The entire history of 1869
It was the year 1869. The world was poised on the brink of a new era, full of uncertainty. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, with new technologies and industries rapidly transforming society. The United States was still recovering from the aftermath of the Civil War, with Reconstruction efforts underway to rebuild the nation and address issues of racial inequality. In Asia, Japan was experiencing a period of rapid modernization and westernization, while China struggled to maintain its traditional way of life amidst increasing pressure from foreign powers. European colonial powers continued their expansion into Africa, setting the stage for decades of exploitation and conflict.
I'm Mark Palmer, and this is the entire history of 1869. 1st of January: During the War of the Triple Alliance, Paraguay's capital, Asunción, was captured by Brazilian forces, commanded by General João de Souza da Fonseca Costa. 13th of January: The Colored National Labor Union, the first black labor convention, convened in Washington DC. 18th of January: The California Theater, a luxurious theater in San Francisco, was inaugurated. It became a famous venue for opera performances and other cultural events in the city.
20th of January: Elizabeth Cady Stanton made history as the first woman to give testimony before the US Congress. Her testimony was related to the issue of women's suffrage, and the need to amend the Constitution to grant voting rights to women. 2nd of February: James Oliver, an American inventor, created a new type of plow blade made of removable tempered steel. The invention improved the efficiency and durability of plows, and it became widely used in agriculture. 3rd of February: The Booth Theater, located at 23rd and 6th in New York City, opened with a performance of "Romeo and Juliet." It was named after the famous Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, and it became one of the most prestigious theaters in the city.
5th of February: John Deason and Richard Oates discovered the Welcome Stranger, the world's largest alluvial gold nugget, in Moliagul, Australia. Weighing 97.14 kg, the nugget was a remarkable find and a significant event in the history of gold mining in Australia. 6th of February: Harper's Weekly, a popular American magazine, published the first image of Uncle Sam with chin whiskers. Uncle Sam, a personification of the United States, became an iconic figure, and the image with whiskers was widely adopted in popular culture.
15th of February: Jefferson Davis, who served as the President of the Confederate States during the American Civil War, had been accused of treason, but the charges against him were dropped. 19th of February: The US government authorized the establishment of an Assay Office in Boise, Idaho, to test and refine gold and silver deposits in the region, which played an important role in the economic development of the state and the West. 20th of February: Governor W.C. Brownlow of Tennessee declared martial law in response to the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, the white supremacist group that terrorized African Americans and their supporters during the Reconstruction era.
23rd of February: The governor of Louisiana signed a law that required equal access to public accommodations, such as hotels and restaurants, for people of all races. 26th of February: The US Congress passed the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed the right to vote to all male citizens regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, and sent it to the states to be ratified. This was a landmark achievement in the struggle for voting rights and equality in America, although it would take many more years of activism and resistance to fully realize the promise of the amendment. 27th of February: John Menard, an African American politician from Louisiana, delivered a speech in the US Congress. His speech focused on issues of civil rights and political representation for Black Americans. 1st of March: The US government issued postage stamps depicting pictorial scenes, including a post horse and rider, a locomotive, a shield, an eagle, and a ship called the Adriatic, marking the first time that such images were used on US stamps.
3rd of March: The University of South Carolina opened its doors to students of all races, one of the first universities in the South to do so after the Civil War. 4th of March: Ulysses S. Grant was inaugurated as the 18th President of the United States, after winning a decisive victory in the presidential election. His presidency would be marked by efforts to reconstruct the South, protect civil rights, and promote economic growth and modernization. 6th of March: Dmitri Mendeleev presented the first version of his periodic table of the elements to the Russian Chemical Society, which organized the known elements into a coherent and predictive pattern, based on their chemical properties.
11th of March: French missionary Armand David first brought news of the Giant Panda to the Western world, after receiving a skin from a hunter during his travels in China. This was the first known encounter with the animal by a Westerner, and sparked fascination and interest in the elusive and rare creature. 13th of March: The Arkansas legislature passed an anti-Ku Klux Klan law, which aimed to curb the activities of the racist and violent organization in the state. This was part of a broader effort to crack down on white supremacist groups. 14th of March: Riwha Titokowaru, a Maori leader of the Ngāti Ruanui tribe, suffered a major defeat at the hands of British forces in Taranaki, New Zealand.
8th of April: The American Museum of Natural History opened its doors to the public in New York City, becoming one of the largest and most famous museums of its kind. Its collections and exhibitions continue to draw many visitors every year, offering a glimpse into the natural world and the history of life on Earth. 9th of April: The Hudson Bay Company, a major fur trading company that had played a significant role in the early history of Canada, ceded its vast territory to the government. This transfer paved the way for the expansion of Canadian settlements and the development of new industries.
10th of April: In an effort to give the President the power to appoint more justices who shared his views, Congress passed a law increasing the number of justices on the US Supreme Court from seven to nine. This controversial decision led to accusations of "court-packing," and raised concerns about the politicization of the judiciary. José Martí establishes the Cuban Revolutionary Party, which aims to achieve independence from Spanish rule. The party's objective is to unify and organize the revolutionary movement in Cuba and abroad. 12th of April: The North Carolina legislature passed an anti-Ku Klux Klan law, prohibiting secret societies from operating in the state.
