Chronology of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
- Death of the Duke of Gloucester, only son of Princess Anne; the
protestant succession of the English throne now passes to the House
- John Locke publishes the fourth edition
of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, containing a new chapter on
"The Association of Ideas."
- Georg Ernest Stahl first develops phlogiston theory.
- Death of John Dryden.
- In England, an Act of Succession
secures the continuation of the protestant line through the House of Hanover.
- James II of England dies in exile. Louis XIV of France
recognizes James Stuart (the "Old Pretender") as King James III.
- The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel founded in London.
- Daniel Defoe publishes The True-Born Englishman.
- William III dies, and Queen Anne assumes the English throne.
- The Asiento Guinea Company is founded in order to exploit the slave
trade between West Africa and the Americas.
- The Duke of Marlborough becomes commander of English forces in Europe and
begins his continental campaigns.
- Publication of the Daily Courant, London's
first daily newspaper.
- Clarendon publishes The History of the Great Rebellion.
- Daniel Defoe publishes The Shortest Way with Dissenters, a satire on
the suppression of religious dissent which will land him in prison during the next year.
- Tsar Peter the Great establishes
Petersburg as the new capital of Russia.
- Sir Isaac Newton becomes President
of the Royal Society.
- While imprisoned, Daniel Defoe begins publication of the weekly paper, The Review.
- Publication of the Universal, Historical, Geographical, Chronological
and Classical Dictionary, the first alphabetic reference work in
- Death of Robert Hooke.
- Birth of John Wesley, founder of Methodism.
- English forces under Marlborough ally with Prince Eugene; defeat French
and Bavarian forces at the Battle of Blenheim. English forces in Spain take
the strategic peninsula of Gibraltar.
- Isaac Newton's Opticks
first translated into English.
- Mary Astell publishes Moderation Truly Stated, A Fair Way
with Dissenters and their Patrons, An Impartial Enquiry into the
Causes of Rebellion and Civil War.
- Jonathan Swift publishes A Tale
of a Tub and The Battle of the Books.
- Death of John Locke.
- Edmund Halley correctly predicts the return, in 1758,
of a comet last seen in 1682.
- His Majesty's Theatre opens in London.
- Robert Hooke's Discourse on
Earthquakes (published posthumously) discusses geological mechanisms
responsible for the distribution of fossils.
- Bernard Mandeville publishes The Grumbling Hive (re-issued, with
notes, as The Fable of the Bees in 1714).
- Death of John Ray
- The Duke of Marlborough conquers the Spanish Netherlands.
- The Evening Post, the first daily evening newspaper, is launched
- Benjamin Franklin born.
- January 1: An Act of Union causes England and Scotland to be united as Great Britain. The
Scottish parliament in Edinburgh is adjourned.
Scotland sends sixteen Peers and forty-five Members of Parliament to Westminster in
return for cross-border trading rights.
- Death of Aurangzeb, the last Mogul Emperor. British colonial power in
India waxes, with the East India
Company exercising increasing control over Indian territories.
- Sir John Floyer introduces the method of measuring blood circulation by
counting the rate of pulse beats.
- Birth of Comte de Buffon.
- Carolus Linnaeus born.
- James Stuart, the "Old Pretender," lands at the Firth of Forth, near
Edinburgh. Unable to mount a rebellion
in Scotland, he returns to France
four days later.
- Merger of the British East India Company and the New East India Company.
- The University of Oxford founds its first
Professorship of Poetry.
- Jeremy Collier begins publication of his Ecclesiastical History of
Great Britain (completed 1714).
- Isaac Newton knighted by Queen
- The British Parliament passes a Bill for the naturalization of
- The first Copyright Act is passed in Great Britain, granting owners
fourteen years' protection, renewable for another fourteen if the author
is still alive.
- George Berkeley publishes An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision.
- Daniel Defoe publishes History of the Union of Great Britain.
- Alexander Pope publishes his Pastorals
in the sixth part of Tonson's Miscellany.
- Nicholas Rowe begins work on an edition of Shakespeare's plays.
- Steele and Addison publish the first issue of The Tatler, the first
major British periodical.
- Samuel Johnson born.
- Julien Offray de La Mettrie
- George Berkeley publishes A Treatise Concerning the Principles of
- Leibniz publishes his
- John Ray publishes Historia
- Encouraged by the prospects of peace between
England and Spain, the South
Sea Company is founded in order to exploit mercantile trade in the Spanish
- Addison and Steele begin The Spectator.
- Alexander Pope publishes An Essay
- Lord Shaftesbury publishes
- Death of Nehemiah Grew (or
- Birth of David Hume.
- The Peace Congress begins at Utrecht in the Netherlands, raising the hope
of an end to the prolonged war of Spanish succession.
- The last execution for witchcraft in England.
- The Newspaper Stamp Act exploits the popularity of new publications as a
means of raising tax revenue.
- Alexander Pope publishes
The Rape of the Lock.
- June: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
- Frederick the Great of Prussia born.
- The Peace of Utrecht ends the wars between Spain and Britain. Spain agrees to cede Gibraltar
and Minorca to the British.
- Emperor Charles VI issues the "Pragmatic Sanction" doctrine, allowing
female right of succession in Hapsburg domains.
- Founding of the "Scriblerus Club" in London. Members include Pope, Swift, and Gay.
- The Board of Longitude is founded in London. Its aim is to solve the
problem of accurately measuring a ship's longitudinal position while at
- Roger Cotes issues a revision of Newton's
- John Ray publishes Synopsis of
- Denis Diderot born.
- Death of Lord Shaftesbury.
- Birth of John Turberville Needham.
- Queen Anne dies; George Louis, Elector of Hanover, becomes George I.
- French surgeon Dominique Anel invents the first modern surgical syringe.
- Leibniz publishes his Monadologie.
- Bernard Mandeville publishes The Fable of the Bees (first published
- Nicholas Rowe publishes his "Stage Edition" of Shakespeare.
- Jonathan Swift becomes Dean of St.
- The Jacobite Rebellion ("the 'Fifteen") breaks out in
by the Earl of Mar in the name of James, the "Old Pretender", who lands
at Peterhead. The rebellion is put down after Jacobite forces
are defeated at Sheriffmuir and Preston.
- In Britain, a Riot Act is passed for the suppression of rebellions and
- Brook Taylor, an English mathematician, invents the calculus of finite
- Thomas Fairchild first successfully produces an artificial hybrid
- Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit develops the temperature scale that
bears his name.
- Pope begins publication of his version
of Homer's Iliad (Books I-IV; completed 1720).
- Death of Louis XIV of France. He is
succeeded by his great grandson, Louis XV, under the regency of the Duc d'Orleans.
- Birth of Etienne Bonnot de Condillac.
- James Stuart, the "Old Pretender," leaves Britain
to return to exile in France.
- Treaty of Westminster between England and Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor.
- The Septennial Act abolishes triennial elections to the British parliament
in favor of elections every seven years. Electoral corruption increases.
- Birth of Thomas Gray.
- Death of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
- England, France, and
Holland join in the Triple Alliance.
- James Stuart, the "Old Pretender," is forced to leave France.
- Alexander Pope publishes a collected
volume of his Works, including Verses to the Memory of an Unfortunate
Lady and Eloisa to Abelard.
- Birth of David Garrick.
- Birth of Horace Walpole.
- The Quadruple Alliance is signed by England, France,
the Holy Roman Empire and Holland. England and France declare war on Spain.
- The first paper bank notes are issued in England.
- The Society of Antiquaries is founded in London.
- An abortive Jacobite invasion of Britain
is stopped early.
- England and France force the surrender of Spain.
- Daniel Defoe publishes Robinson Crusoe.
- Edward Young produces Busiris.
- After the collapse of the South Sea Company, thousands of British
investors lose their savings in the "South Sea Bubble," a stock-market crash
on Exchange Alley.
- England declares war on Spain, a conflict that will last through 1729.
- This year sees the first serial publication of novels in newspapers.
- John Gay publishes his Collected Poems.
- Birth of Charles Bonnet.
- Birth of Bernardo Canaletto.
- Birth of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the "Young Pretender."
- In the wake of the "South Sea Bubble," John Aislabie, the Chancellor
of the Exchequer, is sent to the Tower of London for fraud. Robert Walpole,
father of Horace, becomes Lord High
Treasurer and restores public credit.
- Peter the Great is proclaimed Emperor of All
- A regular postal service is instituted between London and New England.
- Montesquieu publishes Lettres persanes.
- Birth of Hester Chapone.
- Death of Matthew Prior.
- Birth of Tobias Smollett.
- Walpole consolidates his grip on power through appointments as
Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Lord of the Treasury.
- British journalists are barred from reporting on parliamentary debates.
- Defoe publishes Moll Flanders and Journal of the Plague
- Birth of Joseph Warton.
- In England, The Workhouse Act or Test
forces the poor to enter a workhouse for relief.
- The Waltham Black Acts add fifty capital offenses to the penal code,
making many crimes against property (such as poaching) punishable by death.
- Excise taxes are levied against coffee, tea and chocolate.
- Louis XV of France attains his majority.
- Bernard Mandeville publishes The Fable of the Bees, 2nd ed.
(includes An Essay on Charity Schools and A Search into the
Nature of Society).
- Voltaire publishes
- Birth of Richard Price.
- Birth of Adam Smith.
- The Paris Bourse (stock exchange) opens for business.
- Defoe publishes Tour around the Whole Island of Great Britain.
- Birth of Immanuel Kant.
- Birth of Dr. John Gregory.
- Treaty of Vienna guarantees the Hapsburg "Pragmatic Sanction" first
issued in 1713.
- George Berkeley publishes A Proposal for Converting the Savage Americans.
- Daniel Defoe publishes A New Voyage Round the World, The Complete
English Tradesman (through 1727) and Jonathan Wild.
- Francis Hutcheson publishes The Original of Our Ideas of Beauty
- Alexander Pope publishes his
editions of The Works of William Shakespeare and The Odyssey of
Homer, vols. I-III (with Fenton and
Broome; vols. IV-V completed 1726).
- Giambattista Vico publishes Scienza Nuova.
- Birth of Casanova.
- Death of Peter the Great of Russia; succeeded by his wife, Catherine.
- Faced by continued Jacobite opposition in Scotland,
the British government builds military roads throughout the Highlands.
- "Lloyd's List," a twice-weekly shipping bulletin, is issued in
London, presaging the future of
mercantile maritime insurance.
- Allan Ramsay establishes the first circulating library in
- Voltaire travels in England.
- Jonathan Swift publishes
- Lewis Theobald publishes Shakespeare Restored, an attack on
- Death of George I; succeeded by his son, George II.
- Spanish forces lay siege to the English garrison at Gibraltar.
- Stephen Hales concludes that plants
receive nourishment from the atmosphere, and studies the movement of water
- Arbuthnot, Pope and Swift
publish the first volumes of Miscellanies, a satrical journal.
- John Gay publishes Fables, vol. I.
- Death of Catherine, Tsarina of Russia;
succeeded by Peter II, grandson of Peter the Great.
- Death of Sir Issac
- Robert Walpole heads the government as Prime Minister of Great Britain (a title that only became
official in 1905).
- John and Charles Wesley found the Methodist sect at
- Zinc smelting first practiced in England.
- James Thomson publishes The Seasons.
- Death of Peter II of Russia;
succeeded by Anne.
- Construction of a prime minister's residence begins at 10 Downing
Street, London. In Philadelphia,
the State House (later Independence Hall) is built.
- The second Treaty of Vienna is signed between England,
Holland, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire -- excluding
- English factory workers are prevented from emigrating to the
- John Hadley, an English mathematician, invents a quadrant for
navigating at sea.
