On This Day

What Happened in January 1840

Historical Events

  • Jan 1 1st recorded bowling match in US, Knickerbocker Alleys, NYC
  • Jan 3 1st deep sea sounding by James Clark Ross in south Atlantic at 2425 fathoms (14,450 feet)
  • Jan 5 Records show 95,820 licensed public houses in England on this date
  • Jan 10 Uniform Penny Post mail system starts throughout the United Kingdom
  • Jan 13 The steamship Lexington burns and sinks four miles off the coast of Long Island with the loss of 139 lives
  • Jan 18 The Electro-Magnet, and Mechanics Intelligencer, 1st US electrical journal, appears
  • Jan 20 Dumont D'Urville discovers Adélie Land, Antarctica
  • Jan 20 Dutch King Willem II crowned
  • Jan 22 New Zealand Company settlers arrive aboard the Aurora at Te Whanganui a Tara, which becomes Port Nicholson, Wellington

DiscoveryHistoric Expedition

Jan 25 American naval expedition under Charles Wilkes is first to identify Antarctica as a new continent

Naval Officer and Explorer Charles Wilkes
Naval Officer and Explorer
Charles Wilkes

Treaty of InterestTreaty of Waitangi

Jan 29 First Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi Captain William Hobson arrives in the Bay of Islands, NZ

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The Treaty of Waitangi, signed by the British Crown and various Māori chiefs
The Treaty of Waitangi, signed by the British Crown and various Māori chiefs
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Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 3 Father Joseph Damien de Veuster, Belgian helped lepers in Hawaii
  • Jan 5 John Doby Kennedy, Brigadier General (Confederate Army), born in Camden, South Carolina (d. 1896)
  • Jan 10 Louis Nazaire Bégin, French Canadian archbishop and cardinal, born in Lévis, Canada (d. 1925)
  • Jan 18 Austin Dobson, England, poet/critic/biographer
  • Jan 18 Ernst Rudorff, German pianist, composer, and teacher, born in Berlin, Germany (d. 1916)
  • Jan 21 Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, Hastings, English Physician and feminist who was one of the first female medical students at a British university
  • Jan 22 Ernest Roland Wilberforce, English bishop (d. 1907)
  • Jan 23 Ernst Abbe, German physicist & optical scientist (Carl Zeiss Optics Company), born in Eisenach, Germany (d. 1905)

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 6 Fanny Burney, English novelist (Camille, Evalina), dies at 87
  • Jan 10 Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, 7th child and 3rd daughter of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, dies at 69
  • Jan 22 Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, German anthropologist (b. 1752)