January 1, 1820: Spanish army units near Seville, destined for America, revolt against the Bourbon monarchy. The revolution spreads through the country so quickly that the king is forced to restore the constitution of 1812.
January 5, 1820: Seyyid Ali Pasha replaces Dervis Mehmed Pasha as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
January 7, 1820: Ludwig van Beethoven (49) appeals to the Imperial Royal Court of Appeal of Lower Austria to reverse the decision of the lower court of 17 September 1819 which placed his nephew in the custody of the boy's mother and a court-appointed guardian.
January 9, 1820: Heinrich August Marschner (24) marries for the second time, to Eugenie Franziska Jaeggi, an accomplished pianist, the daughter of a valet, in Pressburg (Bratislava).
January 12, 1820: The Royal Astronomical Society is founded by 14 gentlemen in Freemason's Tavern, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.
January 20, 1820: Landgrave Friedrich V of Hesse-Homburg dies in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe and is succeeded by his son Friedrich VI.
January 22, 1820: Edward Bransfield, on a Royal Navy expedition, lands on King George Island in the South Shetlands and claims it for Britain.
January 22, 1820: Portuguese troops destroy an Uruguayan army at the Tacuarembó River, temporarily ending resistance to Portuguese occupation.
January 25, 1820: The Antiquary, a musical play with music by Henry R. Bishop (33) to words of Pocock and Terry after Scott, is performed for the first time, in Covent Garden, London.
January 27, 1820: Le bergère châtelaine, an opéra comique by Daniel Auber (37) to words of Planard, is performed for the first time, in the Théâtre Feydeau, Paris. It is his first success.
January 28, 1820: A Russian government expedition led by Thaddeus von Bellingshausen reaches a furthest south at 69°25’S and 1°11’ W when they are halted by the Fimbul Ice Shelf. But from their position they can see the Antarctic continent, the first human beings in recorded history to do so.
January 29, 1820: 20:32 King George III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of Hannover, dies at Windsor Castle, and is succeeded by his son, George IV.
January 30, 1820: Sent south on a private venture by Captain Shireff, RN, Edward Bransfield, in command of the British merchant ship Williams, sights and lands on the Trinity Peninsula on the northern tip of Graham Land.
February 1, 1820: Under a plan put forth by economist David Ricardo, the Bank of England begins issuing gold ingots to be used by merchants to make foreign payments in gold. They will be very successful.
February 1, 1820: Adrien Boieldieu (44) is named Professor of Composition at the Paris Conservatoire.
February 2, 1820: Lowell Mason (28) is officially appointed organist at the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah, Georgia, although he has been performing that function for five years.
February 6, 1820: Royalists in Valdivia, Chile surrender to rebel naval forces.
February 6, 1820: 86 freed slaves sail from New York to Sierra Leone aboard the Mayflower of Liberia.
February 12, 1820: Acting on the wishes of King George, the British cabinet removes the name of Queen Caroline from the weekly liturgy of the Church of England
February 13, 1820: In an attempt to extinguish the Bourbon line, an admirer of Napoléon, Louis Louvel, stabs the heir presumptive to the French throne, the Duc de Berry, nephew of King Louis XVIII at the Paris Opéra. He dies a few hours later. Following this incident, King Louis XVIII will decree the demolition of the theatre (Théâtre National de la Rue de la Loi), and the Paris Opéra will move from this theatre, its home since 1794, to the Salle Favart.
February 18, 1820: Ludwig van Beethoven (49) dates a memorandum as part of his appeal of the ruling of last 17 September. It is 48 pages long.
February 18, 1820: Following the assassination of the Duc de Berry, a more hard line Armand Emmanuel du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu replaces Élie, Comte de Decazes as Prime Minister of France.
February 23, 1820: British authorities break into a meeting of Arthur Thistlewood and about 25 of his associates in Cato Street, London just before they hatch a plot to kill the entire cabinet at a dinner at the residence of Lord Harrowby. It is known as the Cato Street Conspiracy. Thistlewood kills a constable and escapes.
