The 19th century began on January 1, 1801, and ended on December 31, 1900.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

29
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did Britain not purchase Alaska when Russia had it up for sale?

One thing that comes up often when discussing "what-ifs" with family or friends is why the British government never nabbed Alaska when Russia had placed it up for sale and made it into Canada's fourth ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did the French sell Louisiana?

Why did an imperialistic country like France (at that time) sell a territory so large for so cheap? Was it an important region at the time? I heard that the port of New Orleans was particularly ...
21
votes
6answers
4k views

Why did the United Kingdom industrialize first?

What factors made the United Kingdom the first to industrialize? Was it simply the importance and benefit of its position in the global community for trade?
18
votes
2answers
371 views

What led to the first fight in the American Civil War?

After Lincoln was elected president 11 states seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America. What circumstances surrounding this secession led to the first battle of the war, and ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

When and why was the samurai class abolished?

I am aware the Emperor Meiji abolished the Samurai class during the reformation. Why did he do so? How was it enforced?
15
votes
1answer
237 views

In 19th century India, pre and post Raj, did any private British citizens actually own land in India?

I've never been able to clarify this question. From what I can tell, the land that the British occupied in India was either "owned" (if this is the right term) by the Company during the time of its ...
15
votes
2answers
188 views

Why was Iceland not a part of the Danish-Swedish deal in Kiel in 1814?

In the Treaty of Kiel of 1814, Norway was essentially given from Denmark to Sweden as a "sorry we were on the other side", but Iceland was not a part of this deal at all. This is in spite of the fact ...
14
votes
4answers
8k views

Why did so many Italians emigrate to Argentina?

On 13th of March, 2013, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became new pope of Catholic Church. He was born and raised in Argentina with Italian origins. There are more than 24 ...
14
votes
3answers
561 views

In what ways did the rise of a true middle class in Europe during the late 19th century become apparent?

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were very transformative for Europe with the rise of a real middle class. Typically before this the middle class was more of a bourgeoisie and not the middle ...
12
votes
1answer
387 views

Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Emperor sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Why was that? Why, ultimately, was it unsuccessful? The Role of English and Other ...
12
votes
1answer
183 views

How did the existence of the Alps impact the development of Switzerland?

Can anyone tell me what was the role of Alps and Alpine region in Swiss development of Switzerland?
12
votes
1answer
192 views

Did Noah Webster ever state why he Americanized spelling?

I am aware that Noah Webster (1758--1843 AD) is responsible for the majority of the differences between British and American spelling (IE: "color" v "colour"). Over time, it seems, in his Speller ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Which Confederate State provided the most troops in the American Civil War?

Of all the states that elected to secede during the American Civil War, which one had the largest number of citizens who actually fought for the Confederacy? I would also be interested if anyone could ...
11
votes
2answers
352 views

Would the original readers of Lewis Carroll's books have made connections between the experiences in the books and drug use?

Modern readers of Lewis Carroll's books (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) will undoubtedly make some connections between radical changes in perspective following the ...
11
votes
1answer
177 views

How were the borders of small European principalities maintained or secured?

With shifting boundaries, enclaves, exclaves, and alliances, how were the territorial extents of small principalities or duchies maintained, for example in the Holy Roman Empire or German ...
11
votes
2answers
386 views

Why didn't the Arab states industrialize?

Why didn't the states of the Arabian peninsula industrialize around the time that Europe and East Asia were? Was it simply a lack of accessible natural resources? Why not import coal?
10
votes
2answers
405 views

Why did the Monitor and Merrimac (aka Virginia) have such radically different designs?

This is something that's always baffled me. You have one ship that appears to sit just above the water with one little canon on a turret (the Monitor) and a second that sits high and is brimming with ...
10
votes
1answer
238 views

Were there originally seats in the elevators in the Eiffel Tower?

