Britain's overseas possessions grew rapidly in the first half of the century, especially with the expansion of vast territories in Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, and in the last two decades of the century in Africa. By the end of the century, the British controlled a fifth of the world's land and one-quarter of the world's population. During the post-Napoleonic era, it enforced what became known as the
Pax Britannica, which had ushered in unprecedented
globalization on a massive scale.
The 19th century was an era of rapidly accelerating
scientific discovery and
invention, with significant developments in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, electricity, and metallurgy that laid the groundwork for the technological advances of the 20th century. The
Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain and spread to continental Europe, North America, and Japan. The
Victorian era was notorious for the employment of young children in factories and mines, as well as strict
social norms regarding modesty and gender roles. Japan embarked on a program of rapid modernization following the
Meiji Restoration, before defeating China, under the
Qing dynasty, in the
First Sino-Japanese War.
Advances in medicine and the understanding of human anatomy and disease prevention took place in the 19th century, and were partly responsible for rapidly accelerating
population growth in the
Western world. Europe's population doubled during the 19th century, from approximately 200 million to more than 400 million. The introduction of
railroads provided the first major advancement in land transportation for centuries, changing the way people lived and obtained goods, and fuelling major
urbanization movements in countries across the globe. Numerous cities worldwide surpassed populations of a million or more during this century. London became the world's
largest city and capital of the British Empire. Its population increased from 1 million in 1800 to 6.7 million a century later. The last remaining undiscovered landmasses of Earth, including vast expanses of interior
explored during this century, and with the exception of the extreme zones of the Arctic and Antarctic, accurate and detailed maps of the globe were available by the 1890s.
Liberalism became the pre-eminent
reform movement in Europe.
Arab slave traders and their captives along the Ruvuma river (in today's Tanzania and Mozambique), 19th century
The 19th century was remarkable in the widespread formation of new
settlement foundations which were particularly prevalent across North America and Australia, with a significant proportion of the two continents' largest cities being founded at some point in the century.
Chicago in the
United States and
Melbourne in Australia were non-existent in the earliest decades but grew to become the 2nd largest cities in the United States and British Empire respectively by the end of the century. In the 19th century, approximately 70 million people left Europe, with most migrating to the United States.
The 19th century also saw the rapid creation, development, and codification of many sports, particularly in Britain and the United States.
baseball, and many other sports were developed during the 19th century, while the British Empire facilitated the rapid spread of sports such as
cricket to many different parts of the world. Also,
women's fashion was a very sensitive topic during this time, as women showing their ankles was viewed to be scandalous.
The boundaries set by the Congress of Vienna, 1815.
After Napoleon's defeat, the
Congress of Vienna was held to determine new national borders. The
Concert of Europe attempted to preserve this settlement was established to preserve these borders, with limited impact.
The first revolution began in
January in Sicily.[clarification needed] Revolutions then spread across Europe after a separate revolution began in
France in February. Over 50 countries were affected, but with no coordination or cooperation among their respective revolutionaries.
According to Evans and von Strandmann (2000), some of the major contributing factors were widespread dissatisfaction with political leadership, demands for more participation in government and democracy, demands for freedom of the press, other demands made by the working class, the upsurge of nationalism, and the regrouping of established government forces.
Taiping Rebellion was the bloodiest conflict of the 19th century, leading to the deaths of around 20-30 million people. Its leader,
Hong Xiuquan, declared himself the younger brother of
Jesus Christ and developed a new Chinese religion known as the
God Worshipping Society. After proclaiming the establishment of the
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in 1851, the Taiping army conquered a large part of China, capturing
Nanjing in 1853. In 1864, after the death of Hong Xiuquan,
Qing forces recaptured Nanjing and ended the rebellion.
By 1872, the Japanese government under
Emperor Meiji had
eliminated the daimyō system and established a strong central government. Further reforms included the abolishment of the
samurai class, rapid industrialization and modernization of government, closely following European models.
In Africa, European exploration and technology led to the colonization of almost the entire continent by 1898. New medicines such as
quinine and more advanced
firearms allowed European nations to conquer native populations.
Motivations for the
Scramble for Africa included national pride, desire for raw materials, and Christian missionary activity. Britain seized control of Egypt to ensure control of the
Suez Canal, but
Ethiopia defeated Italy in the
First Italo–Ethiopian War at the
Battle of Adwa. France, Belgium, Portugal, and Germany also had substantial colonies. The
Berlin Conference of 1884–1885 attempted to reach agreement on colonial borders in Africa, but disputes continued, both amongst European powers and in resistance by the native populations.
diamonds were discovered in the
Kimberley region of South Africa. In 1886, gold was discovered in
Transvaal. This led to colonization in Southern Africa by the British and business interests, led by
1830: End of the Java War. The whole area of Yogyakarta and Surakarta Manca nagara Dutch seized. 27 September, Klaten Agreement determines a fixed boundary between Surakarta and Yogyakarta and permanently divide the kingdom of Mataram was signed by Sasradiningrat, Pepatih Dalem Surakarta, and Danurejo, Pepatih Dalem Yogyakarta. Mataram is a de facto and de yure controlled by the Dutch East Indies.
