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19th century

1859 – Billy the Kid, American criminal, born (alternative date)

On This Day – 23 November 1859

Henry McCarty (17 Sept 1859 – 14 July 1881), better known under the pseudonyms of Billy the Kid and William H. Bonney, was a 19th-century gunman who participated in the Lincoln County War and became a frontier outlaw in the American Old West. Continue reading “1859 – Billy the Kid, American criminal, born (alternative date)”

1862 – ACW: The Battle of Fredericksburg

11-15 December

The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought in 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General Ambrose Burnside. Continue reading “1862 – ACW: The Battle of Fredericksburg”

1899 – Second Boer War: The Battle of Magersfontein

11 December

The Battle of Magersfontein was fought on this day in 1899, at Magersfontein near Kimberley on the borders of the Cape Colony and the independent republic of the Orange Free State. British forces under Lieutenant General Lord Methuen were advancing north along the railway line from the Cape in order to relieve the Siege of Kimberley, but their path was blocked at Magersfontein by a Boer force that was entrenched in the surrounding hills. The British had already fought a series of battles with the Boers, most recently at Modder River, where the advance was temporarily halted. Continue reading “1899 – Second Boer War: The Battle of Magersfontein”

1884 – Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published

10 December

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local colour regionalism. Continue reading “1884 – Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published”

1872 – P. B. S. Pinchback becomes the first African-American governor of a U.S. state

9 December

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback (10 May 1837 – 21 Dec 1921) was an American publisher and politician, a Union Army officer, and the first person of African descent to become governor of a U.S. state. He was born free in Georgia. A Republican, Pinchback served as the 24th Governor of Louisiana for 15 days, from 29 Dec, 1872, to 13 Jan, 1873. He was later elected to the state legislature, serving in 1879-1880. Continue reading “1872 – P. B. S. Pinchback becomes the first African-American governor of a U.S. state”

1862 – ACW: Battle of Prairie Grove

7 December

The Battle of Prairie Grove was a battle of the American Civil War fought on this day in 1862, that resulted in a tactical stalemate but essentially secured northwest Arkansas for the Union. Continue reading “1862 – ACW: Battle of Prairie Grove”

1848 – Native American genocide

A major genocide was conducted on Native Americans who resided in the Great Basin (California), a watershed which had supported the tribes for more than 14,000 years. Continue reading “1848 – Native American genocide”

1848 – California Gold Rush

4 December

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a period in American history which began on 24 Jan 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought—mostly by sailing ships and covered wagons—some 300,000 gold-seekers (called “forty-niners”, as in “1849”) to California. Continue reading “1848 – California Gold Rush”

1854 – Battle of the Eureka Stockade

3 December

The Eureka Stockade in 1854 was a rebellion of gold miners of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, who revolted against the colonial authority of the United Kingdom. The Battle of the Eureka Stockade, was fought between miners and the Colonial forces of Australia on this day in 1854 at Eureka Lead and named for the stockade structure erected by miners during the conflict. The rebellion lasted for less than half an hour and resulted in the deaths of at least 27 people, the majority of whom were rebels. Continue reading “1854 – Battle of the Eureka Stockade”

1899 – Philippine–American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass

2 December

The Battle of Tirad Pass sometimes referred to as the “Philippine Thermopylae”, was a battle in the Philippine-American War fought on this day in 1899, in northern Luzon in the Philippines, in which a 60-man Filipino rear guard commanded by Brigadier General Gregorio del Pilar succumbed to over 500 Americans, mostly of the 33rd Infantry Regiment under Major Peyton C. March, while delaying the American advance to ensure President Emilio Aguinaldo’s and his troops to escape.

1864 – Great Fire of Brisbane

1 December

The Great Fire of Brisbane was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of Brisbane in the Colony of Queensland (now a state of Australia) on this day in 1864. Continue reading “1864 – Great Fire of Brisbane”

1864 – American Indian Wars: Sand Creek massacre

29 November

The Sand Creek massacre was an atrocity in the American Indian Wars that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia attacked and destroyed a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Native Americans, about two-thirds of whom were women and children. The location has been designated the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site and is administered by the National Park Service.

1847 – Whitman massacre

29 November

The Whitman massacre was the murder of Oregon missionaries Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa, along with eleven others, on this day in 1847. They were killed by a party of Cayuse Native Americans who accused him of having poisoned 200 Cayuse in his medical care. The incident began the Cayuse War. Continue reading “1847 – Whitman massacre”

1859 – Charles Darwin publishes ‘On the Origin of Species’

On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Continue reading “1859 – Charles Darwin publishes ‘On the Origin of Species’”

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