Events and trends
- The First Transcontinental Railroad in the USA was built in the six year period between 1863 and 1869.
- Alfred Nobel creates dynamite in Germany
- James Clerk Maxwell publishes his equations that quantify the relationship between electricity and magnetism, and shows that light is a form of electromagnetic radiation
- Gregor Mendel formulates Mendel's laws of inheritance, the basis for genetics
- Dimitri Mendeleev develops the periodic table
War, peace and politics
- Italian Unification under King Victor Emmanuel II. Wars for expansion and national unity continue until the incorporation of the Papal States (March 17, 1861 - September 20, 1870).
- American Civil War fought between the remaining United States of America under President Abraham Lincoln and the self-declared Confederate States of America under President Jefferson Davis (April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865). Beginning of the Reconstruction era under President Andrew Johnson (1865 - 1869).
- French occupation of Mexico (1863 - 1867). Replacement of President of Mexico Benito Juárez (1861 - 1863) at first with Juan Nepomuceno Almonte (1863 - 1864) and then by Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (1864 - 1867). Benito Juárez eventually manages to recover his position (1867 - 1872).
- Meiji Restoration in Japan (1866 - 1869). Tokugawa Yoshinobu, 15th and last of the Tokugawa shoguns loses control to the Meiji Emperor. A series of reforms follows. The samurai class fails to survive while the Daimyo turn to politics.
- The Dominion of Canada is created by the British North America Act
- President of the United States Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, April 15, 1865.
- Florence Nightingale founds school for nurses in 1860.
- On 18 October 1860 the first Convention of Peking formally ended the Second Opium War.
Culture and religion
- In Catholicism, reaction against higher criticism and the liberal movement in Europe
- The Football Association is formed in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, paving the way for Association football to become the world's predominant spectator sport
- The Seventh-day Adventist Church becomes officially established in 1863 in Battle Creek, Michigan.
- Bahá'u'lláh declares his station as "One who was made Manifest", in the Garden of Ridván, as foretold by the Báb. Bahá'ís see this as the beginning date of the Bahá'í Faith.
- The Christian Mission, later renamed The Salvation Army, is co-founded by William and Catherine Booth in London, England in 1865.
- The London Fire Department was established in 1865.
Literature and Arts
- Emperor Franz Josef (Austria-Hungary)
- Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald (Canada)
- Emperor Napoleon III (Second French Empire)
- King William I (Germany)
- King Victor Emmanuel II (Italy)
- Pope Pius IX
- Emperor Alexander II (Russia)
- Queen Isabella II (Spain)
- Queen Victoria (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister Henry John Temple (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister Edward Smith-Stanley (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- President James Buchanan (United States)
- President Abraham Lincoln (United States)
- President Andrew Johnson (United States)
- President Jefferson Davis (Confederate States of America)
- President Ulysses S. Grant (United States)
- Nasser-al-Din Shah of Qajar dynasty (Persia)
- Emperor Kōmei (Japan)
- Emperor Meiji (Japan)
- Emperor Xianfeng (China)
- Emperor Tongzhi (China)
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