1.1 An Introduction to Victorian Period:
The Victorian era is generally agreed to stretch through the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). It was a tremendously exciting period when many artistic styles, literary schools, as well as, social, political and religious movements flourished. It was a time of prosperity, broad imperial expansion, and great political reform. It was also a time, which today we associate with "prudishness" and "repression". Without a doubt, it was an extraordinarily complex age that has sometimes been called the Second English Renaissance. It is, however, also the beginning of Modern Times.
During the Victorian Age, great economic, social, and political changes occurred in Britain. The British Empire reached its height and covered about a quarter of the Earth. Industry and trade expanded rapidly, and railways and canals crisscrossed the country. Science and technology made great advances. The size of the middle class grew enormously. By the 1850's, more and more people were getting an education. In addition, the government introduced democratic reforms, such as the right to vote for an increasing number of people. Many important events took place during Victoria's reign. Britain fought in the Opium War (1839-1842) in China and acquired the island of Hong Kong. Britain also fought in the Crimean War (1853-1856) against Russia and in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) in order to protect its interests in southern Africa.
In 1858, control of India was transferred from the East India Company, a trading firm, to the British government. Victoria was proclaimed empress of India in 1876. Britain seized control of Egypt and many other areas. British colonies united in Australia and Canada, and these countries became important members of the growing British Empire. The development of a worldwide colonial empire made Britain the richest country... [continues]
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