January 1, 1856: Prohibition again goes into effect in New Brunswick. It will soon bring down the government and again be repealed.
January 1, 1856: Incidental music to von Mosenthal’s play Der Goldschmeid von Ulm by Heinrich August Marschner (60) is performed for the first time, in the Königliches Sächsisches Hoftheater, Dresden. The audience is enthusiastic.
January 1, 1856: A rail line from Alexandria to the Nile to Cairo is opened. It is the first railway in Africa.
January 5, 1856: Crimean War: The Russian government accepts the Vienna peace plan but rejects one point. Since the allies required unconditional acceptance, Austria informs Russia that relations will be broken on 18 January.
January 7, 1856: Armen-Ball-Polka op.176 by Johann Strauss (30) is performed for the first time, in Schwender’s Collosseum, Vienna.
January 8, 1856: Erhöhte Pulse op.175, a waltz by Johann Strauss (30), is performed for the first time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna.
January 14, 1856: Juristen-Ball-Tänze op.177, a waltz by Johann Strauss (30), is performed for the first time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna.
January 15, 1856: Crimean War: Tsar Alyeksandr agrees to the allied peace plan unconditionally.
January 18, 1856: Falstaff, an opera by Adolphe Adam (52) to words of Saint-Georges and Leuven after Shakespeare, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, Paris.
January 19, 1856: Béranger à l’Académie, a poésie by Houssaye with music by Jacques Offenbach (36), is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
January 20, 1856: Sarabande in b minor for piano solo WoO 5/2 by Johannes Brahms (22) is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
January 21, 1856: Sans-Souci-Polka op.178 by Johann Strauss (30) is performed for the first time, in Schwender’s Collosseum, Vienna.
January 23, 1856: The American SS Pacific departs Liverpool for New York with 186 on board. It is never heard from again.
January 23, 1856: Le corsaire, a ballet by Adolphe Adam (52) to a scenario by Saint-Georges and Mazillier, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra.
January 24, 1856: US President Franklin Pierce declares the anti-slavery territorial government in Topeka, Kansas to be in rebellion.
January 25, 1856: A final examination for post of cathedral organist in Linz is won by Anton Bruckner (31). It is his first professional musical appointment. See 13 November 1855.
January 28, 1856: Abschieds-Rufe op.179, a waltz by Johann Strauss (30), is performed for the first time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna.
January 29, 1856: A Royal Warrant establishes the Victoria Cross for gallantry in battle. The material for the medals is taken from guns captured from the Russians in the Crimean War.
January 29, 1856: Libellen op.180, a waltz by Johann Strauss (30), is performed for the first time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna.
January 30, 1856: The Chilean Navy cargo ship Cazador, carrying troops and military materiel, strikes a reef south of Constitución. Somewhere between 300-400 people are lost, with 23 saved.
February 1, 1856: The warring parties agree in Vienna to convene a peace conference three weeks hence.
February 2, 1856: Dallas, Texas is incorporated as a city.
February 6, 1856: Le spectre de la rose for alto and orchestra by Hector Berlioz (52) to words of Gautier is performed for the first time, in Gotha.
February 9, 1856: Giuseppe Verdi (42) receives the title of Cavalier Knight of the Order of St. Maurizio and St. Lazzaro from King Vittorio Emanuele II of Sardinia.
February 9, 1856: Un postillon en gage, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach (36) to words of Adenis, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
February 9, 1856: Deux sous de charbon, ou Le suicide de bigorneau, an asphyxie lyrique by Léo Delibes (19) to words of Moineaux, is performed for the first time, at the Folies-Nouvelles, Paris.
February 13, 1856: Great Britain annexes Oudh (Awadh, Uttar Pradesh) despite Indian opposition.
February 17, 1856: Heinrich Heine dies in Paris at the age of 58.
February 18, 1856: Sultan Abdülaziz I, under European duress, issues the Second Ottoman Reform Act, which, among other things, forbids discrimination against non-Moslems.
February 19, 1856: North American adventurer William Walker forces his man, President Patricio Rivas of Nicaragua, to sign a contract with Charles Morgan and Cornelius Garrison for transit and other concessions. It is so unfavorable to Nicaragua that Rivas refused to sign until the more egregious provisions were changed.
