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The German Confederation 1815–1866
Scene from the decisive battle of Königgrätz;  by Georg Bleibtreu
The battle of Königgrätz
decides the German war in favor of Prussia .
Anton Romako: Admiral Tegetthoff in the naval battle of Lissa
Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff
defeats the Regia Marina
in the naval battle of Lissa .
Carol I of Romania
Karl von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen becomes Prince
of Romania .
1866 in other calendars
Armenian calendar 1314/15 (turn of the year July)
Ethiopian calendar 1858/59 (September 10-11)
Baha'i calendar 22/23 (March 20/21)
Bengali solar calendar 1271/72 (beginning of April 14th or 15th)
Buddhist calendar 2409/10 (southern Buddhism); 2408/09 (alternative calculation according to Buddha's Parinirvana )
Chinese calendar 76th (77th) cycle

Year of the fire tiger丙寅 ( at the beginning of the year wood buffalo 乙丑)

Chula Sakarat (Siam, Myanmar) / Dai calendar (Vietnam) 1228/29 (turn of the year April)
Dangun era (Korea) 4199/4200 (October 2/3)
Iranian calendar 1244/45 (around March 21)
Islamic calendar 1282/83 (May 15/16)
Jewish calendar 5626/27 (9/10 September)
Coptic Calendar 1582/83 (September 10-11)
Malayalam calendar 1041/42
Rumi Calendar (Ottoman Empire) 1281/82 (March 1)
Seleucid era Babylon: 2176/77 (turn of the year April)

Syria: 2177/78 (turn of the year October)

Vikram Sambat (Nepalese Calendar) 1922/23 (April)

In 1866 , the political map of Germany , which had largely remained unchanged since the Congress of Vienna, was rearranged. After Prussia's victory in the German War , some of its opponents are annexed , others are forced into alliances. The existing since 1815 German federal government is dissolved and instead of the North German Confederation under Prussian leadership established . Despite the victory in the naval battle of Lissa, the Austrian Empire, which was annihilated in the Battle of Königgrätz, had to cede territories to Italy , which was allied with Prussia .

In the Principality of Romania , the first Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza is overthrown and replaced by the German Karl Eitel Friedrich, son of Prince Karl Anton zu Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen , who ascends the Romanian throne as Carol I.

After the end of the Civil War , the United States under President Andrew Johnson intervened more intensely in the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine in the conflict between the French troop- backed Empire of Mexico under Maximilian I and the republican opposition under Benito Juárez . France and Austria are asked to withdraw the intervention troops from Mexico. With the exception of a few volunteer corps, the foreign units then leave the country, which makes the situation for Maximilian and his wife Charlotte of Belgium hopeless until the end of the year.


Politics and world events

Ongoing events
French intervention in Mexico (since 1861)
Rotativismo in Portugal (since 1856)
Nian uprising (since 1853) against the Qing dynasty in China (since 1644)
Bakumatsu (since 1853) of the Edo period in Japan (since 1603)
Second French Empire in France (since 1852)
Founding days in Germany and Austria (since around 1840)
Tanzimat reforms in the Ottoman Empire (since 1839)
Victorian Age in Great Britain (since 1837)


French caricature on the accession of the foreigner Karl von Hohenzollern to the throne
Carol I's entry into Bucharest on May 10, according to the Julian calendar

German Confederation and Italy

  • April 8th: Prussia and Italy conclude the Prussian-Italian alliance contract for a limited period of three months . With this offensive and defensive alliance in the event of a war against the Austrian Empire , Prussia violates Article XI of the German Federal Act , which obliges the federal states not to enter into any ties that are directed against the security of the German federal or individual federal states.
  • April 9: Prussia applies to the Bundestag to elect a national parliament . The individual German states react negatively. The motion is pushed into a nine-member committee, which consists mainly of opponents of the motion.
Cohen-Blind carried out the assassination attempt on Bismarck
  • May 7: Ferdinand Cohen-Blind carried out an assassination attempt on the Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck on Unter den Linden in order to avert the threatening "fratricidal war" between Prussia and Austria. Bismarck is only slightly injured, the assassin commits suicide in police custody that night.
  • June 1: Austria turns to the Bundestag of the German Confederation and, in agreement with the population, gives it the decision on the future of Holstein . The Elbe Duchy is under Austrian administration, but to the chagrin of Prussia, Austria tolerates the subsidiary government of Duke Friedrich VIII of Schleswig-Holstein from the House of Oldenburg and, in agreement with him, decides to convene the Holstein meeting of estates. Prussia regards this procedure as a breach of the Gastein Convention of 1865.
  • June 9th: Prussian troops march into Holstein, whereupon Austria applies to the Bundestag for the mobilization of federal troops for the purpose of a federal execution for the forbidden self-help of Prussia.
Constitutional diagram for a reformed German Confederation based on the Prussian proposals of June 10, 1866
Battle of Custozza, Juliusz Kossak
Prussian artillery near Langensalza, painting by Georg von Boddien
Starting point of the Battle of Lissa
Sea battle at Lissa
Prussian troops in front of the Austrian Nikolsburg
Artillery battle near Gerchsheim
North German Confederation 1866–71
Prussian annexations in 1866 :
  • Prussia
  • Prussian annexations
  • Prussian allies
  • Austria
  • Austrian allies
  • Neutral states of the German Confederation
  • Switzerland



