The Common Era Year of 1821, part of the 19th Century
1820 1821 1822
Born in 1821:
- January 15, John Cabell Breckinridge, Vice President under James Buchanan and Confederate General in the American Civil War, is born in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. (d. May 17 1875, aged 54)
- February 3: Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to get an M.D. from a U.S. medical school, is born in Bristol, England. (d. May 31 1910, aged 89)
- February 16: Heinrich Barth, explorer of Africa, is born in Hamburg, present-day Germany. (d. November 25 1865, aged 44)
- February 21: Charles Scribner, founder of the literary periodical Scribner's Magazine and the publishing house that will become Charles Scribner's Sons, is born in New York City, U.S. (d. August 26 1871, aged 50)
- March 12: John Joseph Caldwell Abbott, the first native-born Canadian Prime Minister, is born in St. Andrews, Quebec, Canada. (d. October 30 1893, aged 72)
- March 19: Richard Francis Burton, soldier, spy, explorer, cartographer, scholar, and translator, is born in Torquay, Devonshire, England. (d. October 20 1890, aged 69)
- April 9: Charles Baudelaire, poet, critic, and modernist pioneer, is born in Paris, France. (d. August 31 1867, aged 46)
- May 8: William Henry Vanderbilt, railroad developer and industrialist, is born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S. (d. December 8 1885, aged 64)
- May 29: Frederick Locker-Lampson, poet and author of London Lyrics, is born in London, England. (d. May 30 1895, aged 74)
- June 16: Thomas Mitchell "Old Tom" Morris, golf pioneer, is born in St. Andrews, Scotland. (d. May 25 1908, aged 87).
- July 13: Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate general in the American Civil War after whom Tom Hanks' character Forrest Gump in the movie with the same name is named, is born near Chapel Hill, Tennessee, U.S. (d. October 29 1877, aged 56)
- July 16: Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science denomination, is born in Bow, New Hampshire, U.S. (d. December 3 1910, aged 89)
- August 10: Jay Cooke, banker and Unionist financier during the American Civil War, is born in Sandusky, Ohio, U.S. (d. February 18 1905, aged 83)
- August 31: Hermann Von Helmholtz, physician, physicist and mathematician, who will make several important contributions in a range of sciences, is born in Potsdam, Prussia, present-day Germany. (d. September 8 1894, aged 73)
- September 27: Henri Frederic Amiel, Swiss critic and posthumously recognized author of Journal intime, is born at Geneva. (d. May 11 1881, aged 59)
- October 13: Rudolf Virchow, pathologist and anthropologist, and a founder of cellular pathology is born in Schivelbein, Pomerania, Prussia, present-day Germany (d. September 5 1902, aged 80)
- October 22: Collis Porter Huntington, railroad magnate who will contribute to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, is born in Harwinton, Connecticut, U.S. (d. August 13 1900, aged 78)
- October 30: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist and author of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and the The Brothers Karamazov, is born in Moscow, Russia. (d. February 9 1881, aged 59)
- November 21: Henry T. Buckle, historian who studied social evolution, is born in Lee, Kent, England. (d. April 1 1859)
- December 12: Gustave Flaubert, novelist and author of Madam Bovary, is born in Rouen, Normandy, France. (d. May 8 1880, aged 58)
- December 25: Clara Barton, known as the Angel of the Battlefield for her work as a volunteer nurse in the American Civil War, and the 1882 founder of the American Red Cross, is born in North Oxford, Massachusetts, U.S. (d. April 12 1912, aged 90)
Passed away in 1821:
- January 4: Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, American educator and the first native-born American to become a saint, dies in Emmitsburg, Maryland, U.S. (b August 28 1774, aged 46)
- February 23: John Keats, English poet, dies of tuberculosis in Rome, Italy. (b. October 31 1795, aged 25)
- February 26: Comte Joseph Marie de Maistre, French diplomat and political philosopher, dies in Turin, Italy. (b. April 1 1753, aged 67)
- May 5: Emperor Napoleon I of France, dies in exile on the island of St. Helena at the hands of his companion Charles Tristan de Montholon after having been given arsenic in the food some forty times during the course of the previous years. (b. August 15 1769, aged 51)
- June 10: Moses Austin, pioneering colonist, dies at his daughter's house in the Hazel Run settlement shortly after receiving permission from Mexico create the first American colony in what is now the state of Texas. His quest is completed by his son Stephen Fuller Austin with 300 settlers (b. October 4 1761, aged 60).