February 19, 1856: Hamilton Smith of Gambier, Ohio receives a US patent for the tintype photographic process.
February 21, 1856: Preliminary meetings before the Crimea peace conference begin in Paris.
February 22, 1856: Delegates to an anti-slavery convention in Pittsburgh meet to call for the formation of a national anti-slavery party.
February 23, 1856: Manon Lescaut by Daniel Auber (74) to words of Scribe after Prévost is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris. The work does well tonight but will ultimately fail.
February 24, 1856: Mily Balakirev (19) makes his St. Petersburg debut as soloist in the premiere of the first movement of his own Piano Concerto in f# minor in a performance at the university.
February 24, 1856: Hector Berlioz (52) manages to make it all the way through a performance of Lohengrin conducted by Franz Liszt (44) in Weimar. At his first try, a few days ago, Berlioz left in the middle of Act II. The two friends do not talk about it very much, although Berlioz is free in expressing his disdain to others. Although Liszt and Berlioz remain friends, it will never be the same.
February 25, 1856: 13:00 An international conference to end the Crimean War officially opens in the Quai d’Orsay, Paris.
February 28, 1856: La Gaselle: Andante élégant for piano solo by Louis Moreau Gottschalk (26) is performed for the first time, in New York, the composer at the keyboard.
March 1, 1856: Costa Rican forces invade Nicaragua against the North American William Walker and his man President Patricio Rivas. Despite early victories, the offensive will fizzle due to cholera among the invaders.
March 5, 1856: 04:55 Fire breaks out in the Covent Garden Opera House, London and takes 30 minutes to destroy the building.
March 12, 1856: In Milan, Giacomo Meyerbeer (64) is awakened by the chorus and orchestra of Teatro alla Scala serenading him outside his window. They perform selections from Le prophète with each section followed by applause from listeners. Meyerbeer is obliged to acknowledge their tribute.
March 16, 1856: Eugène Louis Jean Joseph is born in Paris, son of Emperor Napoléon III and Empress Eugènie. The Prince Imperial is a grand nephew of Napoléon I, thus ensuring the Bonaparte line.
March 19, 1856: Giacomo Meyerbeer (63) is nominated an honorary member of the Società Filarmonica Apollinea di Venezia.
March 19, 1856: Le Berceau, a cantata by Jacques Offenbach (36) to words of Dupeuty, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
March 20, 1856: Stanislaw Moniuszko’s (36) Madonna for baritone, chorus, and orchestra to words of Petrarch is performed for the first time, in St. Petersburg.
March 24, 1856: The new Théâtre de la Monnaie opens in Brussels. See 21 January 1855.
March 24, 1856: Mam’zelle Geneviève, an opera by Adolphe Adam (52) to words of Brunswick and Beauplan, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, Paris.
March 30, 1856: After a month of negotiation, representatives of Austria, France, Great Britain, the Ottoman Empire, Sardinia, Prussia, and Russia sign the Treaty of Paris ending the Crimean War. Russia gives up claims to Bessarabia and Moldavia and frees the Danube to all ships. The Black Sea is demilitarized.
April 2, 1856: La Paix du monde, a cantata by Jacques Offenbach (36) to words of Halévy, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffe-Parisiennes, Paris.
April 3, 1856: Lightning strikes the Palace of the Grand Master in Rhodes. Gunpowder stored there by the Turks explodes, killing as many as 4,000 people.
April 3, 1856: Scherzo no.1 in b minor by Mily Balakirev (19) is performed for the first time, in St. Petersburg, the composer at the keyboard.
April 3, 1856: Trombalcazar, ou Les criminels dramatiques, a bouffonerie musicale by Jacques Offenbach (36) to words of Dupeuty and Bourget, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
April 6, 1856: After graduating from the Academy of Physicians, Alyeksandr Borodin (22) is appointed “medical practitioner” at the Second Military Hospital, St. Petersburg. In this capacity he will meet a young duty officer assigned to the hospital from the Preobrazhensky Regiment: Modest Musorgsky (17).
