- Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical)
Historians sometimes define a "Nineteenth Century" historical era stretching from 1815 (The Congress of Vienna) to 1914 (The outbreak of the First World War); alternatively, Eric Hobsbawm defined the "Long Nineteenth Century" as spanning the years 1789 to 1914.
Following the Napoleonic Wars, the British Empire became the world's first hyperpower controlling one quarter of the World's population and one third of the land area. It enforced a Pax Britannica, encouraged trade, and battled rampant piracy.
Slavery was greatly reduced around the World. Following a successful slave revolt in Haiti, Britain forced the Barbary pirates to halt their practice of kidnapping and enslaving Europeans, banned slavery throughout its domain and charged its navy with ending the global slave trade. Slavery was then abolished in Russia, America, and Brazil.
Electricity, steel, and petroleum fueled a Second Industrial Revolution which enabled Germany, Japan, and the US to become Great Powers that raced to create empires of their own. However, Russia and Qing Dynasty China failed to keep pace with the other world powers which led to massive social unrest in both empires.
In 1801, the Irish parliament voted to merge Ireland with England, thus creating the United Kingdom. Ireland remained under total Brittish controll untill 1922, when the majority of the Irish counties, and the majority of the Irish population, broke away from England, forming the Irish Free State. The norththern counties remianed loyal to Brittish controll, and to this day remain seperate from the rest of Ireland as Northern Ireland.
On May 17th, 1814 Norway left Swedish controll and declared independence. It was forced, however, to continue a personal union with Sweden, but retained its liberal constitution. Growing Norwegian nationalism and pride would continue throughout the century, until the nation finaly obtained full independence in 1905.
The start of the 19th century was also marked by a struggle between France and Britain and their allies for control of Europe and the world during the Napoleonic Wars, with Napoleon being finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815.
The Victorian era of Great Britain is considered the height of the British industrial revolution and the apex of the British Empire. It is often defined as the years from 1837 to 1901, when Queen Victoria reigned. The revolution led to the rise of railways across the country and massive leaps forward in engineering. The London Underground was opened, and incandescent electric lights were introduced to London streets.
There were many revolutions in Europe in 1848, which had been influenced by the French Revolution. Furthermore, the later end of the century was dominated by what many call the New Imperialism, which was the rapid acquisition of colonies worldwide by European powers, most noteworthy is the Scramble for Africa.
Many countries in Europe underwent an Industrial Revolution, especially Germany, that spread elsewhere by the end of the century, with factories and railway lines built all over the continent.
Although the romantic influence is present throughout the Victorian Era, there is a visible decline by mid-century: many scientific discoveries in part effected by the industrial Revolution, as Darwin's evolutionism (The Origin of Species, 1859) and French philosopher Auguste Comte inaugurate a new rationalism (positivism), whose literary spinoff is naturalism. Its theory, dominated by determinism and genetics emphasize the importance of the environment in shaping man and the new French novels, as impressionism in art reflect the new vogue.
The Republic of Italy was founded on March 17, 1861. King Victor Emmanuel II succeeded in uniting the Italian states of the peninsula into one nation. Count Camillo Benso di Cavour and specifically Giuseppe Garibaldi played a major role in architecting the unification. The city of Rome remained under Papel controll untill 1870, when the Italian Army made its way into the Vatican State throught the Breach of Porta Pia. Rome was annexed, but the Pope refused to sign a treaty and sought refuge in Castel Gandolfo from where he launched his interdetto, forbidding Italian Catholics from participating in political life on pain of excommunication. The Trentino and Sudtyrol would be annexed in the following century, after 1918, thereby ending the unification process as planned by the Savoy Dinasty under Victor Immanuel II.
In 1871, the German Empire was formed from Prussia and the North German Confederation by Otto von Bismarck. The powerful nation would last until 1918, and would become known as the Second Reich. Bismark acquired many new provinces in a series of short and diplomatically ingenious wars. He allied with Austria to defeat Denmark, and seize the Schleswig-Holstein area. He started and won the Austro-Prussian War, but only to get Italy on the side of Germany. Prussia then entered the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), completely crushing France. As a final insult to the French, Wilhelm I was sworn in as German Emperor at the Palace of Versailles, in the heart of Paris. The German Empire would continue to thrive until the end of WWI, when France obtained retribution in the Treaty of Versailles.
