John Brown and his party raided the United States arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia in 1859. Within days he was captured, and he was hanged on December 2, 1859. Children could learn more at: John Brown.
Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. The original title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. When the sixth edition was printed, the title was shortened to The Origin of Species. The book included information from his time aboard the Beagle expedition in 1830 and other research and correspondence. Children can read The Origin of Species and other books written by Darwin at: Project Gutenberg.
Suez Canal began construction in 1859. The 120-mile canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea began operations November 17, 1869. The canal has no locks because the two seas are fairly level. Children can find interesting facts and great photographs at: Suez Canal.
Comstock Lode was discovered in Nevada in 1859. This time the metal was silver, and a “silver rush” took place similar to the gold rush ten years earlier. By 1882 the mines had produced $397,000,000 worth of silver. However, by 1898 the mines were pretty much played out.
Happy Birthday Song was created in 1859. Mildred J. Hill created the melody, and Patty Smith Hill wrote the lyrics. It was published in 1893. It is probably one of the most popular songs today. Mildred Hill died before it became so famous.
Charles Blondin walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope in 1859. Approximately 25,000 people watched the five-minute walk. On other occasions he walked across the falls on a tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow or on stilts. Idea: Children could draw a line on the playground. They could pretend the line was a tightrope. They could see if they could walk the line on stilts. Older children could read more at: Blondin.
Petroleum was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859. W. A. Smith found oil as he was sinking a shaft in Pennsylvania. The rig was soon producing twenty barrels of crude oil a day. Children can learn more about oil production and refinement at: Petroleum.