Ludwig van BeethovenIndustrial RevolutionView from the Window at Le GrasFirst Russian Antarctic ExpeditionTypographer (typewriter)Spanish American wars of independenceÁnyos JedlikStockton and Darlington Railway
From top left, clockwise: Ludwig van Beethoven re-emerged as a popular composer during this decade, when his iconic Symphony No. 9 is first performed in Vienna in 1824. The First Industrial Revolution achieves peak momentum for the West, as depicted in this engraving of a textile factory operating in Manchester, arguably England's industrial hub of the 19th century; The world's oldest photograph was taken in 1826, as seen above. The decade was the start of daguerrotype development – an instrument used for motion-picture capturing and was a precursor instrument to the camera; South American wars of independence were on full swing, as countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Uruguay gained their independence at this era; a turning point for regional politics, and heavily influenced South America's contemporary socio-political conditions; Crowds gather to witness the opening of the world's first railway – the Stockton and Darlington Railway – as it formally commenced in 1825; The world's first electric motor was created by Hungarian engineer Ányos Jedlik. His invention would drive to form modern-day knowledge and utilization of electricity, and forged way for studies on electrochemistry and engineering to grow; Antarctica was discovered and explored for the first time. Its inaugural expedition into continental waters was led by a Russian crew headed by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, in 1819 to 1821; The typewriter receives its first patent in 1829; a breakthrough in technology, and paved way to form modern-day communications and computer science.

The 1820s (pronounced "eighteen-twenties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1820, and ended on December 31, 1829.

It saw the rise of the First Industrial Revolution. Photography, rail transport, and the textile industry were among those that largely developed and grew prominent over the decade, as technology advanced significantly. European colonialism began gaining ground in Africa and Asia, and trade with the Qing Dynasty began to open up more towards foreign traders, particularly those from Europe. As European imperialism gained momentum, opposition from affected/exploited societies resulted, with wars such as the Java War and the Greek War of Independence. Resistance in the form of separatism and nationalism (particularly in the Spanish American wars of independence) led to the independence of many countries around the world, such as Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia.

Politics and wars

The Greek War of Independence and the Russo-Turkish War were two of the decade's more important conflicts. Meanwhile, colonialism in Africa had just begun to accelerate, and global trade between Asian powers (e.g. the Qing Dynasty) with European powers (mainly the British and French empires) increased substantially. In South America, states such as Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil gained independence from the Spanish Empire and Portuguese Empire.


East Asia


Java War

The Java War (also known as the "Diponegoro War") was fought in Java between 1825 and 1830. It started as a rebellion led by Prince Diponegoro after the Dutch decided to build a road across a piece of his property that contained his parents' tomb.

The troops of Prince Diponegoro were very successful in the beginning, controlling the middle of Java and besieging Yogyakarta. Furthermore, the Javanese population was supportive of Prince Diponegoro's cause, whereas the Dutch colonial authorities were initially very indecisive. As the Java war prolonged, Prince Diponegoro had difficulties in maintaining the numbers of his troops. Prince Diponegoro started a fierce guerrilla war and it was not until 1827 that the Dutch army gained the upper hand. The Dutch colonial army was able to fill its ranks with troops from Sulawesi, and later on from the Netherlands.

The rebellion finally ended in 1830, after Prince Diponegoro was tricked into entering Dutch custody near Magelang, believing he was there for negotiations for a possible cease-fire. It is estimated that 200,000 died over the course of the conflict, 8,000 being Dutch.




  • 1827: King Anouvong of Vientiane declares war on Siam and successfully attacks Nakhon Ratchasima.
  • 1828 Siamese-Lao War: The Siamese invade and sack the city of Vientiane.
  • November 12, 1828: Anouvong is deposed and his kingdom is annexed by Siam. Large forced population transfers are made from Laos to the more securely held area of Isan, and the Lao mueang is divided into smaller units to prevent another uprising.


  • 1824–1826: The First Anglo-Burmese War ended in a British victory, and by the Treaty of Yandabo, Burma lost territory previously conquered in Assam, Manipur, and Arakan. The British also took possession of Tenasserim with the intention to use it as a bargaining chip in future negotiations with either Burma or Siam.

