Catherine the Great of
Russia seizes the Crimea. This leads to the Russo-
The French balloonist , François Blanchard, and the American John Jeffries, become the first persons to cross the English Channel by air. They “fly” from Dover to Calais.
The Scottish geologist James Hutton
puts forward his idea -
Because of its strategic and commercial value, the British East India Company establishes a colony on Penang, a small island off the coast of Malaya in the Strait of Malacca.
The Austrian musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composes his world famous opera The Marriage of Figaro. He wrote a vast wealth of sacred and secular music.
The Kilmarnock edition of his early poems brings lasting fame to the Scottish poet Robbie Burns. A poetic genius in his native language, his major work was Tam O’Shanter.
The Frenchmen Michel Paccard and Jacques Balmat become the first men to climb Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain. The Swiss scientist Horace Saussure climbs it in 1787.
A Convention at Philadelphia draws up the constitution of the United States, a written
document which establishes a federal government within a republic. It is passed in 1788.
The brilliant French
chemist Antoine Lavoisier (1777 G3a)
publishes his Method of Chemical Nomen-
He is guillotined in 1794.
The British captain Arthur Phillip arrives off Botany Bay, New South Wales, with 760 convicts, and sets up the first penal settlement in Australia on the site of modern Sydney.
The French naturalist Georges Buffon dies, having completed 36 volumes of his treatise on Natural History (discussed 1767 G3a). His assistants complete the final 8 volumes by 1804.
France becomes bankrupt. Political unrest grows throughout the country and Louis XVI is forced to recall the States General, a body made up of nobility, clergy and commoners.
The German philosopher Immanuel Kant, writes Critique of Practical Reason, the second of his three Critiques. His innovative work formed the basis of modern philosophical thought.
The English historian Edward Gibbon completes his masterpiece, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a work which ranks as one of the world’s greatest history books.
George Washington is elected the first President of the United States. The city named after him in the District of Columbia becomes the seat of government the following year.
Mutiny breaks out aboard HMS Bounty. Captain Bligh and 18 members of his crew are set adrift in an open boat in the South Seas. The mutineers settle on Pitcairn and Tahiti.
In July, the French Revolution opens with the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris.
Work begins on the Declaration of the Rights of Man, but the country seethes with unrest.
The English philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham publishes his Principles of Morals and Legislation, the work in which he sets out his doctrine known as Utilitarianism.
The English furniture designer Thomas Sheraton arrives in London. The following year he begins the publication of his influential The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers’ Drawing Book.
The leading British cartographer Aaron Arrowsmith establishes his reputation with his first map of the world. The country’s Ordnance Survey was founded the following year.
In France, Louis XVI, after reluctantly
agreeing to a constitutional monarchy, tries to flee the
James Boswell, one of the
greatest of English biographers, publishes his Life
of Samuel Johnson. He first met the English man of
letters in 1763 and remained a life-
The Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn, the father of the symphony and founder of the string quartet, arrives in England and begins work on his twelve London Symphonies.
The negro Toussaint Louverture leads a slave rebellion in the French colony of Saint Domingue. He dies in prison in 1803, but the French are forced to leave the following year.
By the Treaty of Jassy, ending the war between Russia and Turkey begun in 1787, the Russians finally gain unrestricted access to warm water ports in the Black Sea.
The English radical thinker Mary Wollstonecraft publishes her Vindication of the Rights of Woman, calling for a system of education which would enhance their natural abilities.
The English politician and humanitarian William Wilberforce persuades Parliament to agree to the gradual abolition of the slave trade, but it takes another fifteen years to be official.
The American inventor Eli Whitney perfects a “cotton gin” for cleaning cotton fibre. Enabling one man to do the work of 200, it greatly increases cotton production in the South.
A trade mission to China
by Lord Macartney ends in failure.
The Emperor Ch'ien-
first Japanese artist to become well-
The German poet, dramatist and historian Friedrich Schiller begins his long friendship with Goethe. Over the next ten years he produces some of his finest dramas, including Wallenstein, Joan of Arc and William Tell.
The English mystic poet
and artist William
Blake completes his Songs
of Experience, a work which includes the famous poem
In South Africa, the British seize Cape Settlement from the Dutch and, in the Indian Ocean, begin the occupation of Sri Lanka, taking over the Dutch island the following year.
The Scottish explorer Mungo Park starts to trace the course of the Niger (Black) River in West Africa. He makes some progress, but is killed in 1806 during a second expedition.
Methodism in England, formed mainly by the endeavours of John Wesley as from the 1730s, breaks away from the established church and becomes an independent movement.
Following the third partition, Poland is finally swallowed up by her powerful neighbours, Russia, Prussia and Austria. The Polish nation is not restored until 1918, 123 years later.
Making his first public appearance in Vienna, the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven plays one of his early concertos.The first of his great symphonies is produced in 1803 (G3c).
The English doctor Edward Jenner makes the first successful inoculation against smallpox by means of vaccination. He publishes the results of his work two years later.
By the Treaty of Campo Formio, achieved by the victories of General Bonaparte, Austria cedes to France its lands in Belgium and Italy, and German territory up to the Rhine.
A rebellion for Irish independence, led by the Society of United Irishmen, is crushed at the Battle of Vinegar Hill. This revolt leads to the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801.
General Bonaparte, abandoning an invasion of England, strikes at Britain by invading Egypt. He captures Cairo after defeating the Egyptians at the Battle of the Pyramids.
The English poet Taylor Samuel Coleridge publishes The Ancient Mariner. The poem appears in Lyrical Ballads, a collection produced jointly with the romantic poet William Wordsworth.
In his Essay on the Principles of Population the English economist Thomas Malthus predicts that, in time, the world will be unable to support its growing population.
In India, the Anglo-
The Italian physicist Alessandro Volta devises a rudimentary battery known as a “voltaic pile”. His name was later given to the volt, a unit of electromotive force.
Act of Union unites Great Britain -
Admiral Sir Hyde Parker destroys the Danish fleet at the Battle of Copenhagen. Lord Nelson leads the attack and, ignoring a command to withdraw, wins a crushing victory.
The American inventor Robert Fulton produces the Nautilus, the first practical submarine. In 1807 (G3c) his steamboat, the Clermont makes its maiden voyage on the Hudson River.
ThexGerman astronomer Johann Bode publishes Uranographia, the first atlas to show all the stars visible to the naked eye. This work greatly increases public interest in astronomy.