Eighteenth Century

Not to be confused with The Eighteenth Century (journal).
Millennium: 2nd millennium
Centuries:
Decades: 1700s 1710s 1720s 1730s 1740s
1750s 1760s 1770s 1780s 1790s
Categories: BirthsDeaths
EstablishmentsDisestablishments



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 excess of the terror of Maximilien Robespierre. At first, the monarchies of Europe embraced Enlightenment ideals, but with the French Revolution they feared losing their power and joined wide coalitions with the counter-revolution.

The Ottoman Empire was undergoing 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 efficient enough to rival the neighbouring monarchies of Prussia, Russia and Austria who 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 around 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



1710s

1720s

1730s

1740s


1750s

1760s


1770s


1780s

1790s

Significant people

World leaders, politicians, military






Show business, theatre, entertainers

Musicians, composers

Main articles: List of Classical era composers and List of Baroque composers


Visual artists, painters, sculptors, printmakers, architects



Writers, poets



Philosophers, theologians


Scientists, researchers



Outlaws


Inventions, discoveries, introductions


Literary and philosophical achievements

Musical works

Decades and years

References

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. . Refereed.
  • The Wallace Collection, London, houses one of the finest collections of eighteenth-century decorative arts from France, England and Italy, including paintings, furniture, porcelain and gold boxes.
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