- James Madison becomes 4th President of the U.S.
- Abraham Lincoln is born.
- Thomas Jefferson retires to private life at Monticello,
near Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Charles Darwin is born (English naturalist; created theory
- Edgar Allan Poe is born (American author).
- Louis Braille is born (French inventor of printing and
writing system for the blind).
- U.S. population: 7,239,881.
- P. T. Barnum is born (American showman; created "Greatest
Show on Earth").
- Jane Austen writes Sense and Sensibility.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe is born (American author; wrote
Uncle Tom's Cabin).
- Ludwig Berblinger, a German tailor, unsuccessfully attempts
- Louisiana becomes a (slave)
- U.S. declares war on Britain (War of 1812).
- Charles Dickens is born (English novelist).
- Beethoven composes Symphonies No. 7 and 8.
Jacobs is born.
- Jane Austen writes Pride and Prejudice.
- Napoleon is overthrown and banished to Elba.
- Louis XVIII assumes the throne of France.
- British forces burn Washington, D.C.
- Pope Pius VII restores the Inquisition.
- Frances Scott Key writes the poem that is eventually
set to music to become the U.S. national anthem ("The Star
- The War of 1812 ends.
- Napoleon leaves Elba and lands in France; Louis XVIII
flees; the "Hundred Days" begin.
- Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo by Wellington and Blucher.
- The U.S.S. Fulton (38 tons) is the first warship
powered by steam.
- Indiana becomes the 19th
- The Washington (D.C.) American
Colonization Society is founded to resettle freed Blacks
- Jane Austen writes Emma.
- Charlotte Bronte is born (British novelist).
- R.T. Laennec invents the stethoscope.
- Mississippi becomes the
20th (slave) state.
- James Monroe is inaugurated 5th President of the U.S.
- Henry David Thoreau is born (American author).
- U.S begins construction of Erie Canal between Buffalo
- Illinois becomes the 21st
- The border between Canada and U.S. is settled (the 49th
- Congress adopts U.S. flag with 13 red and white stripes
and white star on blue for each state.
- Karl Marx is born (German political philosopher and socialist).
- The first professional horse racing takes place in the
- "Savannah" becomes the first steamship to cross the Atlantic
- Harriet Jacobs' mother
dies and Harriet realizes that she is a slave.
becomes the 22nd (slave) state.
- Florida is purchased by the U.S. from Spain.
- The future Queen Victoria is born.
- The University of Virginia is founded by Thomas Jefferson.
- Danish physicist Hans C. Oersted discovers electromagnetism.
- England sets a maximum 12-hour working day for juveniles.
- The Missouri Compromise
permits the admission of Maine as a free state and Missouri
as a slave state.
- Maine becomes the 23rd (free)
- The African country of Liberia
is founded for the repatriation of Negroes.
- U.S. Land Law fixes land price at a minimum of $1.25
- The Venus de Milo statue is discovered.
- Florence Nightingale is born (English nurse).
- Missouri becomes the 24th
- James Monroe begins 2nd term as President
- Emma Willard establishes the first women's college in
Waterford, New York.
- Mary Baker Eddy is born (U.S. founder of Christian Science).
- Faraday discovers the fundamentals of electromagnetic
- Population of European countries (in millions): France
- 30.4; Great Britain - 20.8; Italy - 18.0; Austria - 12.0;
Germany - 26.0.
- Ulysses S. Grant is born (American general and president).
- Schubert composes Symphony No. 8 in B minor ("The Unfinished").
- Daguerre and Bouton invent the diorama, paintings illuminated
in dark room to give illusion of reality.
- Gregor Mendel is born (the founder of genetics).
- Louis Pasteur is born (French microbiologist - "pasteurization").
- The streets of Boston, Massachusetts are lit by gas.
- The Monroe Doctrine prohibits colonial settlements in
America by European powers.
- Charles Macintosh invents a waterproof fabric.
- U.S. House of Rep. elects John Quincy Adams as president
when none of the four candidates wins a majority in the
- Beethoven write his Symphony No. 9 in D major ("Choral").
- J. L. Prevost and J. B. Dumas prove that the sperm is
essential to fertilization.
- Harriet Jacobs' mistress
dies, and Harriet becomes the property of Dr. Flint's little
- The Erie Canal is completed, connecting New York City
with the Great Lakes.
- Johann Strauss is born (the "Waltz King").
- Harriet Jacobs' grandmother
is given her freedom (1825?).
- Harriet's father dies.
- Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die on July 4th on the
50th anniversary the Declaration of Independence.