- Voltaire writes Histoire de Charles XII.
- Birth of William Cowper.
- Birth of Erasmus Darwin.
- Death of Daniel Defoe.
- Birth of Catherine Macaulay.
- England's government is rocked by the Excise Crisis: Walpole is forced
to withdraw his proposal to add excise duty to tobacco and wine.
- Latin is abolished as the language of the English courts.
- John Kay patents his flying shuttle loom for the manufacture of textiles.
- Alexander Pope publishes An Essay
on Man and the first Imitation of Horace.
- Voltaire publishes Lettres sur les Anglais.
- The Porteous Riots in Edinburgh raise
new fears of Jacobite disorder.
- England repeals its statutes against witchcraft.
- India rubber is first imported to England.
- William Warbuton publishes The Alliance between Church and State.
- Birth of James Macpherson.
- Birth of James Watt.
- A Licensing Act regulates theaters in Britain, limiting the number of
playhouses and establishing government censorship of performances.
- Samuel Johnson and David Garrick leave Lichfield for
- Linnaeus publishes his
classification of plant life.
- Birth of Luigi Galvani.
- Birth of Edward Gibbon.
- Birth of Thomas Paine.
- "War of Jenkins’s Ear," -- a trade war between Great Britain
and Spain develops due to British attempts to circumvent the Peace of Utrecht.
Britain declares war on Spain.
- Turkey, at war with Austria,
threatens Belgrade and forces Emperor Charles VI to make peace.
- Horace Walpole and Gray tour the Continent.
- David Hume publishes the first
volume of his Treatise on Human Nature.
- Sophia publishes Women Not Inferior to Man.
- Jonathan Swift publishes Verses on the Death of Doctor Swift.
- With the death of Charles VI, the War of Austrian Succession begins.
Following the "Pragmatic Sanction" of 1713,
Maria Theresa succeeds her father. Frederick the Great of Prussia attacks
Silesia in the first conflict of the war.
- Death of Frederick William I of Prussia; succeeded by his son, Frederick
II ("the Great") who increases freedom of the press and freedom of religion.
- Death of Tsarina Anne of Russia;
succeeded by Ivan VI.
- English death-rates decline, a trend due in part to improved midwifery.
- Benjamin Huntsman, an English inventor, improves the "crucible" process
for the smelting of steel.
- Arne sets Thomson's "Rule Britannia" to music.
- Samuel Richardson publishes the
first part of Pamela.
- A joint edition of Sophia's Women's Superior Excellence Over Man
and the volume to which it responds, Man Superior to Woman, or, a
Vindication of Man's Natural Right of Sovereign Authority, is published.
- Birth of James Boswell.
- Maria Theresa accepts the crown of Hungary, vacant since her
father's death, but loses Silesia to Frederick the Great of Prussia.
Prague is occupied by French and German
- Ivan VI of Russia is imprisoned and deposed;
succeeded by Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great.
- Famine strikes Ireland.
- In England, a Highway Act is passed
for the improvement of roads.
- David Hume publishes
Essays, Moral and Political.
- P. L. M. de Maupertuis publishes the Essai de
cosmologie in which he suggests the notion of "survival of
- Joseph II of Austria is born.
- Birth of Johann Kaspar Lavater.
- Against the claims of Maria Theresa, Charles Albert of Bavaria is
elected Charles VII Holy Roman Emperor.
- England enters the Austrian Wars under
the ministry of Carteret. William Pitt the Elder criticizes the use of English
resources in a Hanoverian conflict.
- After victories for both Prussia and Austria, the first Silesian War is
ended by the Peace of Berlin.
- Cotton factories first established in Birmingham and Northampton.
- Charles Marie de Lacondamine establishes the Celsius temperature scale.
- Henry Fielding publishes Joseph Andrews.
- The Jewish Pogroms begin in Russia.
- England defeats
France at Dettingen. George II observes
the battle -- the last British monarch to participate on the battlefield.
- A French exhibition determines that the earth is oblate, not perfectly
- Indian yarns for the manufacture of
fine textiles are first imported into Lancashire, England.
- Alexander Pope publishes The
Dunciad in Four Books.
- Birth of Anna Laetitia Barbauld.
- Birth of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier.
- "King George's War" breaks out in North America, as the continental
conflict expands to the French and English colonial possessions.
Britain begins to expand into the Ohio
- The second Silesian War begins. Frederick the Great takes Prague but
is later forced to retreat to Saxony.
- The first Methodist Conference is held.
- Samuel Johnson publishes Life of
Mr. Richard Savage.
- Sir Joseph Banks born.
- Birth of Jean-Baptiste
Monet de Lamarck.
- Death of Alexander Pope.
- Death of Giovanni Battista Vico.
- The Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") lands
in Scotland and raises a Jacobite rebellion
against the Hanoverian monarchy. After a victory at Prestonpans, the Jacobite army
advances as far south as Derby before retreating to Scotland.
- Death of Emperor Charles VII. Francis, husband of Maria Theresa, is elected
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.
- The Peace of Dresden is signed between Prussia and Austria. Frederick the Great
recognizes Maria Theresa's rights under the "Pragmatic Sanction" but keeps Silesia.
- France defeats a combined army of English,
Dutch and Austrians at Fontenoy, taking the Austrian Netherlands.
- Charles Bonnet demonstrates that annelid
worms are capable of regenerating themselves.
- Edwald Jurgen von Kleist invents the "Leyden jar," a precursor of
the electrical capacitor.
- Julien Offray de La Mettrie
L'Histoire naturelle de l'âme.
- Jonathan Swift publishes Directions to Servants.
- Birth of Samuel Hearne.
- Death of Swift.
- Birth of Alessandro Giuseppe Anastasio Volta.
- Charles Edward Stuart victorious over Hanoverian forces at Falkirk, Scotland but is finally defeated at
Culloden, when Cumberland's army massacres an outnumbered army of mostly
Highland Jacobites. The Young Pretender escapes to France, ending hopes for future Jacobite
- The English government attacks Highland folkways and military
traditions by outlawing the wearing of tartans.
- The French defeat Austria at Raucoux; Austria loses its Dutch possessions.
France is also victorious in India, ousting the British from the port of Madras.
- Denis Diderot publishes
- Benjamin Franklin performs
his experiments confirming that lightning is a form of electricity.
- Birth of Stephanie Felicité Ducrest de St-Albin, Comtesse de Genlis.
- The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ends the Austrian wars with general
recognition of the "Pragmatic Sanction" and of Emperor Francis I.
France end their fighting in North
America and India; Madras returns to British rule.
- Julien Offray de La Mettrie
publishes L'homme machine, arguing for a mechanistic view of human life.
- John Turberville Needham
publishes Observations upon the Generation, Composition, and
Decomposition of Animal and Vegetable Substances, demonstrating
spontaneous generation of life.
- David Hume begins publishing
Philosophiclal Essays Concerning Human Understanding (completed 1753).
- Birth of Adam Weishaupt
- Britain expands its colonial
territories in North America: George II grants lands to the Ohio Company,
Georgia becomes a Crown Colony, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, is founded.
- A revolution in the Nawab's palace gives Madras back to the French.
- The Consolidation Act reforms and reorganizes the British naval fleet.
- Denis Diderot publishes Lettre sur les aveugles.
- David Hartley publishes Observations on Man.
- Emanuel Swedenborg begins publication
of Heavenly Arcana (completed 1756)
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe born.
- Birth of Vittorio Alfieri.
- Birth of Edward Jenner.
- Charlotte Turner, later Smith, born.
- Britain and France negotiate over the
disputed boundary between Nova Scotia and Canada.
- London is struck by two small earthquakes.
- Developments in astronomy: Thomas Wright speculates about the
origin of the solar system, Nicolas de Lacaille leads an expedition
to the Cape of Good Hope to determine the solar and lunar parallax,
and Johann Tobias Mayer draws a "Map of the Moon."
- Samuel Johnson begins publishing The Rambler (until 1752).
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
publishes his Discours sur les sciences et les arts.
- Birth of George Adams.
- Lord Clive leads a British army to victory over the French at Arcot,
India and reclaims Madras.
- Britain passes a Gin Act for the
prevention of public alcoholism. William Hogarth engraves the drawings
Gin Lane and Beer Street.
- The British calendar is altered to make January 1 the first day of a new year.
- Pierre de Maupertuis, in
Système de la Nature,
demonstration of spontaneous generation.
- D'Alembert, Diderot, and others,
publish the Encyclopédie (completed 1766).
- Thomas Gray publishes
in a Country Church-Yard".
- David Hume publishes Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals.
- Death of Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales; the future George III succeeds
him as heir to the throne.
- Death of Julien Offray de La
- Death of Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke.
- Lord Chesterfield helps move England to the Gregorian
calendar. The Julian calendar is abandoned, losing ten days between September 3-13.
- Lord Clive takes Trichinopoly in India.
- Benjamin Franklin invents the
- George, Earl of Macclesfield named President of the
- David Hume publishes Political
- Charlotte Lennox publishes The Female Quixote.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Devin du village (comic opera).
- Christopher Smart publishes Poems on Several Occasions
- Birth of Frances Burney.
- Birth of Thomas Chatterton.
- French troops from Canada march south; seize and fortify the Ohio Valley.
Britain protests the invasion and claims Ohio for itself.
- The British parliament institutes a land tax of two shillings in the
pound and passes a Marriage Act regulating the holding of weddings.
- An Act of Parliament in England allows the naturalization of Jews.
It is subsequently repealed after anti-Semitic protests.
- The British Museum receives a royal charter.
- Benjamin Franklin is awarded the
Coply Gold Medal by the Royal Society for
his experiments with electricity.
- William Hogarth writes Analysis of Beauty.
- Jane Collier publishes An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting.
- Sarah Fielding publishes David Simple, "Volume the Last."
- Thomas Gray publishes Hymn to Adversity
- Samuel Johnson contributes to The Adventurer (through 1754).
- Carolus Linnaeus publishes Species Plantorum.
- Death of George Berkeley.
- Birth of Elizabeth Inchbald.
- Birth of William Nicholson.
- Birth of Sir Timothy Shelley, father
of Percy Bysshe Shelley.
- The Anglo-French War begins in North America with
France taking Fort Duquense.
- Lord Newcastle becomes Lord Treasurer and head of the ministry in
- The Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures is founded in
- Joseph Black discovers carbon dioxide, which he calls "fixed air."
- The first female medical doctor graduates from the University of Halle,
- The first industrial iron-rolling mill opens in England.
- Etienne Condillac publishes Traité des sensations.
- David Hume begins publication of
History of Great Britain (completed 1763).
- Death of Henry Fielding.
- Probable birth of Gilbert Imlay.
- Birth of Charles Maruice de Talleyrand-Perigord.
- An earthquake kills over thiry thousand people in Lisbon, Portugal.
- The French defeat British forces under General Braddock in North America.
- Frances Hutcheson publishes A System of Moral Philsophy.
- Samuel Johnson publishes his
Dictionary of the English Language.
- Rousseau publishes Discourse on
the Origin of Inequality.
- Smollett publishes his translation of Cervantes' Don Quixote.
- Voltaire publishes Orpheline de la Chine.
- The Seven Years' War begins. Britain allies with Prussia and
declares war on France, expanding the
Indian and American conflict into Europe. The war begins when Frederick
of Prussia invades the German state
- The French take the island of Minorca from Britain and take control over
the Great Lakes area of North America.
- Lord Clive campaigns against the French and the Nawab of Bengal in India.
One hundred and twenty British prisoners die in an infamous prison soon
known as the "Black Hole of Calcutta."
