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Events of the Decade:

Alliance between Russia, Britain, Prussia & Austria supporting Turkey against Egypt
British rule over Hong Kong,
New Zealand (despite Maori revolts) Natal and Cape Colony;
Anglo-Chinese Opium War, 2nd Afghan War and Boer Wars end with victorious Brits. Eastern ports open to commerce.
Independence of Liberia, Hawaii, Hungary
Gold Rush in California!
First settlers go to New Zealand
Sikhs vs. British in two wars
Agricultural and Industrial depression in France
Revolutions in Palermo, Paris, Vienna, Venice, Milan, Parma, Warsaw, Danubian Principalities, Hungary
French War in Morocco
U.S./Canadian frontier defined by Webster- Ashburton Treaty
2 year U.S. War with Mexico ends with Rio Grande established as border
Republic of Rome and 2nd French Republic proclaimed
Famine in Ireland
Britain 18,534,000
Ireland 8,175,000
U.S. 17,063,353
London 2,235,344
Paris 935,261
Vienna 356,870
New York 312,710
Berlin 300,000
Emigration to U.S.:
Britain 267,044
Ireland 780,719

Who's 'In':

President William Henry Harrison
President John Tyler
President James Polk
President Zackary Taylor
British PM's Robert Peel, John Russell
Queen Victoria's new husband -Prince Albert
Frederick Wm. IV of Prussia
Samuel F.B. Morse
Explorer-Missionary David Livingstone
Oscar I in Sweden
Elizabeth Blackwell-1st woman doctor
Photographer Mathew Brady
Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels in Russia (Communist Manifesto published)
President (of 2nd Republic) Louis Napoleon in France
P.M. Benjamin Disraeli

Who Died:

President William Henry Harrison
Great Auk extinct
Potato famine in Ireland kills nearly 1 million
Death penalty in the State of Michigan
Frederick William III of Prussia
Niccolo Paganini
Mikhail Lermontov, 27
Stendahl, 59
Charles XIV of Sweden
Andrew Jackson
Felix Mendelssohn, 38
Gabriel Donizetti, 51
Francois René de Chateaubriand, 79
George Stephenson, 67
Edgar Allan Poe, 40
Frédéric Chopin, 39
Francis Scott Key
Christian VIII Denmark
John Quincy Adams
Johnny Appleseed
Luigi Cherubini
John Jacob Astor
Beau Brummel, 62
Noah Webster
Anne and Emily Brontë
Pope Gregory XVI
Andrew Jackson
Pope Gregory XVI
Joseph Smith
Mehemet Ali
Johann Strauss (the elder)
Frederic Chopin

Bad Guys:

Mehemet Ali of Egypt
Keepers of 436,000 slaves in Cuba

What's 'In':

New inventions: pneumatic and rubber tires, the gas mask, the artificial leg, sewing machine, reinforced concrete, process to obtain iron from iron ore, breech- loading cannon, the dental chair, Venetian blinds, rotary printing press, safety pin, telegraph ticker that prints letters of alphabet, method of taking photos with plates, and Abe Lincoln's device to buoy vessels over shoals with inflatable cylinders, blackboards in schools, rubber bands, hydraulic crane, Wood-pulp paper, artificial fertilizer
Artists paint now comes in tubes
Penny Post in Britain - 1st stamps and adhesive stamps in America too
The Y.M.C.A.
New York Yacht Club
Doughnuts with holes invented in Camden Maine
Cornstarch and baking soda
Ice skating
Wall and floor tiles
Soap powder in packages
The sport of skiing in Norway
The potato is now main staple in many European countries
Dancing the polka
Lager beer manufacturing in Philadelphia
The State of Texas
Tattooing of sailors in New York
Le Bal des Anglais in Paris - first nightclub
P.T. Barnun's "American Museum," freak show and curios in New York
The Smithsonian Institution
Public baths and wash houses in Liverpool, England
Evaporated milk
Solid eating chocolate
Ninepin Bowling
Telegraph lines and long-distance telegraphy messages
Reform schools
World's first dental college in Baltimore
Antarctic coast discovered
Yerba Buena changes name to San Francisco.
Thos. Cook Travel Company's new train excursions
US Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD opened.
First Christmas cards, and printed Valentines Day cards


Hit play: "Putnam" by Nathaniel Bannister at the Bowery Theatre, New York
Astor Place Theatre riot in New York. British actor William Macready as Macbeth denigrates American society.
22 killed by troops
First matinee performance in a U.S. Theatre in New York
German dramatists Georg Büchner and Friedrich Hebbel are in; Alfred de Musset in France


Adolph Sax invents the Saxophone
Chopin's 2 nocturnes, 2 polonaises, Piano Sonata in B minor
Donizetti's opera "La Fille du Régiment," "Don Pasquale"
Richard Wagner's "Faust" Overture, operas "Rienzi," "Flying Dutchman," "Tannhäuser" (first performed in Dresden Opera House)
Rossini's oratorio "Stabat Mater"
Nicolai's opera "The Merry Wives of Windsor."
Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, 2nd Symphony, music for "Manfred." "Paradise and the Peri"
Mendelssohn's Symphony in A minor ("Scottish"), Violin concerto in E minor, Music to "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Elijah oratorio. He establishes Leipzig Conservatoire
New York Philharmonic Society founded by Ureli Corelli Hill
Verdi's Operas "Ernani, " "Macbeth,"
Hector Berlioz "Traité de l"Instrumentation," "Damnation of Faust,"
Franz Liszt's Les Préludes, Hungarian Rhapsody 1, "Tasso"
Hit Songs: Stephen Foster's Oh Susanna, Jim Crack Corn or the Blue Tail Fly


