Contemporary Age events stages characteristics arts

Contemporary age

The Contemporary Age is called the stage of the traditional periodization of history that extends from the late eighteenth century to the present . Events of the Contemporary Age

The double European revolution ( Industrial Revolution and French Revolution ) was the process that marked the passage from the Modern Age to the Contemporary Age, although it is considered that the fact that represents the beginning of the period is the taking of the royal prison of the Bastille , in 1789. Events of the Contemporary Age

Some authors argue that the Contemporary Age would have already ended and that we would be living a new stage, however, there is still no historical perspective to be able to identify the fact that would have started this new era and what would be its distinctive characteristics.

Stages of the Contemporary Age

To facilitate its study, the Contemporary Age can be divided into the following stages:

  • Revolution and Restoration (1789–1848) : it began with the French Revolution and lasted until the European revolutions of 1848. This stage was characterized by tension between the forces that sought to end the absolute monarchy and those that tried to preserve it.
  • Capitalism, nations and imperialism (1848-1918) : stage during which the Second Industrial Revolution and competition between the imperialist powers took place , culminating in the First World War .
  • Interwar period (1919-1938) : extends from the signing of the Treaty of Versailles to the annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia by Germany. It was characterized by the rise of totalitarian regimes ( Nazism , Fascism , Stalinism) that questioned liberal democracy .
  • World War II and Cold War (1939-1989) : during which the United States and the Soviet Union defeated the Axis powers and then were the head of 2 politically and ideologically opposed blocs, the capitalist and the socialist.
  • The globalized world (1989-present) : began after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Its main features are the constitution of regional blocs in the context of a globalized economy, the telecommunications revolution and the conflicts between the liberal and capitalist West, China and the Islamic world. Events of the Contemporary Age

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Characteristics Events of the Contemporary Age

Some of the most important characteristics of the Contemporary Age are the following:

  • There was the gradual disappearance of the colonial empires (Spanish, Portuguese, British , French, Dutch, German, etc.) and the affirmation of independent nation states. In Latin America, the independence processes gained strength from 1810. In Asia and Africa they did so after the end of the Second World War.
  • The monarchy as a form of government was losing ground to the republic , due to the advancement of principles such as the division of powers, the periodicity in government positions and popular sovereignty. In general, where the monarchy survived, it did so under the constitutional or parliamentary form, in which the king is head of state but not head of government, a position that falls to a president or a prime minister according to each case.
  • The capitalism asserted itself as hegemonic economic and social system after replacing the feudalism and overcoming the challenge of socialism and planned economy raised him for much of the twentieth century . Events of the Contemporary Age
  • The class society, characteristic of the Modern Age, was replaced by the class society , with groups separated no longer by their birth but by their capacity for consumption and disposition of capital. In this context the nobility disappeared , after laws and constitutions declared suppressed the prerogatives of blood and birth. Slavery was also legally extinguished , abolished in most of the world during the 19th century.
  • The bourgeoisie became the ruling class of liberal capitalist society, spreading and defending the values ​​of freedom, equality before the law, private property and individual merit.
  • The increasing automation of work to mass-produce standardized products led to the formation of a consumer society , where a growing supply of goods and services creates its own demand. The other side of this process has been, since the end of the 20th century, a growing unemployment and the transformation of part of the industrial workers into precarious, a social sector made up of people who have unstable and discontinuous jobs. Events of the Contemporary Age
  • Accelerated technological changes in the media (railways, airplanes, transatlantic ships) made possible travel between different parts of the planet and large migratory movements.
  • There was a significant population explosion , mainly due to the improvement of sanitary conditions and the invention of penicillin in 1928, which led to a drastic drop in the death rate. It was only in the second half of the 20th century that the birth rate began to decline and some European societies began to age.
  • The massive migrations from the countryside to the cities, which occurred since the end of the 18th century, continually raised the percentage of the urban population, which today is the majority in almost the entire world.
  • The indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources and environmental pollution since the Industrial Revolution have caused the extinction of numerous animal and plant species, and put the ecological balance of large areas of the planet at risk. Events of the Contemporary Age

Main events of the Contemporary Age

The main facts and processes of the Contemporary Age are the following:

Date Event
1789-99 The French Revolution spread the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity.
1799-1815 The Napoleonic Wars pit Napoleon Bonaparte’s French armies  against various coalitions of European monarchies.
1815 The Congress of Vienna restores the absolute monarchy.
1830 Liberal revolutions in France, Belgium and Poland.
1839-42 Opium War between China and Great Britain.
1848 Liberal and nationalist revolutions in France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Hungary.
1853-56 The Crimean War pits the Russian Empire against a coalition made up of the Ottoman Empire , France, and Great Britain.
1861 Proclamation of the kingdom of Italy.
1861-65 Civil War in the United States.
1866-1871 Unification of Germany, promoted by Prussia and made possible by victories against the Austrians (1866) and the French (1870-71).
1868 The Meiji Restoration initiates a process of modernization of Japan that takes as a model to the western countries.
1884 The imperialist powers of Europe divide the African continent in the Berlin Congress.
1914-18 The First World War pits the central empires against the Triple Entente, supported by the United States.
1917 The Russian Revolution , led by the Bolsheviks , overthrows the government of the Tsars.
1922 The Bolsheviks create the Soviet Union.
1929-32 The bankruptcy of the New York Stock Exchange causes the Great Depression .
1936-39 Spanish civil war between the supporters of the Republic and the nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco.
1939-45 World War II pits Axis forces against the Allies .
1947 India and Pakistan become independent from Great Britain.
1948 The UN proclaims the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1949 The communist revolution triumphs in China.
1950-53 The Korean War pits North and South Korea against each other.
1957 The Soviet Union puts Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.
1959 The Cuban Revolution overthrows the government of the dictator Fulgencio Batista.
1962 The missile crisis threatens world peace. Events of the Contemporary Age
1969 The American Apollo XI mission lands on the moon.
1973 The war between the Arabs and the Israelis causes the oil crisis.
1975 Defeat of the United States in the Vietnam War .
1980 The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.
1982 Falklands War between Argentina and Great Britain.
1989 The Berlin Wall , symbol of the Cold War, falls .
1991 The Soviet Union collapses, which is replaced by the Russian Federation.
1991-2001 The Yugoslav wars ended with the fragmentation of Yugoslavia into 6 independent states.
1992 End of apartheid in South Africa. Events of the Contemporary Age
1993 Creation of the European Union.
2001 Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in the United States.
2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

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Art and knowledge

During this time the literate culture advanced massively and illiteracy declined, due to the implementation of compulsory schooling systems  in charge of the nation states.

Culture and art freed themselves from the moral impositions of religions. These, in turn, were losing strength at the same time that there was a growing secularization of societies. Events of the Contemporary Age

The main art movements of the 19th century were Neoclassicism , Romanticism , Realism, and Impressionism .

In the 20th century, the so-called ” artistic avant-gardes ” such as Expressionism , Futurism and Dadaism , criticized the history of art and its institutionalization. His questions blurred the limits of art, giving rise to diverse movements. Some of them were surrealism , pop art, conceptualism, actionism and constructivism. Events of the Contemporary Age

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