Every country has its own history that defines its past and shapes the future and Britain is not exempted. The Victorian Era (VE) refers to a period in the British history when Queen Victoria reigned over the land. The exact period runs from the 20th day of June, 1837 when the queen started reigning until when she died on the 22nd day of January 1901. The era was a long period characterized by refined sensibilities, prosperity, peace, and national self-confidence for the British kingdom.
Victorianism studies late-Victorian attitudes and cultures with specific focus on exceedingly moralistic straitlaced language and behavior in literature and social history. Georgian period came before VE, which came before the Edwardian period. The first portion of Belle Epoque period of continental Europe coincided with the last half of the VE. The two had great influence on each other.
The reign of Queen Victoria was a long one and while she reigned, the British kingdom attained the peak of its power. Peak power was achieved in the economy, culture, diplomacy, and politics among other areas. No great wars were fought during this period and there was tremendous expansion in the second British Empire. Researchers have always used the term golden years to characterize middle years of the era. This is because there was a 50 percent increase in the per capita income in the country.
Increased industrialization in the economy was the source of the continued prosperity that Britain had during the reign of Queen Victoria. Industrialization occurred in industries like machinery. Engineering, education, textiles, and export among others. British merchants made huge profits from global networks they created which allowed export of products.
Peace prevailed both abroad and at home. The only war fought during this period was the Crimean war which lasted two years from 1854 to 1856. There was new social order against which opposition sublimed. The working class developed unions and cooperative societies. Welfare services were provided to workers by their employers in the form of housing, libraries, gymnasia, churches, schools, and baths.
The kingdom was filled with the spirit of libertarianism as people felt extremely free. There were minimal government restrictions and taxes stayed low. However, minimal anti-Catholicism-motivated riots still occurred. Gentry and aristocracy was used to rule the society. The systems ruled the military, the church, high government offices, and both houses of parliament. Still, it was more prestigious to inherit a title than being successful in business.
The period saw a major increase in population. From a population of 13.9 million people in 1831, the population rose to 32.5 million by 1901. Agricultural Revolution, Demographic transition, and Industrial Revolution were first undergone by Britain in the whole world. Lives were improved and income increased by the Industrial Revolution to sustain population growth.
Science and progress impressed Victorians a lot. They spent a lot of resources improving their technology. During that time, Britain was a leader in advanced engineering and technology worldwide. They improved communication and designed and made railways. Railways facilitated trade because it made movement and communication much easier.
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