Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, the word slavery may refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations. However, under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs. Slavery existed in many cultures since the time before written history. A person could capture, or purchase. Slavery was legal in most societies at some time in the past, but is now outlawed in all recognized countries; the last country to abolish slavery was Mauritania in 2007. There are an estimated 40.3 million people worldwide subject to some form of modern slavery.
The most common form of modern slave trade is referred to as human trafficking. In other areas, slavery continues through practices such as debt bondage, the most widespread form of slavery today, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, forced marriage; the English word slave comes from Old French sclave, from the Medieval Latin sclavus, from the Byzantine Greek σκλάβος, which, in turn, comes from the ethnonym Slav, because in some early Medieval wars many Slavs were captured and enslaved. An older interpretation connected it to the Greek verb skyleúo'to strip a slain enemy'. There is a dispute among historians about whether terms such as unfree labourer or enslaved person, rather than "slave", should be used when describing the victims of slavery. According to those proposing a change in terminology, including Andi Cumbo-Floyd, slave perpetuates the crime of slavery in language. Other historians prefer slave because the term is familiar and shorter, or because it reflects the inhumanity of slavery, with "person" implying a degree of autonomy that slavery does not allow for.
Indenture, otherwise known as bonded labour or debt bondage, is a form of unfree labour under which a person pledges himself or herself against a loan. The services required to repay the debt, their duration, may be undefined. Debt bondage can be passed on from generation to generation, with children required to pay off their progenitors' debt, it is the most widespread form of slavery today. Debt bondage is most prevalent in South Asia. Chattel slavery called traditional slavery, is so named because people are treated as the chattel of the owner and are bought and sold as commodities. Under the chattel slave system, slave status was imposed on children of the enslaved at birth. Although it dominated many different societies throughout human history, this form of slavery has been formally abolished and is rare today; when it can be said to survive, it is not upheld by the legal system of any internationally recognized government. "Slavery" has been used to refer to a legal state of dependency to somebody else.
For example, in Persia, the situations and lives of such slaves could be better than those of common citizens. Forced labour, or unfree labour, is sometimes used to refer to when an individual is forced to work against their own will, under threat of violence or other punishment, but the generic term unfree labour is used to describe chattel slavery, as well as any other situation in which a person is obliged to work against their own will and a person's ability to work productively is under the complete control of another person; this may include institutions not classified as slavery, such as serfdom and penal labour. While some unfree labourers, such as serfs, have substantive, de jure legal or traditional rights, they have no ability to terminate the arrangements under which they work, are subject to forms of coercion and restrictions on their activities and movement outside their place of work. Human trafficking involves women and children forced into prostitution and is the fastest growing form of forced labour, with Thailand, India and Mexico having been identified as leading hotspots of commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Examples of sexual slavery in military contexts, include detention in "rape camps" or "comfort stations," "comfort women", forced "marriages" to soldiers and other practices involving the treatment of women or men as chattel and, as such, violations of the peremptory norm prohibiting slavery. In 2007, Human Rights Watch estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 children served as soldiers in current conflicts. More girls under 16 work as domestic workers than any other category of child labor sent to cities by parents living in rural poverty such as in restaveks in Haiti. Forced marriages or early marriages are considered types of slavery. Forced marriage continues to be practiced in parts of the world including some parts of Asia and Africa and in immigrant communities in the West. Sacred prostitution is where girls and women are pledged to priests or those of higher castes, such as the practice of Devadasi in South Asia or fetish slaves in West Africa. Marriage by abduction occurs in many places in the world today, with a national average of 69% of marriages in
Infanticide is the intentional killing of infants. Parental infanticide researchers have found that mothers are far more than fathers to be the perpetrators of neonaticide and more to commit infanticide in general. Anthropologist Laila Williamson notes that "Infanticide has been practiced on every continent and by people on every level of cultural complexity, from hunter gatherers to high civilizations, including our own ancestors. Rather than being an exception it has been the rule."In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were considered permissible. The practice of infanticide has taken many forms over time. Child sacrifice to supernatural figures or forces, such as that believed to have been practiced in ancient Carthage, may be only the most notorious example in the ancient world. A frequent method of infanticide in ancient Europe and Asia was to abandon the infant, leaving it to die by exposure. On at least one island in Oceania, infanticide was carried out until the 20th century by suffocating the infant, while in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and in the Inca Empire it was carried out by sacrifice.
