1800 Berlin has around 170,000 inhabitants, 25,000 of whom are soldiers, and 7,200 private and public buildings.
1805 The cattle market and parade ground just outside the city wall is named Alexanderplatz in honor of the Russian czar Alexander I, who visited Berlin in October 1805.
1806 August 6 With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire the effective function of the electors ceases, the Mark Brandenburg itself having been long incorporated into the royal Prussian conglomerate. It is notable that the later kings of Prussia, while continuing to use Markgraf von Brandenburg in their style, do not include the electoral Kurfürst.
1806 October 27 The Prussian province of Brandenburg is occupied by France. The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his troops march through Brandenburg Gate into Berlin. French troops will occupy the city for almost two years and French rule in Prussia will last until 1814. Napoleon's plan to stop all shipping of British goods into Europe, the so-called Continental System, was inaugurated by what are called the Berlin Decrees.
1806 November-December While he and troops occupy Berlin, Napoleon Bonaparte has the Quadriga, the famous sculpture of the goddess of peace, driving a four-horse chariot in triumph, removed from its place atop the Brandenburg Gate and transported back to Paris as spoils of war. It will remain in France until 1814.
1808 December 10 Occupying French troops finally leave the city of Berlin, but French rule in Prussia will last six more years, until 1814.
1809 New municipal legislation drafted by Baron vom Stein goes into effect in Prussia and grants Berlin wide powers of self-government. Elected for the first time, a city assembly puts forward a mayoral candidate to be approved by the king.
1810 Berlin’s first university, today’s Humboldt University, opens in the Prince Heinrich Palace on Unter den Linden. Johann Gottlieb Fichte becomes its first president.
1814 French rule in Prussia comes to an end.
1816 The European continent’s first steam locomotive is manufactured in the royal iron foundry established in 1804 on the Panke river in the Berlin suburb of Pankow.
1824 The city’s economic growth attracts many new workers to Berlin. The first tenements are built on Gartenstrasse near Hamburger Tor.
1826 Gas lighting is put into operation in Berlin for the first time on Unter den Linden.
1830 The Altes Museum (Old Museum), built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, opens at the Spree island’s Lustgarten in the first building in Prussia designed to be a museum.
1837 August Borsig lays the foundation stone for his machine factory on Chausseestrasse in Wedding. Many manufacturing facilities, some of which achieve world renown, are to follow: Siemens (1847), Schwartzkopff (1852), Schering (1864), and AEG (1883), among others.
1838 Potsdam and Berlin are connected by Prussia’s first railroad line.
1840 King Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770-1840), king from 1797 to 1840, dies, and is succeeded by Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795-1861), king from 1840 to 1858.
1844 The Zoologischer Garten is opened on the southwestern edge of the Tiergarten park as Germany’s first zoo and, until 1900, the world’s largest.
1846 As a counterpart to the (royal) Tiergarten park, Volkspark Friedrichshain, covering 52 hectares, is opened on the grounds of a former vineyard in the densely populated eastern part of the city as the first recreational area for all social classes (official opening 1848). Even today, it is Berlin’s second-largest park (next to the Tiergarten) and has given its name to the surrounding borough.
1847 The growing city attracts a stream of new residents. Berlin’s population, including the adjacent areas, grows to more than 400,000, while large parts of the population sink into poverty as a result of burgeoning industrialization. Caring for the poor takes up 40 percent of the city’s budget.
1848 March 18 Revolution breaks out in Berlin as tens of thousands begin fighting in the streets. Social hardship and the curtailment of political freedoms resulted in the outbreak of a democratic, middle-class revolution that soon spreads throughout the country. It will take King Friedrich Wilhelm IV almost eight months to bring the rebellion under control.
Most of the rebels killed were buried in the cemetery dedicated to them (“Friedhof der Märzgefallenen”) at Volkspark Friedrichhain. Platz des 18. März, the square west of Brandenburg Gate, also commemorates this revolution.
1848 March 21 With the heart of Berlin in the hands of revolutionaries, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV announces that henceforth "Prussia is merged with Germany." By the end of March, the king concludes that he needs the support of figures like Hansemann and forms a new administration with the Cologne banker Camphausen as Prime Minister and Hansemann as Finance Minister.
