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18th century

Related subjects General history

Millennium: 2nd millennium
Centuries: 17th century · 18th century · 19th century
Decades: 1700s 1710s 1720s 1730s 1740s
1750s 1760s 1770s 1780s 1790s
Categories: Births – Deaths
Establishments – Disestablishments

The 18th century lasted from 1701 to 1800 in the Gregorian calendar, in accordance with the Anno Domini era numbering system.

Historians sometimes specifically define 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, while the "long" 18th century may run from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the battle of Waterloo in 1815 or even later.

Emanuel Leutze's stylized depiction of Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) is an iconic image of heroic action by Washington.
Emanuel Leutze's stylized depiction of Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) is an iconic image of heroic action by Washington.
The storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789, an iconic event of the French Revolution.
The storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789, an iconic event of the French Revolution.



John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, English general
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, English general


  • 1715: First Jacobite Rebellion breaks out
  • 1715 Louis XIV died leaving France deep in debt.
  • 1718: City of New Orleans founded by the French in North America
  • 1718: Blackbeard is killed by Robert Maynard in a North Carolina inlet on the inner side of Ocracoke Island


  • 1720: The South Sea Bubble
  • 1720- 1721: The Great Plague of Marseille
  • 1721: Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister of Great Britain ( de facto).
  • 1721: Treaty of Nystad signed, ending the Great Northern War.
  • 1722- 23: Russo-Persian War
  • 1722: Afghans conquered Iran, ending the Safavid dynasty.
  • 1722: Kangxi Emperor of China died.
  • 1722: Bartholomew Roberts is killed in a sea battle off the African coast.
  • 1723 Slavery abolished in Russia. Peter the Great converted the household slaves into house serfs.
  • 1723- 1730: The "Great Disaster" - an invasion of Kazakh territories by the Dzungars.
  • 1725: The Fulani nomads took complete control of Fuuta Jallon and set up the first of many Fulani jihad states to come.
  • 1726: The enormous Chinese encyclopedia Gujin Tushu Jicheng of over 100 million written Chinese characters in over 800,000 pages is printed in 60 different copies using copper-based Chinese movable type printing.


Qianlong Emperor
Qianlong Emperor
  • 1732- 1734: Crimean Tatar raids into Russia.
  • 1733- 38: War of the Polish Succession.
  • 1735- 39: Russo-Turkish War.
  • 1735-99: The Qianlong Emperor of China oversaw a huge expansion in territory.
  • 1736: Nadir Shah assumed title of Shah of Persia and founded the Afsharid dynasty. Ruled until his death in 1747.
  • 1736 Qing Dynasty Chinese court painters recreate Zhang Zeduan's classic panoramic painting, Along the River During Qingming Festival.
  • 1738-1756 Famine across the Sahel, half the population of Timbuktu died.
  • 1739: Nadir Shah defeated the Mughals and sacked Delhi.


  • 1740 Frederick the Great comes to power in Prussia.
  • 1740- 1741: Famine in Ireland killed ten per cent of the population.
  • 1740- 48: War of the Austrian Succession
  • 1741 Russians began settling the Aleutian Islands.
  • 1744: The First Saudi State is founded by Mohammed Ibn Saud.
  • 1745: Second Jacobite Rebellion began in Scotland.
  • 1747: Ahmed Shah Durrani founded the Durrani Empire in modern day Afghanistan.


  • 1750: Peak of the Little Ice Age
  • 17541763, The French and Indian War, Fought in the U.S. and Canada mostly between the French and French allies and the English and English allies. The North American chapter of the Seven Years' War.
  • 1755: The Lisbon earthquake
  • 1756-63: Seven Years' War fought among European powers in various theaters around the world.
  • 1757: Battle of Plassey signaled the beginning of British rule in India.
Frederick II the Great, King of Prussia.
Frederick II the Great, King of Prussia.



