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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

After the capture of the Bogue forts


Floods in France]

[Sidenote: Earthquake of Zante]

Shortly before this, great havoc had been wrought in France by disastrous inundations of the Saone and Rhone. The water, which covered 60,000 acres, and flooded Lyons, rose higher than it had within 250 years. In Greece, a tremendous earthquake laid the city of Zante in ruins. These catastrophes were made the object of special study in Germany and Switzerland, where Agassiz was in the midst of his epoch-making discourses on the glacial period.

[Sidenote: Isabella abdicates]

[Sidenote: Rule of Espartero]

Toward the end of the year wretched Spain suffered another political upheaval. After the last abandonment of the cause of Don Carlos by General Cabrera, in July, the Queen-Regent found herself confronted by a strong democratic party both in the Cortes and the country. The scandals of her private life undermined her political authority. By an insurrection at Barcelona she was forced to call in General Espartero, the chief of the Progressist party, as her Prime Minister. Rather than submit to his demands she abdicated the Regency in October and left Spain. Espartero, toward the close of the year, was acknowledged by the Cortes as Regent of Spain. His first measures turned a large part of the people against him. On December 29, as a result of the growing discussions

between the government and the clergy, the Papal Nuncio was expelled from Madrid. Thereafter Espartero and the clerical party of Spain were at daggers' points.

[Sidenote: Overbeck]

This year Friedrich Overbeck finished his masterpiece, the "Triumph of Religion and the Arts." This German artist, at the time when the classicism of David was at its height, had become his most strenuous opponent, and had brought about the regeneration of the German religious school of painting. He and several of his followers formed the Nazarites, whose fundamental principle was that art existed only for the service of religion. Overbeck's frescoes of the "History of Joseph" and "Jerusalem Delivered" are best known. Among his paintings of this period, "The Entrance of Christ into Jerusalem" at Luebeck, "Christ on the Mount of Olives" at Hamburg, and "The Coronation of Mary" in the Cathedral of Cologne, are the most celebrated.


[Sidenote: British capture Bogue forts]

[Sidenote: Hong Kong ceded to Britain]

The dilatory tactics of Viceroy Keshen in China had prolonged the negotiations there for several weeks. In the meanwhile a large Chinese army was gathering in the interior. Early in the year, after the arrival of the British plenipotentiaries, orders were issued for an attack on the Bogue forts. On January 7, 1,500 British troops were landed on the flank and rear of the forts at Chuenpee. After a sharp cannonade by the fleets, the forts were carried by a storming party under Captain Herbert. Simultaneously the forts at Taikok were destroyed by the fleet, and their Chinese garrison was routed by landing parties. Several Chinese junks were sunk during the engagement. In all the Chinese lost some 1,500 men in casualties; the British losses were small. After the capture of the Bogue forts, Viceroy Keshen came to terms. He agreed to pay a large money indemnity and to cede Hong Kong absolutely. On January 29, Hong Kong was declared a British possession, and was heavily garrisoned with the troops transferred from Chusan. The importance of the new acquisition was scarcely realized by Englishmen at the time.

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