    Karakosov after his attempted assassination
    • April 16: The Russian revolutionary Dimitri Karakosow attempts an assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander II in St. Petersburg. It fails due to the intervention of some farmers. The assassin will be executed on September 3rd.

    Ottoman Empire

    • November 7th: Ottoman troops attack the Arkadi monastery on Crete , where around 1000 Greek insurgents, including 325 men who are capable of fighting, have holed up. After a two-day siege, the besieged withdraw into the powder magazine of the monastery and blow it up. Except for one girl, all the people inside and dozens of Turkish attackers were killed.

    United States of America

    United States 1866–67
    Election results of the election to the House of Representatives in 1866
    • June 4th: Elections to the United States House of Representatives 1866 will take place on several election days . The Republicans celebrate an overwhelming election victory and can build on their two-thirds majority. At the time of the elections, the United States consists of 37 states, but in reality, with the exception of Tennessee, the southern states, which formerly formed the Confederate States , have not yet been officially reintegrated into the Union and excluded from the elections. All active and passive voting rights are white men.
    14th Amendment
    • June 13: As a further reaction to the presidential veto, the US Congress passes the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution , which comes into force in 1868. It includes the non-discrimination clause, the right to due process in the states, and the basics of citizenship law.
    • August 20th: This date officially marks the end of the American Civil War . It is recorded in the Act of March 2, 1867 by United States President Andrew Johnson .
    • December 21: In the Fetterman skirmish in the Red Cloud War, warriors of the Lakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne destroy a division of the US Army under the direction of Captain William Judd Fetterman. A group of ten Indians under Crazy Horse , selected from the tribes involved, lures Fetterman over the ridge of the Lodge Trail Ridge into an ambush into the Peno Valley, where around 1500 warriors under Little Wolf and High Backbone Fetterman's men await. In revenge for the Sand Creek massacre , the soldiers who were killed were mutilated. As a result of the defeat, Colonel Henry B. Carrington , who sought peaceful coexistence with the Indians and acted against whose express orders Fetterman, was relieved of his command of Fort Phil Kearny . The inadequately armed units in Fort Kearny were also given modern Springfield breech- loading rifles .


    Parliament Hill around 1866


    Spanish-South American War

    Bombing of Valparaíso
    • March 31: Five people are killed in the six-hour bombing of Valparaíso . The bombing of the unfortified city has been sharply criticized internationally.
    Peruvian battery in Callao
    • May 2: The Spanish fleet bombs the Peruvian port city of Callao , but suffers heavy losses because the city is well defended with 96 cannons. The Peruvian war minister was killed in the bombing. After the shelling of Callao, active hostilities in the Spanish-South American War ended and the Spanish fleet withdrew to the Philippines.

    Triple Alliance War

    Cándido López: Battle of Tuyutí
    • May 24: Paraguay's troops suffer a heavy defeat in the battle of Tuyutí when attempting to attack the main camp of the opposing allies . It is the bloodiest battle in South American history.
    • July 16: Paraguayan troops are victorious in the Battle of Boquerón .
    • September 1st to 3rd: The Allies win the battle for Fort Curuzú . The success at Curuzú paves the way for the Brazilians and their allies towards the much more developed fortress complex Humaitá -Curupaytí.
    Battle of Curupaytí
    • September 22nd: With the victory in the Battle of Curupaytí , the Paraguayan troops can slow the advance of the Allies.
    • In both armies there was considerable war weariness in the course of the year.
    Caxias in Paraguay around 1866




    International exhibitions

    The industrial hall in Kungsträdgården on June 15, 1866


    Business start-ups



    science and technology

    Africa research


    The 207 long and 13,000-year-old sculpture of mm floating reindeer from mammoth - ivory
    • At Bruniquel in France, two fragments of a sculpture are found that are only recognized as belonging together decades later. The so-called floating reindeer made from a mammoth's tooth are around 13,000 years old.


