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The 19th century (January 1, 1801– December 31, 1900) was a period in history marked by the collapse of the Spanish, Portuguese, First and Second French, Chinese, Holy Roman and Mughal empires. This paved the way for the growing influence of the British Empire, Russian Empire, German Empire, the United States and the Empire of Japan, spurring military conflicts but also advances in science and exploration.

After the defeat of the French Empire and its allies in the Napoleonic Wars, the British Empire became the world's leading power, controlling one quarter of the world's population and one fifth of the total land area. It enforced a Pax Britannica, encouraged trade, and battled rampant piracy. The 19th century was an era of invention and discovery, with significant developments in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, electricity, and metallurgy that lay the groundwork for the technological advances of the 20th century. The Industrial Revolution began in Europe. The Victorian era was notorious for the employment of young children in factories and mines. Japan embarked on a program of rapid modernization following the Meiji Restoration, before defeating China, under the Qing Dynasty, in the First Sino-Japanese War.

Advances in medicine and the understanding of human anatomy and disease prevention took place in the 19th century, and were partly responsible for rapidly accelerating population growth in the western world. Europe's population doubled during the 19th century, from roughly 200 million to more than 400 million. The introduction of railroads provided the first major advancement in land transportation for centuries, changing the way people lived and obtained goods, and fueling major urbanization movements in countries across the globe. Numerous cities worldwide surpassed populations of a million or more during this century. London was transformed into the world's largest city and capital of the British Empire. Its population expanded from 1 million in 1800 to 6.7 million a century later. The last remaining undiscovered landmasses of Earth, including vast expanses of interior Africa and Asia, were discovered during this century, and with the exception of the extreme zones of the Arctic and Antarctic, accurate and detailed maps of the globe were available by the 1890s. Liberalism became the preeminent reform movement in Europe.

Slavery was greatly reduced around the world. Following a successful slave revolt in Haiti, Britain forced the Barbary pirates to halt their practice of kidnapping and enslaving Europeans, banned slavery throughout its domain, and charged its navy with ending the global slave trade.[6] The first empire to abolish slavery was the Portuguese Empire, followed by Britain, who did so in 1834. America's 13th Amendment following their Civil War abolished slavery there in 1865, and in Brazil slavery was abolished in 1888 (see Abolitionism). Similarly, serfdom was abolished in Russia.

The 19th century was remarkable in the widespread formation of new settlement foundations which were particularly prevalent across North America and Australasia, with a significant proportion of the two continents' largest cities being founded at some point in the century. In the 19th century approximately 70 million people left Europe.[7]

The 19th century also saw the rapid creation, development and codification of many sports, particularly in Britain and the United States. Association football, rugby union, baseball and many other sports were developed during the 19th century, while the British Empire facilitated the rapid spread of sports such as cricket to many different parts of the world.

It also marks the fall of the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans which led to the creation of Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Romania as a result of the second Russo-Turkish War, which in itself followed the great Crimean War.

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