World History 1867

About the history of the world in 1867, the United States bought Alaska from Russia, the first paperback book is sold, Maximillion of Mexico is executed.



* Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. for $7.2 million in gold. Residents on the peninsula were given a choice; they could move to Russia within three years and thus retain their Russian citizenship, or they could remain in Alaska and become Americans automatically. The treaty, however, distinguished between native Alaskans and recent immigrants: ". . . if [the inhabitants] should prefer to remain in the ceded territory, they, with the exception of uncivilized native tribes, shall be admitted to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the U.S. . . . The uncivilized tribes will be subject to such laws and regulations as the U.S. may from time to time adopt in regard to aboriginal tribes of that country."

* A mob in Manchester, England, attacked a police van in an attempt to free two Irish-American members of the proseparatist Fenian Brotherhood, killing a policeman in the process. The trial and execution of three members of the mob further inflamed Irish passion against the Crown.

* The first paperback book, Faust I by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, went on sale in Leipzig, Germany.

* The dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was established.

* It was announced that diamonds had been discovered in the Orange Free State section of South Africa.

June 15 Mary Wiggins Burnsworth of McCordsville, Ind., went under the knife in the first gallstone operation. Dr. John Stough Bobbs performed the surgery and thus became known as the father of cholecystectomy.

June 19 Maximilian, emperor of Mexico, was executed at Queretaro, Mexico, bringing to an end the three-year-old French empire in that country. The Vienna-born Catholic archduke of the Hapsburg dynasty, who with good intentions had tried to bring a measure of reform to Mexico, prepared himself for death calmly and without bitterness. Arising at 3:00 A.M., he received mass and communion and joined his two Indian generals, Miramon and Mejia, before a seven-man firing squad. As the three men, dressed in black civilian clothes, lined up in front of a low adobe wall on the Hill of Bells, Maximilian insisted that Miramon stand in the center, because he was a native Mexican and had been the temporary president of Mexico. Maximilian assumed a less exalted place to Miramon's left. Even then many believed that Pres. Benito Juarez would respond to pleas from all over the world to spare Maximilian's life. But Juarez stood firm, hoping to teach the Europeans a lesson they would never forget. Just before the row of rifles rose to eye level, Maximilian left his place at the wall and walked up to the seven startled executioners. To each man he gave a one-ounce gold piece, along with a request that the riflemen aim squarely for the heart and spare Maximilian's head so that his family back in Austria might later view his lifeless face intact. Resuming his place, he offered his last words: "May my blood flow for the good of this land. Viva Mexico!" With that, the three men were shot. A coup de grace to the heart was necessary to finish off Maximilian. As for his last request, it was ignored. One of the bullets shattered his forehead.

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