Sounds of Learning

An interactive timeline of composers' life events overlaid with local, national, and global history.

1790-01-26 00:00:00

Mozart's opera 'Cosi Fan Tutte' premiered in Vienna

1791-01-26 00:00:00

First Congress of US ratified Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified. They contain guarantees of fundamental rights and freedoms that were absent from the original Constitution.

1797-11-29 00:00:00

Gaetano Donizetti was born in Bergamo, Italy

Donizetti wrote 65 operas over the course of his life.

1799-01-26 00:00:00

The metric system established in France

Known as the International System of Units (SI), the metric system was implemented out of necessity during the French Revolution. The existing system was impractical for trade.

1799-04-23 14:52:23

New York State abolished slavery

While children of slaves born after 1799 were technically free, they were indentured until they were young adults.

1799-07-01 00:00:00

Construction of Philadelphia Water Works began on Schuylkill River

1800-01-26 00:00:00

Beethoven's First Symphony premiered

Beethoven's works would influence classical music for the rest of the century, marking the transition from the classical to romantic style.

1800-12-12 12:50:38

The U.S. Capitol established in Washington D.C.

Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in electoral votes for the 1800 Presidential Election. In 1801, representatives from Vermont and Maryland changed their votes to Jefferson after the vote moved to the House of Representatives.

1801-07-01 00:00:00

First US Navy Yard built in Philadelphia near Federal Street

1801-07-01 00:00:00

Napoleon of France defeated Austria

Austria renounced claims to the Holy Roman Empire

1803-10-31 13:12:46

Congress ratified the Louisiana Purchase

At 530 million square miles, the Louisiana Purchase was quite the deal when the U.S. bought the land from France at $15 million, or just under three cents per square mile.

1804-05-14 00:00:00

Lewis and Clark expedition began

President Jefferson tasked Lewis with leading the first American expedition into the uncharted Pacific Northwest territory. Lewis and Clark were aided by Sacajawea, a valuable interpreter and knowledgeable Shoshone woman.

1804-08-30 13:42:03

Alexander Hamilton died

Mortally wounded in a pistol duel with Aaron Burr, Hamilton dies in New York. He is remembered as a brilliant thinker and writer.

1804-10-31 13:12:46

New Jersey became the last northern state to abolish slavery

1805-05-14 00:00:00

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts founded

The Academy is the oldest art museum and school in the United States.

1806-10-30 19:26:30

Official end of the Holy Roman Empire

Napoleon and his Frenchmen defeated the Holy Roman Empire, which had continued its rule for over a thousand years.

1807-05-14 00:00:00

US Congress passed law banning importation of slavery

The Slave Trade Act was abolished, although it was largely ignored in the Southern states.

1808-05-14 00:00:00

John Dalton argued that matter consists of atoms

Parts of Dalton's theory remain critical to understanding modern chemistry. Dalton argued that all matter is made of atoms. Atoms of a given element are identical in physical properties. Atoms cannot be created or destroyed.

1809-02-12 00:00:00

Abraham Lincoln was born

1809-05-14 00:00:00

Walnut Street Theatre opened in Philadelphia

Walnut Street Theatre is America's oldest, continuously operating theater.

1811-08-28 14:38:58

Slave Revolt of 1811

In one of the largest slave rebellions in American history, nearly 500 slaves took up arms in the German Coast of Louisiana region. Federal troops brutally suppressed the revolt, displaying the heads of the leaders along poles on the river.

1812-06-18 00:00:00

Congress declares war on Britain

Known as the war of 1812, the US became involved in the Napoleonic Wars fought between France and Britain.

1812-06-18 00:00:00

The Grimm Brothers' collection of fairy tales are first published

The German brothers are associated with recording and researching traditional oral stories like Snow White and Rapunzel.

1813-07-01 00:00:00

Rossini wrote 'The Barber of Seville'

The comic opera by Rossini is still one of the most well performed operas today. The overture, which you can listen to at the link, remains an iconic piece of classical music.

1814-06-18 00:00:00

Francis Scott Key wrote the poem "The Star-Spangled Banner"

The amateur who wrote the words that would become the lyrics to the national anthem wrote the poem about a battle in the War of 1812 against Britain. The words were set to a drinking song. Key was a slaveholder and as a lawyer, he prosecuted abolitionists. It wasn't until 1931 that President Hoover named "The Star Spangled Banner" as the national anthem.

1815-11-02 02:52:40

The first industrial cheese factory opened in Switzerland

1818-11-14 00:00:00

Donizetti's first publicly performed opera premiered in Venice

'Enrico di Borgogna' premiered in Venice.