  • 1770-1771: Famine in Czech lands killed hundreds of thousands.
  • 1771: The Plague Riot in Moscow.
  • 1772-1795: The Partitions of Poland ended the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and erased Poland from the map for 123 years.
  • 1772: Gustav III of Sweden stages a coup d'état and takes big political power, becoming almost an absolute monarch.
  • 1773-1775: The Pugachev's Rebellion was the largest peasant revolt in Russia's history.
  • 1775 John Harrison H4 and Larcum Kendall K1 Marine chronometers are used to measure longitude by James Cook on his Second voyage (1772-1775)
  • 1775-1782: First Anglo-Maratha War
  • 1775-1783 American Revolutionary War
  • 1779-1879: Xhosa Wars between British and Boer settlers and the Xhosas in South African Republic
Scottish engineer and inventor James Watt.
Scottish engineer and inventor James Watt.



  • 1791-1804: The Haitian Revolution
  • 1792-1815: The Great French War started as the French Revolutionary Wars which lead into the Napoleonic Wars.
  • 1792: New York Stock & Exchange Board founded.
  • 1793: Upper Canada bans slavery.
  • 1793: The largest yellow fever epidemic in American history killed as many as 5,000 people in Philadelphia—roughly 10% of the population.
  • 1793-1796: Revolt in the Vendée against the French Republic at the time of the Revolution.
  • 1794: Polish revolt
  • 1795: Pinckney's Treaty between the United States and Spain granted the Mississippi Territory to the US.
  • 1795: The Marseillaise officially adopted as the French national anthem.
  • 1795: Kamehameha I of the Island of Hawaii defeats the Oahuans at the Battle of Nu'uanu.
    The Battle of New Ross took place in Ireland, during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
    The Battle of New Ross took place in Ireland, during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
  • 1796 Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination. Smallpox killed an estimated 400,000 Europeans each year during the 18th century (including five reigning monarchs).
  • 1796: Battle of Montenotte. Engagement in the War of the First Coalition. Napoleon Bonaparte's first victory as an army commander.
  • 1796: British ejected Dutch from Ceylon.
  • 1796: Mungo Park, backed by the African Association, is the first European to set eyes on the Niger River in Africa.
  • 1796-1804: The White Lotus Rebellion against the Manchu Dynasty in China.
  • 1797 Napoleon's invasion and partition of the Republic of Venice ended over 1,000 years of independence for the Serene Republic.
  • 1798: The Irish Rebellion failed to overthrow British rule in Ireland.
  • 1798-1800: Quasi-War between the United States and France.
  • 1799 Napoleon staged a coup d'état and became dictator of France.
  • 1799: Dutch East India Company is dissolved.
  • 1799: The assassination of the 14th Tu'i Kanokupolu, Tukuʻaho, plunges Tonga into half a century of civil war.

Significant people

  • Ahmad Shah Abdali, Afghan King
  • John Adams, American statesman
  • Samuel Adams American statesman
  • Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary Army
  • Queen Anne, British monarch
  • Aurangzeb, Mughal Emperor
  • Catherine the Great, Russian Tsaritsa
  • Charles III of Spain, Spanish monarch
  • James Cook, British navigator
  • Charlotte Corday, killed Jean-Paul Marat
  • Georges Danton, French revolutionary leader
  • Benjamin Franklin, American leader, scientist and statesman
Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley
Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley
  • Marquis de Lafayette, Continental Army officer
  • Alphonsus Liguori, Italian bishop, founder of Redemptorists, Saint
  • Louis XV of France, French monarch
  • Louis XVI of France, French monarch
  • James Madison, American statesman
  • Alessandro Malaspina, Spanish explorer
  • Jean-Paul Marat, Influential French journalist
  • Maria Theresa of Austria, Austrian Empress
  • Marie Antoinette, Austrian-born Queen of France
  • Michikinikwa, Miami tribe chief and war leader
  • Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, French thinker
  • José Moñino y Redondo, Count of Floridablanca, Spanish statesman
  • Nadir Shah, Persian King
  • Thomas Paine, British intellectual
  • Peter I of Russia (Peter the Great), Russian Tsar
  • Philip V of Spain, Spanish monarch
  • Pius VI, Roman Pope
  • Marquis of Pombal, Portuguese Prime Minister
  • Chief Pontiac, Ottawa warrior
  • Qianlong Emperor, China
  • Francis II Rákóczi, prince of Hungary and Transylvania, Revolutionary leader
  • Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Italian-born Russian architect
  • Paul Revere, American patriot, silversmith
  • Maximilien Robespierre, French revolutionary leader
  • Betsy Ross, American flag maker
  • John Small, English cricketer
  • Edward "Lumpy" Stevens, English cricketer
  • Alexander Suvorov, Russian military leader
  • Toussaint L'Ouverture, Haitian revolutionary leader
  • Túpac Amaru II, Peruvian revolutionary
  • Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab, Arab Islamic theologian and founder of Wahhabism
  • Robert Walpole, British Prime Minister
  • George Washington, American general and first President of The United States
  • John Wesley, British churchman, founder of Methodism
  • Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, German religious writer and bishop