- James Fenimore Cooper writes The Last of the Mohicans.
- Harriet Jacobs' uncle Benjamin
tries to escape by boat to New York but is captured and
returned to his master (1828?).
- Benjamin eventually escapes
to Baltimore and then to New York.
- Beethoven dies.
- John James Audubon's Birds of North America is
- Joseph Niepce produces photographs on a metal place.
- John Walker creates sulfur friction matches.
- Dr. Flint begins to harass
Harriet Jacobs and tries to sexually exploit her.
- In U.S. presidential election, Andrew Jackson defeats
John Quincy Adams.
- Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers is published.
- Count Leo Tolstoi is born (Russian novelist).
- Jules Verne is born (French author of Utopian novels).
- Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English
Language is published.
- Charles Carroll, the richest American of his time, inaugurates
construction of the Baltimore and Ohio, first railroad built
in U.S. for transport of passengers and freight.
- Harriet Jacobs' son by
"Mr. Sands" is born, and she and the baby move in with her
- Andrew Jackson is inaugurated as seventh President.
- Chopin (Polish composer and pianist) has his debut in
- Anton Rubinstein is born (Russian pianist and composer).
- James Smithson bequeaths 100,000 pounds to found Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, D.C.
- The first U.S. patent on a typewriter is granted to William
B. Burt of Detroit.
- Harriet Jacobs' grandmother
becomes the owner of the house that Harriet eventually hid
- "Jim Crow," an early American
popular song, is sung by Thomas "Daddy" Rice (thought to
be the origin of the term "Jim Crow").
- Emily Dickinson is born (American poet).
- The first covered wagon train goes from the Missouri
River to the Rockies.
- The Sioux, Sauk, Fox and other Indian tribes sign a treaty
giving up most of what will become Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota.
- The Choctaw Indians sign a treaty giving up nearly 8
million acres of their land east of the Mississippi for
land in what is now Oklahoma.
- Joseph Smith founds the religious society of Mormons
- Scottish botanist Robert Brown discovers the cell nucleus
- Belva Lockwood is first female lawyer to practice before
the Supreme Court and to be nominated for the presidency.
- Barthelemy Thimmonier (a French tailor) devises a machine
for utilitarian stitching (beginning of the sewing machine).
Jacobs' daughter by "Mr. Sands" is born.
- Nat Turner, a Virginia slave,
leads revolt in which 55 Whites die.
- William Lloyd Garrison begins
publishing the abolitionist periodical The Liberator
- Charles Darwin (naturalist) sails on "H.M.S. Beagle"
to South America, New Zealand, and Australia (he originated
the theory of evolution).
- The first horse-drawn buses appear in New York.
- Population of Great Britain - 13.9 million; America -
- Samuel Smith writes the words "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"
to the tune of "God Save the King" (until 1931, "America"
is one of the U.S. national anthems).
- New England Anti-Slavery
Society is founded in Boston.
- Andrew Jackson, nominated by the new Democratic Party,
is reelected President.
- The source of the Mississippi River is discovered at
what is now Lake Itasca, Minnesota.
- The Oregon Trail becomes the main route for settlers
to Oregon country.
- Louisa May Alcott is born (author of Little Women).
- Lewis Carroll is born (author of Alice in Wonderland).
- Edouard Manet is born (French impressionist painter).
- First horse-drawn trolleys appear in New York.
- Bestseller is Davy Crockett's autobiography.
- New York Sun is founded (the first successful
penny daily newspaper).
- Oberlin, the first coeducational college, opens in Ohio
and admits Blacks.
- Slavery is abolished in the British Empire.
- The Seminole Indians are forced to leave Florida.
- The Spanish Inquisition, begun during the 13th century,
- Abraham Lincoln (at 25) enters politics in the Illinois
- Bestseller is Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre
- Steamboat service between Buffalo, New York, and Chicago,
Illinois, begins on a weekly basis.
- American Cyrus McCormick invents the reaping machine.
- Harriet Jacobs goes into
hiding in the garret of her grandmother's house.
- Texas secedes from Mexico.
- The Liberty Bell cracks while tolling the death of Chief
Justice John Marshall.
- Hans Christian Andersen begins publishing his children's
- Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) is born (American
- Halley's Comet reappears.
- U.S. showman P. T. Barnum begins his career with the
exhibition of Joyce Heth, a Black woman, alleged to be George
Washington's nurse and over 160 years old.
- Samuel Morse invents the telegraph.
- Samuel Colt takes out an English patent for his single-barreled
pistol and rifle.
- 1098 miles of railroad are in use in America.
