History of the World in Objects and Art

20 000BC      
1200BC 800 1455 1820
700BC 1070 1500 1840
350BC 1205 1530 1868
200BC 1260 1600 1890
100BC 1290 1685 1910
30 1350 1755 1920
600 1400 1800 1950
History of the World in Objects and Art Timeline

The late Qing dynasty period was marked by national humiliation, breakdown, and upheaval, with the empire suffering defeat in wars and facing mass rebellions from within. The imperial regime adopted elements of Western technology and military organization, but attempted reforms failed to prevent foreign invasions.
Some of the pressures threatening imperial rule in 19th-century China were domestic. Agricultural production could not meet the needs of an expanding population. Mass emigration provided a partial solution, creating a diaspora of Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and North America. But at home, poverty and malnutrition increased, fueling discontent with inequality and government corruption. Four major rebellions shook the country in the course of the century. The largest, the Taiping Uprising, cost 20 million lives before it was suppressed in 1864. But internal upheaval was inseparable from the issue of Western influence.


In 1800, China was still ahle to keep European and American traders under strict control, treating foreign powers as humble petitioners. But in 1839, an attempt to stop the spread of opium addiction led to a war with Britain, whose merchants ran the opium trade. China was defeated and forced to cede Hong Kong, admit Christian missionaries, and concede to British demands for free trade. This opened the previously firmly closed floodgates to outside influence. Despite efforts to modernize its forces, China was unable to resist foreign demands. Beijing was twice occupied by European forces— in 1860 and 1900—and some areas of the country came under foreign control. Moreover, Confucianism was undermined by the teachings of Christian missionaries and by the influence of different forms of Western social and political organization. The imperial decline led to the abdication of China's last emperor in 1912.
Symbol of royal might
Created in the 18th century, the gardens of the Summer Palace, Beijing, displayed the wealth and tastes of imperial China at its height. Yet, in 1860 the Chinese were unable to prevent the palace from being ransacked by Anglo-French soldiers.

The Sino-Japanese War

The progress of European imperialism in Southeast Asia challenged long-established societies, from Burma and Thailand to Vietnam and Java. Although they mounted determined resistance, local peoples could not prevent the European conquest.
The societies of Southeast Asia, chiefly Muslim and Buddhist, had a long history of contact with Europeans. The Spanish colonized the Philippines from the 16th century, and the Dutch controlled parts of Java from the mid-17th century. The pace of European expansion quickened in the 19th century, driven partly by a need for raw materials for industry, including bauxite, rubber, and petroleum. The British founded Singapore as a trading post in 1819, and went on to take effective control of the states of Malaya, while Burma was absorbed into British India.

The Dutch extended their hold over Java and neighboring Sumatra. From the 1860s, France, by stages, took over Indochina—Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. By 1900, Thailand was the only Southeast Asian state still independent. However, local elites continued to exercise a degree of power, and outside the Philippines the adoption of Christianity was rare.

The Birth of the Modem Metropolis

The Birth of the Modem Metropolis

From a faltering flight in 1903 to supersonic travel today, it has taken less than a hundred years for aircraft to transform our lives. Innovations in flight have radically changed the way we travel, explore, distribute goods, and wage war.
The desire to fly is as old as civilization itself, but the challenge that faced engineers of the 20th century was to make a flying machine that could not only stay in the air but also be controlled. This finally happened when bicycle mechanics Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the first fixed-wing aircraft in 1903. Their breakthrough led to a plethora of planes being designed and built. Aircraft production boomed when it was discovered that planes had uses other than recreation; they could be used as a weapon of war.

Other challenges preoccupied aviators. The Americans Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart became national heroes when they crossed the Atlantic on solo flights. The fledgling airline industry took off, and aircraft were transformed from small biplanes to giant jet carriers, transporting millions of travelers all around the world.

Amazing advances in transportation took place during the 20th century. By the century's end, journeys took hours, not days, and mass travel became the norm. The evolution of automobiles and trains transformed society and everyday life.
The invention of the internal combustion engine in the 19th century accelerated the pace of life in the 20th. At the turn of the 20th century, however, it was inconceivable that the average worker could afford to buy a car, let alone leave home to take a vacation.

This all changed with Henry Ford's groundbreaking introduction of the factory assembly line, which turned out cheaper, mass-produced vehicles. The car and the motorbike evolved together, giving people the freedom to travel when and where they wanted. Long-distance railroad lines reduced the time it took to cross entire continents. Journeys that previously took months were now completed in days. Holidays and days out at the seaside became a reality for many families. Steam engines were replaced with streamlined diesel passenger trains, and the electrification of the railroad system encouraged widespread travel.

The First Russian Revolution

The First Russian Revolution