What Happened in December 1859

Historical Events

  • Dec 5 Dion Boucicault's "Octaroon" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 15 GR Kirchoff describes chemical composition of Sun
  • Dec 18 South Carolina declared an "independent commonwealth"
  • Dec 19 Grading started for Market Street RR
  • Dec 31 Dutch colony in Dutch Indies counts 4,800 slaves

Famous Birthdays

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Dec 2 Georges Seurat, French post-impressionist painter (A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte), born in Paris, France (d. 1891)

Post-Impressionist Painter Georges Seurat
Post-Impressionist Painter
Georges Seurat

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Dec 5 John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, British Admiral of the Fleet, born in Southampton (d. 1935)

British Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe
British Admiral of the Fleet
John Rushworth Jellicoe
  • Dec 9 Algernon Ashton, composer
  • Dec 12 Edward Bradley, horse owner (1st to own 4 Kentucky Derby winners)
  • Dec 12 Maurice Donnay, French playwright (Lovers)
  • Dec 15 Ludwik L Zamenhof, Russian Poland, physician/linguist (Esperanto)
  • Dec 17 Paul César Helleu, French artist (d. 1927)
  • Dec 20 Antonius J Derkinderen, Dutch painter/etcher
  • Dec 21 Gustave Kahn, French poet (claimed to have invented vers libre)
  • Dec 24 Roman Statkowski, composer
  • Dec 25 Raoul Gunsbourg, composer
  • Dec 26 Johan F van Bemmelen, Dutch zoologist
  • Dec 26 William Stephens, U.S. political figure (d. 1944)
  • Dec 27 William Henry Hadow, composer
  • Dec 28 Gerard Brucken Fock, Dutch composer and painter, born in Koudekerke, Netherlands (d. 1935)
  • Dec 28 John W Fortescue, military historian
  • Dec 29 Venustiano Carranza, Mexican revolutionary and President of Mexico (1915-20), born in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, Mexico (d. 1920)
  • Dec 30 Josef Bohuslav Foerster, composer
  • Dec 31 Max Fiedler, German conductor and composer, born in Zittau, Saxony, (d. 1939)

Famous Deaths


Dec 2 John Brown, American abolitionist and revolutionary (Harpers Ferry), hanged at 59

Abolitionist John Brown
John Brown
  • Dec 5 Louis Poinsot, French mathematician/instrument maker, dies at 82
  • Dec 8 Thomas De Quincey, English writer (Confessions of English Opium Eater), dies at 74

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Dec 16 Wilhelm Grimm, writer, dies at 73

  • Dec 21 Nicolaas C Kist, Dutch church historian/archivist, dies at 66
  • Dec 28 Thomas Babington Macaulay, English poet and historian (Ivry, Naaseby), dies at 59
  • Dec 31 Luigi Ricci, Italian composer, dies at 54