britain abolishes the slave
trade with its colonies.
22: In Philadelphia, Townsend
Speakman sells the first
fruit-flavored carbonated drinks.
21: HMS Leopard hails the
USS Chesapeake and demands
that Captain James Barron permit the
Royal Navy to board and search for
deserters. After Barron refuses,
Captain Salusbury Pryce Humphreys
orders the firing of three
broadsides on the Chesapeake,
killing three and wounding 18.
Barron surrenders, and the British
seize four sailors aboard the
American frigate. One of those taken
is deserter Jenkin Ratford, who is
hanged from the yardarm of a ship in
Halifax. The other three are
Americans, who are imprisoned; one
of them dies. Five years pass before
the other two return to the Chesapeake.
August 17: Clermont,
Robert Fulton's steamboat, takes her
first trip on the Hudson River.
1: Alexander Burr is acquitted of
charges of plotting to set up an
November 11: The British Orders
in Council require all neutral
shipping to pass through British
ports, where the vessels must obtain a
license and pay duty on the cargo
before preceding to any European port
controlled by Napoleon. Any neutral
vessel failing to adhere to this edict
is subject to seizure.
27: With Napoleon's army invading
Portugal, the Portuguese royal family
and court (nearly 15,000 people)
depart Lisbon for Brazil.
22: Congress passes the Embargo Act,
which prohibits all exports to foreign
ports. Foreign ships may still put in
at American ports, but when they set
sail, their cargo holds must be empty.
France invades Spain.
11: Anthracite coal is experimentally
burned as fuel for the first time. The
test occurs in Wilkes-Barre,
March 23: Joseph
Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, ascends
the Spanish throne.
The Chinese pirate
British forces (based in
India) destroy the pirate stronghold
at Ras al-Khaimah.
1: Congress repeals the Embargo Act
of 1807. The Non-Intercourse Act,
prohibiting American ships from
trading with Britain and France, is
Bai Ling institutes the ancient
strategy known as “extermination and
appeasement” (military campaigns plus
amnesty and rewards) to pirates who
surrender in China.
10: An American steamboat leaves New
York for Philadelphia, making this
the first ocean voyage of a
steamboat for the United States.
September 13: Ned Jordan and
others take control of the Three
Sisters and become pirates.
Zheng Yi Sao
(Cheng I Sao) captures seven
British seamen, including
Richard Glasspole, who later
writes of his experiences
during his captivity.
Cai Qian dies during a battle with the
Chinese imperial navy.
November 24: Ned Jordan
30: Boston, Massachusetts forbids the
wearing of masks at balls.
Jean Laffite becomes
leader of the Baratarians.
February: The Chinese
government offers pirates amnesty.
April: Zheng Yi Sao and
Zhang Bao, with over 17,000 pirates,
16: Father Miguel Hidalgo Y Costilla
sparks a revolt in Mexico when he
calls for the end of Spanish rule,
equality for all, and redistribution
of the land.
1: The first Oktoberfest is
celebrated in Munich, Germany as a
horse race in honor of the crown
22: HM Frigate Minotaur sinks.
All 480 aboard die.
January 10: Slaves rebel
5: After King George III is deemed
insane, his son George is appointed
Prince-Regent. He will become George
IV upon his father's death in 1820.
1: King Muhammed Ali Pasha of Egypt
presides over the ceremonial murder of
11: British Prime Minister Spencer
Percival is assassinated by John
Bellingham in the lobby of the House
5: Venezuela becomes the first
republic in Spanish America.
7: Battle of
Tippecanoe, which will push Tecumseh
and his followers to ally with the
British in the upcoming War of 1812.
William Henry Harrison destroys
11: Cartagena declares its
independence from Spain.
16: An earthquake hits New Madrid,
Missouri, causing widespread damage.
Order in Council brings sweeping
changes to naval chaplains' status
and financial arrangements in the
Royal Navy. This edict becomes known
as the "Chaplain's Charter."
7: A third earthquake along the New
Madrid Fault becomes one of the
largest earthquakes in American
26: An earthquake destroys 90% of
Caracas, Venezuela. Between 15,000
and 20,000 people die.
Congress reopens trade with Great
Britain and France.
11: Prime Minister Perceval of Great
Britain is assassinated.
June: 18:The United States
declares war on Great Britain. It is
the closest vote on a formal
declaration of war in American
history. Members in the House of
Representatives vote 79 to 49 for war,
while the Senate votes 19 to 13.
22: Rioting begins in Baltimore,
Maryland and will continue through 4 August.
23: USS President engages
HMS Belvidera in the
opening naval battle of the War of
24: When the French army crosses the
Neman Rivar, Napoleon invades Russia.
The Grande Armée numbers
600,000 men, but battle casualties,
disease, and desertion will reduce
that number to at most 100,000
soldiers when they enter Moscow three
months later on 14 September. They
find the capital abandoned and burned.
Unable to find sufficient shelter and
food for the winter, the army retreats
on 19 October. When it reaches Poland
on 14 December, only about 10,000
July 17: The British capture
Fort Michilimackinac on Lake Huron
from the Americans.
22: During the Peninsular War, the
duke of Wellington defeats "40,000
Frenchmen in 40 minutes" at the
Battle of Salamanca in Spain.
13: Under the command of Captain
David Porter, USS Essex captures
HMS Alert, the first ship
captured by the Americans during the
War of 1812.
15: Potawatomi lays siege to Fort
Dearborn. Captain William Hull
evacuates, but most of the Americans
are killed or captured within a few
hours. Three days later Hull
surrenders Fort Detroit to
Major-General Isaac Brock. Having
surrendered without a fight, Hull is
brought before a court-martial and
sentenced to death. He receives a
presidential pardon instead.
19: In an engagement off the coast
of Nova Scotia, USS Constitution
defeats HMS Guerrière and
earns the nickname "Old Ironsides"
when British shot bounces off the
American ship's hull.
September 14: Great Fire of
Moscow. Russians burn their city as
they retreat from the approach of
Napoleon and French forces. The city
burns for five days. 75% of the city
is destroyed and 12,000 die.
15: The French army arrives at the
Kremlin in Moscow.
October 13: Britain declares war
on the United States. The first major
battle of the War of 1812, the Battle
of Queenston Heights, is fought near
Queenston, Ontario. The invading
Americans eventually surrender to the
British. During the battle,
Major-General Isaac Brock, lieutenant
governor of Upper Canada, is killed
while leading a charge. American
Lieutenant Colonel Winfield Scott is
October 19: Napoleon retreats from
Russia. At the time, the French
army is starving. The retreat is
disastrous, suffering harassment
from the Russians. After forcing
his way across the Studienka,
Napoleon burns the makeshift
bridges, an act that strands
around 10,000 stragglers on the
wrong side of the river. When the
army finally escapes Russia on 14
December, it has lost more than
400,000 men during the invasion.
October 19: The
French Army begins its withdrawal
from Russia. The disastrous retreat
will last until December 14.
October 22: Joshua
Barney, aboard the privateer schooner
Rossie, returns to Baltimore
after capturing 18 British vessels
valued at $1.5 million since his
departure from the port in July.
December 14: Napoleon's invasion
of Russia ends. As many as 530,000
French soldiers die during the
totality of this invasion.
20: Publication of Jacob and Wilhelm
Grimm's Grimms' Fairy
26: The Lordships of the British
Admiralty call for "a complete and
vigorous Blockade" of the United
29: After a three-hour battle, USS Constitution
captures HMS Java off
Brazil. The American commander is
Captain William Bainbridge.
John Barss, Jr.,
commander of the privateer Liverpool
Packet, is captured.
Pineapple is introduced to Hawaii.
6: Great Britain proclaims a blockade
of Delaware and Chesapeake Bays.
March 3: Congress passes the
Foreign Seamen's Act, which stipulates
that once the war ends, all foreigners
will no longer be permitted to serve
aboard any American ship. Congress
also authorizes any citizen to attack
an armed British vessel without a
privateering commission; if a person
sinks a British vessel, that person
will be paid 1/2 of the ship's value.
15: USS Essex arrives at
Valparaiso, Chile and becomes the
first American warship to enter the
27: American army and naval forces
capture York, the provincial capital
May 3: British Admiral
Cockburn continues pillaging the
Chesapeake and attacks Havre de Grace,
26: Great Britain extends its blockade
of the American coast to major ports
in the middle and southern states.
29: The British attack the American
naval base at Sackets Harbor, New
York, but are turned back.
HMS Shannon defeats USS Chesapeake.
Captain James Lawrence is fatally
wounded. His dying command is "Don't
give up the ship!"
21: Soldiers of the British,
Portuguese, and Spanish armies rout
the French at Vitoria, Spain, bringing
an end to the Peninsular War, which
began as a result of Napoleon's
invasion of Portugal in 1808. The
allies are led by General Arthur
Wellesley, who will later become the
Duke of Wellington.
August 10: British forces
attack St. Michaels, Maryland.
27: The Battle of Dresden results in
Napoleon's defeat of the Austrians.
30: Red Eagle (William Weatherford)
leads the Red Sticks in an attack on
Fort Mims on the Alabama River. 400 of
the 500 people in the fort are
The Troy Post of New York
uses "Uncle Sam" to refer to the
United States for the first time.
10: Master Commandant Oliver Hazard
Perry commands the American squadron
on Lake Erie and captures an entire
British squadron at Put-in-Bay,
October 5: Tecumseh, a Shawnee
chief, dies at the Battle of the
Thames during the War of 1812. The
British army and some 1,000 Indian
allies are defeated by the the United
16-18: At the Battle of Leipzig
120,000 men are killed or wounded,
nearly half of which are French.
Napoleon retreats, but refuses to
23: The first plastic surgery is
performed in England.
Major General Andrew Jackson attacks
the Creeks at Talladega, Alabama.
Jackson won't defeat the Creeks
until his forces rout them at
Horseshoe Bend, Alabama on 27-28
November 24: Governor
William Claiborne of Louisiana issues
a proclamation offering a $500 reward
for the capture of Jean Laffite.
Laffite counters with a $1,000 bounty
for the governor's deliverance to
Laffite at Barataria.
29: British troops set fire to
Buffalo, New York during the War of
30: A British packet arrives in
Annapolis, Maryland with a request to
begin peace negotiations.
February 1: Lord Byron’s poem,
"The Corsair," is published. 10,000
copies are sold on day one.
11: Norway becomes independent.
March 9: The Allies pass the
Treaty of Chaumont, which pledges to
return France to her prerevolutionary
27: Andrew Jackson attacks and
defeats the Red Sticks at Horseshoe
28: Captain James Hillyar of HMS Phoebe
leads the attack against the USS
Essex under the command of
Captain David Porter.
30: Paris, France surrenders to the
April 11: Napoleon Bonaparte
April 25: Great
Britain extends its blockade of the
American coast to include New
28: Napoleon is exiled to Elba. This
frees British regulars and their
officers to deploy to the United
States and Canada.
30: European allies and France sign
the 1st Treaty of Paris, suspending
the Napoleonic Wars.
25: The Battle of Lundy's Lane thwarts
the American's attempt to invade
Canada during the War of 1812.
August 8: Peace negotiations
between the United States and Great
Britain begin in Ghent.
