Europe 1870: Outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War
In 1870 a Prussian prince accepted the Spanish throne. Outraged, the French made the prince back down, then tried to pressure the King of Prussia to never permit a Spanish candidacy. Bismarck immediately released this discussion to the press, carefully editing it to inflame both sides. The French declared war but the Prussians were better organized, surrounding and defeating Napoleon III’s army at Sedan.
17 Nov 1869 Opening of Suez Canal▲
In 1854, the Egyptian government authorized a French company to build a canal linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas, dramatically cutting the time and cost of shipping between Europe and Asia, on the condition that the finished canal be open to all nations. The canal opened in 1869, by which time Egypt had taken advantage of a thaw in Ottoman-Western relations to obtain recognition as an independent state.
13 Jul 1870 Ems Dispatch▲
Bismarck releases edited Ems Telegram to the press
19 Jul 1870 Franco-Prussian War▲
France declares war on Prussia, beginning Franco-Prussian War
Aug 1870 France withdraws garrison from Papal States▲
France withdraws garrison from Papal States
1 Sep 1870 Battle of Sedan▲
Prussia defeats France at the Battle of Sedan