Unit 1 Consolidation and Revolt: Timeline


Congress of Vienna


This gathering of statesmen was convened by the powers that had defeated Napoleon: Austria, Russia, Prussia, and Great Britain. It met from September 1814 until June 1815, and its purpose was to reorganize Europe and to re-establish conservative political order after Napoleon's conquests. It succeeded in both respects. (Compton's by Britannica)

Revolutions of 1848


A series of republican revolts against European monarchies, beginning in Sicily, and spreading to France, Germany, Italy, and the Austrian Empire. They all ended in failure and repression, and were followed by widespread disillusionment among liberals. (Compton's by Britannica)

US Civil War

1861 - 1865

Unification of Germany



First Opium War

1839 - 1842

arose from China's attempts to suppress the opium trade. British traders had been illegally exporting opium to China, and the resulting widespread addiction was causing serious social and economic disruption in the country. In 1839 the Chinese government confiscated all opium warehoused at Canton by British merchants. The commissioner for the suppression of the drug trade, Lin Tse-Hsu, wrote a famous letter to Queen Victoria of England asking for her assistance in suppressing the trade. The British did not help, however, as they needed to sell opium to China in order to offset their purchase of Chinese tea and other products. The firmness of the Chinese demands to British traders resulted in the British sending warships. The small British force was easily victorious, resulting in the first of China’s “Unequal Treaties,” the Treaty of Nanking. The war ended centuries of Chinese isolation, and resulted in an influx of foreigners followed by a century of instability and crisis in China.

Treaty of Nanking


The Treaty of Nanking was the first agreement in a series of many "Unequal treaties" between China and the West, after the Opium War. Because Great Britain won that war, the Treaty was favorable only to them. It assigned the island Hong-Kong to England and it opened five ports to foreign trade, among other concessions. But the treaty didn’t cease the problems between those two countries, because the treaty had much more advantages for the Europeans. This treaty ended centuries of Chinese isolation and forced it to "open." Somewhat ironically, the treaty said nothing about the legality (or illegality) of opium in China.
This treaty was a great contributor to the problems that China had in the century after it, because many countries took advantage of its ‘weakness" and carved out "spheres of influence" (like the cartoon of the foreigners with carving knives sitting around China as a pizza or pie). Though China's QIng dynasty was already under stress prior to the Opium War, what happened after the war and the Treaty of Nanking led to decades of instability in China, and eventual collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the end of Imperial China in 1911.

Commodore Perry arrives in Japan


With warships, this American Commodore steamed into Edo (Tokyo) Bay with a message from US President Fillmore for the Japanese Emperort: sign a trade treaty with the US or else face war. Though the country was completely closed to outsiders (except a few Dutch trading ships a year), the Japanese were well aware of what had happened to China during the Opium Wars, Consequently, Japan agreed to Western demands in a several "Unequal Treaties," ending centuries of isolation and launching a great period of transformation in Japan, the Meiji Era.

Treaty of Kanagawa


The Treaty of Kanagawa was the first "unequal treaty" forced onto the Tokugawa Shogunate (by the U.S) after US Commodore Matthew Perry went (uninvited) to Japan and aggressively demanded various things from the Japanese government. Like China, Japan had for centuries been closed to foreigners. The Japanese, however, realized that they could not win if they tried to resist the Americans (they had seen what happened to China in the Opium War a decade earlier), and capitulated to US demands. The treaty allowed the U.S. to achieve its goals in Japan: provisions for American ships near the Japanese coast, peace and alliance, accommodation of shipwrecked people, and most importantly, trade. This treaty itself did not establish trade but acted as an introduction to the succeeding “Harris Treaty”, which fulfilled this strong American aspiration. The treaty introduced the end of Japanese exclusion to foreign trade, which had previously consisted of a sole interaction with the Netherlands.

Second Opium War

1856 - 1860

In this war, also called the Arrow War or the "Second China War," the British and French defeated the weakened Qing to further extend European influence in China with more Unequal Treaties. In 1856 the British, seeking to extend their trading rights in China, found an excuse to renew hostilities when some Chinese officials boarded the ship Arrow and lowered the British flag. The French joined the British in this war, using as their excuse the murder of a French missionary in the interior of China. The Treaty of Tientsin, signed at the end of this war, legalized opium throughout China.