1848 June Prime Minister Camphausen resigns in the face of increased opposition from the Prussian constituent assembly and Hansemann becomes the key figure in the new administration. The growing polarisation between radicals and counter-revolution makes Hansemann’s position increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, King Friedrich Wilhem IV works to bring the revolution to a quick end.
1848 September The Hansemann ministry falls as the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV moves to take the offensive against the constituent assembly. Hansemann continues to support a monarchical policy of extending Prussian influence over other German states, focusing especially on the role of the Zollverein.
1848 October-November More than 13,000 Prussian soldiers under the command of General Friedrich von Wrangel arrive in Berlin, overthrow the liberal parliament and reestablish autocracy. Despite its early successes, the Revolution of 1848 came to an end with the imposition of a state of emergency until July 1849.
1856 Berlin’s first waterworks goes into operation as a part of extensive plans for a modern water supply system.
1858 The future emperor Wilhelm I (1797-1888) becomes regent from 1858-1861, taking over from the ailing Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795-1861).
1861 January 2 Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia (1795-1861), king from 1840 to 1858, dies and is succeeded by his brother Wilhelm I (1797-1888), king 1861-1888, and emperor (Kaiser) 1871-1888, who inherits the ongoing conflict between King and the liberal parliament. Wilhelm is considered a politically neutral person as he intervened less in politics than his brother.
1861 The incorporation of a number of suburbs (Wedding, Gesundbrunnen, and Moabit, as well as parts of Charlottenburg, Schöneberg, Tempelhof, and Rixdorf) increases the area of Berlin from 35 to 59 square km and the population to roughly 550,000.
1869 A new Berlin Town Hall is completed and, because of its red-brick construction, quickly dubbed the “Red Town Hall.” It is still in use today.
1871 January 18 The Second Reich is proclaimed as Wilhelm I of Prussia becomes emperor (Kaiser) in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, France.
1871 January 28 France officially surrenders to Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War.
1871 Berlin becomes the capital of the German Reich with 826,815 inhabitants within the city boundaries and 105,169 in its suburbs. This boost in political status, industrialization, and the economic boom of the next few decades give rise to many new businesses in the city. Berlin becomes the empire’s political, economic, and scientific capital.
1874 The Berlin city planner James Hobrecht starts work on an extensive drainage system for the capital. The first municipal hospital opens in Friedrichshain.
1875 The General German Workers’ Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein – ADAV) founded by Ferdinand Lasalle in 1863 and the Social Democratic Workers’ Party (Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei – SDAP) founded in 1869 under the leadership of August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht unite in Gotha in May to form the Socialist Workers’ Party of Germany (Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands – SDAP) based in Berlin. In 1890 the party renames itself the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands – SPD). The SPD dates its own founding to the founding of the ADAV in 1863.
1877 The population of Berlin grows to more than one million.
1878 Legislation outlawing the organizations, publications, and meetings of Social Democrats, viewed as “enemies of the German Reich,” is introduced and not repealed until 1890.
1879 Siemens & Halske present the world’s first electric railway at the Berlin Industrial Exhibition.
1881 The world’s first electric streetcar is introduced in Lichterfelde.
1882 The log road connecting the city with the royal hunting lodge in Grunewald is revamped to form a splendid avenue, Kurfürstendamm, modeled on the Champs-Elyseés in Paris and extending to Halensee. Housing in the “new west” around Kurfürstendamm draws prominent, wealthy residents, and the area becomes a popular place for the cultural scene to meet.
1883 The Deutsches Theater opens on Schumannstrasse. The Neues Theater on Schiffbauerdamm follows in 1892 and later becomes the home of Berthold Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble.
1888 Emperor Wilhelm I (1797-1888) dies. He had ruled as regent 1858-1861, king 1861-1888, and emperor since 1871. Wilhelm I was succeeded by Friedrich III (1831-1888), king and emperor 1888, who himself was succeeded that same year by Wilhelm II (1859-1941), king and emperor from 1888-1918.
1890 May 1 The first May Day celebrations of the workers’ movement take place in Berlin. An absolute majority of Berliners vote for Social Democrats in the Reichstag elections.
1891 The Berlin mechanical engineer Otto Lilienthal makes the first successful gliding flight in history (25 meters). Lilienthal died in a flying accident in 1896. The Lilienthal memorial at the “Fliegeberg,” his artificial hill in Lichterfelde, and today’s Otto Lilienthal Airport in Tegel commemorate him and his pioneering achievement.
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