- Second year of Harriet Jacobs'
- Arkansas becomes the 25th
- Davy Crockett is killed at the Alamo.
- Texas wins independence from Mexico and becomes a republic
with General Sam Houston as first president.
- A wagon train of missionaries led by Dr. Marcus Whitman
reach Washington at the Columbia and Snake Rivers; their
wives are the first white women to cross the Rockies.
- Betsy Ross, maker of the first American flag, dies.
- Ernestine Rose presents a petition to the New York Legislature
requesting married women's right to own property.
- Third year of Harriet Jacobs'
- The Gag Law, aimed at suppressing
debate on slavery, is passed by U.S. Congress.
- E. P. Lovejoy, editor of
an abolitionist paper, is murdered by mob in Alton, Illinois.
- Michigan becomes the 26th
- Martin Van Buren is inaugurated as the eighth President.
- The Massachusetts Senate creates the first state board
of education (with Horace Mann as its first secretary).
- Victoria becomes Queen of Great Britain.
- Sitting Bull (American Indian chief) is killed.
- Horace Mann begins educational reforms in Massachusetts.
- England initiates official birth registration.
- Fourth year of Harriet Jacobs'
Underground Railroad is organized by abolitionists to help
slaves escape to the North.
- Federal troops expel 14,000 Cherokee Indians from Georgia
and force them to travel westward to Indian Territory (now
Oklahoma) on the "Trail of Tears" (so called because a quarter
of the Cherokee nation died on the journey).
- Bestsellers are Dickens' Oliver Twist and Nicholas
- French philosopher Auguste Comte gives sociology its
- The New York Herald is the first U.S. newspaper
to employ European correspondents.
year of Harriet Jacobs' self-imposed hiding.
- Slaves mutineered on the
slave-ship the Amistad, killing the crew. Former President,
John Quincy Adams, successfully defended them before the
Southerner-dominated Supreme Court, and they were allowed
to return Africa.
- Mississippi becomes the first state to permit women to
control their own property.
- Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher
- Charles Goodyear discovers the process of "vulcanization"
which leads to the commercial use of rubber.
- Abner Doubleday lays out the first baseball field and
conducts the first baseball game ever played (Cooperstown,
- George D. Weed's anti-slavery book,
Slavery As It Is, is published.
- Sixth year of Harriet Jacobs'
- The Worldwide Anti-Slavery
Convention is held in London. American women walk
out in protest when they are not permitted to take their
seats as delegates. As a result, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth
Cady Stanton and others organize women's rights conferences.
- Queen Victoria of Great Britain marries Prince Albert.
- Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky is born (Russian composer).
- Claude Monet (French painter), Pierre Auguste Renoir
(French impressionist painter), and Auguste Rodin (French
sculptor) are born.
- Ninepins becomes a very popular game in America.
- 2816 miles of railroad in operation in U.S.; 1331 in
- Seventh (and final) year
of Harriet Jacobs' self-imposed hiding.
U.S.S. "Creole," carrying slaves from Virginia to Louisiana,
is seized by the slaves and sails into Nassau where they
- Britain's assumes control of Hong Kong.
- William Henry Harrison is inaugurated as 9th president.
- President Harrison dies of pneumonia. John Tyler
becomes the 10th president.
- James Fenimore Cooper writes The Deerslayer.
- Scottish surgeon James Braid discovers hypnosis.
- English mechanical engineer Sir Joseph Whitworth proposes
standard screw threads.
- P. T. Barnum opens the "American Museum," an exhibition
of freaks, curios, etc. in New York City.
- American boxer Tom Hyer becomes the first recognized
- Population statistics: Great Britain - 18.5 million;
America 17 million; Ireland 8 million.
- The first university degrees are granted to women in
- Harriet Jacobs escapes to
- Massachusetts act establishes that children under 12 years
old may work no longer than 10 hours per day in factory
- Poe writes The Masque of the Red Death.
- Austrian physicist C. J. Doppler publishes a paper on
the Doppler effect.
- American physician Crawford W. Long uses ether as an
anesthesia for surgery.
- The polka (a Czech dance) comes into fashion.
- Boston and Albany are connected by railroad.
- Jefferson Davis (future President of the Confederacy)
begins his political career as delegate to the Democratic
Convention in Alabama.
- Charles Dickens writes A Christmas Carol and
- Dorothea Dix reports on the horrible conditions of prisons
and asylums in Massachusetts.
- Samuel Morse receives a $30,000 grant from Congress to
build the first telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore.
- Siamese twins Chang and Eng marry Sarah and Adelaide
- Skiing becomes a sport (Norway).
