After a successful year of teaching at the Gymnasium in Znaim (Znojmo), Mendel takes a a teaching examination that will allow him to secure a permanent appointment. The exam consists of two essays, one on the physical and chemical properties of air, and the other on geology. Mendel does not pass, and is told that he may retake the exam after a period of no less than one year. When C. F. Napp asks one of the examiners (Baron von Baumgartner) why Mendel has failed the exam, the examiner suggests that Mendel be sent to the University of Vienna to study the natural sciences.
The world population is more than a billion people, at least twice the population two centuries earlier.
The U.S. Congress passes a new Fugitive Slave Act in September, strengthening the early Act of 1793 by replacing state jurisdiction with federal jurisdiction. In October the Chicago City Council votes not to sustain the new Act, while in New York, a large meeting votes to sustain it. James Hamlet, a New York freedman, is the first person arrested by Federal authorities under the new law, but public outrage results in his being freed.
After only 16 months in office, U.S. President Zachary Taylor dies of typhus. He is succeeded by Vice President Millard Filmore. Filmore will, among other things, try to bring the cooking stove into the White House kitchen, despite protests from the cooking staff.
"Bibless overalls" made of canvas are sold by the 20 year-old Levi Strauss in San Francisco. Within three years he will switch to denim and dye his pants indigo blue.
Chemist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, 29, may have begun using the device we now know as the Bunsen burner this year, at the University of Heidelberg. But the apparatus is actually designed by his technician, C. Desaga.
Charles Dickens' novel The Personal History of David Copperfield is published, as is Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's book of poems, Sonnets from the Portuguese, and Alfred Tennyson's In Memoriam appear as well. Ralph Waldo Emerson's Representative Men is published.
The Illonois Central Railway is the first railroad to obtain a land grant from the U.S. government. Over the next 20 years, federal land grants to railroads will cover an area larger than France, England, Scotland and Wales combined.
California becomes the 31st state, as it is admitted to the Union on September 9.
In Über die bewegende Kraft der Wärme, mathematical physicist Rudolph Julius Emanuel Clausius articulates what comes to be known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The law states that heat can only be transferred from a warmer body to a colder body. In 1865, he'll restate the Law, saying that in the closed system entropy always increases.
Since its inception, roughly half of the children born in the United States have died before the age of 5.
In Worcester, Massacusetts, the first national women's rights convention is held. Lucy Stone, 33, is the principle organizer and she will organize annual conventions for several years.
The American Express Company is formed, when Wells & Co., Livingston & Fargo & Co. and the New York firm Butterfield, Wason & Co. merge.
In New York, Harper's Monthly begins publication. Harper's Weekly will first appear in 1856.
Mathematician Bernard Bolzano's Paradoxien des Unendlichen is published, two years after the Bolzano's death. It is the first work to use the word "set" in a modern mathematical sense, and also treats infinite sets.
This year the U.S. cotton crop reaches more than 2 million bales. The Red Delicious variety of apple is discovered in Iowa. Jersey cows are introduced in the U.S.
The Tallow industry, which has developed in Australia, now consumes about 2.5 million sheep each year.
In studying the effects of stimuli on sensation, physicist Gustav Theodor Fechner discovers that the relations between the stimulus intensity and the sensation is logarithmic rather than linear.
Mendel begins a two-year program of study at the University of Vienna. He will take a variety of courses and study with, or attend the lectures of, among others: Franz Unger, a Professor of Plant Physiology, whose 1852 Botanische Briefe will argue for the evolution of (i.e. non-fixity) of species; Andreas von Ettinghausen, whose course on experimental method and physical apparatus likely drew on his earlier writings on combinatorial analysis (von Ettinghausen, 1826), and the organization of experiments (Baumgartner and Ettinghausen, 1842); and Christian Doppler, the well-known physicist who lectures on experimental physics.
The Great Exhibition opens in London, housed at the Hyde Park Pavillion (the "Crystal Palace" designed by Joseph Paxton), on the First of May. It is the first world's fair, and is attended by more than 6 million people. London is the world's largest city, with a population of nearly 2.4 million people.
Mathematician Joseph Liouville demonstrates the existence of transcendental numbers (transcendentals are numbers that are not the solution to any algebraic equation).
Phra Nang Klao, known as Siam's Rama III, dies and is succeeded by his half-brother Phra Chom Klao Mongkut, who will reign in Siam for 17 years as Rama IV.
