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This decade of the 1800s featured several significant events in America and across the globe: a steam locomotive raced a horse, the U.S. President beat up the man who tried to assassinate him, Darwin visited the Galapagos, and a tragic siege at the Alamo became legendary. The history of the 1830s was marked by railroad building in America, Opium Wars in Asia, and the ascension to the British throne of Queen Victoria.
- May 30, 1830: The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson. The law led to the relocation of Native Americans which became known as the "Trail of Tears."
- June 26, 1830: King George IV of England died and William IV ascended to the throne.
- August 28, 1830: Peter Cooper raced his locomotive, the Tom Thumb, against a horse. The unusual experiment proved the potential of steam power and helped to inspire the building of railroads.
- December 10, 1830: American poet Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts.
- January 1, 1831: William Lloyd Garrison began publishing The Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper, in Boston, Massachusetts. Garrison would become one of America's leading abolitionists, though he was often derided as someone on the fringe of society.
- July 4, 1831: Former president James Monroe died in New York City at the age of 73. He was buried in a cemetery in the East Village. His body was exhumed and taken back to his native Virginia in 1858, in a ceremony partly intended to calm tensions between North and South.
- August 21, 1831: A slave rebellion led by Nat Turner broke out in Virginia.
- Summer 1831: Cyrus McCormick, a Virginia blacksmith, demonstrated a mechanical reaper which would revolutionize farming in America and eventually worldwide.
- September 21, 1831: The first American political convention was held in Baltimore, Maryland by the Anti-Masonic Party. The idea of a national political convention was new, but within years other parties, including the Whigs and the Democrats began holding them. The tradition of political conventions has endured into the modern era.
- November 11, 1831: Nat Turner was hanged in Virginia.
- December 27, 1831: Charles Darwin sailed from England aboard the research ship H.M.S. Beagle. While spending five years at sea, Darwin would make observations of wildlife and collect samples of plants and animals which he brought back to England.
- January 13, 1832: American author Horatio Alger was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
- April 1831: The Black Hawk war began on the American frontier. The conflict would mark the only military service of Abraham Lincoln.
- June 24, 1832: A cholera epidemic which had ravaged Europe appeared in New York City, causing enormous panic and prompting half the city's population to free to the countryside. Cholera was closely linked to polluted water supplies. As it tended to occur in poor neighborhoods, it was often blamed on immigrant populations.
- November 14, 1832: Charles Carroll, the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence, died in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 95.
- November 29, 1832: American author Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
- December 3, 1832: Andrew Jackson was elected to his second term as president of the United States.
- March 4, 1833: Andrew Jackson took the oath of office as president for the second time.
- Summer 1833: Charles Darwin, during his voyage aboard H.M.S. Beagle, spends time with gauchos in Argentina and explores inland.
- August 20, 1833: Benjamin Harrison, future president of the United States, was born in North Bend, Ohio.
- October 21, 1833: Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and sponsor of the Nobel Prize, was born in Stockholm, Sweden.
- March 27, 1834: President Andrew Jackson was censured by the U.S. Congress during a bitter disagreement over the Bank of the United States. The censure was later expunged.
- April 2, 1834: French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty, was born in the Alsace region of France.
- August 1, 1834: Slavery was abolished in the British Empire.
- September 2, 1834: Thomas Telford, British engineer, designer of the Menai Suspension Bridge and other noteworthy structures, died in London at the age of 77.
- January 30, 1835: In the first assassination attempt on an American president, a deranged man shot at Andrew Jackson in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Jackson attacked the man with his walking stick and had to be pulled back. The failed assassin was later found to be insane.
- May 1835: A railroad in Belgium was the first railroad on the continent of Europe.
- July 6, 1835: United States Chief Justice John Marshall died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the age of 79. During his tenure, he had made the Supreme Court into a powerful institution.
- Summer 1835: A campaign to mail abolitionist pamphlets to the South led to mobs breaking into post offices and burning the anti-slavery literature in bonfires. The abolitionist movement changed its tactics and began seeking to speak out against slavery in Congress.
- September 7, 1835: Charles Darwin arrived at the Galapagos Islands during his voyage aboard H.M.S. Beagle.
- November 25, 1835: Industrialist Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland.
- November 30, 1835: Samuel Clemens, who would achieve enormous fame under his pen name, Mark Twain, was born in Missouri.
- December 1835: Hans Christian Andersen published his first book of fairy tales.
- December 15 to 17, 1835: The Great Fire of New York destroyed a large part of lower Manhattan.
- January 1836: The siege of the Alamo began at San Antonio, Texas.
- January 6, 1836: Former president John Quincy Adams, serving in Congress, began trying to introduce petitions against slavery in the House of Representatives. His efforts would lead to the Gag Rule, which Adams fought for eight years.
- February 1836: Samuel Colt patented the revolver.
- February 24, 1836: American artist Winslow Homer was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
- March 6, 1836: Battle of the Alamo ended with the deaths of Davy Crockett, William Barret Travis, and James Bowie.
- April 21, 1836: Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution, was fought. Troops led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexican Army.
- June 28, 1836: Former U.S. president James Madison died in Montpelier, Virginia at the age of 85.
- September 14, 1836: Former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr, who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, died in Staten Island, New York, at the age of 80.
- October 2, 1836: Charles Darwin arrived in England after sailing around the world aboard H.M.S. Beagle.
- December 7, 1836: Martin Van Buren was elected President of the United States.
- March 4, 1837: Martin Van Buren took the oath of office as president of the United States.
- March 18, 1837: U.S. President Grover Cleveland, was born in Caldwell, New Jersey.
- April 17, 1837: John Pierpont Morgan, American banker, was born in Hartford, Connecticut.
- May 10, 1837: The Panic of 1837, a major financial crisis of the 19th century, began in New York City.
- June 20, 1837: King William IV of Great Britain died at Windsor Castle at the age of 71.
- June 20, 1837: Victoria became Queen of Great Britain at the age of 18.
- November 7, 1837: Abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy was murdered by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois.
- January 4, 1838: Charles Stratton, better known as General Tom Thumb, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
- January 27, 1838: In one of his earliest speeches, Abraham Lincoln, at the age of 28, delivered a public address to a lyceum in Springfield, Illinois.
- May 10, 1838: John Wilkes Booth, American actor and assassin of Abraham Lincoln, was born in Bel Air, Maryland.
- September 1, 1838: William Clark, who with Meriwether Lewis had led the Lewis and Clark Expedition, died in St. Louis, Missouri at the age of 68.
- Late 1838: The Cherokee Tribe was forcibly moved westward in what became known as the Trail of Tears.
- June 1839: Louis Daguerre patented his camera in France.
- July 1839: A slave rebellion broke out aboard the ship Amistad.
- July 8, 1839: John D. Rockefeller, American oil magnate and philanthropist, was born in Richford, New York.
- December 5, 1839: George Armstrong Custer, American cavalry officer, was born in New Rumley, Ohio.