World History 1804

About the history of the world in 1804, first steam locomotive built, the Code Napoleon goes into effect, Napoleon becomes Emperor.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1804

Jan. 1 Jean Jacques Dessalines, former aide of Toussaint L'Ouverture, proclaimed the independence of Haiti (formerly Santo Domingo), second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere. He then ordered a massacre of all French remaining on the island. Dessalines later followed Napoleon's example and had himself crowned Emperor Jacques I.

Feb. 21 The first steam locomotive, built by Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick, made its initial run on the Penydarren Railway in Wales. Constructed as a stationary unit for driving a steam hammer, it was mounted on a wagon chassis.

Mar. 21 The Code Napoleon went into effect in France. Considered Napoleon's most solid and lasting achievement, it was a revised system of French law consolidating the gains of the French Revolution and eliminating legal confusion and injustice. It had some weaknesses, however. Fathers were given despotic powers over their families, and women, regardless of age, were treated as irresponsible minors. It became the basis of law in France, western Europe, South America, parts of Asia, Louisiana, and the province of Quebec.

Dec. 2 At Notre Dame Cathedral before thousands of guests, Napoleon and Josephine were crowned emperor and empress of the French. Not wishing to subordinate himself to the pope, who had come from Rome to anoint him, he set the crown upon his own head, then crowned the empress. Back at the royal apartments in the Tuileries, the two of them alone at dinner, he asked her to keep her crown on.

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