On This Day

1840 in History

Events in History

  • Jan 1 1st recorded bowling match in US, Knickerbocker Alleys, NYC
  • Jan 3 1st deep sea sounding by James Clark Ross in south Atlantic at 2425 fathoms (14,450 feet)
  • Jan 5 Records show 95,820 licensed public houses in England on this date
  • Jan 10 Uniform Penny Post mail system starts throughout the United Kingdom
  • Jan 13 The steamship Lexington burns and sinks four miles off the coast of Long Island with the loss of 139 lives
  • Jan 18 The Electro-Magnet, and Mechanics Intelligencer, 1st US electrical journal, appears
  • Jan 20 Dumont D'Urville discovers Adélie Land, Antarctica
  • Jan 20 Dutch King Willem II crowned
  • Jan 22 New Zealand Company settlers arrive aboard the Aurora at Te Whanganui a Tara, which becomes Port Nicholson, Wellington

DiscoveryHistoric Expedition

Jan 25 American naval expedition under Charles Wilkes is first to identify Antarctica as a new continent

Naval Officer and Explorer Charles Wilkes
Naval Officer and Explorer
Charles Wilkes

Treaty of InterestTreaty of Waitangi

Jan 29 First Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi Captain William Hobson arrives in the Bay of Islands, NZ

Learn More
The Treaty of Waitangi, signed by the British Crown and various Māori chiefs
The Treaty of Waitangi, signed by the British Crown and various Māori chiefs
Learn More
  • Feb 1 Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, 1st in US, incorporated
  • Feb 6 The Treaty of Waitangi is signed between 40 Māori Chiefs (later signed by 500) and representatives of the British crown in Waitangi, New Zealand. The treaty was designed to share sovereignty between the two groups.
  • Feb 12 Housatonic Railroad opens, running from Bridgeport, Connecticut, north to the Massachusetts state line
  • Feb 16 American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica
  • Mar 1 Adolphe Thiers becomes prime minister of France

  • Mar 14 Jose Zorilla's "El Zapatero y el Rey" premieres in Madrid
  • Mar 23 Draper takes 1st successful photo of the Moon (daguerreotype)

UKPalace of Westminster

Apr 27 Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster, London, laid by Sarah Barry wife of its architect Charles Barry

Learn More
The Palace of Westminster, London
The Palace of Westminster, London
Learn More

Historic PublicationPenny Black

May 1 "Penny Black", the world's first adhesive postage stamp issued by Great Britain

Learn More
The Penny Black stamp featured Queen Victoria
The Penny Black stamp featured Queen Victoria
Learn More

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 5 Thomas Carlyle begins his famous lecture series "The Hero as Divinity", later collected in his book "On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History"

Historian and Essayist Thomas Carlyle
Historian and Essayist
Thomas Carlyle
  • May 6 World's first adhesive postage stamp, the "Penny Black", is first used in Great Britain
  • May 7 Tornado strikes Natchez, Mississippi, kills 317
  • May 8 Alexander Wolcott patents Photographic Process
  • May 20 York Minster badly damaged by fire
  • May 21 Captain William Hobson proclaims British sovereignty over New Zealand; the North Island by treaty and the South Island by 'discovery'
  • May 22 The transporting of British convicts to the New South Wales colony is abolished
  • Jun 12 Meteorite hits Uden, Netherlands

InventionHistoric Invention

Jun 20 Samuel Morse patents his telegraph

Inventor Samuel Morse
Inventor
Samuel Morse
  • Jul 4 The Cunard Line's 700 ton wooden paddle steamer RMS Britannia departs from Liverpool bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia on the first transatlantic crossing with a scheduled end
  • Jul 6 Christian Hebbel's "Judith" premieres in Berlin
  • Jul 15 Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia sign Quadruple Alliance
  • Jul 23 Union Act passed by British Parliament, uniting Upper & Lower Canada

UKBritain Abolishes the Slave Trade

Aug 1 Labourer slaves in most of the British Empire are emancipated

Learn More
'Am I Not a Man and a Brother?' emblem used by some abolitionists determined to end the slave trade in the British Empire
'Am I Not a Man and a Brother?' emblem used by some abolitionists determined to end the slave trade in the British Empire
Learn More
  • Aug 18 American Society of Dental Surgeons founded (NY)
  • Aug 18 French colony established in Akaroa, South Island of New Zealand
  • Aug 28 Nine Jewish prisoners are released from Damascus jails
  • Oct 7 Willem I resigns as king of Netherlands
  • Oct 8 First Hawaiian constitution proclaimed
  • Oct 14 Maronite leader Bashir II surrenders to the British forces and goes into exile in Malta.
  • Nov 16 New Zealand officially becomes a British colony

