World history 1870- 1880 AD

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Franco Prussian War : The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871
by Michael C. Howard
The Perfect Wagnerite : A Commentary on the Niblung's Ring
by George Bernard Shaw

1870 - 1890 AD

Standard Oil Formed, Charles Dickens Dies, Italy Unified, Franco Prussian War, Treaty of Washington, Paris Commune, Chicago Fire, Second Reich, Tweed Corruption, Second Carlist War ,Japanese Invade Taiwan, Civil Rights Act of 1875, Telephone Invented, Centenial Exposition, Ring Cycle Premieres, Serbia Declares War on Ottoman Empire, Korea Independent, Custer Killed, Reconstruction Ended, National Rail Strike, Germ Theory of Disease, Phonograph Invented, Thomas Edison, Congress of Berlin, Treaty of San Stefano, Electric Light, Zulu War

1870 AD Standard Oil Formed On January 10th 1870 John D Rockefeller and four partners incorporated the Standard Oil Company. The company gained control of nearly 95% of the oil refining industry in the United States.
1870 AD Charles Dickens Dies -Charles Dickens died in 1870. Dickens was a prolific English writer who wrote some of the most enduring stories written in the English language. Some of his better know works include: Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Tale of Two Cities.
1870 AD Pope Stripped of all power- Italy Unified- Italy was unified when Italian troops entered Rome after the withdrawal of French troops. The Italians stripped all temporal power from Pope Piius IX, whom they imprisoned in the Vatican. Rome became the new capital of unified Italy.
1870 AD Franco Prussian War - The Franco German War broke out at the instigation of Prussian minister Bismarck who believed the war would help unify Germany. Bismarck maneuvered so that France would declare war on Germany, thus helping to stroke German nationalism. On September 2, 1870 the French army was defeated at the battle of Sedan. The French commanders, as well Napoleon III were captured. The Germans advanced steadily on Paris. The fort at Metz held out until October 28th. On December 27th the forts surrounding Paris were placed under siege. On January 28, 1871 Paris fell and the French surrendered.
1871 AD Treaty of Washington- The sympathy shown by many Englishmen towards the Confederacy combined with the British government's lax enforcement of neutrality created a serious rift between the United States and Great Britain. The most serious charge leveled by the U.S. was that the British allowed the Confederate cruisers "Alabama", "Shenandoah" and "Florida" to be armed in British ports.
Early attempts to resolve this dispute were unsuccessful. At one point, a claim was made that Britain was responsible for half the cost of the war, and that the US would consider Canada proper payment. Thus, on May 8th, the United States and Great Britain agreed to submit all of their disputes, including boundary disputes, fishery issues, and the question of claims to binding arbitration.

