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November 22 - Fredric Cailliaud discovers the old Roman emerald mines at Sikait, Egypt.



October 31 - Emperor Ninkō accedes to the throne of Japan.



April - An earthquake strikes Palermo, Italy.


  • Monarch: John VI King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves from 1816 to 1822


A typhus epidemic occurs in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

§North America

§United States

  • President: James Madison (Democratic-Republican) (until March 4), James Monroe (Democratic-Republican) (starting March 4)
  • Vice President: vacant (until March 4), Daniel D. Tompkins (Democratic-Republican) (starting March 4)
  • Chief Justice: John Marshall
  • Speaker of the House of Representatives: Henry Clay (Dem.-Rep.-Kentucky)
  • Congress: 14th (until March 4), 15th (starting March 4)

March 3 - The Alabama Territory is created by splitting the Mississippi Territory in half, 9 months before Mississippi becomes a U.S. state.

March 3 - President James Madison vetoes John C. Calhoun's Bonus Bill.

March 4 - James Monroe replaced James Madison to become the fifth President of the United States. His administration was marked by the acquisition of Florida (1819); the Missouri Compromise (1820), in which Missouri was declared a slave state; and the profession of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), declaring U.S. opposition to European interference.

April 15 - The first American school for the deaf opens in Hartford, Connecticut. The American School for the Deaf (ASD) is the oldest permanent school for the deaf in the United States. It was founded by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc and became a state-supported school in 1817.

April 17 - Martin Van Buren passes the Erie Canal bill.

April 29 - The Rush-Bagot Treaty is signed.

The Rush-Bagot Treaty was a treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom enacted in 1817 (signed April 28-29, 1817 in Washington, DC). The treaty provided for the demilitarization of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain, where many British naval armaments and forts still remained. The treaty laid the basis for a demilitarized boundary between the U.S. and British North America. This agreement was indicative of improving relations between the United States and Great Britain in the period following the War of 1812. It was negotiated by Acting United States Secretary of State Richard Rush and the British Minister to Washington Sir Charles Bagot. It eventually led to the Treaty of Washington of 1871, which completed disarmament. The United States and Canada agreed in 1946, through an exchange of diplomatic notes, that the stationing of naval vessels for training purposes was permissible provided each government was fully notified in advance. In 2004, the United States Coast Guard decided to arm 11 of its cutters stationed on Lake Erie and Lake Huron with M240 7.62 mm machine guns. The American decision was based on a climbing number of smuggling operations as well as the increased threat of terrorist activity after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Canadian government decided that the armament did not violate the treaty, as the guns were to be used for law enforcement rather than military activities. Canada reserved the right to arm their vessels with similar weapons.

July 4 - At Rome, New York, construction on the Erie Canal begins.

November 20 - The first Seminole War begins in Florida.

In New York City, the temperature dropped to −26 °F (−32 °C) during the bitter winter of 1817. This resulted in a freezing of New York's Upper Bay deep enough for horse-drawn sleighs to be driven across Buttermilk Channel from Brooklyn to Governors Island.

§U.S. Business

Robert Fulton held a monopoly on steamboat traffic in New York state. It was this monopoly that Thomas Gibbons, a New Jersey steamboat man, tried to crack when he hired young Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1817 to run steamboats in New York by charging less than the monopoly rates. "Vanderbilt was a classic market entrepreneur, and he was in­trigued by the challenge of breaking the Fulton monopoly. On the mast of Gibbon's ship Vanderbilt hoisted a flag that read: 'New Jersey must be free.' For sixty days in 1817, Vanderbilt defied capture as he raced passengers cheaply from Elizabeth, New Jersey, to New York City. He became a popular figure on the Atlantic as he lowered the fares and eluded the law.

§U.S. Economy

The end of the Napoleonic Wars brought an economic boom. "February 20, 1817, would prove the zenith of the 'Era of Good Feelings' as far as the Bank of the United States [BUS] and American enterprise were concerned."

§U.S. Religion

May - The General Convention of the Episcopal Church founds the General Theological Seminary while meeting in New York City.

§U.S. States

December 10 - Mississippi is admitted as the 20th U.S. state, separated from the Alabama Territory.



June 29 - According to Schaffer's records, all his American employees excluding George Young, the skipper of Kadyak, changed sides and deserted him. Local Hawaiians "bundled Schäffer into a boat" and tried to force him out of Kauai. He returned and after attempting to make a stand at Fort Alexander was forced to board his ships. Schäffer dispatched George Young to sail seaworthy Ilmen to Sitka to bring news of his defeat. He sailed on the crippled, leaking Kadyak to Honolulu harbor in distress. Kamehameha's chiefs warned the Russians that they would immediately arrest Schäffer, but did not act on their claim. According to Schäffer's deputy Taranov, the change in attitude was influenced by the Americans seeking to salvage prized sandalwood from the holds of the sinking Kadyak.

July 19 - Schäffer forever left Hawaii for Guangzhou, courtesy of his former patient captain Isaiah Lewis. Between sixty and one hundred Russians and Aleuts from the Kadyak were left stranded on Oahu until the spring of 1818. Schäffer reached Macau where he received support from Anders Ljungstedt, a Swede who occasionally worked for the RAC (Russian America Company). Ljungstedt arranged for Schäffer to travel to Rio de Janeiro, from where he would embark to Europe. During his brief stay in Rio Schäffer he obtained an audience with princess Maria Leopoldina, and presented his unique collection of natural exhibits from the Hawaii. The princess who soon became Queen of Brazil remembered the gift and remained a supporter of Schäffer in his Brazilian ventures.

§South America

January 19 - An army of 5,423 soldiers, led by General José de San Martín, starts crossing the Andes from Argentina to liberate Chile and then Peru.

February 12 - Battle of Chacabuco: The Argentine/Chilean patriotic army defeats the Spanish.


The Pernambucan Revolt breaks out in Brazil.


Bernardo O'Higgins ruled Chile as supreme director (president). He won plaudits for defeating royalists and founding schools, but civil strife continued. O'Higgins alienated liberals and provincials with his authoritarianism, conservatives and the church with his anticlericalism, and landowners with his proposed reforms of the land tenure system.


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