The Victorian Age
(1837 – 1901)
It was so called after the name of Queen Victoria, whose reign was the longest in the history of England and was the time of: great technological innovation (we have the invention of the telephone, the development of railways, printing was cheaper); incredible colonial expansion (India, in particular, called “The Jewel in the Crown”, gave tea, spices, silk, cotton; Africa was important for the control of the Suez Canal).
The British felt superior and proud of belonging to the strongest country in the world so they had a moral duty to improve the quality of live of peoples.
Anyway it was a period of contrasts: great productivity and social transformation, but also of terrible exploitation, above all of women and children; great richness, but also terrible poverty; elegance and formality, but also ugliness and false appearance.
All this was at the basis of the so-called Victorian Compromise. During Queen Victoria’s reign there were also some political reforms to limit the working hours of women and children in factories; to give the vote to urban working men; to provide education; to legalize the workers’ Trade Unions. With the publication of “On the origins of the Species! By Darwin, the Victorians remained shocked because the new strong division between the rich and the poor.