Historical Events in 1791

  • Jan 2 Big Bottom massacre in the Ohio Country, marking the beginning of the Northwest Indian War.

Election of Interest

Jan 30 Comte de Mirabeau is elected President of the French National Assembly

Historic Event

Feb 17 Charles Messier catalogs M83 (spiral galaxy in Hydra)

  • Feb 25 1st Bank of US chartered
  • Mar 2 Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris
  • Mar 3 1st US internal revenue act (taxing distilled spirits & carriages)
  • Mar 3 Congress establishes US Mint
  • Mar 4 First Jewish member of US Congress, Israel Jacobs (PA), takes office
  • Mar 4 President Washington calls the US Senate into its first special session
  • Mar 4 Vermont admitted as 14th state (1st addition to the 13 colonies)
  • Mar 10 John Stone of Concord, Massachusetts, patents a pile driver
  • Mar 10 Pope condemns France's Civil Constitution of the clergy
  • Mar 11 Samuel Mulliken is 1st to obtain more than one US patent

Historic Publication

Mar 18 Robert Burns poem “Tam o’ Shanter,” is published in the "Edinburgh Herald"

  • Mar 21 Captain Hopley Yeaton becomes 1st commissioned officer in the Revenue Marine, later the Revenue Cutter Service, the forerunner of the modern US Coast Guard
  • May 3 Constitution of May 3 is proclaimed by the Great Sejm (Parliament) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, becoming the 1st modern constitution in Europe

Historic Event

May 15 Maximilien Robespierre proposes the self-denying ordinance, making it so that no deputy who sat in the Constituent Assembly could sit in the succeeding Assembly

French Revolution

Jun 20 King Louis XVI and the French royal family are caught during an attempt to flee Paris during the French Revolution, severely undermining their credibility

  • Jun 21 Fleeing French King Louis XVI and family captured at Varennes-en-Argonne
  • Jul 5 Jose Maria Narvaez discovers Point Grey (now Vancouver, British Columbia)

French Revolution

Jul 14 The Priestley Riots drive Joseph Priestley, a supporter of the French Revolution, out of Birmingham, England

French Revolution

Jul 17 Members of the French National Guard under command of General Lafayette open fire on crowd of radical Jacobins at Champ de Mars, Paris, during the French Revolution, killing up to 50 people

  • Aug 2 Samuel Briggs and his son granted US patent for a nail-making machine
  • Aug 4 The Treaty of Sistova is signed, ending the Ottoman-Habsburg wars

United States Declaration of Independence

Aug 19 Benjamin Banneker sends a copy of his Almanac and writes a letter to Thomas Jefferson criticizing his pro-slavery stance and requesting justice for African Americans using language from the Declaration of Independence

  • Aug 22 Haitian Slave Revolution begins under voodoo priest Boukman
  • Aug 26 John Fitch granted US patent for his working steamboat
  • Aug 30 HMS Pandora sank after running aground on a reef the previous day, on her return from her search for the Bounty and the mutineers who had taken her
  • Sep 3 French Revolution: The new French Constitution, declaring France a constitutional monarchy, is passed by the National Assembly

Music Premiere

Sep 6 Mozart's opera "La Clemenza di Tito" premieres in Prague

  • Sep 13 France's King Louis XVI accepts constitution
  • Sep 30 Mozart's opera "Magic Flute", with German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, premieres at Schikaneder's Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, Austria
  • Sep 30 The National Constituent Assembly in Paris is dissolved; Parisians hail Maximilien Robespierre and Jérôme Pétion as incorruptible patriots
  • Oct 1 1st session of new French legislative assembly
  • Nov 3 Battle at Wabash: Indians assault general St Clair, 637 soldiers killed
  • Nov 15 1st Catholic college in US, Georgetown, opens

First US Cabinet Meeting

Nov 26 1st US cabinet meeting, held at George Washington's home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph attend.

  • Nov 29 Chatham Islands sighted by HMS Chatham commanded by William Broughton

First Issue of The Observer

Dec 4 Britain's "The Observer" is first published, the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world

  • Dec 12 Bank of North America opens at Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia
  • Dec 15 1st US law school established at University of Pennsylvania

Bill of Rights

Dec 15 US Bill of Rights ratified when Virginia gives its approval, becomes amendments 1-10 of the US constitution

  • Dec 17 NYC traffic regulation creates 1st 1-way street