Suez Canal completed


This canal in Egypt, built by Europeans, connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas, allowing a trip between East and West to skip the 4000 mile journey around Africa. Of great strategic significance for 19th century imperialists, the canal was one of the important reasons for the British takeover of Egypt in 1882. The Suez Canal has been a focus of diplomacy, and sometimes conflict, between Egypt and other states since it was built.

Scramble for Africa

1876 - 1914

In the broader story of the 19th century frenzy of Europe's global territorial conquest, the pace of land-grabbing in Africa was so accelerated that this particular part of the story is called the “Scramble for Africa.” Sometimes referred to as "the partition of Africa." (see Berlin Conference). Through a mix of invasion and manipulation, Europeans "gobbled up" the continent. The Europeans, an already racist group, thought nothing of demoralizing and in many cases ruining the lives of Africans.

The Europeans invaded Africa for a variety of reasons; their motives were economic (resources, markets, labor), political (power, prestige, military bases), and social/cultural ("white man's burden," charity, Social Darwinism).

Some Africans tried to fight against the Europeans, but since the Europeans were more advanced due to the Industrial Revolution, the Africans couldn’t fight against their mechanical weaponry. Everywhere except in Ethiopia, resistance movements failed.

The experience of being colonized varied widely from one part of Africa to another), depending on the conditions before their arrival, the geography of the area, and the nature of the colonizing power. In some cases Europeans brought benefits (e.g. and end to slavery or tribal fighting), but everywhere was a lack of democratic systems, focus on "law and order" that diverted funds from providing social services like education and health care, and the practice of "divide and rule." Nearly all of the profits from colonial economic ventures went back to Europe. The legacy of imperialism, including the boundaries drawn (which cut across tribal areas) and the rude disruption of traditional ideas, is still a factor in African politics and economy today.

British Takeover of Egypt


The British invaded Egypt in order to secure the Suez Canal, which it owned since 1875 when it bought Ismail Pasha's shares of the compagny (Ismail Pasha was Egypt's Khedive until 1879, when he was replaced by his son, Tawfik). Tawfik's leadership was endangered when the Urabi Revolution occurred, in which the army, supported by the general Egyptian population, tried to establish a representative government. The political instability in Egypt made the Europeans nervous, especially Britain and France, who had much interest in the Suez Canal. In Alexandria, in 1882, revolutionaries began to build fortifications, anticipating a war. When British and French ships surrounded the coastal city and gave an ultimatum (that the coastal defenses be dismantled, the Egyptians did not comply, and the British bombarded Alexandria, and invaded the city. The British army and the rebel army fought and the Egyptians were defeated in Cairo, and it's leader (Urabi) was exiled to Ceylon, today called Sri-Lanka. Although the goal was a short-term occupation of Egypt, the British remained until 1956. (Answers.com)

Berlin Conference

1884 - 1885

This conference from late 1884 to early 1885 formalized the Scramble for Africa, convening 14 European powers to discuss territorial ambitions and rivalries in the hope of avoiding war with each other for colonial conquests. Though the Europeans knew almost nothing about Africa's interior--the Europeans had a presence in only 10% of the continent, almost all coastal areas--the continent was completely colonized in a very short time. The Berlin Conference was held in Berlin (duh) and organized by German chancellor Otto von Bismark. The result was the resolution of most disputes over control of Africa and agreement about which part of Africa each would colonize and occupy. No Africans attended the conference.

Congo Free State

1885 - 1908

The Congo Free State was a colony of central Africa that was the personal property of Belgian King Leopold II, who once referred to the continent as "that magnificent African cake." The Congo Free Statewas known as one of the most inhumane and brutal colonies during colonization. Forced labor or “slave labor” was thrust upon the Congolese people in an effort to obtain rubber, palm oil, copper, and ivory for the Europeans. Through extreme brutality and coercion the colonial officials--who worked for commercial enterprises chartered by Leopold--extracted various resources from this resource-rich region. Though great efforts were made to hide it, the cruelty and brutality of Congo Free State eventually was publicized, and an large, multi-country human rights movement decried the atrocities. In 1908 the Belgian government seized control of the Congo, taking if from King Leopold, and it became The Belgian Congo, still a colony but without the extreme brutality. (Britannica: Congo Free State)

FIrst Sino-Japanese War

1894 - 1895

This was a conflict between Japan and China that marked the emergence of Japan as a major world power and demonstrated the weakness of the Chinese empire. The war grew out of conflict between the two countries for supremacy in Korea. Korea had long been China’s most important client state, but its strategic location opposite the Japanese islands and its natural resources of coal and iron attracted Japan’s interest. In 1875 Japan, which had begun to adopt Western technology, forced Korea to open itself to foreign, especially Japanese, trade and to declare itself independent from China in its foreign relations. The ongoing tension between conservative forces in Korea (backed by China), and the more radical, modernizing forces (backed by Japan), led to the outbreak of war between China and Japan. The Japanese won, a huge victory against a former regional superpower. (Brittanica)

