The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project is a university-chartered research center associated with the Department of History of The George Washington University

The George Washington University

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

1830 CE

image: Map of Trail of Teras
Trail of Tears

The U.S. Congress passes the Indian Removal Act in order to free land for settlement. The Act forces 70,000 Native Americans to relocate. The long trek westward became known as the "Trail of Tears" because of such a high death rate during the relocation.

1833 CE

The British Parliament passes the Abolition Act, which abolishes the slave trade in the British Empire.

1839-1842 CE

The Chinese government begins to prosecute Chinese drug dealers of opium and orders foreign merchants to respect the Chinese ban on opium. British merchants in China refuse and are expelled from the country; and war subsequently breaks out. Using troops from India and their control of the sea, Great Britain forces China to surrender. In the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 the Chinese government is forced to cede Hong Kong to Great Britain forever, pay an indemnity of $100 million, and open up four large cities to foreign trade with low tariffs.

1841 CE

Russia, France, Prussia, Austria and Great Britain sign the Treaty of London, which abolishes slavery. (no website documentation).

1848 CE

Some 200 women and men meet in Seneca Falls, New York, to draft a "bill of rights" outlining the social, civil and religious rights of women.

1853-1854 CE

image: Commodore Matthew Perry
Commodore Matthew Perry

After several unsuccessful American attempts to establish commercial relations with Japan, Commodore Matthew Perry arrives in Edo Bay and forces Japanese to sign a treaty with the United States that opened two ports to American trade.

1857 CE

image: Portrait of Dred Scott of
Dred Scott

In Dred Scott v. Sanford, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that African Americans cannot be citizens and are not entitled to the rights afforded to white men.

1861 CE


Alexander II of Russia

Tsar Alexander II issues the Edict of Emancipation, which frees the serfs in Russia.

1863 CE

image: Painting of Signing of Emancipation Proclamation
Signing of the
Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that "all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States are forever free."

Henry Dunant founds the International Committee of the Red Cross in response to the lack of treatment of wounded soldiers on the battlefield of Solferino.

1864 CE

The Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Armies in the Field (First Geneva Convention) is signed, outlining the rules for protecting the wounded in wartime and grants immunity to hospital staff and the Red Cross during war.

1865 CE

The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishes slavery in the United States.

1866 CE

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 passes with one vote over President Andrew Johnson's veto. The Act proclaims that all persons born in the United States are U.S. citizens without regard to race or color.

1868 CE

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

1870 CE

The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous conditions of servitude."

1880-1914 CE

European imperialism reaches its climax. During this time, European nations not only continued to send migrants, money, and manufactured goods around the world, but also sought to create or enlarge their political empires. The new imperialism was aimed primarily at Africa and Asia as Africans and Asians are put under the political rule of Europeans.

1882 CE

The U.S. Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited citizenship for Chinese immigrants.

1884-1885 CE

The Berlin Conference divides Africa amongst the European powers without any regard to the indigenous people. The conference also agrees to work to stop slavery and the slave trade in Africa.

1885 CE

A Woman Suffrage Society is founded in Norway. (no website documentation)

1888-1889 CE

An Australian Women Suffrage League and a Danish Women Suffrage Society are founded. (no website documentation)

1890 CE

The National Women Suffrage Association is founded.

The Brussels Conference ratifies the Berlin Conference.

1893 CE

New Zealand becomes the first nation to grant women the right to vote.

1894-1899 CE

Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, is convicted of treason based on fabricated evidence by the French Army. The "Dreyfus Affair" divides French society and is representative of anti-Semitic feelings in Europe at the time. Dreyfus was pardoned in 1899.

1895 CE


Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde goes on trial in England for homosexual activity.

An Australian Court declares that women are not persons. (no website documentation)

1896 CE

In Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that segregation is constitutional as long as facilities are "separate but equal."

1897 CE

In France, the Socialist Congress demands equality for women. (no website documentation)

1901 CE


Henry Dunant

Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, and Frederic Passy, a leading international pacifist, are awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize.

1902 CE

The Australian Parliament passes the Commonwealth Franchise Act denying "aboriginal natives of Australia, Asia, Africa or the Islands of the Pacific except New Zealand" the right to vote.

The International Women Suffrage Alliance is founded.

1904 CE

An International Congress of Women meets in Berlin. (no website documentation)

1907 CE

The Central American Peace Conference provides for the right of aliens to appeal to courts where they reside.

1909 CE

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded in New York City for the purpose of improving the conditions of colored people.

1915-1917 CE


Starved Armenian Children

The Ottoman Empire carries out the first genocide of the 20th century on the Armenian population in the empire. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians are tortured and executed and millions of others are forced from their homes and marched across deserts to resettlement areas. It is estimated that one and a half million Armenians died during the genocide.

1917 CE

The U.S. Congress passes the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, prohibiting immigration to the United States from mostly Asian countries.

1918 CE

The Australian Parliament passes the Aboriginal Ordinance ushering in the "protectionist era" which strips the aboriginal populations of many of their basic rights.

The U.S. Congress passes the U.S. Sedition Act, which outlaws "any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or Constitution of the United States."

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