18th Century Timeline: 1701 to 1800 AD
In England, the mark of a gentleman has become restraint - a response
to the passions of war and religious conflict. Good manners are valued
as a barrier against more conflict. Passionate preaching is seen by
many as vulgar. There is a decline in demand for religious uniformity -
a step away from the belief prevalent in the Middle Ages that those
with views different from one's own are evil.
By now, an explosive growth in global commerce was underway, created by
the advances in economic organization that had been taking place in the
West. But the transport of goods is slow, slow, slow compared to what
it would be in the late 1800s and the 1900s. And manufacturing remained
In London, Captain William Kidd is hanged.
The last Habsburg king of Spain dies childless and without an heir. The
War of Spanish Succession follows. England, the Dutch Republic and the
Holy Roman Emperor oppose the king of France also becoming the king of
Spain, and they form an anti-French alliance.
The Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia and
Archduke of Austria, Joseph I, gives permission to the Elector of
Brandenburg to be crowned Frederick I, King of Prussia. A new and
powerful state under Hohenzollern kings is in the making.
The recent death of Sweden's king has encouraged Denmark, Russia and
Poland to challenge Sweden's hegemony in the Baltic Sea area. The Great
Northern War begins. Sweden's young new king, Charles XII, demonstrates
his power by leading an army into Poland, routing a combined German and
Polish force and putting onto the throne in Poland a king of his
choosing: Stanislaus Leszczynski, who becomes Stanislaus I.
The French and English battle at St. Augustine in Florida, the War of
Spanish Succession in the Americas to be called Queen Anne's War - Anne
being the Queen of England. In the Americas both sides use Indians as
allies. An Anglo-Dutch fleet destroys a Spanish treasure fleet off the
coast of Spain, capturing a fortune in silver.
Tsar Peter (to be known as Peter the Great) would like a port at Riga
in order to supplant his port at Archangel in the frozen far north.
Riga is still held by the Swedes, so he starts building on marshland
that will eventually become the city of St. Petersburg.
Hardship, increased taxation and misconception provoke rebellion by
Russians in Astrakhan by the Caspian Sea.
An intrusion into Tibet by China's Manchu ruler is blocked by
resistance from Mongol people called Dzungars.
In Boston, Benjamin Franklin is born, the tenth son of a candle and
The English drive the French out of most of the Spanish Netherlands
Scotland and England become the United Kingdom of Great Britain on May
1, shortly after the parliaments of Scotland and England ratified the
Treaty of Union of 1706.
More Europeans are learning to read, especially in Scotland and
England. More are becoming interested in reason and science. In Berlin
a science academy is created.
By now Cape Town has 1,780 colonists of European descent, predominately
Dutch and pursuing farming. Many are using slaves, who number about
1,100, imported from the Spice Islands (Indonesia) Mozambique and
Mount Fuji erupts. Ash floats down on the city of Edo sixty miles to
Charles of Sweden leads his army into Russia, heading for Moscow, for a
showdown against Tsar Peter. Charles considers the Russians poor
fighters and is optimistic. Peter orders the destruction of all in
front of the advancing Swedes that can be of use to them.
The Swedes winter in the warmer Ukraine. In a summer showdown at
Poltava the poor quality of the gunpowder used by the Swedes causes
their shots to fall short. Russia's artillery cuts the Swedes down. The
Swedes flee and many surrender.
Along the Zambezi River in Eastern Africa, the Rozvi emperor allows the
Portuguese to maintain a trading post at Zumbo. The Rozvi want to
maintain trade with the Europeans and acquire chinaware, beads,
umbrellas, brass bells, brandy and other goods.
1711 to 1720
In Britain, the joint-stock South Sea Company is founded for the
purpose of trading in the South Seas and parts of America.
In Britain's Carolina Province in America, tensions have existed
between Quakers and those associated with the Church of England. Thomas
Cary leads a rebellion against the governorship of Edward Hyde, a
member of the Church of England. The rebellion fails, followed by
Quakers being effectively excluded from North Carolina politics.
European settlement in North Carolina has been a disaster for Tuscarora
"Indians." In September they attack British, Dutch and German settlers,
beginning the Tuscarora War.
The English use a steam powered device to pump water out of a mine. It
is the first commercially successful engine.
A slave rebellion in New York results in the death of six whites and
the execution of twelve slaves.
Small pox brought to the Cape Town region decimates Khoikhoi people and
kills many whites.
The Treaties of Utrecht end the War of Spanish Succession and Queen
Anne's War. France and Britain are exhausted, and Britain signs after
fearing an alliance between Spain and Austria. The British receive what
they rename Nova Scotia. They also receive fur trading posts in the
Hudson Bay area. Philip V, grandson of France's Bourbon king, Louis
XIV, is recognized as King of Spain. Spain's loses much of its empire,
with Savoy getting Sicily and part of Milan, Naples, Sardinia, part of
Milan and possession of what had been the Spanish Netherlands
(Belgium). The latter passes to the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor,
Charles VI of Austria and becomes the "Austrian Netherlands." British
acquire control of Gibraltar. The French are now to view Austria as
their nation's primary rival on the European continent. And with the
war's end a bigger effort can be made against piracy.
Spain and Britain sign a 30-year contract in which Britain is to have a
monopoly in supplying Spain with slaves for the Americas.
Charles of Sweden and 1500 of his troops make it back to Sweden by way
of Vienna, with help from the Habsburg monarchy in Vienna, which sees
Sweden as a counter to the growing power of Prussia.
