A Romantic Natural History Timeline: 1750-1859

1750:  Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"; Johann Tobias Mayer, Map of the Moon

1751:  Linnaeus, Philosophia Botanica

1752:  Thomas Chatterton b. (d.1770); Benjamin Franklin invents lightning conductor 

1753:  Linnaeus, Species Plantorum; charter granted to British Museum 

1755:  Benjamin Franklin, "Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind"; Sebastian Menghini (Italy) studies effect of camphor on animals 

1756:  Edmund Burke, "Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful" 

1757:  William Blake b. (d. 1827); John Dyer, "The Fleece" 

1759:  Robert Burns b. (d. 1796); Franz Aepinus, Testamen theoriae electricitas et magnetesmi

1760:  Kew Botanical Gardens open

1761:  Rosseau, Julie, ou La Nouvelle Heloise; B. G. Morgagni, On the Causes of Diseases

1763:  J. G. Kolreuter (Germany) studies fertilization of plants by animal pollen carriers 

1764:  Charles Bonnet, Contemplation de la Nature

1767:   Joseph Priestley, The History and Present State of Electricity

1768:  Captain James Cook sails to Pacific (ret. 1771); P. S. Pallas on Transit of Venus

1769:  G. L. Cuvier b. (d. 1832), Alexander von Humboldt b. (d. 1859) 

1770:  William Wordsworth b. (d. 1850) 

1771:  Encyclopedia Brittanica, first edition; Luigi Galvani (Bologna) records "animal" electricity 

1772:  Samuel Taylor Coleridge b. (d. 1834); Rutherford and Priestley discover nitrogen; John Walsh experiments on electric torpedo fish 

1774:  Goethe, The Sorrows of Werther; Robert Southey b. (d. 1843); F. A Mesmer (Austria) introduces "animal magnetism" (later "hypnosis") for health 

1775:  Captain Cook returns from second voyage, J. C. Fabricus, Systema entomologiae classifies insects; digitalis (foxglove plant) used to treat dropsy 

1776:  America declares independence (based on natural rights) 

1777:  Priestley, Disquisition Relating to Matter and Spirit; John Aikin, An Essay on the Application of Natural History to Poetry

1778:  G. L. L. Buffon, Époques de la Nature

1779:  David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Captain Cook murdered in South Pacific; Spallanzani proves semen necessary for fertilization of egg 

1781:  Rousseau, Confessions; Herschel discovers Uranus; Fontana uses microscope to describe the axon of a brain cell 

1782:  William Cowper, Poems; Montgolfier brothers air balloon; Oliver Goldsmith, A History of the Earth and Animated Nature

1784:  Bernardin de Saint-Pierrre, Etudes de la Nature; Goethe discovers intermaxillary bone 

1785:  Thomas de Quincey b. (d. 1859); Salsano develops seismograph to measure earthquakes 

1786:  Buffon, Histoire naturelle des oiseaux; first ascent of Mont Blanc; Herschel, Catalogue of Nebulae; Linnaeus, Dissertation on the Sexes of Plants (English translation)

1788:  Lord Byron (George Gordon) b. (d. 1824); Laplace, Laws of the Planetary System; Hutton , New Theory of the Earth

1789:  French Revolution begins; Blake, Songs of Innocence; Antoine Jussieu, Genera plantarum;  Erasmus Darwin, The Botanic Garden (-1791)

1790:  Goethe, Versuch, die metamprphose der Pflanzen zu erklaren; Lavoisier, Table of Thirty-One Chemical Elements

1791:  Michael Faraday b. (d. 1867); William Bartram, Travels through North and South Carolina; Luigi Galvani describes electrical stimulation of frog nerves; Buffon's Natural History (English translation) 

1792:  Percy Bysshe Shelley b. (d. 1822); Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women

1793:  John Clare b. (d. 1864) 

1794:  Blake, Songs of  Experience; Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, or the laws of Organic Life

1795:  John Keats b. (d. 1821); Mungo Park explores Niger River 

1796:  G. L. C. Cuvier develops comparative zoology; Edward Jenner vaccinates against smallpox 

1797:  Schelling, Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur; Thomas Bewick, British Birds; Nicholas de Saussure, Recherches chimiques sur la végétation; Lamarck, Mémoires de physique et d'histoire naturelle

1798:  Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads; Thomas Malthus, "Essay on the Principle of Population" 

1799:  preserved mammoth discovered in Siberia 

1800:  Humphry Davy, Researches, Chemical and Philosophical, Concerning Nitrous Oxide; F. G. Gall (Germany) develops phrenology; Royal College of Surgeons founded in London, Alessandro Volta develops wet cell battery 

1801:  Linnaeus, Elements of Natural History; M. F. X. Bichat, Anatomie générale; Robert Fulton (U. S.) develops first submarine in Brest; Lalande catalogues 47,390 stars 

1802:  William Paley, Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature; John Dalton introduces atomic theory; Gottfried Treviranus (Germany) coins term "biology" 

1803:  Ralph Waldo Emerson b. (d. 1882); Lamarck, Recherches sur l'organisation des corps vivants; Giovanni Aldini publishes attempts to revive corpses using electricity 