- Harriet Jacobs has both
of her children living with her in Boston during the winter
of 1844-1845 (the first time the three are together since
she went into hiding nine years before).
- The Baptist Church
splits into the Northern and Southern conventions as a result
of the slavery issue.
- Alexandre Dumas writes The Count of Monte Cristo.
- Morse's telegraph is used for first time between Baltimore
- The gasoline engine is patented by Stuart Perry.
- Paper made from wood pulp is invented by Friedrich Keller.
- The YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) is founded
in England by George Williams.
- Florida becomes the 27th
- Texas becomes the 28th (slave)
- James K. Polk is inaugurated as 11th President.
- The Knickerbocker Baseball Club codifies the rules of
- The U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland is opened.
- Iowa becomes the 29th (free)
- Congress declares war on Mexico.
- Brigham Young leads the Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois
- The Opera in Paris has electric arc lighting.
- John Deere creates a plow with a steel moldboard.
- Elias Howe patents his sewing machine.
- In the first match baseball game, the New Yorks beat
the Knickerbockers 23-1 in New Jersey.
- American dentist W. T. Morton uses ether as an anesthetic.
- Ireland suffers from famine caused by the potato crop
failure (leads to increased U.S. immigration).
- The Smithsonian Institution opens in Washington, D.C.
- Liberia (African country
founded by freed U.S. slaves) is proclaimed an independent
- The first official postage stamp is issued by the U.S.
government (5-cent and 10-cent stamps).
- Abraham Lincoln becomes a Congressman.
- New Hampshire passes a law limiting the work day to 10
- Vermont passes a law allowing a wife full ownership of
real estate; she needs her husband's consent to sell.
- Charlotte Bronte writes Jane Eyre.
- Emily Bronte writes Wuthering Heights.
- William Makepeace Thackeray writes Vanity Fair.
- The Mormons found Salt Lake City.
- Thomas Alva Edison is born (American inventor of the
lightbulb and phonograph, to name a few).
- Alexander Graham Bell is born (Scottish-American inventor
of the telephone).
- Gold is first discovered in California.
- Wisconsin becomes the 30th
- The Mexican-American war ends; U.S. gets Texas, New Mexico,
California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and parts of Colorado
- The first medical school for women opens in Boston with
12 women enrolled.
- New York State allows women equal rights to property.
- The telegraph links New York City and Chicago.
- Marx and Engels publish their Communist Manifesto.
- Harriet Jacobs moves to
Rochester, New York. Her owner, "Dr. Flint's" daughter,
continues to look for her.
- Zachary Taylor is inaugurated the 12th President.
- A stagecoach line carrying mail opens between Independence,
Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- Dickens writes David Copperfield.
- Thoreau writes Civil Disobedience.
- Edgar Allan Poe dies in Baltimore (American author).
- Who's Who is first published.
- French physicist Armand Fizeau measures the speed of
- The safety pin is invented by Walter Hunt.
- Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first American female
- Amelia Bloomer (temperance and women's rights advocate)
creates her scandalous "bloomers" (a baggy pant-like garment)
and publishes The Lily (a rights magazine).
- A cholera epidemic begins in the South.
- Harriet Jacobs moves to
New York City. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 causes
her great anguish.
- Population of the U.S. is
23 million with 3.2 million Black slaves.
- Henry Clay presents the
Compromise of 1850 to the U.S. Senate to defuse the slavery
issue. A part of the Compromise, the Fugitive Slave
Law makes aiding a runaway slave a federal crime.
- The slave trade is abolished
in Washington, D.C.
- California becomes
the 31st (free) state.
- President Zachary Taylor dies of cholera in office; Millard
Fillmore becomes 13th President.
- The first national women's rights convention is held
in Massachusetts with representatives from 9 states.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne writes The Scarlet Letter.
- R. W. Bunsen invents the gas burner.
- The Sioux Indians give up their land in what is now Iowa
- Hawthorne writes The House of Seven Gables.
- Herman Melville writes Moby Dick.
- Singer invents the continuous stitch sewing machine.
- Maine and Illinois begin to enforce prohibition against
- Population statistics (in millions): China - 430; Germany
- 34; France - 33; Great Britain - 20.8; U.S. 23.
- Harriet Jacobs learns that
her owner is in New York so she plans to flee to California
to join her brother. Before this happens, Harriet
becomes free when Cornelia Willis, her employer and friend,
buys her freedom for $300.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe writes
Uncle Tom's Cabin.
- Massachusetts passes the first compulsory school attendance
law in the U.S.
