On This Day

Historical Events in 1856

  • Jan 8 Dr John A Veatch discovers borax, Tuscan Springs, California
  • Jan 23 Steamer Pacific, leaves Liverpool on final voyage (lost at sea, 186 on board)
  • Jan 25 Battle of Seattle; skirmish between settlers & Indians
  • Jan 29 Victoria Cross established to acknowledge valour in the face of the enemy (United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries)
  • Feb 1 Auburn University is chartered as the East Alabama Male College.
  • Feb 7 The colonial Tasmanian Parliament passes the first piece of legislation (the Electoral Act of 1856) anywhere in the world providing for elections by way of a secret ballot.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 18 The American Party (Know-Nothings) convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to nominate its first Presidential candidate, former President Millard Fillmore.

13th US President Millard Fillmore
13th US President
Millard Fillmore
  • Feb 19 Tin-type camera patented by Hamilton Smith, Gambier, Ohio
  • Feb 20 The steam packet-ship John Rutledge, en route from Liverpool to New York, hits an iceberg and sinks with the loss of 120 passengers and 19 crew; only one survivor (Thomas Nye of New Bedford)
  • Feb 22 1st national meeting of Republican Party (Pittsburgh)
  • Feb 27 18th Grand National: George Stevens wins aboard 25/1 Freetrader; first of Stevens' record 5 GN victories
  • Feb 29 Hostilities in Russo-Turkish War cease
  • Mar 5 Covent Garden Opera House, London, destroyed in a fire
  • Mar 5 Georgia becomes 1st state to regulate railroads
  • Mar 9 Sigma Alpha Epsilon is founded in the Johnston Mansion House on the University of Alabama
  • Mar 25 A E Burnside patents Burnside carbine

  • Mar 26 New South Wales's first 1st-class game, v Victoria at Melbourne NSW, won

Treaty of InterestTreaty of Paris

Mar 30 Russia signs the Treaty of Paris, ending the Crimean War
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The Congress of Paris between the Russian Empire, France, United Kingdom, Ottoman Empire and Kingdom of Sardinia
The Congress of Paris between the Russian Empire, France, United Kingdom, Ottoman Empire and Kingdom of Sardinia
  • Apr 3 Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes badly damaged by gunpowder explosion, kills 4,000 on island of Rhodes
  • Apr 10 The Theta Chi Fraternity is founded at Norwich University, Vermont
  • Apr 11 Battle of Rivas; Costa Rica beats William Walker's invading Nicaraguans
  • Apr 18 Russian Chancellor Count Nesselrode resigns
  • May 7 Argentina & Brazil sign a navigation pact
  • May 15 2nd San Francisco Vigilance Committee organized
  • May 19 Senator Charles Sumner of Massachesetts speaks out against slavery
  • May 21 Lawrence, Kansas, is captured and sacked by pro-slavery forces
  • May 22 Violence in the US Senate, South Carolina rep Brooks uses a cane on Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 24 Pottawatomie Massacre: John Brown and abolitionist settlers kill five pro-slavery settlers in Franklin County, Kansas

Abolitionist John Brown
Abolitionist
John Brown
  • May 27 Doctor William Palmer (the Rugeley Poisoner ) found guilty of poisoning in Stafford, England
  • Jun 3 Cullen Whipple patents a machine for making screws
  • Jun 8 Pitcairn Islanders arrive on Norfolk Island
  • Jun 9 500 Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa, and head west for Salt Lake City, Utah, carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts
  • Jun 17 Republican Party opens its 1st national convention in Philadelphia
  • Jul 15 Natal forms as a British colony separate from Cape Colony
  • Jul 16 Statue of Laurens Jansz Coster unveiled in Haarlem
  • Jul 17 The Great Train Wreck of 1856 between Camp Hill and Fort Washington, Pennsylvania kills over 60 people
  • Jul 31 Christchurch, New Zealand, is chartered as a city.
  • Aug 6 The Great Bell is cast in the Great Clock of Westminster (Big Ben)
  • Aug 10 Hurricane washes away 2-300 revelers at Last Island, Louisiana
  • Aug 12 Anthony Fass patents accordion
  • Aug 20 Wilberforce University forms in Ohio
  • Aug 21 America's first consul to Japan, Townsend Harris, arrives in Shimoda. (Traditional Japanese date: July 21, 1856)
  • Sep 2 Tianjing's struggle Incident in Nanjing, China.
  • Sep 14 Battle of San Jacinto at Hacienda San Jacinto, Nicaraguan forces defeat American filibusters
  • Oct 7 Cyrus Chambers Jr patents folding machine that folds book & newspapers
  • Oct 8 The Second Opium War or second Anglo-Chinese War: begins with the Arrow Incident on the Pearl River
  • Oct 19 James Kelly and Jack Smith fight bareknuckle for 6h15m in Melbourne
  • Oct 20 Arnhem-Oberhausen railway in Netherlands opens
  • Oct 24 Constitution of South Australia adopted

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 28 French Magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin performs for Algerian Marabouts in Algeria to convince them that French magic is the stronger

  • Nov 3 A British fleet bombards Canton

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

Nov 4 James Buchanan elected 15th US president

15th US President James Buchanan
15th US President
James Buchanan

InventionHistoric Invention

Nov 14 American Gail Borden is issued a patent for technology related to his invention of condensed milk

Inventor and Manufacturer of Condensed Milk Gail Borden
Inventor and Manufacturer of Condensed Milk
Gail Borden
  • Nov 16 Amsterdam post office at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal opens
  • Nov 17 On the Sonoita River in present-day southern Arizona, the United States Army establishes Fort Buchanan in order to help control new land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase.
  • Dec 9 The Iranian city of Bushehr surrenders to occupying British forces.