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29 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

How Britain Bought the Suez Canal
In 1870 France declared war on Prussia. Britain did nothing. The Spanish throne had been vacant for two years. The Spanish, and also the Prussian, choice was Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Simaringen. The French objected and the Franco-Prussian war began. The French lost and the Emperor Napoleon III was captured. William of Prussia became the German Emperor. Gladstone decided it was time to re-structure and re-equip the army.

In 1872 Gladstone introduced the Ballot Act. For the first time in British history, men would vote in secret. This was to work against him in 1874 when he lost to Disraeli.

In 1875 Britain bought £4million worth of shares in the Suez Canal from the Egyptians. This amounted to nearly half the total issue thereby safeguarding the water route to India. Britain was to hold this share until 1956.

General William Booth
General William Booth

  • Born in Nottingham
  • Converted to Christianity in 1844
  • Became a member of the Methodist New Connexion
  • Became a missionary worker in the East End of London
  • Set up the Salvation Army alongside his wife, Catherine
  • Wrote a comment on the wretched state of London in 1890 called In Darkest England

did you know?
Bank Holidays were introduced in 1871.

Select historical period

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Chronology
1837 Victoria becomes Queen
1859Palmerston becomes Prime Minister
1861Prince Albert dies
1865Palmerston dies
Russell becomes Prime Minister
1868Disraeli becomes Prime Minister
Gladstone becomes Prime Minister
1870Franco-Prussian War
First Irish Land Act
1874 Disraeli becomes Prime Minister
1877 Victoria becomes Empress of India
1880Gladstone becomes Prime Minister
1881Disraeli dies
Second Irish Land Act
1885Salisbury becomes Prime Minister
1887Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee
1892Gladstone becomes Prime Minister
1894 Rosebery becomes Prime Minister
1895 Salisbury becomes Prime Minister
1897 Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
1898 Gladstone dies
1899Second Boer War breaks out
1901 Queen Victoria dies
Edward VII becomes king

William Gladstone - Prime Minister
John Bright - Board of Trade
George Villiers, Earl of Clarendon - foreign office
Robert Lowe - Treasury
Edward Cardwell - reforming the army

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