The Erie Railroad, now controlled by Daniel Drew, becomes the first rail line connecting the Great Lakes with New York City, and begins to compete with the Erie Canal as a transportation route.
The New York Times begins daily publication. The editor of the Times is Henry J. Raymond.
In France, a coup d'etat orchestrated by President Louis Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Morny (his half-brother), brings an end to the "Second Republic". In 1852, Louis Napoleon will begin his reign as Napoleon III, and proclaim a second French Empire.
Léon Foucault demonstrates that the Earth rotates using a pendulum, suspended from the ceiling of a church.
Edward Hammond Hargreaves claims to have found gold in Summer Hill Creek, New South Wales, and thus begins a "gold rush" in Australia.
The physicist Armand Fizeau shows experimentally that the velocity of light is greater in water flowing in the direction of the light beam, than in water flowing against the direction of the light.
A cholera epidemic begins in Jamaica.
Physicist William Thomson proposes a concept of "absolute zero", at which the energy of molecules is zero. He draws on Charles' Law to show that such a condition would hold at -273 degrees Celsius.
The first serial installments of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly appear, and Moby Dick , by Herman Melville, is published. Although Stowe's book will be a best-seller when it is published next year (120 U.S. editions will be published in 1852 alone), Melville's novel will sell only about 50 copies during the author's lifetime. Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables and The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales both appear. Heinrich Heine's "Romanzero" is published.
A fire at the U.S. Library of Congress, in Washington, destroys thousands of volumes, including most of the books acquired from Thomas Jefferson in 1814. The U.S. Congress appropriates $100,000 for the purchase of new books and the creation of a fireproof room at the Library.
Emanuel Leutze paints Washington Crossing the Delaware. Leutze is 35. The painter J. M. W. Turner dies at the age of 76. Corot's La Danse des Nymphes appears.
A new constitution in New Zealand breaks the country into six provinces, with six provincial councils and a single bicameral legislature. The councils will be elected by property owners, thus excluding almost all Maoris from the governing process.
The U.S. state of Pennsylvania adopts a non-standard railroad gauge in order to prevent New York's Erie Railroad from establishing a route, through Pennsylvania, to Ohio.
Changes in sunspot activity are shown to cause changes in the Earth's magnetic field by Sir Edward Sabine.
The ground for a South African Republic (Transvaal) is laid by the the British signing of the Sand River Convention.
Peter Mark Roget publishes his Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. Roget, a 73 year-old physician and English scholar, will publish 28 editions of the Thesaurus during his lifetime (he dies at age 90).
The Wells, Fargo & Co. is founded by W. G. Fargo and Henry Wells, in New York City. By 1868, Fargo will be president of American Express, after a series of mergers.
Franklin Pierce is elected 14th President of the U.S. He defeats Winfield Scott, the Whig candidate who was favored in the election (as well as John Hale, the Free Soil Party candidate). The defeat of Scott draws attention to the crumbling condition of the Whig party.
In South Bend, Indiana, Clement and Henry Studebaker found Studebaker Brothers. Joined by a third brother, John, in 1858, the company will become the world's largest maker of wagons and carriages.
Ivan Turgenev publishes Zapiski okhotnika ("A Sportsman's Sketches"), as is William Makepeace Thackeray's History of Henry Esmond. George Aiken's play, Uncle Tom's Cabin, adapted from the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is first performed in Troy, New York.
The use of directed line segments in geometry is established by Michel Chasles's Traité de géométrie.
In Sweden, safety matches are patented by J. E. Lundstrom.
Hermann Ludwig von Helmholtz measures the speed of the transmission of a nerve impulse in the frog. He is the first to discover the speed of the signal. This year Helmholtz will also publish an important paper on the theory of color.
"The Development Hypothesis," by Herbert Spencer is published. Spenser uses the term "evolution" in his essay.
The U.S. state of Massachusetts adopts a compulsory school-attendance law, the first effective example of such a law in the nation.
Mechanic Elisha Graves Otis, 41, invents the "safety hoister" in Yonkers, New York. The "safety" is provided by a guard that will keep the hoister from falling through the shaft if the cable is cut. In 1854, he will install the first workable elevator in the "Crystal Palace" at the Exhibition in New York, a building (and event) modeled after the Crystal Palace in the London Exhibition of 1851.