Siam (Thailand)

  • 1824–1826 - Rattanakosin Kingdom (Siam): Rama II died in 1824 and was peacefully succeeded by his son Jessadabodindra (Rama III). In 1825 the British sent another mission to Bangkok led by East India Company emissary Henry Burney. They had by now annexed southern Burma and were thus Siam's neighbours to the west, and they were also extending their control over Malaya. The King was reluctant to give in to British demands, but his advisors warned him that Siam would meet the same fate as Burma unless the British were accommodated. In 1826, therefore, Siam concluded its first commercial treaty with a western power, the Burney Treaty. Under the treaty, Siam agreed to establish a uniform taxation system, to reduce taxes on foreign trade and to abolish some of the royal monopolies. As a result, Siam's trade increased rapidly, many more foreigners settled in Bangkok, and western cultural influences began to spread. The kingdom became wealthier and its army better armed.


Central Asia

South Asia

Western Asia


Eastern Europe

Northern Europe

Central Europe

Southern Europe

Greek War of Independence
October 20: Naval Battle of Navarino by Ambroise Louis Garneray

At the start of the decade, most of Greece was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, as it had been since 1453, despite frequent revolts. In early 1821, a secret organization called the Filiki Eteria instigated several battles that, together with the blessing of a Greek flag and proclamation of uprising by Bishop Germanos of Patras on March 25, marked the beginning of the revolution. The uprising successfully established a foothold in the Peloponnese, seizing Tripolitsa in September 1821, and had some success in Crete, Macedonia and Central Greece.

Between 1821 and 1824, first and second national assemblies were held, and the constitutions of 1822 and of 1823 were established. However, revolutionary activity was fragmented, resulting in the civil wars of 1824–1825. The Greek side withstood the Turkish attacks because, during this period, the Ottoman military campaigns were periodic and uncoordinated.

That changed when the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II negotiated with Mehmet Ali of Egypt, who agreed to send his son Ibrahim Pasha to Greece with an army to suppress the revolt in return for territorial gain. Ibrahim landed in the Peloponnese in February 1825 and secured most of the peninsula by the end of 1825. He then helped break the siege of Missolonghi. Although Ibrahim was defeated in Mani, he had succeeded in suppressing most of the revolt in the Peloponnese and Athens had been retaken.

Following years of negotiation, three Great Powers, Russia, the United Kingdom and France had come to agree to the formation of an autonomous Greek state under Ottoman suzerainty, as stipulated in the Treaty of London. Ottoman refusal to accept these terms led to the Battle of Navarino, which effectively secured complete Greek independence. That year, the Third National Assembly at Troezen established the First Hellenic Republic. With the help of a French expeditionary force, the Greeks drove the Turks out of the Peloponnese and proceeded to the captured part of Central Greece by 1828. As a result of years of negotiation, Greece was finally recognized as an independent nation in May 1832.

Western Europe

United Kingdom

In the 1820s, the British government was formally headed by King George IV, but in practice, was led by his prime ministers Lord Liverpool (1812–1827), George Canning (1827), Lord Goderich (1827–1828), and Duke of Wellington (1828–1830). This decade was largely peaceful for Britain, with some foreign intervention. The British supported the Portuguese liberals in the Liberal Wars, and supported Greek rebels in the war for independence. During this time, London became the largest city of the world, taking the lead from Beijing.

Domestic tensions ran high at the start of the decade, with the Peterloo Massacre (1819), the Cato Street Conspiracy (1820), and the Radical War (1820) in Scotland. However, by the end of the 1820s, many repressive laws were repealed. In 1822, Britain repealed the death penalty for over 100 crimes, and punishments such as drawing and quartering and flagellation fell out of use. Seditious Meetings prevention Act (barring large assemblies) and the Combination Act (banning trade unions) were repealed in 1824. The Catholic Relief Act by Parliament of the United Kingdom granted a substantial measure of Catholic Emancipation in Britain and Ireland.



