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|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1820s 1830s 1840s – 1850s – 1860s 1870s 1880s|
|Years:||1851 1852 1853 – 1854 – 1855 1856 1857|
Year 1854 (MDCCCLIV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar).
Events of 1854
January - June
- January 21 - Loss of the RMS Tayleur - 380 drowned, later dubbed "the first Titanic".
- January 3 - Charles Dickens commences writng the novel Hard Times
- February 11 - Major streets lit by coal gas for first time.
- February 13 - Mexican troops force William Walker and his troops to retreat to Sonora.
- February 14 - Texas is linked by telegraph with the rest of the United States, when a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas is completed.
- February 17 - The British recognize the independence of the Orange Free State. The official independence of the Orange Free State is declared six days later.
- February 27 - Britain sends Russia an ultimatum to withdraw from two Ottoman provinces it had conquered, Moldavia and Wallachia.
- March 1 - German psychologist Friedrich Eduard Beneke disappears, two years later his remains are found in the canal near Charlottenburg.
- March 3 - Australia's first telegraph line, linking Melbourne and Williamstown, opens.
- March 11- Royal Navy fleet sails from Britain under Vice Admiral Sir Charles Napier.
- March 20 - The Boston Public Library opens to the public.
- March 27 - United Kingdom declares war on Russia - Crimean War begins.
- March 28 - France declares war on Russia.
- March 31 - Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy, signs the Treaty/ Convention of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, to be precise, Tokugawa Shogunate, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade. (See History of Japan)
- April 1 - Hard Times begins serialisation in Charles Dickens' magazine, Household Words.
- May 18 - Foundation of the Catholic University of Ireland, the forerunner of University College Dublin.
- May 27 - Taiping Rebellion: United States minister Robert McLane arrives at the Heavenly Capital aboard the USS Susquehanna.
- May 30 - Kansas-Nebraska Act becomes law, rescinding the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and creating Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory. Provision that settlers will vote on slavery in the new territories leads to Bleeding Kansas violence beginning the next year.
- June - The Grand Excursion takes prominent Eastern United States inhabitants from Chicago, Illinois to Rock Island, Illinois by railroad, then up the Mississippi River to St. Paul, Minnesota by steamboat.
- June 10 - The first class of the United States Naval Academy graduate at Annapolis, Maryland.
- June 21 - In the battle at Bomarsund in Åland, Royal Navy mate Charles D. Lucas throws a live Russian artillery shell overboard by hand before it explodes - the incident is the first that will be retroactively awarded the Victoria Cross in 1857.
July - December
- July 6 - In Jackson, Michigan, the first convention of the U.S. Republican Party is held.
- August 16 - Russian troops in the island of Bomarsund in Åland surrender to French-British troops.
- September 20 - Crimean War: At the Alma, the French-British alliance wins the first battle of the war.
- October 1 - The watch company founded in 1850 in Roxbury, Massachusetts by Aaron Lufkin Dennison relocates to Waltham to become the Waltham Watch Company, pioneer in the American System of Watch Manufacturing.
- October 6 - The great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead is ignited by a spectacular explosion
- October 17 - Newspaper The Age is founded in Melbourne, Australia.
- October 21 - Florence Nightingale leaves for Crimea with 38 other nurses.
- October 25 - Crimean War: The Battle of Balaclava occurs, overall a victory for the allies, but it included the disastrous cavalry Charge of the Light Brigade, from which only 200 of 700 men survive.
- November 5 - Crimean War: Russians lose at the Battle of Inkerman.
- November 17 - In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is inaugurated in an elaborate ceremony.
- November 28 - Eureka Stockade; Miner's Rebellion in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
- December 8 - Pope Pius IX in the Papal Bull Ineffabilis Deus defines ex Cathedra the dogma of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin.
- The Polyglotta Africana, an early classification of African languages based on field work under freed slaves in Freetown, Sierra Leone, is published by Sigismund Wilhelm Koelle.
- Ignacy Lukasiewicz drilled the world's first oil well in Poland in Bóbrka near Krosno.
- Frederick Augustus Albert succeeds to the throne of Saxony.
- Chemistry Professor Benjamin Silliman, of Yale University is the first to fractionate petroleum by distillation.
- Abraham Pineo Gesner invents a process for extracting kerosene from coal.
- Said Pasha succeeds his nephew Abbas as pasha of Egypt.