Mendel returns to Brno, and publishes the first of two short papers (Mendel 1853) in the journal of the Zoologisch-botanischer Verein in Vienna, where he is a member. The papers each concern crop damage by insects, and one deals specifically with the species of beetle that would undermine some of Mendel's Pisum experiments years later.
The physicist Christian Johann Doppler, whose lectures on experimental physics Mendel had attended at the University of Vienna, dies in Venice.
Founded two years ago in the Oregon Territory, Seattle is given its name in honor of the leader of the Duwamish and Suquamish Indians, Chief Sealth (or Chief Seattle), who was a friend to the early settlers.
In July, Russia occupies the Danubian provinces of Turkey, following the orders of Czar Nicholas I, and hostilities between the two countries escalate. By November the two countries will be officially at war.
The transportation of British convicts to Tasmania ends, after half a century and more than 65,000 convicts have been landed on the island.
In China, the Tai Ping rebellion continues, and Shangai falls to rebel forces. The Nian Rebellion begins in several provinces as imperial troops move to deal with the situation in Tai Ping.
India's first railway line opens, connecting Bombay with Thana. In the U.S., the New York Central is created, by the consolidation of ten smaller, short-line railroads.
Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell is published, and Vincent Van Gogh is born in Holland.
An outbreak of yellow fever in New Orleans, Louisiana, kills nearly 8,000. In two years, an outbreak of cholera and yellow fever in Lisbon will claim a similar number of lives.
In Britain, vaccination against small pox is made compulsory. In France, physiologist Pierre Roux shows that diptheria is caused by a toxin produced by a bacterium, rather than by the bacterium per se.
The third and final volume of John Ruskin's The Stones of Venice is published. La Traviata premieres in Venice, at Teatro la Fenice. The libretto is based on the Alexander Dumas play, La Dame aux Camélias, with music by Giuseppe Verdi.
Mathematician William Shanks calculates pi to 707 places, although it will later be found that only 528 of those are correct.
New York City is authorized by the State legislature to purchase land for the public park that will eventually become Central Park.
George Crum, the chef at Moon's Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, invents the potato chip. Crum is responding to a customer who has objected to the french fries being too thick.
Mendel receives a teaching appointment in Brno, at the Oberrealschule, where he will successfully teach natural history and physics for the next 16 years. He publishes his second paper on crop damage (Mendel 1854), which concerns the beetle Bruchus pisi.
The U.S. and Japan sign the Treaty of Kanagawa, which opens a number of Japanese ports to U.S. trade. The Japanese have been forced into this treaty by a large naval force, under the command of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, that landed in Nagasaki (Edo) in 1853, and has now returned, demanding that Japan trade with the U.S.
The Crimean War begins, as Britain and France ally themselves with Turkey and declare war on Russia on March 28.
In the Crimea, a typhus epidemic spreads from the Russian army to the French and the British. It spreads throughout Russia and Turkey thanks to merchant ships. Florence Nightingale takes nearly three dozen nurses from London to Scutari, and tries to use sanitary measures to block the spread of the disease. Still, disease will claim many more lives in the Crimean War than the battles.
Hermann Ludwig von Helmholtz argues that the universe will eventually reach a universally uniform temperature, thus predicting the "heat death" of the universe.
In the U.S., the Republican party is formed, taking its name from the "Democratic-Republican" party founded by Thomas Jefferson (that party dropped "Republican" from its name in 1828). Prominent in the Republican platform is the opposition to the extension of slavery. The issue of slavery, and the this year's Kansas-Nebraska Act (repealing the Missouri Compromise) have contributed to the defection of many Whigs to the new party.
In Dublin, University College is founded.
Mathematician George Boole, whose "Calculus of Logic," appeared in 1848, publishes An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities, which articulates a system of "symbolic logic". Mathematician Georg Riemann's "On the Hypotheses Forming the Foundation of Geometry," based on his famous June 10th lecture in Göttingen, is published.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court rules that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is unconstitutional, and releases a man convicted under that federal law. In Boston, Massachusetts, a group attempts to rescue a fugitive slave from a federal courthouse, but is turned back; the slave, Anthony Burns, is returned to his owner in the South.
Jean Francois Millet paints The Reaper.
Two Babylonian tablets are found by geologist W. K. Loftus that show, says Loftus, that Mesopotamian peoples must have used a positional, or place value, number system in base 60.
A rail line opens between Vienna and Trieste, crossing the Alps through the Semmering pass. The line is hailed as an engineering marvel.