1818-11-14 00:00:00

49th parallel established as boundary between US and Canada

1820-11-14 00:00:00

Missouri Compromise signed by President James Monroe

Missouri was allowed to enter the Union as a slave state, but slavery in the rest of the northern Louisiana Purchase territory was prohibited.

1820-11-14 00:00:00

US became the world's biggest cotton producer of raw cotton

Production of cotton in the American South increased exponentially after Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin. Demand for cotton soared worldwide with the industrialization of the textile giant England, yet the price of cotton remained constant. More slave labor was necessary to sustain demand. Cotton-- and slave labor-- built and sustained America's economy.

1820-11-14 00:00:00

R. J. Tyers patented roller skates

1821-10-30 11:29:41

The first pharmaceutical college in the US held first class in Philadelphia

1822-11-14 00:00:00

Araminta Ross, better known as Harriet Tubman, was born in Maryland

Harriet Tubman was a conductor of the Underground Railroad, helping to lead hundreds of slaves to safe houses. In 2016, she replaced Andrew Jackson as the face of the $20 bill.

1823-12-02 02:52:40

Monroe Doctrine

President James Monroe declared his Monroe Doctrine to Congress. The Americas and Europe were to be two separate spheres of influence. The Americas would be free from European colonialism, and the U.S. would stay out of internal European affairs in return. The Monroe Doctrine would be used to justify Manifest Destiny in the mid 1800s and unilateral American intervention in Latin America in the early 1900s.

1824-10-31 13:12:46

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony premiered

Beethoven's ninth and final symphony, also known as "Ode to Joy," premiered on this date in Vienna. The final movement includes parts for solo voices and a full chorus. Beethoven was almost fully deaf when he composed this symphony.

1824-11-14 00:00:00

Freed American slaves returned to Africa to assist in forming Liberia

Liberia is the only state in Africa not subjected to colonial rule and the continent's oldest republic. It declared independence in 1847. In 2005, Africa's first female head of state was elected when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won the presidential election.

1825-11-02 02:52:40

Republic of Bolivia created in honor of Simon Bolivar

Simon Bolivar, known to many as "El Libertador," was a military leader responsible for uniting much of South America in independence movements against Spain.

1827-11-14 00:00:00

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society founded in Philadelphia

1828-06-01 00:00:00

Donizetti married Virginia Vasselli

Virginia was the sister of one of his close friends. Unfortunately, none of the three children she had survived longer than a few days.

1829-06-01 00:00:00

Donizetti became Musical Director of the royal theaters of Naples

1829-06-01 00:00:00

The cornerstone for the first US mint laid at Chestnut and Juniper Streets

1829-08-16 20:47:52

Eastern State Penitentiary admitted first prisoner

The prison operated on the principles of reform through solitary confinement. The first inmate was arrested for theft. In 1961, an inmate tricked a guard and triggered the largest riot in the prison's history.

1830-08-30 13:42:30

Hector Berlioz composed 'Symphonie Fantastique'

Symphonie Fantastique is an iconic Romantic-era work and is one of the first orchestral pieces to feature modern instrumentation. Legend has it that at least part of the piece was composed while Berlioz was under the influence of opium. .

1830-10-28 06:15:07

Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act

Andrew Jackson now had the power to grant Native Americans unsettled land west of the Mississippi in exchange for territory occupied by the tribes that existed within state borders. Most tribes resisted violently.

1830-12-26 00:00:00

Donizetti's 'Anna Bolena' staged in Milan

A tragic opera about British Queen Anne Boleyn, the work marked Donizetti's first international success and maturity of his talents.

1830-12-26 00:00:00

"Mary had a Little Lamb" published by Sarah Josepha Hale

Sarah Josepha Hale was a poet and author, social activist, and the nation's first female editor. She successfully campaigned for a national day of thanks (Thanksgiving) after 40 years of activism. She was also one of the first people in the nation to write a novel about slavery. She believed in equal educational opportunities for men and women. She lived in Philadelphia from 1841 until her death in 1879.

1831-12-26 00:00:00

Charles Darwin sailed to South America, New Zealand, and Australia

At 22, Darwin had completed his B.A. at Cambridge and sailed as an unpaid naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle.

1831-12-26 00:00:00

William Lloyd Garrison began publishing an anti-slavery newspaper in Boston

'The Liberator' was published until 1865 when the Civil War ended. Garrison wrote passionately about the rights of African Americans.

1832-05-12 14:14:05

Donizetti's 'L'elisir d'amore,' a comic opera, premiered

1833-12-26 14:14:05

Donizetti's 'Lucrezia Borgia,' a tragic opera, premiered

Sounds of Learning

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