February 24, 1820: Arthur Thistlewood, leader of a plot to kill the British cabinet, is apprehended by London police.
February 27, 1820: A devastating fire virtually destroys the settlement of Ponce, Puerto Rico.
March 3, 1820: The Missouri Compromise is passed by the United States Congress. Slavery will be allowed in Missouri, but nowhere else west of the Mississippi north of 36°30’ latitude. Missouri will be admitted as a slave state, Maine as a free state.
March 6, 1820: Louis Spohr (35) appears as soloist in a concert with the Philharmonic Society Orchestra, delayed because of the death of King George III. He is judged one of the great violinists and composers of the age.
March 7, 1820: Three days after his sister Fanny (14), Felix Mendelssohn (10) begins writing down his compositions in his new music album.
March 9, 1820: The Royal Palace being surrounded by rebellious troops, King Fernando VII of Spain accepts the Constitution of 1812 and abolishes the Inquisition.
March 9, 1820: One of Ludwig van Beethoven’s (49) most loyal patrons, Archduke Rudolf, is installed as a cardinal in Olmütz. The composer intended his Missa Solemnis for the occasion, but he has not finished it.
March 15, 1820: Maine becomes the 23rd state of the United States.
March 15, 1820: Publication of the Sonata for piano and violin op.5 by Jan Václav Vorísek (28) is advertised in the Wiener Zeitung.
March 18, 1820: Evaristo Pérez de Castro Brito replaces Joaquín José Melgarejo y Saurín, duque de San Fernando de Quiroga as First Secretary of State of Spain.
March 22, 1820: Two navy men, Stephen Decatur and James Barron, fight a duel in Bladensburg, Maryland. Decatur, hero of the war against Tripoli, sat on the court martial which expelled Barron from the navy for a term of five years. Both men are wounded, but Decatur dies a few hours later in Washington. Barron will recover and be reinstated next year to the navy.
March 24, 1820: Gioachino Rossini’s (28) Messa di gloria is performed for the first time, in San Ferdinando, Naples.
March 24, 1820: Marche funebre et De profundis for chorus and orchestra by Fromental Halévy (20) is performed for the first time, in the rue Sainte-Avoye synagogue, Paris. The work is part of nationwide mourning over the murder of the Duc de Berry.
March 28, 1820: Six Antiphons for the consecration of Palms on Palm Sunday D.696 for mixed choir by Franz Schubert (23) are performed for the first time, in the Altlerchenfelder Kirche, Vienna. They were all composed two days ago in the space of 30 minutes.
March 29, 1820: A hearing is held in the appellate court in Vienna in the case of the guardianship of Karl van Beethoven.
March 30, 1820: The hard-line French government of Armand du Plessis, duc de Richelieu reinstitutes press censorship.
April 1, 1820: Principles of Political Economy by Thomas Robert Malthus is published early this month in London.
April 1, 1820: A group calling itself the Committee of Organisation for forming a Provisional Government post a proclamation throughout southern and western Scotland calling for a general strike in favor of workers’ rights. Approximately 60,000 workers join the strike.
April 4, 1820: The first group of missionaries from Boston arrives in Hawaii.
April 5, 1820: A number of Scottish radicals are defeated at Bonnymuir during the workers’ insurrection.
April 5, 1820: A setting of the Agnus Dei by Carl Maria von Weber (33) is performed for the first time, as part of Carlo, a play by von Blankensee, in Berlin.
April 7, 1820: An overture by Franz Schubert (23), probably D.648, is performed in Graz. This is the first time a composition by Schubert is heard outside Vienna.
April 8, 1820: A crowd rescues some radical leaders being transported to Greenock gaol in Scotland. Eleven people are killed.
April 8, 1820: The Imperial Royal Court of Appeal of Lower Austria overturns a lower court decision and rules that Karl van Beethoven be taken from the care of his mother and placed under the joint guardianship of his uncle Ludwig (49) and Karl Peters.