9: Andrew Jackson forces the Creeks to
sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which
cedes 22,000,000 acres to the United
19: The British land at Benedict,
Maryland under the command of
Major-General Robert Ross.
24: After routing the American army
at the Battle of Bladensburg, the
British army marches into Washington
City. They torch the
President's Mansion (White House),
the Capitol, the Library of
Congress, and other buildings. A
hurricane or tornado also strikes
the city, causing additional damage,
but the rain douses the flames. The
British evacuate the next day after
burning more public buildings.
August 27: Thomas Boyle,
captain of US privateer Chasseur,
proclaims a blockade of Great
Britain and Ireland.
September 3: HMS Sophie arrives
at Barataria with a solicitation for
Jean Laffite's help during the taking
of New Orleans.
12: An American sniper kills
Major-General Robert Ross at North
Point, Maryland during an assault on
13: British bombardment of Fort
McHenry, Maryland. It lasts until
7:00 the next morning. Held aboard
one of the British ships, Francis
Scott Key pens "The Star-Spangled
Banner," which will become America's
15: The British fleet arrives at the
entrance to Mobile Bay.
September 16: An American
force, under command of Commodore
Daniel Patterson, raids Barataria. It
ceases to be a base for Jean Laffite's
September 26: A British
squadron attacks and sinks the
American privateer General
Armstrong, under the command of
Captain Samuel Chester Reid, in a
neutral port in the Azores.
October: Privateer Chasseur
of Baltimore returns to New York
after capturing 18 ships during her
1: News of the burning of Washington
City reaches the peace negotiators
Fulton's Demolgos, the world's first
warship powered by steam, is
launched at New York City.
Andrew Jackson attacks and occupies
Pensacola, Florida, which belongs to
26: The British fleet departs
Negril, Jamaica, for a planned
attack on New Orleans, Louisiana.
Andrew Jackson arrives in New
11-12: Admiral Cochrane's fleet of
55 ships arrives off the entrance of
16: Andrew Jackson declares martial
law in New Orleans.
23: The first battle between the
British and American armies begins
with a night engagement on the Villeré
plantation outside of New Orleans.
24: The Treaty of Ghent is signed in
Belgium, but the War of 1812 won't
officially end until both sides
ratify the treaty.
December 24: General Edward Pakenham
arrives to take command of the
British army at New Orleans.
27: US Schooner Carolina blows
up after being hit by a British
bombardment during one of the
engagements collectively known
as the Battle of New Orleans
during the War of 1812.
Great Britain ratifies the Treaty of
Artillery duel between the British
and American armies outside New
January 8: Jean Laffite
and the Baratarians help the Americans
defeat the British at the Battle of
New Orleans. Neither side is aware
that the war is over. Major-General
Sir Edward Pakenham, the Duke of
Wellington's brother-in-law, is killed
during the battle.
30: Thomas Jefferson sells his
library of 6,500 volumes to
reestablish the US Library of
Congress after it was burned by the
British the previous August.
February 6: President James
Madison grants full pardons to Jean
Laffite and his men for their
assistance in Battle of New Orleans.
11: HMS Favorite arrives in
New York City with the peace treaty.
17: The United States Senate
ratifies the Treaty of Ghent and
President James Madison signs it,
officially ending the War of 1812.
February 23: President
Madison asks Congress to declare war
on Algiers because
of the Barbary Corsairs attacks on
26: Napoleon escapes from Elba.
March 3: President Madison
signs the declaration of war on
13: Official news of the end of the
War of 1812 reaches New Orleans.
20: Napoleon returns to Paris and
begins his 100-day rule.
April 6: American prisoners of
war at Dartmoor prison complain about
poor conditions there. The British
commandant orders his troops to fire
on them, killing seven and wounding 54
10: Mount Tambora in the Dutch East
Indies erupts. It is one of the
strongest volcanic eruptions in
history. Approximately 71,000 people
are killed and the eruption causes a
global volcanic winter.
Thirty-nine German states unite
under an Act of Confederation.
June 17: USS Constellation
engages in battle with and defeats
a corsair frigate, whose legendary
captain, Haimdou Rais, dies in the
engagement. This is the beginning of
the Second Barbary War.
18: The Duke of Wellington defeats
Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in
Belgium. 25,000 French die or are
wounded in the battle. Another 9,000
are captured. About 23,000 of the
Allies' forces are lost.
22: Napoleon abdicates for the
28: A fleet of American naval vessels
arrive in the Bay of Algiers.
Commodore Stephen Decatur threatens to
destroy the port unless Algiers agrees
to peace and to cease attacking
American ships. The Algerines
capitulate two days later.
30: The last naval confrontation in
the War of 1812 is fought between the
Peacock and HMS Nautilus in
the Indian Ocean. The Americans win.
15: Napoleon surrenders to Captain
Frederick Maitland of HMS Bellerophon
at Rochefort, France.
August 6: Commodore
flotilla of US navy ships forces an
end to Barbary piracy by Tunis and
15: Napoleon arrives on St. Helena,
where he will live in exile.
June 6: Ten inches of
snow fall in New England. The
phenomenon is part of what becomes
known as the "year without a summer"
after the volcanic eruption of Mount
Tambora in Indonesia.
The United Provinces of the Rió de
la Plata declare their independence
2: The French frigate La Méduse
runs aground off Cap Blanc on the west
coast of Africa through her captain's
de Chaumereys) incompetence. Of
the 419 passengers and crew aboard,
250 evacuate the ship using the six
lifeboats. Seventeen who remain on
the ship, but only three survive and
are rescued two months later. 152
crew, soldiers, and 1 woman build
and launch a raft that is poorly
provisioned. Thirteen days later,
only 15 survivors remain to be
rescued. The rest die from
starvation, rioting, madness,
suicide, or cannibalism.
August 27: Lord Exmouth
bombards Algiers, a refuge for Barbary
Jean Laffite returns to
piracy and moves his base of
operations to Galveston.
7: Baltimore becomes the first
American city to illuminate streets
with gas lamps. These are installed at
Market and Lemon Streets (Baltimore
8: Creation of the New York Stock
25: The first sword swallower performs
in the United States in New York City.
Hippolyte de Bouchard
attacks California's coast.
1: The White House officially reopens
following its destruction by the
British in 1814.
January 1: A small publisher in London
publishes Frankenstein: or, The
Modern Prometheus. The author is
listed as Anonymous, although her
actual name is Mary Shelley.
12: Chile gains its independence from
The British establish a
settlement at Singapore.
Bolívar meets with others to forge a
new nation called Gran Colombia, which
is comprised of Colombia, Venezuela,
Ecuador, Panama, and Peru.
2: The first law dealing with
immigration is passed in the United
16: The Peterloo Massacre in
Manchester, England occurs when
cavalry charges the demonstrators.
Fifteen die and between 400 and 700
people are injured.
17: The first whaling ship reaches
The United States and
Royal Navies begin to eradicate
piracy in the Caribbean.
attacks of piracy in the
Florida Straits are reported.
February 27: The USS
Enterprise arrives in
Galveston and orders Jean Laffite to
leave. He does so by 7 May.
22: US Navy Commodore James Barron
fatally wounds Commodore Stephen
Decatur during a duel.
8: Discovery of the ancient Greek
statue Venus de Milo on the island
11: HMS Beagle is launched.
20: Whale ship Essex is
rammed by an eight-ton sperm whale and
later sinks. At the time, the ship is
2,000 miles west of South America.
This incident will inspire a famous
scene in Herman Melville's Moby
Dick, which is published 31
gains independence from Spain.
February 21: Nathaniel
Gordon, master of the slave ship Erie,
is hanged after being found guilty
under the Piracy Law of 1820.
28: Peru declares its independence
The first issue of the Saturday
Evening Post is published.
August 4: Fabian
Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, leader
of a Russian expedition to
Antarctica, returns to Kronstadt
after becoming the first person to
24: Mexico gains its independence
October: USS Enterprise captures
4 pirate ships off Cuba.
9: The first pharmacy college in the
United States holds its first
classes in Philadelphia.
November 9: Pierre
Laffite dies from fever and
First recorded account of
pirates forcing captives to walk the
plank: The crew of the Emanuel make
William Smith, master of the Blessing
walk the plank.
United States recognizes Gran Colombia
and Mexico as independent countries.
declares its independence from
February 13: Jean Laffite
escapes from infirmary while a
prisoner in Porto Principe.
9: Charles Graham of New York is
granted a patent for false teeth
made from porcelain.
November: During a battle
with the Cuban pirate named Domingo,
the captain of the USS Alligator is
killed. The public is outraged and
President Monroe orders the formation
“Mosquito Fleet” with Commodore David
Porter, which is tasked with cruising
Caribbean waters and the Gulf of
Mexico in search of pirates.
The Mosquito Fleet begins
patrolling the Caribbean with the
intent to eradicate the pirates. The
ships are based in Key West.
February: Ten pirates,
captured by HMS Tyne, are
hanged at Kingston’s Port at Royal
April: Commodore David Porter
defeats Cuban pirate Diabolito.
April 20: Gaceta de
Colombia publishes an account of
Jean Laffite's death on 5 February
during a sea battle in the Gulf of
President James Monroe announces the
Monroe Doctrine. It essentially says
that the Western Hemisphere remains
off limits to European efforts to
recolonize territories and that the
United States will see any such
attempt as a national threat. It is a
bold foreign policy, even through the
United States lacks the power to
enforce it at this time.
23: Troy Sentinel publishes
Clement Moore's "A Visit from St.
The United States
recognizes the United Provinces and
Brazil as independent countries.
4: J. W. Goodrich introduces rubber
15: Freed American slaves establish
January 18: Ezra Daggett
and Thomas Kensett receive a patent
for a process that allows food to be
stored in tin cans.
February 5: The first detachable
shirt collar is invented by Hannah
Lord Montague of New York.
12: The Creeks sign a treaty with
the US government that requires the
tribe to turn over all their land in
Georgia to the government prior to
migrating west by 1 September of the
March 2: USS Grampus battles
El Mosquito, the schooner of
pirate Roberto Cofresi. The pirate
vessel is disabled, but Cofresi and
his men escape ashore where they are
eventually captured by local
March 29: A firing squad
executes Roberto Cofresi and his men.
26: Official opening of the Erie Canal
after eight years of construction. It
connects the Great Lakes and New York
July 4: Thomas Jefferson
dies around noon on the 50th
anniversary of the Declaration of
Independence. His friend, John Adams,
dies several hours later believing
that Jefferson is still alive.
7: Granite Railway, the first
chartered railroad in the United
States, begins operating.
27: John Walker of England invents the
Benito de Soto leads a
mutiny aboard an Argentinean slaver
and goes on the account.
27: New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras
for the first time. Participants
(students) wear masks and costumes.
The U.S. erects a
lighthouse on Smith Island at Cape
Charles, the entrance to Chesapeake
18: A storm strikes Gibraltar and
destroys more than 100 vessels.
February 19: Benito de
Soto attacks the Morning Star.
Several crew members are killed, women
passengers are raped, and the
survivors are locked in the ship’s
hold before the pirates set fire to
the ship. The crew escapes and the
survivors are rescued by a British
merchantman. Benito de Soto will later
be captured and hanged as a pirate.
