World History 1816

About the history of the world in 1816, the year without summers, the invention of the kaliedoscope and stethoscope.



* Because of unusually low temperatures and unseasonable snowstorms in western Europe and North America, 1816 became known as "The Year without Summer." Connecticut was hit by a blizzard on June 6; Savanna, Ga. had a high of 46 degree F on July 4. Modern speculation has placed the blame for the weird weather on dust and ash from the Apr. 5, 1815 eruption of the Tambora volcano on the island of Sumbawa, near Java.

* Chaka became Zulu chieftain. This sadistic, partly crazed, but often brilliant leader united the Zulus into a ruthless military force that wielded power in Natal, a province in South Africa, for over half a century.

Sir David Brewster, Scottish-born physicist noted for major scientific contributions in the field of optics and the polarization of light, invented the kaleidoscope, a popular children's toy consisting of a tube containing a pair of mirrors that produced symmetrical images from reflections of objects at the end of the tube. Through a defect in his patent registration, he never profited from his invention.

* Rene Theophile Laennec, a Frenchman called the father of chest medicine, invented the original stethoscope, a foot-long wooden tube that enabled him to hear sounds made by his patients' hearts and lungs.

* Having previously arranged with the Turks to remove the priceless sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens, Lord Elgin sold his "marbles" to the British government for $35,000.

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