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17th Century

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Title: 17th Century  
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Subject: 16th century, 1798, 18th century, 2nd millennium, 1600
Collection: 17Th Century, 2Nd Millennium, Centuries, Early Modern Period, Modern History
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17th Century

Millennium: 2nd millennium
Decades: 1600s 1610s 1620s 1630s 1640s
1650s 1660s 1670s 1680s 1690s
Categories: BirthsDeaths

The 17th century was the century that lasted from January 1, 1601, to December 31, 1700, in the Gregorian calendar. The 17th century falls into the Early Modern period of Europe and in that continent was characterized by the Dutch Golden Age, the Baroque cultural movement, the French Grand Siècle dominated by Louis XIV, the Scientific Revolution, and The General Crisis. This last is characterised in Europe most notably by the Thirty Years' War,[1] the Great Turkish War, the end of the Dutch Revolt, the disintegration of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the English Civil War.

Some historians extend the scope of the General Crisis to encompass the globe, as with the demographic collapse of the Ming Dynasty, China lost approximately 30% of its population. It was during this period also that European colonization of the Americas began in earnest, including the exploitation of the silver deposits of Potosí in Upper Peru and Mexico, which resulted in great bouts of inflation as wealth was drawn into Europe from the rest of the world.[2]

Europe and the Ottoman Empire (in purple) in the year 1600
Louis XIV visiting the Académie des sciences in 1671. "It is widely accepted that 'modern science' arose in the Europe of the 17th century, introducing a new understanding of the natural world." —Peter Barrett[3]
New Amsterdam as it appeared in 1664. Under British rule it became known as New York.
Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu is the founder of Japan's last shogunate, which lasted well into the 19th century
Miyamoto Musashi, Self-portrait, Samurai, writer and artist, c. 1640
A scene on the ice, Dutch Republic, first half of 17th century
Persian Ambassador during his entry into Kraków for the wedding ceremonies of King Sigismund III of Poland in 1605.
Catholic general Albrecht von Wallenstein
Battle of Nördlingen (1634). The Catholic Imperial army, bolstered by professional Spanish troops won a great victory in the battle over the combined Protestant armies of Sweden and their German allies
The Night Watch or The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, 1642. Oil on canvas; on display at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
The massacre of settlers in 1622. The massacre was instrumental in causing English colonists to view all natives as enemies.
Map of Europe in 1648 at the end of the Thirty Years' War
Claiming Louisiana for France
Sultan Mehmed IV
Crimean Tatar soldier fighting with the soldier of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Europe's steppe frontier was in a state of semi-permanent warfare until the 18th century.

In the midst of this global General Crisis, there were victory and triumph: In the Near East, the Ottoman, Safavid Persian and Mughal empires grew in strength and the Sikhs began to rise to power in the Punjab. Farther east in Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Edo period at the beginning of the century, starting the isolationist Sakoku policy that was to last until the 19th century. In China, the collapsing Ming Dynasty was challenged by a series of conquests led by the Manchu warlord Nurhaci, which were consolidated by his son Hong Taiji and finally consummated by his grandson, the Shunzi Emperor, founder of the Qing Dynasty.

European politics during the Crisis were dominated by the France of Louis XIV, where royal power was solidified domestically in the civil war of the Fronde, in which the semi-feudal territorial French nobility was weakened and subjugated to the power of an absolute monarchy through the reinvention of the Palace of Versailles from a hunting lodge to a gilded prison in which a greatly expanded royal court could be more easily kept under surveillance. With domestic peace assured, Louis XIV caused the borders of France to be expanded to include, among other regions, Roussillon, Artois, Dunkirk, Franche-Comté, Strasbourg, Alsace and Lorraine. It was during this century that England's political system became unique in Europe – by the end of the century, the monarch was a symbolic figurehead and Parliament was the dominant force in government – a stark contrast to the rest of Europe, in particular Louis XIV's France.

By the end of the century, Europeans were also aware of logarithms, electricity, the telescope and microscope, calculus, universal gravitation, Newton's Laws of Motion, air pressure and calculating machines due to the work of the first scientists of the Scientific Revolution, including Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, René Descartes, Pierre Fermat, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, Christiaan Huygens, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Robert Hooke, Isaac Newton, and Gottfried Leibniz, among other luminaries.


  • Events 1
    • 1600s 1.1
    • 1610s 1.2
    • 1620s 1.3
    • 1630s 1.4
    • 1640s 1.5
    • 1650s 1.6
    • 1660s 1.7
    • 1670s 1.8
    • 1680s 1.9
    • 1690s 1.10
  • Significant people 2
    • Musicians and composers 2.1
    • Visual artists 2.2
    • Literature 2.3
    • Educators 2.4
    • Exploration 2.5
    • Science and philosophy 2.6
  • Inventions, discoveries, introductions 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5
  • Decades and years 6




1610]]: Pedro de Peralta, governor of New Mexico, establishes the settlement of Santa Fe.

Jan Pieterszoon Coen (8 January 1587 – 21 September 1629), the founder of Batavia, was an officer of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the early seventeenth century, holding two terms as its Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.









Significant people

Anne of Austria, Queen of France

Musicians and composers

Visual artists




Science and philosophy

Portrait of René Descartes
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the first person to use a microscope to view bacteria
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, c. 1700

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

Major changes in philosophy and science take place, often characterized as the Scientific revolution.


  1. ^ "The Thirty-Years-War". Western New England College. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  2. ^ "The Seventeenth-Century Decline". The Library of Iberian resources online. Retrieved 13 August 2008. 
  3. ^ Peter Barrett (2004), Science and Theology Since Copernicus: The Search for Understanding, p. 14, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 0-567-08969-X
  4. ^ a b c d Ricklefs (1991), page 28
  5. ^ a b c d e Ricklefs (1991), page 29
  6. ^ History of UST Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  7. ^ The Tatar Khanate of Crimea
  8. ^ Miller, George (ed.) (1996). To The Spice Islands and Beyond: Travels in Eastern Indonesia. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. xvi.  
  9. ^ Alan Macfarlane (1997). "The savage wars of peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian trap". p. 64. ISBN 0-631-18117-2
  10. ^ Karen J. Cullen (2010). "Famine in Scotland: The 'Ill Years' of the 1690s". Edinburgh University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-7486-3887-3
  11. ^ Ricklefs (1991), page 63

External links

  • Vistorica: Timelines of 17th century events, science, culture and persons

Decades and years

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