King Louis XVI was the king of France leading up to and during the French Revolution. He was unprepared for the position and not particularly interested in governing France, preferring to luxuriate in the lifestyle being a member of the royal family entailed. He married Marie Antoinette, and they became increasingly unpopular as French people struggled with the declining economy and they did nothing to alleviate the problem. He was executed during the Jacobin-controlled portion of the French Revolution.
Britain's colonies in America became more and more angered by British taxation of their goods and limitations on their trade. The colonies were already autonomous in essence, but wanted to be entirely independent, and so fought and won a war with Britain, with help from French allies. The newly formed United States of America drafted their constitution with Enlightenment principles in mind, especially concepts from the work of English philosopher John Locke. These included the social construct, popular sovereignty, and universal human rights.
Simon Bolivar was an upper class Latin American man who, inspired by Europe's enlightenment philosophy, wanted to apply concepts like popular sovereignty and guaranteed human rights in Latin American government. He campaigned with the help of various allies and supporters to remove Spanish and Portuguese rulers from South America. Once it became independent, Bolivar wanted to establish a confederacy like the USA in North America, but the regional differences between Latin American people and their inexperience with self government made that impossible. Bolivar died of tuberculosis after having given up his vision being realized.
The Haitian Revolution was the only successful slave revolt in history. It took place in the French sugar colony of Saint-Domingue on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. Led by Toussaint Louverture, slaves destroyed plantations and overthrew their masters, establishing Haiti as its own nation with universal suffrage and complete legal equality for people of all races (in line with Enlightenment Ideals).
The cotton gin was developed by Eli Whitney, an American inventor. His invention helped to further mechanize the cotton textiles industry, and continue industrialization and the promotion of the factory system of manufacture.
The Balkan Peninsular was under the control of the crumbling Ottoman Empire, whose vulnerable state allowed Greece to win their independence fairly easily. The growing Greek nationalist movement was inspired by the Greek ethnic and religious minorities in the region and the growing nationalist movements in other states.
The Taiping Rebellion was a Chinese rebel group looking to radically reform Chinese society and government by abolishing foot binding and concubinage, creating a system of free public education, mass literacy, simplification of the written language, and creation of communal wealth rather than private property. It was led by Chinese schoolteacher Hong Xiuquan, who advocated for the end of Qing rule in China. The rebellion contributed to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty.
The Sepoy Rebellion was a response of Indian soldiers in British India to their treatment at the hands of British officials. Their main grievance was that the cartridges they were made to use were capped with a substance that included pork and beef fat, and the cartridge caps had to be bitten off to use the bullets. Ingesting pork and beef is not allowed according to the main religions of Indian people, Hinduism and Islam, and the British ignored this when providing the soldier with ammunition. The rebellion was violent, and pit down violently. Before the Sepoy Rebellion, India was controlled by the British East India Company, but afterwards the British government took direct control of India and began colonizing there more.
Origin Of Species was a book written by Charles Darwin about his theory of evolution, showing how species differentiate over time but once all shared a common ancestor. After he died, however, Europeans applied his concept of survival of the fittest to their imperialistic ambitions, creating the concept of social darwinism. This mostly entailed white men justifying their exploitation of people and land that they stole by saying that they were naturally superior to people of other races. This was applied especially in the scramble for Africa, and is notably characterized in Rudyard Kipling's poem, The White Man's Burden. Social darwinism laid a basis for more modern racism and general European superiority.
The emancipation of the Russian serfs was one of the first steps in the Russian government's plans to modernize and industrialize their country. The serfs needed to be freed from their agricultural duties so they could labor in factories, so they were not actually freed, just transferred into a new unpleasant situation. However, Russia did not modernize its agricultural methods when it began industrializing, which meant that a smaller number of peasants had to produce the same amount of food with the same antiquated tools.
The Meiji Restoration occurred when the emperor was reinstalled as effective leader of Japan, rather than the feudal system that had been employed before. Japanese government looked to the West to improve themselves as a nation and industrialize. power. They did this because they feared foreign imperialism and because they wanted to be a world power. Using nationalism and positive war propaganda, Japan modernized without much resistance from its population, and established itself as a major global power with its defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War and China in the Sino-Japanese War.
The Suez Canal was a strategically placed man-made waterway that facilitated travel and trade between Britain and its colonies in India. Steamships traveled along the canal, bringing goods and people back and forth at previously unheard-of rates. Controlling the land around the Suez Canal was the primary reason for Britain's takeover of Egypt.
The Berlin Conference was held during the Scramble for Africa, and it laid basic guidelines for the claiming of territory in Africa as various European powers rushed to obtain as much land as possible. European countries wanted territory for new export markets, resource pools, lands for colonization, and to keep other European countries from getting the land and becoming too powerful. The conference resulted in the passing of the Berlin Act, an international agreement that required all European countries to respects each others' borders in Africa and established the entire continent as a free trade zone. No African people were invited to the conference.
The Indian National Congress was an example of Indian nationalism in response to British imperialism in India. The elected parliament had influence in India's government, giving Indian people a voice in how they were ruled, although British officials still had the most power.
The Boer War, also called the South African War, was fought between British imperialists in their African colonies. The British were looking to further exploit the gold and diamond deposits in South Africa and expand their territory North, and were met with resistance from the Africans, who were looking to protect their land and their own interests in the face of European imperialism.
apan's victory in the Russo-Japanese war established them as a major world power. The two countries fought over territory in Manchuria, which Japan was looking to imperialize because it was a small, resource-poor island nation.
The All-India Muslim League was similar to the Indian National Conference in that it was created by Indian people who wanted more say in their government. The Muslim League differed because, as the name suggests, its primary purpose was to protect the rights of Muslims in India (about 25% of the population), who were being increasingly overshadowed by the British and Hindu sections of India's government. The All-India Muslim League joined forces with the Indian National Congress in 1916, allowing them even more governmental influence.