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February 14 – Battle of Debre Abbay: Ras Marye of Yejju marches into Tigray, northern Ethiopia and defeats the warlord Sabagadis. After surrendering he was executed by Ras Marye's Oromo followers.

Ras Marye had inherited the mantle of Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia, and while admittedly a Christian, his Oromo ancestry caused much resentment from the other Christian aristocrats and nobles of Ethiopia. Dejazmach Sabagadis attempted to exploit this antipathy, and succeeded in forming a coalition with his fellow Christian lords of Gojjam, Lasta and Semien against Ras Marye.

Forewarned of this plot, Ras Marye struck first and defeated the members of this coalition individually. After defeating Dejazmach Goshu in Gojjam, Ras Marye turned north and marched into Semien and attacked Dejazmach Wube Haile Maryam; Sabagadis failed to come to the help of his ally, and Wube decided to submit to the Ras than face him alone. Having isolated Sebagadis, Ras Marye now crossed the Tekezé River against his rival, supported not only by Oromo contingents from Wollo, Yejju, Begemder and Amhara but also by the armies of Dejazmaches Wube and Goshu.

The opposing armies met at Mai Islami near Debre Abbay (which is why this battle is also sometimes called the Battle of Mai Islami). Although Sabagadis had the superiority of a far larger number of firearms, his matchlockmen were poorly employed and failed to overcome the vaunted Oromo cavalry. The battle resulted in immense casualties, one of whom was Ras Marye. Defeated, the Dejazmach sought to escape the vengeance of Ras Marye's kinsmen by surrendering to his former ally Wube; Wube handed the Dejazmach over to his victorious allies, and the Oromo executed Sebagadis.

The Oromo ravaged Tigray under their new chief, Ras Dori of Yejju, but withdrew to Begemder due to his increasing illness before his death. In the chaos that followed Sabagadis' death, Wube emerged as the primary warlord of Tigray.


March 29 – The Great Bosnian uprising by Bosnian Muslims against the Ottoman Empire breaks out. It was a revolt of Bosniak ayans (landlords) against the Ottoman Empire. The casus belli were reforms implemented by the Sultan to abolish the ayan system.

Despite winning several notable victories, the rebels were eventually defeated in a battle near Sarajevo in 1832. Internal discord contributed to the failure of the rebellion, because Gradaščević was not supported by much of the Herzegovinian nobility.

As a result, Ali-paša Rizvanbegović was named pasha of the Herzegovina Eyalet which was seceded in 1833. The Sultan implemented the new muselim system, abolishing the old ayan system. The new muselims were mostly old ayans, but in 1850 Omer Pasha completely eliminated old ayan families.



July 21 – Léopold I of Belgium is inaugurated as first king of the Belgians. After the Greek War of Independence (1821–32), LeopoId was offered the position of King of Greece but turned it down, believing it to be too precarious. Instead, Leopold accepted the kingship of the newly-established Kingdom of Belgium in 1831. The Belgian government offered the position to Leopold because of his diplomatic connections with royal houses across Europe. In addition, because he was seen as a British-backed candidate, he was not affiliated to other powers, such as France, which were believed to have territorial ambitions in Belgium which might threaten the European balance of power created by the 1815 Congress of Vienna.

Leopold was crowned in Belgium on 21 July 1831, an event commemorated annually as Belgian National Day.

August 2 – The Dutch ten-day campaign in Belgium is halted by a French army. King William made a belated military attempt to reconquer Belgium and restore his position through a military campaign. This Ten Days Campaign failed as a result of French military intervention.


January 14 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame is first published by Victor Hugo.

March 10 – The French Foreign Legion is founded by King Louis Philippe in an attempt to keep foreign dissidents fighting for France instead of against it. So, it was made up largely of foreign nationals and commanded by French officers.

French Health Care

"The Hôpital des Enfants-Trouvés also allowed Parisian citizens to come directly to the hospital and hand over a child of any age. The hospital encour­aged families to register and mark the children they were leaving so they might reclaim them at a later date, but the families who chose to do so were few. In fact, the vast majority of the children there had arrived via le tour.

"Le tour d'abandon ('the desertion tower') was merely a box attached to the hospital, constructed with two sliding doors and a small, loud bell. An in­fant was unceremoniously placed in the box, the door firmly closed behind it, and the bell was rung. Upon hearing the bell, the nurses on duty would go to le tour to remove the infant, replace the box to its original position, and wait. Every night, a dozen or so infants were received in precisely this way.

