A university is an institution of higher education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education; the word university is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which means "community of teachers and scholars". While antecedents had existed in Asia and Africa, the modern university system has roots in the European medieval university, created in Italy and evolved from cathedral schools for the clergy during the High Middle Ages; the original Latin word universitas refers in general to "a number of persons associated into one body, a society, community, corporation, etc". At the time of the emergence of urban town life and medieval guilds, specialized "associations of students and teachers with collective legal rights guaranteed by charters issued by princes, prelates, or the towns in which they were located" came to be denominated by this general term. Like other guilds, they were self-regulating and determined the qualifications of their members.
In modern usage the word has come to mean "An institution of higher education offering tuition in non-vocational subjects and having the power to confer degrees," with the earlier emphasis on its corporate organization considered as applying to Medieval universities. The original Latin word referred to degree-awarding institutions of learning in Western and Central Europe, where this form of legal organisation was prevalent, from where the institution spread around the world. An important idea in the definition of a university is the notion of academic freedom; the first documentary evidence of this comes from early in the life of the University of Bologna, which adopted an academic charter, the Constitutio Habita, in 1158 or 1155, which guaranteed the right of a traveling scholar to unhindered passage in the interests of education. Today this is claimed as the origin of "academic freedom"; this is now recognised internationally - on 18 September 1988, 430 university rectors signed the Magna Charta Universitatum, marking the 900th anniversary of Bologna's foundation.
The number of universities signing the Magna Charta Universitatum continues to grow, drawing from all parts of the world. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, the earliest universities were founded in Asia and Africa, predating the first European medieval universities; the University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in Morocco by Fatima al-Fihri in 859, is considered by some to be the oldest degree-granting university. Their endowment by a prince or monarch and their role in training government officials made early Mediterranean universities similar to Islamic madrasas, although madrasas were smaller, individual teachers, rather than the madrasa itself, granted the license or degree. Scholars like Arnold H. Green and Hossein Nasr have argued that starting in the 10th century, some medieval Islamic madrasas became universities. However, scholars like George Makdisi, Toby Huff and Norman Daniel argue that the European university has no parallel in the medieval Islamic world. Several other scholars consider the university as uniquely European in origin and characteristics.
Darleen Pryds questions this view, pointing out that madaris and European universities in the Mediterranean region shared similar foundations by princely patrons and were intended to provide loyal administrators to further the rulers' agenda. Some scholars, including Makdisi, have argued that early medieval universities were influenced by the madrasas in Al-Andalus, the Emirate of Sicily, the Middle East during the Crusades. Norman Daniel, views this argument as overstated. Roy Lowe and Yoshihito Yasuhara have drawn on the well-documented influences of scholarship from the Islamic world on the universities of Western Europe to call for a reconsideration of the development of higher education, turning away from a concern with local institutional structures to a broader consideration within a global context; the university is regarded as a formal institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian tradition. European higher education took place for hundreds of years in cathedral schools or monastic schools, in which monks and nuns taught classes.
The earliest universities were developed under the aegis of the Latin Church by papal bull as studia generalia and from cathedral schools. It is possible, that the development of cathedral schools into universities was quite rare, with the University of Paris being an exception, they were founded by Kings or municipal administrations. In the early medieval period, most new universities were founded from pre-existing schools when these schools were deemed to have become sites of higher education. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by The residence of a religious community. Pope Gregory VII was critical in promoting and regulating the concept of modern university as his 1079 Papal Decree ordered the regulated establishment of cathedral schools that transformed themselves into the first European universities; the first universities in Europe with a form of corporate/guild structure were the University of Bologna, the University of Paris, the University of Oxford.
The University of Bologna began as a law school teach
Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher and his most famous student, Aristotle. Plato has often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality; the so-called Neoplatonism of philosophers like Plotinus and Porphyry influenced Saint Augustine and thus Christianity. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy. Plato appears to have been the founder of Western political philosophy, his most famous contribution bears his name, the doctrine of the Forms known by pure reason to provide a realist solution to the problem of universals.
He is the namesake of Platonic love and the Platonic solids. His own most decisive philosophical influences are thought to have been along with Socrates, the pre-Socratics Pythagoras and Parmenides, although few of his predecessors' works remain extant and much of what we know about these figures today derives from Plato himself. Unlike the work of nearly all of his contemporaries, Plato's entire oeuvre is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Although their popularity has fluctuated over the years, the works of Plato have never been without readers since the time they were written. Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about education. Plato belonged to an influential family. According to a disputed tradition, reported by doxographer Diogenes Laërtius, Plato's father Ariston traced his descent from the king of Athens and the king of Messenia, Melanthus. Plato's mother was Perictione, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet Solon, one of the seven sages, who repealed the laws of Draco.