- Tobias Smollett begins The Critical Review.
- Voltaire publishes Le
Désastre de Lisbonne and
completes Siècle de Louis XIV.
- March: William Godwin born.
- Birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
- In North America, Fort William Henry is captured and destroyed by French forces.
- Frederick the Great and the Austrians fight battles at Prague, Kolin,
Rossbach and Leuthen.
- Lord Clive re-takes Calcutta and defeats the Nawab of Bengal at
- Admiral Byng is executed for his failure to defend Minorca.
- The Royal Library is transferred to the new British Museum.
- William Herschel emigrates to
- Publication of Burke's Philosophical Inquiry into
the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful.
- Horace Walpole publishes
Thomas Gray's Odes,
including "The Progress of Poesy" and "The Bard."
- William Blake born.
- Death of David Hartley.
- Birth of Comte de Volney.
- British troops are dispatched to Germany
under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick.
- Britain begins its political
administration of India. Lord Clive
becomes Governor of Bengal.
- Russia, allied with France
and Austria, invades and occupies Eastern Prussia.
- Britain takes the French fort of Louisburg in Canada; the French
abandon Fort Duquesne and Britain begins the construction of Fort Pitt
(modern Pittsburgh) on the site.
- Construction begins on the Liverpool-Leeds canal.
- Denis Diderot publishes Pere du famille, Discours sur la poésie dramatique.
- Gibbon publishes his Essai sur
l'étude de la littérature.
- Samuel Johnson begins publishing The Idler (through 1760).
- Richard Price publishes A Review of the Principle
Questions in Morals.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes
Lettre a d'Alembert sur les spectacles.
- Horace Walpole publishes Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors.
- Return of Halley's Comet.
- Mary Darby, later Robinson, born.
- Death of King George II. George III crowned King of Great Britain.
- Montreal surrenders to the British, ending French military power in Canada.
- Russian troops occupy and burn Berlin.
- Benjamin Franklin
establishes the electrical nature of lightning through experiments
- John Hunter develops a comparative approach to anatomy.
- James Macpherson begins publishing the Ossian poems.
- Laurence Sterne publishes Sermons of Yorick.
- Birth of William Beckford.
- France begins peace negotiations with Britain.
- Agricultural machines are first displayed at a Society of the Arts
exhibition in London.
- Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter begins a series of experiments in
artificial hybridization of plant life.
- Denis Diderot publishes Le Neveu de Rameau.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
publishes Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloise
- Adam Smith publishes Considerations Concerning the First Formations of Languages,
and the Different Genius of Original and Compounded Languages.
- Tobias Smolett begins publishing his edition of a new translation of
- Death of Stephen Hales.
- Death of Samuel Richardson.
- British forces in the Caribbean capture Martinique, Grenada and Havana.
- War break out between England and Spain. British forces capture Manila
and Buenos Aries.
- With the death of the Empress Elizabeth, the new Tsar Peter III withdraws
Russia from the European war. Prussia,
Saxony and the Holy Roman Empire agree a truce. Prussia and Sweden
sign the Treaty of Hamburg.
- Assassination of Peter III of Russia; succeeded by
Catherine II, the Great.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau is
expelled from Geneva.
- At a foundry in Scotland cast
iron is converted for the first time into malleable iron.
- Henry Home (Lord Kames) publishes Elements of Criticism.
- Richard Hurd publishes Letters on Chivalry and Romance.
- Bishop Lowth publishes A Short Introduction to English Grammar.
- James Macpherson (Ossian) publishes Fingal.
- Rousseau publishes Émile and The Social Contract.
- Horace Walpole begins publication of Anecdotes of
Painting in England (through 1771).
- Birth of Joanna Baillie.
- Birth of Helen Maria Williams.
- The Seven Years' War ends with the Peace of Paris. According to the
terms of the treaty, Britain must renounce the trading advantages won
through its capture of Newfoundland fishing rights, Guadaloupe and
Martininque, and Dakar. William Pitt sees all his war aims lost.
- Britain proclaims its government of Quebec, Florida and Grenada.
- James Boswell meets Samuel Johnson. Boswell leaves for his
tour of the Continent and meets Voltaire
- John Wilkes is imprisoned for The North Briton, no. 45. Lord
Camden supports Wilkes and outlaws the use of arbitrary "general warrants"
- Hugh Blair writes A Critical Dissertation on Ossian.
- James Macpherson (Ossian) publishes Temora .
- Christopher Smart publishes Song to David.
- Voltaire publishes Treatise on Tolerance.
- The British Sugar Act is amended to tax the American colonies.
- Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny for textile manufacture.
- James Watt invents the condenser -- the first step towards a steam
- The London Literary Club is founded by Johnson,
Goldsmith and others.
- Charles Bonnet publishes
Contemplation de la nature.
- Edward Gibbon first conceives his
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
- Voltaire publishes his
- Horace Walpole publishes The
Castle of Otranto, now widely considered the first Gothic novel.
- Birth of John Abernethy.
- Birth of Ann Radcliffe.
- The Stamp Act for taxing the American colonies is passed in the
British parliament. The Virginia Assembly challenges the Crown's right to
the tax; at the Stamp Act Congress in New York, a declaration of rights and
liberties is drawn up by colonial delgates.
- Lazarro Spallanzi suggests the process
of preserving organic matter by hermetic sealing.
- Edmund Burke becomes a Member of Parliament.
- William Blackstone publishes his first edition of Commentaries on
the Laws of England in four volumes.
- Samuel Johnson publishes The Works of William Shakespeare
- Thomas Percy publishes Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.
- Death of Emperor Francis I; of Austria Joseph II succeeds and becomes
co-regent with his mother, Maria Theresa.
- Death of Richard Young.
- Britain repeals the Stamp Act but,
in a Declaratory Act, re-states its right to tax the American colonies.
- William Pitt forms the ruling ministry in Britain. Rising bread prices
cause riots in England.
- Catherine the Great grants freedom
of worship in Russia.
- Henry Cavendish, an English chemist, studies the effect
of lightning on soil and duplicates the process to produce
nitrogen; discovers that hydrogen is less dense than air.
- Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon draw a latitudinal line separating the
colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland.
publishes The Vicar of Wakefield (extract available here).
- Posthumous Latin edition of William Harvey's
Rousseau travels in England.
- John Dalton born.
- Birth of Thomas Robert Malthus.
- Birth of Madame de Staël.
- Death of James Stuart, the "Old Pretender."
- Britain taxes imports of
tea, glass, paper and dye to America. A non-importation agreement is
made at a Boston meeting. The New York assembly is suspended for
refusing to quarter troops.
- The first Mysore war breaks out in India. Robert Clive quits the subcontinent.
Parliament investigates the East India Company.
- John Wilkinson builds the first railroads for mining operations.
- The Nautical Almanac is founded.
- Joseph Priestley publishes
The History and Present State of Electricity.
- Rousseau publishes Dictionnaire
de Musique. He settles in England and receives a pension from George III.
- Birth of August Wilhelm von
- The Massachusetts Assembly is dissolved for refusing to collect taxes. A
Colonial Secretary is appointed to the British government.
- The Liverpool Conversation Club begins to debate the merits of secret
ballots (not introduced in England
- James Cook begins his first
circumnavigation of the earth.
- Samuel Hearne begins a two-year walking tour from Hudson Bay to the Arctic Ocean, searching for the
- Thomas Gray is appointed professor
of modern history at Cambridge; publishes
- Joseph Priestly publishes
Essay on the First Principles of Government.
- Joshua Reynolds founds, and is elected president of, the Royal Academy;
other founding members include Paul Sandby, Benjamin West, and Richard Wilson.
- Laurence Sterne publishes A Sentimental Journey through
France and Italy.
- Joseph Wright paints Experiment with the Air Pump.
- Maria Edgeworth born.
- Birth of Napoleon Bonaparte.
- The Virginia Assembly is dissolved over its protests against colonial
- John Wilkes is expelled from the House of Commons in England,
re-elected three times, and then once more rejected by Parliament.
- James Watt patents his steam engine.
- Charles Bonnet publishes
- Thomas Chatterton publishes "Elinoure and Juga" and sections of "Ethelgar. A Saxon Poem."
- Denis Diderot begins Le Paradoxe
sur le comedien (published 1830).
- Baron Cuvier is born.
- Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, is born.
- The British government repeals some colonial duties but retains the
duty on tea.
- Frederick North (Lord North) rules as Prime Minister from this year until
- The writers and publishers of the "Junius" letters, attacking
corruption in public life, are tried for seditious libel.
- Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny, revolutionizing textile
production in England.
- James Cook discovers
Botany Bay, Australia.
- Goethe completes the
first part of Faust.
publishes The Deserted Village.
- Paul Henri Dietrick d'Holbach publishes
Système de la nature, denying any cosmic plan in
- Ludwig van Beethoven born.
- Death of Thomas Chatterton.
- Birth G. W. Hegel.
- James Hogg born.
- Russia conquers the Crimea; agrees the partition of Poland with Prussia.
- Richard Arkwright produces the first textile spinning mill.
- Luigi Galvani discovers the eletrical
nature of nervous impulses.
- Warren Hastings is made Governor of Bengal.
- The first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica
- James Beattie publishes the first part of "The Minstrel."
- Birth of Charles Brockden Brown.
- Death of Thomas Gray.
- Walter Scott born.
- Dorothy Wordsworth born.
- The Boston Assembly demands the right of secession from
- William Murray, Britain's Lord Chief Justice, rules in
the Somersett case that "as soon as any slave sets foot in
England he becomes free."
- Joseph Priestley
announces his discoveries in On Different Kinds of Air.
- Diderot publishes the last of 280 volumes of the
- Johann Gottfried Herder publishes On the Origin of Language.
- Rousseau begins to write
Dialogues: Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge born.
- David Ricardo born.
- Death of Emanuel Swedenborg.
- The British Parliament refuses a petition to remove Massachusetts
Governor Hutchinson. Britain closes the
port of Boston in retaliation for the protests.
- The first Constitutional Congress meets in Philadelphia, where a
non-importation protest is decided upon.
- The Quebec Act, legalizing Roman Catholicism in Canada, is passed by the
British Parliament in an effort to secure Canadian loyalty.
- Warren Hastings becomes the first Governor General of India.
- Joseph Priestley
- Edmund Burke publishes his speech
On American Taxation.
- Posthumous publication of Lord
Letters to his son, Philip Stanhope.
- Goethe publishes The Sorrows of Young Werther.
- Dr. Gregory publishes
A Father's Legacy to His Daughters.
- John Wesley publishes the abolition tract Thoughts upon Slavery.
- Birth of Sir Francis Beaufort.
- Death of Louis XV of France; succeeded
by his grandson, Louis XVI.
- Death of Oliver Goldsmith.
- Robert Southey born.
- The American Revolution begins with the battles of Lexington, Concord and
Bunker Hill. The second Continental Congress is called in Philadelphia,
appointing George Washington commander-in-chief of American forces.
- James Watt perfects the steam engine.
- Johann Kaspar Lavater
publishes the first part of Physiognomische Fragmente, inaugurating
the pseudo-science of physiognomy.
- Edmund Burke publishes his speech
On Conciliation with America.
- Samuel Johnson publishes Journey to
the Western Isles of Scotland.
- Joseph Priestley publishes Hartley's Theory of the
- Jane Austen born.
- Birth of Charles Lamb.
- Walter Savage Landor born.
- Matthew Gregory (Monk) Lewis born.
- Birth of Charles Lloyd.
- Joseph Mallord William Turner born.