Some Anglican conservatives have been trying to revive the union
between the state and the Church of England, fearing that if people
were left free to choose their religion there would be a dramatic
spread of religious sectarianism and dissent. Conservatives also
believe that religious disunity is an affront to God, that it threatens
the salvation of individuals and national security. Some Anglican
conservatives blame crime and vice on religious disunity.
The Ottoman Turks take advantage of the weakness of Venice and
reconquer Morea (the Peloponnesian Peninsula Peninsula) lost by the
Turks with the Treaty of Karlowitz in the year 1699. People in Morea
are glad to be rid of the Venetians, who taxed them more than the
The Austrians are alarmed by Ottoman expansion. To defend Christians
they declare war and defeat the Ottomans at the Battle of Peterwardein
(Petrovaradin) 70 kilometers northwest of Belgrade.
To help against the Ottomans, Pope Clement XI finances a Spanish fleet,
which the Spanish use instead to regain Sardinia and Sicily.
For 3,000 rupees, the Mughal emperor, Farukh-siyar, grants the British
East India Company duty-free trading rights. The British are given the
right to mint their own silver rupee coins for use within the Mughal
In North Carolina, the English pirate Edward Teach, known as
Blackbeard, is hunted down and killed.
Sweden's Charles XII dies fighting on Sweden's frontier with what today
The French colonist Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville founds New
Orleans, choosing a site seen as having strategic advantages militarily
as well as having access to the gulf and trading advantages. The spot
is dry, but it is the fall season.
In the spring season New Orleans floods, and the building of levees
begins, to continue for three centuries.
The British, Dutch and Austrians have teamed up against Spain's move
into Sardinia and Sicily. The British sink the Spanish navy. Austria
has settled with the Ottomans, gaining northern Bosnia, Banat,
Belgrade, much of Serbia and a part of Walachia. Morea is to remain
under the Ottomans.
In agreement with Austria, the Duke of Savoy, Victor Amadeus II, trades
Sicily for Sardinia. Sicily is to be ruled by Austria.
Plague arrives at the port of Marseilles, France - the last of the
great bubonic plagues in Western and Central Europe.
Observing constitutional government by the British and Dutch, and
influenced by John Locke, opposition to absolutism has been growing
among the Swedes. King Fredrik I and Queen Ulrica Leonora have agreed
to become constitutional monarchs.
Timeline: 1721 to 1730
Sweden makes peace with Russia, recognizing territory lost to Russia.
Russia is now the dominant power in the Baltic region. Peter the Great
declares himself an emperor.
invade Tibet and sack Lhasa. A military force sent by the Qing emperor,
Kangxi, is hailed as liberators, It drives the Mongols out and
re-establishes Qing authority. The Qing install Kesang Gyatso as the
7th Dalai Lama.
Shah Sultan Hussein of Iran is religiously devout and has been
indifferent to affairs of state. He is the last of the Safavid sultans.
Former vassals from Afghanistan invade Iran, capture the Safavid
capital, Esfahan, and kill Hussein.
Ottoman Turks and Russians take advantage of the demise of the Safavids
and seize former Safavid territory.
A science academy is created at St. Petersburg.
Japan begins successful forest management reform. Timber cutting is
The "Golden Age of Piracy," centered in the Caribbean Islands, comes to
an end. Peace and sailors out of work had contributed to it. Pirates
had turned against the British government for interfering with their
freedom to pursue their business. War between the pirates and the
British government is won by the British government.
Peter the Great dies at age 52 after plunging into icy waters to save
The largest encyclopedia ever printed, consisting of 10,000 chapters,
is commissioned by the Manchu (Qing) emperor, Yongzheng.
The city of Montevideo is founded by Spaniards in order to block
further intrusions by Portuguese from Brazil.
François Arouet, to become known as Voltaire, is sent into exile from
his home in France. In England he increases his admiration for British
In Brazil, Europeans begin planting coffee.
In Turkey, Ibrahim Muteferrika is the first Muslim to operate a modern
printing press. He sees the Ottoman Empire's weakness against Europeans
as a military matter and suggests that European methods of warfare be
In India the Mughal Empire has been fragmenting. A decisive battle is
won by the Hindu Marathas against the Mughals. This is the Battle of
Palkhed, fought on February 28 near the city of Nashik, Maharashtra.
An Afshar tribesman (Turkish) and talented military leader, Nader,
drives the Afghans out of Iran.
King Agaja of Dahomey is in competition with the kingdom of Oyo for
captives to be sold as slaves to Europeans. King Agaja has been a
leading exporter of slaves and an importer of firearms. Oyo has invaded
his territory and Agaja agrees to pay tribute to Oyo.
1731 to 1740
The University of Bologna appoints Laura Bassi, 21, as professor of
anatomy, Europe's first professorship for a woman. She is from a
wealthy family, and while a teen her brilliance was recognized by
Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, who encouraged her scientific work.
Benjamin Franklin's agricultural handbook, Poor Richard's Almanac, is
Georgia, the last of the Britain's thirteen colonies, is founded as a
Empire continues to create instability among the European powers. The
war of Polish Succession begins. Poles are not to have a king of their
own choosing. Austria and Russia team up against France. Sardinia and
Spain side with France, Spain's monarchy hoping to recover Naples and
In Montreal (New France), a black slave known as Marie-Joseph Angélique
is accused on setting a fire that destroyed part of the city. He is
tortured and hanged.
Daniel Boone is born into a Quaker family living in Pennsylvania. He
will become a frontiersman and a legend.
George Hadley publishes the first explanation of trade winds.
