A Year In History: 1859

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This Year in History:


Discover what happened in this year with HISTORY’s summaries of major events, anniversaries, famous births and notable deaths.

April 5

Charles Darwin sends first three chapters of “On the Origin of Species” to his publisher

Naturalist Charles Darwin sends his publishers the first three chapters of On the Origin of Species, which will become one of the most influential books ever published. Knowing the fates of scientists who had published radical theories and been ostracized or worse, Darwin held off publishing his theory of natural selection for years. He secretly developed […]

April 30

First installment of “A Tale of Two Cities” is published

On April 30, 1859, the first chapter of Charles Dickens’ serialized novel, A Tale of Two Cities, is published in Dickens’ circular, All the Year Round. It rolls out over 31 weekly installments, with the last one appearing that November. Dickens was born in 1812 and attended school in Portsmouth. His father, a clerk in […]

May 22

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, is born

It’s the birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was born in Scotland and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he met Dr. Joseph Bell, a teacher with extraordinary deductive reasoning power. Bell partly inspired Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes years later. After medical school, Doyle moved […]

November 24

“Origin of Species” is published

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, is published in England on November 24, 1859. Darwin’s theory argued that organisms gradually evolve through a process he called “natural selection.” In natural selection, organisms with genetic variations that suit their environment tend to propagate […]