Thursday, January 31, 2008



1883. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act passed by Congress provides for competitive examinations for positions in the federal government and establishes a Civil Service Commission to end the abuses that culminated in the asassination of President Garfield two years ago.

1883. The Brooklyn Bridge that opens to pedestrians May 24 links America's two largest cities.

1883. U.S. railroads adopt standard time with four separate time zones. Eastern, Central, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific. Pacific Standard Time is 3 hours behind Eastern Standard Time.

1883. The Orient Express that leaves for Constantinople October 4 from Paris is Europe's first transcontinental train.

1883. The first fully automatic machine gun is invented by American-born English engineer Hiram Stevens Maxim.

1883. Life Magazine begins publication in New York.

1883. Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra erupts August 27 in the greatest volcanic explosion since the eruption of Santorini in 1470 B.C. The explosion creates a wave that wipes out 163 Indonesian villages, taking more than 36,000 lives.

1883. The most lavish party yet held in America is staged March 26 at the $2 million Gothic mansion of railroad magnate William K. Vanderbilt, 34. The New York World estimates that his wife has spent $155,730 for costumes, $11,000 for flowers, $4,000 for hired carraiges, $4,000 for hairdressers, and $65,270 for catering, champagne, music, etc. to make the $250,000 fancy-dress ball a success.

1883. The U.S. has her peak year of immigration from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and China.

The Story of an African Farm. Olive Schreiner. South African. 1883. Novel. Boer farm in South Africa in late 19th-century. Three childhood playmates. One grows into a beauty who destroys the life of the others as well as her own.

Life on the Mississippi. Mark Twain. American. 1883. Autobiography. Apprenticeship as a river pilot. Return to the River in 1882 with conditions changed. Heroic steamboat era.

Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1883. Novel. Crew prevents a mutiny, finds a treasure with the help of Ben Gunn, a marooned sailor.

"Pinocchio." Carlo Lorenzini Collodi. Italian. 1883. Story. Escapades serve to teach the puppet-come-to-life and his readers right from wrong.

Thus Spake Zarathustra. Friedrich Nietzsche. German. 1883/92. Philosophy. Persian philosopher used as mouthpiece for author; doctrine of Ubermensch. Each should achieve individual goals which will add up to a universal goal/achievement.

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