June 11, 2014 A Timeline to Clear the Historical Clouds
Sometimes it's easy to get confused about names and dates from history. Our idea of when things were in history gets clouded. Here is an example of where things got out of order for me. In Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, Jack Torrance tells his son that the Donner party was a group of settlers in covered wagon times. Later I was watching Haunted Highway with Jack Osborne investigating reported hauntings at the Donner camp--more accurately the Murphys' cabin environs in the episode (season 2 episode 4). From this episode I learned that the Donner party were snowbound in 1846. Say what? That sounded way too modern.
Here's a bit of a timeline to clear things up. It covers from Columbus to sliced bread of all things. It hits high points such as pilgrims, the Donner Party events, fax machines, the Boston Tea Party (important to TV's Sleepy Hollow), Mary Queen of Scots (TV's Reign), California settlers, the oldest remaining US city, New York, and more.
Small numbers of mammoths are still about. Giza Pyramids were already 1000 years old.
Teaching started in Oxford.
Oxford University officially founded.
Tenochtitlán birth city of the Aztec civilisation founded.
August 3 - Christopher Columbus departed from Castilian Palos de la Frontera with the three ships the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
October 12 - Christopher Columbus' expedition makes landfall in the Caribbean and lands on Guanahani, but he believes he has reached the East Indies.
July 29 - Mary, Queen of Scots, widowed, marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.
August 28 - St. Augustine, Florida is established. It is the oldest remaining European settlement in the United States. I picked up this location from an episode of Ghost Adventures (season 2 episode 2 Castillo de San Marcos).
April 26 - English colonists make landfall at Cape Henry, Virginia, later moving up the James River to found Jamestown.
December 21 - The Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
April 22 - The Dutch West India Company voted to erect a fort in the fledgling town of New Amsterdam. Later to become New York.
September 8 - A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes New College (Harvard University) as the first college founded in North America. Calculus wasn't derived until later in the 17th century.
January 8 - European physicist, mathematician and astronomer Galileo dies. He was still alive during Harvard's early years (mind bending huh?).
September 8 - New Amsterdam becomes New York.
February 22 - George Washington born.
Caspar Wistar built a glassmaking plant in what is now Salem County, New Jersey. Only the really rich would have glass windows. It was in the early 1800s that the first inexpensive rolled window glass became available.
May 14 - Charles III of Spain sends Spanish missionaries, who found California missions in San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Monterey and begin the settlement of California. Soldiers and missionaries arrived with the double purpose of Christianizing the Native Americans (Chumash people) and facilitating Spanish colonization. It's 74 years until the great migration. I picked up this location from an episode of Ghost Adventures (season 2 episode 3 La Purisima Mission).
December 16 - Boston Tea Party. The episode escalated into the American Revolution.
December 14 - George Washington dies.
May 27 - The first fax machine was patented by a Scottish mechanic named Alexander Bain. This early model used a combination of synchronized pendulums, electric probes and electrochemically sensitive paper to scan documents, and then send the information over a series of wires to be reproduced.
Mid-May - The "Great Migration" on the Oregon trail began. A wagon train of about 700 to 900 people and around 120 wagons headed west led by John Gantt. It's 3 years until the Donner Party.
February 26 - The Liberty Bell is cracked while being rung in honour of George Washington's birthday--4 days late.
April 25 - Opening of the Mexican–American War, over much of the west including California.
June 15 - Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and Canada.
September 23 - The planet Neptune is observed.
Early November - The Donner party are unable to cross the pass that will be named after them--on their way to settle in the California area. They construct a winter camp.The other family famously remembered in the cannibalism was the Murphys--including a Murphys rock with a plaque (seen in Haunted Highway with Jack Osborne). The rock was part of the back of the cabin.
January 4 - Samuel Colt sells his first revolver pistol to the U.S government.
January 13 - The Treaty of Cahuenga ends the fighting in the Mexican–American War in California.
February 5 - A rescue effort, called the First Relief, leaves Johnson's Ranch to save the ill-fated Donner Party. February 7 Second Relief. March 5 Third Relief. April 17 Fourth and final Relief.
July 1 - The United States issues its first postage stamps.
October - Charlotte Brontë publishes Jane Eyre. Emily Brontë publishes Wuthering Heights.
November 8 – Bram Stoker born.
California Gold Rush, miner 49ers.
October 18 - The English edition of Moby Dick was published.
November 14 - The American edition of Moby Dick was published.
Some of the bowhead whales living off the coast of Alaska today are well over 200 years old, and thus older than Moby Dick.
April 12 - American Civil war begins between the Union and the Confederates when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, a key fort held by Union troops in South Carolina.
January 3 - Construction begins on the Brooklyn Bridge.
September 4 - Thomas Edison flips the switch to the first commercial electrical power plant in history, lighting one square mile of lower Manhattan.
May 24 - The Brooklyn Bridge completed.
August 12 - People still travelling by covered wagon to settle in Oregon.
January 17 - Betty White is born.
July 7 - Inventor Otto Frederick Rohwedder sees his bread slicing machine make the first commercially available sliced bread. Yes, Betty White is older than sliced bread!
May 25 - Star Wars premiered in theaters.
September 10th - Last execution by guillotine in France.
If the history of Earth were compressed to a single day, modern humans would appear at about 11:58pm (the infamous 2 Minutes to Midnight; coincidence?).
The human race has lived on Earth for only 0.004% of the planet's history.