timeline - 1860s

Prime ministers Viscount Palmerston (Liberal) 1859-65; Lord John Russell (Whig) 1865-6; Earl of Derby (Conservative) 1866-8, Benjamin Disraeli (Conservative) 1868; William Gladstone (liberal) 1868-74.

Lords Lieutenant George William Frederick Howard (7th Earl of Carlisle) 1859-64; John Wodehouse (3rd Baron Wodehouse) 1864-66; James Hamilton (2nd Marquess of Abercorn) 1866-68; John Poyntz Spencer (5th Earl Spencer) 1868-74.


  • The ruler of Piedmont, Victor Emmanuel, demanded the annexation of the Papal States of Umbria and the Marches from the Pope. In September the Papal army was defeated at Castelfidaro and Ancona leaving only Rome itself as the last remaining Papal state.

  • Dickens 'Great Expectations' published

  • Opium war, Beijing captured 12 October.


  • Census of Ireland, population: 5,798,967

  • April: beginning of the US civil war when South Carolina forces fire on Fort Sumter.

  • Oct: HMS Warrior commissioned, the first ironclad battleship.

  • Nov 8: the Trent incident, 8,000 troops sent to Canada in the winter.

  • Dec 14: Death of Prince Albert.


  • Charles Kingsley 'The Water Babies' published in serialized form Aug 1862 Mar 1863.

  • May: Westminster Bridge opened

  • Companies act defined a limited liability joint stock company


  • Death of Thackeray

  • First London underground railway line opened between Paddington and Farringdon.

  • The Ionian Islands, until then a British protectorate, were seeded to Greece.


  • In Ireland civil registration of births, deaths, & marriages became compulsory for all.

  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) established and the 1864 Geneva convention signed. This convention allowed for the treatment of the sick and wounded in the field, others including the prisoner of war convention, came later.


  • Lewis Carol 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' published.

  • April: End of the US civil war

  • September: The Fenian journal 'Irish People' was suppressed and the ringleaders arrested although James Stephens later escaped.

  • October: Lord Palmerston died, succeeded as Prime minister by Lord John Russell (Whig), he resigned following the defeat of his reform bill in 1866.

  • William Booth opened a Christian mission in East London but the term 'Salvation Army' was not used until 1878.


  • Jan: Habeas Corpus Act suspended in order to deal with the Fenian threat.

  • Jun. Fenian attack on Canada

  • June-August - Austro Prussian war. German victory paved the way for the unification of Germany while Austria became Austria-Hungary in 1867.

  • Cholera in Cork and Mallow and London

  • The Earl of Derby (Conservative) begins third term as prime minister, Disraeli is Chancellor.

  • Dostoevsky 'Crime and Punishment'

  • Trans Atlantic cable laid by the Great Eastern.


  • 11-12 Feb. Fenian disturbances in England. 1200 Fenians attempted to capture arms held in the castle at Chester and transport them to Ireland but the scheme was betrayed by an informer.

  • 5 - 6 Mar. Attempted Fenian risings in Munster and elsewhere in the Ireland. Incidents in Midleton, Castlemartyr, Knockadoon, Ballincollig, Macroom and Bandon. RIC and Army crack down on activists causing many to emigrate.

  • Luxembourg Crisis, The North German Confederation prevented France from acquiring Luxembourg. Ill feeling generated by this and other incidents lead, in part, to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.

  • Second reform bill passed, franchise extended to 10 house holders in urban areas and 12 householders in the counties. In effect the franchise was extended to the urban artisan classes.

  • Karl Marx publishes 'Das Kapital'.

  • Lord Nass Land Improvement Bill - first tentative step towards land reform. Pressure for land reform in the wake of the Fenian rising.

  • Alfred Nobel invents dynamite.

  • The 'Dominion of Canada' created

  • The Irish Public Records Office established

  • Dr Paul Cullen, then archbishop of Dublin, was appointed cardinal, the first Irish bishop to become a cardinal.

  • November: Execution of the 'Manchester Martyrs'. An attempt to rescue the Fenian, Richard Burke, from Clerkenwell prison resulted in the death of 12 people.


  • Disraeli replaced Derby as prime minister but was defeated by the Liberals, under Gladstone, the same year. In total 59 home rule MPs were elected. In Cork, John Francis Maguire (founder of the Cork Examiner), MacCarthy-Downing, Smith-Barry and William Shaw supporters of Tenant Rights were elected.

  • Fenian attack on Mount Leader House near Macroom the last significant event of the Rising.

  • Public Schools Act: nine public schools were removed from the control of the government and a 'Board of Governors' was appointed for each.

  • The last public hanging in England, the Fenian Michael Barrett.

  • The last transportation of convicts to Australia.


  • The Disestablishment Act: The Church of Ireland was disestablished meaning tithes were no longer required. The act did not come into force until 1871.

  • Tolstoy 'War and Peace'

  • Nov: Suez Canal opened for navigation, it had taken ten years to build.

  • Dec 8, Vatican Council opened.

Cronin Families of Cork - 1860s
2005 Michael Cronin
Last revision: 2 March 2005