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Events through 1800-1876

  • 1800

    Napoleon conquers Italy, firmly establishes himself as First Consul in France. In the U.S., federal government moves to Washington, D.C. Robert Owen's social reforms in England. William Herschel discovers infrared rays. Alessandro Volta produces electricity.
  • 1801

    Austria makes temporary peace with France. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland established with one monarch and one parliament; Catholics excluded from voting.
  • Louisiana Purchase

    Louisiana Purchase
    U.S. negotiates Louisiana Purchase from France: for $15 million, U.S. doubles its domain, increasing its territory by 827,000 sq mi (2,144,500 sq km), from Mississippi River to Rockies and from Gulf of Mexico to British North America.
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition

    Lewis and Clark Expedition
    Haiti declares independence from France; first black nation to gain freedom from European colonial rule. Napoleon transforms the Consulate of France into an empire, proclaims himself emperor of France, systematizes French law under Code Napoleon. In the U.S., Alexander Hamilton is mortally wounded in duel with Aaron Burr. Lewis and Clark expedition begins exploration of what is now northwest U.S.
  • Lord Nelson

    Lord Nelson
    Lord Nelson defeats the French-Spanish fleets in the Battle of Trafalgar. Napoleon victorious over Austrian and Russian forces at the Battle of Austerlitz.
  • Robert Fulton

    Robert Fulton
    Robert Fulton makes first successful steamboat trip on Clermont between New York City and Albany.
  • 1808

    French armies occupy Rome and Spain, extending Napoleon's empire. Britain begins aiding Spanish guerrillas against Napoleon in Peninsular War. In the U.S., Congress bars importation of slaves. Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth Symphonies performed.
  • USS Constitution

    USS Constitution
    Napoleon's Grand Army invades Russia in June. Forced to retreat in winter, most of Napoleon's 600,000 men are lost. In the U.S., war with Britain declared over freedom of the seas for U.S. vessels (War of 1812). USS Constitution sinks British frigate.
  • 1814

    French defeated by allies (Britain, Austria, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, and Portugal) in War of Liberation. Napoleon exiled to Elba, off Italian coast. Bourbon king Louis XVIII takes French throne. George Stephenson builds first practical steam locomotive.
  • 1815

    Napoleon returns: “Hundred Days” begin. Napoleon defeated by Wellington at Waterloo, banished again to St. Helena in South Atlantic. Congress of Vienna: victorious allies change the map of Europe. War of 1812 ends with Treaty of Ghent
  • Simon Bolivar

    Simon Bolivar
    Simón Bolívar liberates New Granada (now Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador) as Spain loses hold on South American countries; named president of Colombia.
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise > Missouri admitted as slave state but slavery barred in rest of Louisiana Purchase north of 36°30' N.
  • Greeks

    Greeks proclaim a republic and independence from Turkey. Turks invade Greece. Russia declares war on Turkey (1828). Greece also aided by France and Britain. War ends and Turks recognize Greek independence (1829). Brazil becomes independent of Portugal. Schubert's Eighth Symphony (“The Unfinished”).
  • U.S. Monroe Doctrine

    U.S. Monroe Doctrine warns European nations not to interfere in Western Hemisphere.
  • 1824

    Mexico becomes a republic, three years after declaring independence from Spain. Bolívar liberates Peru, becomes its president. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
  • 1825

    First passenger-carrying railroad in England.
  • Joseph Nicephore Niepce

    Joseph Nicephore Niepce
    Joseph-Nicéphore Niepce takes the world's first photograph.
  • 1830

    French invade Algeria. Louis Philippe becomes “Citizen King” as revolution forces Charles X to abdicate. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formed in U.S. by Joseph Smith.
  • Nat Turner

    Nat Turner
    Polish revolt against Russia fails. Belgium separates from the Netherlands. In U.S., Nat Turner leads unsuccessful slave rebellion.
  • 1833

    Slavery abolished in British Empire.
  • 1834

    Charles Babbage invents “analytical engine,” precursor of computer. McCormick patents reaper.
  • Great Trek

    Great Trek
    Boer farmers start “Great Trek”—Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State founded in South Africa. Mexican army besieges Texans in Alamo. Entire garrison, including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, wiped out. Texans gain independence from Mexico after winning Battle of San Jacinto. Dickens's Pickwick Papers.
  • Queen Victoria

    Victoria becomes queen of Great Britain. Mob kills Elijah P. Lovejoy, Illinois abolitionist publisher.
  • First Opium War

    First Opium War
    First Opium War (to 1842) between Britain and China, over importation of drug into China.
  • 1840

    Lower and Upper Canada united.
  • John Tyler

    John Tyler
    U.S. President Harrison dies (April 4) one month after inauguration; John Tyler becomes first vice president to succeed to presidency.
  • Crawford Long

    Crawford Long uses first anesthetic (ether).
  • Wagner's opera

    Wagner's opera
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  • Fifty-four-forty-or-fight

    Democratic convention calls for annexation of Texas and acquisition of Oregon (“Fifty-four-forty-or-fight”). Five Chinese ports opened to U.S. ships. Samuel F. B. Morse patents telegraph.
  • Edgar Allen Poe

    Edgar Allen Poe
    Congress adopts joint resolution for annexation of Texas. Edgar Allan Poe publishes The Raven and Other Poems.
  • War between Mexico