First serial novels published
Macmillan & Co. and Charles Scribner's Sons founded
James Fenimore Cooper "The Pathfinder," "The Deerslayer"
"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë
"Two Years Before the Mast" by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
"Germany, a Winter Tale," by Henrich Heine
"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë
Edward Lear's "Book of Nonsense."
George Sand's "La Mare au Diable," "Le Péché de M. Antoine"
William Makepeace Thackeray's "Vanity Fair," "Memoirs of Barry Lyndon," "The Rose and the Ring"
Dostoyevsky's "Poor Folk."
Charles Dickens" "The Old Curiosity Shop," "A Christmas Carol," "David Copperfield."
Edgar Allen Poe "The Fall of the House of Usher," "Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Tell-Tale Heart" "The Purloined Letter," Poems: "The Raven," "Eureka," "Annabel Lee"
Honoré de Balzac "Une Ténébruese Affair," "Les Paysans," "La Cousine Bette"
Benjamin Disraeli's "Sybil or the Two Nations," "Coningsby, or the New Generation, and "Tancred, or The New Crusade"
Carlyle "On Heroes and Hero-Worship"
Nikolai Gogol's "Dead Souls," "The Overcoat"
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow's "Ballads and Other Poems," "The Belfry of Bruges," "Evangeline."
Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Morte d"Arthur and other Idylls"
Alexandre Dumas (père) "The Three Muskateers," "The Count of Monte Cristo," "Twenty Years After," "The Viscount of Bragelonne"
Alexander Dumas (fils) "La Dame aux Camélias"
Thomas Babington Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome," "History of England from the Accession of James the Second"


Turner's painting "The Sun of Venice Going to Sea," "Rain, Steam and Speed," "
Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood founded by Rossetti, Millais & Hunt.
Millais painting "Ophelia"
Delacroix paints ceiling of Salon d"Apollon in the Louvre, and also "George Sand's Garden at Nohant"
Ingres's "Portrait of the Countess Haussonville"
Millet "Oedipus Unbound," "The Winnower"
Courbet's "After Dinner at Ornans"

Fashion & Beauty:

Bathing attire made from worsted wool
Dark top coats, light top hats
Double-breasted coats
Narrow trousers
Silk hats
Large cravats
"Cutaway" coats are "in"
Bathing suits of flannel knickers and knee-length dresses
Amelia Bloomer begins to reform women's dress
First live models in Paris
Furs are hot
Tight sleeves
Capes and scarves
Satin dresses
Pearl necklaces
"Scarf" shawls
Braided loops of hair over ears
Higher necklines
Gingham materials
Watered silk and velvet cardinals (short cloaks)
Pelerines, a type of cape or mantle


First photos and line drawings appear in newspapers
Punch Magazine
National Police Gazette
Daily News edited by Charles Dickens
The Jewish Chronicle, London
New York Tribune founded by Horace Greeley
Railway Guide
Illustrated London News
The Economist, London financial paper
The News of the World, English gossip paper
Society of Women Journalists in London
Associated Press News Agency founded
Scientific American
German satirical magazine, "Fliegende Blätter"
Swedish and Norwegian newspapers in America


Frenchman Louis Blanc first suggests worker-owned co-operatives
Double eagle coinage in America
Mutual Life Insurance Companies founded
Gold fever with California Gold Rush
First paper money printed by American Indians in Oregon
First vacation funds for employees
First health insurance companies


In the U.S.:
Catholics: 1 million
Baptists: 850,000
Methodists 870,000
Presbyterians 228,600
United Church of Scotland (later United Free Church) formed
Presbyterian Church formed in Ireland
Polygamy among Mormons authorized by Joseph Smith and they move West to found Salt Lake City.
Babist sect founded in Persia
Spiritualism in the U.S.
B"nai B"rith Jewish fraternal society founded in NY
Pope Pius IX
Seventh Day Adventist Church founded in Washington Center, NH


Existence of gorillas in Africa first revealed in America
Spermatozoa identified as cells; Protoplasm discovered
Fizeau discovers the speed of light
Nitroglycerine first made.
Velocity of light measured.
Ether, nitrous oxide and chloroform first used as anesthetics. (C. Long in USA)
Bunsen invents carbon/zinc battery
Kelvin reveals absolute temperature scale
Kolbe synthesizes acetic acid
British Pharmaceutical Society founded, American Medical Assn., and American Assn. for Advancement of Science in Philadelphia.
Potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus established as necessary for plant growth
Faraday coats metal with nickel by electrical process.
Planet Neptune discovered
College of Chemistry in London
First use of the hypodermic syringe
Polio first identified
Grave's disease first described (exophthalmic toxic goiters)
Mary Somerville's "Physical Geography" and "Microscopic and Molecular Science"

New Slang Words:

Armed to the teeth
As the crow flies
Two shakes of a lamb's tail
To get the ball rolling
Knock one's socks off
Crazy as a loon
For the life of me...
To go whole hog
To go to the dogs
It's half the battle
To let one's imagination run riot
Odds and ends
To risk life and limb
Someone is scantily clad
So far, so good
To have a vested interested
Something is a vicious circle
To weather the storm
Easy does it
I owe you one
That won't wash
There's gold in them thar hills
You pays your money, you takes your choice
To belly-ache about something
Someone is a big-wig
To bluff one's way out of something
To raise cain


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An introduction to History by Decades by Larry Belling. More...




















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