Perictione was sister of Charmides and niece of Critias, both prominent figures of the Thirty Tyrants, known as the Thirty, the brief oligarchic regime, which followed on the collapse of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War. According to some accounts, Ariston tried to force his attentions on Perictione, but failed in his purpose; the exact time and place of Plato's birth are unknown. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or Aegina between 429 and 423 BC, not long after the start of the Peloponnesian War; the traditional date of Plato's birth during the 87th or 88th Olympiad, 428 or 427 BC, is based on a dubious interpretation of Diogenes Laërtius, who says, "When was gone, joined Cratylus the Heracleitean and Hermogenes, who philosophized in the manner of Parmenides. At twenty-eight, Hermodorus says, went to Euclides in Megara." However, as Debra Nails argues, the text does not state that Plato left for Megara after joining Cratylus and Hermogenes.
In his Seventh Letter, Plato notes that his coming of age coincided with the taking of power by the Thirty, remarking, "But a youth under the age of twenty made himself a laughingstock if he attempted to enter the political arena." Thus, Nails dates Plato's birth to 424/423. According to Neanthes, Plato was six years younger than Isocrates, therefore was born the same year the prominent Athenian statesman Pericles died. Jonathan Barnes regards 428 BC as the year of Plato's birth; the grammarian Apollodorus of Athens in his Chronicles argues that Plato was born in the 88th Olympiad. Both the Suda and Sir Thomas Browne claimed he was born during the 88th Olympiad. Another legend related that, when Plato was an infant, bees settled on his lips while he was sleeping: an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse about philosophy. Besides Plato himself and Perictione had three other children; the brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon are mentioned in the Republic as sons of Ariston, brothers of Plato, though some have argued they were uncles.
In a scenario in the Memorabilia, Xenophon confused the issue by presenting a Glaucon much younger than Plato. Ariston appears to have died in Plato's childhood, although the precise dating of his death is difficult. Perictione married Pyrilampes, her mother's brother, who had served many times as an ambassador to the Persian court and was a friend of Pericles, the leader of the democratic faction in Athens. Pyrilampes had a son from a previous marriage, famous for his beauty. Perictione gave birth to Pyrilampes' second son, the half-brother of Plato, who appears in Parmenides. In contrast to his reticence about himself, Plato introduced his distinguished relatives into his dialogues, or referred to them with some precision. In addition to Adeimantus and Glaucon in the Republic, Charmides has a dialogue named after him; these and other references suggest a considerable amount of family pride and enable us to reconstruct Plato's family tree. According to Burnet, "the opening scene of the Ch
A canon is a member of certain bodies subject to an ecclesiastical rule. A canon was a cleric living with others in a clergy house or in one of the houses within the precinct of or close to a cathedral and conducting his life according to the orders or rules of the church; this way of life grew common in the eighth century. In the eleventh century, some churches required clergy thus living together to adopt the rule first proposed by Saint Augustine that they renounce private wealth; those who embraced this change were known as Augustinians or Canons Regular, whilst those who did not were known as secular canons. In the Roman Catholic Church, the members of the chapter of a cathedral or of a collegiate church are canons. Depending on the title of the church, several languages use specific titles, e.g. in German Domherr or Domkapitular in a Dom, Stiftsherr in a prelature that has the status of a Stift. One of the functions of the cathedral chapter in the Roman Catholic Church was to elect a vicar capitular to serve during a sede vacante period of the diocese.
Since the 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law, this responsibility belongs to the college of consultors, unless the national bishops conference decides that the functions that canon law ascribes to the college of consultors, including this one, are to be entrusted to the cathedral chapter. All canons of the Church of England have been secular since the Reformation, although an individual canon may be a member of a religious order. However, they are ordained, that is, priests or other clergy. Today, the system of canons is retained exclusively in connection with cathedral churches. A canon is a member of the chapter of priests, headed by a dean, responsible for administering a cathedral or certain other churches that are styled collegiate churches; the dean and chapter are the formal body which has legal responsibility for the cathedral and for electing the bishop. The title of Canon is not a permanent title and when no longer in a position entitling preferment, it is dropped from a cleric's title nomenclature.
