On This Day

Historical Events in 1855

  • Jan 9 Clipper "Guiding Star" disappears in Atlantic, 480 dead
  • Jan 23 1st bridge over the Mississippi River in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, opens; today made by the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge
  • Jan 28 The first locomotive runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean on the Panama Railway
  • Jan 31 Western railroads blocked by snow
  • Jan 31 The government of Lord Aberdeen in the United Kingdom falls following heavy scrutiny of the Crimean War
  • Jan 31 Treaty of Neah Bay: Makah Reservation established in US Territory of Washington for Makah nation, preserving tribal rights but ceding over 300,000 acres to the US government [1]
  • Feb 3 Wisconsin Supreme Coutt declares US Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional
  • Feb 4 Soldiers shoot Jewish families in Coro, Venezuela

Historic Event

Feb 6 British government of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston forms

  • Feb 8 The Devil's Footprints, hoof-like marks mysteriously appear for over 60km after a snowfall in southern Devon, England
  • Feb 10 US citizenship laws amended; all children of US parents born abroad granted US citizenship
  • Feb 11 Kassa Hailu is crowned Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia, by Abuna Salama III in a ceremony at the church of Derasge Maryam
  • Feb 12 Michigan State University established
  • Feb 14 Texas is linked by telegraph to the rest of the United States, with the completion of a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas.
  • Feb 24 US Court of Claims forms for cases against government

Historic Event

Feb 25 Bowery Boys gang leader William Poole "Bill the Butcher" shot in the back by gang of archrival John Morrissey in New York (dies 8th March)

  • Mar 2 Aleksandr Romanov becomes tsar of Russia
  • Mar 3 US Congress approves $30,000 to test camels for military use
  • Mar 3 US Congress authorizes registered mail
  • Mar 6 Gustave Flaubert writes goodbye to the poet Louise Colet
  • Mar 7 17th Grand National: John Hanlon wins aboard Irish horse Wanderer at 25/1
  • Mar 8 1st train crosses 1st US railway suspension bridge, Niagara Falls
  • Mar 11 Bowery Boys gang leader William Poole aka "Bill the Butcher" is buried in Brooklyn with 155 carriages and 6,000 mourners
  • Mar 15 Louisiana establishes 1st health board to regulate quarantine
  • Mar 24 Manhattan Kansas founded as New Boston Kansas

Historic Invention

Mar 27 Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner patents kerosene

  • Apr 21 1st train crosses Mississippi River's 1st bridge, from Rock Island, Illinois to Davenport, Iowa

Music History

Apr 26 Composer Gioachino Rossini leaves Italy

  • Apr 28 1st veterinary college in US incorporated in Boston
  • May 3 Antwerp-Rotterdam railway opens
  • May 5 New York State Commission on Emigration assumes lease of Castle Garden (now known as Castle Clinton), at the lower tip of Manhattan, to be used for immigration [1]
  • Jun 1 US adventurer William Walker conquers Nicaragua, reestablishes slavery
  • Jun 2 The Portland Rum Riot occurs in Portland, Maine
  • Jun 5 Anti-foreign anti-Roman Catholic Know-Nothing Party's 1st convention

Music Premiere

Jun 13 Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Les vêpres sicilenne" (The Sicilian Vespers) premieres at the Paris Opéra

  • Jun 17 Heavy French/British bombing of Sebastopol, Crimea: 2,000+ killed
  • Jun 20 Commissioners appointed to lay out San Francisco streets west of Larkin
  • Jun 28 The Sigma Chi Fraternity was founded at Miami University

Historic Publication

Jul 4 In Brooklyn, New York, the first edition of Walt Whitman's book of poems, "Leaves of Grass" is published

  • Jul 20 1st train from Rotterdam to Utrecht in Netherlands
  • Jul 31 Hottest July in Stockholm since at least 1756 (21.4°C avg)
  • Aug 1 Castle Garden in NYC (now known as Castle Clinton) opens as 1st US receiving station for immigrants [1]
  • Aug 3 Rotterdam-Gouda railway opens
  • Aug 4 John Bartlett publishes "Familiar Quotations"
  • Aug 9 Battle of Acapulco during Mexican Liberal uprising
  • Sep 3 Indian Wars: In Nebraska, 700 soldiers under American General William S. Harney avenge the Grattan Massacre by attacking a Sioux village, killing 100 men, women, and children.
  • Sep 8 French forces successfully assault the Malakoff Line during the Crimean War
  • Sep 8 British and French troops capture Sevastopol from the Russians, effectively ending the Crimean War
  • Sep 27 George Frederick Bristow's "Rip Van Winkle", 2nd American opera, opens in NYC
  • Oct 9 American inventor Isaac Singer patents sewing machine motor
  • Oct 9 Joshua Stoddard of Worcester, Massachusetts, patents first calliope (steam powered musical instrument)
  • Oct 17 Bessemer steelmaking process patented

Music Premiere

Oct 18 Franz Liszt's symphonic poem "Prometheus" premieres

Historic Event

Nov 17 David Livingstone becomes the first European to see Victoria Falls, in what is now Zambia and Zimbabwe