Austria makes peace with France and Spain, agreeing to France's Louis
XV acquiring Lorraine and the Spain's monarchy acquiring Naples and
Calcutta has become an active commercial port. Its population has risen
Frederick William has been King of Prussia since 1713. He has reclaimed
marshes, stored grain in good times, encouraged frugality and work,
given military commissions according to merit rather than to the
highest bidder and has invented marching in step and formation in
military training. He has left in place various traditional punishments
such as branding, pinching with hot tongs, beheading, drawing and
quartering, breaking on the whee, and hanging. Infanticide is punished
by sewing the offending woman into a leather bag and throwing her into
a river to drown. But he removes from public squares all stakes upon
which accused witches have been burned.
Mohammed Nader defeats the Ottoman Turks in south-central Iran.
In New York a landmark legal case known as the Zenger Trial is decided
on August 14 in favor of a pubisher, John Peter Zenger. It determines
that truth is a defense against charges of libel and lays the
foundation for freedom of the press.
Nader is crowned Shah (king) of Iran.
A science academy is created at Stockholm, Sweden.
Nader Shah and his army move through Kabul, conquer Kandahar and cross
the Indus River.
At the Battle of Karnal, Nader defeats the Mughal army of Mohammad
Shah. He sacks and plunders Delhi, massacring 30,000. The Mughal empire
is at an end. The Hindu Marathas will begin expanding into northern
In South Carolina, 75 slaves with liberated weapons flee toward Florida
(then under Spanish rule). The revolt is crushed by the South Carolina
Following the failure of the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph I, and
his successor Emperor Charles VI (who reigned from 1711) to produce a
son and heir, the throne was given to the latter's yet unborn daughter,
Maria Theresa. In 1736, when Maria Theresa was twenty, Emperor Charles
arranged her marriage to Francis of Lorraine, who agreed to exchange
his hereditary lands for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (as well as Duchy
of Teschen from the Emperor). With Maria Theresa, whose reign began in
1740 (to be the mother of Marie-Antoinette), the House of Habsburg
became the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
The King of Prussia, Frederick II, to be known as Frederick the Great,
believes Austria is weak and sends troops to take possession of
Silesia. Austria goes to war against Prussia. The War of Austrian
Succession has begun.
From Batavia, in the Spice Islands, the Dutch East India Company is
preparing to deport "superfluous" Chinese. Rumors spread among the
Chinese that they will be killed at sea. Some begin arming themselves.
Anti-Chinese riots erupt. The Chinese district is burned to the ground
and perhaps as many as 10,000 Chinese are killed. munities
1741 to 1750
Russia's Alexei Chirikovon on July 15 sights land in Southeast Alaska.
He sends a few men out in longboat, the first Europeans to visit Alaska.
In New York, fires occur in Lower Manhattan between March and April,
including at the home of the governor. A sixteen year-old Irish girl
accused of theft testifies that poor whites and blacks are burning the
city and plan to kill the white men, take the white women for
themselves and elect a new king and governor. Two slaves confess to
setting a major fire and they name dozens of co-conspirators. Numerous
arrests follow: 152 blacks and 20 whites. They are convicted in a show
trial. John Ury, a teacher and suspected Catholic priest, is charged
with instigating the plot. Most of the convicted people, including John
Ury, are hanged. Some are burned to death. Seventy-two men are deported
In Peru, a mestizo wanted for murder has fled to a forested area on the
eastern slope of the Andes Mountains, and there he persuades local
people he is descended from Inca chiefs. He takes the title Atahualpa
Apu-Inca and claims he has been sent by Gods to drive the Spaniards
from South America. He creates an Indian army from several tribes and
in coming years is successful in repelling incursions by colonial
In the War of Austrian Succession, France has joined Prussia against
Austria and sends troops into Bavaria. The British side with Austria
and together they defeat the French in Bavaria, at the Battle of
Nader Shah of Iran wars against the Ottoman Turks.
France invades the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium).
A scholar of the Koran, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, has been urging a rejection
of Sufism and other creations that he sees as deviating from the Koran.
He allies himself with a Bedouin chieftain, Muhammad Ibn Saud.
A science academy is created at Copenhagen, Denmark.
France and Britain are openly hostile during the War of Austrian
Succession, and France has approved an attempt by British emigres to
return the descendants of James II (House of Stuart) to the English
throne, overturning the Glorius Revolution of 1688. This, to be known
as the Jacobite risings, has been raging since 1745 and ends in defeat
on April 16, at the Battle of Colloden in Scotland. The British lose 50
killed, the Jacobites lose from 1500 to 2000 killed or wounded. The
Jacobite force had been poorly led by the Stuart pretender, Charles
Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," 26. He managed to escape back
More War of Austrian Succession. The Sardinians and French fight each
other in mountainous territory around 200 kilometers southwest of Milan
- the Battle of Assietta - where the French are slaughtered trying to
ascend a ridge, losing a quarter of their troops in one day - a total
of 5,300 casualties and perhaps 3,700 dead.
Nader Shah is a free-thinker who has wanted to unite the Shia and
Sunni, both of whom serve in his military. He has been taxing heavily
and crushing dissenters. Suspecting his son's involvement in an attempt
on his life, he has him blinded. A group of Afshar and Qajar chiefs
attack Nader Shah while he is sleeping and kill him. Iran fragments.
The War of Austrian Succession ends with a treaty signed by Britain,
France, Spain and the Dutch, and another signed by Austria and
Sardinia. Prussia's hold on Silesia is confirmed. France agrees to the
Habsburg king regaining his Netherlands (Belgium). And the British
agree to return areas in the Americas and India to the French.
