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1900 - Paris World Fair

Paris Exposition - a world's fair to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next

The Exposition Universalle was visited by an astounding fifty million visitors and featured flying machines, plus other inventions and architecture that would mark the new century, among them the Grande Roueferris wheel, diesel engines, talking films, escalators, and the first magnetic audio recorder, called the telegraphone.  

The 1900 event also had the largest participation of any exposition, with more than 83,000 exhibitors. But most importantly, it secured Paris' reputation as a leading city of the modern age, at the forefront of technological innovation.

Forty-seven countries from around the world designed and constructed their unique pavilions. The British modeled theirs after an aristocratic castle; the German pavilion resembled a beer-hall; Finland had the most revolutionary exhibit with a clean and simple design; and Sweden's bright yellow and red pavilion was was a crowd favorite.

Huge ceremonies took place throughout the period of the exposition. One of the biggest was the Banquet of Mayors. 606 tables were set up in tents among the Tuileries Gardens where every mayor — 20,777 in total — from throughout France, sat down together to feast. Waiters in automobiles rattled up and down the aisles delivering wines and the multi-course dishes.


Further Reading


Paris Insider Guide - Paris Exposition 1900

Paris Unplugged - L'Exposition Universalle

1900 - Sydney Plague

Sydney Plague - Australia suffered greatly when an outbreak of bubonic plague struck from 1900-1910

The Bubonic Plague hit Sydney in January 1900. Spreading from the waterfront, the rats carried the plague throughout the city. Within eight months 303 cases were reported and 103 people were dead.

The outbreak in Sydney in 1900 prompted a wave of public panic as the plague, which arrived on fleas brought ashore by ships’ rats, began to thrive during the warm wet autumn.

The slums were worst affected, and whole sections were quarantined and cleansed, which sometimes meant total demolition or burning.

Fear bred hostility and the newspapers were full of lurid stories about the “Black Death”. People were marched off in the middle of the night to be quarantined and the names of those infected or deceased were published daily.

Xenophobic attacks also began appearing in the press, with Italian and Chinese migrants among those blamed for importing the plague through poor hygiene.

Squadrons of ratcatchers were formed and in the next few months, tens of thousands of vermin were killed and burned in a special rat incinerator with some councils paying six pence a head, making the pestilence very profitable.

The plague had far-reaching effects for Sydney, then a burgeoning city with a population nearing half a million. It paved the way for significant urban renewal of waterfront precincts such as The Rocks and Millers Point, where a century of unregulated building had created shanty towns ripe for disease.


Further Reading


NSW State Archives and Records - Purging Pestilence

University of Sydney - Bubonic Plague Comes to Sydney in 1900

1900 - 8 Nations

Eight Nations Alliancea multi-national military coalition set up in response to the Boxer Rebellion in China


From left to right, soldiers of Britain, United States, Australia, British India, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Japan.  It's interesting to note how the soldiers are arranged according to height, reflecting the racial prejudices of the British.  

The Eight-Nation Alliance was an international military coalition set up in response to the Boxer Rebellion in the Qing Empire of China.   Boxers wanted to end outside influence and began to attack westerners. In June, 1900 Boxers besieged the Legation Quarter of Peking. They trapped a large number of foreigners and Chinese nationals inside. The Chinese government threw its support behind the Boxer rebellion, and declared war on the foreign coalition. The Allies sent a expedition to relieve the siege on June 10th, but it was beaten back after encountering heavy resistance. On August 4th the Allies launched a much stronger relief expedition that was able to break the siege and force and end to the short, but violent, war.


Further Reading


Vision Times - An Alternative View of the Eight Nation Alliance and the Fall of the Qing Dynasty

The Diplomat - When Americans Ruled Beijing

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