1800–1899 (A.D.) World History

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

War of 1812

The Civil War

Spanish-American War (1898–1899)

Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Richard Wagner
Archive Photos
Edgar Allen Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
The Library of Congress Picture Collection
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
National Archives and Records Admin.
Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman
(c. 1820–1913)
The Library of Congress Picture Collection
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
National Archives and Records Admin.
Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
The Library of Congress Picture Collection
Dred Scott
The Library of Congress Picture Collection
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
National Archives and Records Admin.
Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
National Archives and Records Admin.
William Tecumseh Sherman
National Archives and Records Admin.
Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
(c. 1840–1904)
National Archives and Records Admin.
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Tasha Vincent
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
The Library of Congress Picture Collection
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower
Tasha Vincent
Marie Curie
Marie Curie
AIP Niels Bohr Library


Napoleon conquers Italy, firmly establishes himself as First Consul in France. In the U.S., federal government moves to Washington, D.C. Robert Owen's social reforms in England. William Herschel discovers infrared rays. Alessandro Volta produces electricity.


Austria makes temporary peace with France. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland established with one monarch and one parliament; Catholics excluded from voting.
U.S. negotiates Louisiana Purchase from France: for $15 million, U.S. doubles its domain, increasing its territory by 827,000 sq mi (2,144,500 sq km), from Mississippi River to Rockies and from Gulf of Mexico to British North America.
Haiti declares independence from France; first black nation to gain freedom from European colonial rule. Napoleon transforms the Consulate of France into an empire, proclaims himself emperor of France, systematizes French law under Code Napoleon. In the U.S., Alexander Hamilton is mortally wounded in duel with Aaron Burr. Lewis and Clark expedition begins exploration of what is now northwest U.S.
Lord Nelson defeats the French-Spanish fleets in the Battle of Trafalgar. Napoleon victorious over Austrian and Russian forces at the Battle of Austerlitz.
Robert Fulton makes first successful steamboat trip on Clermont between New York City and Albany.
French armies occupy Rome and Spain, extending Napoleon's empire. Britain begins aiding Spanish guerrillas against Napoleon in Peninsular War. In the U.S., Congress bars importation of slaves. Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth Symphonies performed.
Napoleon's Grand Army invades Russia in June. Forced to retreat in winter, most of Napoleon's 600,000 men are lost. In the U.S., war with Britain declared over freedom of the seas for U.S. vessels (War of 1812). USS Constitution (For detailed chronology, see War of 1812.) sinks British frigate.
French defeated by allies (Britain, Austria, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, and Portugal) in War of Liberation. Napoleon exiled to Elba, off Italian coast. Bourbon king Louis XVIII takes French throne. George Stephenson builds first practical steam locomotive.
Napoleon returns: “Hundred Days” begin. Napoleon defeated by Wellington at Waterloo, banished again to St. Helena in South Atlantic. Congress of Vienna: victorious allies change the map of Europe. War of 1812 ends with Treaty of Ghent.
Simón Bolívar liberates New Granada (now Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador) as Spain loses hold on South American countries; named president of Colombia.
Missouri Compromise > Missouri admitted as slave state but slavery barred in rest of Louisiana Purchase north of 36°30' N.
Guatemala, Panama, and Santo Domingo proclaim independence from Spain.
Greeks proclaim a republic and independence from Turkey. Turks invade Greece. Russia declares war on Turkey (1828). Greece also aided by France and Britain. War ends and Turks recognize Greek independence (1829). Brazil becomes independent of Portugal. Schubert's Eighth Symphony (“The Unfinished”).
U.S. Monroe Doctrine warns European nations not to interfere in Western Hemisphere.
Mexico becomes a republic, three years after declaring independence from Spain. Bolívar liberates Peru, becomes its president. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
First passenger-carrying railroad in England.
Joseph-Nicéphore Niepce takes the world's first photograph.
French invade Algeria. Louis Philippe becomes “Citizen King” as revolution forces Charles X to abdicate. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formed in U.S. by Joseph Smith.
Polish revolt against Russia fails. Belgium separates from the Netherlands. In U.S., Nat Turner leads unsuccessful slave rebellion.
Slavery abolished in British Empire.
Charles Babbage invents “analytical engine,” precursor of computer. McCormick patents reaper.
Boer farmers start “Great Trek”—Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State founded in South Africa. Mexican army besieges Texans in Alamo. Entire garrison, including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, wiped out. Texans gain independence from Mexico after winning Battle of San Jacinto. Dickens's Pickwick Papers.