Baron Charles Montesquieu of France, who inherited a fortune and had
time to write, has another of his works, The Spirit of Laws, published.
He is a liberal Catholic, admiring British institutions and John Locke.
He is a critic of France's monarchical absolutism. He believes people
should think for themselves. A god who directed people as if they were
puppets, he says, would not have produced human intelligence. His
Spirit of Laws will go into 22 editions and he will influence the
creators of the US Constitution.
In the colony of Virginia, George Washington, at age 17, has recurrent
attacks of malaria.
Emilie du Chatelet, French mathematician, physicist, aristocrat,
hardworking bon vivant and companion of Voltaire dies this year at the
age of 43 after giving birth to her second daughter. She superseded
Isaac Newton by establishing that energy is more than mass times
velocity. She described energy as velocity squared - a part of what
would eventually become E (energy) = M (mass) C (speed of light)
squared (the C part to be supplied by Albert Einstein in 1905).
Johann Sebastian Bach's eyesight has been deteriorating. He undergoes
an operation which perhaps hastens his death, at the age of 65.
Workers in London and Amsterdam have twice the purchasing power of the
average worker in the great Muslim city of Istanbul.
Seafaring trade between Europe to the East around Africa's the Cape of
Good Hope had by now ended the overland caravan spice trade. The Middle
East's share in world trade had been declining.
India is producing 24.5 percent of the world's manufactured goods.
India's textile workers have a standard of living equal to that of
British workers. China is producing 32.8 percent of the world's
manufactured goods. Europe is still pre-industrial, using hands and arm
muscle in manufacturing. Britainis manufacturing per capita is around
140 percent of what India is manufacturing, and 125 percent what China
is manufacturing, but given the greater populations of India and China,
Britain's total production of manufactured goods is much less. The
British in 1750 are producing only 1.9 percent of the world's share of
An average of 60,000 slaves are being exported from Africa per year.
Along Africa's Gold Coast, the Asante kingdom has been supplying slaves
to British and Dutch traders in exchange for firearms with which to
enforce territorial expansion.
The Manchu Chinese capture the town of Lhasa and take power in Tibet.
In France, Jean Jacques Rousseau wins an essay contest. He claims that
people are good and innocent by nature and have been corrupted by the
arts and sciences.
1751 to 1760
More history is being written. Montesquieu has a book on the Causes of
the Greatness and Decline of the Romans, first published in 1734.
Voltaire's book, The Age of Louis XIV, is published. Voltaire goes to
Berlin for three years, serving as philosopher-poet to Frederick the
Indonesians have been rebelling against Dutch rule. The Dutch have
crushed the latest rebellion, but guerilla attacks continue against the
plantations of the Dutch East India Company around Batavia.
Portugal appoints its first governor to its coastal and inland
possessions in East Africa, called Mozambique, and Portugal declares
Mozambique a colony.
A work by the Scottish physician James Lind is published that describes
citrus fruit as the only effective cure for scurvy.
In Great Britain on July 1, Parliament passes the Jewish Naturalization
Act, which ends discrimination against Jews. Widespread opposition will
lead to its repeal in 1754.
Jean Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on the Origins of Inequality is
published. He prefers the communism and relative equality of
hunter-gather societies. But he recognizes that modern societies will
not return to the simple, smaller societies that had existed before
Both England and France have claimed the Ohio Valley. George Washington
and a force of Virginia militiamen march into Ohio to drive away the
French. King George II of Britain is concerned about the security of
his territory on the continent, Hanover, and signs a defensive treaty
with Frederick the Great of Prussia to discourage the French from
In Britain's Atlantic coast colonies, whites have increased in
population from 275,000 in 1700 to 1.5 million. Slaves number roughly
470,000, nearly one for every three whites.
Earthquake, tsunami and fire destroys much of Lisbon and, it is said,
kills over 100,000 people. People wonder how God could have allowed so
much suffering. The German mathematician-philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm
Leibniz defends God, claiming that with God as the author of nature
everything works out for the best, that God's wisdom is supreme.
Austria is shaken by Britain's alliance with Prussia. It signs an
alliance with France. Russia also feels threatened by the alliance
between Britain and Prussia and joins the alliance with France and
Austria. Frederick the Great does not want war but feels it is
important to move militarily first. War erupts to be called the Seven
Years' War. Sweden joins the war against Prussia.
The Manchu dynastry ruling China establishes loose control over what
today is Xinjiang province.
In a fragment of what was the Mughal empire, a Mughal prince,
Siraj-ud-Daula, takes power. A few weeks later he demands that the
British destroy their fortifications at Calcutta - a part of his
domain. The British East India Company refuses. War follows including
British imprisoned in what becomes known as the Black Hole of Calcutta.
A force under the British East India Company recaptures Calcutta and
ally themselves with Hindu bankers against Siraj-ud-Daula. The East
India Company's force of 800 redcoats and 2000 Indians defeat
Siraj-ud-Daula at the Battle of Plassy. The East India Company will now
be the power behind the throne in Bengal and will take responsibility
for collecting taxes and maintaining law and order in Calcutta and in
the area from Bihar in the northwest to Orissa to the southwest.
The Japanese scholar, Aoki Konyo, introduces the sweet potato to his
fellow countrymen, and he completes a Dutch/Japanese dictionary.
Voltaire's response to Leibniz and the Lisbon earthquake is published -
his novel, Candide. The fictional character Dr. Pangloss is Leibniz.
In an internationally recognized move, rule over Naples and Sicily
falls to Ferdinand, third son of Spain's king Charles III.
