The Common Era Year of 1818, part of the 19th Century
1817 1818 1819
Born in 1818:
- January 24: John Mason Neale, priest, scholar, and translator, is born in London, England. (d. August 6 1866, aged 48)
- March 28: Wade Hampton, Confederate general in the American Civil War, is born in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. (d. April 11 1902, aged 84)
- April 29: Aleksandr Nikolaevich, who will become tsar Alexander II, is born in Moscow, Russia. (d. March 13 1881, aged 63)
- April 12: Henry Wheeler Shaw (pseud. Josh Billings), humorist author, is born in Lanesboro, Massachusetts, U.S. (d. October 14 1885, aged 67)
- May 5: Karl Marx, German philosopher and the founder of Communism who wrote The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, is born in Prussia, present-day Germany. (d. March 14 1883, aged 64)
- May 20: William George Fargo, the man after whom Fargo, North Dakota will be named as well as co-founder of Wells Fargo, the first express company operating west of Buffalo, is born in Pompey, New York, U.S.. (d. August 3 1881, aged 63)
- May 25: Jacob Christoph Burckhardt, cultural historian, is born in Basel, Switzerland. (d. August 8, 1897, aged 79)
- May 27: Amelia Jenks Bloomer, feminist reformer, is born in Homer, New York, U.S. (d. December 30 1894, aged 76)
- May 28: P.G.T. Beauregard, Confederate general in the American Civil War, is born near Louisiana, U.S. (d. February 20, 1893, aged 74)
- June 17: Charles Francois Gounod, composer and musician, is born in Paris. (d. October 18 1893, aged 75)
- July 30: Emily Brontë, poet and author of Wuthering Heights, is born in Thornton, England. (d. December 19 1848, aged 30)
- August 1: Maria Mitchell, astronomer and the first woman in the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, U.S. (d. June 28 1889, aged 70)
- August 13: Lucy Stone, suffragist and feminist, is born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, U.S. (d. October 18 1893, aged 75)
- September 12: Richard J. Gatling, inventor of the Gatling gun, a rapid-fire precursor to the machine gun, is born in Winton, North Carolina, U.S. (d February 26 1903, aged 84)
- November 1: James Renwick, Jr. architect behind the Smithsonian Institution Building, is born in Bloomingdale, New York, U.S. (d. June 23 1895, aged 76)
- November 21: Lewis Henry Morgan, lawyer and anthropologist, is born near Aurora, New York. (d. December 17 1881, aged 63)
- November 29: William Ellery Channing (nephew of the Unitarian minister with the same name and cousin of another William Channing at the utopian Unitarian community Brook Farm and of minister Dr. William H. Channing but named after William Ellery, signer of the Declaration of Independence), transcendentalist poet, is born in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. (to a family with an obvious passion for confusing future generations). (d. December 23 1901, aged 89)
- December 13: Mary Todd Lincoln, future wife of equally future president Abraham Lincoln, is born in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. (d. July 16 1882, aged 63)
- December 24:
Passed away in 1818:
- March 25: Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, highly regarded general in the American Revolutionary War, dies at Cumberland Island, Georgia, U.S. (b. January 29 1756, aged 62)
- May 10: Paul Revere, American revolutionary, dies in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. (b. ca. January 1 1735 (exact date unknown), aged 83)
- May 14: Matthew "Monk" Gregory Lewis, British novelist and playwright, dies at sea on the way from the West Indies to England. (b. July 9 1775, aged 43)
- October 28: Abigail Smith Adams, wife of U.S. vice president and later president John Adams and mother of U.S. president John Quincy Adams dies in Braintree, later known as Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S. (b. November 11 1744, aged 73)
These (and other) things happened in 1818:
- Shaka Zulu becomes chief of the Zulu tribe in present-day South Africa, and will use it for ten years to expand and strengthen the tribe until assassinated in 1828.
- On January 1, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, written two years earlier by the nineteen-year-old girl as a response to a challenge by her friend Lord Byron, is published. It is often interpreted as an attack on industrialization.
- On January 2, the Institution of Civil Engineers, ICE, is founded in London, England, as the world's first professional engineering institution.
- Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, living in Dresden, present-day Germany, completes the first part of The World as Will and Representation in March. It is officially published in January the next year. The second part will not come until 1844.
- English poet John Keats publishes Endymion in April and moves to Hampstead, London in December, where he will live until 1820 and write Hyperion (begun the same year, published in 1820 and harshly criticized by John Wilson Croker in the Quarterly Review) as well as The Fall of Hyperion, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Lamia. It is also here that he will write his famous poems Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale. Keats Grove will later be turned into a Keats museum.
- The Congress of Aix-La-Chapelle, (today known as Aachen, Germany) is held between October 1 and November 15 to preserve the peace established by the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815). Although fear of the French was strong following the Napoleonic Wars, Duc de Richelieu convinced the English delegate Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellesley, and the Allies to withdraw their troops from France.
- On December 25, Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht! (Silent Night) is performed in the Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, near Salzburg, present-day Austria, after having been written days earlier by organist Franz Grüber to two-year-old lyrics by assistant pastor Joseph Mohr, both serving at the church.
