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§Of World Interest

December 26th, Marie and Pierre Curie announced the discovery of a substance they called radium.



July 12 - Jean-Baptiste Marchand hoists French flag in Fashoda, Sudan

September 1 - Lord Kitcheners army bombs Omdurman Sudan

September 2nd a the Battle of Omdurman, British and Egyptian troops led by Horatio Kitchener defeated Sudanese tribesmen led by Khalifa Abdullah al-Taashi, establishing British dominance in the Sudan.

September 2 - Machine gun 1st used in battle September 6 - Lord Kitchener destroys Mahdi's tomb in Omdurman



On May 2nd, thousands of Chinese scholars and Beijing citizens appear in front of the Capital Control Yuan asking for reform.

June 9 - China leases Hong Kong's new territories to Britain for 99 years

September 21st, Empress Dowager Cixi of China engineered a coup d'etat, and it marks the end of the Hundred Days' Reform: Guangxu Emperor was arrested.



On January 13th, Emile Zola's J'Accuse exposed the Dreyfus affair and on brought to trial for libel. On February 23rd, Zola was imprisoned in France after writing "J'accuse" which was a letter accusing the French government of anti-Semitism and wrongfully placing Alfred Dreyfus in jail.

The Dreyfus affair was a political scandal which divided France during the 1890s and early 1900s. It involved the wrongful conviction for treason of a promising young French artillery officer of Jewish faith and ethnicity, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, and the political and judicial scandal that followed until his full rehabilitation. He ended his career as a Lieutenant-Colonel and actively served during World War I at the end of which he was raised to the rank of Officer of the Legion of Honor.

French Jews were in a relatively precarious situation in France during the 1890s. The extent to which anti-Semitic prejudices had pervaded French society during the latter half of the 19th century was astounding. With the formal inception of the French Third Republic in 1871, nationalist politicians like Georges Boulanger and Edouard Drumont in the 1880s sought to capitalize on the new-found fervor for a wholly unified Catholic France. As a result, French Jews were viewed as a "nation within a nation." Most of the anti-Semitic bigotries at the time stemmed from major Catholic factions within French politics. Since 1801, when Napoleon signed his Concordat with Pope Pius VII, the Catholic Church received a degree of official support from the French state. A decree of separation of Church and state would not occur in France until 1905, partly as a repercussion of the Dreyfus affair.

Nonetheless, the general condition of French Jews circa 1890 proved to be rather decent when compared to other European states like Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia. Examples of this decent condition for French Jews include their relative positions in both the government and the army around 1890. Dreyfus himself, a graduate of the elite Ecole Polytechnique, was a career artillery officer, which is a high rank for any military personnel. By comparison, in countries like Germany and Austria-Hungary circa 1890, it was considered unthinkable for a Jew to attain any high career position in either the government or the military. For the most part, German and Austro-Hungarian Jews were erroneously thought of as being in control of the financial and publishing sectors of their respective economies. Antisemitism grew in the wake of these common stereotypes which led to question the patriotism of Jews in Germany and Austria-Hungary .

Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a graduate of both the elite École Polytechnique and of École Supérieure de Guerre, was a promising young artillery officer in the French Army. His high exit rankings in both these institutions had placed him on a "fast track" which had led to a training position, in 1894, on the Army's General Staff. Captain Dreyfus came from an old and prosperous Jewish family that had made its fortune in a textile business in Mulhouse, Alsace, when that province was still a part of France. After the French defeat in 1871 and the annexation of Alsace by Germany, the entire Dreyfus family chose to remain French and the children — including Alfred — moved to France.

In October 1894, in a very abrupt manner, Alfred Dreyfus was arrested and later charged with passing military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris. He was convicted of treason by a military tribunal in December 1894 and promptly imprisoned on Devil's Island, a prison island in French Guyana. The conviction was based on a handwritten list (the so-called bordereau) offering future access to secret French military information. This list had been retrieved from the waste paper basket of the German military attaché, Major Max von Schwartzkoppen by an Alsatian cleaning lady in the employ of French counter-intelligence. This retrieved list or bordereau was then promptly passed on to the French War Minister, General Auguste Mercier.

