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Timeline: 1861 to 1870

1861  Tsar Alexander II issues his proclamation emancipating Russia's serfs.

1861  Abraham Lincoln takes office as the President of the United States. He tries to reassure southern states, announcing that he does not intend to interfere, directly or indirectly, with the institution of slavery. But southern politicians have allowed themselves exaggerations and panic. Some southern states proclaim secession. Shooting erupts in the South over who will possess federal forts.

1861  Whale oil has been the primary fuel for lamps. In Pennsylvania an oil well has begun producing more than 3,000 barrels per day, and oil refining has begun, producing an alternative fuel for lamps. In the US Civil War, the Union is using whaling ships for naval blockades, contributing to the decline in whaling.

1861  China's Manchu emperor, Xianfeng, has been weakened by debauchery and drugs and dies at the age of thirty. The son of his consort succeeds him. The former consort, Cixi, becomes the boy's regent and acquires the title Dowager Empress.

1861  (Oct 24) Telegraphy connects the west coast of United States to the east coast. Telegraphy is detaching communication from its dependency on transportation. A communications revolution has been underway. It brings an end to the Pony Express.

1861  In Germany, workers making mirrors have lost all of their teeth. A professor of medicine discovers they are victims of mercury poisoning. His findings lead to government regulations requiring alternative mirror making processes.

1861  In Britain a government commission begins to investigate non-textile industries employing children. Occupational diseases among children are discovered.

1862 In Prussia, the largest of the German states, a member of the landed aristocracy, Otto von Bismarck, becomes minister-president. Representing the king, he declares that his government is to rule without parliament.

1862   In the king's court in Siam, women being taught English by Christian missionaries are turned off by their sermons. Anna Leonowens arrives in Bangkok to teach English in their place. She is the English woman to be depicted in The King and I.

1862  The Frenchman Victor Hugo has his historical novel Les Misérables published. It's about the rebellion in Paris that began in 1830 against King Charles X. The book is serialized in ten installments and a best seller across Europe and North America. Police are called in to control impatient crowds at bookstores. Conservatives see it as a dangerous work. Some see it as a manual for insurgency. Hugo favors revolution, but contrary to Karl Marx he was trying to unite revolution and religion. And unlike Marx (now in exile in London) who wants and end to the ruling class (as a class), Hugo wants to inspire them to humanitarianism and wants freedom and justice for all.

1862  Miners have begun invading the Rocky Mountains and plains and clashing with Indians. The Lakota Sioux massacre or capture almost 1,000 people on the Minnesota frontier.

1862  In the United States the first paper money is issued.

1863  Thirty-eight Lakota Sioux are hanged before a crowd of angry whites in the town of Mankato, Minnesota.

1863  President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation becomes law. 

1863  Slavery ends in Dutch ruled Indonesia.

1863  Cambodia become a French protectorate, with the approval of its king, Norodom.

1863  In Britain, legislators respond to air pollution from the chemical industry by creating the Alkali Act for reducing hydrogen chloride emissions during alkali production.

1863  In London, the first underground (subway) passenger system opens.

1863  The US civil war has cut Russia off from its primary source of cotton. Cotton growing in Central Asia has become of greater importance to the Russians, and Russia sends its military into Central Asia, where people are sparse, largely tribal, economically undeveloped, and Muslim.

1863  A devout Baptist, John D. Rockefeller, age 24, enters the oil refining business.

1864  The Dutch in Java and Sumatra experiment with rubber cultivation.

1864  An atronomer calculates the distance to the sun as 147 million kilometers – short 2.6 million kilometers. 

1864  In China, the leader of the Taiping Rebellion, Hong Xiuchuan, proclaims that God will defend his city, Tianjin (southeast of Beijing). When government forces approach he swallows poison and dies. The monarchy re-establishes control over most areas of China. The Taiping rebellion is all but defeated.

1864   A few hand-cranked Gatling guns, designed by Richard Gatling in 1861, are in use in the US Civil War. 

1865  Miners have been invading Colorado Territory, dislocating and angering Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. A Cheyenne-Arapaho war against whites has erupted. An Indian chief of a band of Cheyenne and Arapaho has chosen peace. They have settled temporarily at Sand Creek. A military commander, Colonel Chivington, is intent on killing Indians and leads 700 men in a massacre at Sand Creek that includes women and children.

1865  The US Civil War ends with General Robert E. Lee and his officers surrendering their swords. President Lincoln is assassinated.

1865  The Winnebago Indians have been removed from Iowa, Minnesota and that part of Dakota Territory that is to be South Dakota. They are placed a reservation in Nebraska.

1865  The Central Pacific Railroad Company hires Chinese to work on the transcontinental railroad.

1865  In what today is Uzbekistan, Russians capture the city of Tashkent, which is to become a Russian administrative center.

1865  Over-reaction in crushing a rebellion in Jamaica produces an investigation in England. The island's governor is widely condemned and called to London. Some demand that he be tried for murder. He is removed from office but a grand jury refuses to indict him.

1866  In New Zealand, British regulars, white settlers and Maori loyalists defeat another Maori rebellion.

1866  In the Hawaiian Islands the first plantation workers have arrived, eighty-five percent of them are from China (470 males and 52 females). From Japan, 148 laborers have arrived.   