1804:  Lewis and Clark expedition begins (-1806) 

1807:  Byron, Hours of Idleness; Wordsworth "Ode: Intimations of Immortality"; von Humboldt and Bonpland, Voyage aux régions équinoxiales

1808:  Goethe, Faust, (part I); F. J. Gall publishes on phrenology 

1809:  Alfred, Lord Tennyson b. (d. 1892); Charles Darwin b. (d. 1882); K. F. Gauss, Theoria motus corporum coelestium; Lamarck, Système des animaux sans vertèbres; Luigi Rolnado uses a galvanic current to stimulate brain cortex 

1810:  Gall and Spurzheim, Anatomie et physiologie du système nerveux

1811:  Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility; Charles Bell, New Idea of the Anatomy of the Brain

1812:  Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; Cuvier, Recherches sur les ossements fossiles de quadrupèdes; Davy, Elements of Chemical Philosophy; Robert Browning b. (d. 1889) 

1813:  Shelley, Queen Mab

1814:  Wordsworth, The Excursion; Berzelius, Theory of Chemical Proportions and the Chemical Action of Electricity

1815:  Wordsworth, "The White Doe of Rylstone"; Lamarck, Histoire naturelle des animaux

1816:  Charlotte Brontë b. (d. 1855); Shelley, "Alastor"; Coleridge, "Kubla Khan" (written 1797); Laënnec develops stethoscope; Frankenstein "summer" in Geneva 

1817:  Byron, "Manfred"; Henry David Thoreau b. (d. 1862) 

1818:  Byron, Don Juan; Keats, Endymion; Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein; Bessel catalogues 3,222 stars 

1819:  Keats, Hyperion; Shelley, The Cenci; Hans C. Oersted (Denmark) discovers electromagnetism 

1820:  Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale", Shelley, Prometheus Unbound; Thomas Brown, Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind; André Ampère, Laws of Electrodynamic Action; galvanometer invented to measure electrical current through a conductor; whale ship Essex rammed by a sperm whale in South Pacific

1821:  Keats dies of tuberculosis; Shelley, "Adonais"; Faraday discovers electromagnetic rotation 

1822:  Shelley drowns off Viareggio 

1824:  Byron dies of fever in Greek war for independence; Prevost and Dumas prove that sperm is necessary for fertilization 

1826:  Leopoldo Nobili invents galvanometer 

1827:  J. J. Audubon, Birds of North America; Karl von Baer, Epistola de Ova Mammalium et Hominis Generis

1829:  Tennyson, "Timbuctoo"; James Smithson founds Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 

1830:  Emily Dickinson b. (d. 1886); William Cobbett, Rural Rides; Robert Brown (Scotland) discovers cell nucleus; Cuvier and E. G. Saint-Hilaire debate "unity of plan" in organic structures; Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology

1831:  Darwin sails on H. M. S. Beagle voyage (-1836); James Clark Ross determines location of magnetic North Pole 

1832:  Goethe, Faust, part II (posth.) 

1834:  Charles Babbage invents first computer ("analytical engine"); C. L. von Buch, Theory of Volcanism

1835:  Wordsworth, Poems; Browning, "Paracelsus"; Halley's comet reappears 

1836:  Emerson, Nature; Asa Gray, Elements of Botany

1837:  John Burroughs b. (d. 1921) 

1838:  Audubon, final vol. of The Birds of America

1840:  Louis Agassiz (Switzerland), Etudes sur les Glaciers

1842:  Matthew F. Maury (U.S.) develops oceanography; J. R. von Mayer (Germany), On the Forces of Inanimate Nature; Crawford Long uses ether on humans 

1843:  Wordsworth named poet laureate 

1844: Horace Wells uses nitrous oxide for a tooth extraction; Robert Chambers, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation

1846:  Herman Melville, Typee; H. von Mohl (Germany) describes protoplasm 

1847:  Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights; I. T. Semmelweis (Hungary) establishes link between maternal mortality and infection 

1848: Alfred Russell Wallace sails to Amazonia (-1852) 

1850: Tennsyon, In Memoriam; Wordsworth dies; H. von Helmholtz measures speed of nervous impulses in frogs; E. Du Bois-Reymond invents galvanometer for nerves 

1851:  Melville, Moby Dick (based on the sinking of the Essex in 1820); Helmholtz develops opthalmoscope 

1852:  Herbert Spencer coins term "evolution" in The Development Hypothesis

1854:  Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods

1855:  Browning, Men and Women; Longfellow, Song of Hiawatha; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass; Spencer, Principles of Psychology; Alexander Bain, Senses and Intellects

1857:  Pasteur proves that fermentation is biological 

1858:  William Morris, Defence of Guinevere and Other Poems; T. H. Huxley, The Theory of Vertebrate Skulls; Darwin's and Wallace's findings presented to Linnean Society 

1859:  Thomas de Quincey dies; Leigh Hunt dies; Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection

---(Link to Bibliography for individual works arranged by author's name)---

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