    Natural sciences

    List of asteroids discovered in 1866
    No. and name Diameter
    Date of discovery Explorer
    (86) Semele 120.6 January 4th Friedrich Tietjen
    (87) Sylvia 260.9 May 16 Norman Robert Pogson
    (88) Thisbe 232 15th June Christian Heinrich Friedrich Peters
    (89) Julia 151.5 6th of August Édouard Jean-Marie Stephan
    (90) Antiope 120.1 October 1 Karl Theodor Robert Luther
    (91) Aegina 109.8 November 4th Édouard Jean-Marie Stephan

    Technical achievements

    The Great Eastern in July 1866 at Hearts Content, Newfoundland
    The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge


    Visual arts

    Vernissage in the Salon de Paris 1866


    Music and theater

    Poster for the world premiere
    Steinway Hall on 14th St. in New York
    Poster for the world premiere
    Costume design from Parisian life


    The elephant hunt in Murten
    • June 29: In the small Swiss town of Murten , a circus elephant kills its keeper and escapes. He can only be killed by a cannon shot after a long hunt by the circus troupe and the residents of the city.
    • July 17: At the suggestion of Federal Councilor Jakob Dubs and the two ICRC members Gustave Moynier and Guillaume-Henri Dufour , the Auxiliary Association for Swiss Armed Forces and their families is founded in Switzerland , which later became the Swiss Red Cross .
    • August 24th: Princess Salme from the Said dynasty is four months pregnant and flees to Aden with the help of the British Vice Consul from Zanzibar to avoid the impending stoning. Their son was born on December 7th, but he died before his father, the Hamburg merchant Rudolph Heinrich Ruete , arrived. The following year she was baptized, married and took the name Emily Ruete .
    • September 8th: The first multiple birth of sextuplets is reported from Chicago . Two babies die after giving birth, and James and Jennie Bushnell's other four children have long lives.
    Oldest known German postcard (forerunner)




    The exterior of the synagogue in 1865



    Shipping disasters

    The sinking of London in the Bay of Biscay
    • January 11: The British passenger ship London gets caught in a storm in the Bay of Biscay and sinks, killing 220 of the 239 people on board. The Board of Trade is investigating the doom. There are several factors that contributed to the accident, according to the commission of inquiry. On the one hand, the fact that Captain Martin decided to return to Plymouth and thus not left the storm behind, but returned to its center. Furthermore, the overloading of the ship with 345 tons of building material for the railway construction should have played a role.
    Illustration in Harper's Weekly of
    May 16, 1868
    • May 14: The Bark General Grant deviates off course off the Auckland Islands , hits the cliffs and is pushed by the high tide into a rocky cave, where she gets stuck and eventually sinks. 68 passengers and crew members die. The 15 survivors spend 18 months on the uninhabited Auckland Island before being rescued.
    • July 12: The Australian passenger steamer Cawarra sinks in a severe storm in the port of Newcastle . Of the 62 people on board, only one survived. The sinking of the Cawarra is one of the worst shipping accidents in the history of New South Wales to date .
    • October 3: The American liner Evening Star sinks 180 nautical miles east of Tybee Island in a severe hurricane . 262 passengers and crew members die. It is thus the largest shipwreck in American history to date.