- A Russian fort is established at the present site of Almaty.
- Aurora, Ontario is first settled.
- The Ambrotype is introduced for photography.
- An epidemic of cholera in London kills 10,000. Dr John Snow traces the source of one outbreak (that killed 500) to a single water pump, validating his theory that cholera is water-borne, and forming the starting point for epidemiology.
- The Iceland trade is opened to foreigners.
- Crimean War (1854-1856)
- Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864)
- The French fashion label Louis Vuitton was founded (1854)
|Ab urbe condita||2607|
|British Regnal year||17 Vict. 1 – 18 Vict. 1|
|Chinese calendar|| 癸丑年十二月初三日
— to —甲寅年十一月十二日
|- Vikram Samvat||1910–1911|
|- Shaka Samvat||1776–1777|
|- Kali Yuga||4955–4956|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||854–855|
|Japanese calendar|| Kaei 7 Ansei 1
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||58 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2397|
January - June
- January 18 - Thomas A. Watson, American telephone pioneer (d. 1934)
- February 17 - Friedrich Alfred Krupp, German industrialist (d. 1902)
- March 4 - Sir Napier Shaw, British meteorologist (d. 1945)
- March 8 - Ignacy Lukasiewicz, Polish pharmacist and inventor of the first method of distilling kerosene from seep oil, creator of first oil lamp (d. 1882)
- March 10 - Sir Thomas MacKenzie, New Zealand Prime Minister and High Commissioner (d. 1930)
- March 14
- March 15 - Emil Adolf von Behring, German physician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1917)
- April 22 - Henri La Fontaine, Belgian lawyer and activist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1943)
- April 29 - Henri Poincaré, French mathematician and physicist (d. 1912)
- May 11 - Albion Woodbury Small, American sociologist (d. 1926)
- May 24 - John Riley Banister, law officer, cowboy, and Texas Ranger (d. 1918)
- June 14- Dave Rudabaugh, outlaw and gunfighter (d. 1886)
- June 26 - Robert Laird Borden, eighth Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1937)
July - December
- July 3 - Leoš Janáček, Czech composer (d. 1928)
- July 7 - Nikolai Alexandrovich Morozov, Russian poet, scientist and revolutionary (d.1946)
- July 12 - George Eastman, American inventor (d. 1932)
- July 27 - Takahashi Korekiyo, Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1936)
- August 2 - Milan I, King of Serbia (d. 1901)
- August 23 - Moritz Moszkowski, Polish/German composer (d. 1918)
- September 1 - Engelbert Humperdinck, German composer (d. 1921)
- September 6 - Georges Picquart, French general and Minister of War (d. 1914)
- October 16
- October 26 - C. W. Post, American cereal manufacturer (d. 1914)
- October 20 - Arthur Rimbaud, French poet (d. 1891)
- November 5 - Paul Sabatier, French chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1941)
- November 6 - John Philip Sousa, American composer and conductor (d. 1932)
- November 17 - Hubert Lyautey, Marshal of France (d. 1934)
- November 21 - Pope Benedict XV (d. 1922)
- December 23 - Victoriano Huerta, President of Mexico (d. 1916)
- December 24 - Thomas Stevens, English cyclist (d. 1935)
January - June
- January 8 - William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford, British general and politician (b. 1768)
- February 17 - John Martin, English painter (b. 1789)
- March 6 - Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (b. 1778)
- March 11 - Willard Richards, American religious leader (b. 1804)
- March 13 - Thomas Noon Talfourd, English jurist (b. 1795)
- March 27 - William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, politician (b. 1768)
- April - Domingo Eyzaguirre, Chilean philanthropist (b. 1775)
- April 11 - Karl Adolph von Basedow, German physician (b. 1799)
- April 15 - Arthur Aikin, English chemist and mineralogist (b. 1773)
- April 29 - Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, British general (b. 1768)
- July 6 - Georg Ohm, German physicist
- July 16 - Abbas I, Pasha of Egypt (b. 1813)
- July 31 - Samuel Wilson, thought to be the real-life basis for Uncle Sam (b. 1813)
- September 8 - Angelo Mai, Italian cardinal and philologist (b. 1782)
- November 25 - John Gibson Lockhart, Scottish writer (b. 1794)
- December 9 - Almeida Garrett, Portuguese writer (b. 1799)
- December 15 - Kamehameha III, King of Hawaii (b. 1814?)