The year was 1824 and an early winter in Russia spelled disaster. An ice jam that formed on the Neva River near St. Petersburg in November broke loose after a warm spell unleashing a flood of icy water into that city. An estimated 10,000 lives were lost in the frigid waters, as was much of the cityâ€™s rich cultural heritage. Even the czarâ€™s palace was damaged.
In Edinburgh, Scotland, a series of devastating fires in previous years led to the formation of the Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, the first municipal fire brigade in the UK.Â That brigade would be put to the test in its first year when a series of fires broke out near the center of Edinburgh. Ten people were killed and an estimated 500 families were left homeless.
Formerly known as New Holland, the British Penal colony formally adopted the name of Australia.
In Canada, with a lack of roads and trails, waterways provided the most efficient mode of transportation. However, the barrier posed by Niagara Falls made the passage between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie difficult. To get around it, a canal was proposed and in 1824 work began on the first Welland Canal. It opened for business five years later.Â
In the U.S., the election of 1824 saw four men of the same party running for presidentâ€”John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and William Henry Crawford. After a campaign filled with mudslinging, Andrew Jackson came out ahead in the popular vote, but because no candidate won the majority in the Electoral College, the selection of the president was turned over to the House of Representatives. The three candidates with the most electoral votes were up for consideration–Adams, Jackson, and Crawford. The fourth, Henry Clay, happened to be the Speaker of the House and there were rumors of a deal that would sway the election in exchange for Clay getting the appointment to Secretary of State. The House only took one ballot to select Adams as president, and when he tapped Clay as Secretary of State, many were outraged. The cry of a â€œCorrupt Bargainâ€ would be heard throughout the next four years until the election of 1828 when Andrew Jackson would prevail.