Distinguished Men of Science. Use your cursor to see who is who.
The 19th century saw the birth of science as a profession; the term scientist was coined in 1833 by
William Whewell, which soon replaced the older term of natural philosopher. Among the most influential ideas of the 19th century were those of
Charles Darwin (alongside the independent researches of
Alfred Russel Wallace), who in 1859 published the book The Origin of Species, which introduced the idea of
natural selection. Another important landmark in medicine and biology were the successful efforts to prove the
germ theory of disease. Following this,
Louis Pasteur made the first
rabies, and also made many discoveries in the field of chemistry, including the
asymmetry of crystals. In chemistry,
Dmitri Mendeleev, following the
atomic theory of
John Dalton, created the first
periodic table of
elements. In physics, the experiments, theories and discoveries of
James Clerk Maxwell, and their contemporaries led to the creation of
electromagnetism as a new branch of science.
Thermodynamics led to an understanding of heat and the notion of energy was defined. Other highlights include the discoveries unveiling the nature of atomic structure and matter, simultaneously with chemistry – and of new kinds of radiation. In astronomy, the planet Neptune was discovered. In mathematics, the notion of complex numbers finally matured and led to a subsequent analytical theory; they also began the use of
Karl Weierstrass and others carried out the
arithmetization of analysis for functions of
complex variables. It also saw rise to
new progress in geometry beyond those classical theories of Euclid, after a period of nearly two thousand years. The mathematical science of logic likewise had revolutionary breakthroughs after a similarly long period of stagnation. But the most important step in science at this time were the ideas formulated by the creators of electrical science. Their work changed the face of physics and made possible for new technology to come about including a rapid spread in the use of electric illumination and power in the last two decades of the century and radio wave communication at the end of the 1890s.
1844: First publicly funded
telegraph line in the world—between Baltimore and Washington—sends demonstration message on 24 May, ushering in the age of the telegraph. This message read "What hath God wrought?" (Bible, Numbers 23:23)
1880: Introduction of the widespread use of electric
lighting. These included early crude systems in France and the UK and the introduction of large scale outdoor
arc lighting systems by 1880.
On the literary front the new century opens with
romanticism, a movement that spread throughout Europe in reaction to 18th-century rationalism, and it develops more or less along the lines of the Industrial Revolution, with a design to react against the dramatic changes wrought on nature by the steam engine and the railway.
William Wordsworth and
Samuel Taylor Coleridge are considered the initiators of the new school in England, while in the continent the German Sturm und Drang spreads its influence as far as Italy and Spain. French arts had been hampered by the
Napoleonic Wars but subsequently developed rapidly.
1819: 29 January,
Stamford Raffles arrives in Singapore with
William Farquhar to establish a trading post for the
British East India Company. 8 February, The treaty is signed between Sultan Hussein of Johor, Temenggong Abdul Rahman and Stamford Raffles. Farquhar is installed as the first Resident of the settlement.
1874: The Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, and Graveurs, better known as the
Impressionists, organize and present their first public group exhibition at the Paris studio of the photographer
1874: The Home Rule Movement is established in
^McPherson, J. M. (2014). "Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment," in E. Foner and J. A. Garraty (eds.), The Reader's Companion to American History. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
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^Jonathan Daly, The Rise of Western Power - A Comparative History of Western Civilization, Bloomsbury Publishing · 2013, page 310
^Turan Gonen, Electric Power Distribution Engineering, CRC Press · 2015, page 1
^David Damrosch and David L. Pike, eds. The Longman Anthology of World Literature, Volume E: The Nineteenth Century (2nd ed. 2008)
^M. H. Abrams et al., eds., The Norton Anthology of English Literature (9th ed. 2012)
^Oppenheimer, Clive (2003). "Climatic, environmental and human consequences of the largest known historic eruption: Tambora volcano (Indonesia) 1815". Progress in Physical Geography. 27 (2): 230–259.
^Wahyu Ernawati: "Chapter 8: The Lombok Treasure", in Colonial collections Revisited: Pieter ter Keurs (editor) Vol. 152, CNWS publications. Issue 36 of Mededelingen van het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden. CNWS Publications, 2007.
ISBN978-90-5789-152-6. 296 pages. pp. 186–203
Langer, William. An Encyclopedia of World History (5th ed. 1973); highly detailed outline of events
Morris, Richard B. and Graham W. Irwin, eds. Harper Encyclopedia of the Modern World: A Concise Reference History from 1760 to the Present (1970)
New Cambridge Modern History (13 vol 1957–79), old but thorough coverage, mostly of Europe; strong on diplomacy
Bury, J. P. T. ed. The New Cambridge Modern History: Vol. 10: the Zenith of European Power, 1830–70 (1964)
Crawley, C. W., ed. The New Cambridge Modern History Volume IX War and Peace In An Age of Upheaval 1793–1830 (1965)
Darby, H. C. and H. Fullard The New Cambridge Modern History, Vol. 14: Atlas (1972)
Hinsley, F.H., ed. The New Cambridge Modern History, vol. 11, Material Progress and World-Wide Problems 1870–1898 (1979)