Many Neolithic groups resorted to infanticide in order to control their numbers so that their lands could support them. Joseph Birdsell believed that infanticide rates in prehistoric times were between 15% and 50% of the total number of births, while Laila Williamson estimated a lower rate ranging from 15% to 20%. Both anthropologists believed that these high rates of infanticide persisted until the development of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution. Comparative anthropologists have calculated that 50% of female newborn babies were killed by their parents during the Paleolithic era. From the infants hominid skulls, traumatized, has been proposed cannibalism by Raymond A. Dart; the children were not actively killed, but neglect and intentional malnourishment may have occurred, as proposed by Vicente Lull as an explanation for an apparent surplus of men and the below average height of women in prehistoric Menorca. Archaeologists have uncovered physical evidence of child sacrifice at several locations.
Some of the best attested examples are the diverse rites which were part of the religious practices in Mesoamerica and the Inca Empire. Three thousand bones of young children, with evidence of sacrificial rituals, have been found in Sardinia. Pelasgians offered a sacrifice of every tenth child during difficult times. Syrians sacrificed children to Juno. Many remains of children have been found in Gezer excavations with signs of sacrifice. Child skeletons with the marks of sacrifice have been found in Egypt dating 950–720 BCE. In Carthage " sacrifice in the ancient world reached its infamous zenith". Besides the Carthaginians, other Phoenicians, the Canaanites and Sepharvites offered their first-born as a sacrifice to their gods. In Egyptian households, at all social levels, children of both sexes were valued and there is no evidence of infanticide; the religion of the Ancient Egyptians forbade infanticide and during the Greco-Roman period they rescued abandoned babies from manure heaps, a common method of infanticide by Greeks or Romans, were allowed to either adopt them as foundling or raise them as slaves giving them names such as "copro -" to memorialise their rescue.
Strabo considered it a peculiarity of the Egyptians. Diodorus indicates. Egypt was dependent on the annual flooding of the Nile to irrigate the land and in years of low inundation severe famine could occur with breakdowns in social order resulting, notably between 930–1070 AD and 1180–1350 AD. Instances of cannibalism are recorded during these periods but it is unknown if this happened during the pharaonic era of Ancient Egypt. Beatrix Midant-Reynes describes human sacrifice as having occurred at Abydos in the early dynastic period, while Jan Assmann asserts there is no clear evidence of human sacrifice happening in Ancient Egypt. According to Shelby Brown, descendants of the Phoenicians, sacrificed infants to their gods. Charred bones of hundreds of infants have been found in Carthaginian archaeological sites. One such area harbored as many as 20,000 burial urns. Skeptics suggest that the bodies of children found in Carthaginian and Phoenician cemeteries were the cremated remains of children that died naturally.
Plutarch mentions the practice, as do Tertullian, Diodorus Siculus and Philo. The Hebrew Bible mentions what appears to be child sacrifice practiced at a place called the Tophet by the Canaanites. Writing in the 3rd century BCE, one of the historians of Alexander the Great, described that the infants rolled into the flaming pit. Diodorus Siculus wrote that babies were roasted to death inside the burning pit of the god Baal Hamon, a bronze statue; the historical Greeks considered the practice of adult and child sacrifice barbarous, the exposure of newborns was practiced in ancient Greece, it was advocated by Aristotle in the case of congenital deformity — "As to the exposure of children, let there be a law that no deformed child shall live.” In Greece, the decision to expose a child was the father's, although in Sparta the decision was made by a group of elders. Exposure was the preferred method of disposal, as that act in itself was not considered to be murder; this situation was a recurring motif in Greek mythology.
To notify the n
A wet nurse is a woman who breast feeds and cares for another's child. Wet nurses are employed if the mother dies, or if she is unable or elects not to nurse the child herself. Wet-nursed children may be known as "milk-siblings", in some cultures the families are linked by a special relationship of milk kinship. Mothers who nurse each other's babies are engaging in a reciprocal act known as cross-nursing or co-nursing. Wetnursing existed in cultures around the world until the invention of reliable formula milk in the 20th century. A wet nurse can help when a mother is unwilling to feed her baby. Before the development of infant formula in the 20th century, when a mother was unable to breastfeed, a wetnurse was the only way to save the baby's life. There are many reasons why a mother is unable to produce sufficient breast milk, or in some cases to lactate at all. Reasons include the serious or chronic illness of the mother and her treatment which creates a temporary difficulty to nursing. Additionally, a mother's taking drugs may necessitate a wet nurse if a drug in any way changes the content of the mother's milk.
