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European History


War & Revolution 1815–1890

1815–1848: Several revolutions challenge Concert of Europe

  • 1821:Greece revolts against Ottomans; independent in 1830

  • 1804–1824:Latin American colonies overthrow Spanish, Portuguese, and French rule

  • 1820: Liberal revolts in Spain and Portugal

  • 1825:Russia sees failed Decembrist Revolution against new conservative Tsar Nicholas I

  • 1830:Belgium becomes independent of Netherlands

  • 1830:Serbia wins autonomy from Ottoman Empire

  • 1830–1831:Polish uprising against Russian rule suppressed

1848 Revolutions: In France, Austria, German states, and Italian states; have quick results but ultimately are crushed

  • Students, urban workers, middle-class liberals participate

  • Revolutionaries have different goals, which are not always compatible: national unification (German, Italian states); national independence (Hungarians, Czechs in Austria); social change; liberalization of law

  • Counterrevolutionary armies defeat divided revolutionaries

Armies modernize: conscription, rifles, rapid mobilization

1853–1856:Crimean War: France, Britain fear Russian strength, join Ottoman Empire to defeat Russia; Concert of Europe broken

Italian unification

  • Secret republican society (Carbonari) plots unification

  • Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi promote romanticized republican nationalism

  • 1859–1860: Prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia Camillo Cavour uses arms, diplomacy, Garibaldi’s army to create Kingdom of Italy under King Victor Emmanuel II

  • Italy adds Venetia (1866) and Papal States (1870) to kingdom

German unification

  • 1815–1848: Inspired by Johann Herder, German student clubs agitate for German unification

  • 1834:Zollverein (free trade union) draws German states closer

  • 1848–1849:Frankfurt Parliament tries to unite German states; disagreement over whether Austria or Prussia should dominate unified Germany; Prussian king Frederick William IV rejects plan for liberal, constitutional unified Germany

  • Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck works to unify German states through “iron and blood”; conservative rather than liberal aim

  • Prussia fights three wars to gain military, diplomatic power: defeats Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), France (1870–1871)

  • 1871: German Empire declared under Emperor William I

French revolutions

  • 1830: Conservative Bourbon king overthrown in favor of constitutional monarchy under Orleanist king Louis-Philippe

  • 1848: Revolution establishes Second Republic

  • 1851: President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte overthrows republic, becomes Emperor Napoleon III

  • 1860s: Napoleon III allows liberal reforms

  • 1870: Napoleon III overthrown after defeat against Prussia; Third Republic declared

  • 1871:Paris Commune: Leftist revolt against French government crushed

  • 1889:General Boulanger threatens to overthrow republic