April 14: Noah Webster
publishes An American Dictionary
of the English Language.
27: The London Zoo opens in Regent's
13: Simon Bolivar is proclaimed
Lloyds of London removes
the special tariff for ships sailing
to and from the Caribbean, signalling
that piracy is virtually eradicated in
March 16: Ohio authorizes the
first night classes for those wanting
to graduate from high school.
17: Joseph Grimaldi, a famous clown,
delivers his final performance.
James Smithson, an English
scientist dies. In his will, he
leaves his estate to his nephew,
but should his nephew die without
issue, the the entirety of the
estate goes to the United States
with the express purpose of
establishing the Smithsonian
Institute in Washington, DC, to
increase and disseminate
knowledge. His nephew dies a year
later and six years after that
Congress accepts the gift. The
Smithsonian Institute is
established on 10 August 1846.September 25: An assassin fails to
kill Simon Bolívar.
29: London's Metropolitan Police,
better known as Scotland Yard, is
Britain outlaws the custom of
"suttee" (widow burning herself to
death on husband's funeral pyre) in
December 29: With the
exception of Benito de Soto, the
convicted pirates who attacked the Morning
Star are hanged in Cadiz.
January 25: Benito de
Soto, the leader of the pirates who
attacked the Morning Star, is
executed at Gibraltar.
6: Joseph Smith forms the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
3: Regular passenger service on a
steam train begins.
June 13: French forces
lay siege to Algiers. Hassan Bashaw
surrenders on 4 July and is exiled.
Algiers becomes part of France's
colonial empire, thus
ending more than two centuries of
August 2: Charles X of France
abdicates during the July Revolution.
28: Tom Thumb, the first American
locomotive, participates in a race
against a horse-drawn vehicle from
the Stockton & Stokes Stagecoach
Company. The race begins in
Baltimore and ends in Ellicott
Mills, Maryland. The horse wins, but
only because of a mechanical
breakdown of the rail car.
November 24: Charles
Gibbs and others kill the captain and
first mate of the Vineyard and
go on the account.
December 16: George Davis
and William Watts are hanged at
Execution Dock, Wapping. Their
hangings are the last to take place
9: King Louis-Philippe founds the
French Foreign Legion to help
control French colonies in Africa.
April 22: Charles Gibbs
is executed for mutiny, murder, and
piracy on Ellis Island.
27: Jedediah Smith, a trapper and
explorer of the West, is slain by
21: Nat Turner, a former slave, leads
an uprising against slavery. 60 people
die before a 3,000-man militia stops
it. The hysteria that accompanies the
uprising also leads to the death of
many innocent slaves.
11: Nat Turner is hanged in Virginia
for leading an insurrection of
27: HMS Beagle sets sail from
London to survey around South America.
Among the passengers is Charles
September 20: Pedro
Gilbert attacks the American brig Mexican.
The pirates torture the master until
he reveals where he hid $2,000 before
locking the prisoners in the ship and
setting it afire. One seaman escapes
and frees the others.
14: New York City's first horse-drawn
streetcar begins operation, carrying
passengers along 4th Avenue between
Prince and 14th Streets for 12 cents.
28: Irreconcilable differences between
President Andrew Jackson and
Vice-President John C. Calhoun lead
Calhoun to tender his resignation. He
becomes the first vice-president to
June 6: Andrew Jackson
becomes the first president to ride a
railroad train. He boards in Ellicott
Mills, Maryland and travels to
3: Stephen F. Austin is imprisoned
in Mexico City.
November: Pedro Gilbert and
eleven others are tried in Boston on
charges of piracy. Five are acquitted,
while Gilbert and the others are
sentenced to death. Bernardo de Soto,
the mate of the Panda, is
pardoned by President Andrew Jackson
the following year.
25: For 12 cents, customers at
Delmonico's can dine on soup, steak,
coffee, and half a pie. It is one of
the finest restaurants in New York
January 30: The first
attempted assassination of an American
President. Richard Lawrence shoots at
Andrew Jackson, but the gun misfires.
8: Hans Christian Andersen's first
book of fairy tales is published.
2: P. T. Barnum and his circus begin
their first tour in the United
September 11: Francisco Ruiz, one
of the Spanish pirates convicted of
piracy against the Mexican,
becomes the last pirate hanged in the
15: HMS Beagle and Charles
Darwin arrive at the Galapagos
British adopt anti-piracy
suppression measures around Singapore.
Edward Lloyd publishes History
of the Pirates, making mention
for the first time of Charlotte de
February 23: General Santa Anna
of Mexico lays siege to the Alamo in
San Antonio, Texas.
25: Samuel Colt obtains a patent for
the first multi-shot
revolving-cylinder revolver. This
allows a firearm to fire multiple
times without reloading.
March 2: The Republic of Texas
declares its independence from Mexico.
6: After a siege of thirteen days,
between 1,500 and 3,000 Mexican
soldiers breech the Alamo and kill
between 182 and 257 Texans. Among the
dead at the Battle of the Alamo are
William Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy
27: 417 Texas revolutionaries are
executed by the Mexican army at
21: Sam Houston and fellow Texans
defeat Santa Anna at the Battle of San
19: A raiding band of Comanche, Kiowa,
and Caddo men kidnap 9- or 10-year-old
Cynthia Ann Parker from her Texas
home. Five family members die in the
attack. She is raised by the Comanche
and stays with them for 25 years until
Texas Rangers recapture her against
5: Sam Houston is elected first
President of the Republic of Texas.
22: Sam Houston is sworn in as the
first President of the Republic of
28: Spain recognizes Mexico as an
Charles Ellms publishes The
Pirates Own Book.
19: James Morgan is hanged for
murdering Captain Smith of the
schooner William Wirt at
sea. It is the last public execution
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
20: Queen Victoria ascends the British
throne. She is 18 years old and will
rule for 63 years.
28: John Lea and William Perrins, both
15: Isaac Pitman introduces his
6: Samuel Morse demonstrates how his
telegraph machine works.
8: Great Western, the first
transatlantic steamer to make
regular runs between Bristol,
England and New York City, embarks
on her maiden voyage.
28: Victoria is crowned queen of
1: The majority of the British
Empire abolishes apprenticeships and
former slaves are no longer
indentured to their former owners.
3: Disguised as a sailor, Frederick
Douglass escapes from slavery.
16: Three thousand Zulus die at the
Battle of Blood River in South Africa.
2: Louis Daguerre, a French
photographer, takes the first
picture of the moon. Seven days
later he announces his invention of
the daguerreotype, the first
commercially successful form of
2: Slaves aboard Amistad revolt
and gain their freedom. They stand
trial the following year as
mutineers, but are acquitted.
23: British capture Hong Kong
5: The First Opium War begins in
China. It lasts for three years.
15: Queen Victoria proposes to her
cousin, Prince Albert.
25: A cyclone hits southeastern India.
The high winds and a storm surge of
forty feet destroy Corina and 20,000
ships. Around 300,000 people die.
Great Britain issues the first
adhesive postage stamp. It becomes
known as the "Penny Black."
22: The transportation of British
convicts to New South Wales is
20: Samuel Morse receives a patent for
James Brook puts down a
rebellion in Sarawak. The Sultan of
Brunei rewards him with the
governorship of Sarawak, and Brook
styles himself the first "White Raja."
He begins hunting down Sea Dayaks and
Malays, eventually ending piracy in
21: China cedes the island of Hong
Kong to Britain during the First Opium
March 5: The first
continuous filibuster begins in the
United States Senate. It lasts until
9: The United States Supreme Court
rules that the slaves of the Spanish
schooner Amistad are free.
April 4: President William
Henry Harrison succumbs one month
after taking the presidential oath,
becoming the first president to die in
14: Edgar Allan Poe publishes the
first detective story. It is entitled
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue."
5: Thomas Cook opens his first
25: The slave ship Amistad returns
to Africa with 35 survivors of the
The First Opium War ends.
China cedes Hong Kong to the British
in the Treaty of Nanjing.
May 14: The world's first
weekly illustrated newspaper, Illustrated
London News, is published.
30: John Francis tries to assassinate
15: John C. Fremont and Kit Carson set
off to explore what becomes known as
the Oregon Trail.
4: Abraham Lincoln weds Mary Todd.
a smuggling and pirate base at Tien
22: Between 700 and 1,000 people
depart Independence, Missouri for
Oregon on the first wagon train.
26: Hong Kong becomes a British
2: During a thunderstorm in
Charleston, South Carolina, an
alligator falls from the sky. It is
thought that the creature was picked
up by a waterspout and flew ashore
until being released by the maelstrom.
19: Charles Dickens publishes A
Zheng Yi Sao passes away
at the age of 60. After her retirement
from piracy, she ran a gambling house
5: Fire sweeps through Hamburg,
Germany and burns for 100 hours.
June 6: The Young Men's
Christian Association (YMCA) is
founded in London by George Williams.
15: Charles Goodyear receives a patent
for vulcanizing rubber.
27: Founder of the Mormon church,
Joseph Smith is murdered by an armed
mob in Carthage, Illinois.
The last two Great Auks are killed.
July 30: The Saladin
pirates are hanged.
8: The Mormon Church selects Brigham
Young as its head.
Chui App joins Shap-'ng-Tsai's
pirate fleet and soon becomes his
The White Rajah of
Sarawak, James Brooke, attacks the
main enclave of Indonesian pirates.
29: First publication of "The Raven,"
a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.
1: President John Tyler signs the
resolution that annexes the Republic
of Texas to the United States.
3: The Massachusetts bar admits the
first African-American attorney. His
name is Macon B. Allen.
May 3: In Canton, Ohio, a fire breaks
out in a theater, killing 1,600
28: First issue of Scientific
American is published.
10: The United States Naval Academy
is founded at Annapolis, Maryland to
train and educate officers.
13: Texas ratifies a state
29: Texas joins the United States,
becoming the 28th state. Congress's
annexation sparks the Mexican War.
February 21: Sarah G.
Bagley becomes the first American
woman telegrapher. She works in
May 12: The Donner party
departs Independence, Missouri, to
settle in California. They become
trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
during a winter storm.
13: The United States declares war
on Mexico, 2 months after fighting
begins between the 2 countries.
21: The first steamship arrives in
June 15: Canadian and American
representatives sign the Oregon
Treaty, which establishes the
northern 49th parallel from the
Rocky Mountains to the Strait of
Georgia as the boundary between
their two countries. This treaty
makes the land that will become
Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and
Montana part of the United States,
while Great Britain gets Vancouver
Island and the right to navigate
part of the Columbia River. (The
parallel from the Rocky Mountains
east to Lake of the Woods had
already been settled as the border
between the two countries in
June 28: Antoine-Joseph
"Adolfe" Sax patents the saxophone.
August 10: The Smithsonian
Institution is founded in Washington,
14: Refusing to pay taxes, Henry David
Thoreau is imprisoned.
September 10: Elias Howe receives
a patent for the lock stitch sewing
12: Poets Robert Browning and
Elizabeth Barrett elope, even though
her father believes Browning to be a
fortune hunter. They live happily
until her death in 1861 when she dies
in her husband's arms.
