As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900.
The 19th century has most often been referred to by historians as the "age of isms", characterizing the many different isms that developed in this period. No other century could boast the massive social changes that took place in the 1800's. While the 20th century was the century of politics and science, the 19th was the century of society. For the first time, the rights of the workers and common man were being questioned. Rarely in previous times did such a massive movement across Europe, into the Americas, and even parts of Asia occur. 1848 alone felt the effects of the new ideas as European cities from Paris to Vienna were in uprise. The 19th century was a contrast from old to new, the old monarchies and feudal systems to the new capitalist world and democracy. The 19th century was the opening stage for the modern world.
The Suez Canal is opened, connecting Europe and the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean and Asia in 1869.
The British begin their so-called "forward movement" to extend control over the Malay States with the signing of the Pangkor Treaty in 1874.
The electric telegraph and undersea cables make instant global communication possible for the first time.
Postage Stamps and diamond-shaped paper sheets which folded to form envelopes for carrying letters devised and introduced in Great Britain, and soon thereafter in many other countries, leading to establishment of the Universal Postal Union.
Manufactured goods become widely available by mail order