The bordereau initially appeared to the French military authorities as implicating an artillery officer because it listed prominently the comportment of the novel and unprecedented oleo-pneumatic recoil mechanism of a new field artillery piece: the French Modèle 1890 120mm Baquet howitzer. Although Dreyfus was in the General Staff, his artillery training, his Alsatian origins and his yearly trips to the then German town of Mulhouse to visit his ailing father had earmarked him for suspicion. Furthermore, the writing on the bordereau was incorrectly interpreted as resembling Dreyfus' own handwriting. Fearing that the right-wing anti-Semitic press would learn of the affair and accuse the Army of covering up for a Jewish officer, the High Command led by General Mercier pressed for an early trial and conviction. By the time they realized that they had very little evidence against Dreyfus (and that what they had was not at all conclusive), it was already politically impossible to withdraw the prosecution without provoking a scandal that would have brought down the highest levels of the French Army (Doise 1984). In other words, the accusations against Captain Dreyfus, soon recognized to be void of any merit, evolved into a massive cover-up to justify the hasty decision to press charges against him. While there were undoubtedly anti-Semitic undertones to this miscarriage of justice it would be inaccurate to see it purely in these terms. As noted below there were a significant number of Jewish officers in the French Army during the 1890s which made it a more progressive institution than most other armies of the time. It appears that Captain Dreyfus, while being generally well noted by his superiors, was not personally popular amongst some of his colleagues because of his aloof personality and comparatively wealthy background.

The subsequent court-martial was notable for numerous errors of procedure. For instance, the defense was unaware of a secret dossier which the prosecution had provided to the military judges. The withholding of this dossier was illegal. As to the initial "why" of the case, the renowned French military historian Jean Doise provides detailed evidence that Dreyfus was used as a patsy or scapegoat through manipulations by French military counter-intelligence (the so-called Bureau de Statistique led by Lt Colonel Sandherr). The purpose of the manipulations was to help convince Germany that the new French field gun was the imperfect, soon-to-be terminated Baquet project listed in the bordereau, instead of the revolutionary French 75mm field gun which was developed in great secrecy at the very same time (1892-1896). In other words, the intense prosecution of Alfred Dreyfus was designed to mislead German espionnage into believing that it had stumbled onto highly sensitive artillery information.

The torn up bordereau found discarded in the waste paper basket of Attaché von Schwartzkoppen was, in fact, a fabrication which had been hand written and delivered by a French-born infantry officer of Hungarian descent, Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy. The latter either hoped to extract money from the German Attaché or was, as proposed by Jean Doise, planting a deception in German hands to throw them off the secret 75mm field gun project. The latter explanation fits with the fact that Esterhazy, in spite of being exposed by Colonel Picquart as the real author of the bordereau, was acquitted by French military Justice in January 1898 and let go to retire in England with a pension. Furthermore, and as also proved by the archival records, Walsin-Esterhazy had once been working full-time as a lieutenant on the staff of military counter-intelligence (the very same Bureau de Statistique led by Lt Colonel Sandherr). This episode took place during the early part of Esterhazy's career, before the Dreyfus Affair. In other words and in clear terms, there is verifiable evidence that Major Esterhazy was a past member of the Sandherr counter-intelligence network.

These recent exposures further underline the sordid, in fact criminal character of the machinations devised by Lt Colonel Sandherr and his small group (notably Major Hubert Joseph Henry and Captain Lauth) at the Bureau de Statistique. Because they operated as a distinct and separate bureaucracy from the regular military intelligence section (the 2eme bureau) at the French War Ministry, Sandherr's small counter-intelligence group drifted into illegality (Bach, 2004). This happened because Lt Colonel Sandherr had been encouraged, over the years, to report directly and secretly to the office of the politically appointed War Minister himself (General Mercier). This cascade of internal communication failures, lies and dissimulations eventually destroyed the career and hence the life of an innocent man, Alfred Dreyfus, and of his family. It is well documented that General Auguste Mercier was the responsible party in initiating this chain of events, and later in pressing for the cover-up of this miscarriage of justice. Whether he had been inspired at the very beginning by General Deloye, who directed French Artillery, is a plausible but unprovable speculation (Doise, 1984).

Alfred Dreyfus was put on trial in 1894 and was accused of espionage, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on Devil's Island. He was publicly cashiered: his rank marks and buttons were ripped off his uniform and his sabre was broken. In June 1899 the case was reopened, following the uncovering of exonerating evidence and of the fact that Dreyfus had been denied due process during the initial court-martial. France's Court of Cassation quashed his conviction and ordered a new court-martial. Despite the new evidence presented at his new military trial, Dreyfus was reconvicted in September and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was subsequently pardoned by President Émile Loubet and freed, but would not be formally exonerated until 12 July 1906, when the Court of Cassation annulled his second conviction.