In 1878, the Treaty of San Stefano gave independence to Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. Bulgaria was also made an autonomous principality. This was all possible due to the Russian defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War 1877-1878. The Congress of Berlin, held later that same year, would once again increase Muslim power in the regions, lightening the Russian victory.
The United States began expansion across the North American Continent, beginning with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. This expansion was asserted to be the Manifest Destiny of the country. This was accompanied by the subjugation and dispersal of Native Americans. The expansion was accelerated by the building of transcontinental railroads, and growing numbers of immigrants. On January 24 1848, gold was discovered in California, leading to the largest of many gold and silver "rushes" throught the century. Millions of people flocked to mines and cities in theses western areas, sparking a period of westward expansion. Many Chinese immigrants began to arrive in California, blending into the unique frontier culture. On September 9th, 1850, California was admitted as a state. This expansion eventually forced the country to confront the issue of legalized slavery in its southern states, as the balance between "free states" and "slave states" could not be upheld.
The Civil War in the United States was fought from 1861 to 1865. Abraham Lincoln was President during the war, and is widely considered one of the greatest leaders of western society. Following the war, industrial manufacturing exploded, adding steam to the already growing Industrial Revolution. In 1878, Thomas Edison displayed his new lightbulb, and within a decade had built a major electrical distribution system across the nation. Economic influence would eventually begin expansion outward across the Pacific Ocean and in Latin America.
On October 2 1835, the Texas Revolution broke out as the Mexican state of Tejas declared independence from the Mexican government. Independence was declared when Santa Ana instated himself as dictator of the Mexican Republic. Following the Battle of the Alamo, Gen. Sam Houston led a major victory against the Mexicans in the Battle of San Jacinto, capturing Santa Ana himself. The Republic of Texas teetered on collapse and Mexican take-over until its annexation by the United States in 1845.
Shortly after the turn of the century, the colonies of Spain and Portugal began to revolt and declare independence, in the mold of the United States. These revolts were successful, resulting in the establishment of many independent countries from Mexico (1821) in North America to Chile (1818) in South America. Unlike the United States of America, these Latin American countries had relatively unstable governments for most of the century. This resulted in interference in internal affairs by European powers, particularly Great Britain. By the end of the century, the United States was also exerting influence. Former European colonies Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay fought in the War of the Triple Alliance from 1864 to 1870, the bloodiest conflict in Latin American history.
Finally, during the century, the portion of the continent that had been retained by the United Kingdom of Great Britain developed slowly but surely. This development lead to the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867.
For the rest of the world, there were few places not influenced by the West in some fashion, whether through colonialism, imperialism, or war. European powers gained increasing influence in China, where Qing control had weakened, and wars were fought by the western powers against China, such as the first and the second Opium wars and Sino-French War. Japan, which was forcibly opened to Western trade, began a rapid industrialisation.
The Russian Empire began expanding into Central Asia, where there was rivalry between the Russians and the British in India, in what is known as The Great Game, as the British feared the Russians would try to invade India.
The Ottoman Empire began to decline, with it losing control of areas such as Greece and Egypt. The British and the French fought the Russians in the Crimean War partly because they were afraid that the Ottoman Empire was too weak to withstand an attack by Russia.
- 1801: The Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland merge to form the United Kingdom.
- 1801-15: Barbary Wars between the United States and the Barbary States of North Africa
- 1803: The United States buys out France's territorial claims in North America via the Louisiana Purchase. This begins America's westward expansion to the Pacific referred to as its Manifest Destiny which involves annexing and conquering land from Mexico, Britain, and Native Americans.
- 1804: Haitian Republic founded.
- 1804: Austrian Empire founded by Francis I.
- 1805-48: Muhammad Ali modernizes Egypt.
- 1806: Holy Roman Empire dissolved as a consequence of the Treaty of Lunéville.
- 1808-09: Russia conquers Finland from Sweden in the Finnish War.
- 1809: Napoleon strips the Teutonic Knights of their last holdings in Bad Mergentheim.