There was an increased need for wetnurses when the rates of infant abandonment by mothers, maternal death during childbirth, were high. Some women choose not to breastfeed for social reasons. Many of these women were found to be of the upper class. For them, breastfeeding was considered unfashionable, in the sense that it not only prevented these women from being able to wear the fashionable clothing of their time but it was thought to ruin their figures. Mothers lacked the support of their husbands to breastfeed their children, since hiring a wet nurse was less expensive than having to hire someone else to help run the family business and/or take care of the family household duties in their place; some women chose to hire wet nurses purely to escape from the confining and time-consuming chore of breastfeeding. Wet nurses have been used when a mother cannot produce sufficient breast milk, i.e. the mother feels incapable of adequately nursing her child following multiple births. A woman can only act as a wet-nurse.
It was once believed that a wet-nurse must have undergone childbirth. This is not the case, as regular breast suckling can elicit lactation via a neural reflex of prolactin production and secretion; some adoptive mothers have been able to establish lactation using a breast pump so that they could feed an adopted infant. Dr Gabrielle Palmer states: There is no medical reason why women should not lactate indefinitely or feed more than one child simultaneously... some women could theoretically be able to feed up to five babies. Wet nursing is common to many cultures, it has been linked to social class, where monarchies, the aristocracy, nobility or upper classes had their children wet-nursed for the benefit of the child's health, sometimes in the hope of becoming pregnant again quickly. Exclusive breastfeeding inhibits ovulation in some women. Poor women those who suffered the stigma of giving birth to an illegitimate child, sometimes had to give their baby up, temporarily to a wet-nurse, or permanently to another family.
Dating back to the Roman times and up until the present day and thinkers alike have held the view that the important emotional bond between mother and child is threatened by the presence of a wet nurse. Many cultures feature stories, historical or mythological, involving superhuman, human and in some instances animal wet-nurses; the Bible refers to Deborah, a nurse to Rebekah wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob and Esau, who appears to have lived as a member of the household all her days. Midrashic commentaries on the Torah hold that the Egyptian princess Bithiah attempted to wet-nurse Moses, but he would take only his biological mother's milk. In Greek mythology, Eurycleia is the wet-nurse of Odysseus. In Roman mythology, Caieta was the wet-nurse of Aeneas. In Burmese mythology, Myaukhpet Shinma is the nat representation of the wet nurse of King Tabinshwehti. In Hawaiian mythology, Nuakea is a beneficent goddess of lactation. In ancient Rome, well-to-do households would have had wet-nurses among their slaves and freedwomen, but some Roman women were wet-nurses by profession, the Digest of Roman law refers to a wage dispute for wet-nursing services.
The landmark known as the Columna Lactaria may have been a place. It was considered admirable for upperclass women to breastfeed their own children, but unusual and old-fashioned in the Imperial era. Women of the working classes or slaves might have their babies nursed, the Roman-era Greek gynecologist Soranus offers detailed advice on how to choose a wet-nurse. Inscriptions such as religious dedications and epitaphs indicate that a nutrix would be proud of her profession. One records a nutritor lactaneus, a male "milk nurse" who used a bottle. Greek nurses were preferred, the Romans believed that a baby who had a Greek nutrix could imbibe the language and grow up speaking Greek as fluently as Latin; the importance of the wet nurse to ancient Roman culture is indicated by the founding myth of Romulus and Remus, who were abandoned as infants but nursed by the she-wolf, as portrayed in the famous Capitoline Wolf bronze sculpture. The goddess Rumina was invoked among other birth and child development deities to promote the flow of breast milk.
Wet nursing w
Athelstan Braxton Hicks
Athelstan Braxton Hicks was a Coroner in London and Surrey for two decades at the end of the 19th century. He was given the nickname "The Children's Coroner" for his conscientiousness in investigating the suspicious deaths of children, Baby farming and the dangers of child life insurance, he would publish a study on infanticide. He was the son of the well-known obstetrician, born in Tottenham, London, he was a Barrister at law who entered the Middle Temple in 1872 and was called to the bar in 1875. He was a special pleader at the Middlesex Sessions, he was for some time a student at Guy's Hospital, where he gained considerable knowledge of Medical jurisprudence. He was Deputy Coroner of the City of London and Borough of Southwark, the City of Westminster and the West London District, he was appointed Coroner in 1885 for the South-Western District of London and the Kingston Division of Surrey. For a time he served on the Joint Committee of the British Medical Association and the Coroners Society, of which he was honorary Secretary.
