19th Century Timeline: 1801 to 1900

1811-20   1821-30   1831-40   1841-50

1851-60   1861-70   1871-80   1881-90   1891-1900

1801  Britain is rising as an industrial power. The average life expectancy is around 40. A fictional "better-off" family will be described as drinking water that has a cow taste because it is taken from a brook from which cows drink. Meat is rare. Dental care is poor. The family eats with wooden spoons. Candles are rarely used because they cost too much. The father "visited the city once, but the travel cost him a week's wages... The children sleep two to a bed on straw mattresses on the floor." (Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, p. 13.)

1801  Britain makes Ireland part of a single British kingdom. Parliament in Dublin is abolished. The Anglican Church is to be recognized as the official church in Ireland. No Catholics are to be allowed to hold public office.

1801  Napoleon of France has defeated Austria. In the treaty of Lunéville, Austria renounces claims to the Holy Roman Empire. 

1802  The Ottoman Turks, trying to maintain empire, are fighting the Saud family and its Sunni Wahhabi allies. In Mesopotamia the Wahhabis capture the Shiite holy city of Karbala. In Arabia they capture Mecca.

1802  Leader of Haitian independence, Toussaint L'Ouverture, receives a message from the French General Brunet to meet for negotiations. Brunet assures Toussaint that he will be perfectly safe with the French, whom he says are gentlemen. When Toussaint shows up for the meeting, the French take and ship him to France, to a prison near the Swiss border.

1802  The war-weary British sign a treaty ending their war against France – The Treaty of Amiens.

1803  Ohio becomes the 17th US state. (Mar 1)

1803  President Jefferson and others support an investment of $15 million for the Louisiana Territory, which Napoleon is willing to sell for cash for his war efforts.

1803  Toussaint L'Ouverture dies in prison. (Apr 7)

1803  The treaty between Britain and France has broken down. Again they go to war against each other. (May 18)

1803  A German makes morphine from opium. Physicians are delighted that opium has been tamed. Morphine is lauded for its reliability and safety.

1803  In England, seven Irish rebels are the last sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. In deference to public opinion the sentence is commuted to merely hanging and beheading.

1803  Irish are rebelling against British rule. They are crushed militarily by the British, but unrest among the Irish will remain in Ireland through the rest of the century.

1803  The Wahhabis do not view the Shia as Muslims. A Shia assassinates the conqueror Abdul Aziz of the House of Saud.

1804  The Royal College of Surgeons is founded in London.

1804  Japan refuses trade with arriving Russian ships.

1804  The Russians visit the Hawaiian islands on their way to Fort Ross in California.

1804  Around 150,000 Hawaiians – nearly half of the population – are dying from the Great Sickness – an unknown disease brought by Europeans.

1804  Serbs revolt against Ottoman authority and win autonomy status – self-rule within the Ottoman Empire – demonstrating Ottoman weakness to Greeks, who remain under Ottoman rule.  

1804  Haiti proclaims itself a republic and independent.

1804  In Hausaland (south of the Sahara and west of Lake Chad), Muslim herdsmen war against non-Muslim Hausa chiefdoms and gain power in the region.

1804  In the wartime atmosphere and as a defense against French royalty, the Senate in France votes in favor of Napoleon Bonaparte becoming Napoleon I, "Emperor of the French." Napoleon crowns himself emperor. Beethoven is enraged. He dislikes royalty and tears up the title page for his Symfonia Buonaparte, which will be known as his Symphony No.3.

1804  Spain joins Napoleon's war as an ally against the British.

1805  Russia, Austria and Sweden ally themselves with Britain.

1805  In Milan, Napoleon is crowned King of Italy. He is looking towards an invasion of England. A French fleet sails north to Spain's Atlantic port of Cadiz. Napoleon orders his French and Spanish ships out of Cadiz to do battle with the British. The British win, at the Battle of Trafalgar, frustrating Napoleon's invasion plan.

1805  For two years the British East India Company has been warring against the Maratha Empire – which was allied with Napoleon. The East India Company wins and gains control over Orissa and western Gujarat.

1805  The son of Abdul Aziz, now head of House of Saud, defeats an Ottoman garrison and captures the holy city of Medina.