British arms have succeeded against the French in North America. French
resistance there ends.
The slow-moving Maratha (Hindu) army reaches Delhi on 1 August and
takes control of the city the next day. The fighting continues against
an Afghan force that includes Pashtun tribesmen.
1761 to 1770
At the Third Battle of Panipat, in January, armies of more than
100,000, face off: the Hindu Maratha Empire against a coalition force
that includes the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani, to be
considered the founder of modern Afghanistan. It will be described as
the biggest battle in the 1700s and killing perhaps 40,000 on each
side. The battle halts the advance of the Marathas. The Marathas were
using French supplied artillery. This is in the far north of the
sub-continent, about 90 kilometers north of Delhi. Two days later on
the eastern side of the southern tip of the sub-continent a British
force takes Pondichéry from the French.
During the Seven Years' War, Empress Elizabeth of Russia dies. The new
ruler, Tsar Peter III takes Russia out of the war against Prussia.
Having lost hope of gain, Sweden also withdraws from the war. France
talks Spain into joining the war on its side against Britain.
The Seven Years' War ends. Britain, Spain and France sign the Treaty of
Paris and Austria and Prussia sign the Peace of Hubertusburg in
February. Austria gains nothing. France loses possessions in the
Americas and cedes to Spain the huge territory of Louisiana, including
New Orleans. France agrees to pull out of India, and it cedes its
colony by the Senegal River to the British. Spain acquires Cuba and the
Philippines and gives up Florida, which goes to Britain.
With the Seven Years' War, Britain has acquired territory from the
French in North America's Great Lakes region. By April many tribes in
the area are fed up with the policies of Britain's General Jeffrey
Amherst begin to attack British forts and the settlements of colonists,
to be called Pontiac's War. (Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa tribe is but
one player.) At Fort Pitt, British officers attempt to infect the
Indians with smallpox using blankets that had been exposed to the
virus. In October, a royal proclamation by King George III attempts to
stabilize the region by it forbidding settlers from moving beyond the
Appalachian Mountains. This will anger colonial land speculators.
The Indian raids against colonizers has expanded. The Pennsylvania
Assembly, with the approval of Governor Penn, reintroduces the scalp
bounties, money paid for every Indian killed above the age of ten,
including females. It was the first extensive multi-tribal resistance
to European colonization in North America. The British fought back with
military actions and separate treaties, aided by conflicts between
A French trading company establishes a trading post on the Mississippi
River, to be known as St. Louis.
Edward Gibbon decides to write The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
A Scottish instrument maker, James Watt, creates a condenser for steam
engines. It will be eleven years before it will be put to use.
In France a twenty-eight volume encyclopedia is completed, with
hundreds of thousands of articles by leading scientists and famous
writers. It includes an article against slavery and the slave trade.
The government has banned the book, and the Catholic Church has placed
it on its index of forbidden books.
The Seven Years' War left Britain in debt and its military still in the
Americas, to protect the colonists from Indian uprisings. Britain
expects the colonists to help with taxes to pay for its commitments in
the Americas. Parliament's Stamp Act, aimed at acquiring more revenue
from the colonies, is resisted and rioting occurs. Parliament repeals
the Stamp Act but passes the Declaratory Act, asserting its authority
in the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." Colonists remain disturbed
by their lack of political power and taxation without representation.
In Spain, political activism by Jesuits has angered the monarchy. Spain
confiscates Jesuit properties in its American colonies and expels the
Jesuits. In Spain's American colonies rioting occurs.
The crew of a British ship commanded by Samuel Wallis visits the island
of Tahiti. The Europeans are to stay around forty days and defend their
ship from attack by aggressive males with spears. Eventually peace is
made. Wallis finds the Tahitians with a hierarchical, tribal and
communal society, with devotion to a god, 'Oro, that includes human
sacrifice. Perhaps 2,000 years have passed since humans arrived at
Tahiti and surrounding islands, and by now peoples there have been
involved in quarrels and war.
Sugar consumption, which began among the Arabs and has been limited to
Europe's wealthy, is growing in popularity, common Europeans becoming
more familiar with sweet taste. Islands in the Caribbean are the great
producers of sugar, the labor supplied by slaves. Demand for sugar has
elevated its price, and planters are trying to increase production.
Sugar refining uses the first modern factory-like production system. A
sugar mill in Jamaica becomes the first to use a steam engine.
The French explorer Louis Bougainville "discovers" Tahiti and claims it
for King Louis XV of France.
Spain has asked the Franciscan Order to replace Jesuits in Lower (Baja)
California. Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan, has become head of
missions in Lower California. He is sent north by Spain's governor
there, to Upper California, to Christianize natives and to block
Russian claims to coastal areas.
Greeks are not allowed to acquire land from Ottoman landowners. Greece
is ruled by the Ottoman Turks. Greek peasants want land and are
encouraged by the Russians to rise in revolt. A small Russian force
lands on the Peloponnesian Peninsula to support the rising. The Ottoman
Empire crushes the rising using Albanian soldiers.
Captain Cook sails to New Zealand, arriving unaware of the presence of
French explorer, Jean-François-Marie de Surville, who is anchored
there. Cook claims the area for King George III and sails to Australia.
Monsoon rains have not arrived, leaving grain crops in Bengal
diminished. Famine appears, killing perhaps a third of Bengal's
Along the Zambezi River, those called Prazeros, originally Portuguese
adventurer-traders, are now more African racially than they are
European. Some have been warlords with slave armies, but they have been
facing revolts. Some they have tried to subjugate have been moving
away. The power of the Prazeros and their opulent lifestyles are in
The Dutch claim the Gamtoos River, 700 kilometers east of Cape Town, as
their eastern border in South Africa.
