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Transvaal and Orange Free State

October 11 – The Second Boer War: In South Africa, a war between the United Kingdom and the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State erupts. 470,000 troops were sent to South Africa to secure gold, platinum and diamonds for the Crown Temple.

President Kruger resisted the British.

December 26 – Second Boer War – Battle of Mafeking: The British inflict a crushing defeat on the Boers. The British employed a scorched earth policy. 35,000 women and children died in British concentration camps of starvation and sickness.



By this time, so much opium was entering China or being produced there that 10 percent of China's population, or forty million people, were users, with as many as half of those 'heavy smokers.' At the turn of the twentieth century, China was consuming 95 percent of the world's opium supply, with predictable social, economic, and political effects.



Zionism began to become popular in Prague among the young professionals and students, who formed their own Zionist organization, Bar Kochba, which published Selbstwelr, a Zionist biweekly publication in Prague from 1907-1938. Conflict between the Zionists and the Czech Jewish nationalists existed; Jewish nationalists (Zionists) did not want to be involved in the national conflict over the usage of German and Czech language, while the Czech-Jewish assimilationists were involved because they resented the German denigration of Czech culture and also wanted to have a rapprochement between Jews and Slavs in Czech lands.


A French chemist, Charles Frederic Gerhardt, was the first to prepare acetylsalicylic acid in 1853 (patented under the name aspirin on March 6, 1899).

Bayer registers aspirin as a trademark.

March 27 - The English channel was crossed by a radio signal from Wimereux, France to South Foreland Lighthouse, England.

Wrongly-convicted Alfred Dreyfus was returned to France for another trial. The intense political and judicial scandal that ensued divided French society between those who supported Dreyfus (now called "Dreyfusards"), such as Anatole France, Henri Poincaré and Georges Clemenceau, and those who condemned him (the anti-Dreyfusards), such as Édouard Drumont, the director and publisher of the antisemitic newspaper La Libre Parole. The new trial resulted in another conviction and a 10-year sentence but Dreyfus was given a pardon and set free.

Eventually all the accusations against Alfred Dreyfus were demonstrated to be baseless


Bayer begins marketing acetylsalicylic acid under the trade name Aspirin. The trademark was lost in most Western nations during WWI.

Great Britain

Marconi left for England on 8 November 1899 on the American Line's SS St. Paul, and he and his assistants installed wireless equipment aboard during the voyage. On 15 November the St. Paul became the first ocean liner to report her imminent arrival by wireless when Marconi's Needles station contacted her sixty-six nautical miles off the English coast.


July 29 – The first Peace Conference ends with the signing of the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention of 1899 consisted of four main sections and three additional declarations (the final main section is for some reason identical to the first additional declaration):

  • I - Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
  • II - Laws and Customs of War on Land
  • III - Adaptation to Maritime Warfare of Principles of Geneva Convention of 1864
  • IV - Prohibiting Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons
  • Declaration I - On the Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons
  • Declaration II - On the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases
  • Declaration III - On the Use of Bullets Which Expand or Flatten Easily in the Human Body

The main effect of the Convention was to ban the use of certain types of modern technology in war: bombing from the air, chemical warfare, and hollow point bullets. The Convention also set up the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The conference was summoned at the urging of Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov, Foreign Minister of Russia. Its delegates included Fyodor Martens and Ivan Bloch. The American delegation was led by diplomat and educator Andrew Dickson White.


The Indian Famine was a six-year event that took place between 1896 and 1902. One of many famines to hit India throughout the years, this one was the worst, claiming an estimated 19 million lives.

North America


January 1 - Spanish rule ends in Cuba.

United States

January 17 – The United States takes possession of Wake Island.

February 6 – Spanish-American War: A peace treaty between the United States and Spain is ratified by the United States Senate.

February 12-14 – Great Blizzard of 1899: Freezing temperatures and snow extend well south into North America, including southern Florida. It is the latest in a series of disasters to Florida's citrus industry.

February 14 – Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.

March 2 – In Washington State, USA, Mount Rainier National Park is established.

March 20 – At Sing Sing, Martha M. Place becomes the first woman executed in an electric chair for the murder of her stepdaughter Ida Place.

March 24 – George Dewey is made Admiral of the US Navy.

June 7 - David Nation, husband of Carrie Nation, temperance movement organizer, became involved in the Jaybird-Woodpecker War. As a result, he was forced in 1889 to move back north to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, where he found work preaching at a Christian church and Carrie ran a successful hotel.

Carrie Nation began her temperance work in Medicine Lodge by starting a local branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and campaigning for the enforcement of Kansas' ban on the sales of liquor. Her methods escalated from simple protests to serenading saloon patrons with hymns accompanied by a hand organ, to greeting bartenders with pointed remarks such as, "Good morning, destroyer of men's souls." She also helped her mother and her daughter who had mental health problems.