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

Dec 2 William Henry Harrison elected the 9th President of the United States of America

9th US President William Henry Harrison
9th US President
William Henry Harrison

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 15 Napoleon Bonaparte receives a French state funeral in Paris 19 years after his death

French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte
French Emperor
Napoléon Bonaparte

Birthdays in History

  • Jan 3 Father Joseph Damien de Veuster, Belgian helped lepers in Hawaii
  • Jan 5 John Doby Kennedy, Brigadier General (Confederate Army), born in Camden, South Carolina (d. 1896)
  • Jan 10 Louis Nazaire Bégin, French Canadian archbishop and cardinal, born in Lévis, Canada (d. 1925)
  • Jan 18 Austin Dobson, England, poet/critic/biographer
  • Jan 21 Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, Hastings, English Physician and feminist who was one of the first female medical students at a British university
  • Jan 22 Ernest Roland Wilberforce, English bishop (d. 1907)
  • Jan 23 Ernst Abbe, German physicist & optical scientist (Carl Zeiss Optics Company), born in Eisenach, Germany (d. 1905)
  • Feb 5 Hiram Stevens Maxim, inventor (automatic single-barrel rifle)
  • Feb 5 John Boyd Dunlop, Scotland, developer (pneumatic rubber tire)
  • Feb 11 Sanuel Dana Greene, Lt Cmdr (Union Navy), (d. 1884)
  • Feb 22 F August Bebel, German social-democrat
  • Feb 23 Carl Menger, Austrian economist
  • Feb 25 Otto Liebmann, German philosopher (Climax of Theories)
  • Feb 28 Henri Duveyrier, French explorer of the Sahara, born in Paris, France (d. 1892)

Person of interestJohn Philip Holland

Feb 29 John Philip Holland, Irish engineer and father of the modern submarine, born in Liscannor, Ireland (d. 1914)

  • Feb 29 William Harvey Carney, American Civil War soldier (first African-American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor), born in Norfolk, Virginia (d. 1908)
  • Mar 5 Constance Fenimore Woolson, NH, writer (Jupiter Lights)
  • Mar 11 Edmund Kirby Jr, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Brownville, New York(d. 1863)
  • Mar 16 Shibusawa Eiichi, Japanese industrialist (d. 1931)
  • Mar 18 William Cosmo Monkhouse, English poet and critic (d. 1901)
  • Mar 20 Illarion Pryanishnikov, Russian painter (d. 1894)
  • Mar 25 Myles Keogh, U.S. Soldier in U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment & Irish Soldier of Fortune (d. 1876)
  • Mar 26 George Smith, English archaeologist and assyriologist (cuneiform script), born in London (d. 1876)
  • Mar 28 Emin Pasha, German explorer and governor (Equatoria), born in Oppeln, Silesia (d. 1892)
  • Mar 29 Matteo Albertone, Italian general who fought in the Italo-Ethiopian War, born in Alessandria (d. 1919)
  • Mar 31 John Herbert Kelly, Brigadier General (Confederate Army), (d. 1864)
  • Mar 31 Benjamin Baker, English civil engineer who designed the bridge over the Firth of Forth, Scotland and the London underground, born in Frome, England (d. 1907)
  • Apr 2 Émile Zola, French novelist and critic (J'accuse - I Accuse), born in Paris, France (d. 1902)
  • Apr 20 Odilon Redon [Bertrand-Jean Redon], French symbolist painter, born in Bordeaux (d. 1916)
  • Apr 25 James Dearing, U.S. Brigadier General (Confederate Army), born in Campbell County, Virginia (d. 1865)
  • Apr 27 Edward Whymper, English mountaineer, 1st to climb Matterhorn (1865), born in London (d. 1911)
  • May 10 Hadzhi Dimitar, Bulgarian revolutionist (d. 1868)
  • May 13 Alphonse Daudet, French writer (Tartarin of Tarascon), born in Nîmes, France (d. 1897)
  • May 24 Frederick Walker, British social realist painter, born in London (d. 1875)
  • May 29 Hans Makart, Austrian painter (Plague in Florenz), born in Salzburg, Austria (d. 1884)
  • Jun 2 Thomas Hardy, poet and novelist (Far from the Madding Crowd), born in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset (d. 1928)
  • Jun 3 Eugeen van Oye, Flemish writer/poet (Morning Twilight)
  • Jun 6 William Francis Bartlett, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Haverhill, Massachusetts (d. 1876)
  • Jun 7 Carlota of Mexico, princess of Belgium and empress consort of Mexico (1864-67), born in Brussels, Belgium (d. 1927)
  • Jun 10 Thomas F. Toon, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), born in Columbus County, North Carolina (d. 1902)
  • Jun 10 Theodor Philipsen, Danish painter, born in Copenhagen (d. 1920)
  • Jun 11 Henri Braekeleer, Flemish painter, born in Antwerp, Belgium (d. 1888)
  • Jun 16 Ernst Otto Schlick, German engineer (d. 1913)
  • Jun 22 Ernest Debes, German cartographer (Baedeker)
  • Jul 1 Robert Stawell Ball, Irish mathematician and astronomer (Ball Screw), born in Dublin, Ireland (d. 1913)
  • Jul 12 Abraham Goldfaden, Russian-born Jewish poet and playwright (Shulamis), born in Starokostiantyniv, Russian Empire (d. 1908)
  • Jul 25 Flora Adams Darling, American writer and historian, founded Daughters of American Revolution, born in Lancaster, New Hampshire (d. 1910)
  • Jul 27 Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Westchester County, New York (d. 1889)
  • Aug 14 Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Austro–German psychiatrist and author (Psychopathia Sexualis), born in Mannheim, Baden, Germany (d. 1902)
  • Aug 17 Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, England, writer (Irish Land League)
  • Aug 28 Alexander Cameron Sim, Scottish merchant, born in Aberlour, Scotland (d. 1900)
  • Sep 2 Giovanni Verga, Italian writer (Eros)
  • Sep 21 Murad V, 33rd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1876), born in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire (d. 1904)
  • Sep 26 Louis-Olivier Taillon, French Canadian politician, born in Terrebonne, Lower Canada (d. 1923)
  • Sep 27 Alfred Thayer Mahan, American naval officer (Influence of Sea Power), born in West Point, New York (d. 1914)

