Victorian Era - Events

Events

1832
Passage of the first Reform Act.
1837
Ascension of Queen Victoria to the throne.
1840
Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield. He had been naturalised and granted the British style of Royal Highness beforehand. For the next 17 years, he was known as HRH Prince Albert.
1840
Birth of the Queen's first child The Princess Victoria. Within months she was granted the title Princess Royal.
1840
New Zealand becomes a British colony, through the Treaty of Waitangi.
1841
Birth of the Queen's heir-apparent The Prince Albert Edward, Duke of Cornwall (Duke of Rothesay). He was swiftly made Prince of Wales. Sir James Brooke founds the White Rajah dynasty of Sarawak.
1842
Treaty of Nanking. The Massacre of Elphinstone's Army by the Afghans in Afghanistan results in the death or incarceration of 16,500 soldiers and civilians. The Mines Act of 1842 banned women/children from working in coal, iron, lead and tin mining. The Illustrated London News was first published.
1843
Birth of The Princess Alice
1844
Birth of The Prince Alfred
1845
The Irish famine begins. Within 5 years it would become the UK's worst human disaster, with starvation and emigration reducing the population of Ireland itself by over 50%. The famine permanently changed Ireland’s and Scotland's demographics and became a rallying point for nationalist sentiment that pervaded British politics for much of the following century.
1846
Repeal of the Corn Laws.
1846
Birth of The Princess Helena
1848
Death of around 2,000 people a week in a cholera epidemic.
1848
Birth of The Princess Louise
1850
Restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Britain.
1850
Birth of The Prince Arthur
1851
The Great Exhibition (the first World's Fair) is held at the Crystal Palace, with great success and international attention. The Victorian gold rush. In ten years the Australian population nearly tripled.
1853
Birth of The Prince Leopold
1854
Crimean War: The United Kingdom declares war on Russia.
1857
The Indian Mutiny, a widespread revolt in India against the rule of the British East India Company, is sparked by sepoys (native Indian soldiers) in the Company's army. The rebellion, involving not just sepoys but many sectors of the Indian population as well, is largely quashed within a year. In response to the mutiny, the East India Company is abolished in August 1858 and India comes under the direct rule of the British crown, beginning the period of the British Raj. Prince Albert is given the title The Prince Consort
1857
Birth of The Princess Beatrice
1858
The Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, responds to the Orsini plot against French emperor Napoleon III, the bombs for which were purchased in Birmingham, by attempting to make such acts a felony; the resulting uproar forces him to resign.
1859
Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species, which leads to various reactions. Victoria and Albert's first grandchild, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, is born — he later became William II, German Emperor. John Stuart Mill publishes On Liberty, a defense of the famous harm principle.
1861
Death of Prince Albert; Queen Victoria refuses to go out in public for many years, and when she did she wore a widow's bonnet instead of the crown.
1863
The Prince of Wales marries Princess Alexandra of Denmark at Windsor.
1865
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is published.
1866
An angry crowd in London, protesting against John Russell's resignation as Prime Minister, is barred from Hyde Park by the police; they tear down iron railings and trample on flower beds. Disturbances like this convince Derby and Disraeli of the need for further parliamentary reform.
1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 passes and British North America becomes Dominion of Canada.
1875
Britain purchased Egypt's shares in the Suez Canal as the African nation was forced to raise money to pay off its debts.
1876
Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
1877
The Princess Alice becomes Grand Duchess of Hesse when her husband succeeds as Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse
1878
Treaty of Berlin (1878). Cyprus becomes a Crown colony. The Princess Alice dies. Princess Louise's husband The Marchioness of Lorne is appointed Governor-General of Canada. First incandescent light bulb by Joseph Wilson Swan.
1879
The Battle of Isandlwana is the first major encounter in the Anglo-Zulu War. Victoria and Albert's first great-grandchild, Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen, is born.
1882
British troops begin the occupation of Egypt by taking the Suez Canal, in order to secure the vital trade route and passage to India, and the country becomes a protectorate.
1883
Princess Louise and Lord Lorne return from Canada
1884
The Fabian Society is founded in London by a group of middle class intellectuals, including Quaker Edward R. Pease, Havelock Ellis, and E. Nesbit, to promote socialism. Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany dies.
1886
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and the Liberal Party tries passing the First Irish Home Rule Bill, but the House of Commons rejects it.
1888
The serial killer known as Jack the Ripper murders and mutilates five (and possibly more) prostitutes on the streets of London. Victoria's eldest daughter, the Princess Royal, becomes German Empress when her husband succeeds as Frederick III, German Emperor. Within months, Frederick dies, and their son becomes William II, German Emperor. The widowed Vicky becomes the Dowager Empress as is known as "Empress Frederick".
1870 – 1891
Under the Elementary Education Act 1870, basic State Education becomes free for every child under the age of 10.
1891
Victoria and Albert's last grandchild, Prince Maurice of Battenberg, is born.
1892
The Prince of Wales' eldest son Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence dies of influenza.
1893
The Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh succeeds as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha when his uncle dies. The Duchy skips over The Prince of Wales due to his renunciation of his succession rights to that Duchy.
1898
British and Egyptian troops led by Horatio Kitchener defeat the Mahdist forces at the battle of Omdurman, thus establishing British dominance in the Sudan. Winston Churchill takes part in the British cavalry charge at Omdurman.
1899
The Second Boer War is fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics.
1900
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha dies. His nephew Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany succeeds him, because his brother Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and nephew Prince Arthur of Connaught had renounced their rights.
1901
The death of Victoria sees the end of this era. The ascension of her eldest son, Edward, begins the Edwardian era; albeit considerably shorter, this was another time of great change.

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