Dissatisfied with the results of her efforts, Nation began to pray to God for direction. On June 5, 1899, she felt she received her answer in the form of a heavenly vision. As she described it:

The next morning I was awakened by a voice which seemed to me speaking in my heart, these words, "GO TO KIOWA," and my hands were lifted and thrown down and the words, "I'LL STAND BY YOU." The words, "Go to Kiowa," were spoken in a murmuring, musical tone, low and soft, but "I'll stand by you," was very clear, positive and emphatic. I was impressed with a great inspiration, the interpretation was very plain, it was this: "Take something in your hands, and throw at these places in Kiowa and smash them."

Responding to the revelation, Nation gathered several rocks – "smashers", she called them – and proceeded to Dobson's Saloon on June 7. Announcing "Men, I have come to save you from a drunkard's fate," she began to destroy the saloon's stock with her cache of rocks. After she similarly destroyed two other saloons in Kiowa, a tornado hit eastern Kansas, which she took as divine approval of her actions.

July 19 – The Newsboys Strike takes place when the Newsies of New York go on strike (strike lasts until August 2).

U.S. Religion

Pope Leo XIII condemns the "heresy" of "Americanism," in his pastoral letter Testem benevolentiae (January 22, 1899; “Witness to Our Benevolence”) addressed to Cardinal James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, Leo condemned other forms of Americanism. Catholicism had long allowed nations to tolerate other religions, but the Church believes that the Catholic Faith must be favored, to the exclusion of other religions, when possible.

More relevant to this controversy, Pope Leo XIII expressed concerns about the liberalism of some American Catholics: he pointed out that the faithful could not decide doctrine for themselves. He also emphasized that Catholics should obey the magisterial teaching authority of the Church, which, according to Catholic doctrine, is infallible in matters of faith and morals. In general, he deemed exposing children to public schools as something to be avoided when possible. The Pope derided the idea that all opinions should be aired publicly, as he felt certain speech could harm general morality. He condemned the biography of Hecker and Americanism.

This document condemned the following doctrines or tendencies:

  • undue insistence on interior initiative in the spiritual life, as leading to disobedience
  • attacks on religious vows, and disparagement of the value of religious orders in the modern world
  • minimizing Catholic doctrine
  • minimizing the importance of spiritual direction

The brief did not assert that Hecker and the Americans had held any unsound doctrine on the above points. Instead, it merely stated that if such opinions did exist, the Pope called upon the hierarchy to eradicate them.



June 27 – The paperclip is patented by Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor. It is not as good as a clip already in production in Britain.

South Pacific Islands


January 22 – The leaders of six Australian colonies meet in Melbourne to discuss the confederation of Australia as a whole.

February 2 – The Australian Premiers' Conference held in Melbourne agrees that Australia's capital (Canberra) should be located between Sydney and Melbourne.

Hawaiian Islands

March 6 - Victoria Kaʻiulani, niece and named heiress of Queen Liliʻuokalani, died, leaving Liliʻuokalani without an heir.

May 3 - Olaa Sugar Mill founded - "B.F. Dillingham, Lorrin A. Thurston, Alfred W. Carter, Samuel M. Damon, and Wm. H. Shipman pooled their resources and started what they believed would become Hawaii's largest and most prosperous sugar plantation. Their original plan was that Olaa would be instrumental in bringing about the Americanization of Hawaii by fostering a homeowning class of small farmers who would grow cane for the mill. The venture was planned as a demonstration of a plantation as small farming enterprise in which a large portion of the crop would be cared for by laborers on shares. L.A. Thurston believed that Hawaii's future prosperity depended in the long run on the production of crops by small independent farmers who owned or leased the land they cultivated. The corporation would operate the mill and assure a market for produce. The promoters predicted that Olaa would become the banner plantation for all Hawaii. This was a radical departure from the ideas of the old plantation system, which opposed both independent cane growers and diversification."

December - You Chong, a 22-year-old Chinese bookkeeper, died of Bubonic Plague, quickly followed by four neighbors. The Honolulu Board of Health isolated 14 blocks of the city, where ten thousand people lived.

"In Honolulu, officials finally escalated to fire, burning the home of one plague victim. But the blaze spread throughout the district. Historian Joseph Byrne writes that at first, after the fire burned out of control, fleeing citizens were “turned back by the National Guard and white vigilantes maintaining the cordon.” Finally, the cordon opened one exit to let people out. Eight thousand residents were displaced. "

"Many bitterly insisted that the government had deliberately allowed the fire to spread," "a conviction only strengthened when one local newspaper printed an editorial celebrating the fire for wiping out the plague while simultaneously clearing off valuable real estate."


February 4 – The Philippine-American War begins as hostilities break out in Manila.

December 2 – Philippine-American War – Battle of Tirad Pass: ("The Filipino Thermopylae") General Gregorio del Pilar and his troops are able to guard the retreat of Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo before being wiped out.

Samoan Islands

After eight years of Western-backed civil war, Germany, Great Britain and the United States partitioned the Samoan Islands. The warring Samoan parties had been supplied arms, training and sometimes even combat troops by Germany, Britain and The United States. The three powers were playing the Samoan factions against one another as each country wanted Samoa as a refueling station for coal fired shipping. They also wanted Samoa due to the scarcity of unclaimed territory from 1870 onwards to gain more power in Europe.


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