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Events of the Decade:

Four year Civil War in America
Civil War in Afghanistan
Canada becomes a Dominion
U.S. purchases Alaska from Russia
Independence for Peru
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay vs. Paraguay in the War of the Triple Alliance
Revolution in Spain
Third Maori War in New Zealand
Austria and Prussia beat out Denmark for Schleswig, Holstein & Lauenberg
But then Austria fights Prussia and Italy
Emigration to U.S.
from Britain: 606,896
Ireland 435,779

Who's 'In':

President Abraham Lincoln
President Andrew Johnson
President Ulysses S. Grant
William I of Prussia
King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Louis I of Portugal
British PM: John Russell, Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley, Benjamin Disraeli, W.E. Gladstone
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
Gen. Robert E. Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Jefferson Davis
William Tecumseh Sherman
Otto von Bismarck
Christian IX of Denmark
Archduke Maximilian of Austria
Emperor Maximilian of Mexico
Leopold II of Belgium
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Benjamin Disraeli
Admiral David Farragut
Mark Twain
The Bushnell family sextuplets in Chicago

Who Died:

1.5 million in droughts and famine in India
Debtor's prisons abolished in England
600,000 American soldiers
(20,000 in Battle of Antietam alone)
1200 in New York City Draft Riots
Slavery in the U.S.A. and in Dutch West Indies
50,000 in Peruvian earthquakes
Massacre of Christians at Damascas
The Shogunate in Japan
Barefisted boxing matches and public executions in England
Abraham Lincoln, 56
Hector Berlioz, 66
Arthur Shopenhauer, 72
Gioacchino Rossini, 76
William IV of Prussia
Pedro V of Portugal
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 55
Michael Faraday, 76
Charles Baudelaire, 46
Henry David Thoreau, 44
Frederick VII of Denmark
Eugène Delacroix, 64
Jacob Grimm, 78
Leopold I of Belgium
William Makepeace Thackery, 52
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 59
Fredrick William IV (Prussia)
Samuel Colt
Stephen Foster, 38
Steven Foster
Lola Montez
Artemus Ward
King Max II Bavaria
Elisha Otis
John Wilkes Booth
General Stonewall Jackson
Kit Carson
King Michael III Serbia
Emperor Maximilian Mexico
Charles Goodyear
Sam Houston
King Otto I Greece
Peter Mark Roget
Albert Prince Consort
Theodore Rousseau
Linus Yale
1,547 dead in Mississippi steamboat disaster near Memphis

Bad Guys:

Jefferson Davis
President Andrew Johnson
The Reno Brothers (first train robbers)
The James Younger Gang
John Wilkes Booth
Mary Surratt convicted of conspiracy with Booth and hanged
Oakes Ames, director of Union Pacific Railroad who skimmed $23 million
Krupps begin production of weapons in Essen Germany
Ku Klux Klan founded in Pulasky, TN
W.B. Mumford hanged for treason against U.S.

What's 'In':

Chewing gum
The martini invented in San Francisco
First weather forecast in the London Times
Peep shows
The game of croquet imported from England
The corkscrew
Liquid soap
H.J. Heinz's food production company in Sharpsburg, PA
Ready-mixed paint
Fresh yeast
Paris Opera House
The Zoëtrope motion picture projection machine
Mr. Pullman's sleeping cars on trains
Postcards in Austria
City-block long department store - A.T. Stewart & Co. New York
Whitehead's underwater torpedo
Armour meat packing company in Chicago
Badminton invented
Roller-skating in America
Horse-drawn trams in London
Salmon canneries
Peanuts - the new snack
Tabasco sauce
The British Open Golf Tournament
Linoleum (first in England)
Gatling's ten-barrel rapid-fire machine gun
Marquess of Queensberry rules of boxing
First professional baseball team the Cincinnati Red Stockings
The term "ecology" coined
The seventh-inning stretch and base-stealing introduced in baseball
The Ph.D. degree
Celluloid false teeth, piano keys, composition billiard balls, eyeglass frames
First concrete bridges
Law to copyright photographs
Pony Express begins fast mail service
An ice machine
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
First dog show in U.S.
Dynamite manufacturing in San Francisco
US is covered by rail as Union Pacific & Central Pacific linked
Royal Albert Hall, London,
1st recorded bicycle race in Paris
U.S. Secret Service created under Treasury Department.
Yosemite Valley becomes state park
1st New York elevated train, the 9th Avenue El
Congressional Medal of Honor
Passports in America
First Turkish bath in U.S.
World's first aerial photograph
Int"l Red Cross founded
Canoeing in England
Suez Canal opens; connects Red Sea and Mediterranean
New inventions: Waffle iron, tin can with key opener, breech-loading gun, the percolator, barbed wire, bicycle with rotary crank, tape measure, nickel plating, indelible pencil, the cork- screw, George Westinghouse's air brake, a mechanical dish-washer and an electric washing-machine, the carpet sweeper, Edison's electric vote recorder, suction-type vacuum cleaner, Aerosol bottle, "Type- writer," offshore oil drilling rig, fire extinguisher
London underground railway