He was thereafter readmitted to the army and made a knight in the Légion d’Honneur. Dreyfus was recalled to active duty and served behind the lines of the Western Front during World War I as a Lieutenant-Colonel of Artillery though he did perform some frontline duties in 1917. He served his nation with distinction beyond his natural retirement age.

The Dreyfus affair became one of the gravest crises to rock the French Third Republic. "The Affair" deeply divided the country into Dreyfusards (supporters of Dreyfus) and anti-Dreyfusards. Generally speaking, royalists, conservatives and the Catholic Church (the "right wing") were anti-Dreyfusards, while Dreyfusards were socialists, republicans and anticlericalists, though there were exceptions.

The Dreyfus affair could not have developed as it did in a country wholly antisemitic, nor in a country devoid of antisemitism. Dreyfus's Jewish background was well-known, yet he had been admitted to the most selective military schools in the country and had been assigned to a sensitive position; this would have been unheard of in some other European countries where discriminatory practices were not uncommon at the time. In the armies of the French Republic in 1894, there were over 250 career officers professing the Jewish faith (Birnbaum, 1998) including many colonels and at least one general officer, General Samuel Naquet-Laroque (1843-1921), who occupied a high position in the state armament industries. That same period also saw the rise of Lt Colonel Mardochee-Georges Valabregue (1854-1934), an artilleryman from Ecole Polytechnique and an observant Jew from an old French family, as Alfred Dreyfus, to being the Commander in Chief of Ecole Superieure de Guerre in 1905. He became a divisional commander and a full general during WW-1. As a matter of record there were three other French career officers at the time of the affair who also bore the name Dreyfus but were unrelated to Alfred Dreyfus : Captain Sylvain Dreyfus, Major Émile Dreyfus and Captain Paul Dreyfus (Birnbaum, 1998). Two among those three French officers professing the Jewish faith were also, like Alfred Dreyfus, alumni of the elite École Polytechnique.

The writer Émile Zola is often thought to have exposed the affair to the general public in a famously incendiary open letter to President Félix Faure to which the French journalist and politician Georges Clemenceau affixed the headline "J'accuse!" (I accuse!); it was published January 13, 1898 in the maiden issue of the newspaper L'Aurore (The Dawn). It had the effect of a bomb. In the words of historian Barbara Tuchman, it was "one of the great commotions of history." Zola's intent was to force his own prosecution for libel so that the emerging facts of the Dreyfus case could be thoroughly aired. In this he succeeded. He was convicted, appealed, was retried, and, before hearing the result, fled to England on the advice of his counsel and friends, returning to Paris in June 1899 when he heard that Dreyfus's trial was to be reviewed.

Zola's world fame and internationally respected reputation brought international attention to Dreyfus' unjust treatment. Most of the work of exposing the errors in Dreyfus' conviction was done by four people : Dreyfus' brother Mathieu, who fought a lonely campaign for several years; Jewish journalist Bernard Lazare; Lt.Colonel Marie-Georges Picquart, a senior infantry officer who had replaced Lt. Colonel Sandherr at the helm of French Military Counter-intelligence; and the vice-president of the Senate, Scheurer-Kestner, who worked resolutely to make the case for revision of Dreyfus's conviction to the French government. Picquart himself, who had demonstrated that the real traitor was Major Esterhazy, was reassigned to a post in the south of Tunisia in December 1896. This was not necessarily an inappropriate assignment, since Picquart had been seconded to Military Counter-intelligence from a North African Tirailleur regiment. The intention, however, was clearly to get him away from Paris.

The affair saw the emergence of the "intellectuals", academics and others with high intellectual achievements who took positions on grounds of higher principle, such as Zola, the novelists Octave Mirbeau and Anatole France, the mathematicians Henri Poincaré and Jacques Hadamard, and the librarian of the École Normale Supérieure, Lucien Herr. In 1906 the Chamber of Deputies overwhelmingly approved measures to rehabilitate and promote Dreyfus and Picquart in the Army (Picquart became a general and even held the position of Minister of War). Anti-Dreyfusards then denounced the use of the Dreyfus affair for political ends.

