The 1890s were sometimes referred to as the "Mauve Decade," because William Henry Perkin's aniline dye allowed the widespread use of that colour in fashion, and also as the "Gay Nineties", under the then-current usage of the word "gay" which referred simply to merriment and frivolity, with no connotation of homosexuality as in present-day usage. The phrase, "The Gay Nineties," was not coined until 1926.
Events and trends
- the Panic of 1893 sets off a widespread economic depression in the United States that lasts until 1896. The 1896 election was a realigning election where the Republican Party took control of the White House.
- Early commercial production of automobiles
- People went to movies.
- Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
- Discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Röntgen
- Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius and US geologist Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin independently come to the conclusion that burning fossil fuels might cause global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions
- Albert Einstein begins his revolution of science
War, peace and politics
- Second Boer War
- First Sino-Japanese War
- Spanish-American War
- Split in Irish nationalism over Irish leader Charles Stewart Parnell's affair with a fellow MP's wife, Kitty O'Shea
- The New Imperialism
- Motion pictures
- Ragtime music
- Accession of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in the world's first ever filmed coronation.
- Lynchings of African Americans in the United States averaged 150 per year.
- H. G. Wells creates modern science fiction with his book The War of the Worlds.
- Hale Johnson is a major leader of the temperance movement.
- Department of Scientific Temperance Instruction, under Mary Hunt, achieves de facto control over all alcohol education in the USA.
- "The" Fin de Siècle (primarily in Paris and Brussels).
- Increasing importance of Art Nouveau style.
- Dreyfus Affair (France)
Literature and arts
- Oscar Wilde publishes The Picture of Dorian Gray.
- Thomas Hardy publishes Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
- Anton Chekhov publishes Uncle Vanya.
- A. E. Housman publishes A Shropshire Lad.
- Rudyard Kipling publishes Barrack-Room Ballads.
- H. G. Wells publishes The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The War of the Worlds.
- Bram Stoker publishes Dracula.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes the first Sherlock Holmes in Strand Magazine.
- Prime Minister John Sparrow David Thompson (Canada)
- Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Canada)
- Emperor Franz Josef (Austria-Hungary)
- Kaiser Wilhelm II (German Empire)
- Chancellor Leo von Caprivi (German Empire)
- King Umberto I (Italy)
- Pope Leo XIII
- President Porfirio Díaz (Mexico)
- Czar Alexander III (Russia)
- Czar Nicholas II (Russia)
- Queen Victoria (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- Prime Minister Archibald Philip Primrose (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)
- President Benjamin Harrison (United States)
- President Grover Cleveland (United States)
- President William McKinley (United States)
- Shahs of Persia (Qajar dynasty)
Books about the 1890s
- Quiz: Victorian Etiquette — Educational Game, In the style of the Monty Pythons
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