"For a while, it had been in vogue for wealthy, childless individuals to adopt children from the Hôpital des Enfants-Trouvés to bring up as their own, but the practice had long since fallen out of fashion. [In 1831], more than sixteen thousand children were considered wards of the Hôpital des Enfants-Trouvés, and of those, only twelve thousand would live to adulthood.

Great Britain

The river Fleet was in 1831 'almost motionless with solidifying filth.'

May-June – Merthyr Rising 1831: Coal miners and others riot in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales for improved working conditions.

December 27 – Charles Darwin embarks on his historic journey aboard the HMS Beagle.


February-March – Revolts in Modena, Parma and the Papal States are put down by Austrian troops.

April 27 – Charles Albert of Sardinia become king of Sardinia after the death of king Charles Felix of Sardinia


The French army, which had controlled, Utrecht, Netherlands for 18 years, finally left.


February 20 – Battle of Grochow: Polish rebel forces divide a Russian army.

May 26 – Battle of Ostroleka: The Poles fight another indecisive battle.

September 6-8 – Battle of Warsaw: The Russians take the Polish capital and crush resistance.


February 2 – Pope Gregory XVI succeeds Pope Pius VIII as the 254th pope.

Middle East


The Ottomans managed to overthrow Daud Pasha, the last Mamluk ruler, and imposed direct control over Iraq


Muhammad Ali of Egypt's French-trained forces occupy Syria.

North America

United States

This was the year that a caustic English observer, Frances Trollope, left the country, liking nothing and scorning in particular the "vehement expressions of insane or hypocritical zeal" offered by itinerant preachers.

January 1 – William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing The Liberator, an antislavery newspaper, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Everyone knew it was coming. "THE GREAT ECLIPSE OF 1831 will be one of the most remarkable that will again be witnessed in the United States for a long course of years," alerted Ash's Pocket Almanac. One editor reported that the February 12 eclipse would even surpass historic occasions when "the darkness was such that domestic fowls retired to roost" and "it appeared as if the moon rode unsteadily in her orbit, and the earth seemed to tremble on its axis."

February 12 - an eclipse of the sun convinced Nat Turner that this was a supernatural sign from God to start an insurrection

August 21 – Nat Turner's slave rebellion breaks out in Southampton County, Virginia that resulted in 55 deaths, the largest number of fatalities to occur in one uprising in the antebellum southern United States. He gathered supporters in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner's methodical slaughter of white civilians during the uprising makes his legacy controversial.

At birth, Turner's white master recorded only his given name, Nat, although he may have had a last name within the enslaved community. In accordance with common practice, the white community referred to him by the last name of his owner, Samuel Turner. This practice was used by later historians as well.

Trail of Tears

Secretary of War Lewis Cass appointed George Gaines to manage the removals. Gaines decided to remove Choctaws in three phases starting in 1831 and ending in 1833. The first was to begin on November 1, 1831 with groups meeting at Memphis and Vicksburg. A harsh winter would batter the emigrants with flash floods, sleet, and snow. Initially the Choctaws were to be transported by wagon but floods halted them. With food running out, the residents of Vicksburg and Memphis were concerned. Five steamboats (the Walter Scott, the Brandywine, the Reindeer, the Talma, and the Cleopatra) would ferry Choctaws to their river-based destinations. The Memphis group traveled up the Arkansas for about 60 miles (97 km) to Arkansas Post. There the temperature stayed below freezing for almost a week with the rivers clogged with ice, so there would be no travel for weeks. Food rationing consisted of a handful of boiled corn, one turnip, and two cups of heated water per day. Forty government wagons were sent to Arkansas Post to transport them to Little Rock. When they reached Little Rock, Choctaw chief (thought to be Thomas Harkins or Nitikechi) quoted to the Arkansas Gazette that the removal was a "trail of tears and death." The Vicksburg group was led by an incompetent guide and was lost in the Lake Providence swamps.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the French philosopher, witnessed the Choctaw removals while in Memphis, Tennessee in 1831,

Nearly 17,000 Choctaws made the move to what would be called Indian Territory and then later Oklahoma. About 2,500–6,000 died along the trail of tears. Approximately 5,000–6,000 Choctaws remained in Mississippi in 1831 after the initial removal efforts. The Choctaws who chose to remain in newly formed Mississippi were subject to legal conflict, harassment, and intimidation. The Choctaws "have had our habitations torn down and burned, our fences destroyed, cattle turned into our fields and we ourselves have been scourged, manacled, fettered and otherwise personally abused, until by such treatment some of our best men have died." The Choctaws in Mississippi were later reformed as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the removed Choctaws became the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

December 31 – Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City.

