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20 Influential Revolutions in History

A chronological list of 20 revolutions felt around the world, from the Glorious Revolution in the 17th century's Britain to the widespread Arab Spring in the 21st century.
a data set by WorldExplorer
created February 6, 2017
RevolutionOther NamePictureLocationYear of StartYear of EndParticipantsLeaderCauseGoalOutcome
Glorious RevolutionRevolution of 1688; War of the English Succession; Bloodless RevolutionBritish Isles16881689English parliamentarians; Dutch forcesWilliam III (Prince of Orange)King James II's Catholicism and his close ties with FranceOverthrow of King James II of England (James VII of Scotland)Replacement of James II by William and Mary; Drafting of the Bill of Rights 1689; Leading to the Jacobite War in Scotland and Williamite War in Ireland
American Revolutionary WarU.S. War of IndependenceEastern North America17751783Thirteen American colonies; France; Spain; NetherlandsGeorge WashingtonDisputed control over taxation; Lack of colonial representatives in the British ParliamentOverthrow of the authority of Great Britain; American independenceAmerican independence recognized by Great Britain; End of the First British Empire; Territorial changes among Great Britain, Spain, France, and Dutch Republic
French RevolutionFrance17891799French societyGeorges Danton; Maximilien Robespierre; Napoleon BonaparteRising social and economic inequality; New political ideas emerging from the Enlightenment; Instability of economy; Economic mismanagement; Unmanageable national debt; Political mismanagement on the part of King Louis XVIOverthrow of Louis XVI; Establishment of a republicAbolition of the French monarchy; Establishment of a secular and democratic republic that became increasingly authoritarian and militaristic; Radical social change based on liberalism and other Enlightenment principles; Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte; Armed conflicts with other European countries; Acceleration of the rise of republics and democracies globally
Haitian RevolutionSaint-Domingue17911804Ex-slaves; French royalists; Spain; Louverture Loyalists; Great BritainToussaint L'Ouverture; Jean-Jacques DessalinesClass and racial tensions between colonists, free people of color, black slaves; Regional rivalries between the North, South, and WestAbolition of slavery in Saint-Domingue; Independence of HaitiFrench colonial government expelled; Massacre of the French (1804 Haiti massacre); Independent Empire of Haiti established; Abolition of slavery in Haiti
Kościuszko UprisingCommonwealth of Poland and the Prussian partition17941794Polish commanders, politicians, and other opposition groupsTadeusz KościuszkoDecline of the Commonwealth controlled by the magnates of Poland and Lithuania; Growing unrest since the Second Partition of Poland in 1793Liberation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from Russian influenceCrush of the uprising; Third partition of Poland (Austria, Russia and Prussia annexed the remainder of Poland); Start of modern political thought in Poland and Central Europe
Spanish American Wars of IndependenceSpanish America18081833United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata; Chile; Venezuela; Gran Colombia; Free Province of Guayaquil; Mexican Empire; Republic of PeruJosé María Morelos; Simón Bolívar; José Gervasio Artigas; José de San MartínInstability in the worldwide Spanish monarchy due to the collapse of the Bourbon dynastyOverthrow of Spanish rule in Spanish AmericaEnd of Spainish rule over almost all Spanish America except for Cuba and Puerto Rico; Independence of new nations stretching from Argentina and Chile in the south to Mexico in the north
Revolutions of 1848Spring of Nations; Springtime of the Peoples; Year of RevolutionWestern and Central Europe18481849People of France, the German states, the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Italian states, Denmark, Wallachia, Poland, and othersGiuseppe Mazzini; Louis Blanc; Lajos KossuthWidespread dissatisfaction with political leadership by middle and working classes; Demands for more participation in government and democracy; Demands for freedom of pressRemoval of the old feudal structures; Creation of independent national statesLittle political change; Significant social and culture change, marking the beginning of mass politics and ensuring liberty and equality in the long run
Taiping RebellionTaiping Civil War China18501864Taiping Heavenly KingdomHong XiuquanAnti-Qing sentiments due to its ineffectiveness, corruption, and the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Western powersOverthrow of the Qing dynasty; Complete change of the political and social system in ChinaFall of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom; Diminished power of the central court over the provinces; Rise of irregular provincial armies; Lasting damage to the perception of Christianity in China; Persecution of Hakka people and other ethnic groups that once supported the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom; Sparking other rebellions in China
American Civil WarUnited States18611865Confederate StatesJefferson DavisDispute over slavery; Geographic divide between the North and the South in terms of sectionalism, protectionism, and state's rightsSecession from the U.S. by southern slave states; Establishment of the Confederate States of AmericaAbolition of slavery; Preservation of territorial integrity; Destruction and dissolution of the Confederate States; Beginning of the Reconstruction Era
Meiji RestorationMeiji Ishin, Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or RenewalJapan18681912Japanese society Emperor Meiji; Ōkubo Toshimichi; Itō HirobumiInternal problems (such as the decayed feudal system and the growing factions); Western colonial powers' advance in armament and technology; Growing idea of nationalismRestoration of practical imperial rule; Reinvention of JapanEmergence of Japan as a modernized nation in the early twentieth century; Japan's rapid rise to great power status in the international system