He wrote a pamphlet entitled "Hints to Medical Men Concerning the Granting of Certificates of Death.". He made several reforms, notably that inquests were no longer held in public houses, an improvement in providing local mortuaries, he insisted. In 1898 he took James Mackay, to court for perjury; some of his more unusual inquests were the Pimlico poisoning by chloroform, the inquest on a body of a baby sent to the Home Secretary, the'Lambeth Poisoning Case', the'Tooting Horror', the "Railway Murder" of Miss Camp. One of his inquests, Elizabeth Jackson, has been linked incorrectly, with the Jack the Ripper murders. In the case of the'Lambeth Gangs' he dealt with the murder of Henry Mappin by a street gang, the original Hooligans, who threatened witnesses and himself. In the'Battersea Cancer Cure' inquest he dealt with an unqualified "Dr Ferdinand" who advertised his claim to be able to cure cancer, it was not until the Cancer Act 1939. At the end of the 19th century there were more suicides from carbolic acid than from any other poison because there was no restriction on its sale.
Braxton Hicks and other coroners called for its sale to be prohibited. He gave evidence in 1896 to the Select Committee on Infant Life Protection. In 1899 Braxton Hicks wrote to the Home Secretary, Sir Matthew White Ridley, about the Police Order issued by the Metropolitan Commissioner of Police, Sir Edward Bradford, the recovery of bodies in the Thames. In 1900 he succeeded in a reform of coroners being notified of the deaths of lunatics held in Poor Law Institutions. In the Kingston District in 1901 he held 201 inquests: 121 males and 79 females with one case of treasure trove; the verdicts were murder 4, manslaughter 1, suicide 23, accidental 51, suffocated in bed 4, found drowned 10, excessive drinking 13, want of attention at birth 3. Infants under one year accounted for 42 of these. There were 810 inquests in the South-Western district. Infanticide was common in the Victorian period for social reasons, such as illegitimacy, the introduction of child life insurance additionally encouraged some women to kill their children for gain.
Examples are Mary Ann Cotton, who murdered many of her 15 children as well as 3 husbands, Margaret Waters, the'Brixton Baby Farmer', a professional baby-farmer, found guilty of infanticide in 1870, Jessie King hanged in 1889, Amelia Dyer, the'Angel Maker', who murdered over 400 babies in her care. Finding the dead bodies of murdered babies on the streets was common. Braxton Hicks held many inquests for bodies of children found in the street or on the banks of the Thames. For example,'The Battersea Mystery', where the body of a baby was found by the Thames after being thrown into the water alive; the father was sentenced to 20 years. This was unusual, for example in the inquest of new born baby that died of head injuries the jury concluded that there was not sufficient evidence on its cause. In many cases of infanticide the jury returned verdicts of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown but the police could not identify the child's parents. In another inquest in 1891 on the body of a baby girl found in the Thames "we have had about ten similar cases" where "as soon as the child is born, its head is knocked all to pieces and the body is thrown into the river".
Obtaining convictions for the manslaughter of infants was difficult. For example, the case of Matilda Muncey, a registered baby farmer, who had had 36 children of whom 12 had died, she had Evelina Marsh, who died of malnutrition. She was acquitted of manslaughter and was only fined £5 for neglecting to register the child and sent to prison for a month for not giving information to the coroner; the judge commented "that nothing was more to kill or more difficult of proof than the improper way of feeding." The 1898 inquest on the body of a three months old girl, strangled, "one of a series of cases in which children other than newly-born infants had been murdered and thrown away." There were other similar cases. He carried out the inquest on Selina Jones, whose body was washed up on the Thames at Battersea in 1899, had been strangled by Ada Chard-Williams, a baby farmer, hanged at Newgate prison. Braxton Hicks held the inquest in 1895 on the death of Frances Maud Gregory, aged six w
Australian Town and Country Journal
Australian Town and Country Journal was a weekly English language broadsheet newspaper published in Sydney, New South Wales, from 1870 to 1919. The paper was founded by Samuel Bennett with his intention for it to be "valuable to everybody for its great amount of useful and reliable information"; the paper was known for its diversity in dealing with domestic and foreign news as well as featuring essays on literature and invention. The first issue of the Australian Town and Country Journal was published on 8 January 1870 and ran until 25 June 1919. After 2 June 1878, when Samuel Bennett died, publication of the paper was taken over by his sons and Christopher; the paper has been digitised as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program project of the National Library of Australia. List of newspapers in Australia List of newspapers in New South Wales Australian Town and Country Journal at Trove Press timeline: Select chronology of significant Australian press events to 2011 http://www.nla.gov.au/anplan/heritage/NewspaperChronology.html The birth of the newspaper in Australia http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/birth-of-the-newspaper Australian Newspaper History: A Bibliography http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv/UQ:9521/anb_rk.pdf Australian Town and Country introduces'The Dawn' http://digitisethedawn.org/australian-town-and-country-introduces-dawn
Judgment of Solomon
The Judgment of Solomon is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a child. Solomon revealed their true feelings and relationship to the child by suggesting to cut the baby in two, with each woman to receive half. With this strategy, he was able to discern the non-mother as the woman who approved of this proposal, while the actual mother begged that the sword might be sheathed and the child committed to the care of her rival; some consider this approach to justice an archetypal example of an impartial judge displaying wisdom in making a ruling. 1 Kings 3:16–28 recounts that two mothers living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son, came to Solomon. One of the babies had been smothered, each claimed the remaining boy as her own. Calling for a sword, Solomon declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother did not contest the ruling, declaring that if she could not have the baby neither of them could, but the other begged Solomon, "Give the baby to her, just don't kill him!"