Person of interestThomas Nast

Sep 27 Thomas Nast, German-American caricaturist and political cartoonist of late 1800s America, born in Landau, Germany (d. 1902)

Political Cartoonist Thomas Nast
Political Cartoonist
Thomas Nast
  • Sep 28 Sandie [Alexander Swift] Pendleton, American Lieutenant Colonel (Confederate Army), born in Alexandria, Virginia (d. 1864)
  • Sep 28 Rudolf Baumbach, German writer of student drinking songs, born in Kranichfeld, Germany (d. 1905)
  • Oct 5 John Addington Symonds, British historian and writer (Probs in Greek Ethics), born in Bristol, England (d. 1893)
  • Oct 9 Simeon Solomon, English Pre-Raphaelite painter, born in London, England (d. 1905)
  • Oct 15 Honoré Mercier, Canadian politician and 9th Premier of Quebec (1887-91), born in Saint-Athanase, Lower Canada (d. 1894)
  • Oct 16 Kuroda Kiyotaka, 2nd Prime Minister of Japan (1894-1899), born in Kagoshima, Satsuma Domain (d. 1900)
  • Oct 17 Yaa Asantewaa, Ghanaian queen of Ashanti Empire, led fight against British colonialism, born in Besease, Ghana (d. 1921) appropriate date
  • Oct 30 William Graham Sumner, American sociologist (Folkways), born in Paterson, New Jersey (d. 1910)
  • Oct 31 Franz Müller, German tailor and first train murderer (killing Thomas Briggs) (d. 1864)
  • Nov 9 Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau, French-Canadian lawyer and politician, born in Sainte-Thérèse, Canada (d. 1898)

Person of interestAuguste Rodin

Nov 12 Auguste Rodin, French sculptor (Kiss, Thinker), born in Paris, France (d. 1917)

Sculptor Auguste Rodin
Sculptor
Auguste Rodin

Person of interestClaude Monet

Nov 14 Claude Monet [Oscar-Claude], French impressionist painter (Water Lilies, Haystacks, Poplars), born in Paris, France (d. 1926)

Impressionist Painter Claude Monet
Impressionist Painter
Claude Monet
  • Nov 15 Aleksey Apukhtin, Russian poet and friend of Tsjaikovski, born in Bolkhov, Russian Empire (d. 1893) [NS=11/27]
  • Nov 19 Aleksandr Kovalevsky, Russian biologist (founded comparative embryology and experimental histology and identified a common pattern of embryological development in all multi-cellular animals), born in Shustyanka, Dvinsk, Russia (d. 1901)
  • Nov 21 Victoria, Empress of Germany and Queen of Prussia by marriage to German Emperor Frederick III, born in Buckingham Palace, London (d. 1901)
  • Nov 25 Hugo Verriest, Flemish author and poet (Flemish Movement), born in Deerlijk, Belgium (d. 1922)
  • Nov 27 Aleksey Apukhtin, Russian poet and friend of Tsjaikovski, born in Bolkhov, Russian Empire (d. 1893) [OS=11/15]
  • Nov 30 Henry Birks, Canadian businessman and founder of Henri Birks and Sons, born in Montreal, Lower Canada (d. 1928)

