Period 5 Timeline



Toussaint Louverture

1744 - 1803

Toussaint Louverture was a former slave who rose to power through his inherent intelligence and education. He was a leader of the slave revolt that "freed" Haiti. He built a strong army and overcame Spanish, French, and British armies that were fighting the rebels. Equality and citizenship were also granted to all residents in a constitution promulgated by Louverture. However, he did not declare Haiti independent from France because he feared Napoleon may attack if he did so.

James Watts Perfects the Steam Engine


Primitive steam engines had been used to draw water out of coal mines but Watts perfection of the technology opened a whole new world of possibility. His steam engine used steam to enable a piston to turn a wheel, whose circular motion meant the engine had many uses. Due to his refinement of the steam engine the technology spread, particularly in the British Isles, and promoted the growth of factories (textile in particular) since the engines resulted in increased productivity.

Reign of King Louis XVI

1774 - 1793

King Louis XVI was ruler of France before and during the French Revolution. He was not a very good king because his heart was not in ruling his country. Therefore, France was mismanaged during his reign and the people did not like him. It was he who called the Estates General after he tried to raise taxes on the rich since he was unable to gather revenue from the peasants. At the Estates General the third estate demanded social reform (this led to the Tennis Court Oath) which was a key starting factor in the French Revolution. Louis was eventually beheaded when he was caught trying to flee France with his wife and children.

American Revolution

1775 - 1781

The American Revolution was a result of the American colonists protesting the unfair taxes being pressed upon them by the British (who were trying to pay off the Seven Years' War). The colonists thought that they should not have to pay taxes that British citizens weren't paying and this led to conflict between the colonists and the British government. Eventually the colonists acquired their independence and the United States of America was formed.

Spinning Mule Developed


The development of the spinning mule meant that textile production could skyrocket. The spinning mule was specifically designed to work with a steam engine, and thus it became a very popular spinning tool. With it a worker could produce a hundred times more thread than if they were manually spinning.

Simón Bolivar

1783 - 1830

Simon Bolivar was the creole leader of the Latin American independence movement. He had a strong army that overthrew Spanish rule in many South American countries, but his main goal was to unite the many Spanish colonies in a confederation rather like the United States of America. Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador formed a republic called Gran Colombia but that was the furthest Bolivar ever got, and even then Gran Colombia broke apart. The political and regional differences within South America halted Bolivar's dream and he eventually proclaimed South America to be ungovernable.

French Revolution

1789 - 1799

The French Revolution essentially sought to replace the old social order with a new political, cultural, and social structures. However, there was no experience with self-governance which led to some issues (such as the Reign of Terror and conflict within the revolution itself.) The forms of government were constantly switching (the Convention, the Directory) and all in all the revolution grew to be a disorganized, chaotic event. At the end of it all France's military and economic problems were not able to be solved and social policy was hanging between the old way and the revolutionary ideas. But, Napoleon was there to save the day and bring France back to power and strength.

Haitian Revolution

1791 - 1803

The Haitian Revolution was the only successful slave revolt in history. The actual revolution took place on the island of Hispaniola. There were many sugar plantations on the island and the slaves were worked brutally and violence between the white planters and black slaves was frequent. The plantation owners were also highly outnumbered which gave the slaves the advantage, obviously. Skirmishes with other France gave the slaves the opportunity they were looking for and soon they were able to take control and declare the land the Republic of Haiti and grant equality and citizenship to all residents.

Cotton Gin Developed


The invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney was important to the factory system. Textiles were a popular industry the cotton gin helped to speed the process due to the fact that it separated cotton much faster than one could manually. As a result cotton was able to be woven and processed with greater speed.

Reign of Napoleon

1799 - 1814

During Napoleon's reign women's rights took a step backwards, but he did make peace with the Roman Catholic church. The Civil Code was also formed, which established a merit based society and affirmed the equality of adult men. All in all the code put many of the moderate revolutionary policies onto paper. Napoleon also campaigned and conquered in many countries, drastically expanding his authority. However, his downfall began when he tried to invade Russia. He was then forced to abdicate and was sent into exile. He escaped from exile and ruled France for one hundred days before being re-exiled.

Wars of Independence in Latin America

1810 - 1825

The Wars of Independence were sparked by the creole's hatred of the administrative control and economic regulations imposed upon them by the Iberian powers. The creoles essentially wanted to get rid of the peninsulares but keep their position in Latin American society. There were many creole movements that resulted in a creole-dominated republics and independence.