April 7, 1856: The newly orchestrated Molitva for voice, chorus, and orchestra by Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (51) to words of Lermontov is performed for the first time, in Malyi Theatre, Moscow.
April 11, 1856: While asserting that he does not intend to end serfdom at present, Tsar Alyeksandr II states that eventually, the system will have to end.
April 11, 1856: William Walker leads his North American mercenaries against Costa Ricans at Rivas, Nicaragua. They manage to enter the town, but are beaten back. Unfortunately for the victors, cholera will soon break out, causing the Costa Ricans to withdraw.
April 14, 1856: Clara Schumann (36) makes her London debut playing Beethoven’s (†29) Emperor Concerto in the Hanover Square Rooms. “A positive sensation, even among those who are moved with difficulty.”
April 15, 1856: A treaty is concluded in Paris between Austria, France, and Great Britain which guarantees the integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
April 19, 1856: Cantate pour le distribution des prix de la Société des gens de lettres by Daniel Auber (74) is performed for the first time.
April 22, 1856: The first railroad bridge over the Mississippi River goes into operation as three locomotives and eight passenger cars pass from Rock Island, Illinois to Davenport, Iowa.
April 26, 1856: In Zürich, Richard Wagner (42) plays and sings through the first act of Die Walküre for friends. Businessman Otto Wesendonck is so taken by it that he decides to forward 250 francs a month to the composer so that he may complete the work unhindered.
April 26, 1856: Valentine d’Aubigny, an opéra comique by Fromental Halévy (56) to words of Barbier and Carré, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris.
April 28, 1856: Indians attack an army camp on the Illinois River in Josephine County, Oregon. One-third of the unit are killed before reinforcements arrive and drive the Indians away.
April 29, 1856: Les pantins de Violette, an operetta by Adolphe Adam (52) to words of Battu, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
May 2, 1856: Präludium und Fuge über das Motiv B.A.C.H. for organ by Franz Liszt (44) is performed for the first time, in Merseburg, in the presence of the composer.
May 3, 1856: Adolphe Charles Adam dies in his apartment at 24 rue Buffault in Paris, in the French Empire, aged 52 years, eight months, and nine days. His mortal remains will be buried in the Cimitière de Montmartre, Paris.
May 9, 1856: Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (51) leaves St. Petersburg on his last trip abroad. As he reaches the city gates he gets out of his carriage to say goodbye to his sister. He spits on the ground and says, “May I never see this vile country again.”
May 11, 1856: Franz Liszt (44) and Hans von Bülow meet in Merseburg and discuss a marriage between von Bülow and Liszt’s daughter, Cosima.
May 14, 1856: US President Franklin Pierce recognizes the Nicaraguan dictatorship of William Walker.
May 16, 1856: Russalka, an opera by Ayeksandr Sergeyevich Dargomizhsky (43) to his own words after Pushkin, is performed for the first time, in St. Petersburg.
May 20, 1856: David Livingstone reaches Quelimane, Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique), having traveled for six months from Linyanti.
May 21, 1856: Armed members of the pro-slavery party sack Lawrence, Kansas, seat of the anti-slavery territorial government.
May 22, 1856: The Parliament of the Colony of New South Wales meets for the first time.
May 22, 1856: One day after making a vigorous anti-slavery speech in the United States Senate, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts is viciously caned at his desk on the Senate floor by Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina. Brooks is finally subdued by other Senators.
May 24, 1856: Opponents of slavery led by John Brown kill five pro-slavery settlers on the Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas, 75 km south of Kansas City in retaliation for the action at Lawrence three days ago.
May 27, 1856: Tsar Alyeksandr II declares an amnesty for Polish insurgents.
May 27, 1856: The US government expels the British minister in Washington and three British consuls because Britain continues to recruit Americans for their army, in violation of US law.
May 28, 1856: Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (51) arrives in Berlin, three weeks after leaving St. Petersburg.
May 31, 1856: Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (51) writes to his sister that he plans to stay in Berlin indefinitely.
June 5, 1856: French forces complete their removal from the Crimea.