Ethiopia Defeats Italy


The First Italo-Ethiopian War was fought between Italy and Ethiopia from 1895 to 1896. Ethiopia’s military victory over Italy secured it the distinction of being the only African nation to successfully resist European colonialism with a decisive show of force.The final battle took place in 1896 in Adwa, Ethiopia. Italy wanted to conquer Ethiopia because this was during the Scramble for Africa, and everyone wanted to have colonies in the continent. The Ethiopian victory was a significant event because it proved to the European Powers that an African nation could be a part of the modern community of nations, and made them an independent state. The Ethiopian’s were able to win because in the previous years the Ethiopian had bought weapons from other Europeans. The Ethiopians were able to buy these weapons because they shared Christianity with some European powers.

US Intervention in Latin America

1898 - 1915

This was a United States foreign policy statement. In the late 19th and early 20th century the United States intervened in Latin American affairs due to its desire to protect economic interests there. The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declared that the US had the right to get involved in other countries' affairs if those countries could not properly deal with instability such as economic debt or political agitation. Since many American companies had investments in Latin American countries, the US used this policy to justify multiple interventions--including, frequently, the sending of US troops--to "stabilize" other countries and protect US interests.

Spanish American War


This war made the US into an imperial power. The backdrop for the Spanish American war had been set long before the accidental explosion of the Maine, in Havana Harbor on February 15 1898. In fact, the United States, a world power with some moral problems regarding imperialism, had been interested in the many things Cuba could offer. However, despite the Cuba’s political instability under Spanish imperialist rule, their numerous sugar and tobacco plantations, and proximity to the United States, the American government could find a good enough reason to enter the country.
However, in 1895, when Jose Martí began his anti-Spanish revolution, the Americans saw their chance to infiltrate Cuba on non-imperialist grounds. And, within a short period of time, American battleships arrived in Cuban waters ready to “liberate” Cuba.
3 years later, when the American battle Ship main accidentally exploded in Havana harbor, the Americans immediately blamed the Spanish, and demanded that they evacuate Cuba. The Spanish, who were already stretched from trying to suppress popular uprising, did not argue the offer. However, President William McKinley and the Americans saw the Spanish weakness as an opportunity to take both Cuba, and Spain’s Pacific possession, the Philippines.
On May 1st of 1898 the US fleet defeated the Spanish at Manila in the Philippines, and gained control of the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Cuba, after the Spanish had evacuated, became, technically, an independent republic , but it was essentially a US protectorate. . The Philippines, however, did not get any independence at all, and became a formal colony of the United States. The question of whether the US should or should not make a formal colony of the Philippines prompted Rudyard Kipling's famous poem, "White Man's Burden."

For the Americans, the Spanish American war was, according to Vice President John Hay: “a splendid little war.”

Kipling's poem, "White Man's Burden"


The poem “White Man’s Burden”, published by British author Rudyard Kipling, was indicative of one of the major concepts of Imperialism. The idea was that it was the duty of white men to rule over the “dark” and “unenlightened” areas of the world. The white colonizers would then encourage the cultural development of the native people, until they reached the point that Westerners considered as “civilized”. The concept of the white man’s burden made imperialism seem like a noble and honorable cause. The proponents of this idea were thoroughly pro-Imperialism. Though some argue that the poem itself is meant ironically, it seems to represent a positive opinion of American colonization of the Philippines. Both the idea and the poem were, and still are, very controversial. Many, including prominent figures like Mark Twain and Henry James, viewed the concept as racist. Despite this, the belief that white men had a duty to civilize the rest of the world was very prevalent during Imperialism.

Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine


In 1823, the Monroe doctrine issued by US President James Monroe originally asserted that the Western Hemisphere was no longer open for colonization by Europeans. The doctrine gave a message that the Europeans could not re-claim the recently independent countries in South America. In 1904 US President Theodore Roosevelt added to the Monroe Doctrine saying that the US had the right to intervene in Latin American affairs in the event of "chronic wrongdoing," meaning political or economic instability. The US did not want Europeans to intervene in such situations and this foreign policy statement aimed to establish the US as the "policemen" of the Western Hemisphere. The policy was used to justify repeated US interventions in Latin America when political or economic instability threatened to bring the Europeans accross the Atlantic to protect their investments.

