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9 Important Events That Happened in 1901

Updated on June 30, 2016

Marlene Dietrich was born in 1901


1. The crash of the New York Stock Exchange

  • The New York Stock Exchange crashed for the first time in history in 1901. Known as the Panic of 1901, the cause of the crash was partly due to a struggle for the financial control of a railway line, the Northern Pacific Railway. When an agreement was reached at last, many small investors have already lost everything.
  • Not all companies were affected badly; those who were seriously affected were the likes of United States Steel, Missouri Pacific, and Amalgamated Copper. Northern Pacific against all odds showed a gain of more than 16 points.

2. The Great Fire of 1901

  • The Great Fire of 1901 was considered a conflagration, i.e. a great and uncontrolled fire, one that threatened to take human life and did just that. To this day, it is regarded as the biggest fire in a metropolitan area in Southern America.The Great Fire left a wake of destruction in Jacksonville, Florida; it destroyed 2,368 buildings covering 146 city blocks and left approximately 10,000 people homeless – all in the span of eight hours. Seven people lost their lives.
  • The fire started at lunchtime; a spark flew from a kitchen and ignited drying Spanish moss nearby. All attempts by factory workers to distinguish the fire, proved to be futile. And when a wind started up from the east, there was no stopping it and the fire ran away from the people who tried to contain it.

The devastation after the Great Fire of 1901


3. Black Sea Earthquake

  • Another important event that happened in 1901 was the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred in the area of the Black Sea. The quake caused a tsunami of about 5 m which caused havoc along the coasts of Romania. Secondary earthquakes were felt for many years afterwards, up until 1905 in fact; the largest one registered an astonishing 6.0 on the Richter scale.

4. Australia unites and becomes a Commonwealth

  • On the very first day of the year 1901, Australia became the Commonwealth of Australia. This came to pass when the six colonies i.e. Southern Australia, Western Australia, New Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and Queensland joined forces and became a federation. Interestingly enough, this happened after long hours of discussions and debates; in many other instances, countries became united only after years of war and conflict, America and the American Civil War is a case in point.
  • The 6 colonies functioned as independent states up until that time and that caused problems for trade. Specifically with the railway where each state had its own gauges and the transporting of goods became problematic. It only made sense to combine forces and effort.


Queen Elizabeth greets members of the public after becoming Britain's longest reigning monarch


5. The death of Queen Victoria

  • Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901 after having ruled Britain for an astonishing 63 years, 7 months, 2 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes, a total of 23,226 days - the longest reign of any other British monarch. It stands to reason that her death was a blow to the nation. Her death was also the end of the Victorian era.

She and her husband Albert reigned together for 20 years until his early death at the age of 42. From that day, she wore exclusively black for the rest of her life. Victoria and Albert had nine children and their eldest son, Edward VII, succeeded her to the throne.

  • On 9 September 2015 however, Queen Elizabeth II surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become the longest reigning British monarch. Elizabeth became Queen at the age of 25 and reached this milestone at 89.


6. Nobel Prizes are awarded for the first time

Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor, engineer and industrialist, invented dynamite. He did not want to be remembered for that fact though. As a result, the bulk of his will was put aside to award prizes for 5 areas of achievements during a year, namely peace, literature, physiology or medicine, chemistry, and physics.

  • The first of the prizes was awarded on 10 December 1901 and although the intention was that the prizes should be awarded every year, there were a number of factors that prevented this. Wars played a role as did the fact that there were not always worthy contestants.

The will that changed it all


7. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s has been named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, the first person to identify and treat the disease of dementia. The first known patient diagnosed with this disease was Auguste Dexter. Dr. Alzheimer followed her deterioration from 1901 until her death in 1906.

  • Many well-known people have suffered from and succumb to the disease, namely Ronald Regan and Charlton Heston. The onset and cure of the disease is not known although there are factors that play a role, things like genetics and an active mind and body.

A brain with and without Alzheimer's


8. Trans-Atlantic radio signals

  • On 12 December 1901 the very first radio signal was transmitted and heard over a distance of more than 2,000 km. The Morse-code “s” was transmitted from Cornwell in England and heard in Newfoundland, Canada. That put to rest the idea that a radio signal will not travel over the curvature of earth.
  • Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian who achieved this, received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1909, a prize that he shared in that year with the German radio inventor Ferdinand Braun.

9. Assassination of President McKinley

  • American President William McKinley, the 25th American President, was shot during a visit to the Temple of Music in New York. Although the attempted assassination took place on 6 September, McKinley only died on the 14th due to gangrene in his wounds. The assassin, an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz, shot the president twice during a meet and greet session at the temple. He received the death penalty for his actions.

President McKinley was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt, Vice President at the time. It was after this assassination that the Secret Service started with the protection of the presidents.


Famous births in 1901

Marlene Dietrich, famous actress, was born on 27 December 1901.

Walt Disney, film producer, was born on 5 December.

Louis Armstrong, jazz singer, was born 4 August.

Barbara Cartland, novelist, was born 9 July.

Gary Cooper, actor, was born 7 May.


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    • esja profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from South Africa

      Yes, interesting thought...

      Thanks Hazel.

    • Hazel Abee profile image

      Hazel Abee 

      4 years ago from Malaysia

      Very interesting .. shall share with others ... so wondering what would be history of 2001 .. exactly 1 millennium

    • esja profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for taking the time to read it.

      Much appreciated!

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      This is an awesome hub and ejoyed reading it. Thanks

    • esja profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from South Africa

      As a matter of fact, it seems that the Christ scenario has been played out during the time of the pharaohs. Make no mistake, I am a Christian but the parallels are scary. Since the market crash in 1901, we had a couple more as well, the last one in 2008.

      Thanks for your great feedback.


    • poetryman6969 profile image


      4 years ago

      One of the things you learn my taking a stroll down someone's memory lane is that the world has been "destroyed" and remade several times in several places. In other words, the economic system has appeared to collapse, long reigning monarchs have passed away, and still the world keeps rolling on. From this I gather that when someone says: The end of world is near! What they mean is that the end of the construct is near. A new construct will take its place. And it is possible that no one will remember your great "disaster" in 100 years.


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