- The American Declaration of
Independence is signed in July. Benedict Arnold is forced out of
Canada and defeated at Lake Champlain; Washington forces the British to
retreat from Boston; the British take Rhode Island and New York;
Washington wins at Trenton.
- In England John Wilke's Bill for Parliamentary reform is rejected.
- Jacques Necker becomes Minister of Finance
in the French government.
- Adam Weishaupt founds the Order of
Perfectibilists, later known as the Illuminati, in Germany.
- John Cartwright publishes Take Your Choice, a treatise on democracy
and parliamentary reform.
- Edward Gibbon publishes the first
volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
- Thomas Paine begins publishing The Crisis, which runs through
- Richard Price publishes Observations on
Civil Liberty and the War with America.
- Adam Smith publishes An
Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
- Birth of John Constable.
- Death of David Hume.
- Birth of Johann Wilhelm Ritter.
- Birth of Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus.
- The American colonies reject a British peace offer and sign treaties
with France and Holland. Washington is
victorious at Monmouth, New Jersey; the British capture Savannah, Georgia.
- The British Parliament passes the Catholic Relief Act, freeing Catholics
from restrictions on land ownership and inheritance.
- Sir Joseph Banks elected
president of the Royal Society.
- James Cook discovers Hawaii.
- Franz Anton Mesmer exhibits his ability to cure ailments
with "animal magnetism."
- Frances Burney publishes Evelina.
- Humphry Davy born.
- Death of Linnaeus.
- Death of William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham.
- Death of Rousseau.
- Death of Voltaire.
- British forces surrender to the Americans at Vincennes. French forces
take Grenada and St. Vincent from the British. The U. S. Congress sends an army
into the Wyoming Valley in order to attack Native American warriors.
- Spain declares war on Britain and lays
siege to Gibraltar.
- Warren Hastings fights the first of the Mahratta conflicts in India.
- Crompton's mule is invented for the textile industry. John Wilkinson builds
the first iron bridge over the Severn.
- William Blake enters the Royal
- Lazzaro Spallanzani explores the
biology of reproduction.
- Posthumous publication of Hume's
Dialogues of Natural Religion.
- Death of Captain James Cook.
- Death of David Garrick.
- Birth of Thomas Moore.
- In the American Revolution, the British are victorious at Charleston
and Camden. French troops arrive at Camden. The British are defeated at
King's Mountain, North Carolina. Benedict Arnold is revealed as a traitor.
- Henry Grattan begins to demand Home Rule for Ireland. The colonial trade
is opened to Irish goods.
- An anti-Catholic mob rebels in London in the Gordon Riots.
- The second Mysore War breaks out in India.
- Lazzaro Spallanzani
develops the techniques of the artificial insemination of dogs.
- Death of Condillac.
- Death of Empress Maria Theresa; succeeded as Holy Roman Emperor by her
son, Joseph II.
- Surrender of British General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, ends
the land theater of the American Revolutionary War.
- Frederick William Herschel
- Immanuel Kant publishes the Critique of Pure Reason.
- Samuel Johnson completes his Lives of the English Poets.
- Thomas Warton publishes the third (final) volume of A History of English Poetry.
- Death of John Turberville Needham.
- Birth of George Stephenson.
- Thomas Grenville and Benjamin Franklin
meet in Paris to negotiate an end to the
American Revolutionary War.
- Lord North resigns his ministry and full Parliamentary government is restored.
- In the Anglo-Spanish wars, Gilbraltar is relieved by Admiral Howe but
Florida and Minorca are conquered by the Spanish.
- Mahratta War ends in India.
- James Watt patents a double-acting steam engine capable of motive power.
- Frances Burney publishes Cecilia.
- William Cowper publishes his
- Joseph Priestley publishes A History
of the Corruptions of Christianity.
- The Peace of Versailles recognizes the independence of the United
States of America.
- William Pitt becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain.
- The Bank of Ireland is founded.
- Luigi Galvani develops the first
electric cell from two strips of metal and the fluids from a dissected
frog, and determines the energy must proceed from the frog.
- Godwin meets Coleridge, Lamb, and Hazlitt.
- The Montgolfier brothers fly in the first hot air balloon.
- William Blake, Poetical
- Hannah Cowley, A Bold Stroke for a Husband.
- George Crabbe, The Village.
- Catherine Macaulay publishes the final (eighth) volume of A History of England, from the Accession of James I to That of the Brunswick Line.
- Birth of Marie Henri Beyle (Stendhal).
- Birth of Washington Irving.
- The ratification of the Treaty of Paris officially ends the American Revolution.
- Treaty of Constantinople: Turkey cedes the
Crimea to Russia.
- Pitt the Younger passes the East India Act and assumes control over the
East India Company.
- Goethe discovers human intermaxillary bone.
- Antoine Lavoisier studies the
role of oxygen and carbon dioxide in respiration.
- George Adams publishes Essay on
- Henry Cavendish publishes Experiments on Air.
- Charlotte Smith publishes Elegiac Sonnets, and Other Essays.
- Death of Denis Diderot.
- Birth of Leigh Hunt.
- Death of Samuel Johnson.
- Warren Hastings resigns as Governor General of India and returns to England.
- James Watt and Matthew Boulton install a steam engine in a
Nottinghamshire cotton factory.
- The Times of London is
created out of the Daily Universal Register.
- William Cowper publishes
- Immanuel Kant publishes Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals.
- Weishaupt publishes A
Complete History of the Persecutions of the Illuminati in Bavaria.
- Thomas Love Peacock born.
- Thomas De Quincey born.
- Two French mountaineers, Jacques Balmart and
Michel-Gabriel Paccard, are the first to scale Mont Blanc.
- The Comte de Buffon publishes
Natural History of the Birds.
- Robert Burns publishes Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish
- William Beckford publishes
- William Herschel publishes Catalogue of Nebulae.
- Helen Maria Williams publishes Poems, in Two Volumes.
- Birth of John Franklin.
- Death of Frederick the Great of Prussia.
- Birth of Karl Maria von Weber.
- United States Constitution ratified by Congress.
The dollar currency is instituted within the federated states.
- The Parlement of Paris demands that
Louis XVI summons the States-General. Louis XVI declares that they will not
meet for another five years.
- John Abernethy begins his public lectures on
- William Wilberforce begins agitating against slavery in
the British colonies.
- Antoine Laurent Lavoisier publishes
Méthode de nomenclature chimique.
- James Madison and Alexander Hamilton begin
publication of The Federalist Papers.
- Birth of Mary Russell Mitford.
- King George III of England
experiences the first of his bouts of insanity.
- Under pressure from the Paris
Parlement, Louis XVI of France summons
the Estates General for May 1789 -- the first time since 1614. The king
recalls Necker to his ministry.
- British penal colony opened in Botany Bay, Australia.
- Warren Hastings, Governor General of India, impeached in the British House of Commons.
- April: New Yorkers riot for three days, accusing physicians
- Edward Gibbon completes The
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
- Immanuel Kant publishes the Critique of Practical Reason.
- Posthumous publication of Rousseau's Confessions is completed.
- Death of Comte de Buffon.
- Byron born.
- Death of Thomas Gainsborough.
- Birth of Georg Simon Ohm.
- Death of Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender.
- Convening of the Three Estates in Paris,
which declare themselves the National Assembly. Constitutional crisis in
- July: The storming of the Bastille begins the French Revolution.
- The French National Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of
- Edmund Burke criticizes the
French Revolution; Thomas Paine responds with "The Rights of Man."
- First United States Congress is held in New York, with Washington
elected President. America ratifies the Bill of Rights.
- Russian explorers found Odessa on the Black Sea.
- The Austrian Netherlands declare independence as Belgium.
- Jeremy Bentham publishes An Introduction to the
Principles of Morals and Legislation, arguing that "the
greatest happiness of the greatest number" is the goal of all
- William Blake
publishes Songs of Innocence and The Book of Thel.
- Erasmus Darwin
publishes "The Loves of Plants."
- Antoine Lavoisier publishes the
Traité élémentaire de chimi, the first
textbook on modern chemistry.
- William Pitt refuses to recognize Belgian independence.
- Philadelphia becomes the federal capital of the United States;
Washington D.C. is founded.
- Edmund Burke publishes Reflections on the Revolution
- Ann Radcliffe publishes A
Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of
- Immanuel Kant publishes the Critique of Judgement.
- Death of Benjamin Franklin.
- Death of Joseph II of Austria.
- Death of Adam Smith.
- Mirabeau is elected president of the French Assembly. Louis XVI,
attempting to flee France, is arrested.
- William Wilberforce succeeds in having his motion for the abolition of
the slave trade passed in the British House of Commons.
- Joseph Priestley's
house and library are burned by a "Church-and-King" mob in Birmingham.
- William Wordsworth begins his travels in France.
- Anna Laetitia Barbauld publishes
An Epistle to William Wilberforce.
- James Boswell publishes
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
- Elizabeth Inchbald publishes A Simple Story.
- Thomas Paine publishes The Rights of Man, part I.
- Ann Radcliffe publishes
The Romance of the Forest.
- Volney publishes Ruins of Empires.
- Birth of Michael Faraday.
- Death of Catherine Macaulay.
- Death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
- Death of Richard Price.
- Death of John Wesley.
- Anglo-Prussian invasion of France precipitates an increasingly violent
chapter in the French Revolutionary struggles.
- September: The French National Convention abolishes the
monarchy and declares the beginning of the new French Republic. Radicals
storm Parisian prisons and kill over a thousand suspected
counter-revolutionary traitors in the September Massacres.
- French troops cross the Rhine River
and conquer the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium).
- British forces victorious over Tipu Sultan in Mysore, India,
increasing British military control over the subcontinent.
Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of
- Helen Maria Williams publishes the first volumes of Letters from France.
- Death of Samuel Hearne.
- Birth of Thomas Jefferson Hogg.
- Birth of Richard Brinsley Peake.
- August: Percy Shelley
- Death of Joshua Reynolds.
- Birth of Edward John Trelawny.
- January: Louis XVI of France
executed. The Committee of Public Safety is established with Danton at its head.
- The French Republic declares war on
England, Holland and Spain,
instigating a period of almost perpetual conflict that will only
end with Napoleon's
defeat in 1815.
- France's antagonists grow rapidly to include the Holy Roman Empire. The
United States declares its neutrality. French troops retreat from
- Jean-Paul Marat is murdered and Robespierre becomes
Director of the Committee of Public Safety. The "Terror" reigns
- October: Marie Antoinette executed.
- November: France legislates against belief in God.
- In Scotland, suspected "Jacobins" are tried for treason.
- William Blake produces
America, The Marriage of Heaven
and Hell and Visions of the Daughters of Albion.
publishes An Enquiry Concerning
- Charlotte Smith publishes The Emigrants and The Old Manor House.
- William Wordsworth publishes Descriptive Sketches and
An Evening Walk.
- Death of Charles Bonnet.
- In France, the execution of Danton is
followed by the arrest and execution of Robespierre, ending the Reign of Terror.
- Formation of the French Directorate and abolition of the revolutionary Commune.
Slavery is abolished in the French colonies.
- Habeas corpus is suspended in England.
The leaders of the radical London Corresponding Society are tried by the state
for sedition. They are acquitted.
- William Blake publishes The First
Book of Urizen, Europe and the collected Songs of Innocence
- Erasmus Darwin
begins publication of Zoonomia.
- Johann Gottlieb Fichte publishes Whole Theory of Knowledge (Wissenschaftslehre).
- Godwin publishes
- Thomas Paine publishes the first part of The Age of Reason.
- Ann Radcliffe publishes The
Mysteries of Udolpho.
Wollstonecraft publishes the first volume of A Historical and Moral
View of the French Revolution.
