World History 1853

About the history of the world in 1853, invention of the hypodermic needle, the Gadsen Purchase, and the reconstruction of Paris.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1853

* In Edinburgh, Scotland, Dr. Alexander Wood devised the hollow metallic needle, attached it to a syringe and called the invention a "hypodermic syringe." Wood first used the invention to inject morphine into a surgical patient in 1853. The hypodermic syringe gained wide acceptance and was used extensively, especially in the American Civil War. Unfortunately, this device accounted for 400,000 American soldiers' becoming addicted to narcotics during that war.

* The Prussian government prohibited child labor before the age of 12.

* The "General Sherman," a Sequoia gigantea, was found in California and proved to be the world's largest tree, measuring 30.7 ft. in diameter, 79.1 ft. in circumference (at 5 ft. above the ground), 272.4 ft. in height, and weighing 2,145 tons.

Apr. 7 During the birth of her seventh child, Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria was administered chloroform by Dr. John Snow. This ended a controversy which had raged since 1847. Calvinist clergy and doctors had argued that the pain suffered during childbirth was God's will. However, Victoria's action won the battle for the use of analgesics in obstetrics.

June Baron Georges Eugene Haussmann was commissioned to supervise the reconstruction of Paris. The winding, narrow streets were replaced with a system of "grand boulevards" and "places." Besides beautifying the city and improving transportation, the project was intended to aid the military in combating uprisings. Also included in the plan were the Bois de Boulogne, the park at Vincennes, the Paris Opera, and 260 mi. of new sewers. The present appearance of Paris is largely due to Haussmann's works.

Nov. 30 After Turkey declared war against Russia, a Turkish fleet of 10 ships was sent to shell the Russian coast. But at the Bay of Sinope, a Russian squadron sank all but one Turkish ship, resulting in a loss of 4,000 lives. Reported in the English press as the "Massacre of Sinope," the battle inflamed anti-Russian and prowar fervor.

Dec. 30 General Santa Anna and the U.S. minister to Mexico, James Gadsden, signed the Gadsden Purchase. Mexico sold 29,640 sq. mi. of territory south of the Gila River (southern New Mexico and Arizona south of the Gila) for $15 million. Congress later reduced the payment to $10 million.

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