World History 1840

About the history of the world in 1840, Napoleon's body is moved from St. Helena to France, Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert.



* After receiving his doctorate in medicine from Glasgow University, David Livingstone, 27, sailed for Cape Town, South Africa, as a medical missionary. His aims were to explore, to end the slave trade, and to convert African natives to Christianity.

* King Louis Philippe requested British permission to remove Napoleon's remains from St. Helena. Permission was granted, and a delegation including the king's son, the Prince de Joinville, and many of those who had been close to Napoleon traveled to St. Helena to bring him home. Because of rumors that lime had been used by the British to destroy the body, the coffin with its triple layering of mahogany, lead, and tinplate was opened. Onlookers wept as they saw their emperor again after 19 years, remarkably preserved, with lifelike color and perfectly recognizable features. After a few minutes, the old coffin was resealed and placed inside a new ebony sarcophagus.

Feb. 10 On a rainy and foggy day, Queen Victoria married her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (his father and her mother were brother and sister). Of him she had rhapsodized, "so excessively handsome, such beautiful blue eyes, and exquisite nose, and such a pretty mouth with delicate moustachios and slight but very slight whiskers; a beautiful figure, broad in the shoulders and a fine waist." At the moment he placed the ring upon her finger, a salute was fired and all the bells in London rang out. At the wedding reception in Buckingham Palace, distinguished guests partook of a wedding cake 9 ft. in circumference, weighing over 300 lb. The couple then went to Windsor Castle for a brief honeymoon, blissfully alone except for a half dozen ladies- and gentlemen-in-waiting, with whom they dined on their first evening together. Complaining of a sick headache, Victoria lay on the sofa for the rest of the evening.

Dec. 14 Napoleon's coffin arrived in Paris; although it was subzero cold, crowds greeted the emperor with a frenzy of nostalgia as the splendid funeral procession wound through the streets. Many of the marchers were veterans of the Napoleonic wars, dressed in uniforms long since threadbare. The bells of Notre Dame tolled, and as the coffin reached the Arch of Triumph, it was given a 21-gun salute. The king and queen and 40,000 guests looked on as the sarcophagus came to its final resting place under the gilded dome of the Church of St. Louis in the Invalides.

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