The Reffell Family in 1911

A snapshot in time on Sunday 2 April 1911

One Hundred Years ago...

A comprehensive survey of the Reffell family of one hundred years ago..

The World in 1911

The British Empire, whilst arguably no longer at its peak, was still a major force in the world. The highlight of the year was the Delhi Durbar held to mark the coronation of King George V of the United Kingdom and Queen Mary as Emperor and Empress of India. It also commemorated the transfer of the capital of the British Raj from Calcutta to Delhi. Practically every Indian ruling prince, nobleman, landed gentry and other important person attended. The Sovereigns appeared in their Coronation robes, the King-Emperor wearing the Imperial Crown of India with eight arches, containing six thousand one hundred and seventy exquisitely cut diamonds, & covered with sapphires, emeralds and rubies, with a velvet and miniver cap. At the time not many people saw such displays of wealth in such a poor country as offensive. The world had yet to hear of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. who was living in South Africa and would not enter India until 1915. No later Durbar was ever to tale place, the world moved on very quickly following the outcome of the First World War and the demise of the British Empire..

Germany, and Wilhelm II (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht von Preussen or Frederick William Victor Albert of Prussia) was to be the last German Emperor and King of Prussia. He was a grandson of the Queen Victoria and was related to many kings and princes around Europe. Although an Anglophile at heart, Wilhelm II nonetheless pursued a policy of massive military construction that led ultimately and inexplicability to the Great War.

In the New World, the relatively forgotten William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States, with James S Sherman as the Vice President. Already a growing military and industrial power, on 17 April there was a record number of immigrants (11,745) processed in a single day through the US Bureau of Immigration station at Ellis Island in New York.

Australia was a Dominion of the British Empire. Ten years earlier it had become a Federation when the six separate British self-governing colonies; New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia joined to form one nation. In 1911 the Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the federal parliament. At the start of the year the Commonwealth Defence Act had been passed, which meant that that all males aged from 12 to 26 would receive compulsory military training. This however, did not force them to participate when the war actually came.

China and the Xinhai Revolution or the Revolution of 1911 ended with the abdication of Emperor Puyi the following year. The opposing side of the conflict were the Imperial forces of the Qing Dynasty and the revolutionary forces of the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance. The revolution was motivated by anger at corruption in the Qing government, frustration with the government's inability to restrain the interventions of foreign powers. The life of Aisin-Gioro Puyi was chronicled in the 1987 film 'The Last Emperor' which depicts his life from his ascent to the throne as a small boy, to his imprisonment and political rehabilitation by the Chinese Communist authorities.