Young Turk RevolutionOttoman Empire19081908Young Turks (Ottoman exiles, students, civil servants, and army officers)Ahmed Niyazi BeySultan Abdul Hamid II's rule was not in line with the developing nation; Development of a more liberal environment in Turkey around that timeRestoration of the 1876 constitutionReinstatement of the parliament; Reinstatement of the 1876 constitution
Xinhai RevolutionRevolution of 1911; Chinese RevolutionChina19111912Tongmenghui (Chinese Revolutionary Alliance); GelaohuiSun Yat-senQing government's ineffectiveness in terms of modernizing China and confronting foreign aggressionOverthrow of the Qing dynasty; Establishment of the Republic of ChinaVictory of the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance; Abdication of Emperor Puyi; Downfall of the Qing dynasty; End of Imperial China; Establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of China
October RevolutionBolshevik Revolution; Red October; October UprisingRussian Republic19171917All-Russian Central Executive Committee; Red Guards; Petrograd Soviet; Bolshevik Party; Russian Soviet RepublicVladimir LeninWeakness and internal dissension of the Russian Provisional Government; A nationwide crisis in Russia, affecting social, economic, and political relationsOverthrow of the Russian Provisional GovernmentEnd of Russian Provisional Government, Russian Republic and dual power; Creation of Soviet Russia; All-Russian Congress of Soviets became supreme governing body; Start of the Russian Civil War
Irish War of IndependenceAnglo-Irish War; Tan WarIreland19191921Irish RepublicMichael Collins; Éamon de ValeraHome Rule Crisis; Pre-War violence since the Easter Rising of 1916Overthrow of the British rule; Establishment of an Irish RepublicCeasefire; Military Stalemate; Signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (End of British rule in 26 counties of Ireland); Creation of the Irish Free State
Greek Civil WarGreece19461949Democratic Army of Greece supported by Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and AlbaniaMarkos Vafeiadis; Nikos ZachariadisA highly polarized struggle between left and right ideologiesEstablishment of the Provisional Democratic GovernmentDefeat of the Communist insurgents by the government forces; Greater economic distress in Greece; Polarization and instability of Greek politics in the mid-1960s
Cuban RevolutionCuba1953195926th of July Movement; Student Revolutionary DirectorateFidel Castro; Che GuevaraFulgencio Batista's increasing dictatorship, indifference to popular concerns, and anti-communismOverthrow of the authoritarian government of the Cuban President Fulgencio BatistaOverthrow of Fulgencio Batista's government; Establishment of a government, led by Fidel Castro; United States embargo against Cuba; Start of an era of Cuban intervention in foreign military conflicts
Hungarian Revolution of 1956Hungarian Uprising of 1956Hungarian People's Republic19561956Hungarian revolutionaries (including soldiers, militia, and armed civilians)Imre Nagy; Pál MaléterPostwar occupation by the Soviet Army; Hungary's political repression and economic decline during the postwar period; Mátyás Rákosi's severely authoritarian leadership; Influence from international events such as the Cold WarOverthrow of the government of the Hungarian People's Republic and its Soviet-imposed policiesCrush of the revolution; Arresting of thousands of Hungarians; Establishment of the Revolutionary Worker-Peasant Government; Increased Soviet presence in Hungary; Cold war stalemate in Europe
Iranian Revolution Islamic Revolution; 1979 RevolutionIran19781979Revolution Council; Interim Government; Other opposition groupsRuhollah KhomeiniDiscontent with the Shah's rule; Exile of Ayatollah Khomeini; Social injustice; Western imperialism; Religious motivesOverthrow of the Pahlavi dynastyOverthrow of the Shah and monarchy; 1979 energy crisis; Establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran headed by Velayat-e-Faqih with referendum; Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran replaced Persian Constitution of 1906 with referendum; Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became the new Supreme Leader of Iran; Iran hostage crisis; Beginning of the Iran–Iraq War
Revolutions of 1989Autumn of NationsEurope (especially Central Europe, then South-East and Eastern Europe); China; Russia; Communist countries in other parts of the world19891992Citizens of Eastern Bloc nationsPolitical repression; Religious persecution; Poverty and corruption; State murderDemocracy; National self-determination; Free elections; Right to recall of elected officials; Political freedoms; Human rights; Labor rightsBreakup of the Soviet Union and creation of new states; End of the Cold War; Dismantling of the planned economies and privatisation of publicly owned industry; Transfer of power to capitalist governments in Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Albania; German reunification; Violent transfer of power to a capitalist government in Romania; Formation of the Russian Federation; Beginning of the first Post-Soviet conflicts
Arab SpringDemocracy SpringArab world (such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Morocco, Jordan, and more)20102012Protesters and demonstrators (particularly youth and unions); Rebel groupsAuthoritarianism; Demographic structural factors (such as a large percentage of educated but dissatisfied youth within the entire population); 2000s energy crisis; Political corruption; Human rights violations; Inflation; Kleptocracy; Sectarianism; Unemployment; Self-immolation of Mohamed BouaziziDemocracy; Free elections; Economic freedom; Human rights; Employment; Regime change; Religion toleranceOverthrow of the ruler and government (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen); Start of civil war (Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq); Government changes implemented in response to protests (Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Oman); Constitutional reforms implemented in response to protests (Morocco and Jordan)
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