1856 events in history

Jan 26 First Battle of Seattle. Marines from the USS Decatur drive off American Indian attackers after all day battle with settlers
Jan 29 Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom issues a Warrant under the Royal sign-manual that establishes the Victoria Cross to recognise acts of valour by British military personnel during the Crimean War
Feb 7 The colonial Tasmanian Parliament passes the second piece of legislation (the Electoral Act of 1856) anywhere in the world providing for elections by way of a secret ballot
Feb 8 Barbu Dimitrie Ştirbei abolishes slavery in Wallachia
Feb 11 The Kingdom of Awadh is annexed by the British East India Company and Wajid Ali Shah, the king of Awadh, is imprisoned and later exiled to Calcutta
Feb 22 The Republican Party opens its first national meeting in Pittsburgh
Feb 25 A Peace conference opens in Paris after the Crimean War
Mar 30 The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Crimean War
Apr 10 The Theta Chi fraternity is founded at Norwich University in Vermont
Apr 11 Battle of Rivas: Juan Santamaria burns down the hostel where William Walker's filibusters are holed up
Apr 21 Australian labour movement: Stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne march from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an Eight-hour day
May 1 The Province of Isabela was created in the Philippines in honor of the Queen Isabela II of Spain
May 21 Lawrence, Kansas is captured and burned by pro-slavery forces
May 22 Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beats Senator Charles Sumner with a cane in the hall of the United States Senate for a speech Sumner had made attacking Southerners who sympathized with the pro-slavery violence in Kansas ("Bleeding Kansas")
May 24 John Brown and his men kill five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas
Jun 8 A group of 194 Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty, arrives at Norfolk Island, commencing the Third Settlement of the Island
Jun 9 500 Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa, and head west for Salt Lake City carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts
Jul 17 The Great Train Wreck of 1856 in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, kills over 60 people
Jul 31 Christchurch, New Zealand is chartered as a city
Sep 2 The Tianjing Incident takes place in Nanjing, China
Oct 8 The Second Opium War between several western powers and China begins with the Arrow Incident on the Pearl River
Nov 6 Scenes of Clerical Life, the first work of fiction by the author later known as George Eliot, is submitted for publication
Nov 17 American Old West: On the Sonoita River in present-day southern Arizona, the United States Army establishes Fort Buchanan in order to help control new land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase
Nov 27 The Coup of 1856 leads to Luxembourg's unilateral adoption of a new, reactionary constitution
Dec 9 The Iranian city of Bushehr surrenders to occupying British forces