1806  The Emperor of Austria, Francis I, abdicates his other title: Holy Roman Emperor. The Holy Roman Empire, created in the 800s, is formally dissolved, with Napoleon reorganizing much of it into his Confederation of the Rhine.

1806  Jean Jacques Dessalines, leader of Haiti's revolution and self-declared emperor, is being viewed by his generals as a ridiculous figure. Dessalines announces his plan to march with troops into the south, where he is not popular, and the south explodes in rebellion. Dessalines' generals prepare a trap for him along the way. His horse is shot from under him. He is pinned under his horse, he is shot in the head and his body hacked to pieces with machetes.

1806  Ruling the seas, a British naval force takes control of Cape Colony in South Africa – the Dutch who had been ruling there now being ruled by Britain's enemy, Napoleon.

1807  Extending its power at sea, Britain outlaws slave trading across the Atlantic for its own ships and for ships from all countries united with Napoleon. Britain turns a presence on the coast of western Africa into a crown colony – Sierra Leone.

1807  The US Congress passes a law that bans the importation of slaves into the US, a law to be largely ignored in southern states.

1807  In Manchester, England, the largest factory complex in the world opens and the event draws spectators from across Britain and beyond. The factory uses steam acquired from burning coal. It's a change from power by river water, which is too limited a source for the coming industrial expansion. The availability of coal is helping the British surpass the Dutch industrially.

1807  The Geological Society of London is created, the founders expressing their desire to avoid preconceived notions and to collect facts for discussion.

1807  With help from the French, Muhammad Ali Pasha drives the British out of Egypt (a part of the Ottoman Empire).

1807  Napoleon moves to consolidate his position in Europe. He defeats a combined Prussian and Russian force in February. Danzig surrenders to him. He defeats the Russians in June and occupies Königsberg. Alexander of Russia is annoyed with the British and agrees to meet with Napoleon. In August, Napoleon demands that Portugal join the trade boycott against the British and declare war on Britain. Portugal hesitates. Napoleon's ally, Spain, allows French troops to pass through its territory to Portugal. The French captured Lisbon as Portugal's royal family flees to Brazil.

1808  Napoleon intervenes in a quarrel between Spain's king, Charles IV, and the son of Charles, Ferdinand. He makes the two of them prisoners in a comfortable setting and moves his brother Joseph from the Kingdom of Naples to the throne in Spain. Spaniards resent the presence of French troops and Napoleon's interventions. An unusually barbarous war begins within Spain – with Napoleon as usual caring little about hearts and minds. Resistance to the French spreads to Portugal. The British land a force there to help the resistance. It is the beginning of Napoleon's decline.

1808  Spain's authority in its American colonies declines. Armed uprisings occurred from Mexico to Argentina. Without Spain in control, the British are able to do more business in Latin America, rescuing Britain from Napoleon's economic boycott.

1808  John Dalton argues that matter consists of a range of atoms each of which has a distinct weight.

1809  Russia defeats Sweden. Sweden loses Finland, which becomes an autonomous Grand Duchy within Russia's empire. Returning to the Hawaiian Islands from California and hoping for trade, Russians build a fort at Honolulu and try to establish themselves on the island of Kauai. They ignore Hawaiian customs and are driven out.  

1809  Napoleon is spread thin. The Austrians defeat him at the Battle of Aspern-Essling, and he loses his reputation for invincibility. The Austrians fail to follow up on their victory. Napoleon organizes an assault and defeats the Austrians. The Austrians make peace with Napoleon. 

1809  Napoleon's economic blockade is not working. Britain's exports reach an all-time high.

1810  Allied with the Portuguese against Napoleon, the British negotiate an agreement with the Portuguese calling for the gradual abolition of the slave trade across the South Atlantic.

1810  People have been migrating from the United States into West Florida. These settlers rebel and declare independence from Spain. Recognizing Spain's weakened condition from occupation by Napoleon, the US President James Madison and Congress declare the region for the United States – a move not recognized internationally.

1810  Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), at the age of 16, starts a business transporting people and then freight across the Hudson River and New York's harbor in a small, two-masted sailboat. A revolution in transportation was about to begin and as an entrepreneur he would be a part of it.

1810  The ruler of Kauai cedes his island to Kamehameha. Kamehameha is now ruler of all of the Hawaiian Islands. In accordance with Hawaiian tradition he is considered divine and commoners prostrate themselves before him. 

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