Victoria becomes queen of Great Britain. Mob kills Elijah P. Lovejoy, Illinois abolitionist publisher.
First Opium War (to 1842) between Britain and China, over importation of drug into China.
Lower and Upper Canada united.
U.S. President Harrison dies (April 4) one month after inauguration; John Tyler becomes first vice president to succeed to presidency.
Crawford Long uses first anesthetic (ether).
Wagner's opera The Flying Dutchman.
Democratic convention calls for annexation of Texas and acquisition of Oregon (“Fifty-four-forty-or-fight”). Five Chinese ports opened to U.S. ships. Samuel F. B. Morse patents telegraph.
Congress adopts joint resolution for annexation of Texas. Edgar Allan Poe publishes The Raven and Other Poems.
U.S. declares war on Mexico. California and New Mexico annexed by U.S. Brigham Young leads Mormons to Great Salt Lake. W. T. Morton uses ether as anesthetic. Sewing machine patented by Elias Howe. Frederick Douglass launches abolitionist newspaper The North Star. Failure of potato crop causes famine in Ireland.
Revolt in Paris: Louis Philippe abdicates; Louis Napoleon elected president of French Republic. Revolutions in Vienna, Venice, Berlin, Milan, Rome, and Warsaw. Put down by royal troops in 1848–1849. U.S.-Mexico War ends; Mexico cedes claims to Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada. U.S. treaty with Britain sets Oregon Territory boundary at 49th parallel. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's Communist Manifesto. Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and joins the Underground Railroad. Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
California gold rush begins.
Henry Clay opens great debate on slavery, warns South against secession.
Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.
South African Republic established. Louis Napoleon proclaims himself Napoleon III (“Second Empire”). Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Crimean War begins as Turkey declares war on Russia. Commodore Perry reaches Tokyo.
Britain and France join Turkey in war on Russia. In U.S., Kansas-Nebraska Act permits local option on slavery; rioting and bloodshed. Japanese allow American trade. Antislavery men in Michigan form Republican Party. Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade. Thoreau's Walden.
Armed clashes in Kansas between pro- and anti-slavery forces. Florence Nightingale nurses wounded in Crimea. Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
Flaubert's Madame Bovary.
Supreme Court, in Dred Scott decision, rules that a slave is not a citizen. Financial crisis in Europe and U.S. Great Mutiny (Sepoy Rebellion) begins in India. India placed under crown rule as a result.
Pro-slavery constitution rejected in Kansas. Abraham Lincoln makes strong antislavery speech in Springfield, Ill.: “This Government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” Lincoln-Douglas debates. First trans-Atlantic telegraph cable completed by Cyrus W. Field.
John Brown raids Harpers Ferry; is captured and hanged. Work begins on Suez Canal. Unification of Italy starts under leadership of Count Cavour, Sardinian premier. Joined by France in war against Austria. Jean-Joseph-Étienne Lenoir builds first practical internal-combustion engine. Edward Fitzgerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. J. S. Mill's On Liberty.
South Carolina secedes from the Union.
U.S. Civil War begins as attempts at compromise fail. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas secede; with South Carolina, they form the Confederate States of America, with Jefferson Davis as president. Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina secede and join Confederacy. First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas).(For detailed chronology, see The Civil War.) Congress creates Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada territories; adopts income tax; Lincoln inaugurated. Serfs emancipated in Russia. Pasteur's theory of germs. Independent Kingdom of Italy proclaimed under Sardinian king Victor Emmanuel II.
Several major Civil War battles: Battle of Shiloh, Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), Battle of Antietam. Salon des Refusés introduces impressionism.
French capture Mexico City; proclaim Archduke Maximilian of Austria emperor. Battle of Gettysburg.
Gen. Sherman's Atlanta campaign and “march to the sea.”
Gen. Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox; the Civil War is over. Lincoln fatally shot at Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth. Vice President Johnson sworn as successor. Booth caught and dies of gunshot wounds; four conspirators are hanged. Joseph Lister begins antiseptic surgery. Gregor Mendel's Law of Heredity. Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Alfred Nobel invents dynamite (patented in Britain, 1867). Seven Weeks' War: Austria defeated by Prussia and Italy.
Austria-Hungary Dual Monarchy established. French leave Mexico; Maximilian executed. Dominion of Canada established. U.S. buys Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000. South African diamond field discovered. Japan ends 675–year shogun rule. Volume I of Marx's Das Kapital. Strauss's Blue Danube.
Revolution in Spain; Queen Isabella deposed, flees to France. In U.S., Fourteenth Amendment giving civil rights to blacks is ratified. Georgia under military government after legislature expels blacks.
First U.S. transcontinental rail route completed. James Fisk and Jay Gould's attempt to control gold market causes Black Friday panic. Suez Canal opens. Mendeleev's periodic table of elements.