April 8, 1820: A statue of Aphrodite (now known as Venus de Milo) is discovered on the Aegean island of Milos.
April 10, 1820: The first British settlers in South Africa land at Algoa Bay.
April 10, 1820: The Symphony no.2 by Louis Spohr (36) is performed for the first time, in London under the direction of the composer. Spohr “conducts” the Philharmonic Society by waving his bow at them.
April 14, 1820: Five weeks of voting conclude in the British general election. The Tories of the Earl of Liverpool are returned to power with a healthy majority.
April 21, 1820: During a lecture at the University of Copenhagen, Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted notices that a compass needle jumps when held near a wire through which electricity is passing. It points perpendicular to the current. When he reverses the current, the compass needle reverses likewise. This begins the study of electromagnetism and opens a floodgate of rapid discovery.
April 22, 1820: Henri Quatre, or Paris in the Olden Time, a musical romance with music by Henry R. Bishop (33) to words of Morton, is performed for the first time, in Covent Garden, London.
April 24, 1820: Four pieces for harp by Carl Maria von Weber (33) are performed for the first time, as part of Der Leuchtthurm, a play by von Houwald, in the Dresden Hoftheater.
May 1, 1820: Arthur Thistlewood and four of his associates are hanged for conspiring to kill the entire British cabinet last February. Théodore Géricault is present and immortalizes the event in his drawing Public Hanging in London.
May 3, 1820: Montoni, or The Phantom, a dramatic piece with music by Henry R. Bishop (33) to words of Shiel, is performed for the first time, in Covent Garden, London.
May 4, 1820: The Dawning of Music in Kentucky, or The Pleasures of Harmony in the Solitudes of Nature, Opera Prima, is copyrighted by its author Anton Philipp Heinrich (39).
May 6, 1820: Because of the uncertain political situation in Spain, royalist General Pedro Morillo y Morillo declares a unilateral 40-day cease fire in Colombia and Venezuela. All other combatants agree.
May 15, 1820: In the final act of the Congress of Vienna, the Bundestag passes the German Constitution of 65 articles, under the direction of Metternich. It is a very conservative repressive document and authorizes larger German states to interfere in the affairs of smaller ones.
May 15, 1820: The United States Congress establishes the penalty of death for the importation of slaves.
May 20, 1820: Karl Ludwig Sand is beheaded in Mannheim for the murder of August von Kotzebue.
May 22, 1820: The Battle of Bothwell Brigg, a musical romance with music by Henry R. Bishop (33) to words of Farley after Scott, is performed for the first time, in Covent Garden, London.
May 23, 1820: Publication of Muzio Clementi’s (68) Piano Sonata op.46 is entered at Stationers’ Hall, London.
May 25, 1820: Despite mutinies in their own ranks, rebels destroy a larger royalist force at Laguna Salada, Colombia.
May 28, 1820: A royalist army reoccupies Jujuy, Argentina.
May 31, 1820: A royalist army reoccupies Salta, Argentina.
June 4, 1820: Queen Caroline of Great Britain meets with Henry Brougham and Lord Hutchinson at St. Omer, France. They implore her not to return to Britain and offer her £50,000 per year if she agrees not to enter any domain of the British Empire. She has been accused of carrying on an affair with her Italian chamberlain, Bartolommeo Pergami. The Queen refuses the offer and proceeds to Calais.
June 5, 1820: Queen Caroline arrives at Dover from Calais on a public ship. She is met by a large, cheering crowd.
June 6, 1820: Queen Caroline travels from Dover to London with ever increasing crowds along the way cheering her on. In London she stays at the house of Alderman Matthew Wood. Supporting crowds surround the house for two days.
June 6, 1820: Rebels attack and defeat royalists at Pitayó, Colombia.
June 7, 1820: Louis Louvel is put to death by guillotine for the murder of the Duc de Berry, heir apparent to the French throne.
June 8, 1820: A rebel force attacks royalists southeast of Salta, Argentina, forcing them back to the city. The royalists will soon abandon Salta.
