Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819, and ruled Britain for over 60 years, but just what effect did her reign have on her subjects? Here we take a look at the legacy of Queen Victoria.
The Victorian era was a period in Great Britain's history where the country, as a whole, moved ever more forward into the country we know today. Named after the ruling Queen of that period, Alexandrian Victoria, and lasting from 1837 (the year she was crowned Queen) to 1901 (the year she died), the Victorian era heralded many changes.
Victoria's reign, at 63 years and 7 months, made her not only the longest living monarch by far but also the longest living queen in human history. That was until 2015 when Queen Elizabeth II overtook her as the longest-reigning monarch. And going one step further on 6 February 2017 when Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee, commemorating 65 years on the throne.
But now back to Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria's legacy
Queen Victoria's legacy and her name became synonymous with the many positive events that took place at the time. Artists, writers, and poets flourished, many social, religious, and political movements started, and there was a move on border expansion and political reforms. It was at that point that many people started to consider the era something of a second renaissance age.
Life during the Victorian era was also met with positive change. Fertility rates soared, while mortality rates decreased. Indeed, it was a time where the population exploded into the 30 million mark.
For the first time in Britain's history, no major epidemic occurred, thanks to the improvement of health and environmental standards, and the discoveries and advancements made in nutrition and medicine.
Victorian-era culture also saw its share of events that would be known all the way to modern times. From Charles Darwin's publication of On The Origin of Species, which paved the way for the creation of evolutionary biology, to the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Inventions at the time also helped make life easier. The Victorians were greatly impressed by the developing science and technology found in such discoveries as the steam-powered engine and telephone. They decided to make the best use of them, allowing the industry to be born for mass production of these technologies. As a result, railways helped make travel easier; telephones made long-distance communication better; improved sanitation techniques turned filthy streets into clean roads, and incandescent glass mantles brightened everyone's lives.
The good and the bad
Indeed, the Victorian era would become one of the most iconic eras in history. Unfortunately, even the bright side also has its dark sides.
Even during peace, there is always a risk for conflict. First was the Opium War between Britain and China, which lasted from 1839 to 1842. An attack by the Afghans in 1842 resulted in the decimation of Elphinstone's Army. The Crimean War followed by the Indian Mutiny. And lastly the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879.
Even when Britain was fighting enemies overseas, there were other troubles stirring within. One of the most infamous of these was the serial killer Jack The Ripper, who murdered five people before suddenly vanishing, escaping justice.
In the end, the Victorian era, in all its good and bad, was a turning point in Britain's history. During her reign, Queen Victoria helped changed Britain for the better, paving the way for modern Britain.
* Originally published in 2017.