Timeline: 1771 to 1780
By the Gamtoos River, clashes occur between Xhosa people and Dutch
trekkers (pastoral wagon pullers).
Oxygen is discovered by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.
Europeans have been investigating the properties of gasses.
A Baptist Church for black slaves is founded is South Carolina Colony.
Tea selling businessmen in Boston are upset because the British East
India Company has been given the right to sell tea directly to the
colonists and at a cheaper price. The business men have begun a boycott
of the East India Company's tea along the Atlantic coast. They disguise
themselves as Indians and throw 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor -
to be known as the Boston Tea Party.
An English chemist, Joseph Priestly, independently discovers oxygen.
King George III of Britain decides to punish lawbreakers in the
colonies. He closes Boston Harbor and expands the powers of his
governor in Massachusetts. Local elections in Massachusetts are
curtailed. Town meetings are forbidden and colonists are obliged to pay
for the tea dumped into the bay. Many throughout the colonies feel
threatened. Delegates from the colonies meet at the "First Continental
Congress" to discuss grievances. The Congress drafts a letter that is
sent to the king.
An expedition led by Britain's Captain James Cook returns to Tahiti.
Granted permission to observe the dissection of an executed woman, a
small group of Edoscholars realize their understanding of human anatomy
(based on Chinese theory) is wrong. What they witness corresponds to a
Dutch book on anatomy owned by one of the scholars, Dr. Sugita Genpaku.
Concerned about colonist violence, a contingent of 2,000 "redcoat"
soldiers is sent to the town of Concord to confiscate munitions. They
are shot at and shoot back. The soldiers suffer 72 dead and the
colonists 49. Emotions among the colonists flare. Fighting erupts in
New York colony and in Massachusetts at Breeds Hill, to be known as the
Battle of Bunker Hill.
(Feb) The first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire, by Edward Gibbon, is published. Part of the Enlightenment, it
describes the rise of Christianity (within the Roman Empire) in terms
of behavior of people rather than godly miracles.
Britain's Adam Smith proposes a broader way of looking at wealth. His
book, Wealth of Nations is published. He sees wealth as more than
precious metals and stones. He proposes that more wealth to common
people would benefit Britain's economy and society. He sees consumers
choosing to buy the products of competing businessmen as favorable
George Washington stops his routine toasting of George III at the army
officer dinners. A second Continental Congress meets and on July 4
declares independence. The declaration is recognized in Britain as an
act of rebellion. Ranking members of the Anglican Church in the
colonies remain loyal, as do many wealthy businessmen and humble
farmers and shopkeepers.
Vermont establishes itself as a colony with a constitution that
abolishes slavery, institutes universal manhood suffrage and requires
support for public education.
The French have remained neutral regarding the rebellion in Britain's
colonies, but they have been supplying the rebels with guns and
gunpowder. French volunteers begin joining the ranks of the
revolutionaries, including a 20-year-old, the Marquis de Lafayette, who
is seeking revenge for the death of his father and for France's loss of
territory from the Seven Years' War.
South Carolina becomes the first state to ratify the Articles of
Confederation (Feb 5).
France signs an alliance with the American rebel force and recognizes
the United States of America as a sovereign nation on February 5. On
July 5, France's king, Louis XVI, declares war on Britain.
British ships land at Savannah (Decembr 29). A force of between 2500
and 3600 troops, which includes Britain's 71st Highland regiment, New
York Loyalists, and Hessian mercenaries, begins a campaign in the South.
Two ships under the command of Captain James Cook, sailing from Tahiti,
arrive in the Hawaiian Islands, perhaps the first Europeans to visit
these islands. Cook finds a tribal and religious people. He was already
experienced with Polynesians and thought of them as generally
intelligent. Cook and company find the Hawaiians with a different sense
of property than Europeans, what Europeans would describe as thievery.
A rebel force defeats a combined Indian and Loyalist force at what
today is Elmira, New York (Aug 29). Following their victory, the rebels
head northwest in retaliation against a campaign of terror against
settlers. They destroy nearly 40 Cayuga and Seneca Indian villages.
On Africa's Atlantic coast, Luanda has become the leading point of
departure for slaves. Power there is measured by the number of slaves
one owns. A businessman might own fifty slaves while the owner of a
great spread of land might own more than a thousand. Slave labor in the
city constructs buildings and paved roads.
The Dutch have claimed their eastern boundary in South Africa 200 miles
beyond their previous boundary, the Gamtoos River. Another war has
begun with the Xhosa.
On his second visit to the Hawaiian Islands, Captain Cook is killed
during a conflict over one of his small boats taken by islanders.
In Japan, forest inventory and production planning begin.
The state of Pennsylvania passes a law freeing children born of slaves.
Those born prior to the Act are to remain enslaved for life.
George Washington's most trusted general, General Gates, is chasing the
British through the woods of South Carolina, into Virginia and back
again into North Carolina. The British are low on supplies, stealing
from the Americans and enraging them.
In Peru, Jose Gabriel Condocanqui, a mestizo, identifies himself with
Inca royalty by calling himself Tapuc Amaru II. He is rebelling against
economic abuses and gains broad support, including among some Criollo
Spanish. He holds power at Cuzco and La Paz, but within a year he is
captured and executed. In coming years colonial authorities will
continue to respond to the uprising by destroying what is left of the
wealth and status of Indian nobility and they will end local autonomy
in Peru's highland communities.
