Gymnastics spread through Europe primarily as physical training for the military. In France, Francisco Amoros founded the Ecole de Joinville for military training in 1852. A native of Spain who had become a French citizen, Amoros espoused a system of gymnastics that included work on apparatus, calisthenics, and singing.
Phokion Heinrich Clias (1782-1854), a native of Boston, became a gymnastics instructor in Switzerland and worked with the Swiss Army early in the 19th century. In 1822, he was invited to London, where he became superintendent of physical training in the royal military and naval academies. His pupil, Gustavus Hamilton, published Elements of Gymnastics for Boys and of Calisthenics for Young Ladies in 1827.
English interest in gymnastics dwindled for a while, but was revived in 1860, after the Crimean War revealed the lack of fitness among British soliders. Archibald MacLaren, who had opened a private gymnasium in Oxford in 1858, was put in charge of the Army Gymnastics Staff (which later became the Army Physical Training Corps). Non-commissioned officers trained by MacLaren in turn trained other soldiers in a military gym at Aldershot.
MacLaren advocated physical training in schools as well as the army, and during the 1860s and 1870s many schools hired former Army men as physical instructors.
MacLaren basically used the methods espoused by Jahn and the Turners. With its emphasis on heavy exercise and muscular development, though, Jahn's system was seen as inappropriate for girls. In 1881, the London School Board adopted Ling's Swedish gymnastics for girls' schools
Pyotr Lesgaft, the founder of the Russian gymnastics movement, worked with the Imperial Army beginning in 1874. He felt that Jahn's gymnastics, as promulgated by the Turners, was too dependent on equipment. Such exercises, he wrote, "blunt emotions of young people and make them less receptive and impressionable." Lesgaft's methods, like Ling's, emphasized movement.
Starting with the military, gymnastics trickled down, so to speak. Civilian federations were formed in several European countries. The German Gymnastics Club was the first, in 1860. Other federations were established in Belgium in 1865, Poland in 1867, Holland in 1868, France in 1873, and Russia in 1883. England's Amateur Gymnastic and Fencing Association was founded in 1888.
The European Gymnastics Federation, which included representatives from France and Holland, as well as Belgium's Flemish and Walloon groups, was founded on July 23, 1881. Forty years later, the EGF became the International Gymnastics Federation.