Civil War Blog

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Events of the World: August 1864

Posted By on August 31, 2014

August 1. The National Watch Company was formed in Chicago, Illinois. This company would become known as the Elgin Watch Company and would remain in business from 1864-1968. For nearly 100 years the company’s manufacturing complex in Elgin, IL was the largest site dedicated to watchmaking in the world. Though Elgin-branded watches are still produced today by a company in China, watches made since 1968 have no relation to the original company. 



August 10. The Uruguayan War (August 1864 – February 1865) was fought between Uruguay‘s governing Blanco Party and an alliance consisting of the Empire of Brazil and the Uruguayan Colorado Party, covertly supported by Argentina. Since its independence, Uruguay had been ravaged by intermittent struggles between the Colorado and Blanco factions, each attempting to seize and maintain power in turn. On 10 August, after a Brazilian ultimatum was refused, Saraiva declared that Brazil’s military would begin exacting reprisals. Brazil declined to acknowledge a formal state of war, and for most of its duration, the Uruguayan–Brazilian armed conflict was an undeclared war.

 August 20. John Newlands  was the first person to devise a periodic table of elements arranged in order of their relative atomic weights.  In 1865 he published  his ‘Law of octaves’, which stated that “any given element will exhibit analogous behavior to the eighth element following it in the table.” Newlands arranged all of the known elements into seven groups, which he likened to the octaves of music. In Newlands’ table, the elements were ordered by the atomic weights that were known at the time and were numbered sequentially to show their order. Periods were shown going down the table, with groups going across – the opposite from the modern form of the periodic table. The incompleteness of the table alluded to the possible existence of additional, undiscovered elements, such as the element germanium, which was predicted by Newlands. At the time, his ‘Law of octaves’ was ridiculed by his contemporaries. The Society of Chemists did not accept his work for publication. After Dmitri Mendeleev and Lothar Meyer received the Davy Medal from the Royal Society for their later ‘discovery’ of the Periodic table, Newlands fought for recognition of his earlier work and eventually received the Davy medal in 1887.

August 22.  The First Geneva Convention, for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, is one of four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It defines “the basis on which rest the rules of international law for the protection of the victims of armed conflicts.”The Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field was adopted in 1864. It was significantly revised and replaced by the 1906 version, the 1929 version, and later the First Geneva Convention of 1949. It is inextricably linked to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is both the instigator for the inception and enforcer of the articles in these conventions.





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