There were seats drawn on the blue print for the tower. Today there are no seats. Were they fitted and then taken out or were they never installed at all?
10
votes
2answers
770 views

Effectiveness of Cossack cavalry

I know that some people in Europe very much admire Russian Cossack cavalry and think it is very effective. But in Russia there was a proverb that one hussar is equal to two cossacks, one dragoon is ...
10
votes
3answers
577 views

Bow shape of WW1 warships

As ship's bow is designed to break the waves, the physics (something like hydrokinetics) makes it should look like a wedge. And it really is, if we look from above. This should be also kept if look ...
10
votes
2answers
529 views

Context for this 1871 humorous map of Europe?

The following map is from (circa) 1871, according to this source, and it was published in Bologna, Italy. Could you please provide some context for it? Parts of the map are self evident, as for ...
10
votes
1answer
136 views

Is there evidence that working for the Pony Express was dangerous, or not dangerous?

So I was thinking about what it was like working for the Pony Express and I am wondering was it an extremely dangerous job? I'm thinking that given the success of the Pony Express it must not have ...
10
votes
3answers
247 views

What was the basis for valuating large territorial purchases by USA?

There were at least 2 times when USA extended its territory by purchasing it outright - Louisiana+ from French and Alaska from Russians. The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United ...
10
votes
1answer
173 views

Why did Stephen Ambrose believe that the election of Aaron Burr would have led to the end of the USA?

I'm reading Stephen E. Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage", and in pg. 50, he writes: On December 5, 1800, Lewis was promoted to captain. That month the states selected their delegates to the Electoral ...
9
votes
1answer
9k views

When did the American War of 1812 actually end?

My daughter was recently studying this in high school, and somehow I had always assumed that it had only lasted a year. Apparently it ran on for at least a couple of years, but her textbook only ...
9
votes
1answer
176 views

Why did the states that were born out of the Louisiana purchase adopt a common law system, and not a civil law system?

The French system of laws is a civil law system that is based upon the Napoleonic Code, and further back the Justinian Code. The legal system in Louisiana is now bijuridicial retaining some of the ...
9
votes
1answer
117 views

Who compared giving women the vote to giving cows the vote (& in what context)?

I recall hearing (in History class) that when women were campaigning to get the vote, some (powerful?) people suggested that if women were given the right to vote, you might as well give the vote to ...
9
votes
2answers
399 views

What is the equivalent in France of the “Victorian era”?

By Victorian era I mean the moral rigidity and the dominance of the bourgeoisie. We had the same culture in France but I can't find the proper term to phrase it. For example how would you translate ...
9
votes
1answer
144 views

Cost of education in Germany in 1900

I am curious how much did the German universities charge their students in late 19th early 20th century. I am specifically interested in the math/science education at University of Göttingen, one of ...
9
votes
2answers
261 views

Ethnic Germans in Russian service in Poland

General Brusilov wrote in his memoirs that a few years before the war he was serving in a high military position in Russian-controlled Poland and that he was appalled by the fact that all Russian high ...
8
votes
3answers
791 views

When did aircraft carriers eclipse battleships as the “King of the seas”?

During the 19th century and into the early 20th century, battleships were the Kings of the Sea, and every naval power of note had at least one. When did they lose this title to the aircraft carrier, ...
8
votes
2answers
238 views

Supplies for army of Napoleon

How was such a great army, like the army of Napoleon on its way to Moscow, supplied with food and other needed things? Were they transporting it from France or maybe stealing from territory on their ...
8
votes
3answers
239 views

Was there a movement for “humane” slavery?

Many of us are familiar with the movements for "free-range" or "humane" animal products. I have heard that in the antebellum US there were similar movements for "humane" slave products. Is this true? ...
8
votes
2answers
404 views

Why were troops with bayonets often effective against enemy cavalry even though the bayonet was a “secondary” weapon?

The bayonet was introduced in the late 17th century as a knife (later a short sword) attached to a musket, to enable the musketeer to protect himself when reloading their single-shot weapons. As such, ...
8
votes
2answers
313 views

Were the 19th century decades referred to as 40s, 50s back then?

