Facts of Interest (1824)

Selected Facts of Interest (1824)

Africa—Sierra Leone

January 21, 1824—10,000 Ashanti tribesmen defeat a Fanti regiment of 500 men at Essamako and capture the British governor of Sierra Leone, Sir Charles M’Carthy. As commander-in-chief, M’Carthy had responsibility for Cape Coast Castle and to protect the Fanti who were British allies. Legend has it that M’Carthy’s head was used as a drinking cup by the Ashanti at Coomassie, but the king of the Ashanti, Osai Tuto Kwadwo (Quamina) was killed during the battle.


January 26, 1824—Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault dies in Paris at age 32. Géricault, a fashionable dandy and an avid horseman, was an influential French painter and lithographer, and is considered to be one of the pioneers of the Romantic Movement.


February 24, 1824—The British governor of India, Lord Amherst, declares war on Burma in retaliation for the Burmese capture of the island of Shahpuri—a violation of territorial rights claimed by the East India Company. Rangoon falls to the British on May 11, 1824.

United States

March 2, 1824—The U. S. Supreme Court decision handed down in the case of Gibbons vs. Ogden removes U.S. rivers from monopoly control. Chief Justice John Marshall rules that the monopoly granted by New York violates the interstate commerce clause in the Constitution, opening U.S. waterways to all steamships that can comply with regulations designed to keep boilers from exploding.

United States

March 11, 1824—Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, creates the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a division of the War Department without authorization from Congress, and appoints Thomas L. McKenney as the first head of the office. McKenney insists on referring to the new bureau as “The Indian Office”, taken from the title “The Office of Indian Affairs,” while Calhoun continues to use the full “Bureau” name.


March 26, 1824—Ludwig van Beethoven performs Mass in D major (Missa Solemnis) in St. Petersburg. On May 7, 1824, Beethoven must be turned around by an assistant at the end of his performance of Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Choral) to see the audience applauding because at age 53, he has lost his ability to hear.


April 19, 1824—Lord Byron is killed at the age of 36 at Missolonghi while helping the Greeks fight for their independence from Turkey. Greek forces are victorious over an Ottoman army at Mytilene in October, 1824. The Ottoman Empire (Turkish Empire) was a Sunni Islāmic state that had been founded by the Oghuz Turks in Anatolia in 1299.

United States

April 30, 1824—Congress authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to survey possible road and canal routes in a Road Survey Act.

United States

May 24, 1824—President James Monroe signs a bill to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build infrastructure for commerce including building harbors, damming and channeling rivers, and developing waterways. The main mission of the corps will be to give support for military operations, but it will play a major role in developing U.S. waterways and highways.

Great Britain

June 21, 1824—Parliament repeals the Combination Acts, acts that made trade unionism illegal, and British workers gain the right to organize. The campaign to repeal the Acts was led by trade union leader, reformer, and contraception advocate Francis Place who succeeded in persuading activist M.P. Joseph Hume, age 47, to convince members of Parliament to support the action.


July 14, 1824—Kamehameha II, the second king of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and his wife die of measles while visiting Britain.


August 24, 1824—Simon Bolívar and José de Sucre lead South American liberation forces into the Andean Charcas highlands and defeat a Spanish force at Junin.


September 16, 1824—Louis XVIII dies at age 68 following a 10-year reign. His reign was interrupted for 100 days in 1815 when Napoleon Bonaparte briefly regained power as Emperor of France.


October 4, 1824—The Mexican Empire of Agustin de Iturbide is overthrown and the Mexican government is reorganized under the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1824 (Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos de 1824).

United States

November, 1824—The presidential election ends with no candidate having a majority of votes in the Electoral College. Andrew Jackson—99 electoral votes; John Quincy Adams— 81; William H. Crawford—41; and Henry Clay—37. John Calhoun is elected vice president.


December 9, 1824—In the Battle of Ayacucho, José de Sucre with 5,800 men defeat 9,300 Spanish royalists forcing the remaining 13,000 royalists in Peru to withdraw.

More Facts from the Year 1824


Jöns Jakob Berzelius, one of the founders of modern chemistry, isolates silicon.


Paolo B. Agnese opens the first commercial Italian pasta factory at Imperia on the Italian Riviera. The Agnese family will continue the business for more than 150 years.


Notre Dame in Montreal, a parish church built in the old Gothic style, is completed south of the Place d’Armes to replace a structure that dated to 1672.


Eugène Delacroix (Ferdinand Victor) age 26, a French painter and engraver, completes the painting Massacre at Chios. The painting illustrates a Romantic perspective on Greek families awaiting death or slavery following their capture during the revolt of the Greeks against the Turks. Ironically, this painting was also the first to be called “romantic” as an expression of the emerging Romantic Movement of the period.

Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, a 28-year-old physicist, publishes Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire (Réflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu) and states a principle that becomes the second law of thermodynamics when restated by William Thomson (Lord Kelvin). The principle is the basis for deeper understanding of how heat can be used to drive engines through a reversible cycle of a combination of heat and cold used to create propulsion.


The Glenlivet Distillery near Ballindalloch in Moray is begun by entrepreneur George Smith to produce single malt Scotch whisky. Smith is 32 years old when he begins his business. The distillery is the first licensed Scotch whisky distillery and is the oldest legal distillery in the parish of Glenlivet. The long tradition of producing fine Glenlivet Scotch whisky at the distillery continues to this day.

Frances “Fanny” Wright, a social reformer, at age 29 advocates for women’s rights and free public schools in America. Wright moves to New York in 1829 and becomes a radical activist for contraception, equal distribution of wealth, an end to religion, and emancipation of the slaves with resettlement of African-Americans outside the United States.

Great Britain—England

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is begun in London.

Tea becomes part of the daily ration for the Royal Navy when the traditional daily rum ration is reduced from half a pint to a quarter pint.

John Cadbury, a 23-year-old Quaker who was apprenticed at Leeds, and at bonded tea houses in London, is given money by his father to start a business. Cadbury opens his tea and coffee shop in Birmingham, next door to his father’s draper’s shop. He will install the town’s first plate-glass window, employ a Chinese immigrant to tend his tea counter, and will experiment with grinding cocoa beans using a mortar and pestle. Eventually he will develop and market Cadbury’s Chocolate.

Joseph Aspdin of Leeds, a bricklayer, patents cement that is produced from mixing chalk and clay, and heating the mixture to a high temperature. The cement is nonporous and durable, and will be known as Portland cement.

William Prout, a physician, age 39, isolates hydrochloric acid from stomach juices and demonstrates that the acid is the main agent of human digestion.

Sir Walter Scott publishes a series of fiction works: Quentin Durward, Peveril of the Peak, Redgauntlet, and St. Ronan’s Wall. The familiar phrase “Honor is sometimes found among thieves” is taken from Redgauntlet.

Robert Owen, an English reformer, begins to promote the abolition of slavery, women’s liberation, and free progressive education. Owen purchases New Harmony, Indiana from the German Lutheran Rappites who founded the community 10 years before, in order to establish a commune. Owen started communes in England, Ireland, Mexico, and in the United States—none of which succeeded. New Harmony was the first of many American communes.

United States

The Rappites of New Harmony, Indiana use poplar and walnut timbers fitted by mortise-and-tenon joints to build prefabricated houses and barns that are sided with wood or bricks.

Indiana settlers attack a Native American village and kill two braves, three squaws, and four children. The majority of settlers in the surrounding community abhors the action and hangs four of the killers—but tension grows between settlers and Native Americans on the frontier.

Jedediah Strong Smith of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company (sometimes called Ashley’s Hundred) discovers South Pass through the Rocky Mountains into the Great Basin.

Land grants totaling 826,300 acres are awarded to the Wabash and Erie Canal Company for the next 10 years to expedite work on the Wabash and Erie Canals (begun in 1832). Land grants totaling more than 4.2 million acres over the next 42 years will also be given to other private canal companies for the construction of more canals.

The Highgate Falls arch truss bridge is built to span the Missisquoi River and is Vermont’s first covered bridge. Many other such bridges will be built in Vermont in the coming decades.

A community of Shakers in Hancock, New York builds the first round barn. The barn has a silo in the middle with stalls and stanchions that radiate out to save time and effort in feeding the livestock. Many more such barns will be widely used by Midwestern dairy farmers in future years.

A sea-captain cross-breeds several domestic poultry breeds with fowl brought from the Orient to develop the Rhode Island red hen at Little Compton, Rhode Island. The Rhode Island red produces brown eggs that have become a symbol of freshness to New Englanders.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is established in Troy, New York, and is the first engineering and technical school founded in the United States.

Sequoya, a Cherokee Scholar who takes the name of George Guess from a U.S. trader he believes is his father, creates a Cherokee language alphabet with 85 letters. Sequoya is 54 years old when his alphabet is complete. The letters of Sequoya’s alphabet are taken from the Roman alphabet but do not sound the same when pronounced as they do in English. The letters in combination with other letters represent all the vowel and consonant sounds in the Cherokee language. Sequoya will develop a “talking leaf” teaching strategy that will transform his people into the first literate Native American tribe. Literacy will spread so quickly among the Cherokees that the Cherokee Phoenix, the first Native American newspaper, will begin publication in 1828.


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