Henry David Thoreau's Walden, or Life in the Woods is published, as is Charles Dickens' Hard Times. In Germany, the first volume of Grimm's Die Geschichte der Deutscheit appears.
Composer Stephen C. Foster writes "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair."
Mathematician Bernard Riemann delivers a lecture entitled "Über die Hypothesen welche der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen," in which he shows that a variety of non-Euclidean geometries are possible. Although the lecture is immediately influential, it will not be published until 1868. Earlier in the year, Reimann had proposed a interpretation of the integral for non-continuous functions.
Mendel applies to take the teaching examination that would allow him to have a permanent teaching appointment for a second time. He travels to Vienna to take the exam in 1856, but does not pass (this time becoming ill after the first question on the written exam).
Czar Nicholas I dies and is succeeded by his son, who is 36 and begins a 26-year reign as Aleksandr II. The Crimean war continues.
Scenes from the Crimean War are photographed, using the slow wet collodion process developed by photographer Roger Fenton, but there is no means of publishing such photographs.
A telegraph line is built linking London and Balaclava (in the Crimea). In the U.S., Congress authorizes funding for a telegraph line to connect the Mississippi River with the Pacific Coast.
In China a bubonic plague pandemic begins. It is only the third such pandemic on record.
The Tai Ping rebellion comes to an end.
In Watertown, Wisconsin, the first kindergarten in the U.S. is opened by Mrs. Carl Schurz.
The first oceanography textbook, Matthew Maury's Physical Geography of the Sea, is published.
This year the U.S. will export 16 million bushels of wheat, up from 6 million only two years ago.
Castle Garden, at the foot of Manhattan, in New York City, is leased by the State Immigration Commission to deal with the 400,000 immigrants that will arrive this year alone. In the Victoria colony of Australia, a law is passed to restrict Chinese immigration, which has soared during the recent gold rush. The new law even stipulates a poll tax on each Chinese immigrant.
The hormone deficiency disease that results from the deterioration of the adrenal gland is described by Thomas Addison.
Man-made celluloid, made from a combination of gun cotton and camphor, is patented by the 42 year-old Chemist Alexander Parkes.
Following another outbreak of cholera, London begins a modernization of its sewer system. Londoners are shocked to read Food and Its Adulterations: Comprising the Reports of the Analytical Sanitary Commission of "The Lancet", which is published this year as well.
In Boston, publisher John Bartlett publishes Familiar Quotations, and scholar Thomas Bulfinch publishes his The Age of Fable, and both will remain popular for years to come. Poet Walt Whitman publishes a volume of twelve poems, Leaves of Grass, at his own expense, and meets with no commercial success. Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South is published, as is Anthony Trollope's The Warden. Men and Women by Robert Browning, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha" appear as well.
Courbet's painting Pavillon du Réalisme appears at the Paris World's Fair.
A mercury pump is developed by inventor Heinrich Geissler, to produce vaccuum tubes. The first cathode rays will be observed in these tubes, after they are modified and improved by Sir William Crookes.
Mendel begins the experiments with Pisum that he will report and discuss in his paper of 1865. In the next seven years, he will grow thousands of plants and use artificial pollination and selective breeding to investigate the production of hybrids and their patterns of inheritance. Mendel also begins a series of meteorological studies, and will publish his first paper on the subject in 1863.
The "Bessemer process" for making inexpensive steel, which involves using blasts of cold air to decarbonize melted pig iron, is developed by inventor Henry Bessemer.
Engineer Frederick Taylor carries out "time-motion" studies of workers with the idea of making their labor more efficient. He will pioneer the "scientific management" of the workplace.
On February 1, the Crimean war comes to an end. In Vienna, Russia agrees to terms for peace. In London, returning War veterans introduce the cigarettes they discovered in Russia.
The remains of the first known example of of what come to be known as the "Neanderthals" is found in a cave, by Johann C. Fuhrott, near Düsseldorf, in the Neader Valley. Although the surgeon Rudolph Virchow will claim the remains are modern, physician Paul Broca, an internationally recognized expert on skull structure, maintains that the skull comes from an early form of humans.
39 year-old Pierre Larousse publishes his Nouveau Dictionnaire de la Langue Francaise. He writes "Un dictionnaire sans examples es un squelette."
In South Africa, Boers establish the South African Republic (Transvaal), with Pretoria as its capital. Marthinus Wessels Pretorius, 37, is named the first president.
