Rédition de Madrid 1808

Antoine-Jean Gros, Surrender of Madrid, 1808. Napoleon enters Spain's capital during the Peninsular War, 1810

Millennium: 2nd millennium
Centuries: 18th century · 19th century · 20th century
Decades: 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s
1850s 1860s 1870s 1880s 1890s
Categories: BirthsDeaths

The 19th century (1801–1900) was a period in history marked by the growing influence of the British Empire, the German Empire and the United States, spurring military conflicts but also advances in science and exploration.

After the defeat of the French Empire and its allies in the Napoleonic Wars, the British Empire became the world's leading power, controlling one quarter of the world's population and one third of the land area. The 19th century was an era of invention and discovery, with significant developments in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, electricity, and metallurgy that lay the groundwork for the technological advances of the 20th century.[1] The Industrial Revolution began in Europe.[2] The Victorian era was notorious for the employment of young children in factories and mines.[3]

The 19th century was remarkable in the widespread formation of new settlement foundations which were particularly prevalent across North America and Australasia, with a significant proportion of the two continents' largest cities being founded at some point in the century. In the 19th century approximately 70 million people left Europe and migrated to the 'New Worlds'.[4]


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British Empire 1897

Map of the world from 1897. The British Empire (marked in pink) was the superpower of the 19th century.


  • 1801: The Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland merge to form the United Kingdom.
  • 1807: Britain declares the Slave Trade illegal..



Crystal Palace - interior

The Great Exhibition in London. The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to industrialise.

  • 1825: Erie Canal opened connecting the Great Lakes between Canada and the United States to the Atlantic Ocean, facilitating trade.



  • 1840: New Zealand is founded, as the Treaty of Waitangi is signed between the Māori and British.
  • 1844: First publicly funded telegraph line in the world—between Baltimore and Washington—sends demonstration message on May 24, ushering in the age of the telegraph. This message read "What hath God wrought?" (Bible, Numbers 23:23)
  • 1848–58: California Gold Rush.




The first vessels sail through the Suez Canal


1876 Bell Speaking into Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell speaking into prototype model of the telephone

Thomas Edison, 1878

Thomas Edison, 1878




Significant peopleEdit


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The 19th century saw the birth of science as a profession; the term scientist was coined in 1833 by William Whewell[5]. 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 a practical everyday lightbulb. Karl Weierstrass and other mathematicians also carried out the arithmetization of analysis. But the most important step in science at this time was the ideas formulated by Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell. Their work changed the face of physics and made possible for new technology to come about. Other important 19th century scientists included:

See alsoEdit


External links Edit

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