30: Ether is used to anesthetize a
patient for the first time when Dr.
William Morton, an American dentist,
extracts a patient's tooth.
October 16: William Thomas Green
Morton demonstrates the use of ether
as a general anesthetic for the first
time before a group of doctors at
Massachusetts General Hospital in
31: Unable to cross the Sierra Nevada
Mountains, the Donner party constructs
at winter camp at what eventually
becomes known as Donner Pass. Their food runs out and
they resort to cannibalism in order to
January 4: The United
States government purchases Samuel
Colt's first revolver pistol.
1: Michigan abolishes the death
penalty, becoming the first
English-speaking jurisdiction to do
so. The only exception is for a charge
of treason against the state.
3: During the Mexican-American War,
the Mexican Army lays siege to Fort
Texas near Brownsville.
June 10: The Chicago
Tribune begins publication.
14: Robert Bunsen invents the Bunsen
July 1: The first US postage
stamps go on sale in New York City: 5¢
Benjamin Franklin stamp and 10¢ George
24: Brigham Young and his followers
arrive at Salt Lake City, Utah.
13: US General Winfield Scott
captures Mexico City during the
10: In a thick fog the Stephen
Whitney wrecks off the Irish
coast. Of the 110 passengers and crew
aboard, 92 die. As a result of this
disaster Fastnet Rock lighthouse is
24: James Wilson Marshall, a
carpenter, finds gold nuggets near
John Sutter's sawmill in California.
The first ship carrying Chinese
immigrants arrives in San Francisco.
February 2: The
Mexican American War ends with the
signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo. The United States acquires
Texas, California, New Mexico, and
Arizona for $15,000,000.
21: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
publish The Communist Manifesto
12: The Second Republic is established
September 13: An iron rod shoots
through Phineas Gage's brain. The
railroad foreman loses much of his
left frontal lobe, but survives with
no lasting physical damage. Some claim
that his personality changes.
14: Alexander Stewart opens the first
department store in the United States.
1: Boston Female Medical College, the
first such school in the United
States, holds classes for the first
5: President James K. Polk addresses
Congress. During this annual message,
he confirms the discovery of gold in
California, which helps spark the 1849
California Gold Rush.
Japanese Lord Asakawa
Kanae, daimyo of Hizen, orders the
compilation of a biography on Koxinga.
23: Elizabeth Blackwell earns her
medical degree and becomes the first
woman to do so.
14: President James K. Polk sits for
his photograph, which is taken by
Matthew Brady. He becomes the first
serving president to have his
28: The first boat carrying
prospectors for the gold rush
arrives in San Francisco from the
March 12: First prospectors
arrive in Nicaragua on their way to
California to seek gold.
29: Niagara Falls ceases to flow for
30 hours because of an ice jam.
10: Walter Hunt patents the safety
pin. He sells the rights to the
safety pin for $400.
17: Fire breaks out aboard the
steamboat White Cloud in St.
Louis, Missouri. More than 22
vessels are destroyed before the
fire spreads to the city and burns
22: First air raid in history.
Austria launches balloons without
pilots against Venice.
September: British navy destroys
Chinese pirates led by Shap-'ng-Tsai.
Over 1,800 pirates are killed and 58
vessels are sunk or captured.
17: Harriet Tubman, accompanied by two
of her brothers, walks away from
slavery in Maryland. Harry and Ben
decide to return to the plantation,
but with the assistance of the
Underground Railroad, Harriet escapes.
After a 90-mile journey, she is free.
She will become a conductor on the
Underground Railroad and return to the
South many times to lead others to
October 3: Edgar Allan Poe is
found delirious on a Baltimore,
Maryland street. He succumbs four days
6: Known as the Martyrs of Arad, 13
generals are executed for their
participation in the Hungarian
Revolution, which began in 1848.
December: Shap-'ng-Tsai accepts a
pardon and becomes an officer in the
Imperial Chinese Navy.
28: The process of dry-cleaning is
discovered after M. Jolly-Bellin
accidentally knocks over a lamp
containing turpentine and oil on his
clothes and sees how the liquid cleans
July 9: President Zachary
Taylor dies 16 months after taking
Opera star Jenny Lind arrives in New
York at the behest of P. T. Barnum.
28: Flogging is banned aboard US naval
and merchant ships.
April 23: Canada issues
its first postage stamps.
3: Fire sweeps through San Francisco,
destroying between 1,500 and 2,000
June 2: The first prohibition
law outlawing alcohol goes into effect
in the United States in Maine.
5: The National Era begins
publishing in serial format Harriet
Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
It is the first time that the
anti-slavery novel is published.
15: Baltimore diaryman Jacob Fassell
sets up the first ice cream factory.
24: The window tax in Britain is
12: Isaac Merit Singer receives a
patent for a sewing machine.
20: US schooner America beats
British yacht Aurora in the
first America's Cup.
22: Gold is discovered in Australia.
14: Harper & Brothers publishes
Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
January 1: Postage stamps
are issued in the Netherlands for the
18: Henry Wells, William G. Fargo, and
several others launch start a company
dealing in shipping and banking.
March 20: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle
Tom's Cabin is published in book
29: Peter Roget publishes the first
edition of his thesaurus, Roget's
January 4: Solomon
Northrup is freed legally after it is
proven that he was a free Black man
who had been kidnapped and sold into
slavery. He later writes about his
time as a slave in Twelve Years a
5: The Steinway and Sons Piano Company
is founded in New York City.
May 6: The first railroad
disaster in the United States occurs
in Norwalk, Connecticut. 46 die.
14: Gail Borden receives a patent
for processing condensed milk. Aside
from being an inventor, he is also a
land surveyor and newspaper
Commodore Matthew Perry and his
squadron of 4 vessels arrive in
Tokyo Bay, making the United States
the first Western nation to
establish relations with Japan since
foreigners (aside from the Dutch and
Chinese) were forbidden to enter the
country a century before.
21: The New
legislature sets aside more than 750
acres on Manhattan Island to create
25: California Rangers kill Joaquin
Murrieta, a bandit known as the "Robin
Hood of El Dorado."
15: Antoinette Blackwell becomes the
first American woman ordained as a
4: The Ottoman Turks declare war on
Russia, sparking what becomes the
Crimean War. England and France will
eventually join the fight, which lasts
more than 2 years before Russia is
1: The SS City of Glasgow
sails from Liverpool. The ship and
her crew of 480 passengers and crew
are never seen again.
20: Battle of the Alma is the first
major battle of the Crimean War.
British and French troops defeat the
27: Arctic, a luxury
passenger ship with a wooden hull,
and the iron-hulled steamer Vesta
collide off the Newfoundland
coast in heavy and sudden fog. 322
people are killed.
October 17: The Siege of
Sevastopol begins during the Crimean
21: Florence Nightingale and 38 nurses
are sent to the Crimean War.
25: Charge of the Light Brigade during
the Battle of Balaclava during the
Crimean War. More than 100 die.
8: Pope Pius IX proclaims Mary free of
Original Sin, when he announces that
her pregnancy occurs because of
9: Guiding Star, a clipper
ship, vanishes in the Atlantic. 480
people are assumed dead.
4: John Bartlett publishes his Familiar
United States adopts a standard
20: Packet ship John Rutledge
sinks in North Atlantic after
striking ice berg. Only 1 survivor,
Thomas Nye, is rescued by Germania.
During first 3 months of year,
nearly 830 passengers and crew go
missing in North Atlantic because of
the unusual amount of ice floating
farther south than usual.
30: Russia signs the Treaty of
Paris, ending the Crimean War.
April 16: The Paris
Declaration Respecting Maritime
Law outlaws privateering. The
United States chooses not to sign,
which allows this government to
continue to issue letters of
marque to privateers during times
Pro-slavery forces sack Lawrence,
24: John Brown and abolitionist
settlers kill five pro-slavery
settlers at Pottawatomie, Kansas.
June 9: 500 Mormons depart
Iowa for Salt Lake City, Utah.
17: The Republican Party opens its
first national convention in
8: Chinese officials board the Arrow,
a British-registered ship, and arrest
several Chinese members of the crew in
Guangzhou (Canton). Although these men
are later released, this incident
contributes to the Second Opium War.
Chinese pirates along the
coast of Vietnam kidnap seaman Edward
Bully Hayes, an opium
smuggler, captures Eli Boggs, an
American and notorious pirate on the
South China coast.
Iranun pirates capture
Colonel Ibanez y Garcia of Spain in
February 18: Chinese residents of
Sarawak rebel against James Brooke
21: Congress passes legislation that
outlaws foreign currency as legal
tender in the United States.
March 3: France and the United
Kingdom declare war on China. The
conflict becomes known as the Second
6: The US Supreme Court makes slavery
legal in all US territories in the
Dred Scott decision.
23: Elisha Otis installs his first
elevator at 488 Broadway in New York
27: During a mutiny of Indian sepoys,
120 British women and children are
massacred at Bibighar during the siege
August 24: Stocks
fall precipitously on the New York
Stock Exchange during the Panic of
November 9: Atlantic
Monthly begins publication.
February 11: Fourteen-year-old
Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes,
France experiences her first vision of
the Virgin Mary.
21: The first electric burglar alarm
is installed by Edwin T. Holmes. It is
located in Boston, Massachusetts.
30: Hymar L. Lipman of Philadelphia
patents the first pencil with an
August 2: The East India
Company transfers the governing of
India to the British Crown.
21: The first debate between Abraham
Lincoln and Stephen Douglas takes
place in Illinois.
October 26: A patent for a
rotary washing machine is awarded to
28: The first Macy's store opens at
6th Avenue in New York City. Gross
receipts for the day total $11.06.
25: First time a plea of insanity is
used to prove innocence.
21: Scottish National Gallery opens
25: Construction on the Suez Canal
begins. Upon its completion 10 years
later, it will connect the
Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
31: Big Ben, the clock in Elizabeth
Tower which overlooks the Houses of
Parliament in London, England, tolls
for the first time.
30: Charles Blondin, a French acrobat,
crosses Niagara Falls while walking on
a tightrope. He is the first person to
accomplish this feat.
12: William Goodale of Massachusetts
receives a patent for a machine that
manufactures paper bags.
27: First successful oil well drilled
near Titusville, Pennsylvania.
September 1: First Pullman sleeper
rail car goes into service.
2: Gas lighting is introduced to
20: George Simpson receives a patent
for the electric range.
16: John Brown leads a raid on the
federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry in
November 2: John Brown is found
guilty of murder, conspiring slaves to
revolt, and treason. He is sentenced
12: Jules Léotard performs the first
flying trapeze act without a net in
Paris, France. He wears a one-piece
garment that soon becomes popular and
is named for him.
24: Charles Darwin's On the Origin
of Species by Means of Natural
Selection is published.
2: John Brown, an abolitionist, is
hanged for murder, treason, and
inciting slaves to revolt at Charles
Circa: The Little Ice Age
3: The Pony Express begins operations.
Riders carry mail between St. Joseph,
Missouri and Sacramento, California on
horseback. The relay journey covers
18: The Republican Party nominates
Abraham Lincoln for president.
