Timeline of Selected Events: 1890-1899

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1890 Book Icon

  • Arthur Holmes uses radioactivity to date rock formations, setting age of Earth at 4.6 billion years.
  • Dutch paleontologist Eugene Dubois discovers Java man fossils of a prehistoric human ancestor (Homo erectus). Pic Icon
  • Jacob Riis' How the Other Half Lives. Pic Icon
  • 1% of American families own 25% of nation's wealth.
  • The Battle of Wounded Knee ends the last major Indian resistance to white settlement in America. Pic Icon
  • Only 3% of Americans age 18 to 21 attend college. This figure will rise to 8% by 1930.
  • U.S. population reaches 62.9 million, with two-thirds of it rural, down from 90% in 1840.
  • Sherman Anti-Trust Act curtails the powers of U.S. business monopolies, but will have little initial effect.
  • American journalist Nellie Bly succeeds in traveling around the world in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes. Pic Icon

1891 Book Icon

  • Economic depression begins in the U.S.

1892 Book Icon

  • Russian botanist Dmitri Iosifovich Ivanovski discovers filterable viruses, pioneering science of virology.
  • Max Nordau's Degeneration

1893 Book Icon

  • St. Joseph miller R. T. Davis promotes Aunt Jemima pancake mix at the Chicago fair. Davis sets up a 24 foot high flour barrel, arranges displays inside, and engages former Kentucky slave Nancy Green to demonstrate the mix at a griddle outside the barrel. Pic Icon
  • Some 750,000 U. S. workers strike during the year for higher wages and shorter hours.
  • Economic depression continues in America and Europe. Wall Street stock prices take a sudden drop, 600 banks close their doors, and more than 15,000 business firms fail in a depression that will last for 4 more years.

1894 Book Icon

  • Edison's kinetoscope first publicly exhibited in New York, giving birth to first silent movie and launching the motion picture industry. Pic Icon
  • Discovery of the fossil remains of Pithecanthropus erectus published, now known as Homo erectus.
  • Percival Lowell founds the Lowell Observatory to search for life on Mars. Pic Icon
  • Some 750,000 US workers strike for higher wages and shorter hours.

1895 Book Icon

  • Rontgen discovers x-rays and takes x-ray photographs. Pic Icon
  • A pocket Kodak gains immediate success.
  • The Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, reveal their combination movie camera and projector, the cinematograph. Pic Icon
  • Lowell's Mars is published.

1896 Book Icon

  • Discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel
  • The Supreme Court upholds racial segregation in case of Plessy v. Ferguson, laying down doctrine that states may provide blacks with "separate but equal" facilities for education, transportation, and public accommodations.
  • The U.S. bicycle industry has sales of $60 million, with the average bike retailing at $100.

1897 Book Icon

  • H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds
  • U.S. auto production rises to 100, up from 25 last year.

1898 Book Icon

  • The Spanish-American War begins. Pic Icon
  • More U.S. troops in war die from eating contaminated meat than from battle, causing a public outcry for reform of meatpacking industry.
  • U.S. annexes the Hawaiian Islands. Pic Icon

1899 Book Icon

  • Jacques Loeb demonstrates artificial parthenogenesis.
  • Thorstein Veblen's The Theory of the Leisure Class argues that society adopts decorum and refined tastes as evidence of gentility because they can be acquired only with leisure. He introduces the concepts of "conspicuous consumption" and "conspicuous waste" to explain social behavior that has defied explanation or gone unexamined.
  • Only 3.5% of the U.S. workforce is organized, and employers are free to hire and fire at will and at whim.
  • Only 144 miles of U.S. roads are hard-surfaced, but by year's end there are 13,824 motorcars on the road.
  • Two U.S. privates open fire on Filipino soldiers outside Manila, beginning the 3½ year Philippine-American War with Filipino national forces led by Emilio Aguinaldo. Many Americans oppose the "imperialist" war. Pic Icon
  • The second Boer War begins in South Africa as President Kruger of the Boer Republic acts to block suspected moves by the British to acquire the Transvaal's rich gold mines. Pic Icon
  • Martinus Beijerinck (Dutch) discovers that something smaller than bacteria also causes diseases, which he calls a virus. Pic Icon
  • Bayer begins selling aspirin, the first reliable analgesic.
  • 1860
  • 1870
  • 1880
  • 1890
  • 1900
  • 1910