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§Of World Interest

Nearly simultaneous revolution broke out in fifty countries, from Wallachia to Brazil. In none of the revolutions did the revolutionaries succeed in taking power, but afterward, institutions inspired by the French Revolution, notably, universal systems of primary education' were put in place pretty much everywhere.



Algeria was declared by the constitution of 1848 to be an integral part of France and divided into three French departments (Algiers, Oran and Constantine). After Algeria was divided into departments, many French and other Europeans (Spanish, Italians, Maltese, and others) settled in Algeria.


January 3 – Joseph Jenkins Roberts is sworn in as the first president of the independent African Republic of Liberia.


In 1848 a violent storm of revolutions tore through Europe. With an astounding rapidity crowds of working-class radicals and middle-class liberals in Paris, Milan, Venice, Naples, Palermo, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow and Berlin toppled the old regimes and began the task of forging a new liberal order. Political events so dramatic had not been seen in Europe since the French Revolution Of 1789 - and would not be witnessed again until the revolutions of Eastern and Central Europe in 1989 or perhaps the less far-reaching Bolshevik Revolution Of 1917. ... The brick-built authoritarian edifice that had imposed itself on Europeans for almost two generations folded under the weight of the insurrections. ...

"For the Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, Czechs, Croats and Serbs, the year was to be the 'Springtime of Peoples', a chance to assert their own sense of national identity and to gain political recognition. In the cases of the Germans and the Italians, it was an opportunity for national unification under a liberal or even democratic order. Nationalism therefore was one issue that came frothing to the surface of European politics in 1848. While rooted in constitutionalism and civil rights it was a nationalism that ominously made little allowance for the legitimacy of claims of other national groups. In many places, such narrowness of vision led to bitter ethnic conflict which in the end helped to destroy the revolutionary regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. ... "The revolutions were scarred almost everywhere by a bitter often violent political polarization. Moderates wanted parliamentary government - but not necessarily to enfranchise everyone - and they were challenged by radicals who wanted democracy - frequently combined with dramatic social reform - without delay. ...

"A third issue that came boiling to the surface in 1848 and never left the European political agenda was the 'social question.' The abject misery of both urban and rural people had loomed menacingly in the thirty or so years since the Napoleonic Wars. The poverty was caused by a burgeoning population which was not yet offset by a corresponding growth in the economy. Governments however did little to address the social distress which was taken up as a cause by a relatively new political current - socialism - in 1848. The revolutions therefore thrust the 'social question' firmly and irrevocably into politics. Any subsequent regime, no matter how conservative or authoritarian, ignored it at its peril. In 1848, however, the question of what to do about poverty would prove to be one of the great nemeses of the liberal revolutionary regimes."


December 2 – Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicates in favor of his nephew, Franz Josef I.


April 10 - A Chartist 'Monster Rally' is held in Kennington Park London, headed by Feargus O'Connor. A petition demanding the franchise is presented to parliament.


May 15 – Radicals invade the French Chamber of deputies.

June 22 – The French government dissolves the national workshops in Paris, giving the workers the choice of joining the army or going to workshops in the provinces.

August 28 – Mathieu Luis becomes the first black member to join the French Parliament as a representative of Guadaloupe.

November 4 – France ratifies a new constitution. The Second Republic of France is set up, ending the state of temporary government lasting since the Revolution of 1848.

December 10 – Prince Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte is elected first president of the French Second Republic. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected President of France through universal suffrage, taking 74% of the vote. He did this with the support of the Parti de l'Ordre after running against Louis Eugène Cavaignac. Subsequently, he was in constant conflict with the members (députés) of the Assemblée Nationale.

December 20 – President Bonaparte takes his Oath of Office in front of the French National Assembly.


The Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei), usually referred to as The Communist Manifesto, was first published on February 21st, and was one of the world's most influential political tracts. Commissioned by the Communist League and written by communist theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, it laid out the League's purposes and program. The Manifesto suggested a course of action for a proletarian (working class) revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisie (capitalist middle class) and to eventually bring about a classless society..

May 18 – The first German National Assembly (Nationalversammlung) opens in Frankfurt, Germany.


The Revolution started on March 15, 1848, with bloodless events in Pest and Buda (mass demonstrations forcing the imperial governor to accept all demands), followed by various insurrections throughout the kingdom, which enabled Hungarian reformists to declare Hungary's new government and the first Prime Minister Lajos Batthyány of Hungary. The new government approved a sweeping reform package, referred to as the "April laws" (also referred to as the "March Laws"), which essentially created a democratical political system in Hungary. They also demanded that the Hungarian government receive and expend all taxes raised in Hungary, and have authority over Hungarian regiments in the Habsburg army. The Hungarian cockade used in 1848

In the summer of 1848, aware that they were on the path to civil war, the Hungarian government ministers attempted to gain Habsburg support against Conservative Josip Jelačić by offering to send troops to northern Italy. By the end of August, the imperial government in Vienna officially ordered the Hungarian government in Pest to end plans for a Hungarian army. Jelačić then took military action against the Hungarian government without any official order.