- English author Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey is published posthumously, twenty years after she began working on it. Persuasion, written in 1816, one year before she passed away, is also published.
- English poet Lord Byron lives in Venice, Italy, and writes Canto IV of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and Beppo. He also begins working on Don Juan.
- Prussia, present-day Germany, has abolished all internal customs, and will form the Prussian Customs Union in the following year. A precursor to the 1834 all-German Zollverein between Prussia, Bavaria, Wuerttemberg, Hessen-Darmstadt, Hessen-Kassel, Saxony, and several smaller regions.
- Englishman Thomas Bowdler becomes infamous by publishing the Family Shakespeare, omitting words, expressions and actions deemed improper for the intended audience. This gives birth to the expression "to bowdlerize", meaning to "castrate" or censor "offensive" material.
- Ludwig van Beethoven becomes productive again after almost ten years of creative drought composes his Opus 106: Hammerklavier Sonata No. 29 in B flat major and Opus 108: Twenty-Five Scottish Songs despite virtually complete deafness and mental illness. He also begins composing Opus 123: Mass in D major (Missa Solemnis), completed in 1822 and Opus 125: Symphony No. 9 in D minor "Choral", completed in 1823.
- King George IV of England sets a trend by ordering a pair of boots made to fit his left and right foot respectively. Until this, all shoes have been straight, and left and right shoes have been interchangeable.
- In Königsberg, present-day Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel publishes Fundamenta Astronomiae, a catalogue of 3,222 stars with their mean position establishing a reference system for their positions. This is the birth of modern astronometry.
- In observing individuals of African origin along with individuals of European origin and their resistance to tropical diseases, Dr. W.C. Wells discovers the principle of natural selection among human beings. These observations, first mentioned in lectures before the Royal Society in 1813, are published in Two Essays upon Dew and Single Vision. This will play a key role in Charles Darwin's more generalized 1859 theory On the origin of species by means of natural selection or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle of life.
- Augustin Fresnel receives a price from the French Academy of Science for his wave theory of light. Committee judge S.D. Poisson initially refutes Fresnel's model, deducing that a circular disk obstructing a narrow beam of light would produce a shadow with a central bright spot. Another judge, Dominique Arago, however, shows in experiments that this did occur, and the spot is ironically called Poisson's bright spot.
- English poet Leigh Hunt publishes Foliage.
- The Academician is published on February 7 in New York City as the first successful U.S. educational magazine.
- On March 18, the first service pension act provides for veterans of the American Revolution, but is frequently used in fraudulent affairs.
- On April 4, Congress decides that in order to keep the American flag from getting cluttered at the annexation of new states, the number of red and white stripes will be limited to thirteen representing the original states. Instead, for every new state, a white star on a blue background will be added to the twenty stars presently found on the flag.
- On April 17, the H.& D. H. Brooks & Company (later known as Brooks Brothers) is founded and becomes an important supplier in the Civil War.
- On April 16, the U.S. Senate ratifies the 1817 Rush-Bagot agreement between the U.S. and Canada for disarmament on the Great Lakes.
- In the pursuit of the Seminoles, future president Andrew Jackson charges into the Spanish territory of Florida, captures Saint Marks, near Tallahassee, and in a highly controversial act has Englishmen Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert Chrystie Ambrister hanged and shot respectively on charges of inciting the Seminoles against American settlers. His military actions brings about the end of the first of the Seminole Wars.
- On May 28, the Walk-in-the-Water, becomes the first steam-vessel on the Great Lakes by departing from Black Rock, New York.
- On September 20, patent leather is manufactured for the first time by Seth Boyden, Newark, New Jersey.
- Future president Abraham Lincoln is kicked in the head by a horse and is briefly believed to be dead. On October 5, young Abraham's mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln dies of milk sickness. On December 2, her widower Thomas Lincoln remarries a widow and mother of three, Sarah Bush Johnston, of whom Abraham grows fond.
- On October 20, the Convention of 1818 between the United States and Great Britian, establishes that the line of demarcation between the U.S. and Canada shall run along the 49th parallel of north latitude from Lake of the Woods to the Rockies, at the time known as the "Stony Mountains". Thus Minnesota, where Lake of the Woods is located, is established as the northernmost state of the Union (until Alaska becomes the 49th state in 1959). (Many erroneously believe Maine to be the northernmost state south of Canada - an illusion caused by map projection.) It is also decided that the Oregon Territory should be subject to joint occupation by the two countries.
- On December 3, Illinois is admitted as the 21st state of the Union.
- Construction of the Second Bank of the United States building in Greek revival style as drawn by architect William Strickland is begun in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It will be completed in 1824.
- Thomas Blanchard of Middlebury, Connecticut, builds a profile lathe that does the work of thirteen men, thus lowering the price of wood. The lathe is originally intended for gun stocks, and is patented the following year.
- A Spanish royal decree opens the ports of Cuba for free international trade.
- David Young, poet, teacher and astronomer from New York begins publishing his Farmer's Almanac.
- Australia Day is officially celebrated for the first time on January 26, marking the thirtieth anniversary of European settlement.
1817 1818 1819
Credit to mauler for the tip about Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee.