Saturday, 17 October 2009

100 Years Ago – What Was Happening in 1909?

What kind of a place was the world 100 years ago, in 1909? 
It was surely very different from our familiar world of today.
  • Capital punishment was regular practice in almost 99% of human societies.
  • Cannibalism was practised in Melanesia and the Pacific Islands.
  • 90% of doctors in the USA had no college education
  • Syphilis, which drove people crazy and killed them, was still incurable.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
Photo source:

A selection of “snapshots” from around the world shows that many things have remained surprisingly unchanged from 100 years ago.

Massive genocide in Africa ends as King Leopold II dies. 

Photo source:
  • The Encyclopædia Britannica estimates that between 8 and 30 million people die in Belgian Congo through his private colonialism. 
  • Auguste Marie François Beernaert gets the Nobel peace prize for contributing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.
Canada was creating the Immigration Act, 1910, which made everyone except British subjects domiciled in Canada needing permission to land in Canada.

Photo source:

  • Famine in Anhui province kills about 4 million.
  • Confucius is raised to the same rank as Heaven and Earth, which are worshipped by the Emperor alone.

US troops finally leave Cuba, 11 years after the Spanish American war finished.
  • The first World Vegetarian Congress founded in Manchester.
  • The Secret Service Bureau, the first incarnation of MI5, was established in 1909 to combat Imperial Germany's espionage operations in the United Kingdom.
  • Britain starts arms race in response to Germany’s plans to build four Dreadnought battleships.
  • Construction of the world’s then largest passenger ship RMS Titanic begins in Belfast.
  • Joan of Arc is beatified, 4 years after the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and State.
  • Louis Blériot is the first man to fly across the English Channel.


Paul Ehrlich discovers Salvarsan as a treatment for Syphilis, which was called: 

  • the French disease in Italy and Germany, 
  • Italian disease in France 
  • Spanish disease by the Dutch 
  • Christian disease by the Turks 
  • British disease by the Tahitians
War is one of the elements of order in the world established by God. The noblest virtues of men are developed therein. Without war the world would degenerate and disappear in a morass of materialism” says General Count Kuno von Moltke, a friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He is soon implicated in the Eulenberg homosexual scandal and beaten up by his wife Lilly.

Indians could be elected to legislative councils for the first time by virtue of the Indian Councils Act of 1909, commonly known as the Morley-Minto Reforms.
Gugliemo Marconi gets the Nobel Prize for discovering wireless telegraphy (radio).

  • Vaccination is compulsory in Japan.
  • Census reveals that 5,6 persons live in each Japanese household and 11% live in cities.
  • Prince Hirobumi Ito, former Prime Minister, the first resident-general of Korea, who opposed annexation, is assasinated by independence activist Ahn Jung-Geun and Korea is annexed by the Japanese Empire.

Ottoman Empire
30 000 Armenian Christians slaughtered in the Adana Massacre.
  • Okhrana General Gerasimov reports to Czar Nikolai II that not a single revolutionary organization is still functioning in the Russian Empire. 
  • A bloody Bolshevik train robbery at Miass in the Urals nets 60,000 rubles and 24 kilograms of gold.
  • Pyotr Stolypin, Prime Minister of Russia begins a campaign of repression of national minorities.
Selma Lagerlöf wins Nobel Prize for literature. During WWII, she sends her gold medal and the gold medal from the Swedish Academy to the Government of Finland to help in the war with Soviet Union. The government of Finland is touched, raises money by other means and returns the medals to her with gratitude.

Photo source:


  • The USA has its heaviest (136 kgs) white Republican president (William Howard Taft). His pursuit of world peace through his self-founded League to Enforce Peace and “Dollar diplomacy” was a disaster for him.
  • Plastic, then called Bakelite, is invented from phenol and formaldehyde by Leo Hendrik Baekeland.
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People founded to end segregation and oppose lynching
  • 95% of American babies were born at home.
  • 90% of doctors in the USA had no college education as doctors went to medical school (many were attacked in the press as sub-standard). In Texas, a doctor coming to town only had to say he was a doctor, register with the health officer and start practising.
  • Most American women only washed their hair about once a month using borax or egg yolks.
  • Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health." - They advertised then.
  • First woman drives motorcar across the USA. Alice Huyler Ramsey from Hackensack, New Jersey, with 3 non-driving companions drives 3800 miles from Manhattan to San Francisco in 59 days.


Mullen P. said...

Cool. So many interesting things happening.

Metou R said...

Many things have changed in USA and Europe. Wonder how the next 100 years would change things.

Kifus said...

Hi Rana! Just wanted to thank you for adding my blog to your blog list. I am flattered and I really appreciate it!

You have a very interesting blog! Well done and keep up the good work!

Thanks again Rana and have a lovely day!


JanuskieZ said...

Hi... Looking ways to market your blog? try this:

Rochefort-U.S.A. Friendship said...

As usual, I really enjoy your blog, it's just fabulous!
Thank you my friend.

angel said...

If I were to wager a guess at why, I’d say that users don’t “browse” forms. The interaction style users engage in with forms is different, and requires its own study and design best practices. This is a very interesting post, and the comments are also fantastic to read. I’ll have poses to have a little re-think about my own contact form on our new website, as this some interesting questions!
degree home

kellybrook said...

Earning money online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.