Person of interestCrazy Horse

Dec 4 Crazy Horse [Tashunka Witko], Oglala Sioux chief (Battle of the Little Bighorn), born in Fort Robinson, Nebraska (d. 1877)

Native American War Leader Crazy Horse
Native American War Leader
Crazy Horse
  • Dec 11 Namık Kemal, Turkish poet and author (Fatherland-1872), born in Tekirdağ, Ottoman Empire (d. 1888)
  • Dec 21 Mehmed N Kemal, Turkish journalist (Vatan)

Weddings in History


LoveWedding of Interest

Feb 10 British Queen Victoria (20) marries her cousin Albert (20) of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, later the Prince Consort at St James' Palace

Queen of the United Kingdom Queen Victoria
Queen of the United Kingdom
Queen Victoria

LoveWedding of Interest

May 1 Women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (24) weds fellow abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton (34)

Women's Rights Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Women's Rights Activist
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

LoveWedding of Interest

Sep 6 Publisher James Gordon Bennett (45) weds Henrietta Agnes Crean in NYC, New York

Founder of the New York Herald James Gordon Bennett
Founder of the New York Herald
James Gordon Bennett

Deaths in History

  • Jan 6 Fanny Burney, English novelist (Camille, Evalina), dies at 87
  • Jan 10 Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, 7th child and 3rd daughter of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, dies at 69
  • Jan 22 Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, German anthropologist (b. 1752)
  • Feb 18 Jeffry Wyatville, English architect and garden designer (alterations and extensions to Chatsworth House and Windsor Castle), dies at 73
  • Mar 2 Wilhelm Olbers, German astronomer and physician who discovered asteroids (Pallas & Vesta), dies at 81
  • Mar 22 Étienne Bobillier, French mathematician, dies at 41
  • Mar 23 William Maclure, Scottish-American Geologist (first geological map), dies at 76
  • Mar 28 Simon-Antoine-Jean Lhuillier, Swiss mathematician, dies at 89
  • Mar 30 George (Beau) Brummell, Dandy, dies
  • Apr 17 Hannah Webster Foster, American author (The Coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton), dies at 81
  • Apr 19 Jean-Jacques Lartigue, Roman catholic bishop of Montreal (b. 1777)
  • Apr 25 Siméon-Denis Poisson, French mathematician (Poisson distribution) and physicist, dies at 58
  • May 6 Francisco de Paula Santander, Colombian president and independence leader (b. 1792)
  • May 7 Caspar David Friedrich, German painter (b. 1774)
  • May 26 Sidney Smith, British admiral, dies at 75
  • May 30 Dominique J de Eerens, gov-gen of Dutch-Indies, dies at 59
  • Jun 6 Marcellin Champagnat, French priest (b. 1789)
  • Jun 7 Frederik Willem III, King of Prussia (1797-1840), dies at 69
  • Jun 19 John Cockerill, English-Belgian industrialist (founded iron, steel, and manufacturing company - John Cockerill & Company), dies at 50
  • Jun 25 Leopold count of Limburg Stirum, Dutch general and politician, dies at 82
  • Jun 29 Lucien Bonaparte, prince of Canino/Musignano, dies at 65

Person of interestKarl Ferdinand von Graefe

Jul 4 Karl Ferdinand von Graefe, German surgeon who helped create modern plastic surgery dies at 53

  • Jul 21 Moses Waddel, American educator, minister and bestselling author (Memoirs of the Life of Miss Caroline Elizabeth Smelt), dies at 70
  • Aug 18 Antony CW Staring, Dutch patriot/poet (Jaromir), dies at 73
  • Aug 25 Karl Leberecht Immermann, German writer, dies at 44
  • Aug 27 William Kneass, 3rd US chief engraver (1824-40), dies in office
  • Sep 8 John H van de Palm, theologist/literature/speaker, dies at 77
  • Sep 11 Johannes Hendricus van der Palm, Dutch theologist and Minister of Education, dies at 77
  • Sep 22 Princess Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom, 6th child and second daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte, dies at 71
  • Sep 25 Jacques-Etienne-Joseph-Alexandre Macdonald, Duc de Tarente, soldier
  • Oct 6 François Budan de Boislaurent, French mathematician, dies at 80
  • Nov 24 Cornelis RT Krayenhoff, fortress architect/cartographer, dies at 82
  • Dec 11 Emperor Kokaku of Japan (b. 1771)