June 14, 1820: Franz Schubert’s (23) singspiel Die Zwillingsbrüder D.647 to words of Hofmann is performed for the first time, in the Kärntnertortheater, Vienna. It will receive six performances.
June 25, 1820: Rebel vessels defeat a Spanish force at Tenerife, Colombia. Due to the wholesale slaughter by the rebels, only 27 of 300 Spaniards are captured alive.
July 1, 1820: Today marks the last appearance of Muzio Clementi (68) at a meeting of the London Philharmonic Society.
July 1, 1820: Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes, and other Poems by John Keats is published in London.
July 2, 1820: Two junior officers, members of the Order of the Carbonari, lead their troops on Naples in an attempt to force King Ferdinando to grant a constitution. Other army units soon join them.
July 5, 1820: Leaders of disaffected Neapolitans demand of King Ferdinando that he grant a constitution.
July 5, 1820: A bill is introduced in the British House of Lords, accusing Queen Caroline of adultery, to strip her of the title of Queen and possibly to end the marriage between her and King George.
July 7, 1820: King Ferdinando of The Two Sicilies promises a liberal constitution.
July 9, 1820: General Guglielmo Pepe, leader of the Neapolitan revolt, enters the city at the head of his rebel troops.
July 10, 1820: Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (16) plays a piano concerto at the graduation ceremonies of the Boarding School of the Nobility, St. Petersburg.
July 13, 1820: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his sons swear allegiance to the new constitution.
July 16, 1820: In Paris, Abraham Mendelssohn writes to his daughter Fanny (14), “Music will perhaps become his (Felix) profession, while for you it can and must be only an ornament, never the root of your being and doing.”
July 19, 1820: Heinrich IV und d’Aubigné, a grosse Oper by Heinrich August Marschner (24) to words of Hornbostel, is performed for the first time, in Dresden Hoftheater.
July 21, 1820: Hans Christian Ørsted publishes his findings of 21 April in the Annales de Chimie et de Physique, Paris. He first observed the relationship between electricity and magnetism.
July 24, 1820: After four-and-a-half years of litigation, the case of Karl van Beethoven is declared closed by the court.
July 26, 1820: Complete freedom of the press is proclaimed in Naples. At the same time, Prince Metternich announces that the Neapolitan revolution will not stand.
July 26, 1820: Amidst great celebrations, the Union Chain Bridge opens over the River Tweed between Berwick and Coldstream. At 133 meters, it is the longest iron suspension bridge yet built.
July 31, 1820: The overture to Carl Maria von Weber’s (33) Der Freischütz is performed for the first time, in Halle. The opera is completely composed, but the premiere has been postponed due to construction delays at the new Schauspielhaus in Berlin. Also heard for the first time is the overture to Weber’s incidental music to Preciosa.
August 1, 1820: Regent’s Canal opens in London linking the Paddington arm of the Grand Junction Canal to the Thames.
August 1, 1820: Prometheus Unbound : A Lyrical Drama with Other Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley is published this month. Among the the other poems is Ode to the West Wind.
August 5, 1820: An Overture alla Irlandese by Henry R. Bishop (33) is performed for the first time, in Dublin.
August 13, 1820: Field Marshall William Carr Beresford, Duke of Elvas, administrator of Portugal, sails for Brazil to visit the absent King João.
August 17, 1820: A public enquiry into the alleged adultery of Queen Caroline begins in the House of Lords. The Queen makes a triumphal trip to the House in a state carriage through cheering throngs.
August 19, 1820: Evidence begins to be heard in the House of Lords in the matter of Queen Caroline’s alleged adultery. It will continue for several months.
August 19, 1820: Die Zauberharfe D.644, a melodrama by Franz Schubert (23) to words of von Hofmann, is performed for the first time, in the Theater an der Wien, Vienna. The overture is from the composer’s music for Rosamunde.
