Historical Events in 1859

  • Jan 5th 1st steamboat sails, Red River
  • Jan 22nd Brahms' 1st piano concerto (in D minor) premieres, Hanover
  • Jan 23rd Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii begins an eruption that lasts 300 days
  • Jan 24th Political union of Moldavia and Wallachia; Alexandru Ioan Cuza is elected as ruler.
  • Feb 4th The Codex Sinaiticus is discovered in Egypt.
  • Feb 5th Wallachia and Moldavia are united under Alexander John Cuza as the United Principalities.
  • Feb 10th Gen Horsford defeats Begum of Oude & Nana Sahib in Indian mutiny
  • Feb 14th Oregon admitted as 33rd state of the Union
  • Feb 16th The French Government passes a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch.

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Feb 17th Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Un Ballo in maschera" premieres in Napoli

Composer Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
  • Feb 25th 1st use of "insanity plea" to prove innocence
  • Feb 26th Paul Morphy's chess match vs Augustus Mongredien begins; Morphy wins
  • Feb 28th Arkansas legislature requires free blacks to choose exile or slavery
  • Mar 1st Present seal of SF adopted (its 2nd)
  • Mar 2nd 21st Grand National: Chris Green aboard Half Caste IRE wins
  • Mar 18th Vera Cruz besieged by Miramon (Cons) in Mexican War of Reform
  • Mar 19th Opera "Faust" by Charles Gounod premieres in Paris
  • Mar 21st Scottish National Gallery opens in Edinburgh
  • Mar 21st Zoological Society of Philadelphia, 1st in US, incorporated
  • Mar 26th 1st supposed sighting of Vulcan, a planet thought to orbit inside Mercury; it doesn't exist
  • Mar 28th 1st performance of John Brahms' 1st Serenade for orchestra
  • Apr 4th Opera "Dinorah" is produced (Paris)
  • Apr 4th Bryant's Minstrels debut "Dixie" in New York City in the finale of a blackface minstrel show.
  • Apr 6th US recognizes Liberal government in Mexico's War of Reform
  • Apr 12th Hibernia Savings & Loan Society of SF incorporates
  • Apr 25th Ground broken for Suez Canal
  • Apr 26th Dan Sickles is acquitted of murder on grounds of temporary insanity - 1st time this defense used successfully in the US
  • Apr 27th "Pomona" sinks in North Atlantic drowning all 400 aboard

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 30th Charles Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities" is first published in literary periodical "All the Year Round" (weekly installments until Nov 26)

Novelist Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
  • Apr 30th Paul Morphy returns from 10-month chess tour of Europe, retires
  • May 4th The Cornwall Railway opens across the Royal Albert Bridge linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall in England.
  • May 17th Australian Rules Football first 'laws of the game' published
  • May 31st Philadelphia A's organize to play "town ball" became baseball 20 years later
  • Jun 4th Second Italian War of Independence: Battle of Magenta, results in a French-Sardinian victory under Napoleon III over the Austrians under Marshal Ferencz Gyulai
  • Jun 6th Australia: Queensland is established as a separate colony from New South Wales (Queensland Day).
  • Jun 11th Comstock silver load discovered near Virginia City, Nevada
  • Jun 12th Comstock Silver Lode in Nevada discovered
  • Jun 15th Pig War: Ambiguity in the Oregon Treaty leads to the "Northwestern Boundary Dispute" between U.S. and British/Canadian settlers.

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

Jun 24th Battle of Solferino, Northern Italy: a French Army under Napoleon III and Sardinian Army under Victor Emmanuel II overcame the Austrian Army under Emperor Franz Joseph I.

King of Sardinia and Italy Victor Emmanuel II
King of Sardinia and Italy
Victor Emmanuel II
  • Jun 28th 1st dog show held (Newcastle-on-Tyne, England)
  • Jun 30th Charles Blondin is 1st to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope
  • Jul 1st 1st intercollegiate baseball game, Amherst beats Williams 66-32
  • Jul 1st Balloon covers a record 809 miles over St Louis
  • Jul 5th Capt N C Brooks discovers Midway Islands
  • Jul 8th King Charles XV/Carl IV accedes to the throne of Sweden-Norway.
  • Jul 12th Paper bag manufacturing machine patents by William Goodale, Mass
  • Jul 22nd V E Walker takes 10-74 in an innings for England v Surrey
  • Aug 9th Otis Tuft patents the first passenger elevator in the US
  • Aug 17th 1st air mail (in a balloon) took off from Lafayette, Indiana
  • Aug 27th 1st successful oil well drilled, near Titusville, Penn by Edwin Drake
  • Aug 28th A geomagnetic storm causes the Aurora Borealis to shine so brightly that it is seen clearly over parts of USA, Europe, and even as far afield as Japan.
  • Sep 1st 1st Pullman sleeping car in service
  • Sep 1st R C Carrington & R Hodgson make 1st observation of solar flare
  • Sep 1st A solar superstorm affects electrical telegraph service.
  • Sep 2nd Gas lighting introduced to Hawaii
  • Sep 2nd A solar super storm affects electrical telegraph service.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 16th Lake Nyasa, which forms Malawi's boundary with Tanzania & Mozambique discovered by British explorer David Livingstone

Physician and Explorer David Livingstone
Physician and Explorer
David Livingstone

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 17th Joshua Abraham Norton, English-born resident of San Francisco, proclaims himself his Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, Emperor of the United States of America

Emperor of the USA Emperor Norton
Emperor of the USA
Emperor Norton

MurderMurder of Interest

Sep 17th James Donnelly is sentenced to hang for murdering Patrick Farrell, but a petition for clemency reduces his sentence to 7 years in Kingston Penitentiary

Squatter James Donnelly
James Donnelly

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 16th John Brown leads 21 in raid on federal arsenal, Harper's Ferry, Va

Abolitionist John Brown
John Brown
  • Oct 19th Wilhelm Tempel discovers diffuse nebula around Pleid star Merope
  • Oct 25th Merchant vessel Royal Charter runs aground at Liverpool, 459 die
  • Oct 26th The Royal Charter is wrecked on the coast of Anglesey, north Wales with 459 dead
  • Oct 29th Spain declares war on Morocco
  • Nov 1st The current Cape Lookout, North Carolina, lighthouse was lit for the first time. Its first-order Fresnel lens can be seen for about 19 miles (30 kilometers), in good conditions.
  • Nov 12th Jules Leotard performs 1st Flying Trapeze circus act (Paris) He also designed garment that bears his name
  • Nov 16th Aleksandr Ostrovsky's "Groza" premieres in Moscow

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Nov 24th Charles Darwin publishes "On the Origin of Species"

Naturalist Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
  • Nov 26th Last weekly installment of Charles Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities" is published in literary periodical "All the Year Round"
  • Dec 5th Dion Boucicault's "Octaroon" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 15th GR Kirchoff describes chemical composition of Sun
  • Dec 18th South Carolina declared an "independent commonwealth"
  • Dec 19th Grading started for Market Street RR
  • Dec 31st Dutch colony in Dutch Indies counts 4,800 slaves