The factions in the Dreyfus affair remained in place for decades afterwards. The far right remained a potent force, as did the moderate liberals. The liberal victory played an important role in pushing the far right to the fringes of French politics. It also prompted legislation such as a 1905 law separating church and state. The coalition of partisan anti-Dreyfusards remained together, but turned to other causes. Groups such as Maurras' Action Française, formed during the affair, endured for decades. The right-wing Vichy Regime was composed to some extent of old anti-Dreyfusards and their descendants. The Vichy Regime would later deport Dreyfus' grand-daughter to the Nazi extermination camps.

Despite his complete exoneration, Dreyfus's statues and monuments are occasionally vandalised by far-right activists. In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt argued that the affair evidenced a recurring theme of anti-Semitism and sought to identify its causes.

In 1985, President François Mitterrand commissioned a statue of Dreyfus by sculptor Louis Mitelberg to be installed at the École Militaire, but the minister of defense refused to display it. The army didn't formally acknowledge Dreyfus' innocence until 1995.

Joseph Vacher - Serial Killer October 28 - Joseph Vacher was sentenced to death

December 31 - Joseph Vacher was executed by guillotine at dawn. He refused to walk towards the scaffold and had to be dragged by the executioners.

End of the Spanish American War

December 10 – The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Spanish-American War.

The Treaty of Paris provided that Cuba would become independent from Spain but the U.S. Congress made sure it would be under U.S. control through the Platt Amendment. Specifically, Spain relinquished all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba. Upon Cuba's evacuation by Spain, it was to be occupied by the United States, and the United States would assume and discharge any obligations that under international law could result from the fact of its occupation.

The Treaty also assured that Spain would cede to the United States the island of Puerto Rico and other islands then under Spanish sovereignty in the West Indies, as well as the island of Guam in the Marianas or Ladrones.

The Treaty specified that Spain would cede to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands, and comprehending the islands lying within a specified line.

In accordance with the treaty, Spain:

  • Gave up all rights to Cuba (see Teller Amendment and Platt Amendment)
  • Surrendered Puerto Rico and gave up its possessions in the West Indies
  • Surrendered the island of Guam to the United States
  • Surrendered the Philippines to the United States for a payment of twenty million dollars

The defeat put an end to the Spanish Empire in America and, one year later in the Pacific Ocean (after the German–Spanish Treaty (1899)), and marked the beginning of an age of United States colonial power.

§French Science

July - Skłodowska–Curie and her husband published a paper together, announcing the existence of an element which they named "polonium", in honor of her native Poland.

December 21 - Scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium.

§Great Britain

July 6 - Guglielmo Marconi carried out a radio test for Lloyds between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, Ireland.


August 25 – 700 Greeks and 15 Englishmen are slaughtered by the Turks in Heraklion, Greece, leading to the establishment of the autonomous Cretan State.


July 6 - A test of Marconi's radio were conducted for Lloyds between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, Ireland.


May 7th - 9th, General Fiorenzo Bava-Beccaris killed hundreds of demonstrators in Milan, Italy shooting on a rally; King of Italy Umberto I is killed two years later to avenge this shooting.

On May 5, 1898, workers organized a strike to demonstrate against the government of Antonio Starrabba di Rudinì, holding it responsible for the general increase of prices and for the famine that was affecting the country. The first blood was shed that day at Pavia, when the son of the mayor of Milan was killed while attempting to halt the troops marching against the crowd.

After a protest in Milan the following day, Antonio di Rudinì's government declared a state of siege in the city. Infantry, cavalry and artillery were brought into the city and General Bava-Beccaris ordered his troops to fire on demonstrators. On May 9, 1898, the troops used artillery to breach the walls of a monastery outside Porta Monforte, but they found inside only a group of beggars who had come to receive assistance from the friars. According to the government, there were 118 dead and 450 wounded.

The opposition claimed 400 dead and more than 2,000 injured people. Filippo Turati, one of the founder of the Italian Socialist Party in 1892, was arrested in 1898, accused of inspiring the riots.

King Umberto I praised the General and awarded him the medal of Grande Ufficiale dell'Ordine Militare dei Savoia , saying that "You have rendered a great service to the King and to the Country". The decoration exacerbated the Italian population's indignation.

May 8 – The first games of the Italian Football League are played.

July 13 Guglielmo Marconi patents radio

Antonio di Rudinì was forced to resign in July 1898.


October 1 - Dutch railway Alkmaar-Receiver opens


August 20 – Opening of the Gornergratbahn railway, connecting Zermatt to the Gornergrat.