Slavery advocates are swarming into Kansas, in an effort to stack the territorial legislature with men who will vote to make Kansas a slave state; a move made possible by the the "popular sovereignty" principle of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Wide-spread violence breaks out, particularly in Lawrence and along the Pottawatomie Creek, between pro-slavery and abolitionists groups; the phrase "bleeding Kansas" derives from this period.
James Buchanon, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is elected president of the U.S., defeating John C. Frémont, the Republican.
Recherches sur la putréfaction, by Louis Pasteur, is published. The book describes how fermentation is caused by microorganisms.
A railway bridge spanning the Mississippi opens between Rockville, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa. Abraham Lincoln, a lawyer, will defend the legality of the bridge before the Supreme Court, in response to a "right of way" suit brought by a steamship company.
The 458-mile Wabash and Erie Canal opens after 24 years, and is the largest canal ever dug in the U.S. By 1860, however, sections will begin to be close, and, unable to compete for railroads, the entire Canal will be closed by 1874.
An artificial dye, "mauve", is synthesized by Chemist Sir William Henry Perkin, and enthusiastically adopted by the fashion industry in England (e.g. the Mauve Age begins). Synthetic dyes will quickly destroy the market for natural substances derived from plants like indigo and madder.
In Japan, for the first time, and at the request of U.S. envoy Townsend Harris, cow's milk is produced, and a calf is butchered, for human consumption. Harris will become to the first U.S. consul general to Japan.
Pierre Pellier, who has recently immigrated from France, introduces the Agen plum in California. The plum will be the basis for a large prune industry in the Santa Clara Valley.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision in the Dred Scott case, ruling that a black person may not bring suit in a federal court, and that Congress does not have the authority to ban slavery in the territories. The decision implies that the Missouri Compromise (1820) is unconstitutional.
The Treaty of Paris is signed in March, ending the Anglo-Persian war. The Treaty grants Afghanistan independence.
Giuseppe Garibaldi, who returned to Italy in 1854 after several years working at Staten Island, New York, founds the Italian National Association. The organization is designed to promote the unification of Italy.
In India, the Sepoy Mutiny begins on May 10. It will end the East India Company's control of the country, and in 1858 the British Crown will take over the treaty obligations of the Company and proclaim peace in India.
The "resonance" theory of hearing is proposed by Herman Ludwig von Helmholtz.
The death rates in U.S. cities are the highest in the world, with Tuberculosis the most significant cause of the record rates.
In Burrville, Connecticut, commercial production of Gail Borden's patented "condensed milk" begins. The product is made from skim milk, without any fat and without a number of nutrients found in cow's milk.
Farmer Hinton Rowan Helper publishes The Impending Crisis of the South, and How to Meet It, in which he argues that slavery in economically unwise, and particularly devastating to small farmers who do not own slaves. He writes that slavery is "the root of all the shame, poverty, ignorance, tyranny and imbecility" in the South. He also argues that slavery foolishly ties up economic resources in human beings when it might be spent on labor-saving improvements.
Rudolph J.E. Clausius' Über die Art der Bewegung, welche wir Wärme nennen is published, explaining the mathematical foundation of his theory of heat.
The Milan-Venice railway is completed, thus linking Venice by rail with other important (if less wonderful) European capitals.
In its June 27 issue, the Scientific American predicts the failure of whale oil as a means of providing indoor light to the nation.
In an effort to cut costs, the New York Tribune has fired all but two of its correspondents working abroad. One of the two is Karl Marx.
Madame Bovery, by Gustave Flaubert, is published, as is George Eliot's "The Sad Fortunes of Rev. Amos Barton," and Charles Dickens' Little Dorritt. The first prints by Currier & Ives appear in New York.
In California, Tokay, Zinfandel, and Shiraz grapes (all from Hungary) are first planted, and Italian honeybees are introduced. This is the beginning of the U.S. wine and honey industries.
In France, Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal appears, and in London the National Portrait Gallery, and the Museum of Ornamental Art (what will eventually be the Victoria and Albert Museum) open.
Napoleon III agrees to join Piedmont in a war against Austria. He has survived an assassination attempt by Felice Orsini who, following the attempt and before his execution, asks Napoleon to help in freeing Italy from Austrian rule.
After a reign of 16 years, the Serbian Prince Aleksindr Karageorgevic is deposed. His successor is Milos Obrenovic, who himself had been deposed in 1836.
Abraham Lincoln is named the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, and delivers a speech in which he says "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The Democratic candidate, Stephen A. Douglas, will win the election.