    War between Mexico
    U.S. declares war on Mexico. California and New Mexico annexed by U.S. Brigham Young leads Mormons to Great Salt Lake. W. T. Morton uses ether as anesthetic. Sewing machine patented by Elias Howe. Frederick Douglass launches abolitionist newspaper The North Star. Failure of potato crop causes famine in Ireland.
  • 1848

    Revolt in Paris: Louis Philippe abdicates; Louis Napoleon elected president of French Republic. Revolutions in Vienna, Venice, Berlin, Milan, Rome, and Warsaw. Put down by royal troops in 1848–1849. U.S.-Mexico War ends; Mexico cedes claims to Texas Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's Communist Manifesto. Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and joins the Underground Railroad. Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
  • Gold Rush

    Gold Rush
    California gold rush begins.
  • Henry Clay

    Henry Clay opens great debate on slavery, warns South against secession.
  • Herman Melville

    Herman Melville
    Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.
  • South African Republic

    South African Republic established. Louis Napoleon proclaims himself Napoleon III (“Second Empire”). Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
  • Crimean War

    Crimean War
    Crimean War begins as Turkey declares war on Russia. Commodore Perry reaches Tokyo.
  • 1854

    Britain and France join Turkey in war on Russia. In U.S., Kansas-Nebraska Act permits local option on slavery; rioting and bloodshed. Japanese allow American trade. Antislavery men in Michigan form Republican Party. Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade. Thoreau's Walden.
  • Florence Nightingale

    Florence Nightingale
    Armed clashes in Kansas between pro- and anti-slavery forces. Florence Nightingale nurses wounded in Crimea. Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
  • Flaubert

    Flaubert's Madame Bovary.
  • 1857

    Supreme Court, in Dred Scott decision, rules that a slave is not a citizen. Financial crisis in Europe and U.S. Great Mutiny (Sepoy Rebellion) begins in India. India placed under crown rule as a result.
  • Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln
    Pro-slavery constitution rejected in Kansas. Abraham Lincoln makes strong antislavery speech in Springfield, Ill.: “This Government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” Lincoln-Douglas debates. First trans-Atlantic telegraph cable completed by Cyrus W. Field.
  • John Brown

    John Brown
    John Brown raids Harpers Ferry; is captured and hanged. Work begins on Suez Canal. Unification of Italy starts under leadership of Count Cavour, Sardinian premier. Joined by France in war against Austria. Jean-Joseph-Étienne Lenoir builds first practical internal-combustion engine. Edward Fitzgerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. J. S. Mill's On Liberty.
  • U.S. Civil War

    U.S. Civil War
    U.S. Civil War begins as attempts at compromise fail. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas secede; with South Carolina, they form the Confederate States of America, with Jefferson Davis as president. Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina secede and join Confederacy. First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas).(For detailed chronology, see The Civil War.) Congress creates Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada territories; adopts income tax; Lincoln inaugurated.
  • 1862

    Several major Civil War battles: Battle of Shiloh, Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), Battle of Antietam. Salon des Refusés introduces impressionism
  • Archduke Maximilian

    Archduke Maximilian
    French capture Mexico City; proclaim Archduke Maximilian of Austria emperor. Battle of Gettysburg.
  • March to the Sea

    March to the Sea
    Gen. Sherman's Atlanta campaign and “march to the sea.”
  • 1865`

    Gen. Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox; the Civil War is over. Lincoln fatally shot at Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth. Vice President Johnson sworn as successor. Booth caught and dies of gunshot wounds; four conspirators are hanged. Joseph Lister begins antiseptic surgery. Gregor Mendel's Law of Heredity. Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • Alfred Nobel

    Alfred Nobel
    Alfred Nobel invents dynamite (patented in Britain, 1867). Seven Weeks' War: Austria defeated by Prussia and Italy.
  • Austria Hungary Dual Monarchy

    Austria-Hungary Dual Monarchy established. French leave Mexico; Maximilian executed. Dominion of Canada established. U.S. buys Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000. South African diamond field discovered. Japan ends 675–year shogun rule. Volume I of Marx's Das Kapital. Strauss's Blue Danube.
  • Queen Isabella

    Queen Isabella
    Revolution in Spain; Queen Isabella deposed, flees to France. In U.S., Fourteenth Amendment giving civil rights to blacks is ratified. Georgia under military government after legislature expels blacks.
  • 1869

    First U.S. transcontinental rail route completed. James Fisk and Jay Gould's attempt to control gold market causes Black Friday panic. Suez Canal opens. Mendeleev's periodic table of elements.
  • Franco Prussian War

    Franco Prussian War
    Franco-Prussian War (to 1871): Napoleon III capitulates at Sedan. Revolt in Paris; Third Republic proclaimed.
  • 1871

    France surrenders Alsace-Lorraine to Germany; war ends. German Empire proclaimed with Prussian King as Kaiser Wilhelm I. Fighting with Apaches begins in American West. Boss Tweed corruption exposed in New York. The Chicago Fire, with 250 deaths and $196-million damage. Stanley meets Livingstone in Africa.
  • Jules Verne's

    Jules Verne's
    Congress gives amnesty to most Confederates. Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days.
  • 1873

    Economic crisis in Europe. U.S. establishes gold standard.
  • 1875

    First Kentucky Derby.
  • George A. Custer

    George A. Custer
    Sioux kill Gen. George A. Custer and 264 troopers at Little Big Horn River. Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.