With war raging on three fronts (against the Jelačić's Croatian troops, in the Banat, and in Transylvania), Hungarian radicals in Pest saw this as an opportunity. Parliament made concessions to the radicals in September rather than let the events erupt into violent confrontations. Faced with revolution at home in Vienna too, Austria at first accepted Hungary's government. However, after the Austrian revolution was beaten down, and Franz Joseph I replaced his mentally handicapped uncle Ferdinand I as Emperor, Austria again refused to accept Hungarian government. The final break between Vienna and Pest occurred when Field Marshall Count Lamberg was given control of all armies in Hungary (including Jelačić's). In response to Lamberg being attacked & viciously murdered by a peasant mob upon his arrival in Hungary a few days later, the Imperial court ordered the Hungarian parliament and government dissolved. Jelačić was appointed to take Lamberg's place. War between Austria and Hungary had officially begun.


July 29 – Irish Potato Famine – Tipperary Revolt: In Tipperary, an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule is put-down by a government police force.

William Smith O'Brien, the leader of the Young Ireland party organized the resistance of landless farmers in County Tipperary against the landowners and their agents.


January 12 – The Palermo rising erupts in Sicily, against the Bourbon kingdom of the Two Sicilies.


October 28 – In Catalonia, Spain, the Barcelona-Mataró railroad route (the first to be constructed in all the Iberian Peninsula) is inaugurated.


September 12 – One of the successes of the Revolutions of 1848, Following the defeat of the Ultra-montanist Sonderbund by Calvinist cantons, the Swiss Federal Constitution, patterned on the US Constitution, enters into force, creating a federal republic and one of the first modern democratic states in Europe.

Jesuits were banished.


November 3 – A greatly revised Dutch constitution is proclaimed. The constitution underwent a revision with emphasis given the principle of church and state separation. The revised constitution also prescribed equality of religious denominations. However all public religious services were restricted to buildings and enclosed places.


June 17 – The Austrian army bombards Prague and crushes a working class revolt.

§Middle East

§Persia (Iran)

September 17 - Nasir al-Din Shah became the King of Persia.

§North America


May 19 – The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican-American War, is ratified by the Mexican government. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo in Spanish) is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico, that ended the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). The treaty provided for the Mexican Cession, in which Mexico ceded 1.36 million km² (525,000 square miles; 55% of its pre-war territory, not including Texas) to the United States in exchange for US$15 million (equivalent to $313 million in 2006 dollars) and the ensured safety of pre-existing property rights of Mexican citizens in the transferred territories. Despite assurances to the contrary, property rights of Mexican citizens were often not honored by the United States as per modifications to and interpretations of the treaty. The United States also agreed to take over $3.25 million ($68 million in 2006 dollars) in debts Mexico owed to American citizens.

In Mexico, this is sometimes referred to as the War of North American Invasion (La Intervención Norteamericana). Mexico had controlled the area in question for about 25 years since the finalization of its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. The Spanish, and later the Mexicans, had conquered part of the area from the Native American tribes over the preceding three centuries, but there remained powerful and independent indigenous peoples within the northern regions.

There were approximately 80,000 Mexicans in the areas of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas during this period and they made up about 20% of the population.

August 17 – Yucatán officially unites with Mexico. Governor Barbachano sought allies anywhere he could find them, in Cuba (for Spain), Jamaica (for England) and the United States, but none of these foreign powers would intervene, although the matter was taken seriously enough in the United States to be debated in Congress. Subsequently, therefore, he turned to Mexico, and accepted a return to Mexican authority. Yucatán was officially reunited with Mexico. Yucateco forces rallied, aided by fresh guns, money, and troops from Mexico, and pushed back the Maya from more than half of the state.

§United States

In January, James Marshall, with a work crew camped on the American River at Coloma near Sacramento were building a saw mill for John Sutter. On the morning of January 24th, Marshall discovered a few tiny gold nuggets. "'Boys, by God I believe I have found a gold mine!' Marshall shouted to his workers. This discovery sparked one of the largest human migrations in history as a half-million people from around the world descended upon California in search of instant wealth.

The first printed notice of the discovery was in the March 15th issue of "The Californian", a San Francisco newspaper. Shortly after Marshall's discovery, General John Bidwell discovered gold in the Feather River and Major Pearson B. Reading found gold in the Trinity River. The Gold Rush was soon in full sway.

January 31 – The Washington Monument is established.

January 31 – John C. Fremont court-martialed on grounds of mutiny and disobeying orders.

February 2 – Mexican–American War: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the war and ceding to the United States virtually all of what is today the southwest of that country.

July 4 - Cornerstone laid in the Washington Monument with a lavish celebration hosted by the Freemasons.

July 19 – Women's rights – Seneca Falls Convention: The 2-day Women's Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, New York and the "Bloomers" are introduced at the feminist convention.

August 19 – California Gold Rush: The New York Herald breaks the news to the East Coast of the United States that there is a gold rush in California

A cholera epidemic in New York kills 5,000.

November 1 – In Boston, Massachusetts, the first medical school for women, The Boston Female Medical School (which later merges with Boston University School of Medicine), opens.

§U.S. Business

Antoine Zerega, a French immigrant, opened the first American pasta factory on the Brooklyn waterfront.

§U.S. Politics

November 7 – U.S. presidential election, 1848: Whig Zachary Taylor of Louisiana defeats Democrat Lewis Cass of Michigan in the first US presidential election held in every state on the same day.

§U.S. States

May 29 – Wisconsin is admitted as the 30th U.S. state.

§U.S. Religion

Brigham Young leads thousands of Mormons to Salt Lake in a second wave of emigration.

§South Asia

§Sri Lanka

July 26 – Matale Rebellion against British rule in Sri Lanka.

§South Pacific

§Sandwich Islands (Hawaii)

A measles epidemic began in Hilo and quickly spread to the other islands.


  • Caste War of Yucatán


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