The Anglo-Chinese war that began in 1856 comes to an end, with the Treaties of Tientsin.
In Ireland, the group Sein Fein is founded.
The first photograph of a comet is taken by Usherwood.
In Ohio, a professor and his students at Oberlin College rescue a fugitive slave and make arrangements to send him to Canada.
In England, the Jewish Disabilities Act is put into effect.
Legal trade in opium is imposed on China by Britain (it is estimated that by 1900 roughly 90,000,000 people in China will be addicted to the substance).
Papers by Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin, discussing species evolution and the process of natural selection, are read before the Linnaean Society of London.
Granada produces the crops nutmeg and mace for the first time.
The first transatlantic cable is officially in operation, as Queen Victoria and U.S. President Buchanon send messages to one another.
The concept of "bonds" is introduced by chemist Archibald Scott Couper, who believes that carbon atoms are the fundamental building blocks of organic compounds.
That cathode rays bend under the influence of a magnetic force is shown by Julius Plücker.
"The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table" and "The Deacon's Masterpiece; or The Wonderful One Hoss Shay", by Oliver Wendell Holmes, are published.
Physician Rudolph Virchow publishes Die Cellularpathologie, and physician Henry Gray publishes Anatomy of the Human Body, Descriptive and Surgical. Gray's Anatomy will be a standard textbook of anatomy for more than a century.Florence Nightingale publishes Notes on matters affecting the health, efficiency and hospital administration of the British Army is also published.
Central Park, in New York City, is opened to the public.
John Landis Mason patents a reusable glass jar, and J. Schweppe & Co. Ltd. patents a quinine tonic water that they will begin selling in 1880.
Matrix algebra begins, as mathematician Arthur Cayley discusses the matrix in the context of a theory of invariant transformations.
Psychologist Wilhelm Wundt publishes the first part of his Beiträge der Sinneswahrnehmungen, which introduces the idea of experimental psychology.
In Titusville, Pennsylvania, commercial production of petroleum begins, with drilling of the first well by Edwin Laurentine Drake. The well will produce approximately 400 gallons/day.
In their decision in the case of Ableman v. Booth, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Fugitive Slave Act reversing the 1854 decision, in Wisconsin, that found the Act to be unconstitutional.
Austria invades Piedmont on April 29 and, on May 12, France declares war on Austria in defense of Piedmont. The defeat of Austrian troops is widespread, and Revolutions take place in Tuscany, Modena, Parma, Bologna, Ferrara, and other areas; the war ends with the Peace of Villafranca on July 11 (later confirmed by the Treaty of Zurich).
The construction of the Suez Canal begins on April 25. The Canal has been planned by Ferdinand de Lesseps, who is financing the project by selling stock (44% of which he has sold to Egypt's khedive Mohammed Said). 30,000 forced, paid Egyptian laborers begin the construction.
Jules Léotard performs the first flying trapeze circus act, with the Cirque Napoléon in Paris.
A raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, is lead by abolitionist John Brown on October 16.
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Species in the Struggle For Life is published to acclaim and controversy.
The first internal combustion engine is developed by Jean-Joseph-Etienne Lenoir. The engine uses coal gas.
Physicist Gustav Robert Kirchhoff and chemist R. W. Bunsen explain that when light passes through a gas, or heated material, only certain wavelengths of the light are absorbed. Therefore, an analysis of the spectrum of the light can reveal the chemical makeup of the gas or material.
Queensland is separated from New South Wales, and granted the status of a separate colony, with Brisbane as the capital. In the U.S., Oregon becomes the 33rd State.
On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill, is published, as is Karl Marx' Critique of Political Economy. Self-Help, by Samuel Smiles, is also published.
In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the first intercollegiate baseball game is played between Amherst College and Williams College. The game lasts 26 innings, and Amherst wins 73-32.
Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, George Eliot's Adam Bede, Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov's Oblomov, Pedro Alarcón's Diary of of Witness of the War in Africa, and Alfred Lord Tennyson's The Idylls of the King are published.
In Mancester, England, the first childrens "playgrounds" are opened, complete with swings and horizontal bars for climing and hanging.
John Dewey, who will become America's preeminent philosopher of education, is born.
The "elastic rebound" theory of earthquakes is articulated by geophysicist Harry Reid. The theory is the first to cite faults as the cause of earthquakes, rather than as consequences of earthquakes.