- Death of Edward Gibbon.
- Fanny Imlay born to
Mary Wollstonecraft and
- Antoine Laurent Lavoisier executed.
- Two Acts, prohibiting seditions meetings and treasonable conspiracy,
become law in England. The
Speenhamland Act extends poor relief in England.
- Napoleon becomes the
commander of France's Armée d'Interieur. His army enters
- Warren Hastings is acquitted in the House of Commons after
seventeen years of impeachment proceedings.
- England seizes Dutch colonial possessions in South Africa, Ceylon
- Poland is partitioned by Prussia, Austria and Russia.
- Wordsworth meets
Godwin and Coleridge.
- William Blake publishes
The Book of Ahania, The Book of Los and The Song of Los.
- Condorcet publishes the Tableau historique des
progrés de l'esprit humain, arguing for the
perfectability of mankind.
- Goethe publishes
Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre.
- Thomas Paine publishes The Age of Reason, part II.
- November: Mary
Wollstonecraft attempts suicide.
- Death of George Adams.
- Death of James Boswell.
- Thomas Carlyle born.
- John Keats born.
- Birth of Harriet Westbrook, (later Shelley).
- Spain changes allegiance in the ongoing European wars, siding with
France against England.
France threatens invasion of the British mainland.
- April: Napoleon leads the French
victory over Austria; enters Milan and establishes the Lombard Republic.
- In Ireland, the Insurrection Act imposes curfews, arms searches and the
death penalty for oath-taking. Theobald Wolfe Tone visits France to seek
aid in an armed Irish rebellion.
- A Bill for the abolition of the slave trade is narrowly defeated in the
British House of Commons.
- Edward Jenner discovers a
vaccine for smallpox.
- Edmund Burke publishes Letter to
a Noble Lord and Letters on a Regicide Peace.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge publishes
Poems on Various Subjects.
- Publication of Matthew Lewis's
- Robert Southey publishes Joan of Arc.
- Madame de Staël publishes
De l'Influence des Passions.
- First exhibition of oil paintings by J. M. W. Turner.
begins The Borderers.
- Death of Catherine the Great of
Russia; succeeded by her son, Paul I.
- Rebellion breaks out in Ireland,
led by Wolfe Tone. Around 100,000 Irish peasants revolt against British
rule, with temporary success; some 25,000 die as the rebellion is put
down. Wolfe Tone is arrested and commits suicide while in prison.
- Napoleon invades Egypt and
occupies Rome. England defeats France in the Battle of the Nile. The
French defeat a counter-assualt on Rome by Ferdinand of Naples.
- The British government institutes a tax of ten percent of all incomes
over two hundred pounds.
- Charles Brockden Brown publishes
Alcuin: A Dialogue on the Rights of Women and Wieland, or the
Transformation, a Gothic novel.
- Baron Cuvier publishes the
Tableau elementaire de l'histoire naturelle des animaux, the first
modern work of comparative anatomy.
- Joanna Baillie publishes the first
volume of the Plays on the Passions.
- Maria Edgeworth publishes Practical Education.
- Godwin publishes the
Memoirs of Mary
Wollstonecraft and an edition of Posthumous Works.
- Thomas Robert Malthus publishes his Essay on the
Principles of Population.
- Mary Robinson publishes Thoughts on the Condition of Women, and
on the Injustice of Mental Subordination.
- Sir Benjamin Thomson, Count Rumford publishes
"An Experimental Enqury Concerning the Source of the Heat which is Excited by
- Wordsworth and
- Birth of Claire Clairmont.
- Death of Luigi Galvani.
- France launches an abortive landing in Ireland.
Napoleon conquers Italy
and fights battles in Alexandria, Hohenlinden and Marengo.
Britain seizes the
Mediterranean island of Malta.
- Alessandro Volta develops the electric battery.
- Alexander von Humboldt explores the Orinoco River in
- Humphry Davy publishes
Researches, Chemical and Philosophical, Chiefly Concerning
- Franz Joseph Gall invents phrenology.
- Death of William Cowper.
- May: The British and the French renew hostilities. The French
occupy Hanoverian territories in Germany.
Fears of a French invasion of England run high.
- British colonial forces capture Delhi, India.
- The second Mahratta War breaks out in India. Arthur Wellesley, later
Duke of Wellington, defeats Sindhia of Gwalior.
- France sells the territory of Louisiana to the United States.
- The British government executes Robert Emmet, the Irish patriot.
- Robert Fulton demonstrates a working steamship but fails to secure the funding
necessary for its development.
- John Dalton proposes the
atomic theory of matter.
- Henry Shrapnel, a British army officer, invents a timed bomb filled with shot.
- Erasmus Darwin publishes
The Temple of Nature.
- Mme de Staël is banished from
Paris by Napoleon.
- Death of Alfieri.
- Napoleon proclaimed hereditary Emperor of France.
The Code Napoleon forms the basis of a new French civil and judicial code.
- William Pitt returns as Prime Minister of Britain.
- Renewed constitutional crisis in Britain as George III suffers another bout of mental illness.
- Britain and Spain at war.
- Russia declares war on France.
- Alfieri's autobiography is
- Wordsworth finishes
Intimations of Immortality, Ode to Duty, and
- Death of Immanuel Kant.
- Death of Jacques Necker.
- Death of Joseph Priestley.
- Admiral Nelson defeats Napoleon in the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson
dies during the naval battle.
- Austria, England and Russia ally against France. At the Battle of Austerlitz,
Napoleon defeats a combined Austro-Russian force. Austria makes peace
with France, ceding away her Italian possessions.
- Napoleon crowned King of Italy.
- Britain and the United States quarrel over West Indian trading rights.
- Modern Egypt is founded, with Mehemet Ali reigning as Pasha.
- Godwin publishes
Fleetwood and opens a publishing house for children's
- Walter Scott publishes The Lay
of the Last Minstrel.
- Wordsworth completes the manuscript
of the 1805 Prelude.
- Death of Friedrich Schiller.
- Deaths of Prime Minister William Pitt and James Fox, leader of the
Whig minority; Grenville becomes Prime Minister of the coalition ministry
of "All the Talents."
- Most of the smaller states in Germany secede and form
the Confederation of the Rhine,
signalling the end of the Holy Roman Empire.
- Prussia declares war on France,
and is defeated at the Battle of Jena. Napoleon enters Berlin and pronounces
all continental ports closed to British shipping.
- Joseph Bonaparte crowned King of Naples; Louis Bonaparte crowned King of
- Sir Francis Beaufort devises his
scale for the measurement of wind strength.
- The first steam-driven textile mill opens in Manchester, England.
- Humphry Davy publishes an
important essay on chemical agency, earning
him international recognition.
- William Godwin publishes The
Pantheon or, Ancient History of the Gods of Greece and Rome (an
extract is available here).
- Birth of John Stuart Mill.
- Death of Charlotte Smith.
- An Act of Parliament abolishes the Slave Trade in Britain and its dominions.
- Lord Grenville resigns over the question of Catholic Emancipation.
The Duke of Portland succeeds him as British Prime Minister.
- Russia signs the Treaty of Tilsit withdrawing from war with Napoleon.
France invades Portugal and Spain.
- Charles Bell distinguishes the body's sensory nerve system from
the motor nerves.
- George Gordon, Lord Byron publishes Hours of Idleness, Poems on Several
- Georg Friedrich Hegel publishes The Phenomenology of Mind.
- Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb publish
Shakespear with Godwin's publishing house.
- Sismondi begins publishing The History of the Italian Republics in the Middle Ages
(sixteen volumes, completed 1818.
- Germaine de Staël publishes Corinne; or, Italy.
- William Wordsworth publishes Poems, in Two Volumes.
- Birth of Sir Robert John le Mesurier McClure.
- The Iberian Wars continue with the Spanish revolt against French rule and
the naming of Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon
- British troops led by Sir Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) land in Portugal.
Under the controversial Convention of Cintra, British forces allow the withdrawal of French troops.
- Napoleon calls the summit at Erfurt,
attended by Alexander I of Russia
and the princes of the Confederation of the Rhine. The three week summit -- known as Die Tollen Tage
(mad days) at Erfurt -- includes Napoleon's famed meeting with Goethe.
- Coleridge writes
To William Wordsworth.
- John Dalton publishes A New
System of Chemical Philosophy.
- Leigh Hunt becomes editor of The Examiner.
- Walter Scott publishes
- John Stearns develops analgesics to ease labor pains.
- European wars, the American embargo of trans-Atlantic trade and the
continental blockade leave British credit and industry at a dangerously
low ebb. General European financial collapse seems increasingly likely.
- The death of Sir John Moore in the Battle of Coruna leads to
Wellington's appointment as commander of British troops in the Iberian peninsula.
- France and Austria at war. Vienna falls and Napoleon issues his famous
decree annexing the Papal States and stripping the Papacy of temporal rule.
Pope Pius VII responds by excommunicating the French Emperor. The Pope is
taken prisoner. Napoleon divorces Josephine.
- The Covent Garden and Drury Lane theaters, in London,
burn down and are subsequently rebuilt.
- William Blake produces
- Lord Byron publishes English
Bards and Scotch Reviewers.
- William Nicholson publishes
the British Encyclopedia; or,
Dictionary of arts and sciences in six volumes.
- Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin,
aged eleven, anonymously publishes her parody, Monsieur
Nongtongpaw, with the Juvenile Library.
- Goethe publishes
- Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet publishes
Philosophie Zoölogique, an investigation into
- The Quarterly Review is founded.
- Charles Darwin born.
- Death of Franz Joseph Haydn.
- Death of Thomas Paine.
- Death of Anna Seward.
- Birth of Alfred Tennyson.
- Napoleon, at the peak of his power,
annexes Holland, suppressing all Dutch
commerce with Britain and
the Americas. Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland and the Emperor's brother, abdicates
his throne in protest. Napoleon marries the Archduchess Marie Louis of Austria.
He goes on to annex German lands in
Hannover, Bremen, Hamburg, Laurenburg, and Lübeck.
- Economic recession deepens across Europe. Napoleon issues the Decrees of Rombouillet
and Fontainbleu, confiscating American and British goods, respectively.
- Fractious negotiations between Britain and President Madison fail to lift the American embargo.
- George III increasingly incapacitated by mental and physical illness.
- Patriotic revolutionary movements rise in Spanish South America,
rejecting the authority of Joseph Bonaparte and the Spanish junta alike.
Simon Bolivar's revolt in Venezuela inspires similar uprisings in Spanish
and Portugese colonial territories.
- Britain seizes French colonies at Guadeloupe, Isle de Bourbon, Java and
Isle de France.
- American forces defeat the Spanish in Western Florida, securing the advantage pressed
since the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
- Spring: Percy Shelley
publishes Zastrozzi, a Gothic novel.
- October: Percy
Shelley enters University College, Oxford, where he meets
Thomas Jefferson Hogg.
- Walter Scott publishes Poetical Works
by Anna Seward.
- Mme de Staël publishes De
publishes Guide to Lakes and Essays on Epitaphs.
- Death of Charles Brockden Brown.
- Death of the Chevalier d'Éon.
- Birth of Elizabeth Gaskell.
- Death of Johann Wilhelm Ritter.
- George III declared insane by Parliament. George, Prince of Wales (later George IV),
is installed as Regent.
- Luddite anti-factory riots break out in the English Midlands -- a symptom
of growing economic hardship and working-class opposition to industrial labor.
- Wellington's victories in Portugal, and looming war with Russia,
force Napoleon to partially withdraw from Spain.
