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<< 1909 CE | 1901-1910 CE | >>

§Of World Interest

April - Appearance of Halley's comet. It's approach was notable for several reasons: it was the first approach for which photographs exist, and the comet made a relatively close approach, making it a spectacular sight. Indeed, on May 18, the comet transited the Sun's disk, and on May 18 the Earth actually passed through its tail. At the time, the comet's tail was thought to contain poisonous cyanogen and gas. The popular media picked up this fact and, despite the pleas of astronomers, wove sensational tales of mass cyanide poisoning engulfing the planet. In reality, the gas is so diffuse that the world suffered no ill-effects from the passage through the tail.

Many people who claim to remember seeing the 1910 apparition are in fact remembering a different comet, the Great Daylight Comet of 1910, which surpassed Halley in brilliance and was actually visible in broad daylight for a short time about four months before Halley made its appearance.

The World's population was estimated at 1.75 billion people.



February 20 - Boutros Ghali, the first native-born prime minister of Egypt, is assassinated.

§South Africa

April 27 - Louis Botha and James Hertzog (James Barry Munnik Hertzog) found the South Africa Party.

May 31 - The Union of South Africa is created.



After 150 years of failed attempts to rid the country of opium, the Chinese are finally successful in convincing the British to dismantle the India-China opium trade.


Japan annexed Korea in August.

August 22 - The Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty is signed.

August 29 - Emperor Sunjong of the Korean Empire abdicates and the country's monarchy is abolished.



August 14 - A fire at the World Exhibition in Brussels destroys exhibitions of Britain and France.


January 16 - Constant rains in Paris, France, cause the Seine to overflow its banks, flooding the city. All but one line of the Paris Métro become filled with water, effectively draining water from the city.

July 2 - Demonstrations erupt in France against public executions.


Carl Bosch of the German firm BASF created the process of synthesizing ammonia, known as the Haber-Bosch process, shaping the subsequent course of world history. Ammonia is important as a foundation to both fertilizer and explosives.


January - In Greece, the Military League forces Parliament and George I of Greece to summon the National Assembly to revise the Constitution of Greece.

October 18 - Eleutherios Venizelos becomes prime minister of Greece.

§Great Britain

January 15 - The United Kingdom General Election, held in response to the House of Lords' rejection of the 1909 budget, results in a reduced Liberal Party majority (Liberals, 275 seats; Labour, 40; Irish Nationalists, 82; Unionists [the title then preferred by the British Conservative Party], 273).

May 6 - George V becomes King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII.

November 18 - "Black Friday", a deputation of over 300 women, some over 70 years of age, marched in detachments of 12 to parliament in order to protest against Asquith's neglect of women's suffrage.

December - British Prime Minister Asquith makes his second appeal in the same year to the electorate to resolve the battle of wills with the House of Lords (Liberals, 272; Labour, 42; Irish Nationalists, 84; Unionists, 272 - making a majority of 126 for restriction of the powers of the Lords and for Irish Home Rule).


August 28 - Montenegro is proclaimed an independent kingdom under Nicholas I.


October 5 - Portugal becomes a republic; King Manuel II of Portugal flees to England.


September 1 - the Vatican introduces a compulsory oath against modernism, to be taken by all priests upon ordination.


October 5 - Portugal became a republic causing King Manuel II of Portugal's flight to England.

§Near East


March - An uprising against Ottoman rule breaks out in Albania.

§North America


September 16 - Mexico celebrates the centennial of the start of the Independence War.

November 20 - Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero denounces President Porfirio Díaz, declares himself president, and calls for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico.

§United States

January 10 - First air show in the United States held in Los Angeles, attended by William Boeing.

February 6 - The American Society for the Judicial Settlement of International Disputes was organized in Baltimore, at the residence of Theodore Marburg. The organization aimed for not only the creation of a permanent tribunal for the judicial settlement of international conflicts, but also wanted to create the sentiment that the international controversies should be resolved by a permanent international court. The Society was the forerunner of the League to Enforce the Peace, which developed into the League of Nations concept and ultimately into the United Nations. The Society planned to establish a permanent tribunal at the Hague.

February 8 - The Boy Scouts of America are incorporated by William D. Boyce.

February 16-18 - The state of Ohio is crippled by a snowstorm.