The arbitration committee decided that Great Britain owed the United States $15,500,000 dollars.
1871 AD Paris Commune-When word spread in Paris that the legislative assembly was considering restoring the monarchy, students and workers took to the streets. They seized control of the city, and the Commune of Paris as it was called controlled the city from March 18th until May 28th. Marshal Mac-Mahon led French troops that regained control of the city. Over 20,000 Parisians lost their lives defending the barricades of the city.
1871 AD Chicago Fire- On October 8th, a fire broke out in the west side of Chicago. The fire lasted two days, killing 300 people, and destroying most of Chicago. Property damages were estimated at 200 million dollars.
1871 AD Second Reich - With the German victory in France complete, the German Reichstag(parliament) proclaimed the creation of the Second Reich. The Reichstag approved with minor modification the constitution of the Northern German Federation. William I became King of Germany with Otto Bismarck the first chancellor.
1872 AD Tweed Corruption Exposed- William Tweed was but one of many big city political bosses. These bosses ran a government which was a power unto itself. It would insure itself political support by handing out jobs to its supporters and helping them with various problems they had with government. The bosses were particularly adept at gaining support from new immigrants.
1872 AD Second Carlist War The Second Carlist War broke out in the spring of 1872 when Don Carol III tried to reestablish the Bourbon reign in Spain. The war continued for two years until 1874 when a coalition declared Alfonso XII King.
1874 AD Japanese Invade Taiwan - The Japanese invaded Taiwan. Their excuse was the killing of an Okinawan seamen after a shipwreck. The Japanese agreed to withdraw after the Chinese agree to pay an indemnity.
1875 AD Civil Rights Act of 1875- On March 1st 1875 the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed. The act mandated that public accommodation for Blacks be equivalent to those of whites. The laws were completely ignored in the south. Local "Jim Crow" laws were passed that established separate accommodations for Blacks and Whites.
1876 AD Telephone Invented On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell successfully tested the first telephone. The initial test was accidental. It happened when Bell spilled some acid on his leg and called out for Watson to come and help him. Watson heard Bell's request through the telephone instrument that they were working on.
1876 AD Centenial Exposition- On May 10th, an exposition opened in Philadelphia's Fairmont Park, celebrating 100 years of American independence. The fair was housed in 249 structures over 249 acres of the park. On the first day over 100,000 people crowded the park.
1876 AD Ring Cycle Premieres - Richard Wagner's cycle of four operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelungs) is first performed, at the first of the music festivals at Bayreuth, Germany. The four operas in the cycle are: Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold), Die Walkuere (The Valkyrie), Siegfried, and Goetterdaemmerung (The Twilight of the Gods).
1876 AD Serbia Declares War on Ottoman Empire In May of 1876 the Bulgarians began an insurrection against the Ottomans. The insurrection was quelled brutally and thousand of Bulgarians were slain. To protest this Serbia declared war on the Ottomans. The Serbs were defeated at the battle of Alexinatz on September 1. The Bulgarian revolt ended soon after.
1876 AD Japan Recognizes Korean Independence from China Japan recognized Korean independence from China. Under a treaty with Korea trade between Japan and Korea was opened when three cities were opened to Japanese traders. China did not object to the treaty.
1876 AD Custer Killed On June 25th, in Dakota territory, at the Little Big Horn, General Custer and all 256 troops were killed. The defeat of Custer in the Battle of the Little Big Horn was the last Indian victory.
1877 AD Reconstruction Ended-President Hayes kept his campaign promise to remove federal troops from the South, ending the period known as Reconstruction. The order was given on May 1st, 1877. The decision to end Reconstruction and return the rule to Southerners, soon resulted in the disenfranchisement of the Blacks in the South.
1877 AD First National Rail Strike- The first national strike against the railroads began after the 12th day of a strike at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, initiated when brakeman's wages were reduced. The national strike which was unorganized marked the beginning of labor-management confrontations that would last for the rest of the century.
1877 AD Germ Theory of Disease -1877- Louis Pasteur investigated microorganisms. This resulted in his presentation of the Germ Theory of disease. Joseph Lister went on to initiate the practice of insuring that surgeons were clean before they conducted surgery.
1877 AD Phonograph Invented by Edison On December 15th, Thomas Edison applied for a patent for his phonograph. Edison initially believed it would be used to record business sessions, or family voices. Edison became famous with this invention and was invited to the White House for a demonstration.
1878 AD Congress of Berlin -The Congress of Berlin was convened to address the anger of Great Britain, Austria Hungary and Prussia at the terms of the treaty of San Stefano. The Treaty of Berlin made changes to the terms of the agreement, including the occupation of Bosnia and Herzogovina by Austria -Hungary. It also decreased the size of Serbia and Montengro.
1878 AD Treaty of San Stefano The Treaty of San Stefano is signed on March 5th between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The treaty brought to an end a war between the parties begun the year before when Russia declared war on the Ottomans. The Russian were successful on the battlefield and the Ottomans were forced to sue for peace. Under the terms of the agreement Romania, Montenegran and Serbia are assured independence, while reforms are promised in Bosnia and Herzogovina and Bulgaria.
1879 AD Electric Light Invented -Thomas Edison overcame the obstacle to finding a light bulb that would burn long enough to become commercially viable by developing a bulb based on carbonized cotton. The invention of the light bulb began the electrical revolution that soon swept the country and the world.
1879 AD Zulu War The Zulu nation that was founded in 1876 ended when the British defeated them in battle. On January 22 the British were defeated at the battle of Isandhlwand. The British however decisively defeated the Zulu at the battle of Ulundi.


Specific Resources:




Presidential Elections:
John D Rockefeller Bio
Dickens Page
Dickens Web Ring
Dickens Work on- li Color ne
Why did the French Lose?
Battle of Worth***
Administration of Prussian Army**
Photos and Archives on the Siege of Paris and the Commune
Bibliography at Univ of Sussex
The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory
Otto Bismarck
Alfonso XII
Civil Rights Act 1875***
Alexander Graham Bell
History of the Telephone
Grahams Path to the telephone
Richard Wagner
Battle of Little Big Horn
The Life and Times of Louis Pasteur
Joseph Lister (1827-1912):
Antiseptic Principle Of The Practice Of Surgery,***
Edison Home Page
Edison Papers
Treaty of Stan Stefano
Zulu War Society


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