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Timeline: 1831 to 1840

1831  Various uprisings are taking place on the Italian peninsula, including the papal states. Pope Gregory XVI is opposed to democracy at any level and calls for help from Austria. Austria's army marches across the peninsula, crushing revolts and revolutionary movements.

1831  In Warsaw, Polish soldiers revolt against Russian rule. Crowds take control of the city. Austria and Prussia want the revolt crushed. Freedom for the Poles is a popular cause in Britain and in France, but little help arrives and Nicholas I, who considers himself both the Tsar of Russia and King of Poland, sends troops that overwhelm the rebellion.

1831  In England, parliament's lower body, the House of Commons, passes a reform bill. Britain's new Prime Minister, Earl Grey, wants to end undue representation to towns that have shrunk (rotten boroughs) and to give Britain's growing industrial towns representation in the House of Commons. The bill is defeated in the House of Lords, dominated by aristocratic conservatives. Rioting erupts in various cities, most seriously in Bristol from April 15 to May 4.

1831  A severe flood and plague devastate Baghdad. Mumeluke rule ends there as Mahmud II, sultan, reasserts Ottoman control over Mesopotamia.

1831  Charles Darwin, 22, has completed his B.A. at Cambridge and sails as an unpaid naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle to South America, New Zealand and Australia.

1831  In Boston, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrisons begins publishing an anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator.

1831  In Jamaica, a black Baptist deacon, Sam Sharpe, has gathered from the Bible that all men are created equal. He has learned from newspapers that people in England want an end to slavery. He organizes a sit-down strike timed for the harvest. Local planters move to crush the revolt and a group of slaves become violent, set fire to buildings and to cane fields. The planters crush the rebellion and hang Sam Sharpe.

1831  In America, Cyrus McCormick invents the reaper-harvester. making it possible to harvest at three times the previous speed.

1832  Egypt takes advantage of Russia's defeat of the Ottoman Turks and declares independence.

1832  The Whigs acquire more power momentarily. They are largely aristocrats with liberal leanings. They want to make Britain's political system fairer and to placate working people without giving in to all their demands. The Great Reform Act, denied in 1831, is passed into law.

1832  In Illinois, a state since 1818, the Fox Indians, led by Black Hawk, are defeated militarily. In his surrender speech Black Hawk acknowledges defeat. He says he has done nothing shameful.

1833  Carl von Clausewitz' On War (vom Kriege) is published two years after his death. Clausewitz saw violence as the only proper defense against the violence of others, and he saw war as a political act for political goals. 

1833  In Japan, too much rain produces crop failures and what is called the Tempo famine. (The previous famine in Japan was around fifty years before.) Prosperity comes to a temporary end. The famine is to last three years and an estimated 300,000 are to die.

1834  Britain's Abolition Slavery Act goes into effect, with the British government prepared to compensate financially those who lose slaves. In Canada many slaves had been freed years before. The remaining 781,000 slaves are freed, but no claims for receiving financial compensation are submitted. 

1834  The Queen Mother, Maria Christina, fourth wife of Ferdinand VII, who died in 1833, officially ends Spain's Inquisition.

1835  In Britain, vaccination becomes mandatory.

1835  Britain and Spain renew agreement against the slave trade. British sea captains are authorized to arrest suspected Spanish slavers and bring them before mixed commissions established at Sierra Leone and Havana. Vessels carrying specified "equipment articles" (extra mess gear, lumber, foodstuffs) are declared prima-facie to be slavers.

1835  In the southern states of the United States, abolitionists are expelled and mailing anti-slavery literature is forbidden.

1835  Steamships appear on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

1835  Samuel Colt of Connecticut receives a patent for his revolver in Europe.

1836  Sam Colt receives a patent for his revolver in the United States.

1836   Britain has been emancipating slaves in its Cape Colony. Boers in the colony dislike it. From 10,000 to 14,000 Boers begin their Great Trek away from British rule and toward new lands to occupy.

1836  Pope Gregory XVI bans railways in his Papal States, calling them "ways of the devil."

1836  Anglo Texans are defeated at the Alamo. They declare Texas independent and go on to defeat Mexico's military forces.

1837  The United States officially recognizes Texas as independent. Mexico does not.

1837 Britain invites the US and France to participate in international patrols to interdict slave ships. The US declines to participate.

1837 (May)  Sam Morse patents the telegraph.

1837  A revolt by the French and some Anglos in Canada fails.

1837  In the Japanese city of Osaka in the wake of the famine, rebellion and fire destroy one-fourth of the city before the rebellion is crushed. At Edo (now Tokyo), a US ship arrives to repatriate shipwrecked Japanese sailors, to establish trade and land missionaries. The ship is fired upon and driven away. 

1838  Cherokee Indians are forced off their farms and out of the homes and sent on what will become known as the "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma.

1838  In Britain this year, 58 children under the age of 13 have died in mining accidents, and 64 between the ages of 13 and 18.

1838  Building on a theory about geology by Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin develops a theory of evolutionary selection and specialization.

1838  Scientists have been debating about cells. Cellular regeneration (cells dividing) is involved, and cell theory is on its way to being seen as the fundamental unit of life.

1839  In Britain, conservatives kill another reform package, and there are riots in Wales and such cities as Glasgow, Newcastle and Birmingham.

1839  In Britain, conservatives kill another reform package, and there are riots in Wales and such cities as Glasgow, Newcastle and Birmingham.

1839  The British fear Russian influence in Afghanistan and want "a trustworthy ally" there – on India's western frontier. There they have sent a force of 12,000 British and Indian troops, with elephants, 38,000 camels and a horde of followers, including families, prostitutes, and sellers of opium, rum and tobacco.

1839  The British have claimed lands in the valley of the Aroostook River, an area claimed by the state of Maine. A land agent arrives from the US to expel them. British lumberjacks seize him. Maine sends 10,000 troops to the area. A British militia in New Brunswick is called up. Neither side wants war and the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 is created, establishing a recognized border dividing the area between the US and Canada.

1839  US authorities take custody of a slave trading ship, the Amistad, a Cuban schooner. It has 53 Africans on board who had taken control and were trying to sail the ship back to Africa.

1839  Charles Goodyear invents vulcanization, for making rubber.

1839  Egyptians defeat the Ottoman Turks at the battle of Nisibin, near the Turkish-Syrian border.

1839  After a decade of anti-opium campaigns, China's government creates tougher laws and seizes 20,000 chests of British opium. The party in power in London, the Whigs, did not want to  be accused of failing to protect Britain's commercial interests. It sends a punitive expedition, starting the first Anglo-Chinese war.

1839  France becomes the first European power to recognize Texas as independent of Mexico. Great Britain, Holland and Belgium do so months later. 

1840  Europe's four big powers, including Britain, force Egypt to relinquish control over Syria. Britain occupies the port of Aden (in south Yemen) to protect itself from the Egyptians.

1840  Science applied to farming is described by Justus Liebig, in his published work Chemistry in Its Application to Agriculture and Physiology.  This is to transform agriculture, and agriculture is to make possible coming advances in industrialization.

1840  The population of the United States has increased 36 percent in the last ten years – from 13 to almost 18 million. Railway track has grown from 100 to 3,500 miles. The US now has 1,200 cotton factories, two-thirds of them in New England.

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