May 11 - The U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.

May 16 - The U.S. Congress authorizes the creation of the United States Bureau of Mines.

July 4 - African-American boxer Jack Johnson defeats American boxer James J. Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match, sparking race riots across the United States.

August 20 and August 21 - The Great Fire of 1910 wildfire burns about 3 million acres (12,000 km²) in northeast Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana over 2 days and kills 86 people (believed to be the largest fire in recorded United States history).

October 1 - James and John McNamara, Irish-American Los Angeles trade unionists, bombed the offices of the Los Angeles Times on October 1st, which started a fire and killed 21 newspaper employees and injured a hundred more.

October 11 - Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first president to ride in an airplane.

November 7 - The first air flight for the purpose of delivering commercial freight occurs between Dayton, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio by the Wright Brothers and department store owner Max Moorehouse.

November 17 - Ralph Johnstone, a pilot for the Wright Exhibition Team, dies at Denver, Colorado after his machine breaks apart in mid air in full view of about 5,000 spectators. Johnstone becomes the first American pilot to die in the crash of an airplane in the United States.

November 22 - U.S. Senator Aldrich and A.P. Andrews (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department), along with many of the country's leading financiers, who together represent about 1/6 of the world's wealth, are witnessed leaving Hoboken, New Jersey on a train together. They later arrive at the Jekyll Island Club to discuss monetary policy and the banking system, an event which some say is the impetus for the creation of the Federal Reserve.

Senator Aldrich invited several bankers and economic scholars to attend a conference on Jekyll Island. While meeting under the ruse of a duck-shooting excursion, the financial experts were in reality hunting for a way to restructure America's banking system and eliminate the possibility of future economic panics.

The 1910 "duck hunt" on Jekyll Island included Senator Nelson Aldrich, his personal secretary Arthur Shelton, former Harvard University professor of economics Dr. A. Piatt Andrew, J.P. Morgan & Co. partner Henry P. Davison, National City Bank president Frank A. Vanderlip and Kuhn, Loeb, and Co. partner Paul M. Warburg. From the start the group proceeded covertly. They began by shunning the use of their last names and met quietly at Aldrich's private railway car in New Jersey.

November 22 - SS Selja steam freighter, a 380-foot-long (116 meters) vessel that carried goods between the Pacific Northwest and China and Japan sank after it collided with a steamer named Beaver off Point Reyes, California.

December 31 - Two of America's premier pioneer aviators are killed on this day: John Moisant in New Orleans, and Wright pilot Arch Hoxsey in Los Angeles.

§U.S. Law

March 19 - In the United States, Republicans reduce the powers of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to influence committee membership

December 19 - Edward Douglass White is sworn in as the 9th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

§U.S. Religion

July 20 - The Christian Endeavor Society of Missouri began a campaign to ban all motion pictures that depicted kissing between non-relatives – coincidentally on the same year and month that sultry silent screen actress Theda Bara turned 20. Movies were only just beginning to become a form of mass entertainment: the first couple filmed kissing for the general public was John C Rice and May Irwin in the 1896 film called The Kiss.

§Interesting statistics

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub. Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads. Gasoline was sold in drug stores only. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour. The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.

Ninety percent of all Doctors had no college education. Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and the government as 'substandard.'

Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

The five leading causes of death were:

  • 1. Pneumonia and influenza (flu)
  • 2. Tuberculosis
  • 3. Diarrhea
  • 4. Heart disease
  • 5. Stroke

Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores.

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the U.S.



November 23 - The last execution in Sweden (by guillotine) is carried out against murderer Johan Alfred Ander.

§Southeast Asia


October 23 - Vajiravudh (Rama VI) is crowned King of Siam, after the death of his father, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).

§South Pacific


March 21 - Harry Houdini achieves the first controlled powered flight over Australia.

April 29 - Andrew Fisher becomes Prime Minister of Australia for the second time.

September 16 - The Australian Treasury is given authority to issue currency, replacing the use of the British Pound.


October - Sokehs Rebellion on the island of Pohnpei on Sokehs Island


  • Impressionism in the arts
  • Wadai War (1909-1911)
  • Sokehs Rebellion


  • January 12 - Bass Reeves, the true "Lone Ranger" from Bright's Disease aged 71.
  • December 3 - Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science religion.


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