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From top left, clockwise: Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell formulates the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as different manifestations of the same phenomenon; the Meiji Restoration leads to enormous changes in Japan's political and social structure; the International Workingmen's Association is formed in 1864, aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing socialist, communist and anarchist groups; the Battle of Avay, fought in 1868 during the Paraguayan War, the bloodiest inter-state war in Latin America's history; execution in 1867 of Maximilian I of Mexico, ruler of the Second Mexican Empire, established during the Second French intervention in Mexico; the Battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of the American Civil War, fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (the Union) and the South (the Confederacy) as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people; the Suez Canal is inaugurated in 1869; Victor Emmanuel meets Garibaldi near Teano in 1860, at the end of the Expedition of the Thousand.
Millennium: 2nd millennium

The 1860s (pronounced "eighteen-sixties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1860, and ended on December 31, 1869.

The Americas in particular saw major societal developments. The abolition of Slavery in the United States led to the breakdown of the Atlantic slave trade, which was already suffering from the abolition of slavery in most of Europe in the late 1820s and 1830s. In the United States, civil war between the Confederate States of America and the Union states led to massive deaths and the destruction of cities such as Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; and Atlanta, Georgia. Sherman's March to the Sea was one of the first times America experienced total war, and advancements in military technology, such as iron and steel warships, and the development and initial deployment of early machine guns added to the destruction. After the American Civil War, turmoil continued in the Reconstruction era, with the rise of white supremacist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the issue of granting Civil Rights to Freedmen.

Politics and wars[edit]

Emperor Maximilian being executed (1867), marking the end of the Second Mexican Empire


Internal conflicts[edit]

Prominent political events[edit]

Assassinations and attempts[edit]

Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:

Image of Lincoln being shot by Booth while sitting in a theater booth.
Shown in the presidential booth of Ford's Theatre, from left to right, are assassin John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Clara Harris, and Henry Rathbone

Science and technology[edit]

Alfred Nobel invents dynamite in Sweden, patenting it in 1867


Popular culture[edit]


Literature and arts[edit]



  • The Victorian era and its culture largely thrived from 1860 until 1901.
  • The culture of the Victorian era comes to America and remains in place until around the turn of the 20th century, where the year it ends is disputed as to whether it ended with the rise of progressivism in 1896 or with the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

Miscellaneous trends[edit]


World leaders[edit]


Famous and infamous personalities[edit]


  1. ^ "American Civil War". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  2. ^ Medical Advances Timeline

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]