June 6, 1856: Nuno José Severo de Mendoça Rolim de Moura Bareto, marquês de Loulé, conde de Vale de Reis replaces João Carlos Gregório Domingues Vicente Francisco de Saldanha Oliveira e Daun, duque, marques e conde de Saldanha as Prime Minister of Portugal.
June 7, 1856: Louis Moreau Gottschalk (27) gives the last of a series of 16 concerts this Winter and Spring at Dodworth’s Hall, New York. They are so successful that during the run, 200 seats have been added to the hall, and patrons seated on the stage.
June 8, 1856: Many residents of the Pitcairn Islands are resettled on Norfolk Island.
June 12, 1856: British forces complete their removal from the Crimea.
June 12, 1856: La rose de Saint-Flour, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach (36) to words of Carré, is performed for the first time, by the Bouffes-Parisiens at Salle Marigny, Paris, to celebrate the christening of the new Prince-Imperial.
June 14, 1856: Dr. William Palmer is hanged at Stafford prison for the poisoning murder of his friend John Cook. However, he is believed to have poisoned his wife, mother-in-law, brother, five of his children, and two creditors.
June 18, 1856: Les dragées du baptême by Jacques Offenbach (36) to words of Dupeuty and Bourget is performed for the first time, by the Bouffes-Parisiens at Salle Marigny, Paris.
June 19, 1856: The first national convention of the Republican Party of the United States concludes in Philadelphia. The new anti-slavery party has nominated former Senator John C. Fremont for president.
June 20, 1856: Prince Florestan of Monaco dies in Paris and is succeeded by his son, Charles III.
June 23, 1856: The Ley Lerdo is enacted in Mexico. It authorizes the confiscation of church lands and their distribution to those residing on the land.
June 24, 1856: The music store owned by Jacob Small Paine (father of John Knowles Paine (17)) in Portland, Maine, is destroyed by fire.
June 26, 1856: Großfürstin Alexandra Waltz op.181 by Johann Strauss (30) is performed for the first time, in Pavlovsk.
June 29, 1856: An election in Nicaragua is held today. Very few citizens take part. It will be claimed that North American adventurer William Walker has won by a large margin in a massive turnout.
July 1, 1856: Justinus Jacob Leonard van der Bruggen replaces Floris Adriaan van Hall and Dirk Donker Curtius as chief minister of the Netherlands.
July 4, 1856: Arthur Sullivan (14) wins the Mendelssohn Scholarship. The prize brings one tuition-free year at the Royal Academy of Music.
July 8, 1856: Charles E. Barnes of Lowell, Massachusetts receives the first patent for a machine gun.
July 11, 1856: North American adventurer William Walker is inaugurated President of Nicaragua, in spite of the fact that he is not eligible under the constitution.
July 12, 1856: Austria declares an amnesty for the Hungarian separatists of 1848-49.
July 13, 1856: A Fantaisie (I) in C for organ by César Franck (33) is performed for the first time, at the Cavaillé-Coll studio, Paris by the composer.
July 14, 1856: Queen Isabella II of Spain dismisses her prime minister, Joaquín Baldomero Fernández Espartero, duque de la Victoria, and installs General Leopoldo O´Donnell Joris, conde de Lucena, a rightist, in opposition to the parliamentary majority. He will enforce his rule by arms.
July 14, 1856: After Clara Schumann (36) learns that Robert (46) has spent the last two weeks picking names out of an atlas, and that swollen feet have confined him to bed, she goes to the insane asylum at Endenich to see for herself. As always, Dr. Franz Richarz refuses to allow her to see him, although he does inform her that her husband has less than a year to live.
July 15, 1856: Natal (Kwazulu Natal) is created a British colony separate from the Cape Colony with an elected assembly.
July 16, 1856: Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras agree to join forces to support the Nicaraguan government of Patricio Rivas in opposition to the North American adventurer William Walker, who was named president last month. They will soon be joined by Costa Rica.
July 17, 1856: Jacques Offenbach (37) publishes a call for scores in Le Figaro for a new kind of witty, satiric operetta. He is staging a contest for French composers. ”The theater that I put at your disposal asks of you only three things: that you have skill, knowledge, and ideas.” (Schwandt, 24)
July 17, 1856: Two trains collide head on near Philadelphia, killing around sixty people and injuring over 100. It is the deadliest railroad accident to date.
