1600–1699 (A.D.) World History

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

(c. 1595–1617)
The Library of Congress Picture Collection
Galileo Galilei
Johannes Keppler
Johannes Kepler
The Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
The Library of Congress Picture Collection
John Milton


Giordano Bruno burned as a heretic. English East India Company established.


Ieyasu rules Japan, moves capital to Edo (Tokyo). Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Cervantes's Don Quixote de la Mancha, the first modern novel.
Jamestown, Virginia, established—first permanent English colony on American mainland. Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, saves life of John Smith.
Samuel de Champlain establishes French colony of Quebec. The Relation, the first newspaper, debuts in Germany.
Galileo sees the moons of Jupiter through his telescope.
Gustavus Adolphus elected King of Sweden. King James Version of the Bible published in England. Rubens paints his Descent from the Cross.
John Napier discovers logarithms.
Start of the Thirty Years' War > Protestants revolt against Catholic oppression; Denmark, Sweden, and France will invade Germany in later phases of war. Kepler proposes last of three laws of planetary motion.
A Dutch ship brings the first African slaves to British North America.
Pilgrims, after three-month voyage in Mayflower, land at Plymouth Rock. Francis Bacon's Novum Organum.
New Netherland founded by Dutch West India Company.
Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Maryland founded by Lord Baltimore.
Inquisition forces Galileo (astronomer) to recant his belief in Copernican theory.
English Civil War. Cavaliers, supporters of Charles I, against Roundheads, parliamentary forces. Oliver Cromwell defeats Royalists (1646). Parliament demands reforms. Charles I offers concessions, brought to trial (1648), beheaded (1649). Cromwell becomes Lord Protector (1653). Rembrandt paints his Night Watch.
Taj Mahal completed.
End of Ming Dynasty in China—Manchus come to power. Descartes's Principles of Philosophy.
End of the Thirty Years' War. German population about half of what it was in 1618 because of war and pestilence.
Cromwell dies; son Richard resigns and Puritan government collapses.
English Parliament calls for the restoration of the monarchy; invites Charles II to return from France.
Charles II is crowned King of England. Louis XIV begins personal rule as absolute monarch; starts to build Versailles.
British take New Amsterdam from the Dutch. English limit “Nonconformity” with reestablished Anglican Church. Isaac Newton's experiments with gravity.
Great Plague in London kills 75,000.
Great Fire of London. Molière's Misanthrope.
Milton's Paradise Lost, widely considered the greatest epic poem in English.
Pennsylvania founded by William Penn.
War of European powers against the Turks (to 1699). Vienna withstands three-month Turkish siege; high point of Turkish advance in Europe.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's calculus published.
James II succeeds Charles II in England, calls for freedom of conscience (1687). Protestants fear restoration of Catholicism and demand “Glorious Revolution.” William of Orange invited to England and James II escapes to France (1688). William III and his wife, Mary, crowned. In France, Edict of Nantes of 1598, granting freedom of worship to Huguenots, is revoked by Louis XIV; thousands of Protestants flee.
Peter the Great becomes Czar of Russia—attempts to westernize nation and build Russia as a military power. Defeats Charles XII of Sweden at Poltava (1709). Beginning of the French and Indian Wars (to 1763), campaigns in America linked to a series of wars between France and England for domination of Europe.
William III of England defeats former king James II and Irish rebels at Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. John Locke's Human Understanding.

The Revolutionary War

Conflicts increase between colonists and Britain on western frontier because of royal edict limiting western expansion (1763) and regulation of colonial trade and increased taxation of colonies (Writs of Assistance allow search for illegal shipments, 1761; Sugar Act, 1764; Currency Act, 1764; Stamp Act, 1765; Quartering Act, 1765; Duty Act, 1767). Boston Massacre (1770). Lord North attempts conciliation (1770). Boston Tea Party (1773), followed by punitive measures passed by Parliament—the “Intolerable Acts.”

First Continental Congress (1774) sends “Declaration of Rights and Grievances” to King George III, urges colonies to form Continental Association. Paul Revere's ride and Lexington and Concord battle between Massachusetts Minutemen and British (1775).

Second Continental Congress (1775), while sending “olive branch” to the king, begins to raise army, appoints Washington commander-in-chief, and seeks alliance with France. Some colonial legislatures urge their delegates to vote for independence. Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776).

Major Battles of the Revolutionary War: Long Island: Howe defeats Putnam's division of Washington's Army in Brooklyn Heights, but Americans escape across East River (1776). Trenton and Princeton: Washington defeats Hessians at Trenton, British at Princeton. Winters at Morristown (1776–1777). Howe winters in Philadelphia; Washington at Valley Forge (1777–1778). Burgoyne surrenders British army to General Gates at Saratoga (1777).

France recognizes American independence (1778). The War moves south: Savannah captured by British (1778); Charleston occupied (1780); Americans fight successful guerrilla actions under Marion, Pickens, and Sumter. In the West, George Rogers Clark attacks Forts Kaskaskia and Vincennes (1778–1779), defeating British in the region. Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia (Oct. 19, 1781). By 1782, Britain is eager for peace because of conflicts with European nations. Peace of Paris (1783): Britain recognizes American independence.

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