The king declared the second woman the true mother, as a mother would give up her baby if, necessary to save its life. This judgment became known throughout all of Israel and was considered an example of profound wisdom; the story is viewed in scholarship as an instance or a reworking of a folktale. Its folkloristic nature is apparent, among other things, in the dominance of direct speech which moves the plot on and contributes to the characterization; the story is classified as Aarne-Thompson tale type 926, many parallel stories have been found in world folklore. In Uther's edition of the Aarne-Thompson index, this tale type is classified as a folk novella, belongs to a subgroup designated: "Clever Acts and Words". Eli Yassif defines the folk novella as "a realistic story whose time and place are determined... The novella emphasizes such human traits as cleverness, eroticism and wiliness, that drive the plot forward more than any other element". Hugo Gressmann has found 22 similar stories in world folklore and literature in India and the far east.
One Indian version is a Jataka story dealing with Buddha in one of his previous incarnations as the sage Mahosadha, who arbitrates between a mother and a Yakshini, in the shape of a woman, who kidnapped the mother's baby and claimed he was hers. The sage announced a tug war: He drew a line on the ground and asked the two to stand on opposite sides of the line, one holding his feet and the other his hands – The one who would pull the baby's whole body beyond the line would get him; the mother, seeing how the baby suffers, let the Yakshini take him, weeping. When the sage saw that, he turned the baby back to the hands of the true mother, exposed the identity of the Yakshini and expelled her. In other Indian versions the two women are widows of one husband. Another version appears in the Chinese drama The Chalk Circle, widespread all over the world and many versions and reworkings were made after it, among them The Caucasian Chalk Circle, a play by Bertolt Brecht; the common motif in those different parallels is that the wise judge announces an absurd procedure, reasonable in some perverse way: Splitting the baby, according to the principle of compromise.
But this procedure is a concealed emotional test, designed to force each woman to decide whether her compassion to the baby overpowers her will to win. There is indirect evidence. A Greek papyrus fragment, dating from the beginning of the second century AD, includes a fragmented reference to an ancient legal case, similar to the judgment of Solomon; the writer ascribes the story to Phliliskos of Miletos, living in the fourth century BC. A fresco found in the "House of the Physician" in Pompeii depicts pygmies introducing a scene similar to the biblical story; some think that the fresco relates directly to the biblical story, while according to others it represents a parallel tradition. Several suggestions for the genre of the biblical story have been raised, beyond its characterization as a folktale of a known type. Edward Lipinski suggests that the story is an example of "king's bench tales", a subgenre of the wisdom literature to which he finds parallels in Sumerian literature. Scholars have pointed out.
Both king Solomon and the reader are confronted with some kind of a juridical-detective riddle. Meir Sternberg notes that two genres merge in the story: a test. Stuart Lasine classifies the story as a law-court riddle. According to Raymond Westbrook, the story is a hypothetical problem, introduced to the recipient as a pure intellectual challenge and not as a concrete juridical case. In such problems, any unnecessary detail is omitted, this is the reason why the characters in the story have no distinctive characteristics; the description of the case eliminates the possibility to obtain circumstantial evidence, thereby forcing the recipient to confront the dilemma directly and not seek for indirect ways to solve it. Some scholars think that the original folk story underwent significant literary reworking so that in its biblical crystallization it can no longer be defined as a folktale. Jacob Liver notes the absence of any "local coloring" in the story, concludes that the story is
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