Updated: Sep 14, 2018
The Belle Époque or La Belle Époque (French: [bɛlepɔk]; French for "Beautiful Era") was a period of Western history. It is conventionally dated from the end of the Franco-Prussian Warin 1871 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Occurring during the era of the French Third Republic (beginning 1870), it was a period characterized by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity, an apex of colonial empires and technological, scientific, and cultural innovations. In the climate of the period, especially in Paris, the arts flourished. Many masterpieces of literature, music, theater, and visual art gained recognition. The Belle Époque was named in retrospect, when it began to be considered a "Golden Age" in contrast to the horrors of World War I.
In the United Kingdom, the Belle Époque overlapped with the late Victorian era and the Edwardian era. It overlapped the period known as Pax Britannica. In Germany, the Belle Époquecoincided with the Wilhelminism; in Russia with the reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II. In the United States, emerging from the Panic of 1873, the comparable period was the Gilded Age. In Brazil it started with the end of the Paraguayan War, and in Mexico the period was known as the Porfiriato.