You are here: History > Modern history

Modern history

Wilhelm I of Prussia is proclaimed German Emperor, 1871. The chief mover behind the unification of Germany was Wilhelm's chief...Read More >>Wilhelm I of Prussia is proclaimed German Emperor, 1871. The chief mover behind the unification of Germany was Wilhelm's chief minister, Otto von Bismarck (1815–98). Bismarck waged war on surrounding states, including France, whom Prussia defeated in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. In this painting, Bismarck stands on the right, Wilhelm I in the centre with the red sash.During the second half of the 19th century, nationalism (loyalty and pride that people felt for their own nation) became an important movement, especially in Europe. Italy and Germany, both once made up of self-governing states, united to become single countries. The nations of southeast Europe gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. Britain and France built up worldwide empires, but as the 19th century wore on, their power came under challenge. Having grown rapidly, with 30 million Europeans migrating to live there between 1836 and 1914, the USA became a major economic power after its civil war ended. 


A view of the Lower East Side in New York City, USA, taken in about 1900. It was an area heavily populated by immigrants.
A painting by William Bell Scott of workers in an iron foundry, made 1855–60, called Iron and Coal

Industrialization

Although Britain had been the first to experience the Industrial Revolution, other nations were quick to catch up. During the 19th century, industrialization spread across Europe from England, soon reaching Belgium, France and Germany. It arrived in the United States in the mid-1800s, and countries such as Japan later in the century. In the second half of the 19th and early part of the 20th century, Germany, Russia and the United States began to challenge British dominance in areas such as steel and textile production, and shipbuilding.
World trade received a boost with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. The canal created a shortcut between the Mediterranean...Read More >>World trade received a boost with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. The canal created a shortcut between the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea.As production increased in Europe and America, the industrialized countries looked abroad for sources of cheap raw materials, and for new markets in which to sell their manufactured goods. The wealthy nations exploited their old colonies, but also looked for opportunities to acquire new colonies.

Trade with China

During most of the 19th century, the world’s largest city was London, which grew from 1 million inhabitants in 1800 to 6.5 million in 1900. By 1925, New York had overtaken London as the world’s largest metropolis, with 7.7 million people.

WHAT MAKES
SOME DRINKS FIZZY?


Find the answer