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Timeline: 1881 to 1890

1881  A member of the radical group, "Will of the People" assassinates Tsar Alexander II.  His son and successor, Alexander III, makes no distinction between terrorists and political activists of the non-violent variety. Censorship is tightened. Publishers and writers with liberal ideas are harassed.

1881  Austria-Hungary joins Germany's alliance with Russia, a move encouraged by Bismarck, who hopes that Russia and Austria-Hungary will manage their rivalry in the Balkans.

1881  In the Transvaal, Boers (Afrikaners) rebel against British rule and defeat the British at Majuba Hill. Britain's prime minister, Gladstone, returns self-rule to the Boer Republic except for control of foreign affairs.

1881  France declares Tunisia a protectorate.

1881  Tennessee's legislature mandates racial segregation on railroads.

1881  On July 2 the President of the United States, James Garfield, is shot by a disgruntled office-seeker. Doctors repeatedly poke their fingers into the bullet hole looking for the bullet, causing an infection. Garfield dies on September 19.

1881  Muhammad Ahmad leads a pan-Islamic rebellion amid cries for war against infidels. He proclaims himself the Mahdi (Messiah) who is to rid the world of evil.

1882  In response to a nationalist revolt in Egypt against Ottoman rule, Britain and France support the Ottoman sultan. A British army defeats an Egyptian force at the Battle of Tell al-Kabir. Britain is concerned about the Suez Canal, and Queen Victoria wants to protect Christians in Egypt. Exercising her power to consult with and advise her government, she favors keeping troops in Egypt.

1882  Massachusetts passes a pure food law.

1882  The Chinese Exclusion Act passed by the US Congress goes into effect.

1882  In Appleton, Wisconsin, a hydroelectric power plant begins operation.

1882  Alexander III believes that Jews are the killers of Christ. Pogroms against Jews have been spreading across Russia's empire. They are being expelled from Moscow and are fleeing the empire.

1882  German physician Robert Koch discovers the rod-shaped bacterium that causes tuberculosis.

1883  Robert Koch discovers the rod-shaped bacterium that causes cholera.

1883  Bismarck introduces a state heath insurance law.

1883  Karl Marx dies, John Maynard Keynes and Benito Mussolini are born.

1883  The Ottoman sultan, Abd al-Hamid II, has his former prime minister, Midhat Pasha, strangled.

1883  The Orient Express railway opens between Constantinople and Baghdad.

1884  After five years of war – the "War of the Pacific" with Chile against Peru and Bolivia – a peace treaty leaves Bolivia landlocked.

1884  France incorporates Vietnam into its empire. In Africa, France occupies Guinea.

1884  In Uganda, Christians object to the King Mwanga's homosexual relations with young boys and men who serve him as pages and attendants. Mwanga has numerous Christians put to death, some by burning. Christians arm themselves and ally with local Muslims in a civil war against Mwanga.

1884  Britain proclaims a protectorate over the southern coast of New Guinea and adjacent islands. The Germans turn northeastern New Guinea into a colony. The Germans are trading in copra and coconut oil.

1884  In Africa, Germany declares Togoland, Cameroon and Southwest Africa as protectorates. The British feel their interests threatened.

1884  In the United States an insurance salesman, Lewis E. Waterman, creates a fountain pen that is not supposed to leak.

1884   Britain sends a force to the Sudan to supervise an Egyptian withdrawal from Khartoum, and the force takes charge of 2,500 women, children, sick and wounded. Muhammad Ahmad's force surrounds them. The British government's rejects a request for military help from a Sudanese slave trader and warlord.

1885  After ten months, Muhammad Ahmad overruns the British force in Khartoum. Its leader, Charles Gordon, is killed.

1885  With help from the British, who are involved in neighboring Sudan, Italy takes from the Egyptians control over what today is Eritrea.

1885  European powers meet in Berlin and make agreements concerning Africa. They give King Leopold of Belgium control of the Congo. Germany acquires what is today Tanzania as a protectorate. Britain annexes what today is Botswana and approves Germany's position in Southwest Africa and the interior of Cameroon. France is colonizing Central Africa and establishes a little colony on the northern tip of Madagascar.

1885  Germany buys some of the Marshall Islands from Spain, a transaction mediated by Pope Leo XIII.

1885  In Germany, Karl Benz develops an internal combustion engine. It can run at 250 revolutions per minute.

1885  A bicycle with a diamond-shaped frame and a chain drive to the rear wheel is exhibited in London.

1886  Britain and Germany agree on a boundary between German East Africa and Rhodesia. Germany recognizes Britain's claim to Zanzibar.

1886  Gold is discovered in the Transvaal – Boer territory.

1886  In Germany, Heinrich Hertz uses sparks to send a radio signal.

1886  After a four-year effort, American troops capture the Apache chieftain Geronimo.

1887  The Interstate Commerce Act is made law. Financier-industrialist J.P. Morgan believes that some order is needed in commerce and he helps enforce the act.

1887   Ethiopians are fighting Italy's attempt at colonization. The Italians remain in Eritrea. 

1887  The Yellow River bursts its banks, and the flooding kills 900,000 Chinese.

1888   George Eastman invents the Kodak camera, making it easy for non-professionals to take photographs.

1888  In London, five prostitutes who ate poisoned grapes have been disemboweled. The murders are attributed to Jack the Ripper.

1888  The German Emperor dies. His son, Friederich III, dies of throat cancer after reigning 99 days. Friederich's son, Wilhelm II, son of Queen Victoria's politically liberal daughter, Vicki, becomes emperor. 

1888  Slavery officially ends in Brazil. Compensation is paid to the slave owners.

1888  Brazil overthrows its monarchy and becomes a republic. 

1888  Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture is first performed.

1889  The Ivory Coast becomes a French protectorate, and the English and French agree on spheres of influence on the Gold Coast and on the Senegal and Gambia rivers.

1889  In a small town in Austria, Braunau, by the River Inn, which borders Germany, Adolf Hitler is born, to a mother who is a normally good woman and of humble origins. (baby picture)

1889  John Muir campaigns to save Yosemite Valley in California from exploitation.

1889  North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington become states.

1890  Idaho becomes the 43rd state. Denial of statehood to Wyoming because it allows women to vote is overcome. Wyoming becomes the 44th state.

1890  The US Congress creates Yosemite National Park.

1890  In Constantinople, Armenians in the district of Gum-Gapu protest, and authorities crush the demonstration with bloodshed.

1890  An Indian named Wovoka foresees a messiah rescuing Indians and killing all whites. Acceptance of the vision spreads and is associated with a "ghost dance." Without foundation, whites fear that Sitting Bull, now an old man, will lead a rebellion, and Sitting Bull is shot and killed. About 500 US soldiers massacre 300 or so men, women and children at Wounded Knee.

1890  Forty-five percent of the work force in the United States lives in cities. The South is abandoning its dependence on cotton growing.

1890  Mississippi creates a poll tax, literacy tests and other measures to prevent blacks from voting.

1890  Vincent Van Gogh commits suicide.

1890  For the sake of popularity, Wilhelm II does not renew Bismarck's anti-socialist legislation. As Wilhelm desired, Bismarck resigns. 

1890   Economies in Europe have been in a down turn. British investors sell their US stocks for needed money.

to 1871-1880 | to 1891-1900

Copyright © 2005-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.