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<< 1846 CE | 1841-1850 CE | 1848 CE >>

§Of World Interes

The doughnut gets its first hole. An American seaman cook, Hanson Gregory, claimed to have created the first doughnut cooked intentionally with a hole in 1847, more than two hundred years after the Dutch arrived here. He said the hole allowed the dough to cook more evenly in the hot lard.



December 21 – Abd al-Kader surrenders and is imprisoned by the French. Abd al-Kader was an Algerian Islamic scholar, Sufi, political and military leader who led a struggle against the French invasion in the mid-nineteenth century, for which he is seen by the Algerians as their national hero.

§Central America


Heads of State:

Miguel Ramón Morales (acting) (12 March 1847 - 6 April 1847)

José María Guerrero de Arcos y Molina (6 April 1847 - 1 January 1849)



15 April - French vessels dispatched by Admiral Cécille bombarded Đà Nẵng (Viet Nam) in response to the persecution of Roman Catholic missionaries. 21 December - Abd al-Kader surrenders and is imprisoned by the French.


§German Industry

October 12 – German inventor and industrialist Werner von Siemens founds Siemens AG & Halske.

§Great Britain

June 1 – The first congress of the Communist League is held in London.


The Great Irish Famine continued. This was the worst year and was known as Black 47. It was caused by a potato disease commonly known as late blight.

Midway through the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849), a group of American Indian Choctaws collected $710 (although many articles say the original amount was $170 after a misprint in Angie Debo's The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic) and sent it to help starving Irish men, women and children. "It had been just 16 years since the Choctaw people had experienced the Trail of Tears, and they had faced starvation... It was an amazing gesture. By today's standards, it might be a million dollars." according to Judy Allen, editor of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's newspaper, Bishinik, based at the Oklahoma Choctaw tribal headquarters in Durant, Oklahoma. To mark the 150th anniversary, eight Irish people retraced the Trail of Tears, and the donation was publicly commemorated by President Mary Robinson.

William Smith O'Brien, the leader of the Young Ireland party, became one of the founding members of the Irish Confederation to campaign for a Repeal of the Act of Union, and called for the export of grain to be stopped and the ports closed.

There are reports of vessels leaving various parts of the United States and Canada with supplies for Europe. For example, on March 4, 1847, the Constitution and Sarah Sands had unfurled their sails, while at Boston, the Tartar sailed in April. These vessels were on their way to Ireland. A New York paper reported that in March some $1,250,000 of supplies a week were leaving from that port for Ireland and about $5,000,000 from all parts of the U.S.

On April 24, 1847, the vessel Morea was leaving Boston for Scotland with food stuffs for relief of the starving. There is also a report of the French government buying up thousands of pounds of food to alleviate the situation in that country. Reports also came from Holland, Germany and Switzerland about fever and hunger.

A report from England stated that the emigration of 1847 would probably go to 200,000 or 300,000 from Ireland alone. Government agents in other countries were also reporting large increases in the number of people heading to the port cities of the continent. Ships were being hired at an every increasing pace and Captains were carrying full compliments of passengers, some exceeding the legal limits. Some 6,000 Germans, the papers reported, were already at the ports of Breman, Harve and Antwerp preparing to sail.


Messina was one of the first cities in Italy where Risorgimento riots broke out.

§Middle East


The young British adventurer Sir Austen Henry Layard explored the ruins of Nineveh.

§North America

U.S. and Canada had a hard winter in 1846-7 and the snow and ice were causing delays for many of the relief vessels headed to and from Europe. There are reports of gales and of vessels being stuck in the ice for weeks. The Albion, from Greenock, for example, sailed on March 25, 1847 and on April 10 hit the ice about 40 miles off Cape Ray. The vessel did not arrive in Quebec until June 4, 1847.


Quebec began to receive emigrants in May as the ice finally left the St. Lawrence river and ships were able to make their way up to the city. Grosse Isle, the quarantine station, began to feel the strain within the first few weeks of May. On May 11, Mr. Buchanan, the Chief Emigrant Agent at Quebec, reported that "From the above statement it appears there are now on their way to this port, 31 vessels, having on board 10,636 passengers." Before the year was out Grosse Isle would be completely overwhelmed.

The Virginius, from Liverpool on May 28, had 476 passengers on board but, by the time she reached Grosse Isle, "...106 were ill of fever, including nine of the crew, and the large number of 158 had died on the passage, including the first and second officers and seven of the crew, and the master and the steward dying, the few that were able to come on deck were ghastly yellow looking spectres, unshaven and hollow checked, and without exception, the worst looking passengers I have ever seen..." wrote Dr. Douglas, Medical Superintendent at Grosse Isle, in the 1847 Immigration Report.

