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A Victorian Timeline

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Being an abbreviated account of discoveries and struggles during the life of the Queen, beginning in the year of her birth and ending with her death

A timeline for a roleplaying game setting can be a many-splendored thing for some and a completely superfluous resource for others. As a player, a timeline is a way for me to connect quickly with the major events and concerns of an era, which further helps me to craft my character's background, atittudes, and goals. As a Storyteller, I don't want to be overwhelmed with the details but I do want to include them in NPCs and plots - and I only have so much time to indulge in my own research. I rely on roleplaying books and web sites to provide information that will speed up my own processes and save me time, and I present this site in the hopes of providing the same benefit to others.

Plenty of timelines exist of the Victorian era, and they each have their own focus and purpose. My focus here is on the many years in which Queen Victoria lived and on the major discoveries and political movements of her time. There is a bias toward England, continental Europe, and the United States, but I do try to include more international events. The purpose of this resource is to be able to find events that might have affected your character(s) or their families, and to find places and dates that are ripe for starting chronicles. The timeline will also give you an idea of common technologies.

I do not strive for painstakingly detailed historical accuracy in my gaming, but I do have a great appreciation for history and I like to include a good dose of historical flavor in all of my games. Since this is a personal enterprise, however, I have not hunted down strong academic sources for deeper review; feel free to do so with whatever strikes your fancy, and if you'd like to share a resource, please do. I studied Victorians in college but I am no proper Victorian scholar, so I've been learning a lot for this project.

It might seem a bit much to begin a timeline in 1819 when the Victorian Lost book focuses on the last decade of the century, but I have several reasons for doing so. A bit of a broader look will provide a better sense of what countries have been going through and how people's lives have been changing (or failing to change, despite well-meant efforts). Although you might be picking up in 1891, you'll likely be playing an adult character who was impressed by the disasters and victories of previous decades. Perhaps your chap was caught up in "Bloody Sunday" in Trafalgar Square, or your disgruntled chambermaid's mother died in the last cholera outbreaks in the mid-1860s. And you might find that you'd like to engage earlier decades, perhaps hopping forward in time (particularly if you decide to play Vampire).

1819 - 1829

1830 - 1839

1840 - 1849

1850 - 1859

1860 - 1869

1870 - 1879

1880 - 1889

1890 - 1901

Back to the Victorian Index

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