U.S. Religion

Adventists August 7 – American Baptist minister William Miller preaches his first sermon on the Second Advent of Christ in Dresden, New York, launching the Advent Movement in the United States.

Mormons February 7 - Alexander Campbell, founder of the Disciples of Christ, published a review of the Book of Mormon in the Millennial Harbinger, a monthly periodical published by him in Bethany, Virginia. A portion of the lengthy review sums up his true feelings:

7. This prophet Smith, through his stone spectacles, wrote on the plates of Nephi, in his book of Mormon, every error and almost every truth discussed in N. York for the last ten years. He decides all the great controversies - infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, religious experience, the call to the ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, and even the question of freemasonry, republican government, and the rights of man. All these topics are repeatedly alluded to. How much more benevolent and intelligent this American Apostle, than were the holy twelve, and Paul to assist them!!! He prophesied of all these topics, and of the apostacy, and infallibly decided, by his authority, every question. How easy to prophecy of the past or of the present time!!
8. But he is better skilled in the controversies in New York than in the geography or history of Judea. He makes John baptise in the village of Bethabara, (page 22) and says Jesus was born in Jerusalem, p. 240. Great must be the faith of the Mormonites in this new Bible!!! The mariners compass was only known in Europe about 300 years ago; but Nephi knew all about steam boats and the compass 2400 years ago.
9. He represents the christian institution as practised among his Israelites before Jesus was born. And his Jews are called christians while keeping the law of Moses, the holy sabbath, and worshipping in their temple at their altars, and by their high priests.
10. But not to honor him by a too minute examination and exposition, I will sum up the whole of the internal evidence which I deem worthy of remark, in the following details: -
The book professes to be written at intervals and by different persons during the long period of 1020 years. And yet for uniformity of style, there never was a book more evidently written by one set of fingers, nor more certainly conceived in one cranium since the first book appeared in human language, than this same book. If I could swear to any man's voice, face or person, assuming different names, I could swear that this book was written by one man. And as Joseph Smith is a very ignorant man and is called the author on the title page, I cannot doubt for a single moment that he is the sole author and proprietor of it. As a specimen of his style the reader will take the following samples - Page 4th. In his own preface: - 'The plates of which hath been spoken.' In the last page, 'the plates of which hath been spoken.' In the certificate signed by Cowdery and his two witnesses, he has the same idiom, 'which came from the tower of which hath been spoken;' page 16, 'we are a descendant of Joseph.' 'The virgin which thou seest is the mother of God.' 'Behold the Lamb of God the Eternal Father,' p. 25; 'Ye are like unto they,' 'and I saith unto them,' p.44. 'We did arrive to the promised land;' p.49, 'made mention upon the first plate,' p.50.
Nephi 2400 years ago hears the saying of a Pagan who lived 634 years after him - 'The God of nature suffers.' p.51. 'The righteous need not fear, for it is they which shall not be confounded.' p.58. Shakespeare was read by Nephi 2200 years before he was born - 'The silent grave from whence no traveller returns,' 61. 'Your own eternal welfare' was a phrase then common in America, p.62. 'Salvation is free' was then announced. 'That Jesus should rise from the dead' was repeatedly declared on this continent in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. And at the same time it was said, 'Messiah cometh in the fulness of time that he might redeem the children of men from the fall;' p.65. 'The fall' was frequently spoken of at the Isthmus of Darien 2400 years ago.
I had no object, says Nephi, in the reign of Zedekiah, 'but the everlasting salvation of your souls.' 66. 'I had spake many things,' 'for a more history part are written upon mine other plates.' 69. 'Do not anger again because of mine enemies,' p. 70. 'For it behoveth the Great Creator that he die for all men.' 'It must needs be an infinite atonement.' 'This flesh must go to its mother earth.' 'And this death must deliver up its dead,' p.70, were common phrases 2300 years ago - 'for the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given them,' p. 81. The Calvinists were in America before Nephi. 'The Lord remembereth all they,' 85. The atonement is infinite for all mankind,' p.104. The Americans knew this on the Columbo 2400 years ago. 'His name shall be called Jesus Christ the Son of God.' An angel told this to Nephi 545 years before it was told to Mary, p.105. 'And they shall teach with their learning and deny the Holy Ghost which giveth them utterance;' this prophecy was at that time delivered against us, p.112. 'My words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth,' p.115. 'Wherein did the Lamb of God fill all the righteousness in being baptised by water,' 118. This question was discussed 2300 years ago. 'The baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost was preached in the days of Cyrus,' p.119. 'The only true doctrine of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost which is one God without end. Amen,' p.120. This was decided in the time of Daniel the Prophet. 'I glory in plainness,' says Nephi. 'Christ will show you that these are his words in the last day,' p.122. Too late to prove your mission, Mr. Nephi!

