1835; in which a young Charles Darwin, aboard the HMS Beagle, lands on the Galapagos Islands and encounters the Blue-Footed Booby for the first time. That same year, Auguste Comte, a prominent French Philosopher, posits that humans will never be able to understand the chemical composition of stars but is subsequently proven wrong by astronomers embracing the recently developed technologies of spectroscopy and photography.
Oil on Canvas
Photo by Scott Griggs Studio
A Brief History of 1835 & Events Therein
January 8 – The United States public debt contracts to zero for the only time in history
February 1 – Slavery is abolished in Mauritius.
“When slavery was abolished on 1 February 1835, an attempt was made to secure a cheap source
of adaptable labor for intensive sugar plantations in Mauritius. Indentured labor began with Chinese,
Malay, African and Malagasy laborers, but ultimately, it was India which supplied the much needed
laborers to Mauritius. This period of intensive use of Indian labor took place during British rule, with
many brutal episodes and a long struggle by the indentured for respect. The term applied to the
indentured during this period, and which has since become a derogatory term for Mauritians of Asian
descent, was Coolie.”
March 14 - Giovanni Schiaparelli is born.
Among Schiaparelli’s contributions are his telescopic observations of Mars. In his initial observations,
he named the “seas” and “continents” of Mars.
As an observer of objects in the solar system, Schiaparelli worked with binary stars, discovered the
asteroid 69 Hesperia on April 26, 1861, and demonstrated that the Perseids and Leonids meteor
showers were associated with comets. He proved, for example, that the orbit of the Leonids meteor
shower coincided with that of the Comet Tempel-Tuttle. These observations led the astronomer to
formulate the hypothesis, subsequently proved to be very exact, that the meteor showers could be
the trails of comets.
August – H. Fox Talbot exposes the world’s first known photographic negatives at Lacock Abbey in England.
Using small “mousetrap” cameras, Talbot photographs the inside of his library window at Lacock
Abbey, creating the first negative. He then subsequently printed positive images by contact printing
onto another sheet of paper.
August 25 – The New York Sun prints the first of six installments detailing life on the moon which
became known as the Great Moon Hoax.
The discoveries were attributed to the astronomer, Sir John Herschel, and described animals such as
bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tail-less beavers, and bat-like winged humanoids (Vespertilio-homo,
or ‘man-bat’) living inside a ring of red hills that astronomers dubbed “Ruby Colosseum,” and were
“covered, except on the face, with short and glossy copper-colored hair, and had wings composed of
a thin membrane, without hair, lying snugly upon their backs”.
The discoveries were eventually exposed as an elaborate hoax of which Herschel had nothing to do
with. Authorship of the article was attributed to Richard A. Locke, a Cambridge educated reporter
working for the Sun. Locke never publicly admitted to being the author and circulation of the
New York Sun increased dramatically helping to establish the paper as a successful enterprise.
September 15 – Charles Darwin and the HMS Beagle arrive at the Galapagos Islands. Darwin
encounters the Blue-Footed Booby for the first time.
The Blue-footed Booby was first studied extensively by Charles Darwin during his trip to the Galapagos
Islands in 1835. There are two recognized subspecies, Sula nebouxii excisa (Todd, 1948) and Sula
nebouxii nebouxii (Milne-Edwards, 1882). Its closest relative is the Peruvian Booby.
The name Booby comes from the Spanish term bobo (which means ‘stupid’, ‘fool’, or ‘clown’) and the
Blue-footed Booby is, like many seabirds, clumsy on land. They were also regarded as foolish for their
apparent fearlessness of humans.
October 3 – The Staedtler company (pencil manufacturers) is founded by J.S. Staedtler in Nuremberg, Germany.
November 16 – Comet Halley reaches perihelion, its closest approach to the sun.
Halley’s Comet is the best known of the short-period comets, can be seen every 75-76 years, and
is the only short-period comet visible to the naked eye.
Streams of vapour observed during the comet’s 1835 apparition prompted astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm
Bessel to propose that the jet forces of evaporating material could be great enough to significantly alter
a comet’s orbit.
November 30 - Samuel Langhorne Clemens is born.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really
great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”