Friday, July 1, 2011

MDCCCLXVII

July 1, Canada Day.  We Canadians tend to be a bit smug about Canada's relative position in the world today (although never in this space, of course).  But fruition of the British North American Act on this day in the year first above was not the only thing happening that year.  I wondered what the world was like in 1867, and - for the most part (ex-Fijian missionaries) - things seemed to be pretty progressive that year.  To wit:  African-American men are granted the right to vote in the District of Columbia. The first ship passes through the Suez Canal.  An article by Joseph Lister, outlining the discovery of antiseptic surgery, is first published in The Lancet.  Alaska is purchased for $7.2 million from Alexander II of Russia (at about 2 cents/acre) by U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward.  The news media call this "Seward's Folly", but the cheque didn't bounce and in retrospect it looks like one of history's better deals (after all, "they're not making any more of it").  The first elevated railroad in the United States begins service in New York.  Queen's Park F.C., the oldest football league team in Scotland, is founded.  In Boston, Massachusetts, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine is established as the first dental school in the U.S.  The first volume of Das Kapital is published by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.  The Edo period gives way to the Meiji period in Japanese history.  Pierre Michaux invents the front wheel-driven velocipede, the first mass-produced bicycle.  Yellow fever kills 3,093 in New Orleans.  South African diamond fields are discovered.  The Fenian rising occurs in Ireland.  The Reverend Thomas Baker, a Wesleyan Methodist missionary born in England is cooked and eaten by Navatusila tribespeople at Nabutautau on Fiji, together with eight of his local followers, the last missionary in that country to suffer cannibalism.  The Prohibition National Committee is formed in the United States.   Chinese, Scandinavian and Irish immigrants begin laying 30,000 miles (48,000 km) of railroad tracks in the USA. The modern rose is born, with the introduction of Rosa 'La France' by Jean-Baptiste Guillot.

TODAY'S GOOD NEWS:  The Canadian markets are closed for Canada Day.