Events in History in 1812

French History

Jan 9 Swedish Pomerania (Germany) seized by Napoleon

  • Jan 12 1st cargo arrives in New Orleans by steam, from Natchez

Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo

Jan 19 Peninsular War: After a ten day siege, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, orders British soldiers of the Light and third divisions to storm Ciudad Rodrigo

  • Jan 23 7.8 earthquake shakes New Madrid, Missouri
  • Feb 7 8.2 earthquake shakes New Madrid, Missouri

Historic Event

Feb 7 Poet Lord Byron (6th Baron Byron) makes his maiden speech in House of Lords

  • Feb 11 Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signs a redistricting bill - first "gerrymander"

Historic Event

Feb 27 The flag of Argentina, created by Manuel Belgrano, is first raised at Rosario

  • Mar 3 US passes 1st foreign aid bill (aids Venezuela earthquake vicitims)
  • Mar 11 Citizenship granted to Prussian Jews
  • Mar 14 US Congress authorizes war bonds to finance War of 1812
  • Mar 15 1st Russian settlement in California at Russian River
  • Mar 19 The first Spanish constitution is enacted, one of the earliest constitutions ever promulgated

Massive Earthquake in Caracas, Venezuela

Mar 26 Earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale destroys 90% of Caracas, Venezuela and kills an estimated 15,000–20,000 people

  • Apr 5 British storm Badajoz fortress in Extremadura, Spain, held by French & Spanish
  • Apr 30 (Eastern) Louisiana admitted as 18th US state

Assassination of a British Prime Minister

May 11 British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons, London. Ironically, descendants of both later stand for the same seat in Parliament at the same time but neither win.


May 18 John Bellingham, a Liverpool merchant who assassinated British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval on May 11, is hung for the crime at the Old Bailey in London

  • Jun 4 Louisiana Territory officially renamed "Missouri Territory"

Election of Interest

Jun 8 Robert Jenkinson becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after Spencer Perceval's assassination

  • Jun 18 War of 1812 begins as US declares war against Britain

Victory in Battle

Jun 22 Upon learning of plans by the Americans to execute a surprise attack, Laura Secord walks 32 km to warn British troops, results in a British surprise victory at the Battle of Beaver Dams

  • Jun 24 Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Armée numbering half a million begin their invasion of Russia by crossing the Nieman River
  • Jul 11 US invades Canada (Detroit frontier)
  • Jul 12 US forces led by General Hull invade Canada (War of 1812)
  • Jul 22 Duke of Wellington defeats French at Battle of Salamanca, Spain
  • Jul 23 Battle of Mogilev: first significant fighting during Napoleon's invasion of Russia results in minor French victory
  • Aug 1 Rare tornado hits Westchester County, NY

Historic Event

Aug 5 War of 1812: Tecumseh's Native American force ambushes Thomas Van Horne's 200 Americans at Brownstone Creek, causing them to flee and retreat

  • Aug 12 Duke of Wellington's troops enter Madrid
  • Aug 16 General Hull surrenders Detroit and Michigan territory to British forces under the command of Major General Sir Isaac Brock, who capture Fort Detroit with the help of Indigenous warriors led by Tecumseh
  • Aug 19 US warship Constitution defeats British warship Guerriere
  • Aug 22 Swiss traveller Johann Ludwig Burckhardt is the 1st European to rediscover the Nabataean city of Petra (modern Jordan)
  • Sep 3 World's first cannery (Donkin, Hall and Gamble) opens in London, England to supply food to the Royal Navy
  • Sep 7 Battle of Borodino: Napoleon Bonapartre wins a pyrrhic victory against Russian General Mikhail Kutuzov in the most ferocious battle of the Napoleonic era, 70,000 are killed

Great Fire of Moscow

Sep 14 Great Fire of Moscow begins as Napoleon approaches the city and retreating Russians burn it - fire continues to burn for five days

  • Sep 15 French army under Napoleon Bonaparte reaches the Kremlin in Moscow
  • Sep 18 Great Fire of Moscow burns out after 5 days, 75% of the city destroyed and 12,000 killed
  • Oct 13 Battle of Queenstown Heights: British forces defeat United States forces attempting to invade Canada
  • Oct 14 Work on London's Regent's Canal starts.
  • Oct 19 Napoleon Bonaparte and his Grande Armée begin their retreat from Moscow numbering just 100,000 (started campaign with 500,000)
  • Oct 22 Duke of Wellington seizes Burgos, Spain
  • Oct 23 Failed coup against French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Oct 24 Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Maloyaroslavets takes place near Moscow, French army then forced to retreat through the snow towards Smolensk
  • Oct 25 US frigate United States captures British vessel Macedonian
  • Nov 3 Napoleonic armies defeated at Vyazma
  • Nov 17 Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Krasnoi during Napoleon's retreat from Moscow
  • Nov 29 Napoleon's Grand Army crosses Berezina River in retreat from Russia

Election of Interest

Dec 2 James Madison re-elected President of the US, Elbridge Gerry Vice-President

  • Dec 4 Peter Gaillard of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, patents a horse-drawn mower
  • Dec 11 1st newspaper on Curacao (Curacao Gazette & Commercial Advertiser)
  • Dec 14 The French invasion of Russia, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, officially ends with the French having lost as many as 530,000 people


Dec 20 "Grimm's Fairy Tales" or "Children's and Household Tales" by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm is first published

  • Dec 29 The USS Constitution under the command of Captain William Bainbridge, captures the HMS Java off the coast of Brazil after a three hour battle