- August 1: Elizabeth Inchbald, English actress, playwright and author of A Simple Story and other novels, dies in London. (b. 1753, aged 67)
- August 7: Caroline of Brunswick, consort to King George IV of England, dies in London of an unknown stomach disorder. (b. May 17, 1768, aged 53)
- October 4: John Rennie, Scottish engineer who built the Waterloo Bridge and designed the London Bridge, which will be completed by his son, dies in London. (b. June 7 1761, aged 60)
These (and other) things happened in 1821:
- The Holy Alliance holds the Congress of Laibach in present-day Ljubljana, Slovenia, between January 26 and May 12, at which conditions for intervention against liberal revolts in present-day Italy are determined. A coup in Piedmont on March 10 forces Vittorio Emanuele I to abdicate three days later. His cousin Carlo Alberto, serves briefly as interim regent. Vittorio Emanuele's brother Carlo Felice arrives, takes the Sardinian throne, reverts all liberal decisions, and with the aid of Austrian troops puts down a rebellion at Novara.
- The Greek Revolution and War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire begins in March.
- On June 18, German composer Carl Maria von Weber's opera Der Freischütz (The Marksman or The Free-Shooter) opens at the Königliches Schauspielhaus in Berlin.
- The first census of the population in Ireland is completed (most of which will later be destroyed, partly deliberately during World War I and partly accidentally by a 1922 fire).
- On July 19, King George IV of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey. His consort Caroline of Brunswick is refused admittance because of an extramarital affair and dies within a month.
- French mathematician Augustin Cauchy publishes Cours d'analyse de l'École Royale Polytechnique (Courses on Analysis from the Royal School of Polytechnics), establishing the relationship between calculus and his concept of analytic function.
- Irish mathematician and astronomer Sir William Rowan Hamilton begins his analysis of what will become known as Hamilton's characteristic function of optics.
- French astronomer Alexis Bouvard creates tables of the locations of the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus depending on time, calculating their effects on each other's paths. Irregularities in the path of Uranus indicate the existence of an undiscovered planet, later observed and named Neptune.
- German physicist Joseph von Fraunhofer performs experiments with a diffraction grating, and for this the phenomenon Fraunhofer diffraction will be named after him.
- Estonian-German physicist Thomas Johann Seebeck discovers the thermoelectric Seebeck effect and invents the thermocouple.
- English physicist and chemist Michael Faraday plots the magnetic field around a conductor, describes the dynamo principle and builds an electric motor.
- English physicist and inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone displays his Enchanted Lyre, or Aconcryptophone, a device based on sound conduction through metal wires.
- The Society for the Encouragement of the Useful Arts in Scotland, renamed the Royal Scottish Society of Arts (RSSA) in 1841, is founded.
- English painter John Constable completes The Hay Wain.
- English writer Mary Woolstonecraft Shelley completes Valperga, which will be published in 1823. Her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley publishes Epipsychidion and Adonais (on John Keats) and writes A Defence of Poetry.
- German philosopher Georg Hegel publishes Der Philosophie des Rechts (The Philosophy of Right) in Berlin.
- English journalist James Mill publishes Elements of Political Economy.
- English poet John Clare's The Village Minstrel is published the same year his second child dies in infancy.
- English poet Robert Southey publishes A Vision of Judgement commemorating the death of King George III.
- English poet John Hamilton Reynolds publishes The Garden of Florence
- French physicist Augistin Jean Fresnel states laws making possible the calculation of the intensity and polarization of reflected and refracted light and invents a method to produce circularly polarized light.