July 21, 1856: A musical play opens in New York entitled Nicaragua, or General Walker’s Victories. It praises the virtues of William Walker and his attempts to extend slavery into Central America.
July 27, 1856: Clara Schumann (36) returns to Endenich to see her husband (46) for the first time in two-and-a-half years. He appears to recognize her but can not communicate.
July 28, 1856: Clara Schumann (36) and Johannes Brahms (23) begin a constant vigil outside the room of Robert Schumann (46) in Endenich. “He smiled, and put his arm round me with a great effort, for he can no longer control his limbs. I shall never forget it. Not all the treasures in the world could equal this embrace.”
July 29, 1856: 16:00 Robert Schumann dies at Dr. Richarz’ insane asylum at Sebastianstraße 182 in Endenich just outside Bonn, Kingdom of Prussia, aged 46 years, one month, and 21 days. No one is in the room at the moment of his death as Clara (36) has gone to town to meet the arrival of Joseph Joachim. Although the immediate cause of death is pneumonia, he has been suffering from tertiary syphillis. “All my feelings were absorbed in thankfulness to God that he was at last set free, and as I kneeled by his bed I was filled with awe, it was as if his holy spirit was hovering over me--Ah! if only he had taken me with him.”
July 30, 1856: Dr. Franz Richarz carries out an autopsy on the body of Robert Schumann in Endenich, near Bonn.
July 31, 1856: Christchurch is granted a Royal Charter as a city, the first in New Zealand.
July 31, 1856: Le “66”, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach (37) to words of de Forges and Chapelle (under the pseudonym Laurencin), is performed for the first time, by the Bouffes-Parisiens at Salle Marigny, Paris.
July 31, 1856: 19:00 The mortal remains of Robert Schumann are laid to rest in the Alter Friedhof, Bonn in the presence of family members, Johannes Brahms (23), and Joseph Joachim, but without great ceremony. Clara Schumann (36) does not accompany the coffin to the cemetery, remaining in the chapel, weeping and praying. As the small funeral procession winds through Bonn, ordinary citizens stream towards the street. The poet Klaus Groth will remember, “…it was as if the people of Bonn, quite suddenly and involuntarily, had felt the message run through their minds that one of the noblest of Germans was on his last journey.”
August 6, 1856: The great bell for the new Palace at Westminster (Big Ben) is cast in Norton, near Stockton-on-Tees.
August 6, 1856: The Allegheny Buchanan Glee Club is founded in Pittsburgh to aid the presidential candidacy of James Buchanan. Buchanan’s brother Edward is married to the sister of the group’s musical director, Stephen Foster (30).
August 8, 1856: Riots take place in Lisbon protesting the price of food.
August 8, 1856: Deux vieilles gardes, an opérette bouffe by Léo Delibes (20) to words of Villeneuve and Lemonnier, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
August 10, 1856: An intense hurricane makes landfall on Louisiana, completely inundating the resort area of Last Island (Isle Derniere). Around 200-300 people are killed, many ships sunk. Last Island is separated into several islands.
August 11, 1856: Free Soilers raid Franklin, Kansas, a pro-slavery stronghold. Part of the town is put to the torch.
August 14, 1856: The polka L’Inconnue op.182 and the waltz Krönungslieder op.184 by Johann Strauss (30), are performed for the first time, in Pavlosvsk.
August 15, 1856: The Spanish National Militia is dissolved.
August 15, 1856: An explanation of his new process to produce inexpensive steel is published in The Engineer by British metallurgist Henry Bessemer.
August 19, 1856: Gail Borden of Brooklyn, New York receives a US patent for condensed milk.
August 21, 1856: Townsend Harris, the first ambassador from the US to Japan, arrives in Shimoda.
August 25, 1856: On Independence Day, Teatro Solís opens in Montevideo with a performance of Ernani by Giuseppe Verdi (42).
August 26, 1856: 18-year-old chemistry student William Perkin receives a British patent for mauveine, which he developed earlier this year. It is the first synthetic dye.
