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19th Century

19th Century

The first decades of the 19th Century were shaped by the wars of Napoleon, Emperor of the French from 1804, whose victories over the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Coalitions between 1805 and 1809 showed him at his most brilliant. However, over-stretch in the Peninsula – where the British under Wellington re-emerged as a serious military force – and in Russia led eventually to exile in 1814 and, after a comeback that ended at Waterloo, final defeat in 1815.

Britain thereafter concentrated her attentions on her empire, fighting bitter campaigns in India during the 1840s and ‘50s and more or less continual minor campaigns and police actions there and in Africa for the remainder of the century. Her only European engagement was the Crimean War of 1854-56, but for the other European powers the period from 1848 – when much of Europe was enveloped by revolution – until 1871 saw a major revision of the map as Prussia first obtained dominance in Germany and then used that dominance to crush Second-Empire France.

During these conflicts, and in the American Civil War of 1861-65, warfare changed from quasi-Napoleonic in style to something approaching what would be seen in the 20th Century, with the introduction of first breach-loading and then repeating firearms, rifled artillery, the first machineguns, trench warfare, barbed wire, and primitive land- and sea-mines. Naval warfare was similarly revolutionised by the introduction of steam and iron. Such progress saw Britain apparently pre-eminent behind the floating bulwark of her Royal Navy, but as the century came to a close this was called into question by embarrassing failures on land against lightly-armed Boer commandos in South Africa.

Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)

Spanish-American War (1898)

First Matabele War (Ndebele War) (1893-1894)

Mahdist Campaigns (1881-1899)

First Anglo-Boer War (1880-1881)

Anglo-Zulu War (1879)

Victorio's War (1879-1881)

War of the Pacific (Saltpeter War) (1879-1884)

Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880)

Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878)

Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871)

Red River Rebellion (1869-1870)

British Expedition to Abyssinia (1867-1868)

Austro-Prussian War (1866)

Third Italian War of Independence (1866)

Second Schleswig-Holstein War (1864)

American Civil War (1861-1865)

Imperial Russia (1859-1873)

Indian Mutiny (1857)

Crimean War (1853-1856)

First Italian War of Independence (1848-1849)

First Schleswig-Holstein War (1848-1851)

Hungarian Revolution & War of Independence (1848-1849)

Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849)

Sonderbund War (1847)

First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846)

New Zealand Campaigns (1845-1872)

First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842)

Great Trek (1835-1840)

Liberal Wars (1828-1834)

French Invasion of Spain (1823)

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

Peninsular War (1807-1815)

Russo-Turkish War (1806-1812)

Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)

Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1805)

Barbary Wars (1801-1815)

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