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Template:C19 year in topic

1859 (MDCCCLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar, the 1859th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 859th year of the , the 59th year of the , and the 10th and last year of the decade. As of the start of Template:Year article header/Julian day, which remained in localized use until 1923.

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  • January 24 (O. S.) – Wallachia and Moldavia are united under Alexandru Ioan Cuza (Romania since 1866, final unification takes place on December 1, 1918; Transylvania and other regions are still missing at that time).
  • January 28 – The city of Olympia is incorporated in the Washington Territory in the United States of America.
  • February 4 – German scholar Constantin von Tischendorf rediscovers the Codex Sinaiticus, a 4th-century uncial manuscript of the Greek Bible, in Saint Catherine's Monastery on the foot of Mount Sinai in the Khedivate of Egypt.
  • February 14Oregon is admitted as the 33rd U.S. state.
  • February 17 – French naval forces under Charles Rigault de Genouilly capture the city and Citadel of Saigon in Vietnam, beginning the Siege of Saigon.
  • February 27 – United States Congressman Daniel Sickles shoots Philip Barton Key (U.S. District Attorney) for having an affair with his wife.
  • March 9 – The army of the Kingdom of Sardinia mobilizes against Austria, beginning the crisis which will lead to the Austro-Sardinian War.
  • March 21 – The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issues the charter establishing the Zoological Society of Philadelphia, the first organization of its kind in the United States and founder of the nation's first zoo.
  • March 26 – A French amateur astronomer, Edmond Modeste Lescarbault, claims to have noticed a planet closer to the Sun than Mercury – later named Vulcan.


  • April 13The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is founded by Peter Cooper, industrialist, inventor and philanthropist of New York.
  • April 25 – Ground is broken for the Suez Canal.
  • April 28 – The Pomona is wrecked off the English coast, with 424 dead.
  • April 29 – Austrian troops begin to cross the Ticino River to Piedmont.
  • April 30A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is published.
  • May 4 – The Cornwall Railway opens across the Royal Albert Bridge, linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall in England.
  • May 5 – Border Treaty between Brazil and Venezuela: The two countries agree their borders should be traced at the water divide between the Amazon and the Orinoco basins.[1]
  • May 22Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies is succeeded by his 23-year-old son Francis II of the Two Sicilies.
  • May 26Austro-Sardinian War: Giuseppe Garibaldi's Hunters of the Alps confront Austrian forces led by Field Marshal-Lieutenant Carl Baron Urban at Varese.
  • May 26 & June 2Geologist Joseph Prestwich and amateur archaeologist John Evans report (to the Royal Society and Society of Antiquaries of London, respectively) the results of their investigations of gravel-pits in the Somme valley and elsewhere, extending human history back to what will become known as the Paleolithic Era.[2][3]
  • May 30Battle of Palestro: The Sardinians defeat the Austrian army.
  • May 31 – The Great Clock at the Palace of Westminster, London was started, and its bells ring for the very first time.
  • June 4Austro-Sardinian WarBattle of Magenta: The French and Sardinians defeat the Austrians.
  • June 6 – The British Crown colony of Queensland in Australia is created by devolving part of the territory of New South Wales (Queensland Day).
  • June 8 – The discovery of the Comstock Lode in the western Utah Territory setting off the Rush to Washoe
  • June 15 – The so-called Pig War border dispute between the Americans and the British on the San Juan Islands begins by the death of the namesake pig.
  • June 17 – The only recorded simoom ever in North America hit Goleta, California and Santa Barbara, California.
  • June 18Aletschhorn, second summit of the Bernese Alps, is first ascended.
  • June 24Battle of Solferino: The Kingdom of Sardinia and the armies of Napoleon III of France defeat Franz Joseph I of Austria in northern Italy; the battle inspires Henri Dunant to found the Red Cross.
  • June 30Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope for the first time.