The law imposed heavy fines and imprisonment on anyone convicted of "unlawful assembly," "inciting to riot," or "disguising oneself to evade the law." 13th of April: George Westinghouse patents the steam power brake, an innovation in railroad safety that significantly improved the ability to stop trains. The invention revolutionized the industry, and is still used in modern trains today. 16th of April: Ebenezer Bassett, an African American, began his service as the first Minister to Haiti.
This made him the first Black diplomat for the United States. 30th of April: The YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) is organized in Hawaii, providing a place for young men to gather and participate in Christian activities. The organization aimed to promote good physical, mental, and spiritual health among young men. 1st of May: The Folies Bergère, a famous cabaret music hall, opens in Paris, becoming one of the most popular entertainment venues of its time.
It would go on to feature a variety of performances, including music, dance, circus acts, and more. 4th of May: The Battle of Hakodate marked the final confrontation of the Boshin War, and saw the remnants of the Shogunate's army defeated by the Imperial Japanese Army, effectively ending the conflict. The battle took place in and around the city of Hakodate, located on the northern island of Hokkaido. 10th of May: The Golden Spike is driven, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States at Promontory Summit, Utah, and connecting the Central Pacific Railroad with the Union Pacific.
15th of May: The National Woman Suffrage Association was formed in New York by two women's rights activists, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, advocating for women's right to vote and full citizenship. They aimed to achieve their goals through a constitutional amendment and by focusing on state-level campaigns. 18th of May: Robert Tanner Freeman became the first African American to receive a degree from Harvard Dental School. The Ezo Republic, which was established by rebel samurai in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, surrendered and dissolved after a series of battles with the Japanese government forces. The conflict arose in the aftermath of the Meiji Restoration, as a result of resistance to the new government's policies and attempts to centralize power. 26th of May: Boston University, a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, is officially chartered by the state's government, allowing it to grant degrees and operate as an educational institution.
1st of June: Thomas Edison was granted a patent for the Electric Vote Recorder, which he had designed to make voting in the U.S. Congress more efficient. This was his first patent related to voting technology. 8th of June: Ives W. McGaffey of Chicago patents the first machine that can be considered a vacuum cleaner, calling it a "sweeping machine".
The device had a hand crank, and used a bellows to create suction to remove dust and debris from floors. 10th of June: The ship "Agnes" arrived in New Orleans, carrying the first-ever shipment of frozen beef, revolutionizing the meatpacking industry by allowing for long-distance transportation of meat. 15th of June: Mike McCoole, an American, emerged victorious in a bare-knuckle boxing match against Tom Allen from England. John Wesley Hyatt of Albany, New York, patented the world's first plastic celluloid, which later became a widely used material for manufacturing a variety of items, from photographic film to billiard balls.
21st of June: William James, a renowned American psychologist, passes his medical examination at Harvard Medical School. He would go on to become a prominent figure in American psychology, co-founding the American Psychical Society, and writing influential works such as "The Principles of Psychology." 28th of June: The Amsterdam typographer strike occurred, where typographers went on strike demanding higher wages and better working conditions.
The strike lasted for several months, and ultimately resulted in a victory for the typographers, setting a precedent for workers' rights movements in the Netherlands. 1st of July: The Dutch government repeals the stamp tax on newspapers, making it cheaper for newspapers to circulate, and increasing access to information for the public. The US government opens a mint in Carson City, Nevada, to produce silver coins for circulation. 6th of July: Dr J.H. Harris, who was a black candidate, lost his bid for lieutenant governor of Virginia. 15th of July: Hippolyte Méga-Mouriès patented margarine for use by the French Navy.
19th of July: Louis Riel, a prominent Métis leader, delivers a speech to Métis residents about their land rights, which would later be seen as a catalyst for the Red River Rebellion. 30th of July: The Charles, the world's first oil tanker, sets sail from the US with a capacity of 7,000 barrels of oil. The vessel was designed to transport oil in bulk, marking a significant step forward in the global oil industry. 1st of August: The first journey down the Colorado River was undertaken by John Wesley Powell and his team, which included nine men in four wooden boats. The expedition set out to explore the river and the Grand Canyon, charting the area and gathering scientific data about the region.
10th of August: O. B. Brown patents the first successful moving picture projector, known as the Kinetoscope. This invention revolutionized the motion picture industry by allowing people to watch films in large groups. 12th of August: Joshua Abraham Norton, who declared himself the "Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico," issued an edict abolishing the Democratic and Republican parties, stating that "fraud and corruption prevented fair elections." 15th of August: The Meiji government in Japan establishes a new ministry for Shinto, along with five other new ministries.