- The first train reaches Chicago from the East (the Michigan
- David Livingstone explores the Zambezi River.
- Harriet Jacobs' grandmother
- Harriet begins to write
about her experiences in anonymous letters to a New York
newspaper. Later she begins to write her book Incidents
in the Life of a Slave Girl.
- Vincent Van Gogh is born (Dutch painter).
- Henry Steinway begins his piano company in New York with
his three sons.
- Alexander Wood uses a hypodermic syringe for injections.
- Queen Victoria receives chloroform during the birth of
her 7th child.
- Vaccination against smallpox is made compulsory in Britain.
- The Kansas-Nebraska Act
allows settlers in the Kansas and Nebraska territories to
decide whether to allow slavery or not.
- Commodore Perry negotiates the first American treaty
- The Republican Party is formed.
- George Boole writes An Investigation of the Laws
of Thought, on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories
of Logic and Probabilities.
- Henry David Thoreau writes Walden, or Life in the
- German watchmaker Heinrich Goebel invents the first form
of the electric light bulb.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writes The Song of Hiawatha.
- Walt Whitman writes Leaves of Grass.
- The first American kindergarten is established by Mrs.
- The first iron Cunard steamer crosses the Atlantic in
9 1/2 days.
- Florence Nightingale introduces hygienic standards into
military hospitals during the Crimean War.
- In Kansas, five pro-slavers
are murdered at Potawatomie Creek by John Brown and his
anti-slavery followers .
- Gustave Flaubert writes Madame Bovary.
- Neanderthal skull is found near Dusseldorf, Germany.
- James Buchanan is inaugurated as the 15th President.
- The Supreme Court refuses
to grant freedom to Dred Scott, a slave living on free soil
in Missouri Territory.
- Czar Alexander II begins the emancipation of the serfs
- Pasteur proves that fermentation is caused by living
- E. G. Otis installs the first safety elevator.
- Harriet Jacobs finishes
her book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
She travels to England to try to sell her book manuscript.
- Minnesota becomes the 32nd
- The New York Symphony Orchestra gives its first public
- Joseph Lister (English surgeon) studies the coagulation
- The first transatlantic cable is completed.
- Mail is carried by stage from coast to coast for the
first time (the time from St. Louis to San Francisco is
- The Suez Canal Company is formed.
- The National Association of Baseball Players is organized.
- Anti-slavery zealot, John
Brown, and 21 followers seize the federal armory at Harper's
Ferry, Virginia (October 16th); Colonel Robert E. Lee captures
John Brown (October 18th); John Brown is hanged for treason
in Charleston (December 2nd).
- The Supreme Court declares
the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 constitutional (prohibiting
people from helping escaped slaves).
- Oregon becomes the 33rd (free)
- Dickens writes A Tale of Two Cities.
- Arthur Conan Doyle is born (wrote Sherlock Holmes mysteries).
- Edward Fitzgerald writes the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
- Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Natural
Selection is published.
- The first oil well is drilled at Titusville, Pennsylvania,
beginning the modern oil industry.
- The steamroller is invented.
- The Baseball Club of Washington, D.C. is organized.
- Charles Blondin (Frenchman) crosses Niagara Falls on
- Work on the Suez Canal is begun.
- Abraham Lincoln is elected
the 16th President.
- South Carolina secedes
from the Union on December 20.
- The Pony Express begins mail service between St. Joseph,
Missouri, and Sacramento, California.
- Lenoir constructs the first practical internal-combustion
- Baseball becomes popular in New York and Boston; first
recorded game in San Francisco is played.
- The British Open Golf Championship is started.
- Skiing becomes a competitive sport.
Jacobs' book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
is published (January). She uses the pseudonym Linda
- Jefferson Davis is inaugurated
as the President of the Confederacy (February 18).
- Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated
as 16th President (March 4).
- Confederate soldiers fire
on Fort Sumter (April 12).
- The Civil War begins.
- Congress passes the first
income tax law to help pay for the war.
- Kansas becomes the
34th (free) state.
- Russian serfs are emancipated.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning dies (English poet).
- Dickens writes Great Expectations.
- George Eliot writes Silas Marner.
- A skeletal link between birds and reptiles is discovered
- T. S. Mort builds the first machine-chilled cold storage
- The U.S. introduces the passport system.
- The telegraphs connects New York to San Francisco.
- Population figures (in millions): Russia - 76; U.S. -
32; Great Britain - 23; Italy - 25.
- Harriet Jacobs died on March
7, 1897, in Washington, D.C.