On This Day

What Happened in January 1850

Historical Events

  • Jan 5 California Exchange opens
  • Jan 18 British blockade Piraeus, Greece, to enforce mercantile claims

DiscoveryHistoric Expedition

Jan 20 HMS Investigator headed by Robert McClure leaves England, 1st expedition to make a Northwest passage (though some over ice)

Explorer Robert McClure
Robert McClure
  • Jan 22 Alta California becomes a daily paper, 1st such in Calif
  • Jan 26 1st German language daily newspaper in US published, NYC

Agreement of InterestCompromise of 1850

Jan 29 Senator Henry Clay drafts the Compromise of 1850 to defuse tensions between slave states and free states over territories won during the Mexican–American War

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Henry Clay's handwritten draft of one of the bills that formed the Compromise of 1850
Henry Clay's handwritten draft of one of the bills that formed the Compromise of 1850
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Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 5 Theodoor Verstraete, Flemish painter & etcher, born in Ghent, Belgium
  • Jan 6 Eduard "Ede" Bernstein, German Marxist (New Era)
  • Jan 6 Franz Xaver Scharwenka, German pianist & composer (Mataswintha), born in Szamotuły, Poland (d. 1924)
  • Jan 10 John Wellborn Root, American architect, born in Lumpkin, Georgia (d. 1891)
  • Jan 11 J C Arthur, botanist (studied rusts), born in Lowville, New York
  • Jan 11 Philipp la Renotiere von Ferrary, famous philatelist
  • Jan 13 Leon Francis Victor Caron, composer
  • Jan 14 Jean de Reszke, Polish tenor, born in Warsaw, Poland (d. 1925)
  • Jan 14 Pierre Loti, French naval officer & novelist, born in Rochefort, France (d. 1923)
  • Jan 15 Mihail Eminesco [Eminovici], Romanian poet (Samanul Dionis), born in Botoșani, Romania (d. 1889)
  • Jan 15 Sofia Kovalevskaya, Russian mathematician, born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1891)
  • Jan 17 Alexander Sergeyevich Taneyev, Russian composer, born in St Petersburg, Russia (d. 1918)
  • Jan 18 Seth Low, American politician (d. 1916)

Person of interestSamuel Gompers

Jan 27 Samuel Gompers, American labor union leader (American Federation of Labor), born in London, England (d. 1924)

Founder of the American Federation of Labor Samuel Gompers
Founder of the American Federation of Labor
Samuel Gompers

Person of interestEdward Smith

Jan 27 Edward Smith, English naval captain of the RMS Titanic, born in Hanley, Staffordshire (d. 1912)

Captain of the Titanic Edward Smith
Captain of the Titanic
Edward Smith
  • Jan 27 John Collier, English painter (Lady Godiva) and writer, born in Paddington, England (d. 1934)
  • Jan 29 Ebenezer Howard, pioneer of garden cities, born in London, England
  • Jan 29 Lawrence Hargrave, inventor (box kite)

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 1 Raphael G. Kiesewetter, Austria musicologist (Arab Music), dies at 76
  • Jan 14 Anthony van Hoboken, Dutch merchant and ship owner, dies at 93
  • Jan 20 Adam Oehlenschläger, Danish poet (b. 1779)
  • Jan 22 Vincenzo Pallotti, Italian saint (founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate), dies at 54
  • Jan 26 Francis Jeffrey, Baron Jeffrey, judge/literary critic, dies
  • Jan 27 J Gottfried Schadow, German sculptor/cartoonist/writer, dies at 85
  • Jan 27 Philipp Roth, composer, dies at 70