The first of his major
novels,The Portrait of a Lady, is
written by the American-
The French chemist Louis Pasteur,
having earlier developed the germ theory -
Following the humiliating
defeat of the British at the Battle of Majuba Hill in the First Anglo-
The Russian Tsar, Alexander II, is assassinated, followed six months later by the assassination of the American President James Garfield, four months after his election.
The opera The Tales of Hoffmann is produced by the French composer Jacques Offenbach (1858 Va). Earlier works included Orpheus in the Underworld and La Belle Hélène.
While walking in Phoenix Park, Dublin, two government ministers, Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke, are stabbed to death by members of the Irish National Invincibles.
The Triple Alliance is formed
between Germany, Austria-
The adventure story Treasure Island wins fame and fortune for Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson. He later writes the horror story The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
At the Berlin Conference the major European powers carve up Africa between them, taking no account of the tribal and linguistic boundaries established by the native peoples.
The Treaty of Ancon ends the War in the Pacific in South America, begun in 1879 (Vb). Peru loses the province of Tarapaca and Chile retains the disputed mineral areas.
The English writer Samuel Butler,
completes his major work, the semi-
During the excavation of the Temple of Tanis, the English archaeologist Flinders Petrie discovers pieces of a colossal statue of Ramses II, king of Egypt from 1303 to 1213 BC.
In the First Anglo-
The Third Anglo-
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche completes Thus Spake Zarathustra, a work containing his concept of a Superman, raised above the weak by the will to succeed.
The first successful petrol-
Gold is discovered at Witwatersrand in South Africa. Over the next twelve years finds are also made in parts of Australia, Klondike in the Yukon, and Anvil Creek in Alaska.
The Frenchman Auguste Rodin, one of the greatest sculptors of all time, completes The Kiss. This and other works show a remarkable new boldness in both style and expression.
The Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle publishes A Study in Scarlet, a tale that introduces the famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his worthy assistant Doctor Watson. Both featured in three other novels and over 50 short stories.
The German physicist Heinrich Hertz proves the existence of electromagnetic waves, a finding which paves the way for the development of wireless telegraphy, radio and television.
The United Kingdom and the British Empire celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Her triumphant procession through London clearly confirms her return to popular support.
The American inventor George Eastman invents his Kodak box camera. This, and his introduction of celluloid roll film a year later, makes photography a popular pastime.
The Dutch post-
The French company working on the Panama Canal collapses amid allegations of fraud and mismanagement. The United States takes over the task, but work is not resumed until 1904.
The diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes forms the British South Africa Company, the means by which he is to annexe Mashonaland and Matabeleland (Rhodesia) for the British crown.
The English writer and journalist Jerome K. Jerome publishes Three Men in a Boat, the best known of his humorous essays. He later wrote a sequel, Three Men on the Brummel.
Determined to direct foreign policy himself and to build a fleet to rival that of Britain, the German Emperor Wilhelm II dismisses his Chancellor, Prince Bismarck, the man who had accomplished the unification of Germany.
The Principles of Economics, a textbook produced by the English economist Alfred Marshall, has a marked influence on the development of economics in the 20th century.
The French artist Henri de Toulouse-
Thomas Edison demonstrates the Kinetoscope, a peep-
In the East Indies, the Dutch anatomist Eugène Dubois discovers the remains of Java Man and claims they are the “missing link” in the evolutionary chain between apes and humans.
Women in New Zealand are given the right to vote, the first nation to do so. In other countries, notably Britain, there was a long struggle before this right was granted.
In South Africa the First Matabele War breaks out against the activities of the British South Africa Company. A British victory secures the territory of Rhodesia for the British crown.
Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, is wrongly convicted of treason and deported. This miscarriage of justice leads to a bitter dispute known as the Dreyfus Affair.
George Bernard Shaw, the Irish critic and playwright, produces his first major work Arms and the Man. A prolific writer, many of his plays highlight the social problems of the day.
The French composer
Claude Debussy produces L'Après-
The British writer Rudyard Kipling begins his Jungle Books, one of a number of works written for children. He also wrote a large number of poems and short stories, many based on his time spent living and working in India, his birthplace.
The First Sino-
The Armenian or Hamidian Massacres are carried out by Turks and Kurds, the first of many vicious attacks upon the Armenians, a Christian minority living in eastern Asia Minor.
In Africa the territory owned
by the British South African Company is formed into a state
and named Rhodesia in honour of the founder of the company,
A rebellion breaks out against
Spanish rule in Cuba, organised by the revolutionary
philosopher José Marti. As we shall see, it leads to the
The Italian electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi succeeds in making radio communication over a mile. By the end of this period, 1901, he had made radio contact across the Atlantic.
The German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen
The Time Machine
is written by the English science-
The first performance is given
of The Importance of Being Earnest,
The Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite in 1866 (Vb), creates the Nobel Prizes, awarded annually to those who have “conferred the greatest benefit on mankind”.
In Paris, the Lumière Brothers, having studied Edison’s Kinetoscope, develop the means of projecting motion pictures onto a screen and open the world’s first cinema, with films of their own making. It marks the beginning of the Film Industry.
The Italians, having invaded Ethiopia from their colony of Eritrea, are defeated at the
Battle of Adowa and forced to recognise Ethiopian independence later this year.
The Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov, having gained a reputation as a writer of short stories, produces The Seagull, the first of his highly successful works for the stage.
In the Fourth Anglo-
The opera La Bohème is produced by the Italian
Puccini. This and his later works, Tosca, Madame Butterfly and Turandot,
bring him world-
A System of Synthetic Philosophy, the major work of the English philosopher Herbert Spencer, is completed. It attempts to apply evolutionary theory to all fields of knowledge.
Alarmed by the anti-
Cyrano de Bergerac is
the hero of a romantic play by the French poetic dramatist Edmond Rostand.
The exploits of this long-
The German composer and conductor Richard Strauss composes his symphonic poem Don Quixote. Later works include the operas Salome, Elektra and Der Rosencavalier.
A territorial dispute in the
Sudan over control of the River Nile -
In the thriving trading centre of Hong Kong, acquired by the British in 1842, a large area known as the New Territories is leased from the Chinese for a period of 99 years.
The scientists Marie and Pierre Curie discover two radioactive elements, polonium and radium, in pitchblende ore, and over the next 3 years isolate a small quantity of pure radium.
In South Africa the Second Anglo-
The Enigma Variations gains fame for the English composer Edward Elgar. He is perhaps better known, however, for his Pomp and Circumstance March, Land of Hope and Glory.
The Boxer Rebellion in China, in which foreign legations are besieged and thousands of Christian converts murdered, is quickly crushed after the sending of an international force.
The English archaeologist Arthur Evans begins digging at Knossis in Crete and discovers a Bronze Age civilisation (the Minoan Civilisation) that predates that of Mycenae in Greece.
A German decision to increase
the size of its navy alarms Britain and sparks off an arms
race between the two nations, a prelude to the First World War
Queen Victoria dies at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight on the 22nd January after a brief and painless illness. She reigned for a total of 63 years, seven months and two days, the longest of any British monarch up to an including George VI. (Queen Elizabeth II surpassed that length of time on the 9th September 2015.)