Anthony Finley's 1827 map of Africa

North America


United States

John Melish map of the United States circa 1822

At the beginning of the 1820s, the United States stretched from the Atlantic Ocean through to (roughly) the western edge of the Mississippi basin, though Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and all present-day states fully west of the Mississippi had yet to be granted statehood. Two states were admitted to the union during this decade: Maine in 1820 and Missouri in 1821. The Adams–Onís Treaty, signed in 1819 and ratified by Spain in 1821, ceded Florida to the United States, and established a boundary between New Spain and the United States.

Slavery was widespread throughout the southern United States. According to the 1820 U.S. Census, the slave population at that time was 1,538,000. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. By the 1830 U.S. Census, the slave population had risen to 2,009,043. With the coordination of the American Colonization Society, many freed African-Americans repatriated to Africa during this decade to the newly formed colony of Liberia.

The political mood at the start of the 1820s was referred to as the Era of Good Feelings, following the collapse of the Federalist party. James Monroe, the sitting U.S. president since 1817, was re-elected in 1820, virtually unopposed. In 1823, Monroe introduced the Monroe Doctrine in the State of the Union Address, declaring that any European attempts to recolonize the Americas would be considered a hostile act towards the United States.

The feeling of unity during the Monroe administration was dispelled in the presidential election of 1824, which due to an Electoral College stalemate, was decided in the United States House of Representatives. John Quincy Adams was chosen as the sixth U.S. president, despite receiving only 30.9% of the popular vote to Andrew Jackson's 41.3%. This gave rise to Jacksonian Nationalism and the rise of the modern Democratic Party, with Andrew Jackson elected in the 1828 election.


After ten years of civil war in Mexico (then called the "Viceroyalty of New Spain") and the death of two of its founders, by early 1820 the Mexican independence movement was stalemated and close to collapse. However, the Army of the Three Guarantees was formed under the command of Colonel Agustín de Iturbide with the support of patriots and loyalists to secure independence for Mexico and the protection of Roman Catholicism. Iturbide's army was joined by rebel forces from all over Mexico, and quickly gained control of Mexico. On August 24, 1821, representatives of the Spanish crown and Iturbide signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which recognized the Mexican Empire under the terms of the Plan of Iguala.

On September 27 the Army of the Three Guarantees entered Mexico City, and the following day Iturbide proclaimed the independence of the Mexican Empire. The newly formed Mexican congress eventually declared Iturbide emperor of Mexico on May 19, 1822. Later that year, Iturbide dissolved Congress and replaced it with a sympathetic junta. However, on March 19, 1823 Iturbide abdicated.

The First Federal Republic was established on October 4, 1824. In the new constitution, the republic took the name of United Mexican States, and was defined as a representative federal republic, with Catholicism as the official and unique religion. Guadalupe Victoria was the first President of Mexico from 1824 until 1829.

After Manuel Gómez Pedraza won the election to succeed Victoria, Vicente Guerrero staged a coup d'état and took the presidency on April 1, 1829. Guerrero was deposed in a rebellion under Vice-president Anastasio Bustamante in December 1829.


Central America

South America

La Batalla de Carabobo by Martín Tovar y Tovar, depicting the Battle of Carabobo, in which Simón Bolívar secured Venezuela's independence from Spain in 1821

Gran Colombia




Argentina-Brazil War




Pacific Islands

Economics and commerce

Slavery, serfdom and labor

Science and technology

The oldest surviving photograph, Nicéphore Niépce, circa 1826










A millinery shop in Paris, 1822

During the 1820s in European and European-influenced countries, fashionable women's clothing styles transitioned away from the classically influenced "Empire"/"Regency" styles of ca. 1795–1820 (with their relatively unconfining empire silhouette) and re-adopted elements that had been characteristic of most of the 18th century (and were to be characteristic of the remainder of the 19th century), such as full skirts and clearly visible corseting of the natural waist.

The silhouette of men's fashion changed in similar ways: by the mid-1820s coats featured broad shoulders with puffed sleeves, a narrow waist, and full skirts. Trousers were worn for smart day wear, while breeches continued in use at court and in the country.



Disasters, natural events, and notable mishaps




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