September 10 - Luigi Lucheni assassinates Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1898, despite warnings of possible assassination attempts, the sixty-year-old Elisabeth traveled incognito to Geneva, Switzerland. She stayed at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage, where she had been a guest the year before.

At 1:35 p.m. on Saturday, 10 September 1898, Elisabeth and Countess Irma Sztáray de Sztára et Nagymihály, her lady in waiting, left the hotel on the shore of Lake Geneva on foot to catch the steamship Genève for Montreux. Since the empress did "not like processions," her servants had already been ordered to leave by train for neighboring Territet.

They were walking along the promenade when the 25-year-old Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni approached them, attempting to peer underneath the empress's parasol. According to Sztáray, as the ship's bell announced the departure, Lucheni seemed to stumble and made a movement with his hand as if he wanted to maintain his balance. In reality, in an act of "propaganda of the deed", he had stabbed Elisabeth with a sharpened needle file that was 4 inches (100 mm) long (used to file the eyes of industrial needles) that he had inserted into a wooden handle.

A former mason, railway laborer and former valet to the Prince of Aragon,[29] Lucheni originally planned to kill the Duke of Orléans, but the Pretender to France’s throne had left Geneva earlier for the Valais. Failing to find him, the assassin selected Elisabeth when a Geneva newspaper revealed that the elegant woman traveling under the pseudonym of "Countess of Hohenembs" was the Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

I am an anarchist by conviction...I came to Geneva to kill a sovereign, with object of giving an example to those who suffer and those who do nothing to improve their social position; it did not matter to me who the sovereign was whom I should kill...It was not a woman I struck, but an Empress; it was a crown that I had in view.

After Lucheni struck her, the empress collapsed. A coach driver helped her to her feet and alerted the Austrian concierge of the Beau-Rivage, a man named Planner, who had been watching the empress' progress toward the Genève. The two women walked roughly 100 yards (91 m) to the gangway and boarded, at which point Sztáray relaxed her hold on Elisabeth's arm. The empress then lost consciousness and collapsed next to her. Sztáray called for a doctor, but only a former nurse, a fellow passenger, was available. The boat’s captain, Captain Roux, was ignorant of Elisabeth's identity and since it was very hot on deck, advised the countess to disembark and take her companion back to her hotel. Meanwhile, the boat was already sailing out of the harbor. Three men carried Elisabeth to the top deck and laid her on a bench. Sztáray opened her gown, cut Elisabeth's corset laces so she could breathe. Elisabeth revived somewhat and Sztáray asked her if she was in pain, and she replied, "No". She then asked, "What has happened?" and lost consciousness again.

Countess Sztáray noticed a small brown stain above the Empress' left breast. Alarmed that Elisabeth had not recovered consciousness, she informed the captain of her identity, and the boat turned back to Geneva. Elisabeth was carried back to the Hotel Beau-Rivage by six sailors on a stretcher improvised from a sail, cushions and two oars. Fanny Mayer, the wife of the hotel director, a visiting nurse, and the countess undressed Elisabeth and removed her shoes, when Sztáray noticed a few small drops of blood and a small wound. When they then removed her from the stretcher to the bed she was clearly dead; Frau Mayer believed the two audible breaths she heard the Empress take as she was brought into the room were her last. Two doctors, Dr. Golay and Dr. Mayer arrived, along with a priest, who was too late to grant her absolution. Mayer incised the artery of her left arm to ascertain death, and found no blood. She was pronounced dead at 2:10 p.m. Everyone knelt down and prayed for the repose of her soul, and Countess Sztáray closed Elisabeth's eyes and joined her hands. No matter how reluctant or resentful she was of the title, Elisabeth had been the Empress of Austria for 44 years.

When Franz Joseph received the telegram informing him of Elisabeth's death, his first fear was that she had committed suicide. It was only when a third message arrived, detailing the assassination, that he was relieved of that notion. The telegram asked permission to perform an autopsy, and answer was that whatever procedures were prescribed by Swiss Law should be adhered to.