I was just thinking what will happen to our reference of "the 50s", "the 60s" when we get to the end of this century. So I began wondering if this collision has already happened back when the 20th ...
8
votes
2answers
291 views

How many soldiers were present at the charge down Little Round Top?

The events of July 2, 1863 have been discussed endlessly, from Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels to the film Gettysburg. Since reading the book and seeing the film many times, I can't help but wonder ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why was old Shanghai called “Whore of the Orient”?

I've been doing research on Old Shanghai, during the 19th Century and early 20th Century. I know all about the Opium Wars and the Opium trade and their effect on the country. But I'm still not sure ...
8
votes
2answers
376 views

What was the significance of the Schleswig-Holstein question in the 19th century?

As the title states, what was the specific significance of the Schleswig-Holstein question (Denmark and Prussia arguing over contested lands bordering the two nations) as it directly relates to German ...
8
votes
1answer
513 views

What were Hispanic people called in the US in the 1800s?

Today in the US, people from Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas are called by various names: Hispanic, Latino, Chicano, etc. What was the term used by Americans for such people in the 1800s? ...
7
votes
3answers
351 views

Why did Robert E. Lee stop offensive maneuvers?

According to the Wikipedia article on the Battle of Gettysburg, after that battle Robert E. Lee stopped making offensive maneuvers and rather started reacting to Union offensives. Is this 100% true, ...
7
votes
3answers
803 views

Why did the Protestants in Ireland in the 1800s not want Home Rule?

I know there was conflict between Protestants and Roman Catholic nationalists due to their difference of opinion on Home Rule, but why would the protestants in Ulster and conservative party want to ...
7
votes
1answer
817 views

What devices used computer-like programs in industrial era?

As possibly some of you remember early computers had very small human-machine interface and coding programs was done by cards like this one: or a tape like these: This invention of controlling ...
7
votes
1answer
141 views

What did the sympathies lie of the US Navy around the time of the American Civil War?

Around the time of the American Civil War the land military (that is the Army) had its sympathies on the cause of the Confederacy, in my opinion, due to the make up of the military officers of the ...
7
votes
1answer
315 views

What were the Government Press Prosecutions of 1858 and why did they occur?

In the second chapter of On Liberty, John Stuart Mill mentions in a note the "Government Press Prosecutions of 1858". He further writes that "The offence charged was not that of criticising ...
7
votes
1answer
147 views

Why were women excluded from the succession line in the Meiji constitution?

Article 2 of the Meiji consitution (full text here) says: The Imperial Throne shall be succeeded to by Imperial male descendants, according to the provisions of the Imperial House Law. A ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

Who won the wrestling match between Lincoln and Jack Armstrong?

According to a site whose name is "Muscles of Iron", the above picture shows Lincoln after taking down “champion” Jack Armstrong at the general store in New Salem, 1831. On the page where the ...
7
votes
1answer
291 views

What became of the French Revolutionary Religion and Calendar?

During the height of the French Revolution, there was a complete revamping/retooling of French culture and religion: A new calendar based on the metric system and marking the significant events and ...
7
votes
0answers
194 views

Is table tennis based on tennis? [migrated]

According to Wikipedia, tennis was first played sometime between 1859 and 1865, and table tennis was first played in the 1880s. I tried to do some research online, but couldn't find an answer. Was ...
6
votes
1answer
247 views

Did American Indians disrupt railroads in their regions?

In the Old West, many railroads went through Indian-occupied areas. Are there any documented instances of the Indians ever sabotaging the railroads? Please provide dates and circumstances where ...
6
votes
2answers
93 views

Georgia's Ruling by O. Henry

O. Henry's 1900 story, "Georgia's Ruling", http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/ohenry/bl-ohenry-georgia.htm describes a dire social problem related to the USA land laws and the "land ...