18th century

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Political boundaries in 1700
Washington crossing the Delaware, December 25, 1776, an iconic event of the American Revolution
Storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789, an iconic event of the French Revolution
Development of the Watt steam engine in the late 18th century was an important element in the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.

The 18th century lasted from January 1, 1701 to December 31, 1800 in the Gregorian calendar.

During the 18th century, the Enlightenment culminated in the French and American revolutions. Philosophy and science increased in prominence. Philosophers dreamed of a brighter age. This dream turned into a reality with the French Revolution, although it was later compromised by the excesses of the Reign of Terror of Maximilien Robespierre. At first, the monarchies of Europe embraced Enlightenment ideals, but with the French Revolution they feared losing their power and formed broad coalitions for the counter-revolution.

The Ottoman Empire underwent a protracted decline, as it failed to keep up with the technological advances in Europe. The Tulip period symbolized a period of peace and reorientation towards European society, after victory against a burgeoning Russian Empire in the Pruth River Campaign. Throughout the century various reforms were introduced with limited success.

The 18th century also marked the end of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as an independent state. The once powerful and vast kingdom, that was once able to conquer Moscow and defeat the great Ottoman armies, collapsed under numerous invasions. Its semi-democratic government system was not robust enough to rival the neighbouring monarchies of the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire and the Archduchy of Austria which divided the Commonwealth territories among them, changing the landscape of Central European politics for the next hundred years.

Great Britain became a major power worldwide with the defeat of France in the Americas in the 1760s, and the conquest of large parts of India. However, Britain lost much of its North American colonies after the American Revolution, which was actively helped by the French. The Industrial Revolution started in Britain in the 1770s with the production of the improved steam engine. Despite its modest beginnings in the 18th century, it would radically change human society and the environment.

Western historians have occasionally defined the 18th century otherwise for the purposes of their work. For example, the "short" 18th century may be defined as 1715–1789, denoting the period of time between the death of Louis XIV of France and the start of the French Revolution with an emphasis on directly interconnected events.[1][2] To historians who expand the century to include larger historical movements, the "long" 18th century[3] may run from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815[4] or even later.[5]

Events

1700s

The Battle of Poltava in 1709 turned the Russian Empire into a European power.
Tokugawa Yoshimune, Shogun of Japan

1710s

1720s

Europe at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, 1700

1730s

1740s

Frederick II the Great, King of Prussia
File:The Battle of Culloden.jpg
The extinction of the Scottish clan system came with the defeat of the clansmen at the Battle of Culloden in 1746[16]

1750s

1760s

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.
George III, King of Great Britain.

1770s

1780s

1790s-1800

Significant people

World leaders, politicians, military

Ferdinand VI, King of Spain
Horatio Nelson, Vice Admiral in the British navy
Yeongjo, King of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea

Show business, theatre, entertainers

Musicians, composers

Visual artists, painters, sculptors, printmakers, architects

Writers, poets

Philosophers, theologians

Scientists, researchers

Outlaws

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

The Chinese Putuo Zongcheng Temple of Chengde, completed in 1771, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor.

Literary and philosophical achievements

Musical works

Decades and years

References

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  22. Ricklefs (1991), page 102
  23. Heuken (2000), page 307
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  26. Ricklefs (1991), page 101
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Further reading

  • Jeremy Black and Roy Porter, eds. A Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century World History (1994) 890pp
  • Klekar, Cynthia. “Fictions of the Gift: Generosity and Obligation in Eighteenth-Century English Literature.” Innovative Course Design Winner. American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies: Wake Forest University, 2004. <http://asecs.press.jhu.edu>. Refereed.
  • The Wallace Collection, London, houses one of the finest collections of 18th-century decorative arts from France, England and Italy, including paintings, furniture, porcelain and gold boxes.