Congress of Vienna

1814 - 1815

The Congress of Vienna occurred because political leaders feared that enhanced national consciousness and notions of popular sovereignty would cause more revolts and uprisings. The nations represented at the congress were Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Britain. Napoleon's empire was taken apart, sovereignty was re-established, and a diplomatic order based on balance of power was founded. However, the Congress' efforts has limited success since the balance of power didn't last when global war occurred and methods such as censorship were used to suppress revolution. Essentially, by this point in time the flame of nationalism was impossible to extinguish.

War of Greek Independence

1821 - 1827

The War of Greek Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution, was a conflict that eventually brought about the formation of an independent state for Greece. In this war Greece, assisted by Russia, France, Britain, and other European nations, fought the Ottoman Empire. The defeat of the Ottomans was symbolic due to the fact that they were once a great military power and were now slowly being torn apart and weakened.

Opium War

1839 - 1860

The Opium War was a successful attempt by the British to reinstate the opium trade that was being abolished in China. The trade was very profitable to the British, therefore they did not want it to end. China was nowhere near as powerful, militarily and technologically, as the British and so they were forced to surrender. Their loss led to the legalization of the opium trade and many unequal treaties in favor of Britain and other European countries that undermined the power of China drastically.

Communist Manifesto published


The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles. In the work they state that throughout history the various social classes have been engaged in struggle with one another and at some point the working class (proletariat) would rebel. When they did they would overthrow the upper class (bourgeois) and form a proletariat dictatorship that would get rid of private property and destroy the capitalist order. After that even the dictatorship would dissolve, so society would function in a socialist manner.

Taiping Rebellion

1850 - 1864

The Taiping Rebellion was an uprising led by Hong Xiuquan. The Taiping wanted to destroy the Qing Dynasty and bring about social reform since they believed men and women to be equal. The Rebellion gained popular support as the Taiping supported features that the subjects agreed with (such as the abolition of private property). The Taiping were able to capture Nanjing but the Chinese gentry sided with the government and formed regional armies (which was encouraged by the empress dowager Cixi). These armies were able to recapture Nanjing and kill many of the Taiping. The aftermath of the Rebellion reflected the deaths of many people and the agricultural destruction led to great starvation.

Crimean War

1853 - 1856

The Crimean War was a conflict between Russia and England, France, Sardinia, and the Ottoman Empire. This was a result of Russia trying to expand into the Ottoman Empire and the European nations subsequently being concerned that the balance of power may be upset. Russian armies were severely defeated as they could not hold up to the power of the European armies. Russia's economy was also unable to further fund these attempts at expansion. So, not only were they weakened on the military front but it became evident that an agrarian economy dependent on unfree labor was not at all strong.

Bessemer Process Developed


The development of the Bessemer Process was a huge step forward in steel production. When Henry Bessemer invented the Bessemer Furnace (a refined blast furnace) it became easier to produce more steel and at less cost. Due to the accessibility of steel due to the Bessemer Process iron began to be replaced.

Sepoy Rebellion


The Sepoy Rebellion occurred when the sepoys discovered that the cartridges they used had pig and cow fat on them for lubrication. The fact they may have oral contact with the fat went against their religious beliefs and when they refused to use the cartridges they were accused of mutiny. Eventually, Indian princes and other followers joined the sepoys and the rebellion became a war for independence. However, the British were eventually able to overcome the sepoys and their forces and maintain their power.

Unification of Italy

1859 - 1870

Unification of Italy was accomplished when political leaders (such as the Count Camillo di Cavour) allied with other others who were pro independence. With the help of France Cavour was able to secure northern Italy. In southern Italy Giuseppe Garibaldi was already unifying the nation, and because he did not desire to rule, he allowed the south to join with the north. Thus Italy was unified.

Origin of the Species published


The publication of the Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin brought about widespread use of the term "survival of the fittest." His work stated that species that did well in a particular environment flourished while other species did not. Social Darwinists applied to the ideas of Darwin to society. In doing this they justified European rule over subjects as part of the natural cycle of the world. Their theories also explained why some people did very well and others did not based on how well they were able to compete in society and their environment.

Suez Canal

1859 - 1869

The construction of the Suez Canal, connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas, allowed steamships to travel with greater ease because they did not have to travel around the Cape of Good Hope. Due to greater ease of movement over rivers and seas the construction and maintenance of empires was easier to accomplish. Additionally, trade was able to boom with decreased costs due to faster trips across bodies of water.