- 1810: The University of Berlin, the world's first research university, is founded. Among its students and faculty are Hegel, Marx, Bismarck, and Einstein. The German university reform proves to be so successful that its model is copied around the world.
- 1810s-20s: Most of the Latin American colonies free themselves from the Spanish and Portuguese Empires after the Mexican War of Independence and the South American Wars of Independence.
- 1812-15: War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain
- 1813-1907: The contest between the British Empire and Imperial Russia for control of Central Asia is referred to as the Great Game.
- 1815: The Congress of Vienna redraws the European map. The Concert of Europe attempts to preserve this settlement, but it fails to stem the tide of liberalism and nationalism that sweeps over the continent.
- 1815: Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo brings a conclusion to the Napoleonic Wars and marks the beginning of a Pax Britannica which lasts until 1870.
- 1816: Year Without a Summer
- 1816-28: Shaka's Zulu kingdom becomes the largest in Southern Africa.
- 1819: The modern city of Singapore is established by the British East India Company.
- 1820: Liberia founded by the American Colonization Society for freed American slaves.
- 1821-27: Greece becomes the first country to break away from the Ottoman Empire after the Greek War of Independence.
- 1830: France invades and occupies Algeria.
- 1830: The Belgian Revolution in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands led to the creation of Belgium.
- 1833: Slavery Abolition Act bans slavery throughout the British Empire.
- 1833-76: Carlist Wars in Spain.
- 1834: Spanish Inquisition officially ends.
- 1835-36: The Texas Revolution in Mexico resulted in the short-lived Republic of Texas.
- 1837-1901: Queen Victoria's reign is considered the apex of the British Empire and is referred to as the Victorian era.
- 1839-60: After two Opium Wars, Great Britain, France, the United States and Russia gain many concessions from China and the Qing Dynasty goes into decline.
- 1840: New Zealand founded.
- 1845-49: Irish Potato Famine
- 1846-48: The Mexican-American War leads to Mexico's cession of much of the modern-day Southwestern United States.
- 1846-47: Mormon migration to Utah.
- 1848: The Communist Manifesto published.
- 1848: Revolutions of 1848 in Europe
- 1848-58: California Gold Rush
- 1850: The Little Ice Age ends around this time.
- 1851-60s: Victorian gold rush in Australia
- 1851-64: The Taiping Rebellion in China is the bloodiest conflict of the century.
- 1854: The Convention of Kanagawa formally ends Japan's policy of Sakoku.
- 1854-56: Crimean War between Great Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and Russia
- 1855: Bessemer process enables steel to be mass produced.
- 1856: World's first oil refinery in Romania
- 1857-58: Indian rebellion of 1857
- 1859: The Origin of Species published.
- 1861-65: American Civil War between the Union and seceding Confederacy
- 1861: Russia abolishes serfdom.
- 1863: Formation of the International Red Cross is followed by the adoption of the First Geneva Convention in 1864.
- 1863-April 21, Bahá'u'lláh declares his station as "He whom God shall make manifest", in the Garden of Ridván, as foretold by the Báb. Bahá'ís see this as the beginning date of the Bahá'í Faith.
- 1864-67: French intervention in Mexico
- 1864-70: The War of the Triple Alliance ends Paraguayan ambitions for expansion and destroys much of the Paraguayan population.
- 1865-77: Reconstruction in the United States
- 1866: Successful transatlantic telegraph cable follows an earlier attempt in 1858.
- 1866: Austro-Prussian War results in the dissolution of the German Confederation and the creation of the North German Confederation and the Austrian-Hungarian Dual Monarchy.
- 1866-69: After the Meiji Restoration, Japan embarks on a program of rapid modernization.
- 1867: The United States purchased Alaska from Russia.
- 1867: Canadian Confederation formed.
- 1869: First Transcontinental Railroad completed in United States.
- 1869: The Suez Canal opens linking the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.
- 1870-71: The Franco-Prussian War results in the unifications of Germany and Italy, the collapse of the Second French Empire, the breakdown of Pax Britannica, and the emergence of a New Imperialism.
- 1871-1914: Second Industrial Revolution
- 1870s-90s: Long Depression in Western Europe and North America
- 1872: Yellowstone National Park created.
- 1873: Maxwell's A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism published.
- 1874: The British East India Company is dissolved.
