European History: The 18th Century

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    Sir Isaac Newton

    One of the greatest physicists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton is best know for his Laws of Motion, works in optics, and for combining the works of Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler in Principia Mathematica.
  • 18th Century Begins

  • St. Petersburg founded by Peter the Great of Russia

    St. Petersburg founded by Peter the Great of Russia
    In desparate need of a warm-water seaport and looking to establish a modern, westernized capital, Peter the Great establishes the new Russian capital of St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea, flaunting his magnifience in the manner of a typical absolute monarch.
  • Sir Isaac Newton Publishes Opticks

    Sir Isaac Newton Publishes Opticks
    Following one of his most well known works, Principia Mathematica, Isaac Newton published his major work in optics. In this publication Newton reports on his studies of the reflection of mirrors, the phenomena of diffratction, and dispersion using a prism to divide white light into a spectrum of colors, and recomposing it into white light. This work has proven to be the foundation of the modern study of optics.
  • Louis XIV of France Dies

    Louis XIV of France Dies
    At the age of 76 Louis XIV of France dies of gangrene in the Palace of Versailles. Following Louis' death the French monarchy will never regain the magnificence or power it commanded during his reign. France will be left in financial and social crisis, providing fertile ground for the beginnings of the French Revolution.
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    Catherine the Great

    One of the most powerful Russian monarchs of the 18th century, Catherine the Great held strongly to the ideals of absolutism, while acting as an enlightened despot by pushing social reform until Pugachev's Rebellion prompted her to harshly restrict Russian serfs.
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    Antoine Lavoisier

    Often considered to be the father of modern chemisty Antoine Lavoisier is best known for creating the Law of Conservation of Mass, naming oxygen and hydrogen, and aiding in the construction of the metric system. Laviosier fell victim to the madness of the French Revolution and was executed via guillotine for selling watered-down tobacco.
  • Seven Years War Begins

    Seven Years War Begins
    The first continental alliances war waged over the balance of power in Europe fought largely in central Europe and the Americas. Initially growing out of tensions between Prussia and Austria stemming from the War of Austrian Succession, the Seven Years' War is often considered the first global conflict because of fights in the North American colonies of Great Britain and France.
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    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart displayed musical genius nearly from birth and this prodigious streak would stay with him for life as he rose to be one of the most prominent classical composers. Mozart composed over 600 pieces ranging from operas to piano conciertos up until his mysterious and untimely death at the age of 35.
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    Napoleon Bonaparte

    Rising from insignificance, Napoleone Bonaparte proved to be one of the greatest military minds of all time. His dictatorial, autocratic rule of France both resulted from, and ended, the tumultuous evens of the French Revolution. Ultimately his lust for power and dominance would be his undoing, trumping all of his military brilliance in the end.
  • Pugachev's Rebellion Begins

    Pugachev's Rebellion Begins
    A poor serf named Emelyan Pugachev caused the largest peasant revolt of the reign of Catherine the Great by impersonated her husband, Peter III, setting up a second bureaucracy and attempted to overthrow Catherine's government. Catherine struck down hard, squelching the rebellion, executing Pugachev, and placing harsh restrictions on the Russian serfdom.
  • Mozart Composes The Marriage of Figaro

    Mozart Composes The Marriage of Figaro
    One of Mozart's most well known works, The Marriage of Figaro, an opera, is composed. Because of the satirical nature of the opera and its highly critcal portrayal of aristocracy, the opera is banned in Vienna. The Overture of the Marriage of Figaro is still widely performed to this day as a concert piece.
  • The United States Constitution is Written

    The United States Constitution is Written
    Drafted by James Madison, the United States Constitution is written encompassing the philosophies of prominent Enlightenment thinkers such as Montesquieu, Beccaria, Locke, and Rousseau, setting the course for many future governments.
  • French Revolution Begins

    French Revolution Begins
    Discontented by the harsh taxes levelled upon them France's common class, the Third Estate, rose up, toppling the French monarchy. The revolution came to a head in events like the storming of the Bastille in Paris and the women's march on Versailles.
  • Edward Jenner Administers First Smallpox Vaccine

    Edward Jenner Administers First Smallpox Vaccine
    After observing the less severe affect of smallpox on milkmaids after having contracted cowpox, a similar disease, British physician Edward Jenner theorized that by administering cowpox in small doses, one might be less susceptible to cowpox. Jenner tested this hypothesis on James Phibbs, proving this theory to be true, setting the stage for modern vaccinations.
  • Napoleon Becomes First Consul of the First French Republic

    Napoleon Becomes First Consul of the First French Republic
    After a long and successful career as France's only undefeated general, Napoleon Bonaparte returns to Paris in an attempt to quell political turmoil in the still unstable French government. With the help of Emmanuel Sieyes, Napoleon is appointed First Consul of the First French Republic, setting him on his path towards dictatorian rule and large-scale military conquest.
  • 18th Century Ends