Emancipation of Russian Serfs


The emancipation of serfs in Russia was a key point in an attempt to reform the social system. In freeing the serfs the government believed they were lowering the risk of peasant revolts and getting rid of a potential economic block in growth. When the serfs were freed the government tried to balance their rights with that of the lords-but the peasants go the short end of the stick. While serfs got their freedom and could gain land they had to pay taxes on it, while they thought it was theirs by right. So, peasants were able to improve their standing somewhat but, ultimately, the emancipation of the serfs resulted in little more than a small increase in agricultural production and most peasants were in debt for most of their lives.

Unification of Germany

1864 - 1871

Germany was unified under the expert leadership of Otto von Bismarck, who believed that "blood and iron" would unite the country. He was right. Bismarck intentionally started wars with other countries to stir up feelings of German nationalism with their victories. Eventually, the Prussian king declared himself to be the emperor of the Second Reich (Second German Empire). In this case, unification was again brought about through the use of nationalism and great guidance by political leaders.

Meiji Restoration


The Meiji Restoration was what truly brought Japan into being an industrial power. During the Restoration power was returned to the Emperor, a constitution was written with inspiration from Western ideals, factories grew and the silk industry boomed, transportation and communication methods were implemented, and the Japanese army became a military power. Through the harnessing of European ideas and ideals Japan became a force to be reckoned with, both militarily and economically.

Boer War

1880 - 1902

The Boer War was a conflict resulting from tensions between Afrikaners (Africans of Dutch descent) and British authority when large numbers of British miners and prospectors flooded in after the discovery of valuable mineral resources, such as diamonds and gold. While the war pitted whites against one another many black Africans were affected, for example, through concentration camps. In the end the Afrikaners accepted defeat and the British restored their colonies. To improve relations with the Afrikaners the British tried to strengthen the white colonial classes and increase black African dominance.

Berlin West Africa Conference

1884 - 1885

The Berlin West Africa Conference was a result of rising tensions between European powers trying to establish African colonies. At the conference the grounds and rules for colonization were established, and not a single African was in attendance. It was decided that a countries had to make claims and then occupy their claims to make them legitimate. They also had to have written consent from an African ruler or have militarily overpowered the area. The Europeans also decided that when they did colonize they would do such things as end the slave trade, spread Christianity, and participate in make their goals seem more, well, nice. All in all the Conference set Africa up to be a place of European colonization, which it became since many African nations were comparatively weak when it came to military and were easily overpowered and colonized.

Indian National Congress founded


The founding of the Indian National Congress brought about a large push for reform. It was universally agreed upon by the representatives in Congress that it was time for India to rule herself. The Congress then joined forces with the All-Indian Muslim League. Faced with mounting pressure the colonial authorities allowed Indians to participate in the government, but by that time India wanted more. The nationalistic movement resulted in boycotts of British goods, bombings, and even assassinations. Indian nationalism did, eventually, result in independence.

Boxer Rebellion


The Boxer Rebellion was an antiforeign uprising in China, supported by the dowager empress Cixi. The Rebellion was led my military units known as the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists. Their goal was to get rid of the Europeans (foreigners in general) and their subsequent influence. The Boxers invaded Beijing full of confidence, but the foreign troops were able to effectively crush the uprising. As a result the Chinese government had to allow foreigners to station troops in Beijing and other areas. Also, because Cixi had backed the rebellion many Chinese,even the gentry, were viewing the government as bankrupt. Therefore, revolution started to gain great support.

Panama Canal

1904 - 1914

The construction of the Panama Canal allowed for faster passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Due to this decreased travel time ships could carry loads to and from their destinations with greater ease, just as with the Suez Canal. This led to less expenses being payed to travel since large portions of the voyages were cut off by the use of these canals.

Russo-Japanese War

1904 - 1905

The Russo-Japanese war truly established Japan as an imperial power and force to be reckoned with. The war itself began when Japanese forces overcame the Russians before support from Europe was able to arrive. The Japanese fleet was also able to crush the Russian fleet. Thus, the Japanese gained recognition for their defeat of the Russians and their control, now, over Korea and other, nearby, areas.

All-India Muslim League founded


The All India Muslim League was an organization that worked to promote the interests of the Muslim population of India. The League promoted the political and social wishes of the Muslims, which included ridding India of foreign influence. When the League joined forces with the Indian National Congress they played a key role in the nationalism movement that gained India her independence.

Henry Ford & the Assembly Line


When Henry Ford began using the assembly line in his automobile factory he was able to substantially increase his productivity. By making it so one person did one job and everything moved at a fixed rate, cars could be made much faster than if built by a group of people at one time. This technology could be used in other areas as well and soon many factories were using the assembly line to increase their productivity.