  • July
    • Count Camillo Benso di Cavour resigns.
    • Pike's Peak Gold Rush begins in the Colorado Territory.
  • July 1 – The first intercollegiate baseball game is played, between Amherst and Williams Colleges.
  • July 8
    • Charles XV succeeds his father Oscar I of Sweden and Norway (as Charles IV).
    • An armistice is declared between Austria and others.
  • July 11 – The chimes of Big Ben ring for the first time in London.
  • July 11 – By the preliminary treaty signed at Villafranca, Italy, Lombardy is ceded to the French (who immediately cede it to Sardinia), while the Austrians keep Venetia and the French promise to restore the Central Italian rulers expelled in the course of the war. This brings the Austro-Sardinian War effectively to a close.
  • July 30Grand Combin, one of the highest summits in the Alps, is first ascended.
  • August 16 – The Tuscan National Assembly formally deposes the House of Habsburg-Lorraine; ending an ascendancy of 109 years.
  • August 27Edwin Drake drills the first oil well in the United States, near Titusville, Pennsylvania, starting the Pennsylvania oil rush.
  • August 28September 2 – The solar storm of 1859, the largest geomagnetic solar storm on record, causes the Northern lights to be visible as far south as Cuba and knocks out telegraph communication. (This is also called the Carrington event).
  • September 17 – In San Francisco, Joshua Norton proclaims himself to be His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, "Emperor of the United States" and "Protector of Mexico".


  • October 16John Brown raids the Harpers Ferry Armory in Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in an unsuccessful bid to spark a general slave rebellion.
  • October 18 – Troops under Colonel Robert E. Lee overpower Brown at the Federal arsenal.
  • October 26 – The steamship Royal Charter is wrecked on the coast of Anglesey, Wales with 454 dead.
  • November 1 – The current Cape Lookout, North Carolina, lighthouse is lighted for the first time (its first-order Fresnel lens can be seen for 19 miles).
  • November 10 – The Treaty of Zürich, reaffirming the terms of the Treaty of Villafranca, brings the Austro-Sardinian War to an official close.
  • November 15 – First Zappas Olympics open in Greece.
  • November 24
    • English naturalist Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species, a book which argues for the gradual evolution of species through natural selection (it immediately sells out its initial print run).
    • The French Navy's La Gloire, the first ocean-going ironclad warship in history, is launched.
  • December 2 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown is hanged for his October 16 raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
  • December 4 – The Mekteb-i Mülkiye School is founded in the Ottoman Empire.
  • December 10

Date unknown

  • District nursing begins in Liverpool, England, when philanthropist William Rathbone employs Mary Robinson to nurse the sick poor in their own homes.
  • The island of Timor is divided between Portugal and the Netherlands.
  • The Rancho Rincon de Los Esteros Land Grant is confirmed to Rafael Alvisa, (part of the present Santa Clara County, California).
  • Bernhard Riemann formulates the Riemann hypothesis, one of the most important open problems of contemporary mathematics.
  • Brisbane is declared the capital of newly separated colony Queensland, Australia.
  • The University of Michigan Law School is founded.
  • Marx publishes A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.
  • Mary Institute is founded.
  • The beginning of the Tidskrift för hemmet, the first women's magazine in the Nordic countries.