August 20, 1820: A setting of Spiritus meus by Antonio Salieri (70) is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
August 24, 1820: A revolution against the Bragança dynasty of Portugal begins among liberal army officers in Porto. A rebel junta is set up in the city led by Brigadier António da Silveira Pinto da Fonseca.
August 30, 1820: James Wilson is hanged and beheaded before 20,000 people in Glasgow for his part in the Radical War of last April.
August 31, 1820: Radical leader Major Rafael de Riego makes a triumphal entry into Madrid in support of the 1812 constitution.
September 2, 1820: Emperor Yung Yen of China dies at his summer palace in Jehol (Chengde).
September 4, 1820: French physicist François Arago presents Ørsted’s findings about electricity and magnetism to the French Academy in Paris.
September 7, 1820: The Attorney-General rests his case against Queen Caroline in the House of Lords. She responds by sailing down the Thames in her state barge. An estimated 200,000 people view the procession.
September 7, 1820: A Chilean/Argentine army disembarks at Paracas Bay, Peru and proceeds to capture the royalist garrison at Pisco.
September 8, 1820: Andrew Hardie and John Baird are hanged and beheaded in Stirling before 20,000 people for their part in the Radical War of last April.
September 15, 1820: Liberal riots occur in Lisbon in sympathy with those in Porto last month. A rebel junta takes over in the capital deposing the Regency Council and Field Marshall William Carr Beresford, Duke of Elvas.
September 16, 1820: German physicist Johann Salomo Christoph Schweigger presents a paper at the University of Halle describing his electromagnetic experiments. He finds that the strength of a current running through a wire can be measured based on the amount of deflection of a compass needle, in effect creating a galvanometer.
September 18, 1820: André-Marie Ampère presents a paper to the French Academy outlining his findings based on those of the Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted. Wires carrying electric current show magnetic properties. Over the next few months Ampère will lay the foundation for the science of electrodynamics.
September 26, 1820: Daniel Boone dies near present Defiance, Missouri at the age of 85.
September 27, 1820: The two rebel juntas in Portugal meet in Alcobaça and create one provisional government led by Bishop Gomes Freire de Andrade.
September 28, 1820: Widerschein D.639, a song by Franz Schubert (23) to words of Schlechta, is published in the Taschenbuch zum geselligen Vergnügen, Leipzig.
October 1, 1820: Fanny (14) and Felix (11) Mendelssohn join the Berlin Singakademie as altos.
October 1, 1820: The first constitutional parliament for The Two Sicilies convenes in Naples.
October 3, 1820: The defense of Queen Caroline opens before the House of Lords.
October 3, 1820: Min Ning succeeds his father Yung Yen as Emperor of China.
October 4, 1820: Carl Maria von Weber (33) performs before the King and Queen of Denmark at Fredriksborg.
October 4, 1820: A rebel contingent marches out of Pisco, Peru into the Andes to encourage insurrection.
October 6, 1820: Two British frigates enter the bay of Naples in support of the status quo.
October 9, 1820: During a cholera outbreak in Manila, and amidst rumors that foreigners poisoned the drinking water, Filipinos run amok, killing 39 foreigners.
October 9, 1820: The British government reattaches Cape Breton to Nova Scotia.
October 10, 1820: Field Marshall William Carr Beresford, Duke of Elvas returns from Brazil but is not allowed to disembark by the revolutionary government.
October 20, 1820: Representatives of the major powers meet at Troppau (Opava, Czech Republic) to discuss what to do about liberal revolutions, especially Naples. Attending are Tsar Alyeksandr I of Russia, Emperor Franz I of Austria, and Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia. Lower level officials represent Great Britain and France.
October 28, 1820: The rebel army under San Martín, having been transported by sea from Pisco, disembarks at Ancón, 50 km northwest of Lima.
November 2, 1820: The last phase of the “trial” of Queen Caroline begins in the House of Lords.
November 4, 1820: Carl Maria von Weber (33) and his wife Caroline Brandt return to Dresden after a successful concert tour of Germany.
November 5, 1820: Rebel warships attack and capture a Spanish frigate in the harbor of Callao.
