Decades: 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s - 1850s - 1860s 1870s 1880s 1890s 1900s
Years: 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858 - 1859 - 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864
January 2 - Erastus Beadle publishes The Dime Book of Practical Etiquette.
February 14 - Oregon is admitted as the 33rd U.S. state.
April 25 - Ground is broken for the Suez Canal
May 30 - Piedmontese defeat the Austrian army at Palestro
June 24 - Battle of Solferino (Battle of the Three Sovereigns) Sardinia and Napoleon III of France defeat Franz Josef I of Austria in northern Italy
July 4 - Franco-Piedmontese War: The Battle of Magenta.
July 11 - Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, faced with expensive war against Piedmont and revolution in Hungary, meets Napoleon III at Villfranca. Since the death of Metternich in 1858, he negotiates personally. Hostilities ceases, partly due to Napoleon's fear of the Nationalism in Italy.
August 27 - Edwin Drake drills the first oil well in the United States, near Titusville, Pennsylvania
September 17 - Joshua A. Norton proclaims himself "Emperor of These United States"
October 12 - Self-described "Emperor of the United States" Joshua A. Norton 'orders' the United States Congress to dissolve.
October 16 - John Brown raids Harper's Ferry in Virginia, the signal for a general slave rebellion.
October 18 - Federal Troops under Colonel Robert E. Lee overpower Brown at the Federal arsenal.
November 1 - The current Cape Lookout, North Carolina, lighthouse was lighted for the first time. Its first-order Fresnel lens can be seen for nineteen miles.
November 19 - Opera "Genevieve de Brabant", composed by Jacques Offenbach, debuts at the Theatre de Bouffes Parisians in Paris.
November 24 - British naturalist Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species, a book which argues that organisms gradually evolve through natural selection (it immediately sold out its initial print run).
December 2 - Militant abolitionist leader John Brown is hanged for his October 16th raid on Harper's Ferry.
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies is succeeded by his 13-year-old son Francesco I of the Two Sicilies
Charles Blondel crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
Karl_XV succeeds Oskar I as Swedish King
Codex Sinaiticus found by Constantin von Tischendorf on his third visit to the monastery of Santa Katerina, on Mount Sinai
Bernhard Riemann formulates the Riemann hypothesis, one of most important open problems of contemporary mathematics
Solar flares first observed on the Sun by English astronomer Richard Carrington.
Brisbane declared the capital of newly-made-separate colony Queensland, Australia
Year in topic
1859 in literature
Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species
Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is published on July 11
January 11 - George Nathaniel Curzon (Lord Curzon), British statesman († 1925)
January 13 - Karl Bleibtreu, critic († 1928)
January 27 - Wilhelm II of Germany, last German Emperor and Prussian king († 1941)
February 1 - Victor Herbert, composer († 1924)
February 3 - Hugo Junkers, industrialist and aircraft designer († 1935)
March 2 - Sholom Aleichem, novelist († 1916)
March 8 - Kenneth Grahame, author († 1932)
March 26 - Alfred Edward Housman, English poet († 1936)
May 15 - Pierre Curie, physicist and recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics 1903 († 1906)
May 22 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer of the Sherlock Holmes novels († 1930)
August 4 - Knut Hamsun, author († 1952)
October 9 - Alfred Dreyfus, French military officer († 1935)
October 18 - Henri Bergson, French philosopher and winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize in literature († 1941)
October 21 - Francesc Maciŕ, President of Catalan Generalitat († 1933)
December 15 - L. L. Zamenhof, Russo-Polish initiator of Esperanto († 1917)
May 6 - Alexander von Humboldt, naturalist and geographer.
May 22 - Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies.
June 11 - Clemens Metternich, Austrian politician.
September 15 - Isambard Kingdom Brunel, British engineer.
November 28 - Washington Irving, American author.
December 2 - John Brown, American abolitionist, hanged for treason.
Heads of state in 1859