August 31, 1856: Franz Liszt’s (44) Missa solemnis zur Einweihung der Basilika in Gran for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra is performed for the first time, in Gran (Esztergom), 40 km northwest of Pest. 4,000 people, including Emperor Franz Joseph II and many dignitaries of state and church, are present for the consecration.
September 3, 1856: Encouraged by King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, royalists in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel occupy the castle. Republicans in the canton rally and put down the revolt, taking the royalists prisoner.
September 5, 1856: The first of several decrees by “President” William Walker of Nicaragua is announced. These decrees will impose prison terms for anyone not employed or actively seeking employment, institute indentured servitude, require land registration, and make English equal to Spanish in official use. This last will require Nicaraguans to compete with North Americans for land, in English.
September 5, 1856: Grand Duke Ludwig II of Baden is removed from the throne due to mental instability and replaced by his brother, Friedrich I.
September 8, 1856: Elias Lagerheim replaces Gustaf Nils Algernon Stierneld as Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.
September 8, 1856: Hungaria, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (44) is performed for the first time, in the National Theatre, Pest, directed by the composer. It is an enormous success.
September 8, 1856: The publication of Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka’s (52) Solemn Polonaise in versions for orchestra, two-hand piano, and four-hand piano is advertised. The work is performed today at a ball in Moscow celebrating the coronation of Tsar Alyeksandr II.
September 14, 1856: A force of North American “Walkerites” assault a Nicaraguan force on San Jacinto hill near Tipitapa. They are repulsed in great confusion.
September 14, 1856: Christian Reinhold Köstlin dies at his Tübingen home at the age of 43. He leaves Josephine Lang Köstlin (41) with six children, aged seven to 14.
September 15, 1856: Ignacio Gregorio Comonfort de los Ríos replaces Juan Álvarez as President of Mexico.
September 20, 1856: During celebrations in Helsinki for the coronation of the new Tsar, Professor FL Schauman expresses the hope that the new Tsar will call the Finnish Parliament.
September 22, 1856: “President” William Walker of Nicaragua decrees that all laws held over from the old Central American Federation are void. This is intended to reintroduce slavery.
September 23, 1856: Le financier et le savetier, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach (37) to words of Crémieux and About, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
September 24, 1856: A Nicaraguan force, followed by their Central American allies, enters Managua. “Walkerites” abandoned the town.
September 25, 1856: Claës Efraim Günther replaces Gustaf Sparre as Prime Minister for Justice of Sweden.
September 25, 1856: Krönungs-Marsch op.183 by Johann Strauss (30) is performed for the first time, in Pavlovsk.
September 26, 1856: Three months after the destruction of his shop by fire, Jacob Small Paine dies in Portland, Maine at the age of 46. The family will now have to be supported by his son, John Knowles Paine (17).
October 1, 1856: The Revue de Paris publishes the first installment of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. The publisher refuses to include a section describing Emma’s adulterous affair in the back seat of a cab.
October 3, 1856: Sigismond Thalberg (44) arrives in New York aboard the steamship Africa for an extended tour of North America.
October 4, 1856: Georges Bizet’s (17) cantata David to words of d’Albano is performed for the first time, in Paris. It was his entry in this year’s Prix de Rome competition, for which no first prize was named.
October 7, 1856: A setting of the Ave Maria (I) in F for soloists, chorus, cello, and organ by Anton Bruckner (32) is performed for the first time, at St. Florian.
October 8, 1856: The British-flagged ship Arrow is boarded by Chinese agents in Canton (Guangzhou) who arrest her entire crew of 14 Chinese. This leads to war with Great Britain and France united against China.
October 11, 1856: William Walker leads an assault on Masaya, Nicaragua. While the engagement continues, Nicaraguan troops attack Walker’s capital at Granada. He breaks off the Masaya attack to relieve Granada.
October 11, 1856: Giacomo Meyerbeer (64) is nominated a foreign member of the Accademia dell’Arte in Florence.
October 12, 1856: Ramón María Narváez y Campos, duque de Valencia replaces General Leopoldo O’Donnell Joris, conde de Lucena as Prime Minister of Spain.
October 13, 1856: Strelna Terrassen-Quadrille op.185 by Johann Strauss (30) is performed for the first time, in Pavlovsk.