During the American Revolutionary War, a French fleet drives a British
naval force from Chesapeake Bay. The British general, Lord Cornwallis,
is surrounded on land and sea by Americans and French and surrenders at
A militant Islamic order, Tijaniyya, is set up in Algeria. It is Sufi
spirituality and requires "complete submission to God and adherence to
the Sharia." It includes three principles: Asking God for forgiveness;
chanting La Ilaha Illallah everyday; and offering prayers upon the
In Japan unusually bad weather damages crops. In many areas high taxes
have left farmers without reserves of rice. There is famine. People
forage for roots, eat cats and dogs and cannibalism occurs.
In Thailand, Rama I reigns. He begins the Chakri dynasty, to last into
the twenty-first century.
England has its last "hanged, drawn and quartered" execution for
treason. For treasonable correspondence with the French, a Scotsman,
David Tyrie, is hanged until almost dead, disemboweled, emasculated,
his entrails and genetalia burned in front of him, then he is beheaded
and his body cut into four pieces.
Britain's parliament advises King George III to make peace with the
rebels in America. In Paris informal talks begin. The Dutch recognize
the independence of the former colonies. Formal negotiations
King George has declared the thirteen colonies "free and independent."
France and Spain sign articles of peace with Britain. In Paris,
delegates from the colonies sign the Treaty of Peace.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rules slavery illegal based
on the state's 1780 constitution. All slaves are immediately freed.
The Continental Congress, with nine states represented, ratifies the
Treaty of Paris.
Napoleon Bonaparte becomes a lieutenant in the French artillery.
The United States signs the Treaty of Hopewellwith the Cherokees
(November 28). It lays out boundaries of land that is supposed to
belong to the Cherokees.
Mozart's comic opera about oppression, The Marriage of Figaro, appears.
New York is the eleventh state to ratify the US Constitution. Congress
elects George Washington as President. Congress adds ten amendments to
the constitution - the Bill of Rights.
France has gone deep in debt through wartime borrowing. Much of the
government's annual budget goes to pay an ever increasing interest on
the debt. The government is spending little for maintaining public
welfare. The government would like to start taxing those privileged who
have been exempt from taxation, and they do not like it. Clergy, nobles
and commoners want political change.
Louis XVI creates more dissatisfaction by abolishing the power of
parliament to review royal edicts. There has been insufficient
government planning and storage of grain for emergency shortages. A
hailstorm destroys crops. France has its worst harvests in forty years.
Winter food riots occur.
Britain's prisons have been overcrowded, and having lost its thirteen
colonies in the Americas it can no longer send convicts there. Instead
it sends eleven ships with 1,372 people, including 732 of its more
unruly convicts, to a place in Australia named after Lord Sydney,
secretary of state for Britain's colonies.
Frustrated commoners have created a new National Assembly and are
joined by some clergy and nobles. Parisians storm the Bastille. The
National Assembly declares an end to feudal rights and proclaims The
Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. A constitution is in the
making, and an intimidated Louis XVI agrees to become a constitutional
In Paris, a delegation of distinguished mulattos (gens de couleur) from
France's wealthiest colony, St. Domingue (Haiti), asks whether the
Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen applies to them, and they are
told that it does.
On November 21, North Carolina becomes the twelfth state to ratify the
On May 29, Rhode Island becomes the last and thirteenth state to ratify
the US Constitution.
In England, executing women for treason by burning them at the stake is
The National Assembly abolishes tariff barriers within France - which
had been the moneymaking devices for local nobility. It abolishes all
aristocratic and hereditary titles. Harvests have improved and many
believe that God is siding with the revolution. Deputies to the
National Assembly are mostly Christians, and they see the message of
Jesus as supporting liberty, tolerance and against despotism. In their
opinion the revolution should conform to Christian principles. They
want less opulence in the Catholic Church. They decide that the
government should oversee the elections of pastors and bishops, and
they want clergymen to swear loyalty to this plan. Violence erupts
between supporters of the revolution and defenders of the Church. About
half of the clergy are to refuse to swear loyalty to the government
George Washington's dentist creates a dental drill powered by a foot
Timeline: 1791 to 1800
American brigantine, Lady Washington, is the first American ship to
dock in Japan. Britain's North American possession divides into Upper
and Lower Canada.
Louis has been troubled by government intrusions into church matters.
People become suspicious about his loyalty to the revolution. Louis XVI
attempts to flee from France. He, his queen, Marie Antoinette, and
their children are arrested at Varennes and brought back to Paris. The
Constituent National Assembly suspends the king's authority until
further notice. The new constitution takes effect, with the National
Assembly replaced by a newly elected parliament - the Legislative
Assembly - mostly youthful lawyers of moderate wealth.
In Domingue, white vigilantes defeat a small army of gens de couleur.
Twenty-two of the gens de couleur are hanged, as is a priest who had
joined them. Slaves revolt. Plantations are burned and around a
thousand whites slaughtered. Paris sends soldiers to the colony to
Nepalese Gurhkas invade Tibet again. They seize the city of Shigatse
(about 390 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu), and they destroy the
A Russian ship lands at Japan's northern Island - today Hokkaido. The
Japanese allow the Russians to spend the winter but not to establish
In France, amnesty has been offered those who fled the country and the
revolution. Few return and parliament votes in favor of declaring all
émigres as plotting against the revolution - a capital offense. An
ultimatum is sent to Austria, demanding the expulsion of those
Frenchmen hostile to the revolution. The brother of Marie-Antoinette,
Leopold II of Austria, does not cooperate. France declares war. Prussia
joins Austria against France and captures Verdun just inside France. In
France is war fever and people are afraid of the German invasion.