- Naval clashes and the failure to resolve the Atlantic trade
embargo presage conflict between Britain and the United States.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley and
Thomas Jefferson Hogg are sent down
from Oxford after the publication of their
pamphlet The Necessity of
Atheism. Shelley writes "Dark spirit of the desart rude."
- Jane Austen publishes
Sense and Sensibility.
- Charles Bell publishes Anatomy of the Brain,
distinguishing sensory from motor nerves.
- David Ricardo publishes On the High Price of Bullion.
- January: Percy
Shelley meets Harriet Westbrook.
- August: Percy Shelley elopes with Harriet Westbrook to
- Birth of Franz Liszt.
- Death of Adam Weishaupt.
- Napoleon, defeated in Russia
is in full retreat across northern Europe, pursued by Russian and Prussian forces.
- Germany is liberated from French rule.
- Wellington invades Spain from Portugal and liberates the peninsula
from Napoleonic rule. Now at war with the British, Austrian and Russian
Empires, Napoleon's forces are driven from Holland, Italy and Switzerland.
- American forces are victorious over the British in a naval battle at Lake Erie.
- Leigh Hunt is imprisoned for libel against the Prince Regent.
- Robert Southey is appointed Poet Laureate after
Scott has already declined the position.
- Wordsworth is given a sinecure as Distributor of Stamps.
- Jane Austen publishes
Pride and Prejudice.
- The Dutch novelist Willem Bilderdijk publishes pioneering science
fiction, A Short Account of a Remarkable Aerial Voyage and Discovery of
a New Planet.
- Byron publishes The
Bride of Abydos.
- Augustin Pyrame de Candolle publishes his
Théorie Elémentaire de la Botanique.
- Coleridge publishes Remorse.
- May: Percy Shelley
publishes Queen Mab.
- June: Ianthe Shelley born.
- Birth of Giuseppe Verdi.
- Birth of Richard Wagner.
- Allied armies invade France from
the north, south and east, inciting Bourbon sentiment as they
traverse the country. Napoleon
fights a series of brilliant counter-attacks but, by March,
Paris has fallen.
- April: Napoleon abdicates and, through the efforts of Talleyrand, is succeeded by Louis XVIII.
Napoleon is exiled to the Italian island of Elba.
- The great European powers meet for the Congress of Vienna (September
1814-June 1815) and agree upon a conservative and monarchist world order.
- British forces attack Washington D.C., burning the White House and
Capitol. American forces under Jackson are victorious at New Orleans.
The "War of 1812" is concluded by the Treaty of Ghent.
- English Corn Laws passed in Parliament. These protectionist laws
encouraged the export and limited the import of corn when prices fell
below a fixed point, later becoming the object of a fierce political
struggle between the landowning and industrialist classes.
- The British navy develops the first steam-driven warship.
- George Watson invents the steam locomotive.
- The French legislature passes a law prohibiting abortion
except "when it is required to preserve the life of the mother
when that is gravely threatened."
- Founding of the New Monthly Magazine
- Jane Austen publishes
- Byron publishes The
- Leigh Hunt publishes The Feast
of the Poets.
- Walter Scott publishes
publishes The Excursion.
- May: Second meeting of Mary
- July: Mary Godwin and Percy Shelley elope to the
Continent, accompanied by
- September: Mary Godwin, Percy Shelley and Claire Clairmont return to
- November: Charles Shelley born to Harriet Shelley.
- Death of Sir Benjamin Thomson, Count Rumford.
- Napoleon escapes from Elba
and returns to France, entering
Paris during March.
- June: Napoleon is soundly defeated in the Battle of Waterloo and is exiled
to the isolated Atlantic island of St. Helena.
- "Holy Alliance" of Christian monarchs formed by Russia, Prussia, Austria, France, Spain
- After years of economic blockades, American and European wars, the British
national debt stands in excess of 850 million pounds sterling.
- April: Massive volcanic eruption of Mt. Tambora in the Dutch East
publishes collected Poems.
- Keats becomes a medical student in
- The Brothers Grimm publish their Fairy Tales.
- Percy Shelley writes "Mutability" and "To Wordsworth."
- February: A premature daughter born to Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin.
- March: The premature daughter dies.
- Death of William Nicholson.
- 1816 (see also the entry on the Shelleys in the summer of 1816):
- Industrial depression worsens in England.
A new tax on the importation of grains results in rising prices. Labor
with working-men's meetings at Manchester, Littleport, Nottingham and
- Opening of the first Savings Bank in London.
- The Elgin Marbles are exhibited in the British Museum collection.
- Revolts against Spanish rule in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.
- Jane Austen publishes
- Byron publishes The
Siege of Corinth and Childe
Harold's Pilgrimage, III; The
Prisoner of Chillon; and Prometheus. He writes "A Fragment" [The Vampire].
- Coleridge publishes
Christabel and Other Poems, including "Christabel," "Kubla Khan," and "Pains of Sleep."
- Leigh Hunt publishes
- Walter Scott publishes Old
- March: Percy Shelley publishes
Alastor, and Other Poems
(including "Hymn to Intellectual
Beauty" and "Mont Blanc").
- January: William Shelley born.
- May: Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin travel with Claire Clairmont to the Continent; they
meet Byron and Polidori in Geneva.
- June: Mary Godwin begins Frankenstein; Polidori writes The Vampyre.
- September: Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin return to England.
- October: Fanny Imlay commits suicide.
- November: Harriet Shelley drowns
herself in the Serpentine.
- December: Percy and Mary Shelley marry.
- Godwin travels to Scotland and meets Walter Scott.
- Continuing industrial depression and unrest in England.
Riots occur at the opening of Parliament; a working-class insurrection is put down in Derbyshire;
seven members of the Society of Luddites are hanged under the Frame-breaking Bill; the "Manchester
Blanketers" march on London.
- Political unrest in England leads to the suspension of Habeus Corpus and the
suppression of radical and democratic societies.
- Bolivar lands in Venezuela, attempting to re-conquer the country from Spain.
San Martin and Bernardo O'Higgins lead a successful revolt in Chile.
- Black Dwarf, a radical magazine, is founded by William Hone. Hone
is put on trial by the government over his publishing of Political Litany.
- Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine is founded.
- Byron publishes
Beppo: A Venetian Story and Manfred: A Dramatic Poem.
publishes Biographia Literaria and Sibylline Leaves, the
first volume of his collected poems. The edition contains "Dejection, an Ode" and a revision of
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
- Godwin publishes
- Keats publishes Poems.
- David Ricardo publishes Principles of Political Economy and Taxation.
- May: Mary Shelley
- November: Mary Shelley publishes History of a Six Weeks' Tour
through a Part of France, Switzerland, and Holland.
- Percy Shelley publishes Laon and Cythna.
- January: Allegra Byron born to Byron and Claire Clairmont.
- March: Percy Shelley
is denied custody of his children by Harriet in Chancery Court.
- September: Clara Shelley born.
- Death of Jane Austen.
- Death of Madame de Staël.
- The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle secures the withdrawal of foreign
armies from France. The Holy Alliance
nations institute common policies of reaction against political dissent.
- Trial and imprisonment of English publisher Richard Carlile.
- Thomas Blundell makes an early attempt at blood transfusion and warns
against the danger of mixing blood types.
- James Blundel, a London surgeon, performs the first
successful human blood transfusion.
- In England, John Loudon
Macadam introduces a new system for the design
and construction of roads.
- John Ross searches for the
Northwest Passage and explores Baffin Bay.
- Andrew Jackson's campaigns in Florida help secure the remainder of that
province for the United States.
- Lord Byron publishes Beppo and
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, IV.
- Keats publishes Endymion.
- Walter Scott publishes Rob Roy
and The Heart of Midlothian.
- Mary Shelley
publishes the first edition of Frankenstein (1 January).
- Percy Shelley reissues Laon and Cythna as The Revolt of Islam; composes
Act I, and "Rosalind and Helen"; publishes
- March: The Shelleys set out for Italy
with Claire Clairmont and Allegra.
- June: The Shelleys move to Bagni di Lucca.
- September: Death of Clara Shelley.
- November: The Shelleys move to Rome.
- December: The Shelleys settle in Naples.
- Death of Matthew "Monk" Lewis.
- Birth of Karl Marx.
- In England, the "Peterloo Massacre"
occurs when Manchester magistrates order armed and mounted soldiers to
clear a peaceful meeting of sixty thousand people. Around five hundred are injured and
eleven killed; the meeting's radical leaders, including Henry Hunt, are imprisoned.
- The British Government passes the so-called "Six Acts" for the suppression
of radical political activities and labor organization. Henry Grattan's motion
to consider Catholic emancipation is narrowly defeated in the Commons.
- "Missouri Compromise" in United States Congress admits slave-holding Missouri into
the Union. Slavery is maintained in southern states while it is outlawed in the north and
any future state.
- Declarations of independence from Spain are made in Venezuela, Columbia and Ecuador.
- August von Kotzebue is assassinated in Germany by a radical student, leading to
a conservative government crackdown. The Convention of Karlsbad orders increased intellectual
suppression in schools, universities and publishing.
- Two further British expeditions to the
Arctic Ocean in search of the Northwest Passage, including that by William Parry.
- Byron publishes
Mazeppa and Don Juan, Cantos I-II.
- Keats publishes Ode to a
- Hans Christian Oersted
publishes the results of his research on the relationship between
- John William Polidori
publishes Ernestus Berchtold.
- Arthur Schöepenhauer publishes The World as Will and Idea.
- Walter Scott publishes
The Bride of Lammermoor and A Legend of Montrose.
- Percy Shelley completes Prometheus Unbound and "Julian and Maddalo"; writes The Cenci, "The Mask of
Anarchy," "Peter Bell the Third,"
and "Ode to the West Wind."
- Sismondi publishes Nouveaux Principes d'économie politique.
- Wordsworth publishes Peter Bell, The Waggoner.
- March: The Shelleys move to Rome.
- June: Death of William Shelley.
The Shelleys move to Leghorn.
- August: Mary Shelley
- September: Mary Shelley finishes Mathilda (first
published in 1959); the Shelleys move to Florence.
- November: Percy Florence Shelley born.
- Birth of Alexandrina Victoria, the future Queen Victoria.
- Death of James Watt.
- January: George III dies and is succeeded by
George IV. The new King begins divorce proceedings against Queen Caroline.
- Revolution in Spain: military and popular revolts force King Ferdinand
to swear allegiance to the Consitution of 1812.
- In Naples, Italy, soldiers and citizens
revolt in favor of a constitutional monarchy.
- Revolution in Portugal: the Regency is deposed and a Junta is
established in order to frame a constitutional monarchy. English
officers are dismissed from Portugal's armed forces.
- Antarctica discovered.
- Humphry Davy is made president of
the Royal Society.
- André Marie
Ampère publishes the results of his research on the
relationship between electricity and
- The anti-malarial drug quinine is separated and identified by Pelletier
- Walter Scott is knighted by George IV.
- William Blake produces
Jerusalem: The Emancipation of the Giant Albion.
- Keats publishes The Eve of St.
Agnes, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, and the Ode on a Grecian
- Godwin publishes Of Population.
- Thomas Malthus publishes Principles of Political Economy.
- Charles Robert Maturin pubishes Melmoth the Wanderer.
- Walter Scott publishes The
Abott, Ivanhoe and The Monastery.
- February: Mary
Shelley completes Mathilda.
- April-May: Mary Shelley writes Proserpine and
- Percy Shelley
writes "The Sensitive Plant," "Ode to Liberty," "To a Skylark," "The Cloud,"
and "The Witch of Atlas";
publishes The Cenci,
Prometheus Unbound and
Swellfoot the Tyrant.
- William Wordsworth publishes
The River Duddon, a Series of Sonnets.