File:Bain News Service - The Library of Congress - Kaiser Wilhelm (LOC) (pd).jpg

Wilhelm II of Germany

File:Louise DeKoven Bowen.png

Louise DeKoven Bowen

File:Comerre, Portrait de la femme de l'artiste, StrasbourgMAMCS (2).JPG

Jacqueline Comerre-Paton

File:Conan doyle.jpg

Arthur Conan Doyle

  • January 6Hugh Rodman, American admiral (d. 1940)
  • January 8Fanny Bullock Workman, American geographer, writer and mountain climber (d. 1925)
  • January 11George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, British statesman and Viceroy of India (d. 1925)
  • January 27Wilhelm II of Germany, last Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia (d. 1941)
  • January 29Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, Parisian socialite and model for the painting Portrait of Madame X (d. 1915)
  • February 1
    • Henry Miller, stage actor & producer (d. 1926)
    • Victor Herbert, Irish-born composer (Babes In Toyland) (d. 1924)
  • February 3Hugo Junkers, German industrialist and aircraft designer (d. 1935)
  • February 6Elias Disney, American farmer and father of Walt Disney (d. 1941)
  • February 14
    • Henry Valentine Knaggs, English physician and author (d. 1954)
    • George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., inventor of the Ferris wheel (d. 1896)
  • February 19Svante Arrhenius, Swedish chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1927)
  • February 25Vasil Kutinchev, Bulgarian general (d. 1941)
  • February 26Louise DeKoven Bowen, American philanthropist and activist (d. 1953)
  • February 28Florian Cajori, Swiss historian of mathematics (d. 1930)
  • March 2Sholem Aleichem, Ukrainian Yiddish novelist (d. 1916)
  • March 4Alexander Stepanovich Popov, Russian physicist (d. 1905)
  • March 8Kenneth Grahame, English author (d. 1932)
  • March 12Abraham H. Cannon, American Mormon apostle (d. 1896)
  • March 26Alfred Edward Housman, English poet (d. 1936)
  • April 3Reginald De Koven, American composer and music critic (d. 1920)
  • April 7Jacques Loeb, German–American physiologist and biologist (d. 1924)
  • April 8Edmund Husserl, Austrian philosopher (d. 1938)
  • May 1Jacqueline Comerre-Paton, French artist (d. 1955)
  • May 15Pierre Curie, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1906)
  • May 22 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish writer (d. 1930)
  • June 9Doveton Sturdee, British admiral (d. 1925)
  • June 21Henry Ossawa Tanner, American artist (d. 1937)


Date unknown

  • Vittorio Alinari, Italian photographer (d. 1932)
  • William Bliss Baker, American painter (d. 1886)



  • January 21Henry Hallam, English historian (b. 1777)
  • January 28Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1782)
  • February 13Eliza Acton, English poet and cookery writer (b. 1799)
  • February 27Philip Barton Key, U.S. District Attorney (b. 1818)
  • April 16Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian (b. 1805)
  • May 6Alexander von Humboldt, German naturalist and geographer (b. 1769)
  • May 13Bakht Khan, commander-in-chief of Indian rebel forces in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (b. 1797)
  • June 11Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, Austrian diplomat (b. 1773)
  • June 13Angélique Brûlon, French soldier, first female Knight of the French Legion of Honour (b. 1772)
  • June 23Maria Pavlovna of Russia, Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (b. 1786)


File:Wilhelm Grimm.png

Wilhelm Grimm

  • July 8 – King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway (b. 1799)
    • Charlotte von Siebold, German gynecologist (b. 1788)
  • August 2Horace Mann, American educator and abolitionist (b. 1796)
  • August 4John Vianney, French saint known as the Curé de Ars (b. 1786)
  • August 15Nathaniel Claiborne, U.S. politician (b. 1777)
  • August 28Leigh Hunt, British critic and essayist (b. 1784)
  • August 28 – Sultan Abd al-Rahman of Morocco (b. 1788)
  • September 15Isambard Kingdom Brunel, British engineer (b. 1806)
  • September 19George Bush (biblical scholar), professor of Asian languages (b. 1796)
  • September 28Carl Ritter, German geographer (b. 1779)
  • October 4Karl Baedeker, German author and publisher (b. 1801)
  • October 12Robert Stephenson, English civil engineer (b. 1803)
  • October 22Louis Spohr, German violinist and composer (b. 1784)
  • November 28Washington Irving, American author (b. 1783)
  • December 2John Brown, American abolitionist (hanged) (b. 1800)
  • December 8Thomas de Quincey, English writer (b. 1785)
  • December 16Wilhelm Grimm, German philologist and folklorist (b. 1786)


  1. Problemas Limítrofes de Venezuela (In Spanish)
  2. Prestwich, Joseph (January 1860). "On the Occurrence of Flint-implements, associated with the Remains of Animals of Extinct Species in Beds of a late Geological Period, in France at Amiens and Abbeville, and in England at Hoxne". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. London. 150: 277–317. doi:10.1098/rstl.1860.0018. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  3. Evans, John (January 1860). "On the Occurrence of Flint Implements in undisturbed Beds of Gravel, Sand, and Clay". Archaeologia. London. 38: 280–307. doi:10.1017/s0261340900001454. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)



  1. Diapason at 435 Hz Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville