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32 Star Flag

Years Flown: 1858 - 1859

US Presidents:

James Buchanan (1857-1861)

Thirty-Two-star flag became official 4 July 1858 after the admission of Minnesota as the 32nd state on 11 May 1858

Politics and Government


July 16, 1858: The Lincoln-Douglas debates begin with the Senate campaign in Illinois. These debates would become instrumental in shaping the national conversation on slavery.


July 24, 1858: The United States and Japan sign the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, establishing diplomatic relations.


May 16, 1858: Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd state of the United States.


June 16, 1858: Abraham Lincoln delivers his "House Divided" speech, reflecting on the issue of slavery.


February 23, 1859: Oregon is admitted as the 33rd state of the United States.



Science, Technology and Medicine


October 24, 1858: Hamilton Smith patents the rotary washing machine in the United Kingdom.


January 23, 1859: The United States government buys the first steam locomotive for railroad use.


March 11, 1859: The first known sighting of the planet Vulcan is made during a solar eclipse, later determined to be an optical illusion.


March 24, 1859: Edwin L. Drake strikes oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania, leading to the birth of the American petroleum industry.




The National Teachers Association, now known as the National Education Association (NEA), holds its first meeting in Philadelphia in 1859, advocating for the interests of educators.


Massachusetts passes a significant school law in 1859, establishing a statewide system of free public education and promoting compulsory attendance.


1859 - Formation of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): The AAAS is founded in 1848 and holds its first meeting in 1859, promoting scientific education and research in the United States.


Arts, Culture and Literature


July 12, 1858: The first mailboxes are installed in Boston and New York City.


On September 30, 1868, Louisa May Alcott publishes "Little Women," a classic American novel set in Massachusetts that explores the lives of the four March sisters.


May 24, 1859: Henry David Thoreau publishes "The Maine Woods," a collection of essays about his experiences in the wilderness.


The National Gallery of Art is established in Washington, D.C., in 1859, becoming an important cultural institution showcasing American and international art.





1858 - Yale vs. Harvard Boat Race: On August 3, 1858, Yale University and Harvard University compete in their first intercollegiate boat race on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, setting the stage for future competitions.


March 17, 1858: The National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) is established in New York City, serving as an early governing body for baseball and promoting standardized rules.



Events outside the United States (July 4, 1858 - July 3, 1859)


July 16, 1858: An earthquake in Naples, Italy, kills over 400 people.


July 21, 1858: The SS Great Eastern, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is launched in England.


August 16, 1858: The United Kingdom formally recognizes the independence of the Orange Free State in South Africa.


October 8, 1858: The opening of the present Royal Opera House in London.


October 13, 1858: The "Great Bell" (Big Ben) in the Palace of Westminster rings for 

the first time in London.


March 20, 1859: The University of Tokio (now University of Tokyo) is established in Japan.


May 28, 1859: The Republic of San Marco ceases to exist when France officially withdraws from Venice.


June 15, 1859: Pig War: United States settlers on the San Juan Islands are driven away by British forces.

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