A Year In History: 1900

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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.

May 23

William Carney becomes first Black American to earn the Medal of Honor

Recognized for heroically protecting the American flag during the Civil War, Army Sgt. William Harvey Carney receives the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, on May 23, 1900.  The first Black American service member to earn the award, Carney was born into slavery in Virginia in 1840. Although a handful of other Black […]

June 20

Boxer Rebellion reaches Peking’s diplomatic quarter 

On June 20, 1900, Chinese nationalists behind the so-called Boxer Rebellion occupy the capital city of Peking (later Beijing), kill several Westerners—including German ambassador Baron von Ketteler—and besiege the foreign legations in the diplomatic quarter of the city. The occupation would last 55 days. In response to widespread foreign encroachment upon China’s national affairs, the […]

November 8

Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone with the Wind,” is born

On November 8, 1900, Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind (1936), is born in Atlanta, Georgia. Mitchell worked as a journalist for the Atlanta Journal for six years. She quit after an ankle injury limited her mobility, and she devoted herself to her novel about the South during and after the Civil War. […]

December 14

The birth of quantum theory

German physicist Max Planck publishes his groundbreaking study of the effect of radiation on a “blackbody” substance, and the quantum theory of modern physics is born. Through physical experiments, Planck demonstrated that energy, in certain situations, can exhibit characteristics of physical matter. According to theories of classical physics, energy is solely a continuous wave-like phenomenon, […]