1866  The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is founded.

1866  A Russian student, acting alone, tries to assassinate Tsar Alexander II.  The government becomes hostile to all students. A new minister of education takes charge of the universities and applies stricter controls.

1867 One in five adult males in England and Wales can vote. Demonstrations erupt across Britain. A demonstration in London's Hyde Park is banned by the government, but the crowd is so huge that the government does not attack. The Reform Act of 1867 is passed, extending the vote to those individuals in whose name homes are owned or rented. This doubles the number of males in Wales and England who can vote. Politicians must account themselves to the increased electorate, but the upper classes can better afford the increased campaigning, which helps conservative candidates.

1867  The government of Tsar Alexander II is seeking consolidation of its frontier. It sells Alaska to the United States.

1867  The United States Congress abolishes peonage in the territory of New Mexico.

1867  In the United States, the Republican Party has gained more seats in Congress, and Congress overrides President Andrew Johnson's veto of the "Reconstruction Act." An army, including a black militia, is sent to the South to enforce the law. 

1867  In Vienna, the Blue Danube Waltz, by Johann Strauss, premiers.

1867  In the US, five all-black colleges are founded: Howard University in Washington D.C., Morgan State College in Maryland, Talladega College in Alabama,  St. Augustine's College and Johnson C. Smith College in North Carolina.

1867  The Jesse James gang robs a bank in Savannah, Missouri, killing one person.

1867  Dating trees by their annual rings begins.

1867  In Sweden, Alfred Nobel finds that when nitroglycerin is combined with an absorbent substance it becomes safer and more convenient to manipulate. His mixture is patented as dynamite.

1867  E. Remington and Sons, manufacturers of guns and sewing machines, develop and manufacture the first commercial typewriter.

1867  Crown Prince Mutsuhito, age 14, ascends the throne as Emperor Meiji.

1868  Feudal lords and others have been conspiring against the Tokugawa rule. A rallying cry is, "Honor the Emperor; expel the barbarian."  Despite the anti-barbarian slogan, US, British, French and Dutch forces join against the shogunate, shelling coastal fortresses and sinking the shogun's ships. Tokugawa rule is declared over. The capital, Edo, is renamed Tokyo. The emperor rules nominally while civil war continues. Attacks on foreigners continue, but people with influence and power do not want to provoke intervention by the Western Powers and move to end such attacks.  

1868  In the United States, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified. This overturns the Dred Scott case. It entitles all persons born or naturalized in the United States to citizenship and equal protection under the law. Civil rights are not extended to Indians or anyone who has held office in the Confederacy.

1868  George Custer and his Seventh Cavalry follow tracts of a small raiding party to a Cheyenne village on the Washita River, in western Oklahoma, within the borders of the Cheyenne reservation. There they slaughter Black Kettle, his family and others of the Cheyenne tribe.

1868  Reconstructed governments had been set up in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina.

1869  Tokugawa forces that have attempted to establish rule in Hokkaido are defeated. Leaders of the military victory over the Tokugawa begin associating Emperor Meiji with Shinto ideology. Shinto shrines are common on Buddhist temple grounds, and, in an effort to free Shinto from Buddhist domination, violence and the breaking of images is committed against Buddhism. Buddhist temple lands are confiscated.

1869  The transcontinental railroad is completed, ending six years of work. Track from west and east meet in Utah.

1869  The Suez Canal opens. It is largely French owned but eager for international business. Access is promised ships from all nations, for a fee. The canal is to reduce travel time between Europe and Asia. Giuseppe Verdi has written an opera for the opening celebration -- Aida.

1869  One-third of the population of Savu (in the Indonesian Archipelago) die from smallpox.

1869  The Territory of Wyoming allows women to vote.

1870  The Territory of Utah allows women to vote.

1870  Pius IX convenes the First Vatican Council at which papal infallibility is proclaimed on matters of faith and morals.

1870  Diamond deposits have been discovered in southern Africa, at Kimberley in the land of the Griqua, or Griqualand, on the northern frontier of the British colony. Diamond diggers are rushing there – Africans, whites from Europe, Australia and the Americas.

1870  Australia now has a substantial number of Germans and Catholic Irish who worshiped freely. The Irish have found Australia to be without the oppressions they had known in Ireland. 

1870  In Pennsylvania a coal mine fire suffocates 179 men. The state responds by passing mine safety laws.

1870  Joseph Lister believes that microorganisms transmit disease. He reports success in sterilizing tools used in surgery.

1870  Bismarck believes that war will arouse nationalist fervor and serve to unite the independent German states with Prussia. France opposes such unity. Bismarck wants a showdown with France and tricks the French into starting war. The Franco-Prussian War begins in July. In September the Prussians defeat the French decisively at Sedan and capture the French emperor, Napoleon III. The emperor is deposed. France's Second Empire ends and Third Republic begins.  

1870  In Britain, France, Germany, Austria and in Scandinavian countries, trade relative to population size has increased four to five times what it was in 1830. In Belgium and the Netherlands the increase is about three times.

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