Dion Boucicault's play "The Colleen Bawn"
Sarah Bernhardt's début at Comédie-Française
Henrik Ibsen's plays "The Pretenders," "Brand," "Peer Gynt"
Another Paris World Fair
Musical comedy "The Black Crook"
Alexandre Dumas fils "L"Ami des Femmes," "Les Idées de Mme. Aubray"
A.S. Sullivan's comic opera "Cox and Box"


The songs of Stephen Foster in America
Johannes Brahms Piano Concerto no. 1 D minor, A German Requiem, Variations on a theme of Haydn, Hungarian Dances 1 and 2
Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor
Song: "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Offenbach's operettas "La Belle Hélène," "La Vie Parisienne," and "La Grande-duchesse de Gérolstein"
Verdi's Opera "La Forza del Destino"
Berlioz operas "The Taking of Troy" "Fair Maid of Perth," "Béatrice et Bénédict" premieres in Baden-Baden
Verdi's Opera "Don Carlos"
Johann Strauss "The Blue Danube" Waltz"
Bizet's opera "the Pearl Fishers"
Anton Bruckner's Mass No. 1 D minor and his "Die Nullte" Symphony
Rimsky-Korsakov's 1st Symphony in E minor
Wagner's operas "Tristan und Isolde," premiere in Munich; "The Master- singers of Nuremberg," "The Rhinegold"
Tchaikovsky's Overture "Romeo and Juliet" and his Symphony No. 1
Gounod's opera "Roméo et Juliette" at the Paris Opera


Tolstoy's "War and Peace"
Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,"
Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
Dostoievsky's "Crime and Punishment," "The Idiot"
Ralph Waldo Emerson's "The Conduct of Life," "English Traits"
Julia Ward Howe "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"
John Greenleaf Whittier "Barbara Frietchie," "Snow-Bound"
Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"
Bret Harte's "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," "The Luck of the Roaring Camp"
Anthony Trollope "The Small House at Allington"
George Eliot "The Mill on the Floss," "Silas Marner"
Charles Dickens" "Great Expectations," "Our Mutual Friend"
Oliver Wendell Holmes "Elsie Venner (or The Professor), "The Guardian Angel"
Émile Zola "Thérèse Raquin"
Karl Marx "Das Kapital"
Mark Twain "The Innocents Abroad," "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"
Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables," "Les Travailleurs de la Mer," "L"Homme qui rit,"
Ivan Turgeniev "Fathers and Sons"
Walt Whitman's "Drum Taps," "Children of Adam," "Calamus," "Oh Captain! My Captain!" "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom"d"
Horatio Alger's Ragged Duck Series and Luck and Pluck Series


Japanese art at the Paris World's Fair
French impressionism is "in"
Yale University founds first Fine Arts Department
Monet's "Terrace at St. Adresse," "Camille," "The Balcony," "Jetty at Havre"
Manet's "The Guitarist," "Lola de Valence," "Luncheon on the Grass," "Olympia," "Zola," "The Balcony," and "Execution of Maximilian of Mexico"
Paul Cézanne's "Rape"
Eugène Boudin's "On the Beach, Dieppe"
Winslow Homer's "Prisoners from the Front," "The Croquet Match"
Alfred Sisley's "Banks of the Seine," "Land Near a Small Town," "Street at Marly," "Banks of the Oise"
Renoir's "Lise" and "The Skaters"
Daumier's "The Lawyers," "Don Quixote" "Don Quixote" and "Sancho Panza"
Rossetti's "Beata Beatrix," "Lily Lileth," "The Dream of Dante"
James Whistler's "Symphony in White"
Corot's "Bacchante by the Sea," "The Sleep of Diana," "Orphée, Le Repos"
Rodin's sculpture "Man With the Broken Nose"
Edgar Degas paints ballet dancers, "L"Orchestre," "Spartan Boys and girls Exercising"
Manet and Courbet hold one-man shows at Paris World Fair; Salon disapproves. Renoir & Manet start painting out of doors
Millet's "Man with the Hoe"
Millais "Boyhood of Raleigh"
Courbet's "Sleeping Woman," "Woman with a Parrot," "The Source," "Calm Sea"
Ingres "Bain Turque"
Gustave Doré's illustrations for "Don Quixote" and "the Bible"

