The New World

1914 Imperialism centered in London

1800 - Europe controlled 35% of globe at the start of the century, but 84% by 1914. Imperialism was accelerated by industrialization and technology of the major powers. The "tools of empire" produced an arms race that brought European nations into competition for colonies and world trade. These tools included the steamship, quinine, iron gunboat, armory method firearms, telegraph, the breechloader, smokeless powder.

1830 - the pioneering voyage of the "Hugh Lindsay" opened the steamship route up the Red Sea from India, and inaugurated a comunications revolution, speeding the delivery of mail between India and London to 59 days after in 1830, and the British took Aden in 1839 as a coaling station for the Red Sea route (21 days by steamship, camel caravan to Alexandria, by merchant ship to Malta, the regular steamship packet Malta to London). The voyage of the Hugh Lindsay opened the door to building a Suez Canal, that was completed in 1869 by Ferdinand de Lesseps.

1832 - Macgregor Laird built 2 steamers to ascend the Niger river, easier to navigate than the Congo, Zambezi, or upper Nile, and gave Britain a means to colonize Africa. The British also bought with them quinine, the alkaloid extracted from cinchona bark from the Andes, and made it possible to survive malaria.

1840 - Steam gunboat Nemesis was built to control the Chinese rivers in the Opium War, 660 tons, made of iron, two steam-powerd engines, heavily armed with two 32-pounders and five 6-pounders, 10 smaller cannon, and a Congreve rocket launcher.

1851 - Crystal Palace exhibition in London displayed mass production technology, especially the armory method developed in the U.S. by government arsenals. The British built a new Enfield Arsenal built using the technology of the Springfield Arsenal in America.

1853 - Enfield rifled musket used a paper cartridge with a bullet developed by Claude Minie with hollow base and elongated shape. French used new rifles in Algeria to complete its conquest by 1857, British used it in Kaffir War 1852 against the Xhosa. Prussia began to use the breechloader needle gun of Johann von Dreyse, with paper cartridges, and a long needle hit the percussion cap in base of bullet. Fast loading, it helped Prussia defeat Austria 1866 at Battle of Sadowa, and this battle convinced other European nations to adopt the breechloader, setting off an arms race.

1860 - British navy launched its iron warship, HMS Warrior.

1866 - Atlantic Cable became the first link in a global network and the Suez Canal opened in 1869.

1869 - Britain switched from Enfield to the breechloading Martini-Henry, in 1874 the French adopted the Gras, and in 1877 the Germans adopted the Mauser. in the 1870s, steel replaced iron for stronger gun parts. In the 1880s, the Gras and Mauser were adpated to become repeating rifles with 7-cartridge tubular magazine.

1885 - Frenchman Vieille discovered explosive nitrocellulose, used to make smokeless powder, that allowed higher muzzle velocities for smaller calibre rifles. Smokeless powder allowed Hiram S. Maxim to make a one-barrelled machine gun that fired 11 rounds per second.

1891 - German engineer Konrad Haussner patented long-recoil hydraulic brake used to design the rapid-firing French 75 and German 77 artillery guns.

1892 - Rudolf Diesel patented an engine that ran quietly and efficiently on heavy fuel oil rather than explosive gasoline, was exhibited at the 1898 Munich Exhibition, and began to be used in automobiles and tractors and ships, especially the first French sub Z in 1904, and German u-boats after 1905.

1895 - Kiel Canal opened June 21 by Kaiser Wilhelm after 8 years of construction to move ships from the Baltic to North Sea, and widened for German battleships 1907-14.

1896 - Italy was defeated at Aduwa by Ethiopians equipped with modern European weapons.

1897 - Marconi patented his wireless radio.

1898 - Kichener's expedition against the Dervishes of Sudan was equipped with latest weapons, breechloading and repeating rifles, Maxim guns, field artillery, six steam river boats firing high explosive shells of smokeless powder, defeated 40,000 Dervishes at Omdurman, killing 11,000 in five hours. The new weapons were used only in colonial wars in the 19th century, and were not considered defensive weapons.




revised 9/1/06 by Schoenherr | WWI Links | Topics | Maps | Reserve