During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1902), England lived
a period full of changes and extensions in every field.The
Parliament had to face the problems of the workers with a series of
Acts ( The Factory Act, The Ten Hours' Act; The Mines Act; The
Public Health Act) to improve the working conditions, limit the
hours of work and the exploitation of the children and women.
In 1884 the Third Reform Bill enlarged the suffrage to all
male workers.Ireland found his leader in Charles Parnell that
demanded the Home Rule in 1880, but it was not approved till after
the First World WarIn 1854-56 the dispute on the borders between
Russia and Turkey originated the Crimean War, during which Florence
Nightingale founded the Red Cross.In 1887 Queen Victoria became
Empress of India and the Empire enlarged its dominions to
Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong,
Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus and parts of Africa.In 1899-1902 the Boer
War burst out in Orange and Transval.
Queen Victoria died in 1902. Her son Edward came to the
English throne trying to follow his mother’s steps.
In 1911 the Money Bill is signed; in 1912 The National
Insurance Scheme is approved to assure the workers a sum against
sickness and unemployment; in 1906 the Liberal Party wins the
Ireland gets the Home Rule (an independent Parliament) but the
Protestants in Ulster do not want to be included in the scheme. The
Sinn Fein (in Celtic language: ourselves alone) is created by the
Catholics. In 1916, at Easter, the members of the Sinn Fein rebel
in Dublin calling complete independence, but they are defeated and
executed (Easter Rising). Subsequently they form an Army, the Irish
Republican Army or IRA that uses terrorist methods. The English
parliament decides not to move directly against them because it
understands the importance of the support of small
nations during the 1st World War. A police force, the Black
and Tans is sent to sedate the rebels.
During the First World War Britain and Germany ally against
France. But William II of Germany wants to challenge Britain on the
sea and tries to get influence on the Balkan States. This
represents a danger for Russia for the control of the Mediterranean
and for England as in this way Germany can control Egypt and India.
So Britain starts an alliance with France (Entent Cordiale) and
Russia (that supports Serbia).
In 1917 Russia collapses because of the Bolshevik Revolution
and in 1918 the Peace Treaty is signed in Versailles and the League
of Nations is founded in Geneva.
The war leaves heavy economic consequences: the value of the
money falls; the taxes rise; there are difficulties in transports
because of the loss of shipping and machineries; the exportation of
coal diminishes and the iron, steel an textile industries decline,
whereas the U.S.A. and Japan develop economically.
In 1918 the Liberal Party disappears and is substituted by the
In 1921 the women over thirty get the vote and Great Britain
recognises Ireland as a free state in the British Commonwealth of