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31 Star Flag

Years Flown: 1851 - 1858

US Presidents: Millard Fillmore (1850 – 1853), Franklin Pierce (1853 – 1857), James Buchanan (1858 – 1861)

Thirty-One-Star flag became official July 4th 1851 with the admission of California, September 9, 1850, as the thirty first state.

Politics and Government


July 4, 1851: Sojourner Truth delivers her famous speech "Ain't I a Woman?" at a women's rights convention.


March 6, 1857: The U.S. Supreme Court delivers the Dred Scott decision, ruling against the citizenship of African Americans.


July 29, 1858: United States and Japan sign the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, establishing diplomatic relations.


Science, Technology and Medicine


March 30, 1853: Dr. John Snow publishes his findings on the Broad Street cholera outbreak, a landmark in epidemiology.


October 16, 1854: Florence Nightingale and a team of nurses arrive in the Crimean War, pioneering modern nursing practices.


August 24, 1853: The USS America, the first screw-propelled steamship of the United States Navy, is commissioned.


March 19, 1857: Elisha Otis installs the first commercial passenger elevator in the E.V. Haughwout Building in New York City.




July 1, 1852: Congress establishes the United States Customhouse, a major building in New York City.


June 10, 1854: The first class of United States Naval Academy students graduate.


July 26, 1856: The Republican Party is founded in Jackson, Michigan, with the goal of opposing the spread of slavery.


March 3, 1853: The Washington Territory is organized by an act of the U.S. Congress.


January 1, 1854: The first transcontinental railroad survey is completed, setting the stage for future construction.



Arts, Culture and Literature


October 18, 1851: Moby-Dick, a novel by American author Herman Melville, is published in the United States.


June 17, 1852: Henry David Thoreau publishes his essay "Walking" in "The Atlantic Monthly."


April 7, 1853: The first U.S. postage stamps are issued, featuring a likeness of George Washington.


July 14, 1853: Commodore Matthew Perry's squadron arrives in Tokyo Bay, opening Japan to Western trade.


July 2, 1855: The first edition of Walt Whitman's book "Leaves of Grass" is published in Brooklyn.





August 3, 1852: Harvard University wins the first boat race between Yale and Harvard, setting the stage for the annual tradition.



International Events (July 4, 1851 - July 3, 1858)



March 27, 1852: United Kingdom recognizes the independence of the Orange Free State in South Africa.


September 4, 1855: The Treaty of Peking is signed, ending the first phase of the Second Opium War between China and Western powers.


March 14, 1857: The European and North American Railway is incorporated in Canada.


July 9, 1856: Serbian-American engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla is born in the Austrian Empire (modern-day Croatia).


April 19, 1858: Werner von Siemens demonstrates the first electric railway in Berlin.


August 21, 1852: Tlingit Indians destroy Fort Selkirk, Yukon Territory, Canada, a Hudson's Bay Company post.


November 24, 1859: British naturalist Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" is published, introducing the theory of evolution.


January 26, 1852: The United Kingdom formally recognizes the independence of Argentina.


September 30, 1857: The world's first cannery opens in London, England.


September 12, 1857: The SS Central America sinks during a hurricane, resulting in significant loss of life and a financial panic.


March 9, 1857: The United Kingdom formally annexes the Punjab region of India.


June 18, 1858: Charles Darwin receives a letter from Alfred Russell Wallace, outlining the theory of evolution by natural selection.


August 18, 1852: The United Kingdom and France declare war on Russia, beginning the Crimean War.


April 29, 1852: The United Kingdom recognizes the independence of Uruguay.


November 10, 1857: The Manchester Martyrs are hanged in Manchester, England, for their involvement in a Fenian attack.

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