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§Of World Interest

Sir William Ramsay and Lord Rayleigh discover the first noble gas, Argon.


August 1 - Declaration of war between the Qing Empire of China and the Empire of Japan, over their rival claims of influence on their common ally, the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. The event marks the start of the first Sino-Japanese War.

§Hong Kong

May - Outbreak of bubonic plague in the Tai Ping Shan area of Hong Kong. By the end of the year the death toll is 2,552 people.



February 15 - 04:51 GMT, French anarchist Martial Bourdin attempts to destroy the Royal Greenwich Observatory, London, England with a bomb.


During a three-year period beginning in 1894, Joseph Vacher murdered and mutilated at least 11 people (one woman, five teenage girls, and five teenage boys). Many of them were shepherds watching their flocks in isolated fields. The victims were stabbed repeatedly, often disemboweled, raped, and sodomized. Vacher was a drifter, travelling from town to town, from Normandy to Provence, staying mainly in the southeast of France, and surviving by begging or working on farms as a day laborer.

June 23 - International Olympic Committee is founded at the Sorbonne, Paris, at the initiative of Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Coubertin organized a meeting with 79 delegates who represented nine countries. He gathered these delegates in an auditorium that was decorated by neoclassical murals and similar additional points of ambiance. At this meeting, Coubertin eloquently spoke of the revival of the Olympic Games. This time, Coubertin aroused interest.

The delegates at the conference voted unanimously for the Olympic Games. The delegates also decided to have Coubertin construct an international committee to organize the Games. This committee became the International Olympic Committee (IOC; Comité Internationale Olympique) and Demetrious Vikelas from Greece was selected to be its first president. Athens was chosen as the location for the revival of the Olympic Games and the planning was begun.

June 24 - Assassination of Sadi Carnot, president of France. Carnot was reaching the zenith of popularity, when, on 24 June 1894, after delivering at a public banquet at Lyon a speech in which he appeared to imply that he nevertheless would not seek re-election, he was stabbed by an Italian anarchist named Sante Geronimo Caserio. Carnot died shortly after midnight on 25 June. The stabbing aroused widespread horror and grief, and the president was honoured with an elaborate funeral ceremony in the Panthéon.

August 15 - Sante Geronimo Caserio is executed for the assassination of Marie François Sadi Carnot. August. He was executed by guillotine in Lyon at precisely 5am, 16 August 1894. In front of the guillotine, he exclaimed "Coraggio cugini—evviva l'anarchia!" ("Courage, cousins—long live anarchy!")

November - The conviction for treason of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent. Sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly having communicated French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, Dreyfus was sent to the penal colony at Devil's Island in French Guiana, where he spent almost five years. He was later acquitted when famous French writer, Emile Zola, published an open letter to the President protesting his innocence.

November 7 - Masonic Grand Lodge de France founded, splitting from the larger and older Grand Orient de France.

December 22 - French Army officer Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason in the midst of a European controversy known as the Dreyfus Affair.

§Middle East


Flinders Petrie, British Egyptologist, and his student James Quibell, excavated over 2000 pre-dynastic burials at Nagada.

§Ottoman Empire

This year marked the beginning of the two-year Hamidian Massacre of Christians,primarily Armenians. Number of deaths range between 80,000 and 300,000. The massacres are named after Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who, in his efforts to reinforce the territorial integrity of the embattled Ottoman Empire, reasserted Pan-Islamism as a state ideology

§North America


December 21 - Mackenzie Bowell becomes Canada's fifth prime minister.

§United States

January 24 - The gold reserve fell from $100 million to $68 million; one week later it was $45 million. As large dollar-holders converged on the Treasury and scrambled to convert their paper to gold, the panic resembled runs that had brought down thousands of commercial banks since the depression began. But now the imperiled institution was the federal government. The solvency of the republic was at risk.

"The danger of the dollar overwhelmed [banker J.P.] Morgan's reluctance to show himself in public. He left the comfort and security of New York, where he was respected, if not exactly loved, and headed for Washington, where his enemies clustered. He traveled by private railcar, to avoid the hostile glares as long as possible. Grover Cleveland learned he was coming. The president hadn't invited the banker; even as the country approached the brink, Cleveland hoped something would occur to spare him the ignominy of turning to Morgan. And when Morgan reached the capital, Cleveland tried to keep him at a distance. He sent his secretary of war and closest confidant, Daniel Lamont, to intercept Morgan at Union Station. Lamont said the president would not meet with Morgan; he would find another solution to the problem.

"Morgan refused to be put off. There was no other solution, he said. And having ventured this far into enemy territory, he wasn't going to retreat without accomplishing his mission. 'I have come down to see the president,' he told Lamont. 'And I am going to stay here until I see him.' He climbed into a cab and drove to a hotel near the White House.

"All that evening Cleveland agonized. Morgan's journey to Washington had been reported in the papers; his presumed intervention heartened investors and diminished the pressure on the Treasury. The president wondered if he could somehow capture the financial benefits of Morgan's proximity without paying the political costs. Lamont brought word of Morgan's determination to remain in Washington; Cleveland considered riding out the siege. Morgan affected nonchalance. Reporters circled his hotel, swarming the entryways and infiltrating the lobby. He remained inside, silent and unseen. His few friends in the capital dropped by to visit; he greeted them one by one. After the last visitor left, he stayed up playing solitaire. Hotel workers later told reporters that the light in his room didn't go out till after 4 a.m.