- Sir Charles Bell, Scottish anatomist, surgeon and physiologist describes a form of facial paralysis now known as Bell's paralysis, Bell's palsy or Bell's syndrome in a lecture entitled On the Nerves: Giving an Account of some Experiments on Their Structure and Functions, Which Lead to a New Arrangement of the System at the Royal Society
- From January 6 to July 29 Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers and the third President of the United States of America writes his autobiography.
- In January, Quaker and saddle-maker Benjamin Lundy from Ohio, U.S. begins publishing his abolitionist newspaper Genius of Universal Emancipation. He relocates to Jonesborough, Tennessee after a few months.
- The ratification process of the Adams-Onis treaty of 1819, in which Spain cedes the Florida territory to the U.S., is finalized on February 22.
- On February 24, Mexico declares itself a catholic constitutional monarchy, independent of Spain, under the Plan of Iguala. The Treaty of Córdoba is signed on September 27 between Don Agustin de Iturbide and a Spanish official. Mexico will rule over what is now the state of California, U.S. until 1846.
- On March 3, New York City tailor Thomas L. Jennings patents a dry cleaning process called dry scouring, becoming the first African American to hold a U.S. patent (U.S. patent 3306X). He uses the money earned from his invention to liberate his family and support abolition.
- On March 5, James Monroe is sworn into office for his second term, becoming the first President of the United States of America to be inaugurated on March 5, since March 4 is a Sunday this year. Daniel D. Tompkins is his Vice President.
- On July 17, future President of the United States of America General Andrew Jackson becomes the governor of Florida as the Spanish rule officially ends. He pays his third and last visit to the territory when establishing its government.
- On August 10, the Missouri Compromise of 1820 goes into effect as Missouri becomes the 24th state of the union, making the number of slave states and free states equal.
- On September 1, William Becknell, on what will be known as the Santa Fe Trail, leads a group of traders from Independence, Missouri, U.S., to Santa Fe, present-day New Mexico, where he arrives on November 16.
- In September, Emma Hart Willard pioneers in women's education as she is forced to close the Waterford Academy for Young Ladies but instead opens the permanent Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York, U.S. on the site of present-day Russell Sage College, funded by a Troy city grant.
- On November 5, the USS Savannah, the first steam ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1819 sinks off the south shore of Long Island, New York, U.S. during stormy conditions.
- As the first state of the union, Kentucky passes a law abolishing debtors' prisons on December 17.
- Secretary of State and future President of the United States of America John Quincy Adams concludes a four-year investigation on weights and measures standardization with a report to Congress, supporting introduction of the SI Units because of their uniform nature. The U.S. buys platinum copies of the archive meter and kilogram, but the metric system is rejected, as the only trade partner to use it is France. The U.S. will not establish a legal length standard until 1832.
- Property ownership as a qualification for voting is abolished in the states of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
- English captain Sir John Franklin and his company continues to explore northern Canada throughout the year.
- Cherokee warrior Sequoya completes a syllabary for his tribe after twelve years of work. More than a quarter of the Cherokees learns how to read and write within half a year.
- American poet William Cullen Bryant's first collection, entitled Poems, is published.
- Four people lose their lives as some 400 houses in Paramaribo, the capital of Dutch Guyana, now known as Suriname, are destroyed by a fire starting in a kitchen on January 21.
- On July 28, Peru declares its independence from Spain after being liberated by José de San Martín.
- On September 15, Spanish Captain-General Gabino Gaínza is forced to acknowledge the Guatemalan population's demand for liberation following Mexico's independence, and declares independence for its provinces: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Chiapas (now a state of Mexico).
- On June 24, Simón Bolívar defeats the Spanish at Carabobo and gains independence for Venezuela.
- On November 28, Panama declares independence from Spain.
- On December 1, José Nuñez de Cáceres proclaims independence from Spain for the Dominican Republic. In an attempt to avoid invasion by its stronger Hispaniolan neighbor Haiti, it is declared a province of Colombia.
1820 1821 1822