However, it is still given in many dioceses to senior parish priests as a honorary title. It is awarded in recognition of long and dedicated service to the diocese. Honorary canons are members of the chapter in name but are non-residential and receive no emoluments, they are entitled to call themselves canon and may have a role in the administration of the cathedral. Speaking, canons in the Anglican Communion are of this sort, thus are equivalent to a monsignor in the Roman Catholic Church wearing the violet or violet-trimmed cassock, associated with that rank. In some Church of England dioceses, the title Prebendary is used instead of canon when the cleric is involved administratively with a cathedral. Honorary canons within the Roman Catholic Church may still be nominated after the Second Vatican Council. Priests of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre are, in fact, titular or honorary canons of these respective Orders and have the right to the honorific title of "Canon" and "Monsignor" in addition to the choir dress of a canon, which includes the mozetta (black with purple piping for Malta and white with a red Jerusalem cross for Holy Sepulchre.
Since the reign of King Henry IV, the heads of state of France have been granted by the pope the title of sole honorary canon of Saint John Lateran and Saint Peter's. On the demise of the Kingdom of France this honour became transferred to the Presidents of the Republic, hence is held by Emmanuel Macron; this applies when the French President is not a Catholic or is an atheist. The proto-canon of the papal basilica of Saint Mary Major is the King of Spain Felipe VI. Before the Reformation, the King of England was a canon of the basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls. In addition to canons who are clerics in holy orders, cathedrals in the Anglican Communion may appoint lay persons as canons; the rank of "lay canon" is conferred upon diocesan chancellors. It has traditionally been said that the King of England is a canon or prebendary of St David's Cathedral, Wales. However, this is based on a misconception; the canonry of St Mary’s College, St David's became the property of the Crown on the dissolution of the monasteries.
The Sovereign was never a canon of St David’s as a layman, though he or she may occupy the first prebendal stall, assigned for the monarch's use. A canon professor is a canon at an Anglican cathedral who holds a university professorship. There are four canon professorships in the University of Oxford in conjunction with Christ Church Cathedral and two in Durham University in conjunction with Durham Cathedral, although academics titled "canon professor" may be found at other universities where the appointments as canon and professor have been made independently. Section 2 of the Church of England Measure 1995 was passed for the express purpose of enabling Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, to appoint not more than two
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, more Leonardo da Vinci or Leonardo, was an Italian polymath of the Renaissance whose areas of interest included invention, painting, architecture, music, engineering, anatomy, astronomy, writing and cartography. He has been variously called the father of palaeontology and architecture, he is considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute and tank, he epitomised the Renaissance humanist ideal. Many historians and scholars regard Leonardo as the prime exemplar of the "Universal Genius" or "Renaissance Man", an individual of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination", he is considered one of the most diversely talented individuals to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent in recorded history, "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, while the man himself mysterious and remote". Marco Rosci notes that, while there is much speculation regarding his life and personality, his view of the world was logical rather than mysterious, although the empirical methods he employed were unorthodox for his time.
Leonardo was born out of wedlock to notary Piero da Vinci and a peasant woman named Caterina in Vinci in the region of Florence, he was educated in the studio of Florentine painter Andrea del Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan, he worked in Rome and Venice, he spent his last years in France at the home awarded to him by Francis I of France. Leonardo is renowned as a painter; the Mona Lisa is the most famous of his works and the most parodied portrait, The Last Supper is the most reproduced religious painting of all time. His drawing of the Vitruvian Man is regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro coin, T-shirts, his painting Salvator Mundi sold for $450.3 million at a Christie's auction in New York on 15 November 2017, the highest price paid for a work of art. 15 of his paintings have survived. These few works compose a contribution to generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary Michelangelo, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, his thoughts on the nature of painting.
Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised flying machines, a type of armoured fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, the double hull. Few of his designs were constructed or feasible during his lifetime, as the modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during the Renaissance; some of his smaller inventions, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire. A number of his most practical inventions are displayed as working models at the Museum of Vinci, he made substantial discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, geology and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on science. Leonardo was born on 15 April 1452 "at the third hour of the night" in the Tuscan hill town of Vinci, in the lower valley of the Arno river in the territory of the Medici-ruled Republic of Florence.
