World History 1883

About the history of the world in 1883, Maxim invents the machine gun, the Brooklyn Bridge is completed, Orient Express takes its first trip.



* Hiram S. Maxim, 43, an American-born British inventor, patented the machine gun. (See "Choose Your Weapon," Chap. 10.)

May 24 The Brooklyn Bridge was completed at a cost of $15 million. The longest suspension bridge up to that time, the Manhattan-to-Brooklyn span runs 1,595 ft. across the East River. The designer, John A. Roebling, had died during construction, and his son Washington resumed the project, persevering even after his confinement to a wheelchair.

Oct. The Orient Express completed its maiden run from Paris to Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 77 hours and 49 minutes. Chugging east through the French countryside at 55 mph, the luxurious international train passed through the Alsatian city of Strasbourg to Stuttgart and Munich, Germany. It then crossed the northern frontier of Austria from Salzburg to Vienna before continuing to Budapest. Dipping south through Hungary to Szeged, the express meandered through lower Romania to Bucharest, where King Carol I hosted the passengers at the Romanian Royal Palace. Then it went on to the Danube. Here the travelers disembarked, to be ferried across the river to board another section of the train for the trip over the northern tip of Bulgaria to the Black Sea port of Varna. Passengers spent the last leg of the journey pitching for 15 hours on the rough waters of the Black Sea before arriving safely at Constantinople. Regular train service from France to Turkey had begun. East and West-the twain had met.

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