Historical Events in 1856

  • Jan 8 Dr John A Veatch discovers borax, Tuscan Springs, Calif
  • Jan 23 Steamer Pacific, leaves Liverpool on final voyage (lost at sea, 186 on board)
  • Jan 25 Battle of Seattle; skirmish between settlers & Indians
  • Jan 29 Victoria Cross established to acknowledge valour in the face of the enemy (United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries)
  • Feb 1 Auburn University is chartered as the East Alabama Male College.
  • Feb 7 The colonial Tasmanian Parliament passes the first piece of legislation (the Electoral Act of 1856) anywhere in the world providing for elections by way of a secret ballot.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 18 The American Party (Know-Nothings) convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to nominate its first Presidential candidate, former President Millard Fillmore.

13th US President Millard Fillmore
13th US President
Millard Fillmore
  • Feb 19 Tin-type camera patented by Hamilton Smith, Gambier, Ohio
  • Feb 20 The steam packet-ship John Rutledge, en route from Liverpool to New York, struck an iceberg and sank with the loss of 120 passengers and 19 crew; only one survivor (Thomas Nye of New Bedford)
  • Feb 22 1st national meeting of Republican Party (Pittsburgh)
  • Feb 27 18th Grand National: George Stevens aboard Freetrader wins
  • Feb 29 Hostilities in Russo-Turkish War cease
  • Mar 5 Covent Garden Opera House, London, destroyed in a fire
  • Mar 5 Georgia becomes 1st state to regulate railroads
  • Mar 9 Sigma Alpha Epsilon is founded in the Johnston Mansion House on the University of Alabama
  • Mar 25 A E Burnside patents Burnside carbine
  • Mar 26 New South Wales's first 1st-class game, v Victoria at Melbourne NSW won
  • Mar 30 Russia signs Peace of Paris, ending the Crimean War
  • Apr 3 Gunpowder in church explodes killing 4,000 in Rhodos
  • Apr 10 The Theta Chi Fraternity is founded at Norwich University.
  • Apr 11 Battle of Rivas; Costa Rica beats Wm Walker's invading Nicaraguans
  • Apr 18 Russian Chancellor Count Nesselrode resigns
  • Apr 29 Peace between Britain & Russia following the Crimean War
  • May 7 Argentina & Brazil sign a navigation pact
  • May 15 2nd SF Vigilance Committee organized
  • May 19 Sen Charles Sumner, Mass, spoke out against slavery
  • May 21 Lawrence, Kansas, is captured and sacked by pro-slavery forces
  • May 22 Violence in the US Senate, SC rep Brooks used a cane on Mass Sen Sumner
  • May 24 Pottawatomie Massacre took place in Kansas
  • May 27 Doctor William Palmer (the Rugeley Poisoner ) found guilty of poisoning in Stafford, England
  • Jun 3 Cullen Whipple patents a machine for making screws
  • Jun 8 Pitcairn Islanders arrive on Norfolk Island
  • Jun 9 500 Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa and head west for Salt Lake City, Utah carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts.
  • Jun 17 Republican Party opens its 1st national convention in Philadelphia
  • Jul 15 Natal forms as a British colony separate from Cape Colony
  • Jul 16 Statue of Laurens Jansz Coster unveiled in Haarlem
  • Jul 17 The Great Train Wreck of 1856 between Camp Hill and Fort Washington, Pennsylvania kills over 60 people.
  • Jul 31 Christchurch, New Zealand, is chartered as a city.
  • Aug 6 The Great Bell is cast in the Great Clock of Westminster (Big Ben)
  • Aug 10 Hurricane washes away 2-300 revelers at Last Island, Louisiana
  • Aug 12 Anthony Fass patents accordion
  • Aug 20 Wilberforce University forms in Ohio
  • Aug 21 America's first consul to Japan, Townsend Harris, arrives in Shimoda. (Traditional Japanese date: July 21, 1856)
  • Sep 2 Tianjing's struggle Incident in Nanjing, China.
  • Sep 14 Battle of San Jacinto at Hacienda San Jacinto, Nicaraguan forces defeat American filibusters
  • Oct 7 Cyrus Chambers Jr patents folding machine that folds book & newspapers
  • Oct 8 The Second Opium War or second Anglo-Chinese War: begins with the Arrow Incident on the Pearl River
  • Oct 19 James Kelly & Jack Smith fight bareknuckle for 6h15m in Melbourne
  • Oct 20 Arnhem-Oberhausen railway in Netherlands opens
  • Oct 24 Constitution of South Australia adopted
  • Nov 3 A British fleet bombards Canton.

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

Nov 4 James Buchanan elected 15th US president

15th US President James Buchanan
15th US President
James Buchanan
  • Nov 16 Amsterdam post office at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal opens
  • Nov 17 On the Sonoita River in present-day southern Arizona, the United States Army establishes Fort Buchanan in order to help control new land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase.
  • Dec 9 The Iranian city of Bushehr surrenders to occupying British forces.