- January: The Shelleys move to Pisa.
- June: The Shelleys move to Livorno (Leghorn).
- August: The Shelleys move to Bagni di San Giuliano.
- October: The Shelleys move to Pisa.
- November: The Shelleys meet Emilia Viviani.
- Death of Sir Joseph Banks.
- Death of Jean Baptiste Robinet.
- Death of Comte de Volney.
- Invited by King Ferdinand of Naples, Austrian forces put down
the Neapolitan revolt.
- Portugese troops in Brazil revolt against absolutist rule, gaining
consitutional concessions from the Portugese king.
- Declarations of Independence from Spain in Bolivia, Chile, Peru and
- Balkan revolts against Turkish rule precede the beginning of the
Greek War of Independence against Ottoman Turkey.
- The United States founds the West African colony of Liberia for the
repatriation of freed slaves.
- Manchester Guardian founded.
- Byron publishes Don Juan, III-V,
Marina Faliero [with] The Prophecy of Dante, Sardanapalus,
The Two Foscari and Cain.
- Sir William Edward Parry publishes Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery
of a North-West Passage.
- De Quincey publishes Confessions of an English Opium
- Sir Walter Scott publishes Kenilworth.
Shelley publishes Adonais and Epipsychidion; writes
"A Defence of Poetry" (extract),
- Robert Southey publishes A Vision
of Judgement. In its preface, Southey castigates Lord Byron's
- January: The Shelleys meet Edward and Jane Williams.
- April: The Shelleys move to Bagni di San Giuliano.
- October: the Shelleys move to Pisa.
- November: Byron joins the
Shelleys in Pisa.
- Death of Queen Caroline.
- Death of Keats.
- Death of Napoleon.
- Suicide of John William Polidori.
- Suicide of British statesman Lord Castlereagh; succeeded by George Canning
as Foreign Secretary and Tory Leader in the Commons.
- Greek patriots declare independence from Turkey. The war of independence
continues amidst pitched battles and communal massacres on both sides.
- The Congress of Verona commits French royalists to intervention against the
Spanish constitutional government.
- Bolivar and San Martin victorious over Spain in South American wars of independence.
- Brazilian indpendence from Portugal: a peaceful revolution ends with Dom Pedro,
the Portugese regent, being installed as a constitutional monarch.
- United States President Monroe (the "Monroe Doctrine"), and British Prime
Minister Canning, recognize the independence of the South American republics.
- Byron publishes The Vision of Judgement,
a reply to, and comic attack upon, Robert Southey.
- Leigh Hunt's The Liberal founded (fails after four issues).
- The Chevalier de Lamarck
develops his theory of evolution in
Histoire naturelle des animaux sans vertèbres.
- Sir Walter Scott publishes Halidon Hill, The Pirate, The Fortunes
of Nigel and Peveril of the Peak.
- Percy Shelley publishes Hellas; begins
The Triumph of Life.
- William Wordsworth publishes Ecclesiastical Sketches.
- January: Edward John Trelawny joins the Shelleys and Byron in
- April: Death of Allegra Byron.
- May: The Shelleys move to Lerici.
- June: Mary Shelley
- July: Percy Shelley
and Edward Williams drown in the Gulf of Spezia.
- September: Mary Shelley moves to Genoa.
- Death of William Herschel.
- French troops invade Spain, leading to a general civil war. King
Ferdinand is eventually returned to an absolutist position, whereupon
he restores the Inquisition and suspends political liberties.
- Declarations of independence from Spain in Costa Rica, Guatemala
and Mexico. Simon Bolivar enters Lima and proclaims himself dictator of
- Lord Byron travels to Greece as the
representative of the London Philhellenes.
- William Sturgeon creates the first electromagnet.
- The London Mechanics Institute is founded.
- Byron publishes Don Juan, VI-XIV, The Island and Werner.
- John Franklin publishes
Narrative of a Journey to the Polar Sea.
- Leigh Hunt publishes Ultra-Crepidarius.
- Sir Walter Scott publishes Quentin Durward.
- Mary Shelley publishes Valperga.
- January: Percy
Shelley's ashes interred in Rome's Protestant Cemetery.
- July-August: Mary Shelley returns to London.
- August: Mary Shelley sees R. B.
Peake's play, Presumption, which opened at
the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 28 July. The second edition of
Frankenstein, with textual alterations by Godwin, is
published on 11 August.
- Death of Anne Radcliffe.
- Death of Edward Jenner.
- Death of David Ricardo.
- Charles X of France assumes the
throne after the death of Louis XVIII.
- British colonial wars in Burma.
- Opening of the National Gallery in London.
- Inaugaration of the London Institute.
- Lord Byron publishes The Deformed Transformed
and Don Juan, XV-XVI.
- Thomas Carlyle translates Goethe's
- James Hogg publishes Private
Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
- June: The publication of Mary Shelley's edition of Percy Shelley's
Posthumous Poems is suppressed by Percy Shelley's father.
- Sir Walter Scott publishes
St. Ronan's Well and Redgauntlet.
- Death of Anna Laetitia Barbauld.
- Lord Byron dies in
- Major financial crash in Britain. Only
rapid emergency measures prevent the collapse of the Bank of England.
- Death of Alexander I of Russia. After a brief revolt, Alexander is
succeeded by his younger brother, Nicholas I.
- The industrial revolution gathers steam: the first railroad comes into operation in
England, running between Stockton and Darlington; Brunel sinks the first shaft for the
Thames tunnel; a chain suspension bridge is erected over the Menai Straits,
North Wales; Crowther's hydraulic crane is patented; Mechanics Institutes
are founded in Exeter and Belfast.
- Anna Laetitia Barbauld's Works is published.
- Coleridge publishes Aids to Reflection.
- William Hazlitt publishes The Spirit of the Age and Table Talk.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay publishes his Essay on
- John Milton's De Doctrina Christiana is first published.
- R. B. Peake's Presumption! or, The
Fate of Frankenstein opens in New York during January.
- Sir Walter Scott publishes The Betrothed and The Talisman.
- Robert Southey publishes A Tale
- Continuing fallout from the financial collapse and corn laws causes
widespread economic hardship in Britain.
Labor unrest increases in factories and mills. Sir Walter Scott's publisher,
Ballantyne, collapses amidst the general distress.
- Lord Liverpool's government falls. In new elections, George Canning is
appointed Prime Minister of Great Britain.
- Georg Simon Ohm discovers the relationship
between voltage, current and resistance ("Ohm's Law").
- André Marie Ampère
- Burke's Peerage first published.
- Elizabeth Barrett publishes her first works, An Essay on Mind, with Other Poems.
- July: production of H. M. Milner's
Frankenstein: or, The Man and the
Monster. A Romantic Melo-Drama, at the Royal Coburg Theatre, London.
- A French version of Peake's Presumption! produced in
- Sir Walter Scott publishes Woodstock.
- January: Mary
Shelley publishes The Last Man.
- September: Death of Charles Bysshe Shelley (son of
- British troops land at Lisbon to suppress a revolt against Portugal's
- Greek independence is won at the Battle of Navarino, when British, French
and Russian ships destroy the Turkish fleet.
- George Canning dies. The Duke of Wellington is appointed Prime Minister.
- London University is chartered.
- Educationalist Thomas Arnold is appointed to Rugby School.
- Sir Walter Scott acknowledges his authorship
of Waverley; publishes The Chronicles of Canongate.
- Alfred and Charles Tennyson publish Poems by Two Brothers.
- Death of Ludwig Van Beethoven.
- Death of William Blake.
- Death of Alessandro Volta.
- January: Formal Greek declaration of independence. Capodistrias is made
president of the new Greek Republic.
- The Corporation Act (forbidding municipal office to non-Anglicans)
and the Test Act (similarly effecting eligibility for public office)
- Railroads first introduced in North America.
- Washington Irving publishes The Life and Adventures of Christopher
Columbus (Book V, Chapter 7 available here).
- April: Mary Shelley
leaves for Paris.
- May: Mary Shelley returns from Paris.
- Death of Franz Schubert.
- The Catholic Emancipation Act is passed in the British Parliament
after Whig MPs side with Wellington's government against the Tory majority.
- Russia and Turkey
are engaged in a war in
the Balkans. England and Austria force a truce upon Russia.
- Edinburgher William Burke is hanged for murdering people
to provide corpses for dissection.
- Robert Peel establishes the Metropolitan Police, the first modern
police force, in London.
- Sir Goldsworth Gurney experiments with steam-powered stage coaches,
running between Bath and London.
- James Mill publishes Analysis of the Human Mind.
- Thomas Love Peacock publishes
The Misfortunes of Elphin.
- Sir Walter Scott publishes Anne
- Mary Shelley assists
in the publication of the Galignani edition of Percy Shelley's poems in
- Death of Sir Humphry Davy.
- Death of Chevalier de Lamarck.
- Death of Friedrich Schlegel, brother of August Wilhelm
and biographer of Madame de Staël.
- Death of George IV, King of the United Kingdom,
and his succession by his brother, Duke of Clarence, as William III.
- Wellington's government falls amidst agitation for
constitutional and parliamentary reform. Earl Grey becomes Prime Minister of
a new Whig administration.
- Irish patriot Daniel O'Connell agitates for the repeal of the
1801 Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
- French forces invade and annex Algiers.
- Charles X of France is ousted in
the July Revolution and is succeeded by Louis-Philippe, ending the Bourbon
- Joseph Lister reports to the Royal Society
on his medical experiments with a new compound microscope.
- Robert Brown discovers the cell nucleus in plants.
- The Liverpool to Manchester railway opens.
- Invention of the sewing machine by Batholemy Thimonnier, a
French tailor. Installed in a factory in Paris,
the machines are soon smashed by disgruntled workers.
- Twenty six steam-driven automobiles in the streets of London.
- Auguste Comte begins publication of Course on Positive Philosophy (completed 1842).
- Godwin publishes
- Felicia Hemans publishes Songs of the Affections.
- Charles Lyell begins publication of Principles of Geology (completed 1833).
- Thomas Moore publishes Letters and Journals of Lord
- May: Mary Shelley
publishes Perkin Warbeck.
- Stendhal publishes Le Rouge et le Noir.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson, publishes Poems, Chiefly Lyrical,
- Simon Bolivar dies, en route to exile in England.
- Death of Stephanie Felicité Ducrest de St-Albin, Comtesse de Genlis.
- Birth of Christina Rossetti.
- In Lord Russell introduces a
Parliamentary Reform Bill to abolish "nomination" (or "rotten") boroughs.
- The French-speaking population of the Netherlands revolts against Dutch
rule and establishes the independent nation of Belgium. Prince Leopold of
Saxe-Coburg is elected King Leopold I.
- The Polish Diet declares independence from Russia.
Tsar Nicholas I's forces defeat the Poles at Ostroleka, ending the revolt.
- Nat Turner leads a revolt of African-American slaves at Southampton, Virginia.
- Working-class residents of Lyons, France
revolt in protest against appalling urban conditions.
- Charles Darwin sets out for
South America and the Galápagos Islands on the Beagle.
- Michael Faraday propounds
his theory of electro-magnetic rotation.
- John Ross and James Clark Ross discover the magnetic North
- Victor Hugo publishes Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre
- Godwin publishes
Thoughts on Man.
- Thomas Love Peacock publishes
- November: Mary
Shelley publishes the third edition of
Frankenstein and Proserpine.
- Death of John Abernethy.
- England's first Reform Bill is passed.
The Bill extends the franchise to £10/year male householders and apportions
parliamentary representation more fairly. Over two hundred thousand voters
are added to an electorate of half a million.