Parisians go on a five-day rampage, to monasteries and from prison to
prison, killing political prisoners, priests and nobles. The dead are
counted at around 1,500.
The Qing emperor, Qianlong, issues a 29-point decree to tighten his
control over Tibet. A Qing (Manchu) army assisted by Tibetan troops
drive the Gurkha Nepalese troops back into Nepal, to within 20
kilometers of Kathmandu. The Gurkhas return the treasure they plundered.
The Guatemalan poet Rafael Landivar (born in 1731) dies at the age of
sixty-two. He was one of the Jesuits expelled from the Americas by
Spain. He had been part of the Enlightenment that had spread to Spain's
American colonies. He had written:
Now, those of you whom subtle genius has raised above the common herd,
put off the custom of yesterday, and clothe yourselves with the new.
Louis XVI, accused of conspiring against the nation, is executed.
France is proclaimed a republic. The British, Dutch and Spanish go to
war against the French Revolution. In the United States, Thomas
Jefferson supports France, Alexander Hamilton supports England and
President Washington chooses neutrality. Jean Paul Marat, who believed
in the redistribution of wealth, a dictatorship representing the poor,
and a passionate supporter of terror against enemies of the revolution,
is assassinated by Charlotte Corday. She believes that in killing Marat
she is saving the revolution. Instead, the assassination intensifies
passions and fears.
Catherine the Great of Russia, Joseph of Austria, and Frederick William
II of Prussia take advantage of the turmoil in France to confiscate
more Polish lands, in what was called the Second Partition of Poland.
At France's colonial possession St. Domingue (Haiti), the black leader
Toussaint L'Ouverture decrees all slaves emancipated, and many slaves
join his rebel army. The British, at war with France, land a force in
the south of the colony.
On a charge of treason, ultra-leftists in Paris behead a famous
scientist, the founder of modern chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier - just
one of many being executed in what will be known as a reign of terror
The ultra-leftists consider revolutionaries less fervent and more
tolerant than they, disloyal. Fear swings with legislators
against those leading the "terror." The executioners - Robespierre and
associates - are themselves executed.
The Russians crush a nationalist uprising by Poles.
Russia, Austria and Prussia participate in the Third Partition of
The first graphite pencils are introduced.
In France, moderate revolutionaries want order and stability. Hunger
and rioting reoccur. The rioters are crushed. A new constitution
supports property rights, but properties confiscated from the Church
and from émigres are not to be returned.
The war between France and other European powers continues. In Italy
with his French army, Napoleon occupies Venice. City-states are no
longer world powers. Some Europeans have been expecting liberation by
the French, but Napoleon has been turning conquests into
Inoculation is tested by Edward Jenner during a smallpox epidemic in
London. Jenner does not understand how the immunity system works, but
he has taken scientists a step in that direction.
The Treaty of Tripoli is signed by US President John Adams. It
establishes friendship between the US and Tripolitania (on North
Africa's Mediterranean coast). It includes the following clause:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense,
founded on the Christian religion ... has in itself no character of
enmity against the laws, religion , or tranquility , of Mussulmen
[Muslims] ... it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising
from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the
harmony existing between the two countries.
Napoleon invades Egypt with a plan to cut Britain's trade route to
India (although the Suez Canal has yet to be been built). A British
naval force, led by Admiral Horatio Nelson, smashes the French navy at
anchor at Abu Qir bay, near Alexandria, Egypt - the French losing 6,200
men as casualties and prisoners.
George Washington is an old man at 67. He has little more than five
months to live. In his will and testament he gives directions for
freeing his more than 100 slaves after his wife Martha's death. She has
more than 100 slaves of her own. She will free George's slaves on
January 1, 1801 and die in May 1802.
George Washington wakes up while having difficulty breathing. He orders
an employee to bleed him. A doctor arrives and bleeds him again. The
theory is that bleeding releases the bad blood that causes whatever
ails - a theory from ancient times that William Harvey (who discovered
blood circulation in 1628) disliked. Washington orders no further
bleeding but is bled again. He dies. The bad blood theory and
bloodletting would still be used by a few (who loved their analogies
rather than good science) into the 20th century.
The Dutch join the war against France. The French are losing everywhere
but in Egypt. Monarchists in France rise in revolt, expecting the
arrival of foreign armies. Napoleon abandons his army in Egypt and
returns to France. A military hero, much of the country rallies around
him, as do politicians seeking to protect the revolution. In the guise
of an emergency to save France from a leftist coup a three-man
provisional government is created, one of whom is Napoleon as First
Consul. The new order is approved by plebiscite. .
In a secret treaty with Spain, the Treaty of San Ildefonso, France
England's population, around 5.25 million in 1720, has increased to
around 9 million. World population has risen from between 600 and 680
million in 1700 to one billion, roughly calculated. The most populous
cities in 1800 are:
Guangzhou, China: 1.5 million. Hangchow, China: 1,000,000 Kingtehchen,
China: 1,000,000 NanJing, China: 1,000,000 Edo (Tokyo), Japan 1,000,000
London, England: 865,000 Beijing, China: 700,000 Constantinople
(Istanbul), Turkey: 598,000 Paris, France: 548,000 Kyoto, Japan:530,000
Mexico City has a population of 250,000. New York City: 60,000.
Population remains sparse in areas occupied by hunter-gatherers - in
Africa and the plains of North America. Areas occupied by pastoral
nomads are also sparse.
Educational videos offered
Welcome to Our World of
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