The autopsy was performed the next day by Golay, who discovered that the weapon, which had not yet been found, had penetrated 3.33 inches (85 mm) into Elisabeth's thorax, fractured the fourth rib, pierced the lung and pericardium, and penetrated the heart from the top before coming out the base of the left ventricle. Because of the sharpness and thinness of the file the wound was very narrow and, due to pressure from Elisabeth's extremely tight corseting, the hemorrhage of blood into the pericardial sac around the heart was slowed to mere drops. Until this sac filled, the beating of her heart was not impeded, which is why Elisabeth had been able to walk from the site of the assault and up the boat’s boarding ramp. Had the weapon not been removed, she would have lived a while longer, as it would have acted like a plug to stop the bleeding.

Golay photographed the wound, but turned the photograph over to the Swiss Procurator-General, who had it destroyed, on the orders of Franz Joseph, along with the autopsy instruments.

As Geneva shuttered itself in mourning, Elisabeth’s body was placed in a triple coffin: two inner ones of lead, the third exterior one in bronze, reposing on lion claws. On Tuesday, before the coffins were sealed, Franz Joseph's official representatives arrived to identify the body. The coffin was fitted with two glass panels, covered with doors, which could be slid back to allow her face to be seen.

On Wednesday morning, Elisabeth's body was carried back to Vienna aboard a funeral train. The inscription on her coffin read, “Elisabeth, Empress of Austria”. The Hungarians were outraged and the words, “and Queen of Hungary” were hastily added. The entire Austro-Hungarian Empire was in deep mourning; 82 sovereigns and high-ranking nobles followed her funeral cortege on the morning of 17 September to the tomb in the Church of the Capuchins.


The Indian Famine was a six-year event that took place between 1896 and 1902. One of many famines to hit India throughout the years, this one was the worst, claiming an estimated 19 million lives.

§Middle East


November 2 - Theodor Herzl arrives in Jerusalem

§North America


Fortune-seakers flocked to the Klondike. Doukhobours began to settle in Saskatchewan

June 13 – Yukon Territory is formed, with Dawson chosen as its capital.


Spanish-American War

February 15th The USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbor, Cuba for then unknown reasons killing 266 men. This event helped lead the United States to declare war on Spain. The United States Navy began a blockade of Cuban ports on April 22nd and the USS Nashville captured a Spanish merchant ship. On April 25th the United States declared war on Spain; the U.S. Congress announced that a state of war had existed since April 21st (later backdating one more day to April 20).

July 1 - Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charge up San Juan Hill

July 3 - U.S. Navy defeats Spanish fleet in Santiago harbor, Cuba

In the Battle of Santiago Bay, on July 17th, troops under United States General William R. Shafter took the city of Santiago de Cuba from the Spanish.

August 12, Hostilities ended between American and Spanish forces in Cuba. Spain surrendered and the United States gained control over the island, opening a naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

December 10 - The Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish-American War was signed in Paris giving the US several former Spanish colonies, such as Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

§Puerto Rico

July 25 – Spanish-American War: The United States invasion of Puerto Rico begins with a landing at Guánica Bay.

October 18 - American flag raised in Puerto Rico

§United States

January 1st, New York City annexed land from surrounding counties, creating the City of Greater New York. The city is geographically divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.

January 7 - Theo Durrant, a 24 year old medical student, who was arrested, found guilty and executed for the murder of two women, Blanch Lamont 18, and Minnie Williams 21, in San Francisco's Baptist Church, was in fact innocent of the crime and that the real culprit was John George Gibson, the church pastor based on the pastor's death bed confession.

February 15 - The USS Maine sinks prompting the declaration of war against Spain.

April 5 – Annie Oakley promotes the service of women in combat situations with the United States military. On this day, she writes a letter to President McKinley "offering the government the services of a company of 50 'lady sharpshooters' who would provide their own arms and ammunition should war break out with Spain." In the history of women in the military, there are records of female U.S. Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers who enlisted using male pseudonyms, but Oakley's letter represents possibly the earliest political move towards women's rights for combat service in the United States military.

April 12 - Army transfers Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco Bay to Navy

April 19 - Second Boston Marathon won by Ron McDonald of Mass in 2:42:00

April 20 - U.S. Assay Office in Deadwood, South Dakota opens

May 3 - Camp Merriman forms at the Presidio in San Francisco

May 19 - Post Office authorizes use of postcards

May 21 - U.S. Assay Office in Seattle, Washington authorized

May 25 - First U.S. troop transport to Manila leaves San Francisco

May 26 - San Francisco approves City Charter, allows Municipal ownership of utilities

June 1 – The Trans-Mississippi Exposition World's Fair opens in Omaha, Nebraska.

