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On March 28th, four Christians were ordered burned alive in Antananarivo, Madagascar by Queen Ranavalona I and 14 others are executed. She became known as the Bloody Mary of Madagascar, and Wicked Queen Ranavalona.

§Central America


Heads of State: Toribio Terán Prado (acting) (1 January 1849 - 8 March 1849)

Benito Rosales (acting) (8 March 1849 - 1 April 1849)

Norberto Ramírez Áreas (1 April 1849 - 1 April 1851)



Widespread discontent against the Saxon government came to a head in April 1849, when King Frederick Augustus II of Saxony dissolved Parliament and rejected a new constitution pressed upon him by the people. The May Uprising broke out, in which composer, Richard Wagner played a minor supporting role. The incipient revolution was quickly crushed by an allied force of Saxon and Prussian troops, and warrants were issued for the arrest of the revolutionaries. Wagner had to flee, first to Paris and then to Zürich. Röckel and Bakunin failed to escape and endured long terms of imprisonment.


The Great Irish Famine continued. It was caused by a potato disease commonly known as late blight.


There is a general unrest with Austria. On January 1st anti-Austrian activists organized a smoking boycott in protest of the Austrian monopoly on tobacco. Protests erupted into brief riots. Then on the 12th of January there was an uprising against Austrian troops in Palermo, Sicily.

§North America

§United States

January 23 - 28-year-old Elizabeth Blackwell received her diploma from the Geneva Medical College to become the nation's first female medical doctor.

In April of 1849, Dr. Blackwell crossed the Atlantic to study in the medical centers of Paris and London. In June, she began her post-graduate work at the famed Parisian maternity hospital, La Maternité, and was acclaimed by her teachers as a superb obstetrician.

Unfortunately only few months later, on Nov. 4, 1849, while treating a baby with a bacterial infection of the eyes, most likely gonorrhea contracted from the infant's mother while passing through the birth canal, Elizabeth contaminated her left eye and lost sight in it. This injury prevented her from becoming a surgeon.

April 5 - The Jayhawker pioneers take off on their move West. They are stopped by snow trying to make it into California. They heard about a shortcut. In early November they take the Walker's cutoff. They quickly realize the error of their ways. There is no food, sparse water and cold weather. They name it Death Valley.

May 10 - The Astor Place Riot occurred at the now-demolished Astor Opera House in Manhattan, New York City and left at least 25 dead and more than 120 injured. It was the deadliest to that date of a number of civic disturbances in New York City which generally pitted immigrants and nativists against each other, or together against the upper classes who controlled the city's police and the state militia.

The riot marked the first time a state militia had been called out and had shot into a crowd of citizens, and it led to the creation of the first police force armed with deadly weapons, yet its genesis was a dispute between Edwin Forrest, one of the best-known American actors of that time, and William Charles Macready, a similarly notable English actor, which largely revolved around which of them was better than the other at acting the major roles of Shakespeare.

There is a prolonged period of drought between 1849 and 1905 in Arizona.

Transcontinental Railroad

The South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company had laid 136 miles (219 km) of track, spreading west from Charleston, and it was $3 million dollars ($61,321,875 today) in debt. Gadsden wanted to connect all Southern railroads into one sectional net. He was concerned about the increasing amount of railroad construction in the North that was resulting in the trade in lumber, farm goods, and manufacturing goods shifting from the traditional north-south route based on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to an east-west axis that would bypass the South. He also saw Charleston, his home town, losing its prominence as a seaport. In addition, many Southern business interests feared that a northern transcontinental route would cut off the South from trade with the Orient, while other Southerners argued that diversification away from a strictly plantation economy was necessary to keep the South independent from northern bankers.

A Memphis railroad convention was called in October 1849 in response to a separate convention called in St. Louis earlier in the fall. This convention overwhelmingly advocated the construction of a route beginning in Memphis that would connect with an El Paso to San Diego line. Disagreement only arose over the issue of financing. The convention president, Matthew Fontaine Maury of Virginia, preferred strict private financing while John Bell and others thought that Federal land grants to railroad developers would be necessary.

§U.S. Industry

Lincoln's Patent

Abraham Lincoln was issued a patent for his invention of "Buoying Vessels Over Shoals" on May 2, 1849. His patent describes a means of adding buoyancy to vessels, such as steamships, so they can pass over sandbars without offloading cargo. This is the only patent ever issued to a person who was also a U.S. President.

Quartz Mining

Quartz mining began at the Mariposa mine in Mariposa County. Gold deposits were often found inside quartz veins.

On March 3rd Minnesota became a United States territory. The next day, president-elect, Zachary Taylor refused to be sworn in on the Sabbath. Consequently the office of President of the United States of America was vacant for a single day. Urban legend instead holds that David Rice Atchison, President pro tempore of the United States Senate was President de jure for a single day. Taylor was an American military leader and the twelfth President of the United States. Taylor had a 40-year military career in the U.S. Army, serving in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, and Second Seminole War after achieving fame while leading U.S. troops to victory at several critical battles of the Mexican-American War. A Southern slaveholder who opposed the spread of slavery to the territories, he was uninterested in politics but was recruited by the Whig Party as their nominee in the 1848 presidential election. In the election Taylor defeated the Democratic nominee, Lewis Cass, and became the first U.S. president never to hold any prior office.

As president, Taylor urged settlers in New Mexico and California to by-pass the territorial stage and draft constitutions for statehood, setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850.

§U.S. Politics

Known as "Old Rough and Ready," Taylor died of acute gastroenteritis just 16 months into his term. Vice President Millard Fillmore became President.

§U.S. Religion

February - Brigham Young declares, “Because Cain cut off the lives [sic] of Abel...the Lord cursed Cain's seed and prohibited them from the Priesthood."

May 12, 1849, Brigham Young said that he did not want to take the Indians "in his arms until the curse is removed"

"Pres. B.Y. Said that he did not aprehend any danger from the Indians. Neither did he feel, as Some of the Brethren do, he does not want to live amoung them & take them in his arms until the curse is removed from of[f] them.... But we will take their children & school them & teach them to be clenly & to love morality & then raise up seed amoung them & in this way they will be brought back into the presance & knowledge of God..." (A Mormon Chronicle, The Diaries of John D. Lee, Vol. 1, p. 108)

May 12 - Brigham Young announced to the Council of Fifty that the local Indians could not be converted and that it didn't matter "whether they kill one another off or Some body else" did it.



Danish Jews are granted full citizenship.

§South Pacific

§Hawaiian Islands

German immigrant Heinrich Hackfeld and his brother in law J.C. Pflueger founded H. Hackfeld and Co. as a retail and sugar business. It later became known as American Factors, Ltd. and more recently, AMFAC, Inc. It is one of the most diversified and largest businesses in Hawaii today.

§New Caledonia

The crew of the American ship Cutter was killed and eaten by the Pouma clan.


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