Christian History Timeline: Lilias Trotter

[Lilias Trotter, Crucifix Watercolor, c.1897—Used by permission of Lilias Trotter Legacy and Arab World Ministries of Pioneers]

1819 John Ruskin is born.

1830 Charles Lyell publishes Principles of Geology, which challenges conceptions of the relationship between God and creation. The French initially conquer Algiers.

18321847 Abd-el-Kader rules over much of Algeria until he is defeated by the French. 

1843 Ruskin begins publishing Modern Painters.

1853 Isabella Lilias Trotter is born.

1855 Mary Jane Kinnaird and Emma Roberts found similar prayer and service groups for young women. 

1858 George MacDonald publishes Phantastes. Trotter’s parents present her with her first sketchbook.

1859 Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.

1865 Trotter’s father dies when she is only 12. 

1867 MacDonald publishes “The Golden Key” and the first volume of Unspoken Sermons, a book that will greatly influence Trotter.

1868 Charles Lavigerie establishes the White Fathers in Algiers.

18731875 D. L. Moody undertakes preaching missions in London. Robert Pearsall and Hannah Whitall Smith tour England.

1874 Trotter and her mother are invited to Broadlands, the first large-scale Higher Life meeting in the United Kingdom. She also begins to work with the Welbeck Street Institute, under Kinnaird’s supervision at the time. 

1875 Trotter becomes involved as a counselor with Moody’s missions. The Keswick Convention begins meeting under that name.

1876 Trotter’s mother connects her with Ruskin, who takes her on as a protégé. George Pearse comes to Africa and establishes the North Africa Mission (NAM).

1877 The Kinnaird and Roberts groups merge as the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). 

1878 As part of a revolt against Ruskin’s ideals, James McNeill Whistler sues Ruskin.

1879 Ruskin asks Trotter to give herself fully to art. She refuses.

1880 MacDonald publishes Diary of an Old Soul. 

1880s The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition undertake missionary work in Algiers.

1887 Trotter first feels called to the foreign mission field. She applies to the NAM, but is rejected.

1888 Trotter goes to Algiers with Blanche Haworth and Lucy Lewis.

1890 Charles de Foucauld becomes a monk. In 1901 he begins evangelizing in Algeria near where Trotter is working.

1893 Trotter moves into the Casbah. She begins itinerating and establishing mission stations.

c. 1895 Trotter publishes Parables of the Cross.

1896 The French Entente against Britain blocks Trotter’s freedom of travel for a few years.

1899 Trotter publishes Parables of the Christ-life.

1900 John Ruskin dies. 

1901 Trotter writes the diary entry that will become the pamphlet “Focussed.”

1903 Trotter endorses Amy Carmichael’s Things As They Are, the book that makes Carmichael’s ministry famous. 

c. 1905 Trotter joins efforts to translate the Bible into colloquial Arabic.

1906 Trotter buys the house known as Dar Naama, which becomes her headquarters.

1907 Trotter’s group organizes under the name Algiers Mission Band. She meets with a group of delegates from the World’s Sunday School Convention, sparking future North African mission efforts. Louis Massignon, who will later become a great scholar of Sufi mysticism, converts to Christianity. 

1908 Trotter meets “apostle to the Muslims” Samuel Zwemer and visits the “evangelical sisterhood” of Eva of Friedenshort. She becomes friends with both. The Methodist Episcopal Church begins missions in Algeria.

1912 The AMB begins issuing the in-house magazine El Couffa. 

1914 The AMB forms a literature committee. 

1918 Haworth, who has worked with Trotter for 30 years, dies. 

1922 Inspired by “Focussed,” Helen Lemmel writes and publishes the song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”

1924 Missions and ecumenical activist John R. Mott holds conferences in Constantine and Jerusalem, which Trotter attends. “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” is 

chosen as the theme hymn for that year’s Keswick Convention.

1925 Trotter becomes bedridden.

1926 Trotter publishes The Sevenfold Secret.

1927 Trotter’s last book, Between the Desert and the Sea, is published.

1928 Trotter dies.

1962 The Algiers Mission Band merges with the North Africa Mission.

By the editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #148 in 2023]

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Trotter’s evangelization of Sufi Muslims fit within a larger context of Muslim-Christian relations

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