The fever they spoke of was Typhus Fever, more commonly known as "ships fever." Typhus was spread by body louse and within ten days of a person being bitten they would start to show symptoms of high fever, pain in muscles and joints, cerebral disorders, and headache. By the fifth day, a dark-red rash with elevated spots would appear on the trunk and shoulders, spreading to the rest of the body. Delirium would often set in by the second week. If the patients survived to the third week, they would often recover but would soon have a relapse with high fever, from which they would recover very quickly. The death rate was often as high as 50-70 percent of those infected.

The Irish were in the worst condition upon arrival at Grosse Isle. "An eye-witness called it the Isle of Death, and found a strange contrast of beauty and suffering, of levity and sorrow", wrote Guillet, in his book The Great Migration. One cabin passenger described the difference between the Irish and German immigrants:

...all of them, without a single exception, comfortably and neatly clad, clean and happy. There was no sickness amongst them, and each comely fair-haired girl laughed as she passed the doctor, to join the group of robust young men who had undergone the ordeal...

As we repassed the German ship, the deck was covered with emigrants, who were singing a charming hymn, in whose beautiful harmony all took part; spreading the music of their five hundred voices upon the calm, still air that wafted it around....As the distance between us increased, the anthem died way until it became inaudible. It was the finest chorus I ever heard,--performed in a theatre of unrivalled magnificence....Although it was pleasing to see so many joyous beings, it made me sad when I thought of the very, very different state of my unfortunate compatriots; and I had become so habituated to misery, disease and death that the happiness that now surrounded me was quite discordant with my feelings.

Quebec immigration increased from 32,153 in 1846 to 97,953 in 1847; New Brunswick reported 9,765


March 9 – Mexican-American War: United States forces under General Winfield Scott invade Mexico near Veracruz.

March 29 – Mexican-American War: United States forces led by General Winfield Scott take Veracruz after a siege.

August 12 – U.S. troops of General Winfield Scott begin to advance along the aqueduct around Chalco and Xochimilco lakes in Mexico

August 20 – US troops defeat Mexican troops in Valencia, Mexico

The Yucatan Maya rise up against the Mexican government, rebelling against the miserable conditions and cruelty they have suffered at the hands of the whites. The rebellion is so successful that the Maya almost manage to take over the entire peninsula in what has become known as the War of the Castes.

June - Méndez learned that a large force of armed Mayas and supplies had gathered at the Culumpich,a property owned by Jacinto Pat, the Maya batab (leader), near Valladolid. Fearing revolt, Mendez arrested Manuel Antonio Ay, the principal Maya leader of Chichimilá, accused of planning a revolt, and executed him at the town square of Valladolid. Furthermore, Méndez searching for other insurgents burned the town of Tepich and repressed its residents. In the following months, several Maya towns were sacked and many people arbitrarily killed.

Cecilio Chi, the Maya leader of Tepich, along with Jacinto Pat attacked Tepich on 30 July 1847, in reaction to the indiscriminate massacre of Mayas, Chi ordered that all the non-Maya population be killed. By spring of 1848, the Maya forces had taken over most of the Yucatán, with the exception of the walled cities of Campeche and Mérida and the south-west coast, with Yucatecan troops holding the road from Mérida to the port of Sisal. The Yucatecan governor Miguel Barbachano had prepared a decree for the evacuation of Mérida, but was apparently delayed in publishing it by the lack of suitable paper in the besieged capital. The decree became unnecessary when the republican troops suddenly broke the siege and took the offensive with major advances.

Historians disagree on the reason for this defeat. According to some, the majority of the Maya troops, not realizing the unique strategic advantage of their situation, had left the lines to plant their crops, planning to return after planting. It is said that the appearance of flying ants swarming after heavy rains was the traditional signal to start planting for the Maya rebels, leading them, in this instance, to abandon the battle. Others argue that the Maya had not laid up enough supplies for the campaign, and were unable to feed their forces any longer, and their break up was in fact a search for food.

§United States

January 13 – The Treaty of Cahuenga ends the fighting in the Mexican-American War in California. The Treaty of Cahuenga, also called the "Capitulation of Cahuenga," ended the fighting of the Mexican-American War in Alta California in 1847. It was not a formal treaty between nations but an informal agreement between rival military forces in which the Californios gave up fighting. The treaty was drafted in English and Spanish by José Antonio Carrillo, approved by American Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont and Mexican Governor Andrés Pico on January 13, 1847 at Campo de Cahuenga in what is now North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

The treaty called for the Californios to give up their artillery, and provided that all prisoners from both sides be immediately freed. Those Californios who promised not to again take up arms during the war, and to obey the laws and regulations of the United States, were allowed to peaceably return to their homes and ranchos. They were to be allowed the same rights and privileges as were allowed to citizens of the United States, and were not to be compelled to take an oath of allegiance until a treaty of peace was signed between the United States and Mexico, and were given the privilege of leaving the country if they wished to do so.