9: Malaseka, the Indian Wife of
the White Hunter becomes the
first "dime novel" published in the
United States. The author is Mrs.
8: Lady Elgin, an excursion
steamer, is rammed during a storm on
Lake Michigan and sinks. About 300
lives are lost, making it the
largest loss of life on the Great
October 15: Grace Bedell, who is
11 years old, writes a letter to
Abraham Lincoln in which she suggests
he grow a beard.
18: The Second Opium War ends. British
troops pillage and torch Yuanmingyuan,
the summer palace of the Manchu
emperors since the previous century.
6: Abraham Lincoln is elected as the
16th President of the United States.
20: South Carolina secedes from the
26: The first steamship owned by one
man, Cornelius Vanderbilt, makes her
28: Harriet Tubman reaches Auburn, New
York. After 8 years of evading capture
as a conductor on the Underground
Railroad, this is her last trip
to free slaves.
A joint force of Royal
Navy and Dutch warships is sent to
eradicate piracy in the Malay
15: Elisha Otis patents the steam
1: Texas becomes the 7th state to
secede from the Union and join the
Jefferson Davis is selected interim
president of the Confederacy.
18: Jefferson Davis is sworn in as
interim president of the Confederacy
in Montgomery, Alabama.
March 3: Tsar Alexander II
signs the Emancipation Manifesto,
freeing Russian serfs and granting
them full rights of free citizens.
17: Italy becomes a unified country
under Victor Emmanuel II.
12: The Confederacy fires on Fort
Sumter, launching the start of the
American Civil War. It falls the
next day after a bombardment that
lasts for 34 hours.
April 17: Jefferson Davis
invites Southerners to request letters
of marque that will permit
privateering against Northern
19: President Lincoln orders the
blockade of Confederate ports.
5: The US Naval Academy moves from
Newport, Rhode Island to Annapolis,
21: The First Battle of Bull Run, also
known as the Battle of First Manassas,
takes place near Manassas, Virginia
during the American Civil War. The
5: The US Army bans flogging.
August 5: Abraham Lincoln signs the
Revenue Act, imposing a 3% tax for the
first time on incomes over $800.
Sally Tompkins, a nurse, receives a
commission as a cavalry captain in
the Confederate Army. She is the
only female commissioned officer in
September 13: First naval
battle of the American Civil War. The
Union frigate Colorado sinks
a Confederate privateer off Pensacola,
October 24: A telegram is sent
across the United States, becoming the
first transcontinental telegram. This
new means of communication between
opposite coasts is far faster than the
Pony Express, which makes that entity
26: After 19 months of operation, the
Pony Express ends.
November 2: Harper's Bazaar,
a women's fashion magazine begins
6: Jefferson Davis is elected as
president of the Confederacy.
January 1: The United
States levies its first income tax.
Those earning less than $600 must pay
a 3% tax; those earning over $10,000
must pay 5%.
1: Julia Howe publishes "The Battle
Hymn of the Republic."
9: USS Monitor and CSS Virginia,
two ironclads, clash at Hampton
Roads, Virginia during the American
6: The Union Army defeats the
Confederates at Pittsburg Landing,
Tennessee. It becomes known as the
Battle of Shiloh.
11: Confederates scuttle CSS Virginia
off Norfolk, Virginia.
12: The Medal of Honor is created
for the US Army. It is awarded for
bravery on the battlefield.
14: The regular spirit ration on ships
of the US Navy is banned by an act of
August 6: The crew of CSS Arkansas
blows up the Confederate ironclad
after suffering mechanical problems in
the battle with USS Essex on
the Mississippi River.
24: Captain Raphael Semmes sets sail
aboard on CSS Alabama to
become the most successful and
notorious of the commerce raiders
during the American Civil War.
29: Second Battle of Bull Run begins
in Manassas, Virginia. The
Confederates win the next day.
September 1: The American
government levies a tax on tobacco.
5: General Robert E. Lee and his army
cross the Potomac River into Maryland.
15: Confederate General Stonewall
Jackson and his troops capture the Union arsenal at
Harpers Ferry. More
than 12,500 prisoners are taken,
making this the largest Union
surrender during the American Civil
17: The bloodiest day of fighting
during the American Civil War occurs
at the Battle of Antietam (Battle of
Sharpsburg) in Maryland. It is the
first battle fought on Union soil.
Casualty estimates exceed 26,000
killed, wounded, and/or missing or
23: Newspapers in the north publish
President Abraham Lincoln's
26: First US navy hospital ship
Track of Fire; or, A Cruise with
the Pirate Semmes, a dime
novel about the infamous commerce
raider of the Confederacy, is
January 1: President Abraham
Lincoln issues the Emancipation
Proclamation, which frees slaves in
3: James Plimpton receives the first
patent for roller skates with four
26: President Abraham Lincoln signs
the National Currency Act,
authorizing a single currency for
19: During her maiden voyage, CSS Georgiana,
sinks. The cruiser carries munitions
and medicines valued at $1,000,000
at the time.
May 2: During an attack on
Confederate General Stonewall Jackson
is wounded by his own soldiers.
18: The Siege of Vicksburg,
June 2: Harriet Tubman leads
Union guerillas into Maryland on a
raid to free slaves.
24: Under the command of General
Robert E. Lee, the Confederate Army
crosses the Potomac. Their destination
is to invade Pennsylvania.
July 1: First shots fired at
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the
American Civil War. Union forces,
under General George Meade, defeat
General Robert E. Lee's Confederate
forces on 3 July.
July 1: 49 cities in the United States
begin delivering mail for free. The
postage, though, costs 3¢ per ounce.
3: The Battle of Gettysburg ends
after three days of intense
fighting, resulting in more than
50,000 casualties. It is a major
victory for the Union Army.
15: The Confederate submarine H.
L. Hunley is transported to
Charleston, South Carolina via the
21: William Quantrill leads a deadly
raid on Lawrence, Kansas.
5: A bread revolt occurs in Mobile,
3: President Abraham Lincoln makes
the last Thursday in November
15: During a test run, the
Confederate submarine Hunley sinks.
The inventor and seven crew members
Four months after the Battle at
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President
Abraham Lincoln delivers an address at
the dedication of the military
23: A patent is granted for a process
that allows the making of color
November 23: The Battle of Chattanooga
begins during the US Civil War.
17: The Confederate submarine H.
L. Hunley, after being raised,
plants a 135-pound torpedo into the
Union sloop-of-war Housatonic,
which sinks. Only five crewmen die.
Those aboard the Hunley also
die after the submarine disappears
just outside Charleston, South
Carolina's harbor. Hunley is
the first submarine to sink an enemy
27: For the first time, Union
prisoners of war are incarcerated at
what will become an infamous
Confederate prison known as
9: Ulysses S. Grant is appointed
commander of the Union Army.
9: Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a Union
surgeon, is captured by Confederate
soldiers and arrested as a spy.
May 5: The Battle of the
Wilderness in Virginia lasts for three
days and is the first engagement in
which forces under General Ulysses S.
Grant face off against those of
General Robert E. Lee.
11: General J.E.B. Stuart is mortally
wounded at Yellow Tavern during the
June 3: The second Battle of
Cold Harbor results in the loss of
around 7,000 Union soldiers, under the
command of General Ulysses S. Grant,
during the American Civil War. It is
considered one of the worst Northern
defeats of the war.
15: Robert E. Lee's Arlington,
Virginia estate becomes the United
States' first national cemetery.
19: USS Kearsage sinks CSS
Alabama, a commerce raider
captained by Raphael Semmes and
responsible for the capture of 66
ships over a three-year period, off
Cherbourg, France. More than 20
Union warships are involved in the
hunt for Alabama, but Kearsage
engages her in a spectacular
battle after France refuses to allow
Semmes to put into a dry dock to
overhaul the vessel.
July 14: Gold is discovered
in Helena, Montana.
15: A train carrying Confederate
prisoners collides with a coal
train. Of the 955 men aboard, 65 die
and 109 are injured.
Rear Admiral David Farragut leads
the Union forces to victory at the
Battle of Mobile Bay.
September 4: John Hunt Morgan,
leader of the Confederate guerrillas
known as Morgan's Raiders, is killed
by Federal troops.
5: A cyclone destroys most of
Calcutta, India. Around 60,000 people
November 15: After burning
Atlanta, General William Tecumseh
Sherman and his Union troops begin
their March to the Sea that ends at
Savannah, Georgia on 10 December.
25: A Confederate plot to burn New
York City fails.
29: Sand Creek Massacre. At least 150
Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants
January 31: The United
States abolishes slavery with the
passing of the 13th Amendment.
4: Robert E. Lee is named
General-in-Chief of the Confederate
April 2: Confederate President
Jefferson Davis is forced to flee
9: General Robert E. Lee and 26,765
Confederate troops surrender to
General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox
Court House in Virginia.
14: John Wilkes Booth shoots President
Abraham Lincoln while he and his wife
watch a play at Ford's Theater in
Washington. Lincoln succumbs to his
wound early the next morning.
17: Mary Surratt is arrested as a
conspirator in the assassination of
26: John Wilkes Booth dies at a
27: The SS Sultana,
overloaded with more than 1,800
people (many are former Union POWs
returning home) explodes, catches
fire, and sinks on the Mississippi
River. The majority of those aboard
die. It becomes the worst maritime
disaster in US history.
10: Union soldiers capture Confederate
President Jefferson Davis in Georgia.
He will spend the next two years as a
prisoner in Fort Monroe, Virginia,
after being indicted for treason, but
is never tried.
13: The Battle of Palmito Ranch, near
Brownsville, Texas, becomes the final
engagement of the American Civil War.
Private John Jefferson Williams of B
Company, 34th Regiment of the Indiana
Infantry is the last man killed in the
June 6: After a skirmish with
Union soldiers in Kentucky, a wounded
William Quantrill dies. The leader of
Quantrill's Raiders, an irregular
force of Confederate soldiers that
includes Frank and Jesse James, led
the raid on Lawrence, Kansas 2 years
earlier, in which he and his men
killed any male, adult or child, they
saw. In all, at least 150 males died
before the town was set afire.
13: President Andrew Johnson proclaims
the reconstruction of the confederate
19: Union General Gordon Granger
declares that all slaves in Texas
are free. This day eventually
becomes known as Juneteenth, which
is celebrated as the independence
day of enslaved African Americans.
22: CSS Shenandoah fires
the last shot of the American Civil
War. The vessel is in the Bering
Strait at the time and does so to
signal her surrender.
30: 8 of the alleged conspirators in
President Abraham Lincoln's
assassination are found guilty.
July 4: Lewis Carroll
publishes Alice's Adventures in
5: The US Secret Service begins
operating under the Treasury
Department. Its initial directive is
to help prevent counterfeiting.
7: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David
Herold, and George Atzerodt are hanged
for their participation in the
conspiracy to assassinate President
Lincoln. Surratt becomes the first
woman executed by the federal
13: P. T. Barnum's museum burns down.
14: Edward Whymper becomes the first
person to climb the Matterhorn.
22: William Sheppard receives the
first US patent for liquid soap.
9: The first underground oil
pipeline is laid in Pennsylvania.