June 18 - First amusement pier opens in Atlantic City, New Jersey

July 13 - San Francisco Ferry Building at foot of Market St. opens

September 30 - City of New York established

October 3 – Battle of Sugar Point: Ojibwe tribesmen defeat U.S. government troops in northern Minnesota.

November 10 - Race riot in Wilmington North Carolina (Wilmington Insurrection). It was considered a coup d’état, the only one on U.S. soil. A mob of nearly 2,000 white men attacked the only black newspaper in the state, and persons and property in black neighborhoods, killing an estimated 15 to more than 60 victims, and destroying homes and businesses built up since the Civil War. The event marks an era of more severe racial segregation and effective disenfranchisement of African-Americans throughout the South, a shift already underway since passage by Mississippi of a new constitution in 1890 raising barriers to voter registration.

November 26 – A 2-day blizzard known as the Portland Gale piles snow in Boston, Massachusetts, and severely impacts the Massachusetts fishing industry and several coastal New England towns.

November 27 - Side-wheeler "Portland" sinks off Cape Cod, 190 die

December 10 - Spanish-American War ends; U.S. acquires Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam

§U.S. Industry

N.W. Ayer helps National Biscuit Co. launch the first prepackaged biscuit, Uneeda, with the slogan "Lest you forget, we say it yet, Uneeda Biscuit." Eventually, the company launches the first million-dollar advertising campaign for Uneeda.

The New York Newspaper The Evening Mirror which had once posted Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" ceased publication.

February 1 - First auto insurance policy in U.S. issued, by Travelers Insurance Co

February 8 - John Ames Sherman patents first envelope folding and gumming mach (Mass)

March 17 - First practical submarine 1st submerges, New York City (for 1 hour 40 minutes)

March 24th, Robert Allison of Port Carbon, Pennsylvania became the first person to buy an American-built automobile when he bought a Winton automobile that was advertised in Scientific American.

August 28th, Caleb Bradham named his soft drink Pepsi-Cola.

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber company was established in Akron, Ohio with 13 employees. They manufactured bicycle and carriage tires, rubber horseshoe pads, and poker chips.

As a result of the merger of several small oil companies, John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company controls 84% of the USA's oil and most American pipelines.

August 16 - Edwin Prescott patents roller coaster

September 13 - Hannibal Goodwin patents celluloid photographic film

October 1 - Henry Huntington buys Los Angeles Railway

The small radio-controlled boat which Tesla called a telautomaton was first demonstrated to the public in 1898 at New York City's old Madison Square Garden.

A patent with the long title "Method of and Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving Vessels or Vehicles" (No. 613,809) was granted to Tesla in the same year.

Tesla's two radio-controlled boats were built in the 1897-98 period. While they could withstand submersion, they had a slight positive buoyancy and no diving planes, and thus were not true submarines, as they are sometimes described. These boats were actually surface running torpedoes. The patent shows a detonator in the forward compartment.

They can be considered as the direct predecessor of guided missiles developed during World War 2 by the United States, Germany and Japan, and present day precision guided weapons.

§U.S. Politics

April 11 - President McKinley asks for Spanish-American War declaration

April 22 - Congress passes Volunteer Army Act calling for a Volunteer Cavalry

April 22 - President McKinley orders blockade of Cuban harbors

June 7 - Social Democracy of America party holds first national convention, Chicago

June 15 U.S. House of Representatives accept annexation of Hawaii

June 17 U.S. Senate agrees to annex Hawaii


October 1 - Jews are expelled from Kiev, Russia

Russian schoolteacher, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935), proposed the idea of space exploration by rocket.



All men were granted full suffrage.

§South Pacific

§Hawaiian Islands

The United States annexed the Hawaiian Islands on July 7th.

July 3 - American troops captured deserted Wake Island

August 12 - Hawaii formally annexed to U.S.


June 21 – Spanish–American War: The United States captures Guam making it the first U.S. overseas territory.

July 21 - Spain cedes Guam to U.S.


April 24 - U.S. fleet under commodore Dewey sails from Hong Kong to Philippines

June 12th, General Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spain.

July 8 - U.S. battle fleet under Admiral Dewey occupies Isla Grande at Manila

August 13 - U.S. forces under George Dewey captures Manila during Spanish-Amer war


May 28 – Secondo Pia takes the first photographs of the Shroud of Turin and discovers that the image on Shroud itself appears to be a photographic negative.


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