- Giuseppe Mazinni founds "Giovine Italia" (Italian Youth), an organization
with the aim of achieving national independence for
- At Hambach, Germany, mass demonstrations
are held in support of the national and liberal cause.
- England's Parliament outlaws body-snatching for medical research.
- Leigh Hunt publishes Poetical Works.
- Tennyson publishes The Lady of Shalott.
- Goethe's second part of Faust
is published posthumously.
- September: William Godwin, Jr., dies; Percy Florence Shelley enters Harrow.
- Death of Baron Georges Cuvier.
- Death of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
- Death of Sir Walter Scott.
- The Factory Act is passed, providing the first system for
regulating working conditions in British
- Slavery is abolished throughout the British Empire.
- All Germany's states join a common
customs union (the Zollverein).
- Beginning of the Oxford Movement for theological reform in the Anglican church.
- J. K. F. Gauss and Wilhelm E. Weber devise an electromagnetic telegraph capable of
transmitting over a distance of nine thousand feet.
- J. M. W. Turner holds his first exhibition of Venetian pictures at the
- Robert Browning publishes Pauline.
- Charles Dickens publishes the first "Sketches by Boz" in the Monthly
- Godwin publishes
- Johannes Peter Müller begins publication of his Handbuch der Physiologie
der Menschen (completed 1840).
- End of Earl Grey's ministry in Britain.
Viscount Melbourne serves as Prime Minister from July, until Robert Peel takes
over in December.
- The Poor Law Ammendment Act establishes the workhouse regiment for able-bodied
unemployed men in Great Britain.
- Daniel O'Connell's motion to repeal the Union of Ireland and Great Britain
is defeated in the House of Commons.
- The Houses of Parliament burn down.
- The diplomatic and military pact of the "Quadruple Alliance" is
contrived by Britain, France, Spain
- The South Australia Act expands British colonisation in Australasia.
- The East India Company's Chinese trade monopoly ends.
- War between Bantus and white settlers in South African Cape colonies.
- Charles Babbage invents the principle of the "analytical engine" -- a
forerunner of the modern computer.
- William Wilkins begins building the National Gallery,
- Leigh Hunt publishes London Journal.
- Thomas Moore publishes the final collection of Irish Melodies.
- Death of William Blackwood.
- Death of Coleridge.
- Death of Charles Lamb.
- Death of Thomas Robert Malthus.
- Birth of William Morris.
- The Municipal Corporation Act reforms local government in England.
- Founding of a British colony at Melbourne, England.
- The German Diet issues an edict banning the work of the "Young Germany"
school of Hëine and others.
- Halley's Comet returns.
- February: Mary
Shelley publishes the first volume of Lives of the Most
Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy, Spain and
- March: Mary Shelley publishes Lodore.
- October: Mary Shelley publishes the second volume of Lives
of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy, Spain
- David Friedrich Strauss publishes The Life of Jesus.
- Death of Felicia Hemans.
- Death of James Hogg.
- The People's Charter demands universal suffrage and the ballot-vote in
Britain. The Chartist movement becomes
the first national working-class political organization.
- Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte leads an unsuccessful revolt at Strasbourg,
- Republic of Texas is founded after secessionists win independence from
- Boer settlers in the South African colonies begin their "Great Trek"
across the Orange River and away from British rule.
- Charles Dickens begins serialization of Pickwick Papers.
- Thomas Carlyle publishes Sartor Resartus.
- J. P. Eckermann begins publication of Conversations with Goethe.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes Nature in Boston.
- Schöepenhauer publishes On the Will in Nature
(Über den Willen
in der Natur).
- Death of André Maria Ampère.
- April: Death of Godwin.
- Britain's William IV dies and is succeeded by Queen Victoria, who reigns
- Universal birth registration is implemented in England.
- Samuel Morse demonstrates an electric telegraph at a public
demonstration in New York City.
- Thomas Carlyle publishes The French Revolution.
- February: Mary
Shelley publishes Falkner.
- October: Percy Florence Shelley enters Trinity College,
- November: Mary Shelley publishes the third volume of Lives
of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy, Spain
- Death of John Constable.
- Birth of Algernon Charles Swinburne.
- Death of Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus.
- The Anti-Corn Law League is established by Richard Cobden in Manchester.
- Britain at war in Afghanistan. Fighting continues until
- A regular steamship service begins between New York and
- Daguerre and Niepce present their method of photography to the French
Académie des Sciences and Académie des Beaux Arts.
- August: Mary Shelley
publishes the first volume of Lives of the Most Eminent
Literary and Scientific Men of France.
- Death of Charles Maruice de Talleyrand-Perigord
- The first Opium War breaks out between China and
- The British ships Erebus and Terror leave to explore the Antarctic Ocean.
- Louis Blanc publishes L'Organisation du Travail, arguing "to
according to his needs, from each according to his abilities."
- Edgar Allen Poe publishes The Fall of the House of Usher.
- January-May: Mary
Shelley publishes her four-volume edition of Percy Shelley's Poetical
- August: Mary Shelley publishes the second volume of Lives
of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of France.
- November: Mary Shelley publishes her one-volume edition of
The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley.
- December: Mary Shelley publishes her edition of Percy
Shelley's Essays and Letters.
- Wordsworth concludes his final
revision of The Prelude.
- Death of Charles Lloyd.
- Walter Pater born.
- Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
- Founding of the British penny-post.
- Grammar Schools Act reforms and extends education in Great Britain.
- Sir Charles Barry begins the re-building of the Palace of Westminster,
seat of the Houses of Parliament.
- Louis Agassiz publishes Study on Glaciers, a study of the
movement and effects of glaciers.
- Robert Browning publishes Sordello.
- Johannes Peter Müller, in Handbuch der Physiologie
der Menschen, argues in favor of spontaneous generation.
- Charles Darwin publishes
Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle.
- Death of Frances Burney (d'Arblay)
- Birth of Thomas Hardy.
- New Zealand becomes a British colony.
- Britain proclaims sovereignty over Hong Kong.
- Punch magazine is founded.
- A Swiss embyologist, Rudolf Albert von Kölliker identifies the
spermatozoa. His work contributes towards the neuron doctrine in biological
- Robert Browning writes Pippa Passes.
- Thomas Carlyle publishes On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the
Heroic in History.
- Charles Dickens publishes The Old Curiosity Shop.
- Ludwig Feuerbach publishes The Essence of Christianity.
- Thomas Babbington Macauley publishes Warren Hastings.
- Death of Mary Jane Clairmont
- Chartist Riots break out in the industrial regions of northern
England as workers demand democratic
- Treaty of Nanking ends the Opium War in China and cedes Hong Kong to
- Boer settlers found the Orange Free State in South Africa.
- The Copyright Act extends intellectual property rights to
forty two years from publication and seven years from an author's death.
- Advances in physics: C. J. Doppler describes the visual effect of
coloured light from binary stars (the "Doppler effect"); Julius Robert von
Mayer pioneers thermodynamics; and Joseph Henry invents an oscillatory theory
of electrical discharges.
- Posthumous publication of Frances Burney's
Diary and Letters.
- Charles Dickens publishes American Notes.
- William Wordsworth publishes
Poems, Chiefly of Early and Late Years.
- Death of Sismondi.
- Death of Stendhal.
- The Maori people revolt against the British colonial presence
in New Zealand.
- Michael Faraday develops the
principles of hydroelectricity.
- James Prescott Joule develops the means of measuring the amount of
work needed to produce a uniform amount of heat.
- The S. S. "Great Britain" is the first propeller-driven ship to cross
- The Economist is founded in London.
- Dickens publishes Martin Chuzzlewit and A Christmas Carol.
- John Ruskin publishes Modern Painters, volume I (five volumes, -1860).
- Alfred Tennyson publishes Morte d'Arthur and Locksley Hall/
- Death of Robert Southey.
William Wordsworth is made
- First public bath houses open in England.
- The first use of Samuel Morse's telegraph: messages are sent
between Baltimore and Washington, D. C.
- Wood-pulp paper is invented by Friedrich Gottlob Keller.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning publishes Poems.
- August: Mary Shelley
publishes Rambles in Germany and Italy
- Death of William Beckford.
- Death of John Dalton.
- Death of Sir Timothy Shelley.
- Potato blight causes crop failures across Europe and starvation in Ireland.
The Irish famine lasts until 1850 and, through
death and emigration, decimates the nation's population.
- Famine and agricultural crisis leads to the repeal of the Corn Laws,
which had kept grain prices artificially high.
- John Franklin leads a disastrous
expedition to the Arctic
Circle in search of the Northwest
- The first undersea cable is laid between England
- William McNaught invents a compound steam engine.
- Thomas Carlyle publishes Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches.
- Friedrich Engels publishes The Condition of the Working Class
in England in Leipzig, Germany.
Death of August Wilhelm von Schlegel.
- Forces of the British East India Company defeat the Sikhs at Aliwal
and Sobraon. The Treaty of Lahore ends the first Anglo-Sikh war in
- Polish citizens revolt against Russian rule. Austrian and Russian troops
enter Kracow; the Austrians annex the city.
- The United States and Mexico go to war. The U. S. annexes New Mexico.
- Louis Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from French custody and flees to England.
- First use of ether as a medical anaesthetic.
- John Franklin's ill-fated final
mission to the North Pole becomes trapped in ice.
- The Hakluyt Society is founded to promote world exploration.
- Charles Dickens edits the Daily News, the first cheap commercial
- British Factory Act legislates for a ten hour working day for
women and children between thirteen and eighteen.
- The United States captures Mexico City.
- Charlotte Brontë publishes Jane Eyre.
- Emily Brontë publishes Wuthering Heights.
- William Makepeace Thackeray publishes Vanity Fair.
- Death of Sir John Franklin
- Death of Richard Brinsley Peake.
- Birth of Bram Stoker.
- Revolutions in many European governments: three revolts in Vienna force
the reignation of Metternich, the flight of Ferdinand I, and the appointment
of Franz Joseph I as Austrian Emperor. A revolt in Rome causes the flight
of the Pope. Revolutions break out in Berlin, Venice, Milan and Parma.
- February: French revolutionaries force Louis Philippe to abdicate. The
National Assembly meets and a worker's uprising takes place in
Paris. In December, Louis Napoleon
Bonaparte is elected president of the new republic.
- The British parliament passes the First Public Health Act.
- Britain fights the second Sikh war in India.
- Switzerland becomes a federal union.
- A Women's Rights convention is held for the first time in Seneca Falls, New York.
- Elizabeth Gaskell publishes Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester
Life (an extract is available here).
- Marx and Engels publish The Communist Manifesto.
- John Stuart Mill publishes Principles of Political Economy.
- Elizabeth Gaskell publishes Mary
- In India, Britain defeats the Sikhs at Rawalpindi and annexes
Punjab by treaty.
- Rome declared a republic by Giuseppe Mazzini; the French enter Rome
and restore Pope Pius IX.
- Bedford College for Women is founded in London.
- Gold is discovered in California and in Australia.
- Charles Dickens publishes David Copperfield.
- William Wordsworth begins
publication of the six-volume Collected Edition of his works (-1850).
- Karl Marx moves to London.
- Public Libraries Act widens the public readership in
- R. W. Bunsen produces the first laboratory gas burner.
- Joseph Paxton builds Crystal Palace, London.
- Hermann von Helmholtz etablishes the speed of human nervous impulses.
- Royal Meteorological Society founded in England.
- Stephenson's cast-iron railroad bridge is opened at Newcastle, England.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning publishes Sonnets from the Portugese
- April: Death of Wordsworth.
- July: Wordsworth's Prelude published posthumously.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson succeeds Wordsworth as Poet Laureate.