After circumnavigating the world,
the CSS Shenandoah lowers
the Confederate flag and surrenders
to British authorities. During her
cruise, she sank or captured 37
11: The US Army's first female
surgeon, Mary Edward Walker, receives
the Medal of Honor. She is first woman
to receive the medal, which will be
rescinded in 1917 and later reinstated
18: Slavery is formally abolished in
the United States with the
ratification of the 13th Amendment
to the Constitution.
15: US Marines arrest Raphael Semmes
for illegally escaping Union custody
after surrendering the CSS Alabama.
Four months later, the prosecutor
drops all charges and Semmes is
29: William Lloyd Garrison, an
abolitionist, publishes the last issue
of The Liberator.
February 13: Jesse James holds up
a bank for the first time. He steals
$15,000 from the Clay County Savings
Association in Liberty, Missouri.
21: Lucy B. Hobbs is the first
American woman to earn a doctorate
in dental surgery.
March 1: Paraguayan canoes
sink two Brazilian ironclads on the
Rio Paraná during the War of the
19: Monarch of the Sea, an
immigrant ship, sinks in Liverpool,
claiming 738 lives.
28: First ambulance goes into service.
April 4: Dmitry Karakozov
attempts to assassinate Tsar Alexander
II in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Alexander narrowly escapes death.
10: Philanthropist and diplomat Henry
Bergh founds the American Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(ASPCA) in New York City.
16: The US Congress passes legislation
to create a new coin, worth 5 cents
(later known as the nickel). It is to
be made from nickel and copper.
11: The world's first roller skating
rink opens in Newport, Rhode Island.
October 6: First train robbery
in the United States. The Reno
Brothers steal $13,000.
15: Fire destroys 2,500 homes in
21: During Red Cloud's War, a small
party of Lakota and Cheyenne lead US
Army soldiers of Fort Phil Kearny in
Wyoming into an ambush, pitting 81
soldiers against 1,500 to 2,000
warriors from the Lakota, Cheyenne,
and Arapaho tribes. All the soldiers
are killed in what becomes known as
Fetterman's Fight (or Massacre) or the
Battle of the Hundred-in-the-Hands.
Canadian provinces take
steps to become a nation and severe
some ties with Britain.
1: Brick layers begin working 8-hour
March 12: Last French troops
30: The United States purchases Alaska
from Russia for $7,200,000. The
purchase earns the nickname "Seward's
23: Jesse James and his gang rob a
bank in Richmond, Missouri. They net
$4,000, but kill two people.
June 19: Emperor Maximilian
of Mexico is executed by a firing
20: President Andrew Johnson announces
the purchase of Alaska.
25:The first patent for barbed wire is
granted to Lucien B. Smith of Ohio.
1: The Dominion of Canada, the
official name of Canada, is founded.
October 1: Publication of Karl
Marx's Das Kapital.
18: The United States takes possession
November 15: First stock ticker
unveiled in New York City, which makes
up-to-the-minute prices available to
investors wishing to purchase and sell
25: Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist,
February 24: In a vote of
126 to 47, the US House of
Representatives votes to impeach
President Andrew Johnson.
March 5: President Andrew
Jackson's impeachment trial begins.
13: The United States Senate opens the
impeachment trial of President Andrew
24: Formation of the Metropolitan Life
11: The shogunate is abolished in
16: The US Senate fails to impeach
President Andrew Johnson by a single
25: President Andrew Johnson signs a
bill that limits government employees
to an 8-hour work day.
28: Citizenship, as well as equal
civil and legal rights, are granted to
African Americans and emancipated
slaves with the 14th Amendment to the
1: Publication of Louisa May Alcott's
December 9: A traffic light, the
world's first, is erected in London
near Westminster Bridge. A month late,
a gas leak causes one of the lights to
explode and the traffic light is
25: President Andrew Johnson
unconditionally pardons those who
fought for the Confederacy.
January 20: Elizabeth
Cady Stanton testifies before
Congress. It is the first time a woman
March 5: Dmiriti Mendeleev
presents the first periodic table at
the Russian Chemical Society.
11: Armand David, a French missionary,
introduces the West to the giant panda
after he receives a skin from a
May 10: The Golden Spike is
driven into the ground at Promontory
Summit, Utah, completing the United
States' first transcontinental
railroad. The two rail lines began on
opposite ends of the country and, when
the spike unites the two tracks, it
connects the Central Pacific Railroad
to the Union Pacific Railroad. It
signifies the last time that
west-bound travelers will have to
cross the country on covered wagons.
15: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth
Cady Stanton establish the National
Woman Suffrage Association.
18: During festivities celebrating the
coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, a mass
panic on Khodynka Field in Moscow
results in the death of 1,389 people.
27: The yen becomes the official
currency of Japan. Clan notes, issued
by feudal lords, are no longer
August 16: A Paraguayan
battalion of children is massacred by
the Brazilian army during the Battle
of Acosta Ñu.
23: First cargo of rail freight
arrives in San Francisco. The train
comes from Boston and carries boots
and shoes. The trip takes 16 days.
October 1: The world's first
post cards are issued in Vienna,
16: The Cardiff Giant is found in New
York state. It is believed to be a
petrified prehistoric man, but is
later discovered to be a hoax.
16: Suez Canal opens. It takes 10
years to build.
23: Cutty Sark is launched in
Dumbarton, Scotland. She is one of the
last clipper ships to be built and the
only one that still survives.
January 3: Construction begins
on New York's Brooklyn Bridge. It
takes more than a decade to complete.
15: The donkey premieres as the symbol
of the US Democratic Party in one of
Thomas Nash's cartoons.
23: The US Army kills 140 Blackfoot
women and 33 children in Montana.
February 3: The Fifteenth
Amendment to the US Constitution is
ratified. It guarantees the right to
vote regardless of race.
5: The first motion picture is shown
to an audience. The theater is located
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
12: Utah becomes the second territory
to grant women the right to vote, one
year after the Wyoming Territory did
25: Hiram R. Revels takes the oath as
the first African-American member of
Congress. He serves as a senator from
30: Texas becomes the last Confederate
state to rejoin the Union.
28: The US Congress establishes the
first federal holidays: New Years Day,
Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day,
and Christmas Day. These official
holidays initially only apply to
August 1: The Irish Land Act
gives rights to tenants of landlords
2: The world's first underground tube
railway, Tower Subway, opens in
15: Transcontinental Railway is
completed in Colorado.
25: Pimlico Race Course opens in
Baltimore, Maryland. It will become
home to the Preakness, the second of
the triple crown horse races.
July 25: Wilhelm
Schneider of Davenport, Iowa is
awarded a patent for the carousel.
7: HMS Captain capsizes in
the Bay of Biscay. 500 die.
October 6: 1st national tour of
the Fisk Jubliee Singers begins.
8: The Great Chicago Fire starts in
Patrick and Catherine O'Leary's barn.
When the inferno ends two days later,
200 to 300 people are dead, 4 square
miles of the city are destroyed,
100,000 are left homeless, and damages
are estimated at $2,000,000. Also lost
is the original Emancipation
October 8: Another fire, this one is
Peshtigo, Wisconsin, consumes the city
within hours. 1,152 people die.
10: Henry Morton Stanley meets David
Livingstone near Lake Tanganyika,
Africa and asks, "Dr. Livingstone, I
February 20: The Metropolitan
Museum of Art opens to the public in
New York City.
27: Charlotte Ray graduates with a
degree in law from Howard University,
making her the first African-American
1: E. Remington and Sons of Ilion, New
York, produce the first practical
March 1: Congress establishes the
first national park in the United
States; Yellowstone National Park is
also the first national park in the
12: Jesse James and his gang rob a
bank in Columbia, Kentucky. They get
away with $1,500, but murder one
10: Victoria Woodhull becomes the
first woman nominated for the US
9: John Blondel of Maine is awarded a
patent for the doughnut cutter.
18: A. M. Ward issues the first
3: Bloomingdale's department store
opens in New York City.
Susan B. Anthony votes in the
election for US president. She is
later arrested for voting illegally
and is convicted at her trial, which
she calls "the greatest outrage
history ever witnessed."
7: Mary Celeste sets sails
from Staten Island bound for Genoa. 4
weeks later she is found abandoned at
sea. No reason for the crew's
disappearance is discovered.
5: Mary Celeste is found
abandoned at sea about 400 miles from
the Azores. The fate of the 10 people
aboard the brigantine remains a
March 3: The United
States Congress enacts the Comstock
Law. This makes it illegal to send
"obscene, lewd, or lascivious" books
through the mail.
June 5: The British pressure
Sultan Bargash bin Said to close the
notorious slave market in Zanzibar.
9: The Alexandra Palace in England
burns down 16 days after it opens.
18: Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for
voting for US President.
14: Field and Stream is
published for the first time.
20: Panic sweeps the New York Stock
October 8: First women-run
women's prison opens in Indiana.
30: Premiere of P. T. Barnum's
"Greatest Show on Earth."
19: William Magear Tweed, also known
as "Boss Tweed," of Tammany Hall in
New York City is convicted of
defrauding the city of $6,000,000. He
is sentenced to 12 years in prison.
passes a law requiring owners or
representatives of wrecked American
ships in which someone lost his/her
life or inflicted damage impacts the
vessel's seaworthiness to present
records to customs collectors,
either where the ship is registered
or where the incident occurs.
31: Jesse James and his gang rob a
train at Gads Hill, Missouri.
9: The first horse-drawn bus appears
on streets in Mumbai, India.
1: The first kidnapping for ransom
occurs in the United States when
four-year-old Charles Ross is taken
and $20,000 is demanded for his safe
July 1: The first true zoo in the
United States opens in Philadelphia.
23: A devastating typhoon strikes
Hong Kong. In 6 hours, 35 European
ships sink or are destroyed, and
about 2,000 people die.
November 7: Thomas Nast draws a
cartoon that depicts the Republican
Party symbol of an elephant.
24: Joseph Farwell Glidden receives
the first patent for commercially
successful barbed wire.
January 26: George F.
Green patents the first electric
3: First game of indoor ice hockey
played in Montreal, Quebec.
May 16: The running of the first
Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in
Louisville, Kentucky. Aristides wins
August 2: The first roller
skating rink opens in London.
25: Captain Matthew Webb becomes the
first observed and unassisted swimmer
to cross the English Channel. He does
so in 21 hours and 45 minutes.
September 1: A murder conviction
effectively puts an end to the Molly
Maguires, who fight owners of coal
mines, and the organization disbands.
11: First newspaper cartoon strip
23: Billy the Kid is arrested for the
first time. He steals a basket of
laundry. He will later go on to be an
escapee and murderer.
A Spanish force,
consisting of 32 ships and 9,000 men
attacks the "pirate nest" of Sulu.
31: All Native Americans in the United
States are ordered to move on to the
22: Johns Hopkins University opens
March 7: Alexander Graham Bell
patents the telephone.
10: Alexander Graham Bell makes the
first telephone call. He says to his
assistance, "Mr. Watson, come here. I
want to see you."
June 4: The Transcontinental
Express arrives in San Francisco,
California for the first time. The
train makes the journey from New York
City in 83 hours and 39 minutes.