January 16 – John C. Fremont is appointed Governor of the new California Territory.

January 30 – Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco.

February 5 – A rescue effort, called the First Relief, leaves Johnson's Ranch to save the ill-fated Donner Party. These California bound emigrants became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada in the winter of 1846–1847, and some had resorted to cannibalism to survive.

February 22 – Mexican-American War – The Battle of Buena Vista: 5,000 American troops under General Zachary Taylor use their superiority in artillery to drive off 15,000 Mexican troops under Antonio López de Santa Anna, defeating the Mexicans the next day.

March 1 - The state of Michigan formally abolishes the death penalty.

March 25 - Holland, Michigan was incorporated as a city. It was peopled by Dutch Calvanist separatists led by A.C. van Raalte.

By May 5, New York stated that they had already received 17,668 emigrants since the 1st of April. Boston had turned away a vessel, the Mary, carrying 46 passengers from Cork, Ireland because, "the city authorities would not suffer them to be landed, owing to their destitute condition, unless the master gave bonds that they should not become a burthen to the city." Quarantine stations in various US ports were running out of space. In New Orleans they reported they were, "doing all in their power to make them [the emigrants] comfortable."

As the emigrants continued to cross the ocean the US ports began to reject vessels thus forcing them to make their way to Quebec or New Brunswick ports. It was not just the passengers who suffered as Boston reported the arrival of the Jas. H. Shepherd from Liverpool with 228 passenger of which 26 died on the voyage and 105 were ill upon arrival. They also reported that, "...part of crew sick and for the last 10 days has had but 6 men all to do duty." In the end, Grosse Isle reported 9,572 deaths for the 1847 season and New York 703.

New York increased from 97,843 in 1846 to 145,890 in 1847. Boston's increase was 6,666 souls while Philadelphia doubled the number of emigrants. New Orleans went from 22,148 emigrants in 1846 to 40,442 in 1847. (The Ocean Plague, published in 1848) Between 1846 and 1847 the number of emigrants to America from the British Isles increased fom 125,678 to 251,834.

§U.S. Industry

January 4 – Samuel Colt sells his first revolver pistol to the U.S government.

Rotary Printing Press, invented by Richard March Hoe, was patented. This invention made possible the printing of newspapers.

May 7 – In Philadelphia, the American Medical Association (AMA) is founded.

July 1 – The United States issues its first postage stamps.

§U.S. Religion


April 26 - Twelve pastors representing 14 German Lutheran congregations met in Chicago, Illinois, and founded a new church body, the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States. Walther became the fledgling denomination's first president.

In its early days, the Synod was conservative on a number of issues. Following Walther's lead, it strongly opposed humanism and religious syncretism. He also advocated practicing church fellowship only with those Lutheran congregations whose synods were in complete doctrinal agreement with the Synod


July 22 - Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Utah's Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Young was actually delayed until July 24th due to illness. Within days, Young and his companions began building the future Salt Lake City at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains.

Later that year, Young rejoined the main body of pioneers in Iowa, who named him president and prophet of the church. Having formally inherited the authority of Joseph Smith, he led thousands of more Mormons to the Great Salt Lake in 1848 CE.



June 27 – The first train journey in Denmark takes place from Copenhagen to Roskilde.

§Southeast Asia


15 April - The Bombardment of Đà Nẵng was a naval incident that took place during the short reign of the Vietnamese emperor Thieu Tri (1841–47), which saw a considerable worsening of relations between France and Vietnam. The French warships Gloire and Victorieuse, which had been sent to Đà Nẵng (known to the French as Tourane) to negotiate for the release of two French Catholic missionaries, were attacked without warning by several Vietnamese vessels. The two French ships fought back, sinking four Vietnamese corvettes, badly damaging a fifth, and inflicting just under 1,200 casualties on the Vietnamese. In response to this and other provocations, the French eventually decided to intervene actively in Vietnam, and a decade later launched the Cochinchina campaign (1858–62), which inaugurated the period of French colonial rule in Vietnam.

§South Pacific


Parker Ranch, still one of America's largest ranches, was established by John Parker. Parker, one of Hawaii's earliest anglo immigrants befriended King Kamehameha I who hired him to shoot the wild cattle that were decimating the Kohala Hawaii range.

The ranch hired Mexicans from California, part of Mexico, to teach roping and cattle handling skills. They become known as paniolos.


The Queen returned from exile in 1847 and agreed to sign a new covenant, considerably reducing her powers, while increasing those of the commissaire. The French nevertheless still reigned over the Kingdom of Tahiti as masters.

§Ongoing events

  • Mexican-American War (1846-1848)
  • Caste War of Yucatán
  • Great Irish Famine (1845-1849). This was the worst year of the famine, and is referred to as Black 47.
  • New Zealand land wars (1843-1872)


<< 1846 CE | 1841-1850 CE | 1848 CE >>

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