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Yesterday marked the advent of the new Chinese calendar; the Year of the Snake. While many perceive such an event with hope for the future, it is wise to consider the past. Often times preceding events are indicators of the years to come. The first Year of the Snake in the 19th century fell on 1809.

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On a global scale it saw the signing of the Treaty of the Dardanelles and Sweden gaining its independence. On a national scale, Americans witness the inauguration of James Madison as President and Robert Fulton was awarded a patent for the steamboat. Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allen Poe, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Kit Carson were brought forth into the  world. Elsewhere, in England, the Royal Opera House is rebuilt and open to the public. Charles Darwin and Alfred, Lord Tennyson were born.

In China, it is difficult locate events for this precise year. China’s Qing Dynasty still had a little over a hundred years before its ultimate demise. The golden era for this Dynasty is acknowledged to be 1400-1800. Following the turn of the 19th century seeds of discontent were sown. “After roughly 1800, however, various factors caused China to lose its global economic leadership as it experienced social turmoil, economic fracturing, and the imposition of European imperialism.”

Here is to hoping similar tidings do not reappear for China, or any country for that matter.