25: Battle of Little Bighorn between
Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, under the
leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy
Horse, against Lieutenant Colonel
George Armstrong Custer and the
Seventh Cavalry. Custer and his men
are wiped out, and the battle becomes
known as "Custer's Last Stand."
June 30: Soldiers,
wounded at the Battle of Little
Bighorn, reach Far West, a
steamboat, on the Big Horn River in
southern Montana, which evacuates
them to Fort Abraham Lincoln near
Bismarck, North Dakota on 5 July.
It isn't long
before news of the loss of General
Custer and more than 200 men spreads
across the country.
2: Wild Bill Hickock is murdered in
Deadwood, South Dakota.
September 7: The Youngers and the
James, two groups of brothers, attempt
to rob a bank. The Younger brothers
19: Melville Bissell of New York
receives the first patent for a carpet
6: The American Library Association is
founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
6: First crematorium in the United
States begins operation. It is located
in Washington, Pennsylvania.
February 2: Punxsutawney
groundhog makes his first
meteorological prediction pertaining
to the end of winter at Gobbler's Knob
in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. This
becomes the first Groundhog Day.
March 10: 4 years after inventing
earmuffs at the age of 15 in 1873,
Chester Greenwood patents them.
April 10: The first human
cannonball act is performed in London.
12: The catcher's mask is employed for
the first time during a baseball game.
May 5: Sitting Bull leads
the Lakota into Canada to avoid
harassment by the US Army.
8: The first Westminster Dog Show is
10: President Rutherford B. Hayes
installs the first telephone in the
White House. It is placed in the
telegraph room and its phone number is
"1." 50 years will pass before a phone
is placed in the Oval Office.
June 15: Henry Ossian
Flipper, a former slave, becomes the
first African American to graduate
from the United States Military
Academy at West Point, New York.
21: 10 Irish immigrants, known as the
Molly Maguires, are hanged in
9: The first lawn tennis tournament
begins at Wimbledon at the All England
Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. 21
men compete in Gentlemen's Singles,
the only event at the time. The
winner, Spencer Gore, is announced 10
days later. The first Lady's Singles
event is introduced in 1884 and Maud
12: Thomas Alva Edison invents the
5: A US soldier bayonets Oglala Sioux
leader Crazy Horse, who dies from his
Chief Joseph surrenders, ending the
Nez Perce War.
22: Blantyre mining disaster in
Scotland kills 207 miners. Mine
owners evict any of their families
who are unable to support
24: Shortly before her death, Anna
Sewall publishes Black Beauty,
her only novel. It becomes the first
major animal story in children's
6: Thomas Edison records himself
reciting "Mary had a little lamb."
January 11: Milk in glass
bottles is delivered for the first
time in New York City.
18: Billy the
Kid's mentor, an English rancher named
John Tunstall, is murdered, which
ignites the bitter and bloody Lincoln
County War in New Mexico.
19: Thomas Edison receives a patent
for the gramophone.
15: Harley Procter introduces Ivory
May 2: The United States
ceases to mint the 20 cent coin.
14: A patent is granted for Vaseline.
26: Black Bart, a poet and outlaw of
the American West, steals the safe box
of a Wells Fargo stagecoach in
California. The empty box is later
found with a taunting poem inside. It
is the last time he makes a clean
getaway. He will rob another
stagecoach in November, and leaves
behind clues that eventually lead to
his capture. Although Charles Earl
Boles robs a number of stagecoaches
and becomes known as a gentleman
bandit, he is only convicted of this
last theft. He serves 4 years of his
1: Emma Nutt of Boston becomes the
first female telephone operator.
bridge over the River Tay in Dundee,
Scotland gives way during a gale.
The train crossing the bridge at the
time drops into the river, killing
February 15: The United States
Congress decrees that female lawyers
may appear before the US Supreme
22: A black postmaster is lynched and
his 3 daughters are shot in Lake City,
3: Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood appears
before the US Supreme Court, becoming
the first female attorney to present
arguments before the court.
21: The F. W. Woolworth Great Five
Cents Store opens on North Queen
Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It
is Frank W. Woolworth's first
23: Audiophone, a hearing aid, is
invented by Richard Rhodes.
ship discovered on Norwegian farm.
Construction of the Panama Canal
9: Great Gale devastates parts of
Oregon and Washington. 6 feet of snow
falls in Seattle, Washington over 5
18: Tsar Alexander II of Russia
survives an assassination attempt.
June 1: First pay telephone
service operates in the United States.
It is installed in New Haven,
28: Ned Kelly, an Australian
bushranger (rural outlaw), is captured
at Glenrowan. The rest of his gang
dies in the confrontation, but Kelly
is only wounded. He is taken to
Melbourne later in the year and
August 3: The US Congress
passes its first law restricting
14: After 632 years, Germany's Cologne
Cathedral, the largest Gothic
cathedral in Northern Europe, is
completed. Construction first began in
11: Ned Kelly is hanged in Melbourne.
16: First Boer War begins between the
British Empire and the Boer South
Robert Louis Stevenson
begins writing Treasure Island
19: Kansas becomes the first state to
prohibit all alcoholic beverages in
its state constitution.
March 13: Members of the
People's Will, a far-left terrorist
group, throw a bomb at Tsar Alexander
II in St. Petersburg, Russia, killing
28: P. T. Barnum and James Anthony
Bailey form the Barnum & Bailey
Circus, which opens in New York's
Madison Square Garden. It is billed as
"The Greatest Show on Earth," and will
continue performing for 146 years
until it closes in 2017.
28: Billy the Kid escapes from the
Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New
21: Clara Barton establishes the
American Association of the Red Cross,
which later becomes known as the
American Red Cross.
14: John McTammany, Junior, patents
the player piano.
July 2: Charles J. Guiteau
shoots President James Garfield, who
succumbs to his injury 79 days later.
4: Booker T. Washington establishes
the Tuskegee Institute.
14: Sheriff Pat Garrett shoots and
kills Billy the Kid (real name, Henry
McCarty). The outlaw had escaped from
jail days before his execution for
murder and Garrett tracked him for 3
months before finding him in New
26: Gunfight at the OK Corral. It is
the crowning moment in the feud
between the Earp brothers and Ike
Clanton's gang in Tombstone in the
14: Charles J. Guiteau stands trial
for assassinating President James
March 2: Roderick Maclean
fires a shot at Queen Victoria as she
boards a train in Windsor. She
narrowly escapes the assassination
March 24: Robert Koch of Germany
discovers and describes tubercle
bacillus, which causes
3: Robert Ford kills outlaw Jesse
James in his home in St. Joseph,
6: Immigrants from China are forbidden
to enter the United States with the
passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
6: A patent for the electric iron is
granted to Henry W. Seeley.
22: Thomas Edison creates the first
string of Christmas tree lights.
March 16: Susan Hayhurst is
the first woman to graduate from
24: First telephone call between New
York and Chicago takes place.
24: The Brooklyn Bridge opens in New
York City. It spans the East River,
connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan.
3: Buffalo Bill Cody presents his
first wild west show in North
27: A volcano on Krakatoa erupts,
causing a tidal wave that causes
more than 35,000 deaths. Two days
later, seismic sea waves created by
the eruption raise the level of
water in the English Channel.
4: First official rail journey of
the Orient Express between Paris and
November 14: Robert Louis
Stevenson’s Treasure Island is
published in book form.
February 1: The first
volume of the Oxford English
Dictionary is published.
2: London closes its prison for
19: Premiere of the Ringling Brothers
16: The first roller coaster opens. It
is located on Coney Island in
Brooklyn, New York.
July 3: Dow Jones publishes
the first stock index, the Dow Jones
4: The Statue of Liberty is presented
to the United States in Paris.
August 5: The cornerstone is
laid for the Statue of Liberty on
Bedloe's Island in New York City.
28: First known photograph of a
tornado is taken near Howard, South
23: Herman Hollerith patents his
mechanical tabulating machine. Data
February 21: Dedication
of the Washington Monument
May 2: Good Housekeeping
magazine is published for the first
19: First mass production of shoes
17: The Statue of Liberty arrives in
New York City aboard the French ship
Isere. It is comprised of 350
pieces in more than 200 cases.
Estimates place the cost to the
French at $250,000. It weighs
450,000 pounds. Once Lady Liberty is
reassembled, she is dedicated the
following year on 28 October.
6: Louis Pasteur succeeds in giving an
anti-rabies vaccine to nine-year-old
Joseph Meister, saving the boy's life.
2: Chinese miners are brutally
murdered by white miners in Rock
Springs, Wyoming. Hundreds more are
driven from town.
1: The US Postal Service begins
special delivery mail service.
10: Gottlieb Daimler unveils the
world's first motorcycle.
April 25: Sigmund Freud
opens his practice in psychology in
May 4: Haymarket Riot takes
place in Chicago, Illinois when a bomb
kills 7 policemen.
8: Atlanta, Georgia's Jacob's Pharmacy
begins selling Coca-Cola, which
contains cocaine. It is created by
pharmacist John S. Pemberton and is
promoted as a cure-all tonic.
4: Geronimo, leader of the Apache,
surrenders to the US Army.
9: First tuxedo is worn to a ball in
January 5: Columbia University
opens the first school of
librarianship in the United States.
28: Construction begins on the Eiffel
Tower in Paris, France.
February 2: The first Groundhog
Day is observed in Punxsutawney,
21: First American lab for
bacteriology opens. It's located in
Brooklyn, New York.
3: Anne Sullivan becomes Helen
Keller's teacher. Helen is blind and
deaf after an illness and is 6 years
5: Anne Sullivan teaches Helen Keller
sign language for "water."
9: Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show
opens in London.
8: Herman Hollerith receives a patent
for the punch card calculator.
January 3: Marvin C. Stone
patents the first wax drinking straw.
27: Founding of the National
Signing of the Convention of
Constantinople, which guarantees
free maritime passage through the
Suez Canal whether there is war or
11: The Great Blizzard of 1888 strikes
the United States. As much as 50
inches of snow fall and more than 400
4: The first organized rodeo
competition takes place in Prescott,
August 7: Martha Tabram, who
may have been Jack the Ripper's first
victim, is murdered in London's East
31: Mary Ann Nichols's body is found
in Whitechapel, London. She is the
first definite victim of Jack the
September 8: Jack the Ripper's
second victim, Annie Chapman, is
22: First issue of National
Geographic Magazine is
30: Elizabeth Stride and Catherine
Eddowes become the next two women who
fall prey to Jack the Ripper.
October 9. The Washington Monument
opens to the public in Washington, DC.
This memorial to the first American
president is a marble-faced granite
obelisk on which construction began in
1848 and ended in 1884.
9: Mary Kelly's mutilated body is
found. Many believe she is the last of
Jack the Ripper's victims.
23: After an argument with another
painter, Vincent Van Gogh cuts off his
P. Christian’s Historie
des Pirates published.
18: Susan La Flesche Picotte graduates
from Woman's Medical College of
Pennsylvania to become the first
Native American woman to graduate and
become a doctor.
March 31: Official opening of the
Eiffel Tower in Paris
April 1: The first machine to
wash dishes is marketed in Chicago,
22: At noon, thousands of men and
women make a mad dash to claim parcels
of land in the Oklahoma land rush.