He was the out-of-wedlock son of the wealthy Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci, a Florentine legal notary, Caterina, a peasant. Leonardo had no surname in the modern sense—"da Vinci" meaning "of Vinci"; the inclusion of the title "ser" indicated. Little is known about Leonardo's early life, he spent his first five years in the hamlet of Anchiano in the home of his mother, from 1457 lived in the household of his father and uncle in the small town of Vinci. His father had married a 16-year-old girl named Albiera Amadori, who loved Leonardo but died young in 1465 without children; when Leonardo was 16, his father married again to 20-year-old Francesca Lanfredini, who died without children. Piero's legitimate heirs were born from his third wife Margherita di Guglielmo and his fourth and final wife, Lucrezia Cortigiani. In all, Leonardo had 12 half-siblings, who were much younger than he was and with whom he had few contacts, but they caused him difficulty after his father's death in the dispute over the inheritance.
Leonardo received an informal education in Latin and mathematics. In life, Leonardo recorded only two childhood incidents. One, which he regarded as an omen, was when a kite dropped from the sky and hovered over his cradle, its tail feathers brushing his face; the second occurred while he was exploring in the mountains: he discovered a cave and was both terrified that some great monster might lurk there and driven by curiosity to find out what was inside. Leonardo's early life has been the subject of historical conjecture. Vasari, the 16th-century biographer of Renaissance painters, tells a story of Leonardo as a young man: A local peasant made himself a round shield and requested that Ser Piero have it painted for him. Leonardo responded with a
History of Athens
Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 5000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BC, its cultural achievements during the 5th century BC laid the foundations of western civilization. During the early Middle Ages, the city experienced a decline recovered under the Byzantine Empire and was prosperous during the period of the Crusades, benefiting from Italian trade. Following a period of sharp decline under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Athens re-emerged in the 19th century as the capital of the independent and self-governing Greek state; the name of Athens, connected to the name of its patron goddess Athena, originates from an earlier Pre-Greek language. The origin myth explaining how Athens acquired this name through the legendary contest between Poseidon and Athena was described by Herodotus, Ovid, Plutarch and others, it became the theme of the sculpture on the West pediment of the Parthenon.
Both Athena and Poseidon requested to be patrons of the city and to give their name to it, so they competed with one another for the honour, offering the city one gift each. Poseidon produced a spring by striking the ground with his trident. Athena created the olive tree, symbolizing prosperity; the Athenians, under their ruler Cecrops, named the city after Athena. A sacred olive tree said to be the one created by the goddess was still kept on the Acropolis at the time of Pausanias, it was located by the temple of Pandrosus, next to the Parthenon. According to Herodotus, the tree had been burnt down during the Persian Wars, but a shoot sprung from the stump; the Greeks saw this as a symbol. Plato, in his dialogue Cratylus, offers his own etymology of Athena's name connecting it to the phrase ἁ θεονόα or hē theoû nóēsis; the site on which Athens stands was first inhabited in the Neolithic period as a defensible settlement on top of the Acropolis, around the end of the fourth millennium BC or a little later.
The Acropolis is a natural defensive position. The settlement was about 20 km inland from the Saronic Gulf, in the centre of the Cephisian Plain, a fertile valley surrounded by rivers. To the east lies Mount Hymettus, to the north Mount Pentelicus. Ancient Athens, in the first millennium BC, occupied a small area compared to the sprawling metropolis of modern Greece; the ancient walled city encompassed an area measuring about 2 km from east to west and less than that from north to south, although at its peak the ancient city had suburbs extending well beyond these walls. The Acropolis was situated just south of the centre of this walled area; the Agora, the commercial and social centre of the city, lay about 400 m north of the Acropolis, in what is now the Monastiraki district. The hill of the Pnyx, where the Athenian Assembly met, lay at the western end of the city; the Eridanus river flowed through the city. One of the most important religious sites in ancient Athens was the Temple of Athena, known today as the Parthenon, which stood on top of the Acropolis, where its evocative ruins still stand.
Two other major religious sites, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Temple of Olympian Zeus or Olympeion lay within the city walls. According to Thucydides, the Athenian citizens at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War numbered 40,000, making with their families a total of 140,000 people in all; the metics, i.e. those who did not have citizen rights and paid for the right to reside in Athens, numbered a further 70,000, whilst slaves were estimated at between 150,000 and 400,000. Hence a tenth of the population were adult male citizens, eligible to meet and vote in the Assembly and be elected to office. After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, the city's population began to decrease as Greeks migrated to the Hellenistic empires in the east. Athens has been inhabited from Neolithic times from the end of the 4th millennium BC, or nearly 5,000 years. By 1412 BC, the settlement had become an important center of the Mycenaean civilization and the Acropolis was the site of a major Mycenaean fortress whose remains can be recognised from sections of the characteristic Cyclopean walls.