16th of August: During the War of the Triple Alliance, a battalion of child soldiers from Paraguay was killed by the Brazilian Army in the Battle of Acosta Ñu. This event was significant due to the use of child soldiers, and the high number of casualties on the Paraguayan side. 23rd of August: The first-ever shipment of goods by rail freight (boots and shoes) from Boston to San Francisco, arrives after a 16-day journey. 24th of August: Cornelius Swarthout, an American inventor, patents the stove-top waffle iron, revolutionizing the way waffles are made. 27th of August: In the first international boat race, held on the River Thames, the team from Oxford defeated the team from Harvard. 1st of September: Construction on the Grand Central Depot begins for the New York and Harlem Railroad, later replaced by the Grand Central Station.
6th of September: The first train to travel westbound arrives in San Francisco, marking a significant milestone in the expansion of the United States and the development of the Transcontinental Railroad. The journey from New York to San Francisco took about 83 hours, cutting down the travel time across the country from months to days. A mine fire broke out at Avondale, Pennsylvania, killing 110 people. 10th of September: A Baptist minister, named Jonathan Goble, reportedly invented the rickshaw in Yokohama, Japan.
This vehicle became popular in Asia as a mode of transportation, especially for short distances. 13th of September: Jay Gould and James Fisk attempted to corner the gold market by hoarding and buying large amounts of gold, leading to a spike in prices, and eventually causing a financial panic, and the collapse of several major banks. 24th of September: Black Friday, a financial crisis in the US when the price of gold suddenly plummeted, caused a wave of bankruptcies and economic instability, due to the attempt by financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk to corner the gold market.
1st of October: Vienna, Austria, issues the first postcards, allowing people to send short messages along with a picture on a pre-printed card. These early postcards were simple in design, with a space for the address on one side, and a picture or illustration on the other. 5th of October: The Saxby Gale, a severe hurricane, hits the Bay of Fundy region in Maritime Canada, causing significant damage.
British naval officer Stephen Martin Saxby had predicted the storm 10 months earlier, in December 1868, using astronomy, which was remarkable at the time. A man-made tunnel constructed beneath Saint Anthony Falls in Minnesota collapsed, creating a significant threat to the Minneapolis riverfront. The tunnel was built to help harness the power of the falls for industrial purposes. 16th of October: A hotel in Boston became the first to install indoor plumbing, providing running water and a flushing toilet to its guests. This innovation marked a significant improvement in hygiene and comfort for hotel guests, and it quickly became a standard feature of modern buildings. 18th of October: Henrik Ibsen's play, "De Unges Forbund", or "The League of Youth", has its first performance in Christiania, Norway.
21st of October: The first shipment of fresh oysters is transported overland from Baltimore, marking a significant improvement in transportation and preservation techniques for seafood. 1st of November: The company Deli Maatschappij formed Ter Beschikkingstelling Van Tobacco in Sumatra. The new company was established to cultivate tobacco for Deli Maatschappij's cigarette factory.
3rd of November: The Hamilton Football Club was formed in Canada, one of the oldest football clubs in North America. 15th of November: The formal inauguration of free postal delivery took place, allowing people to receive mail at no cost without having to travel to the post office. This was a significant improvement in mail delivery services, and helped increase communication and connectivity throughout communities. 17th of November: The Suez Canal, a man-made waterway in Egypt, was opened, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. This allowed for faster and more efficient shipping and trade between Europe and Asia, and had a major impact on global commerce. 23rd of November: The Cutty Sark, a famous clipper ship, was launched in Dumbarton, Scotland, becoming one of the last clippers ever built, and the only one that still survives.
The ship became famous for its speed and beauty, and today it is a popular tourist attraction in London. 24th of November: The American Woman's Suffrage Association was formed in Cleveland, Ohio, advocating for women's right to vote in the United States. The organization played a crucial role in the women's suffrage movement, and helped pave the way for the eventual passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. 8th of December: The First Vatican Council, the 20th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, opened in Rome. The council addressed several important issues, including the nature of the Church, papal infallibility, and the relationship between faith and reason.
T. Eaton Company Limited, a department store chain, was founded in Toronto, Canada, by Timothy Eaton. The store became known for its commitment to customer service and fair pricing, and it had a significant impact on the retail industry in Canada. 9th of December: The Noble Order of Knights of Labor was founded in Philadelphia, as a labor union to advocate for workers' rights, and to promote social reform. The organization grew rapidly, and became a major force in the labor movement.
10th of December: Kappa Sigma, a fraternity organization, was founded at the University of Virginia, becoming the first American chapter of the fraternity. The organization grew rapidly, and expanded to other universities, becoming one of the largest and most well-known fraternities in the United States. Wyoming Territory granted women the right to vote, becoming the first jurisdiction in the United States to do so. 18th of December: The Hamilton Football Club, a Canadian football team, played its first game.
The team went on to become one of the most successful football franchises in Canadian history, winning numerous championships over the years. 28th of December: William Finley Semple of Mount Vernon, Ohio, was granted a patent for chewing gum, a popular treat made from flavored and sweetened gum. The invention of chewing gum had a significant impact on the confectionery industry.
30th of December: The Philadelphia branch of the Knights of Labor, a labor union organization, was formed to advocate for workers' rights and to promote social reform. The organization grew rapidly, and became a major force in the labor movement of the late 19th century. That brings us to the end of our journey through the year 1869. Be sure to stay tuned for more, and I'll see you next time.