"But the next morning by 9:00, he was shaved and ready for breakfast. He received with his juice the first reports of the opening of business in New York, and learned that the run on the Treasury had resumed. He hadn't even lit his post- breakfast cigar when a messenger arrived from the White House. The president would see him. ...

"The president's discomfort was obvious. He spoke of the crisis in terms suggesting he still hoped to avoid a Morgan rescue. Morgan listened briefly, then brought the matter to a head. His sources had told him that the Treasury's reserve was around $9 million. Other sources revealed that a single investor held a draft of $10 million against the Treasury's gold. 'If that $10 million draft is presented, you can't meet it,' Morgan declared. 'It will be all over before three o'clock.'

"Cleveland realized he had no choice. 'What suggestion have you to make, Mr. Morgan?' Officials at the Treasury had been considering a public bond offering; Morgan declared this method too slow. A private sale was necessary, he said. He would gather a syndicate that would take the government bonds and give the Treasury the gold it needed to stay afloat. ...

"Cleveland asked Morgan how large a transaction he had in mind. One hundred million, Morgan replied. Cleveland groaned. To the public it would appear that Morgan wasn't simply rescuing the Treasury but taking over the place. The president said $60 million would have to do.

"He then asked the critical question. 'Mr. Morgan, what guarantee have we that if we adopt this plan, gold will not continue to be shipped abroad, and while we are getting it in, it will go out, and we will not reach our goal? Will you guarantee that this will not happen?' Morgan didn't hesitate. 'Yes, sir,' he said. 'I will guarantee it during the life of the syndicate, and that means until the contract has been concluded and the goal has been reached.'

"Morgan was as good as his word, and his word was as good as gold - quite literally. As soon as news of the rescue flashed along the telegraph lines to New York and London, the gold that the Morgan syndicate pledged to deliver was almost superfluous. The fact that Morgan had become a cosigner on the federal debt was what impressed the markets. Within days the Treasury's condition stabilized; within weeks the dollar's danger had passed."

July - A fire at the site of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago destroys most of the remaining buildings.

September 1 - Carl Feigenbaum, alias Anton Zahn, was executed by electric chair at Sing Sing prison for the murder of Juliana Hoffman.

§U.S. Economy

Farm distress was great because of the falling prices for export crops such as wheat and cotton. "Coxey's Army", the first populist "march on Washington", was a highly publicized march of unemployed laborers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and several Western states to demand relief in the form of a jobs program. A severe wave of strikes took place in 1894, most notably the bituminous coal miners' strike of the spring, which led to violence in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. Even more serious was the Pullman Strike which shut down much of the nation's transportation system in July.

§U.S. Industry

January 7 - William Kennedy Dickson receives a patent for motion picture film.

January 9 - New England Telephone and Telegraph installs the first battery-operated telephone switchboard (Lexington, Massachusetts).

March 12 - For the first time, Coca-Cola is sold in bottles.

Coxey's Army was a protest march by unemployed workers from the United States, led by the populist Jacob Coxey. They marched on Washington D.C. in 1894, the second year of a four-year economic depression that was the worst in United States history to that time. Officially named the Commonweal in Christ, its nickname came from its leader and was more enduring. It was the first significant popular protest march on Washington and the expression "Enough food to feed Coxey's Army" originates from this march. For many years, the low value Pinochle meld of four Jacks was called Coxey's Army.

May Day Riots of 1894 break out in Cleveland, Ohio.

May 11 - Pullman Strike: Three thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers go on a "wildcat" (without union approval) strike in Illinois.

President Grover Cleveland intervened in the Pullman Strike.

Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.

When President Cleveland signed Labor Day into existence after the end of the Pullman strike, the conservative American Federation of Labor endorsed the new holiday. In deliberate contrast to “slackers,” union members used their government-approved day off to march in their work clothes alongside floats showing off the tools of their trades. They carried signs declaring the “honor” and “nobility” of work. Labor Day marches were praised by the press as “sober, clean, quiet” demonstrations of “the honest American workingman.”

August 8 - Corn Flakes invented/discovered. The idea for corn flakes began by accident when Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, left some cooked wheat to sit while they attended to some pressing matters at the sanitarium. When they returned, they found that the wheat had gone stale, but being on a strict budget, they decided to continue to process it by forcing it through rollers, hoping to obtain long sheets of the dough. To their surprise, what they found instead were flakes, which they toasted and served to their patients. This event occurred on August 8, 1894, and a patent for "Flaked Cereals and Process of Preparing Same" was filed on May 31, 1895, and issued on April 14, 1896.

September 4 - In New York City, 12,000 tailors strike against sweatshop working conditions.

§South Pacific


December 18 - Women in South Australia become the first in Australia to gain the right to vote and to be elected to Parliament.

§Hawaiian Islands

Congress responded to President Cleveland's referral on the matter of Queen Liliʻuokalani's right to the throne of Hawaii, with another investigation. By this time, the importance of Pearl Harbor as a refueling station for ships headed to Asia was clearly recognized.

The Morgan Report by the U.S. Senate on February 26th, exonerated both Minister Stevens and the U.S. troops from any responsibility for the overthrow. On July 4th, the Republic of Hawaiʻi was proclaimed and Sanford B. Dole, one of the first people to call for the monarchy to be abolished, became President. The new government was recognized immediately by the United States.


November 1 - Russian Tsar Alexander III is succeeded by his son Nicholas II.


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