- 1876-1914: The massive expansion in population, territory, industry and wealth in the United States is referred to as the Gilded Age.
- 1877: Great Railroad Strike in the United States may have been the world's first nationwide labor strike.
- 1877-78: The Balkans are freed from the Ottoman Empire after another Russo-Turkish War.
- 1878: First commercial telephone exchange in New Haven, Connecticut.
- 1879: Anglo-Zulu War in South Africa.
- 1879-84: War of the Pacific between Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
- 1880-1902: Great Britain conquers Dutch settlers in South Africa in two Boer Wars.
- 1882: First electrical power plant and grid in Manhattan.
- 1884-85: The Berlin Conference signals the start of the European Scramble for Africa. Attending nations also agree to ban trade in slaves.
- 1884-85: The Sino-French War led to the formation of French Indochina.
- 1885: Unification of Bulgaria
- 1888: Slavery banned in Brazil.
- 1890: The Wounded Knee Massacre is the last battle in the American Indian Wars.
- 1894-95: After the First Sino-Japanese War, China cedes Taiwan to Japan and grants Japan a free hand in Korea.
- 1895-1896: Ethiopia defeated Italy in the First Italo-Abyssinian War.
- 1896: Olympic games revived in Athens.
- 1896: Klondike Gold Rush in Canada
- 1898: The United States gains control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines after the Spanish-American War.
- 1898-1900: The Boxer Rebellion in China is suppressed by an Eight-Nation Alliance.
- 1899-1913: The Philippine-American War
- Gilbert and Sullivan, playwright, composer
- William Gilbert Grace, English cricketer
- Baron Haussmann, civic planner
- Sándor Körösi Csoma, explorer of the Tibetan culture
- Fitz Hugh Ludlow, writer and explorer
- Florence Nightingale, nursing pioneer
- Ignaz Semmelweis, proponent of hygenic practices
- Dr. John Snow, the founder of epidemiology
- F R Spofforth, Australian cricket
- Sitting Bull, a leader of the Lakota
- Chief Joseph, a leader of the Nez Percé
- Franz Boas
- Edward Burnett Tylor
- Karl Verner
- Brothers Grimm
- Nicholai Miklukho-Maklai
- Johann Jakob Bachofen
The Realism and Romanticism of the early 19th century gave way to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in the later half of the century, with Paris being the dominant art capital of the world. 19th century painters included:
- Paul Cezanne
- Eugène Delacroix
- Caspar David Friedrich
- Antonio de La Gandara
- Théodore Géricault
- Vincent van Gogh
- Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
- Édouard Manet
- Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
- Camille Pissarro
Sonata form matured during the Classical era to become the primary form of instrumental compositions throughout the 19th century. Much of the music from the nineteenth century was referred to as being in the Romantic style. Many great composers lived through this era such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Frédéric Chopin and Richard Wagner. Others included:
- Hector Berlioz
- Johannes Brahms
- Anton Bruckner
- Antonín Dvořák
- Franz Liszt
- Felix Mendelssohn
- Modest Mussorgsky
- Franz Schubert
- Giuseppe Verdi
- Robert Schumann
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.
The Goncourts and Emile Zola in France and Giovanni Verga in Italy produce some of the finest naturalist novels. Italian naturalist novels are especially important in that they give a social map of the new unified Italy to a people that until then had been scarcely aware of its ethnic and cultural diversity. On February 21, 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto.