October 14, 1856: La bonne d’enfants, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach (37) to words of Bercioux, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
October 14, 1856: Louis Moreau Gottschalk (27) premieres his Grande Valse poétique concertante for voice and piano in Philadelphia.
October 16, 1856: Bedrich Smetana (32) arrives in Göteborg, Sweden in hopes of employment as a piano teacher.
October 18, 1856: Carl Christopher Georg Andrae replaces Peter Georg Bang as Prime Minister of Denmark.
October 20, 1856: Modest Musorgsky (17) is enrolled as an officer in the regiment of the Preobrazhensky Guards.
October 23, 1856: Bedrich Smetana (32) gives a piano recital in Göteborg at Blom Assembly Room and is recognized as a piano virtuoso.
October 24, 1856: Responsible government is granted to the Colony of South Australia.
October 28, 1856: With seven children to support, Clara Schumann (37) gives her first concert after her husband’s death, in Karlsruhe.
October 28, 1856: Second Opium War: The Royal Navy begins a bombardment of Canton (Guanzhou).
October 28, 1856: The first railway in Portugal opens between Lisbon and Carregado.
October 29, 1856: Second Opium War: British forces fight their way into Canton (Guangzhou) but their force is too small to hold it and they return to their ships.
November 1, 1856: After Persia occupies Herat, Great Britain declares war on Persia.
November 3, 1856: Second Opium War: A British fleet begins a two-day bombardment of Canton (Guangzhou).
November 4, 1856: Voting in the United States presidential election ensures the victory of Ambassador James Buchanan of Pennsylvania over former Senator John C. Fremont of California.
November 10, 1856: Sigismond Thalberg (44) gives his first concert in the United States, at Niblo’s Saloon, New York. Originally scheduled for 20 October, it was postponed due to the presidential election. He will perform five or six nights a week for the next eight months.
November 12, 1856: Six demoiselles à marier, an opérette bouffe by Léo Delibes (20) to words of Jaime and Choler, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
November 16, 1856: Second Opium War: After Chinese shore batteries fired on a US ship, two US warships sail up the Pearl River and attack forts guarding Canton (Guangzhou). They manage to silence the Chinese guns.
November 17, 1856: Second Opium War: Their two warships in the Pearl River having run aground, Americans ask the Chinese for a cease-fire.
November 19, 1856: North American adventurer “President” William Walker of Nicaragua abandons his capital of Granada, save for 300 soldiers. Walker and the rest of the mercenaries retreat to Rivas. Those left behind, acting on Walker’s orders, begin to destroy Granada, looting and burning.
November 20, 1856: Second Opium War: US forces manage to capture the barrier forts guarding Canton (Guangzhou).
November 23, 1856: Franz Liszt (45) conducts two of his symphonic poems, Les Preludes and Orpheus, at a concert at St. Gall, Switzerland. Richard Wagner (43), who conducts the Eroica Symphony on the same program, is enormously impressed with both of them, and calls Orpheus “a totally unique masterpiece of the highest perfection.”
November 24, 1856: In an attempt to save Granada, Nicaragua from destruction, allied Central American troops attack the mercenaries in the city. Unfortunately, friction between the various groups in the coalition will delay the capture of the city into mid-December.
November 27, 1856: Grand Duke Guillaume III of Luxembourg signs a new constitution limiting liberal reforms and placing sovereignty in the Grand Duke.
December 1, 1856: Bedrich Smetana (32) opens a music school in Göteborg and attracts more students than he can enroll.
December 1, 1856: Mustafa Resid Pasha replaces Mehmed Emin Ali Pasha as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
December 2, 1856: A treaty is signed in Bayonne between France and Spain defining their border.
December 2, 1856: Opposing Zulu factions engage in the Battle of Ndondakusuka (Tugela River). Forces of Cetewayo, son of the former King Mpande, defeat his uncle Mbulazi. All of the vanquished who survive the fighting are executed.
December 2, 1856: The National Portrait Gallery is founded in London.
December 10, 1856: Anglo-Persian War: Bushire, Persia (Bushehr, Iran) surrenders to British forces.