Enlightenment's Major Events

  • Galileo Discovers Planets

    Through the invention of the telescope, Galileo discovered that planets revolve around the sun. This sparked the beginning of questioning science, religion & government.
  • 30 Years War

    War began between the Catholics & the Protestants which spread across Europe. The war ended in 1648 with the treaty of Westphalia.
  • Louis XIV takes rule of France

    He established the idea the all the light in France came from him. He constructed the Palace of Versailles, he also attempted to remove nobles from power. This brought on architecture & questioning of government into the Enlightenment period.
  • Peace of Westphalia

    This was the treaty of Westphalia which gave people the right to choose their own religion. It was considered the beginning of the modern era.
  • Thomas Hobbes publishes Leviathan

    The ideas of social construct were early documented in Hobbes’ Leviathan. He stated that a person with absolute power should rule a nation, and should be responsible for ensuring the protection and prosperity of his people.
  • Peter the Great becomes Czar of Russia

    He wanted to implant Westernization in Russia. He began to promote education and built St. Petersburg. This was important to Enlightenment because it emphasizes the need for education.
  • The Glorious Revolution

    James II daughter overthrows him & then makes the Crown and Parliament equal in power.
  • Montesquieu writes Spirit of the Laws

    The book focused on separation of powers. He believed that no section of government should have too much power over the rest. He also believed that the size of a state would determine it’s type of government.
  • Diderot writes Encyclopedia

    In 27 years, he wrote 28 books of the Encyclopedia. It praised the ideas of Enlightenment. It was also an influence in the French Revolution. This also got him thrown in jail for going against the Catholic church.
  • Voltaire publishes Candide

    The plot was centered around a man that starts life optimistic but through a life of misfortune shows his optimism was unwarranted. It was banned in many places for insulting the church & political institution.
  • Catherine the Great becomes Czar of Russia

    She was married to Peter the Great’s grandson. Soon nobles became tired of her husband’s rule & put her in charge. She promoted art and education, she continued Westernization in Russia.
  • Joseph II Comes into Power

    Joseph II of Austria became emperor in 1764. He got rid of executions & torture. He offered food to the poor, and forced nobility to pay them for their work.
  • Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations

    He invented the term laissez-fare in this book which promoted free market capitalism. He stated that if government stayed out of the markets, the people participating would be richer.
  • The Estates-General

    The Estates-General was an assembly that King Louis XVI set up to come up with solutions to France's financial crisis. It was made up of three groups, which had representatives: The Clergy, the Nobility, and the Commons. They continued to have conflict until the Third Estate, the Commoners, started the French Revolution. This ended the Enlightenment period.