North America 1859: Raid on Harpers Ferry
The 1850s conflict in the US over slavery was not limited to Kansas. In 1859, the abolitionist John Brown and his followers attempted to start a slave revolt in Virginia by seizing the arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Although he was defeated, Brown's raid and his subsequent execution further polarized the nation.
17 Nov 1858 French annexation of Clipperton Island▲
The French Empire of Napoleon III annexed Clipperton Island as part of the French colony of Tahiti.
14 Feb 1859 Oregon becomes US state▲
The western portion of the Oregon Territory was admitted to the US as the State of Oregon, with the remainder assigned to the Washington Territory.
16 Feb–31 Mar 1859 First Siege of Veracruz▲
Mexican Conservative forces under President Miguel Miramon attempted to besiege the Liberal capital of Veracruz but were forced to withdraw.
30 Apr 1859 Wyke-Aycinena Treaty▲
Guatemala agreed to recognize British possession of Belize in return for British construction of a road from Guatemala to the Belize town of Punta Gorda.
15 Jun–? Oct 1859 Pig War▲
Due to uncertainties over the exact line of the 1846 Oregon Treaty, the San Juan Islands—between Vancouver Island and the North American mainland—had ended up claimed by both the United States and the British Empire, with settlers from both nations residing there. On 15 June 1859, an American farmer shot a British-owned pig on the islands after it had invaded his garden, sparking an international incident as US soldiers from Oregon and British warships from Vancouver Island moved in. However, when word of the crisis reached Washington and London, the situation was defused and left to arbitration.
4 Oct 1859 Kansas votes to become a free state▲
The electorate of Kansas Territory approved the Wyandotte Constitution by a 2-1 margin, establishing that Kansas would be a Free State when it joined the Union.
16–18 Oct 1859 Raid on Harpers Ferry▲
22 abolitionist insurgents led by John Brown raided the armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Intending to arm a mass slave uprising but lacking virtually any popular support or manpower, the insurgents were defeated by 88 marines and soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee. Brown was soon tried, convicted, and executed for treason, insurrection, and first-degree murder.