November 8, 1820: Twelfth Night, a comedy with music by Henry R. Bishop (33) to words of Reynolds after Shakespeare, is performed for the first time, in Covent Garden, London.
November 10, 1820: After a “trial” of over two months, a vote on the third reading of the bill against Queen Caroline takes place in the House of Lords. The bill is approved 108-99, but the margin is so small, it is abandoned by the government and not introduced in the House of Commons. Spontaneous celebrations go on for three days throughout the country.
November 12, 1820: Having once again been transported by sea, San Martín’s rebel army lands at Huacho, Peru.
November 13, 1820: The second round of voting in elections to the French legislature take place. Royalists win 187 seats, Liberals 33.
November 14, 1820: Margherita d’Anjou, a melodramma semiserio by Giacomo Meyerbeer (29) to words of Romani after Pixérécourt, is performed for the first time, in Teatro alla Scala, Milan. It receives great popular and critical success.
November 19, 1820: Austria, Prussia, and Russia issue the Protocol of Troppau. They bind themselves together against liberal revolutions, peaceful or otherwise.
November 20, 1820: Elections are held by the revolutionary government of Portugal to a new Cortes.
November 20, 1820: Almost 4,000 km west of Ecuador, the Nantucket whaler Essex is rammed twice by a whale and destroyed. The 20 survivors begin a three-month odyssey.
November 20, 1820: King Ferdinando I of The Two Sicilies is summoned to Laibach (Ljubljana) to confer with Emperor Franz I of Austria, King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, and Tsar Alyeksandr I of Russia.
November 26, 1820: After a successful first performance in October in Oedenburg (Sopron), Franz Liszt (9) appears in a noon concert in Pressburg (Bratislava). Both concerts were arranged by Liszt’s father, Adam, who timed this performance to coincide with a meeting of the Hungarian Diet, when many important notables are in the city. The mostly upper class audience is delighted and impressed.
November 26, 1820: A six-month truce is arranged between royalist and revolutionary forces at Trujillo (Venezuela).
December 1, 1820: Franz Schubert’s (23) song Erlkönig to words of Goethe is performed for the first time outside the Schubert circle, in the home of Ignaz Sonnleithner, Vienna. Listeners wonder why this composer is not published.
December 3, 1820: Maometto II, a dramma by Gioachino Rossini (28) to words of della Valle, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples. It is not well received.
December 6, 1820: Rebels defeat and scatter a royalist force at Cerro de Pasco in the Peruvian Andes.
December 6, 1820: Upon receiving the letter of 20 November, summoning him to Laibach, King Ferdinando of The Two Sicilies immediately consults Parliament who give him leave to attend.
December 9, 1820: Die Forelle D.550, a song by Franz Schubert (23) to words of Schubart, is published in Zeitschrift für Kunst, Vienna.
December 11, 1820: Die Soldatenliebschaft, a singspiel by Felix Mendelssohn (11) to words of Casper, is performed for the first time, with piano accompaniment, at the Mendelssohn home in Berlin for the fiftieth birthday of the composer’s father. See 3 February 1821.
December 13, 1820: King Ferdinando leaves Naples for the absolutist conference at Laibach (Ljubljana).
December 15, 1820: Giacomo Meyerbeer (29) signs a contract with Giovanni Paterni of the Teatro Argentina, Rome, to compose an opera entitled Almanzore to be performed next February. It will never be performed.
December 17, 1820: George Canning resigns as President of the Board of Trade. He opposes the actions taken against the Queen.
December 17, 1820: The first edition of John Bull, edited by Thomas Hook, is published. It is intended to attack Queen Caroline and the enemies of King George IV.
December 18, 1820: L’auteur mort et vivant, an opéra comique by Louis Joseph Ferdinand Hérold (29) to words of Planard, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Feydeau, Paris.
December 20, 1820: A new law in South Carolina forbids the freeing of any slave without formal consent of the state legislature. Free Blacks are barred from entering the state.