In July 1831, Joseph Smith revealed that the church would establish a "City of Zion" in Native American territory near Missouri. In anticipation, Smith dispatched missionaries, led by Oliver Cowdery, to the area. On their way, they converted a group of Disciples of Christ adherents in Kirtland, Ohio led by Sidney Rigdon. To avoid growing opposition in New York, Smith moved the headquarters of the church to Kirtland.

Sidney Rigdon's supporters more than doubled the number of Latter Day Saints, and when the comparatively well-educated and oratorically gifted Rigdon became Smith's closest adviser, he aroused the resentment of some of Smith's earliest followers. The Kirtland saints also exhibited unusual spiritual gifts such as loud prophesying, speaking in unknown tongues, swinging from house joists, and rolling on the ground. With some difficulty, Joseph managed to check the most extreme forms of religious enthusiasm.

Although in Ohio Joseph and his family had to live as guests in other people's homes, this period saw a prolific increase in Smith's revelations. Following the completion of the Book of Mormon, Smith rarely any longer used his seer stone; and later "translations" were not based on purported ancient writings. He now received supernatural direction "whether a text lay before him or not." From the early 1830s came the Book of Moses (which included a long passage about the biblical Enoch) as well as an attempt to revise the Bible.

In early 1831, revelations instructed Joseph to organize a new social system, called the United Order, in preparation for the coming millennium. Members were required to "consecrate" their property to the church so that "every man may receive according as he stands in need." As Richard Bushman has written, "The experiment was a failure, and the two-year existence of the system was about average for the various communal experiments being undertaken in the period."

In the summer of 1831, Smith had received a revelation that the eventual Zion for Latter Day Saints would be in Independence, Missouri, at the time a ragged village of no more than twenty dwellings.

July 17 - Joseph Smith claimed he had a revelation from God that a few trusted men should take plural wives among the "Lamanite" (Native American) women while doing missionary work among them.

South America


April 7 – Pedro I of Brazil abdicates as emperor of Brazil in favor of his son Pedro II of Brazil.

November 7 – Slave trading is forbidden in Brazil.


  • December 19 – Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Hawaiian aliʻi



  • January 21 – Achim von Arnim, German poet (b. 1781)
  • February 14

o Vicente Guerrero, President of Mexico, Independence War hero (b. 1782) o Marye of Yejju, Ethiopian Ras o Sabagadis, Ethiopian warlord

  • February 17 – Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (b. 1785)
  • February 25 – Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, German writer (b. 1752)
  • April 5 – Dmitry Senyavin, Russian admiral (b. 1763)
  • April 20 – John Abernethy (surgeon) (b. 1764)
  • April 27 – Charles Felix of Savoy, King of Sardinia (b. 1765)
  • June 27 – Sophie Germain, French mathematician (b. 1776)
  • July 4 – James Monroe, 5th President of the United States (b. 1758)
  • July 16 – Louis Alexandre Andrault de Langeron, Russian general (b. 1763)
  • August 24 – August von Gneisenau, Prussian field marshal (b. 1760)
  • November 11 – Nat Turner, American slave rebel (b. 1800)
  • November 14 – Georg Hegel, German philosopher (b. 1770)
  • November 16 – Carl von Clausewitz, German military strategist (b. 1780)
  • December 26 – Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, Indian Poet (b. 1809)


  • Documentation from Volksbuurtmuseum, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Wikipedia:Joseph_Smith
  • Wikipedia:1831
  • Wikipedia:Nat_Turner
  • Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Avery an imprint of Random House, 2014, pages 11-13

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