Russo-Japanese War

1904 - 1905

The first success against the Europeans, the Russo-Japanese War was a huge milestone for the Japanese, who forced the Russians to abandon their plans to expand in Manchuria and Korea. The war surprised the whole world; this was the first war in which a European country (Russia) was defeated by an non-European country (Japan). Japan defeated Russia rapidly in 6 months, and ended the war with the Treaty of Portsmouth, which declared Korea as a protectorate of Japan. Japan also gained control over southern Manchuria. This was a very important step in Japan's advance to status as a world power able to compete with Western powers. The defeat of Westerners by Asians was a great inspiration to all colonized peoples.

Japanese Colonization of Korea

1910 - 1945

Korea became a Japanese protectorate in 1905 (after the Russo-Japanese War) but was officially annexed on August 22nd, 1910 (through the annexation treaty). This marked the Japanese entrance into the rank of imperialist powers.

Panama Canal opens


The United States decided to intervene in Colombia, South America, because they were interested in constructing a canal that would run through the isthmus of Central America thought Colombian territory. This would create a faster, easier and more efficient way to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The United States was especially interested because it would be very helpful in moving warships ports in their recently acquired territories: Hawaii and the Philippines. The only obstacle that the United States faced from building the canal was that the Colombian Senate refused permission for the construction of a canal. Consequently, the US supported (instigated, some would say) a revolution in the northern portion of Colombia, creating the new state of Panama, which granted permission for the canal. The Panama Canal is related to the broader US policy of imperialism and intervention in Latin America.


Taiping Rebellion

1850 - 1864

Meiji Era

1868 - 1912

Meiji means "Enlightened Rule." The Meiji Era during the time of emperor Mutsuhito. After Japan was forced to sign Perry’s unequal treaty( forced Japan to trade with Europe) , Japanese leaders were divided into two groups- reformers and traditionals . Reformers believed that adapting and integrating Western political, economic, and military style and techniques would strengthened the nation of Japan. However, others believed in preserving the old customs of Japan and completely opposed all western concepts. A civil war broke out in 1867 between Japanese reformers and tradionals and concluded with the reformers victory in 1869. The reformers restored the power of the emperor but established an oligarchy, a governmental system in which the nation was ruled by the emperor and a group of select political advisors.
This new government sent representatives to the West to learn about the “modern science, industry and technology." Upon their return, extreme changes were made to Japan’s society. One example was Japan’s modernization of its military that now functioned similarly to the Prussian army and the changes to its navy, which now was modeled after the British Navy. These military changes, as well other political, social, industrial, and educational transformations, were major factors that eventually enabled Japan to become another Imperial power. The government encouraged theses reforms but also stressed the concepts of nationalism and the overall strength of Japan. Through modernization, colonization and even war victories, Japan rapidly rose to "world power" status during the Meiji Era.

Loius Riel's movement in Canada

1869 - 1885

Jose Marti's movement in Cuba

1878 - 1895

The Mahdi's movement in Sudan

1881 - 1898

Emilio Aguinaldo's movement in the Philippines

1885 - 1901

Wovoka and the Ghost Dance Movement

1889 - 1890

Battle of Omdurman


The battle took place in Sudan, with the Anglo-Egyptian (British and Egyptians...Britain was running Egypt at the time) against the Mahdist Forces/army. This was the final battle in the "Reconquest of Sudan" after the Mahdi's movement had created a rebellion and then an independent state 13 years earlier. It was a very short battle and it symbolizes two different things. One, it was related to a huge revolutionary movement, and ended a seriously strong resistance movement. It also illustrates the inequality of technology and weapons at that time. The Europeans were far superior, while the Madhist army only had spears and weapons that were extremely outdated. The casualty rate for the Mahdist Army was 98%; the casualty rate for the Anglo-Egyptian forces was only 2%.

Boxer Rebellion


This was an anti-imperialist movement in China. The “Boxers” were a group of anti-christian and anti-foreigner men that were not pleased with the new western influence in China. They were supported by a majority of the population in China along with their government. In the end, the Europeans (along with the Japanese) sent armies into China and the Boxers were defeated. It was one of the several movements that illustrate ongoing problems and instability in China during the 19th century.

Patrick Pearse's movement in Ireland

1913 - 1916


Freud Interpretation of Dreams

September 1, 1900