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The 19th (nineteenth) century began on 1 January 1801 (MDCCCI), and ended on 31 December 1900 (MCM). The 19th century was the ninth century of the 2nd millennium.
The 19th century was characterized by vast social upheaval. Slavery was abolished in much of Europe and the Americas. The First Industrial Revolution, though it began in the late 18th century, expanding beyond its British homeland for the first time during this century, particularly remaking the economies and societies of the Low Countries, the Rhineland, Northern Italy, and the Northeastern United States. A few decades later, the Second Industrial Revolution led to ever more massive urbanization and much higher levels of productivity, profit, and prosperity, a pattern that continued into the 20th century.
The Islamic gunpowder empires fell into decline and European imperialism brought much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and almost all of Africa under colonial rule. It was also marked by the collapse of the large Spanish and Mughal empires. This paved the way for the growing influence of the British, French, German, Russian, Italian, and Japanese empires along with the United States. The British boasted unchallenged global dominance after 1815.
After the defeat of France in the Napoleonic Wars, the British and Russian empires expanded greatly, becoming two of the world's leading powers. Russia expanded its territory to Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Ottomans underwent a period of Westernization and reform known as the Tanzimat, vastly increasing their control over their core territories in the Middle East. However, it remained in decline and became known as the sick man of Europe, losing territory in the Balkans and North Africa.
The remaining powers in the Indian subcontinent such as the Maratha and Sikh empires have suffered a massive decline and their dissatisfaction with the British East India Company's rule led to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, marking its dissolution. India was later ruled directly by the British Crown through the establishment of the British Raj.
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 first electronics appeared in the 19th century, with the introduction of the electric relay in 1835, the telegraph and its Morse code protocol in 1837, the first telephone call in 1876, and the first functional light bulb in 1878.
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 Africa and Asia, were 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.
Slavery was greatly reduced around the world. Following a successful slave revolt in Haiti, Britain and France stepped up the battle against the Barbary pirates and succeeded in stopping their enslavement of Europeans. The UK's Slavery Abolition Act charged the British Royal Navy with ending the global slave trade. The first colonial empire in the century to abolish slavery was the British, who did so in 1834. America's Thirteenth Amendment following their Civil War abolished slavery there in 1865, and in Brazil slavery was abolished in 1888 (see abolitionism). Similarly, serfdom was abolished in Russia in 1861.
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. Association football, rugby union, 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.
It also marks the fall of the Ottoman rule of the Balkans which led to the creation of Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Romania as a result of the second Russo-Turkish War, which in itself followed the great Crimean War.
Main article: Napoleonic Wars
See also: Timeline of the Napoleonic era
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of major conflicts from 1803 to 1815 pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict.
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte gained power in France in 1799. In 1804, he crowned himself Emperor of the French.
In 1805, the French victory over an Austrian-Russian army at the Battle of Austerlitz ended the War of the Third Coalition. As a result of the Treaty of Pressburg, the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved.
Later efforts were less successful. In the Peninsular War, France unsuccessfully attempted to establish Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain. In 1812, the French invasion of Russia had massive French casualties, and was a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars.
In 1814, after defeat in the War of the Sixth Coalition, Napoleon abdicated and was exiled to Elba. Later that year, he escaped exile and began the Hundred Days before finally being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to Saint Helena, an island in the South Atlantic Ocean.
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.
Mexico and the majority of the countries in Central America and South America obtained independence from colonial overlords during the 19th century. In 1804, Haiti gained independence from France. In Mexico, the Mexican War of Independence was a decade-long conflict that ended in Mexican independence in 1821.
Due to the Napoleonic Wars, the royal family of Portugal relocated to Brazil from 1808 to 1821, leading to Brazil having a separate monarchy from Portugal.
The Federal Republic of Central America gained independence from Spain in 1821 and from Mexico in 1823. After several rebellions, by 1841 the federation had dissolved into the independent countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
In 1830, the post-colonial nation of Gran Colombia dissolved and the nations of Colombia (including modern-day Panama), Ecuador, and Venezuela took its place.
Main article: Revolutions of 1848
The Revolutions of 1848 were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. The revolutions were essentially democratic and liberal in nature, with the aim of removing the old monarchical structures and creating independent nation states.
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.
The abolitionism movement achieved success in the 19th century. The Atlantic slave trade was abolished in the United States in 1808, and by the end of the century, almost every government had banned slavery. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 banned slavery throughout the British Empire, and the Lei Áurea abolished slavery in Brazil in 1888.
Abolitionism in the United States continued until the end of the American Civil War. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman were two of many American abolitionists who helped win the fight against slavery. Douglass was an articulate orator and incisive antislavery writer, while Tubman worked with a network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
The American Civil War took place from 1861 to 1865. Eleven southern states seceded from the United States, largely over concerns related to slavery. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln issued a preliminary on September 22, 1862 warning that in all states still in rebellion (Confederacy) on January 1, 1863, he would declare their slaves "then, thenceforward, and forever free." He did so. The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1865, officially abolished slavery in the entire country.
Five days after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, Lincoln was assassinated by actor and Confederate sympathiser John Wilkes Booth.
Main article: Decline and modernization of the Ottoman Empire
In 1830, Greece became the first country to break away from the Ottoman Empire after the Greek War of Independence. In 1831, the Bosnian Uprising against Ottoman rule occurred. In 1817, the Principality of Serbia became suzerain from the Ottoman Empire, and in 1867, it passed a constitution that defined its independence from the Ottoman Empire. In 1876, Bulgarians instigated the April Uprising against Ottoman rule. Following the Russo-Turkish War, the Treaty of Berlin recognized the formal independence of the Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania. Bulgaria became autonomous.
Main article: Taiping Rebellion
The 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.
Main article: Meiji Restoration
During the Edo period, Japan largely pursued an isolationist foreign policy. In 1853, United States Navy Commodore Matthew C. Perry threatened the Japanese capital Edo with gunships, demanding that they agree to open trade. This led to the opening of trade relations between Japan and foreign countries, with the policy of Sakoku formally ended in 1854.
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.
In 1867, 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 Cecil Rhodes.
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 evolution by 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 vaccine against 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 Michael Faraday, André-Marie Ampère, 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 hypercomplex numbers. Karl Weierstrass and others carried out the arithmetization of analysis for functions of real and 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.
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. Modernism began.
The Goncourts and Émile 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. There was a huge literary output during the 19th century. Some of the most famous writers included the Russians Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky; the English Charles Dickens, John Keats, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Jane Austen; the Scottish Sir Walter Scott, Thomas Carlyle and Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of the character Sherlock Holmes); the Irish Oscar Wilde; the Americans Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Mark Twain; and the French Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas and Charles Baudelaire.
Some American literary writers, poets and novelists were: Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Joel Chandler Harris, and Emily Dickinson to name a few.
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. In the United States the Hudson River School was prominent. 19th-century painters included:
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 19th century was referred to as being in the Romantic style. Many great composers lived through this era such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Richard Wagner. The list includes:
Main article: Timeline of the 19th century
For later events, see Timeline of the 20th century.
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Main article: International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919)