On This Day

What Happened in January 1848

Historical Events

  • Jan 1 Britain takes Mosquito Coast from Nicaragua
  • Jan 3 Joseph Jenkins Roberts is sworn in as the first President of the independent African Republic of Liberia.
  • Jan 8 Austrian soldiers kill 10 students, Pavia
  • Jan 9 1st commercial bank in San Francisco established
  • Jan 9 People's uprising in Palermo, Sicily
  • Jan 12 Palermo rising against the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies takes place in Sicily

California Gold RushCalifornia Gold Rush

Jan 24 James Marshall finds gold in Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California

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A special stamp was issued in 1999, marking 150 years since the California Gold Rush
A special stamp was issued in 1999, marking 150 years since the California Gold Rush
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  • Jan 28 King of Naples grants his subjects a constitution
  • Jan 29 Sicily accepts new Constitution (choose parliament/freedom of press)

Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 1 John Goff, Irish lawyer (d. 1924)
  • Jan 4 Katsura Taro, Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1913)
  • Jan 5 Khristo Botev, Bulgarian poet & nationalist revolutionary, born in Kalofer, Bulgaria (d. 1876)
  • Jan 5 Same Steele, Canadian soldier, born in Purbrook, Canada West (d. 1919)
  • Jan 9 Princess Frederica of Hanover (d. 1926)
  • Jan 18 Ioan Slavici, Transylvanian writer (d. 1925)
  • Jan 19 John F. Stairs, Canadian businessman (d. 1904)

Person of interestMatthew Webb

Jan 19 Matthew Webb, English long distance swimmer who was first to swim unassisted across the English Channel, born in Dawley, England (d. 1883)

Long Distance Swimmer Matthew Webb
Long Distance Swimmer
Matthew Webb
  • Jan 21 Henri Duparc, French composer
  • Jan 22 Samuel Muller Fzn, Dutch historian/archivist (Middle Ages)
  • Jan 24 Vasily Surikov, Russian painter (d. 1916)
  • Jan 27 Tōgō Heihachirō, Imperial Japanese Navy admiral and one of Japan's greatest naval heroes, born in Kajiya-Chō, Kagoshima-Jōka, Satsuma, Japan (d. 1934)

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 5 Ferdinando Orlandi, composer, dies at 73
  • Jan 9 Caroline Herschel, German-born pioneering female astronomer (comet 35P/Herschel-Rigolle), dies at 97
  • Jan 20 Christian VIII, King of Denmark (1839-1848) and King of Norway (1814), dies of blood poisoning at 61