May 14: The National Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Children is founded in London.
31: A flood decimates Johnstown,
Pennsylvania after the South Fork Dam
collapses. More than 2,200 people die.
8: Cable cars begin offering rides in
Los Angeles, California.
July 8: The Wall Street
Journal begins publication.
17: The body of Alice McKenzie is
found in Whitechapel, raising
speculation that Jack the Ripper may
13: William Gray receives a patent for
a coin-operated telephone.
6: The Moulin Rouge opens in Paris.
October 6: Thomas Edison shows his
first motion picture.
Nellie Bly, a reporter for New
York World, begins her journey
to surpass the fictional journey
Phileas Fogg makes around the world in
Jules Verne's Around the World in
Eighty Days. It takes her just
72 days and 6 hours to make the trip.
23: The first jukebox debuts at the
Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco,
January 1: The first Tournament
of Roses is held in Pasadena,
25: Nellie Bly, a journalist, beats
Jules Verne's fictitious character,
Phileas Fogg, when she completes her
round-the-world journey 8 days before
January 25: Formation of the United
Mine Workers of America
1: Arthur Conan Doyle first introduces
readers to Sherlock Holmes when A
Study in Scarlet is published.
August 6: Convicted of murder,
William Kemmler becomes the world's
first person to be executed in the
electric chair. The execution occurs
at Auburn State Prison in New York.
30: US President Benjamin Harrison
signs the first law requiring the
inspection of meat products.
1: The US Congress creates the Weather
23: William III, King of the
Netherlands, dies without a male heir.
A special law is passed to allow his
daughter, Wilhelmina, to become Queen
of the Netherlands.
December 15: Native American
police kill Sitting Bull while trying
to arrest him in South Dakota.
29: More than 200 Sioux are massacred
by the US 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee,
April 17: 13 pirates are
beheaded in China as punishment for
their attack on and the murder of 2
crew members, including the captain,
of the SS Namoa.
May 11: Six more pirates
are executed for the attack.
5: American Express issues the world's
first traveler's checks.
December 21: YMCA students
play the first official basketball
game, invented by their teacher,
James A. Naismith.
January 29: Incorporation
of the Coca-Cola Company
January 29: Liliuokalani becomes Queen
of Hawaii and is the last monarch of
15: Jesse W. Reno of New York City
patents the first escalator.
12: George C. Blickensderfer patents
the first portable typewriter.
22: The first toothpaste tube is
invented by Dr. Washington Sheffield.
6: The elevated Loop train, also known
as the "L" begins operating in
Chicago, Illinois. It will become one
of the longest and busiest
mass-transit systems in the United
18: A vaccine against cholera is first
tested on humans.
4: Lizzie Borden is arrested in Fall
River, Massachusetts on charges that
she murdered her father and stepmother
with an axe.
26: First public appearance of John
Philip Sousa's band
October 5: The Dalton Gang
attempts to rob 2 banks in
Coffeyville, Kansas at the same time.
Townspeople recognize them and raise
the alarm. The only member of the
Dalton gang to survive is Emmett
Dalton; 4 townspeople also die. Upon
his recovery, Emmett is tried and
convicted, receiving a sentence of
life imprisonment. 14 years later he
is paroled. He eventually becomes a
12: The United States Pledge of
Allegiance is recited for the first
time in public schools.
18: The first performance of The
Nutcracker takes place in St.
Petersburg, Russia. It is performed in
the Mariinsky Theatre and is written
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
January 17: An American
coup deposes Queen Liliuokalani and
Hawaii becomes a republic.
March 1: The rank of
ambassador is authorized for use for
the first time by the Diplomatic
10: The Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
becomes a French colony.
May 4: Bill Pickett, a
cowboy, invents bulldogging, a skill
that involves grabbing a cow while on
horseback and wrestling it to the
5: New York Stock Exchange crashes.
The event becomes known as the Panic
June 7: Mahatma Gandhi's
first act of civil disobedience.
20: Lizzie Bordon is acquitted of
murdering her father and stepmother
with an axe in Fall River,
21: Premiere of the world's first
Ferris wheel occurs at World's
Columbian Exposition in Chicago,
30: The largest uncut diamond is
discovered at the DeBeers mine in
Orange Free State, South Africa. Named
Excelsior, it weighs 995 carats.
1: Henry Perky and William Ford patent
September 3: Beatrix Potter writes
the story of Peter Rabbit for
a five-year-old boy.
19: New Zealand grants the right to
vote to all women, becoming the first
nation to do so.
6: Nabisco Foods invents Cream of
March 12: Bottled
Coca-Cola is sold for the first time
in a candy store in Vicksburg,
15: During a baseball game between the
Baltimore Orioles and Boston
Beaneaters, a fire sweeps through the
bleachers and spreads across more than
12 acres. About 200 buildings are
destroyed and 1,900 people are left
June 17: First epidemic of
poliomyelitis breaks out in the United
28: The US Congress declares the first
Monday of September as Labor Day, a
holiday to honor American workers.
20: The Pullman Strike ends.
September 1: Hinckley, Minnesota
is destroyed by a wildfire. 438 people
3: Labor Day becomes a legal holiday
in the US.
4: 12,000 tailors go on strike in New
York City in a protest against sweat
November 1: Upon the death of his
father, Nicholas II becomes the new
Tsar of Russia.
26: Tsar Nicholas II marries
22: Alfred Dreyfus is court-martialed
for treason in France. Initially
sentenced to life imprisonment, he
will later be vindicated because of
tainted evidence and anti-Semitism.
February 11: The city of
Georgetown becomes part of Washington,
21: North Carolina's legislature
adjourns to mark the death of
13: Alfred Dreyfus is imprisoned on
Devils Island, which lies off French
November 8: Wilhelm Conrad
Röntgen, a German physicist, discovers
19: Frederick E. Blaisdell receives a
patent for the pencil.
27: Establishment of the Nobel Prizes
January 15: Known for his
photographic portraits and images of
the American Civil War, Matthew Brady
dies alone and virtually forgotten in
a New York hospital's charity ward.
23: Les Hirshfield introduces the
1: Henri Becquerel discovers
6: The first modern Olympic Games open
in Athens, Greece.
May 7: H. H. Holmes, the
first known serial killer in the
United States, is hanged after
confessing to killing 130 people.
30: The first car accident occurs when
Henry Wells hits a cyclist in New York
8: First record of an automobile theft
occurs after a Parisian mechanic
steals a baron's Peugot.
August 16: George Carmack
discovers gold at Bonanza Creek in the
Klondike, setting off a gold rush.
29: The Chinese ambassador's chef
creates chop suey during a visit to
New York City.
May 18: Dracula is
published. The novel is written by
19: After 2 years in jail following
his conviction on being gay, Oscar
Wilde is released. His experiences
serve as the basis for The Ballad
of Reading Gaol.
16: The Republic of Hawaii and the
United States sign a treaty that
annexes the republic to the United
September 1: The Boston subway
opens, becoming the first underground
rapid transit system in North America.
10: George Smith, a London taxi
driver, is arrested for drunk driving
when he runs his cab into a building.
He becomes the first person ever
arrested for driving drunk and is
fined 25 schillings.
25: First British bus service begins.
22: The world's first car dealer opens
in London, England.
23: J. L. Love receives a patent for
the pencil sharpener.
The first automobile insurance
policy is issued in the United
States. The company issuing the
policy is Travelers Insurance
15: USS Maine explodes and
sinks in the harbor of Havana, Cuba.
258 sailors die. This event
precipitates the Spanish-American
23: Emile Zola is imprisoned in France
for writing "J'accuse," a letter
accusing the government of
anti-Semitism and wrongly imprisoning
24: War erupts between the United
States and Spain.
May 1: Under cover
of darkness and with lights
extinguished, a squadron of US Navy
warships enters Manila Bay and
destroys the Spanish fleet.
June 18: The amusement pier in
Atlantic City, New Jersey opens.
Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders
charge up San Juan Hill, Cuba during
the Spanish-American War.
3: The United States Navy defeats
the Spanish fleet in Santiago, Cuba.
August 16: Edwin Prescott
patents the roller coaster.
29: Goodyear Tire Company is founded.
September 1: The first American
forestry school opens. It is located
on the Biltmore Estate in North
September 13: 20,000 construction
workers go on strike in Paris, France.
21: Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi
seizes power, imprisons the Guangxu
emperor, and halts the Hundred Days'
December 10: Spain and the United
States sign the Treaty of Paris, which
brings the Spanish-American War to an
21: Marie and Pierre Curie discover
March 3: George Dewey becomes
the first officer in the United States
Navy to hold the rank of Admiral of
March 6: The Bayer
Company of Germany patents aspirin.
May 30: Pearl Hart,
dressed as a man, and her boyfriend,
dance-hall musician and gambler Dan
Bandman, hold up the stagecoach
between Globe and Florence, Arizona.
They rob 3 passengers of $421, but
Hart gives each victim $1 so they can
purchase food once they reach
Florence. The amateur thieves leave a
trail that allows the sheriff of Pinal
County to track them down and arrest
them 4 days later. Hart manages to
escape, but is later recognized by a
lawman in New Mexico, who sends her
back to Florence to stand trial. Both
are convicted; Bandman is given 30
years, Hart, 5, but neither serves
their full sentences. Bandman, who
becomes a trusty, walks away while
working in a field and is never heard
from again. Hart becomes pregnant in
prison and rather than deal with that
embarrassing situation, Governor
Alexander O. Brodie, pardons her near
the end of 1902.
June 5: Alfred Dreyfus is
July 1: The Gideon
Society forms with the purpose of
placing Bibles in hotels.
September 6: Carnation
processes the first can of evaporated
October 11: The South
African War, also known as the Boer
War, begins. Great Britain is pitted
against two Afrikaner republics.
13: French law limits the workday
for women and children to 11 hours.
April 4: To protest the
Boer War Jean-Baptiste Sipido
shoots the Prince of Wales. The
crown prince survives to
eventually become King Edward VII.
April 11: The US
Navy purchases the first modern
submarine designed and built by
John Philip Holland.
April 30: Casey
Jones dies trying to save the
passengers of the Cannonball Express
from colliding with a stalled train
at Vaughn, Mississippi.
May 16: Publication of
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by
L. Frank Baum
May 23: William
Harvey Carney is awarded the Medal
of Honor for his actions at the
Battle of Fort Wagner during the
Civil War. He is the first African
American to received the award.
July 3: Tsar
Nicholas II issues a decree that
abolishes the banishment of
dissidents and troublemakers to
August: The first Michelin
Guide is published. It lists hotels
and restaurants in an effort to
promote road travel and boost sales.
August 3: The
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is
August 14: An army
comprised of international forces
seizes Beijing, China to crush the
August 29: Gaetano
Bresci is sentenced to life in
prison for killing King Umberto I of
Italy. Bresci commits suicide while
in jail the following May.
September 8: A
hurricane strikes Galveston,
Texas, and more than 6,000 people
die. (Some estimates place the
number as high as twice that.) It
is one of the deadliest hurricanes
in US history.
J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan
premieres in London at the Duke of
Copyright ©2023 Cindy Vallar
Click to contact me
Background image compliments
of Anke's Graphics