On This Day

Historical Events in 1839

CameraFamous Photo

Jan 2 1st photo of the Moon (French photographer Louis Daguerre)

Photographer and Inventor Louis-Jacques Daguerre
Photographer and Inventor
Louis-Jacques Daguerre
  • Jan 6 2 day storm off Irish & English coast immortalized as the "Big Wind"

Famous PhotoFirst Photograph of a Person

Jan 9 Daguerreotype photo process announced at French Academy of Science
Learn More >>

In the bottom left corner a man can be seen having his shoes shined on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris
In the bottom left corner a man can be seen having his shoes shined on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris
  • Jan 9 Thomas Henderson measures 1st stellar parallax (Alpha Centauri)
  • Jan 10 Tea from India 1st arrives in UK
  • Jan 11 Earthquake at Martinique destroys half of Port Royal - 700 die
  • Jan 12 Anthracite coal 1st used to smelt iron, Mauch Chunk, Penn
  • Jan 19 Aden conquered by British East India Company
  • Jan 20 Battle of Yungay, Chile defeats a Peruvian and Bolivian alliance

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

Jan 24 Charles Darwin elected Fellow of the Royal Society

Naturalist Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

CameraFamous Photo

Jan 25 Henry Fox Talbot exhibits early photographs to the Royal Institution in the UK

Photography Pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot
Photography Pioneer
William Henry Fox Talbot

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 7 Henry Clay declares in Senate "I had rather be right than president"

Legislator and Orator Henry Clay
Legislator and Orator
Henry Clay
  • Feb 12 Aroostoock (or "Pork & Beans) War: Boundary dispute between Maine & New Brunswick
  • Feb 18 Detroit Boat Club forms (& still exists)
  • Feb 20 Congress prohibits dueling in District of Columbia
  • Feb 24 Steam shovel patented by William Otis, Philadelphia

  • Feb 25 Seminoles & black allies shipped from Tampa Bay Florida, to the West
  • Feb 26 1st Grand National steeplechase, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool: Jem Mason wins aboard 5/1 favourite Lottery
  • Mar 9 Prussian government limits work week for children to 51 hours
  • Mar 23 1st recorded use of "OK" [oll korrect] (Boston's Morning Post)
  • Mar 26 1st Henley Royal Regatta
  • Apr 17 Guatemala forms republic
  • Apr 19 Treaty of London constitutes Belgium an independent kingdom & Luxembourg a Grand Duchy
  • May 4 The Cunard Steamship Company Ltd forms San Bonifacio
  • Jun 7 Hawaiian Declaration of Rights is signed
  • Jun 14 First Henley Regatta held (it became the Henley Royal Regatta in 1851)
  • Jun 17 King of Hawaii Kamehameha III issues Edict of toleration which gives Roman Catholics freedom to worship in the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaii Catholic Church and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace is later established
  • Jul 1 Abdul-Medjid succeeds Mahmud II as Sultan of Turkey
  • Jul 2 Slaves aboard a Spanish schooner La Amistad revolt to secure their freedom while being transported from one Cuban port to another
  • Jul 3 1st state normal school in US opens, Lexington, Massachusetts, with 3 students
  • Jul 27 Chartist riots break out in Birmingham, England
  • Aug 8 Beta Theta Pi is founded in Oxford, Ohio.
  • Aug 19 Details of Louis Daguerre's 1st practical photographic process are released in Paris
  • Aug 23 British capture Hong Kong from China
  • Sep 2 Salon of Varietes opens in Amsterdam
  • Sep 5 The First Opium War begins in China

USATrail of Tears

Sep 6 Cherokee Nation unites and ratifies constitution at Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Learn More >>

The Trail of Tears, painting by Robert Lindneux, 1942
The Trail of Tears, painting by Robert Lindneux, 1942
  • Sep 6 Great fire in New York
  • Sep 9 English scientist and astronomer John Herschel takes 1st glass plate photograph
  • Sep 11 1st Canadian track & field meet held (Caer Howell Grounds)
  • Sep 20 1st railroad in Netherland opens (Amsterdam-Haarlem)
  • Oct 10 British troops under General Charles Napier occupy Beirut
  • Oct 20 Margaret Fuller is appointed editor of new US Transcendental Magazine "The Dial"
  • Nov 3 First Opium War - 2 British frigates engage several Chinese junks
  • Nov 3 Palace of Gulhane Turkey, freedom of religion proclaimed
  • Nov 4 The Newport Rising is the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain
  • Nov 11 The Virginia Military Institute is founded in Lexington, Virginia.
  • Nov 13 1st US anti-slavery party, Liberty Party, convenes in NY

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Nov 17 Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Oberte Conti Di" premieres in Milan

Composer Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
  • Nov 25 Cyclone slams south eastern India with high winds and a 40 foot storm surge, destroying city of Coringa. Storm waves sweep inland, destroying 20,000 ships and killing an estimated 300,000 people
  • Nov 27 American Statistical Association organizes in Boston
  • Dec 18 1st celestial photograph (of Moon) made in US by John Draper in New York City