1860 1861 1862 1863 1864
| Decades: |
1840s 1850s - 1860s - 1870s 1880s
| 19th century|
The 1860s were an extremely turbulent decade in the world with social and political upheavals in Europe and America. Revolutions were prevalent in Germany and the Ottoman Empire. The abolition of slavery in America led to the breakdown of the Atlantic Slave Trade, which was already suffering from the abolition of slavery in most of Europe in the late 1820s and '30s. In America, a civil war between the Confederacy of the South and the Northern states led to massive deaths and the destruction of cities such as Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Richmond, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia. Sherman's march to the sea was one of the first times America experienced a state of total war, and advancements in military technology, such as the iron and steel warships in the Navy, added to the destruction. After the Civil War, turmoil continued in Reconstruction, with the rise of white supremacist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the issue of granting Civil Rights to freed blacks.
Events and trends
- The start of the bicycle craze of 1860–1900.
- The culture of the Victorian era comes to America and remains in place until around the turn of the 20th Century, where the year it ends is disputed as to whether it ended with the rise of progressivism in 1896 or with the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.
- The First Transcontinental Railroad in the USA was completed.
- The Suez Canal in Egypt is opened in 1869.
- The submarine is invented in 1869.
- The sport of skiing is invented around 1862.
- Alfred Nobel creates dynamite in Germany
- James Clerk Maxwell publishes his equations that quantify the relationship between electricity and magnetism, and shows that light is a form of electromagnetic radiation
- Gregor Mendel formulates Mendel's laws of inheritance, the basis for genetics
- Dimitri Mendeleev develops the modern periodic table
- Helium was first detected during the total solar eclipse of August 18, 1868 in parts of India. It was the first eclipse expedition in which a spectroscope was used.
- J. Norman Lockyer and Pierre Janssen are honored for their discovery of the nature of the Sun's prominences. They were the first to notice bright spectral emission lines when viewing the limb of the Sun without the aid of a total solar eclipse.
War, peace and politics
- Italian Unification under King Victor Emmanuel II. Wars for expansion and national unity continue until the incorporation of the Papal States (March 17, 1861 – September 20, 1870).
- American Civil War fought between the remaining United States of America under President Abraham Lincoln and the self-declared Confederate States of America under President Jefferson Davis (April 12, 1861 – April 9, 1865). Beginning of the Reconstruction era under President Andrew Johnson (1865–1869).
- French occupation of Mexico (1863–1867). Replacement of President of Mexico Benito Juárez (1861–1863) at first with Juan Nepomuceno Almonte (1863–1864) and then by Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (1864–1867). Benito Juárez eventually manages to recover his position (1867–1872).
- Meiji Restoration in Japan (1866–1869). Tokugawa Yoshinobu, 15th and last of the Tokugawa shoguns loses control to the Meiji Emperor. A series of reforms follows. The samurai class fails to survive while the Daimyo turn to politics.
- The Dominion of Canada is created by the British North America Act – July 1, 1867
- President of the United States Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, April 14, 1865.
- Florence Nightingale founds school for nurses in 1860.
- On 18 October 1860 the first Convention of Peking formally ended the Second Opium War.
- On 19 July 1864 the Nanjing fallen down formally ended 14 years the Taiping Rebellion.
Culture and religion
- In Catholicism, reaction against higher criticism and the liberal movement in Europe
- The Football Association is formed in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, paving the way for Association football to become the world's predominant spectator sport
- The Seventh-day Adventist Church becomes officially established in 1863 in Battle Creek, Michigan.
- Bahá'u'lláh declares his station as "One who was made Manifest", in the Garden of Ridván, as foretold by the Báb. Bahá'ís see this as the beginning date of the Bahá'í Faith.
- The Christian Mission, later renamed The Salvation Army, is co-founded by William and Catherine Booth in London, England in 1865.
- The Victorian era and its culture largely thrived from 1860 until 1901.
- The London Fire Brigade was established in 1865.
Literature and Arts
- Leo Tolstoy publishes War and Peace.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky publishes Crime and Punishment.
- Lewis Carroll publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- Impressionism went public.
- Emperor Franz Josef (Austria-Hungary)
- Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald (Canada)
- Emperor Napoleon III (Second French Empire)
- King William I, German Emperor (Germany)
- King Victor Emmanuel II (Italy)
- King Mongkut of Siam
- Pope Pius IX
- Emperor Alexander II (Russia)
- Queen Isabella II (Spain)
- Queen Victoria (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- President James Buchanan (United States)
- President Abraham Lincoln (United States)
- President Andrew Johnson (United States)
- President Jefferson Davis (Confederate States of America)
- President Ulysses S. Grant (United States)
- Nasser-al-Din Shah of Qajar dynasty (Persia)
- Emperor Kōmei (Japan)
- Emperor Meiji (Japan)
- Emperor Xianfeng (China)
- Yixin, 1st Prince Gong
- Emperor Tongzhi (China)