Victorian Era

Topics: Victorian era, British Empire, Second Boer War Pages: 7 (2670 words) Published: October 2, 2011
Victorian Era
The Victorian era was one of good and bad where empires fell and rose as senseless wars were fought, people dominated, and advancements of culture and technology were made throughout. The Victorian era is called the Victorian era because England was currently being ruled over by Queen Victoria. The British Empire reached its greatest size under her reign. The greatest country she conquered was India, it was known as the jewel of the British Empire because it brought England so many natural resources, and effects of Victorian rule can still be seen today. Many other countries were colonized including Australia and other African countries, this spurred much racial hatred among England and its colonies and eventually led to the demise of the empire as wars broke out and independence was gained, although this was not always the best path for some countries.

During the Victorian era countries reached their greatest peaks because of England but they also fell in their fight against the empire to gain freedom. Queen Victoria was proclaimed empress of India and ruled over successfully throughout her reign. Queen Victoria also dealt with many rebellions throughout her time. India was seized because of the rebellion of Indian soldiers in the army as they refused to bite the end off of a bullet, a customary tradition, because the new bullets were covered with lard and it would be sacrilege, they were charged with mutiny and it gave England a reason to take over India. many rebellions took place like the chartist movement, which gave universal suffrage and new electoral reform throughout England. England also saw itself in wars overseas like the Crimean war where the only good thing that resulted was Florence Nightingale and her more humane treatment of patients and sterilization of hospitals1. England also colonized many countries throughout Africa. Their biggest problem occurred in South Africa during the Boer War. The Afrikaans settled most of South Africa and built it on the backs of tribal slaves. England then colonized South Africa and from 1899-1902 the Boer’s fought the British for ownership of the land. South Africa became England’s biggest source for gold and diamonds and to keep their claim to South Africa they had to stage one of the most expensive wars between the Napoleonic Wars and World War One. The British sent 500,000 men into South Africa to fight, easily outnumbering the Boers who only had 88,000 men. The British refused the Uitlander political rights and this caused an up rise. The war also had an economic shadow to it because most of the worlds monetary system was very dependant on gold and so the more gold the British could mine from South Africa the more the British economy grew. At the end of the war the Boers were forced to sign a treaty because they had been losing so many battles and men.

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Racism was a very big issue between citizens of England and citizens of the empire. Phrenology is the idea that that the structure of the skull, especially the jaw formation and facial angles, revealed the position of various races on the evolutionary scale. Debates concerning monogenism, one creation of mankind, or polygenism, several creations for mankind were always argued as the absurd idea of judging a person based on the shape of their face, surround racial hatred for years. The idea of phrenology came about before Darwinism.

“I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw [in Ireland]…I don’t believe they are our fault…. But to see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black, one would not feel it so much….”

Charles Kingsley wrote about his disgust for the entire Irish people in a letter to his wife. Soon after the idea of phrenology came Darwinism, they idea that one species had evolved more than another and that these people less evolved were inferior. This was the spur of most of today’s racial hatred even though Darwin...
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