Fashion & Beauty:

First fashion weekly- Harper's Bazaar
Levi Strauss's denim jeans
Stetson's 10 gallon hat
Beards are "in"
Cravats and waistcoats
White linen and seersucker suits
Thick socks
Laced shoes
Patterned trousers in stripes and plaids
Jackets and trousers in matching material in suits
Pre-Raphaelite style: with loose silk bodices
Tunic and trousers
Jacket-stylke bodices
Tassels on skirt hems
More elaborately trimmed underwear
Pillbox hats
Lace overskirts in Italy
Straw bonnets
Bustles in, hoops out
Blouse-skirt combinations


Cornhill Magazine founded under William Makepeace Thackeray
Le Petit Journal, cheap French newspaper, issued
Neue Freie Presse, Vienna
Pall Mall Gazette
Fortnightly Review
Bret Harte edits the Overland Monthly in San Francisco
Censorship imposed during Civil War
The Nation
San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner
Whitaker's Almanack in England


First portrait on paper money of Treasury secretary Salmon Chase
U.S. Federal income tax imposed
U.S. Mint begins making nickels, 5¢ coins.
"Greenbacks" first issued by Abraham Lincoln; $450 million are legal tender during War
Motto "In God We Trust" placed on all U.S. coins
U.S. buys Alaska from Russia for $7.2M, (1.9 ¢ per acre)
Commercial Panic in London; Black Friday 1866
U.S. financial disaster- plummeting gold prices cause panic of "Black Friday"
Travelers Insurance Co of Hartford, CT is first accident insurance co.
People's Bank, Milan founded
Prices in U.S.: Barrel of salt $5.00, Coffee 35¢ lb, Butter in NY 60¢ lb., rest of country 30¢.
National Bank Act in U.S. says only government can issue banknotes, so they do.
Imperial Government of China resurrects paper money
Confederate coins minted in New Orleans
Haircuts 12¢, Shampoos 25¢,
Shaves 6¢


Russian Orthodox Church establishes monastery at Jerusalem
The Catholic Times issued
Pope Pius IX calls First Vatican Council
The Salvation Army in England
Roman Catholics in Britain - 950,000 (including 750,000 Irish immigrants)
First general conference of Seventh Day Adventists in Washington Center, NH
Presbyterian Church in U.S. formed
First Baptist church in Canada
The Catholic Times newspaper published
First Greek Orthodox Church in America at New Orleans


New elements caesium and rubidium identified
Thallium discovered
Clinical thermometer by W. Aitken (UK)
Pasteur's germ theory of disease, development of pasteurization process; he cures silkworm disease
Sodium carbonate
First gallstone operation performed
Dynamite invented by Alfred Nobel
Joseph Lister's revolutionary new surgical technique using antiseptics
John Hyatt's mixture of nitrated cellulose with camphor invents celluloid
Cro-Magnon man remains found in France

New Slang Words:

To be AWOL - absent without leave
Something is airy-fairy
To be au courant with something
Mad as a hatter
Button your lip
Whole kit and caboodle
To cock a snook at something
Someone is a smart Alek
To back the wrong horse
To beat a hasty retreat
To blow off steam
Conspicuous by its absence
To cook someone's own goose
Far be it from me to...
You could have heard a pin drop
To leave someone high and dry
Something is a horse of another color
To move heaven and earth
Something is null and void
Something is second to none
Someone is shaking in his boots
To skate on thin ice
Someone has a skeleton in his cupboard/closet
To step into someone's shoes
Someone is an ugly duckling
To wash one's dirty linen in public
The jig is up
Kiss my ass
Not if I can help it
This is too much!
You bet (your sweet life)
To take a back seat to...
Once in a blue moon
Someone is an old hand at something (experienced)


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




















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