Franco-Prussian War (to 1871): Napoleon III capitulates at Sedan. Revolt in Paris; Third Republic proclaimed.
France surrenders Alsace-Lorraine to Germany; war ends. German Empire proclaimed with Prussian King as Kaiser Wilhelm I. Fighting with Apaches begins in American West. Boss Tweed corruption exposed in New York. The Chicago Fire, with 250 deaths and $196-million damage. Stanley meets Livingstone in Africa.
Congress gives amnesty to most Confederates. Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days.
Economic crisis in Europe. U.S. establishes gold standard.
First Kentucky Derby.
Sioux kill Gen. George A. Custer and 264 troopers at Little Big Horn River. Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
After presidential election of 1876, electoral commission gives disputed electoral college votes to Rutherford B. Hayes despite Tilden's popular majority. Russo-Turkish war (ends in 1878 with power of Turkey in Europe broken). Reconstruction ends in the American South. Thomas Edison patents phonograph. The Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph is forced to surrender. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.
Congress of Berlin revises Treaty of San Stefano, ending Russo-Turkish War; makes extensive redivision of southeast Europe. First commercial telephone exchange opened in New Haven, Conn.
Thomas A. Edison invents practical electric light.
U.S.-China treaty allows U.S. to restrict immigration of Chinese labor.
President Garfield fatally shot by assassin; Vice President Arthur succeeds him. Charles J. Guiteau convicted and executed (1882).
Terrorism in Ireland after land evictions. Britain invades and conquers Egypt. Germany, Austria, and Italy form Triple Alliance. In U.S., Congress adopts Chinese Exclusion Act. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust is first industrial monopoly. In Berlin, Robert Koch announces discovery of tuberculosis germ.
Congress creates Civil Service Commission. Brooklyn Bridge and Metropolitan Opera House completed.
Berlin West Africa Conference held in Berlin (lasting until Feb. 1885), at which the major European nations discuss expansion in Africa.
British general Charles G. “Chinese” Gordon killed at Khartoum in Egyptian Sudan. World's first skyscraper built in Chicago.
Bombing at Haymarket Square, Chicago, kills seven policemen and injures many others. Eight alleged anarchists accused—three imprisoned, one commits suicide, four hanged. (In 1893, Illinois governor Altgeld, critical of trial, pardons three survivors.) Statue of Liberty dedicated. Geronimo, Apache Indian chief, surrenders.
Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet.
Historic March blizzard in northeast U.S.—many perish, property damage exceeds $25 million. George Eastman's box camera (the Kodak). J. B. Dunlop invents pneumatic tire. Jack the Ripper murders in London.
Second (Socialist) International founded in Paris. Indian Territory in Oklahoma opened to settlement. Thousands die in Johnstown, Pa. flood. Eiffel Tower built for the Paris exposition. Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
Congress votes to pass Sherman Antitrust Act. Sioux chief Sitting Bull arrested and killed by police on Pine Ridge reservation; two weeks later, U.S. troops kill over 200 Sioux at Battle of Wounded Knee.
Battle between steel strikers and Pinkerton guards at Homestead, Pa.; union defeated after militia intervenes. Silver mine strikers in Idaho fight non-union workers; U.S. troops dispatched. Diesel engine patented.
New Zealand becomes first country in the world to grant women the vote.
Sino-Japanese War begins (ends in 1895 with China's defeat). In France, Capt. Alfred Dreyfus convicted on false treason charge (pardoned in 1906). In U.S., Jacob S. Coxey of Ohio leads “Coxey's Army” of unemployed on Washington. Eugene V. Debs calls general strike of rail workers to support Pullman Company strikers; strike broken, Debs jailed for six months. Edison's kinetoscope given first public showing in New York City.
X-rays discovered by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen. Auguste and Louis Lumière premiere motion pictures at a café in Paris.
Supreme Court's Plessy v. Ferguson decision—“separate but equal” doctrine. Alfred Nobel's will establishes prizes for peace, science, and literature. Marconi receives first wireless patent in Britain. William Jennings Bryan delivers “Cross of Gold” speech at Democratic Convention in Chicago. First modern Olympic games held in Athens, Greece.
Theodor Herzl launches Zionist movement.
Chinese “Boxers,” anti-foreign organization, established. They stage uprisings against Europeans in 1900; U.S. and other Western troops relieve Peking legations. U.S. Battleship Maine is sunk in Havana Harbor. Spanish-American War begins. U.S. destroys Spanish fleet near Santiago, Cuba. (For detailed chronology, see Spanish-American War.) Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium and polonium.
Boer War (or South African War): conflict between British and Boers (descendants of Dutch settlers of South Africa). Causes rooted in longstanding territorial disputes and in friction over political rights for English and other “uitlanders” following 1886 discovery of vast gold deposits in Transvaal. (British victorious as war ends in 1902.) Casualties: 5,774 British dead, about 4,000 Boers. Union of South Africa established in 1908 as confederation of colonies; becomes British dominion in 1910.

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