There was a huge literary output during the 19th century. Some of the most famous writers included the Russians Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekov and Fyodor Dostoevsky; the English Charles Dickens, John Keats, Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen; the Americans Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain; the French Victor Hugo, Jules Verne and Charles Baudelaire. Some others of note included:
- Charlotte Brontë
- Emily Brontë
- Lord Byron
- François-René de Chateaubriand
- Kate Chopin
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- Emily Dickinson
- Alexandre Dumas, père (1802-1870)
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Gustave Flaubert
- Margaret Fuller
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Nikolai Gogol
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Friedrich Hölderlin
- Heinrich Heine
- Henrik Ibsen
- Henry James
- Stéphane Mallarmé
- Herman Melville
- Aleksandr Pushkin
- Arthur Rimbaud
- George Sand (Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin)
- Mary Shelley
- Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Walt Whitman
- William Wordsworth
The 19th century saw the birth of science as a profession; the term scientist was coined in 1833 by William Whewell. Among the most influential ideas of the 19th century were those of Charles Darwin, who in 1859 published the book The Origin of Species, which introduced the idea of evolution by natural selection. Louis Pasteur made the first vaccine against rabies, and also made many discoveries in the field of chemistry, including the asymmetry of crystals. Thomas Alva Edison gave the world light with his invention of the lightbulb. Karl Weierstrass and other mathematicians also carried out the arithmetization of analysis. Other important 19th century scientists included:
- Amedeo Avogadro, physicist
- Johann Jakob Balmer, mathematician, physicist
- Henri Becquerel, physicist
- Alexander Graham Bell, inventor
- Robert Bunsen, chemist
- Marie Curie, physicist, chemist
- Pierre Curie, physicist
- Christian Doppler, physicist, mathematician
- Michael Faraday, scientist
- Gottlob Frege, mathematician, logician and philosopher
- Carl Friedrich Gauss, mathematician, physicist, astronomer
- Josiah Willard Gibbs, physicist
- Ernst Haeckel, biologist
- Heinrich Hertz, physicist
- Alexander von Humboldt, naturalist, explorer
- William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, physicist
- Robert Koch, physician, bacteriologist
- Justus von Liebig, chemist
- James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist
- Gregor Mendel, biologist
- Dmitri Mendeleyev, chemist
- Nikola Tesla, inventor
Philosophy and religion
The Latter Day Saint religious movement was founded during the 19th century by Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young, which led to the set of doctrines, practices, and cultures called Mormonism. In 1844 a young merchant from Persia proclaimed that he was the Báb ("the Gate" in Arabic), founding the Bábí Faith and proclaimed to be the forerunner of "He whom God shall make manifest." In 1863, Bahá'u'lláh (a title meaning "In the Glory of God"), himself a follower of the Báb, proclaimed His mission as the Promised One of all religions. He is the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Nikolai of Japan was a religious leader who introduced Eastern Orthodoxy into Japan.
Other prominent religious figures and philosophers of the 19th century include:
- Báb, Persian prophet and founder of Bábísm
- Mikhail Bakunin, anarchist
- Auguste Comte, philosopher
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, philosopher
- Søren Kierkegaard, philosopher
- Karl Marx, political philosopher and economist
- John Stuart Mill, philosopher
- Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher
- Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Hindu mystic
- Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher
- Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon, founder of French socialism
- William Morris, social reformer
- Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor
- Napoleon Bonaparte, French general, first consul and emperor
- John C. Calhoun, U.S. senator
- Henry Clay, U.S. senator
- Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America just before and during the American Civil War.
- Guiseppe Garibaldi, unifier of Italy and Piedmontese soldier
- William Lloyd Garrison, U.S. abolitionist leader
- William Ewart Gladstone, British prime minister
- Ulysses S. Grant, U.S. general and president
- Theodor Herzl, founder of modern political Zionism
- Andrew Jackson, U.S. general and president
- Thomas Jefferson, American statesman, philosopher, and president
- Lajos Kossuth, Hungarian governor; leader of the war of independence
- Hong Xiuquan, revolutionary, self-proclaimed Son of God
- Benjamin Disraeli, novelist and politician
- Libertadores, Latin American liberators
- Robert E. Lee, Confederate general
- Abraham Lincoln, U.S. president; led the nation during the American Civil War
- Mutsuhito, Japanese emperor
- István Széchenyi, aristocrat, leader of the Hungarian reform movement
- Queen Victoria, British monarch
- Klemens von Metternich, Austrian Chancellor
Inventions, discoveries, introductions
Research became institutionalized at research universities such as the University of Berlin and at corporate laboratories such as Edison's Menlo Park which accelerated the rate at which discoveries and innovations were made.
- List of wars 1800–1899
- Timeline of 19th century Islamic history
- France in the nineteenth century
- Russian history, 1855-1892
- Mid-nineteenth century Spain
- 19th-century philosophy
- Timeline of trends in music (1800-1899)
- Nineteenth century theatre
- 19th century in games
- 19th century in film
Decades and years
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