    More disasters

    Portland ruins
    • July 4: Only two people were killed in the Great Portland Fire , Maine, but some 10,000 were left homeless and 1,800 buildings were burned down.
    • August 24: In Vienna , a widespread cholera - epidemic . The epidemic broke out earlier in the Prussian army, which advanced to Austria during the German War . The pathogen is also raging in Lower Austria, killing around 15,000 people by November.
    Course of the Great Nassau Hurricane
    • September 26 to October 5: The Great Nassau Hurricane of 1866 killed at least 383 people. The city of Nassau in the Bahamas is completely destroyed.
    • December 9th: In the Daimiel railway accident , the individually driving pilot machine drives into a crowd standing on the platform in front of Queen Isabella II's train in the train station in Daimiel, Ciudad Real province. Seven people are killed and 27 injured.
    Contemporary representation of the disaster

    Minor accidents are listed in the sub-articles of Disaster .

    nature and environment

    Contemporary depiction of the Knyahinya meteorite fall




    Maurice Couyba (1914)
    Romain Rolland, 1915



    William M. Kavanaugh


    Ferruccio Busoni, 1913
    • 0April 1: Ferruccio Busoni , Italian pianist, composer, conductor and music teacher († 1924)
    • 0April 3: Barry Hertzog , South African general and politician († 1942)
    Anne Sullivan Macy
    Butch Cassidy, ca.1895


    Jenny Eakin Delony (self-portrait)


    Lord Carnarvon
    Else Lehmann 1898


    Beatrix Potter around 1874
    • July 28th: Beatrix Potter , English children's author and illustrator. († 1943)


    Anna Blos
    Asaf Jah VI.
    Hermann Loens


    HG Wells, before 1922
    • September 21: HG Wells , English writer († 1946)
    Thomas Hunt Morgan, 1891


    Ramsay MacDonald, around 1900


    Fritz Hofmann
    • 0November 2: Fritz Hofmann , German chemist († 1956)
    • 0November 4: Carlo Cremonesi , Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church († 1943)
    • 0November 5: George Milne, 1st Baron Milne , British Field Marshal and Chief of the Imperial General Staff († 1948)
    • 0November 6th: Karl Glässing , Lord Mayor of Wiesbaden, Chief Finance President in Darmstadt († 1952)
    • 0November 6th: Paul Schreckenbach , German pastor and writer († 1922)
    • 0November 7th: Paul Lincke , German composer and Kapellmeister († 1946)
    • 0November 8: Herbert Austin , English industrialist and politician († 1941)
    • 0November 8: Heinrich Rippler , German writer, journalist and politician († 1934)
    • 0November 9: Ferdinand Hanusch , Austrian social reformer († 1923)
    Florence Prague Kahn (1914)


    Wassily Kandinsky, around 1913

    Exact date of birth unknown


    January February

    Paul Emil Jacobs, 1845
    Grave of Minna Wagner in the old Annenfriedhof in Dresden
    Friedrich Rückert's grave in Neuses

    March April

    Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1830)
    Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily, photograph by Antoine Claudet

    May June

    Harris 's grave on
    Governor's Hill near Kimanis
    Chief Seattle's headstone in Suquamish, Washington

    July August

    Francisco Armero Peñaranda
    Riemann's tombstone in Biganzolo

    September October

    Dmitri Karakosov (1866)
    The posthumously published collection of letters of the lady-in-waiting Louise von Sturmfeder

    November December

    Adrien-François Servais (1842)
    Everest's grave in Hove
    • 0December 1: George Everest , British engineer (* 1790)
    • 0December 1st: Friedrich Kaufmann , Saxon watchmaker and musical instrument maker (* 1785)
    • 0December 2: Joseph Strauss , Austrian violin virtuoso, composer and conductor (* 1793)
    • 0December 3: Edward Hincks , Irish Assyriologist and one of the first decipherers of the cuneiform script (* 1792)
    • 0December 3: Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda , Bohemian composer, conductor and violinist (* 1801)
    • 0December 3: Ernst von Pfuel , Prussian General, Commander of the City of Cologne and the Prussian Sector of Paris, Governor of the Principality of Neuchâtel, Governor of Berlin and Prussian Prime Minister and Minister of War (* 1779)
    • 0December 4th: Han Mahmud , Kurdish prince in Müküs
    • 0December 6th: Karl Pfaff , German educator, historian and singer father (* 1795)
    • 0December 7th: Gaspar Betancourt Cisneros , Cuban entrepreneur and author (* 1803)
    • 0December 9: Gottlieb Pfeilsticker , German architect (* 1811)
    • December 16: Leonhard Zeugheer , Swiss architect (* 1812)
    • December 18: Theodor Zschokke , Swiss doctor and naturalist (* 1806)
    • December 20: James Semple , American politician (* 1798)
    • December 21: Mercedes Marín Del Solar , Chilean writer (* 1804)
    Grave of Johann Georg Kranzler

    Exact date of death unknown

    Web links

    Commons : 1866  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files