On the summit of the Acropolis, below the Erechtheion, cuttings in the rock have been identified as the location of a Mycenaean palace. Between 1250 and 1200 BC, to feed the needs of the Mycenaean settlement, a staircase was built down a cleft in the rock to reach a water supply, protected from enemy incursions, comparable to similar works carried out at Mycenae. Unlike other Mycenaean centers, such as Mycenae and Pylos, it is unclear whether Athens suffered destruction in about 1200 BC, an event traditionally attributed to a Dorian invasion, the Athenians always maintained that they were "pure" Ionians with no Dorian element. However, like many other Bronze Age settlements, went into economic decline for around 150 years following this. Iron Age burials, in the Kerameikos and other locations, are richly provided for and demonstrate that from 900 BC onwards Athens was one of the leading centres of trade and prosperity in the region
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, its half overlaps with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodist, the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Britain's relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked. Ideologically, the Victorian era witnessed resistance to the rationalism that defined the Georgian period and an increasing turn towards romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, arts.
Domestically, the political agenda was liberal, with a number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform, industrial reform, the widening of the franchise. There were unprecedented demographic changes: the population of England and Wales doubled from 16.8 million in 1851 to 30.5 million in 1901, Scotland's population rose from 2.8 million in 1851 to 4.4 million in 1901. However, Ireland's population decreased from 8.2 million in 1841 to less than 4.5 million in 1901 due to emigration and the Great Famine. Between 1837 and 1901 about 15 million emigrated from Great Britain to the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia; the two main political parties during the era remained the Conservatives. These parties were led by such prominent statesmen as Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Derby, Lord Palmerston, Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, Lord Salisbury; the unsolved problems relating to Irish Home Rule played a great part in politics in the Victorian era in view of Gladstone's determination to achieve a political settlement in Ireland.
In the strictest sense, the Victorian era covers the duration of Victoria's reign as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from her accession on 20 June 1837—after the death of her uncle, William IV—until her death on 22 January 1901, after which she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII. Her reign lasted for seven months, a longer period than any of her predecessors; the term'Victorian' was in contemporaneous usage to describe the era. The era has been understood in a more extensive sense as a period that possessed sensibilities and characteristics distinct from the periods adjacent to it, in which case it is sometimes dated to begin before Victoria's accession—typically from the passage of or agitation for the Reform Act 1832, which introduced a wide-ranging change to the electoral system of England and Wales. Definitions that purport a distinct sensibility or politics to the era have created scepticism about the worth of the label "Victorian", though there have been defences of it.
Michael Sadleir was insistent that "in truth the Victorian period is three periods, not one". He distinguished early Victorianism – the and politically unsettled period from 1837 to 1850 – and late Victorianism, with its new waves of aestheticism and imperialism, from the Victorian heyday: mid-Victorianism, 1851 to 1879, he saw the latter period as characterised by a distinctive mixture of prosperity, domestic prudery, complacency – what G. M. Trevelyan called the "mid-Victorian decades of quiet politics and roaring prosperity". In 1832, after much political agitation, the Reform Act was passed on the third attempt; the Act abolished many borough seats and created others in their place, as well as expanding the franchise in England and Wales. Minor reforms followed in 1835 and 1836. On 20 June 1837, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom on the death of her uncle, William IV, her government was led by the Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne, but within two years he had resigned, the Tory politician Sir Robert Peel attempted to form a new ministry.
In the same year, a seizure of British opium exports to China prompted the First Opium War against the Qing dynasty, British imperial India initiated the First Anglo-Afghan War—one of the first major conflicts of the Great Game between Britain and Russia. In 1840, Queen Victoria married her German cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield, it proved a happy marriage, whose children were much sought after by royal families across Europe. In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand; the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 ended the First Opium War and gave Britain control over Hong Kong Island. However, a disastrous retreat from Kabul in the same year led to the annihilation of a British army column in Afghanistan. In 1845, the Great Famine began to cause mass starvation and death in Ireland, sparking large-scale emigration. Peel was replaced by the Whig ministry of Lord John Russell. In 1853, Britain fought alongside France in the Crimean War against Russia.
The goal was to ensure that Russia could not benefit from the declining status