Show business and Theatre

  • Barton Booth, actor
  • Colley Cibber, actor, poet, playwright
  • Thomas Doggett, actor
  • David Garrick, actor
  • Charles Johnson
  • Charles Macklin, actor
  • Anne Oldfield, actress
  • Hester Santlow, actress, ballerina, dancer
  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan, playwright
  • Robert Wilks, actor

Musicians, composers

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin
  • Tomaso Albinoni, Italian composer
  • Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer
  • François Couperin, French composer
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck, German composer
  • Francesco Geminiani, Italian violinist, composer, and music theorist.
  • George Frideric Handel, German-English composer
  • Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer
  • Johann Pachelbel, German composer, teacher
  • François-André Danican Philidor, French composer and chess master
  • Jean-Philippe Rameau, French composer
  • Domenico Scarlatti, Italian composer.
  • Antonio Stradivari, Italian violin maker
  • Antonio Vivaldi, Italian composer

Visual artists, painters, sculptors, printmakers

  • William Blake, English artist and poet
  • Edmé Bouchardon, French sculptor
  • François Boucher, French painter
  • Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, French painter
  • John Singleton Copley, American painter
  • Jacques-Louis David, French painter
  • Étienne Maurice Falconet, French sculptor
  • Jean-Honoré Fragonard, French painter
  • Thomas Gainsborough, English painter
  • Francisco de Goya, Spanish painter
  • Jean-Baptiste Greuze, French painter
  • William Hogarth, English painter and engraver
  • Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French sculptor, student of his father
  • Jean-Louis Lemoyne, French sculptor
  • Robert Le Lorrain, French sculptor
  • Sir Joshua Reynolds, British painter
  • Gilbert Stuart, American painter
  • Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Venetian painter
  • Jiang Tingxi, Chinese artist and scholar
  • Kitagawa Utamaro, Japanese printmaker and painter
  • Antoine Watteau, French painter

Writers, poets

Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
  • Ueda Akinari, Japanese writer
  • Pierre Beaumarchais, French writer
  • Robert Burns, Scottish poet
  • Giacomo Casanova, Venetian adventurer, writer and womanizer
  • Denis Diderot, French writer and philosopher
  • Henry Fielding British novelist
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer
  • Eliza Haywood, English writer
  • Samuel Johnson, British writer and literary critic
  • Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, Spanish writer
  • Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, French writer
  • Yuan Mei, Chinese poet, scholar and artist
  • Honoré Mirabeau French writer and politician
  • Alexander Pope, British poet
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French writer and philosopher
  • Marquis de Sade, French writer and philosopher
  • Friedrich Schiller, German writer
  • Charlotte Turner Smith, English writer
  • Laurence Sterne, British writer
  • Jonathan Swift, Anglo-Irish satirist
  • Voltaire, French writer and philosopher
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, British writer and feminist
  • Cao Xueqin, Chinese writer

Scientists and philosophers

  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Italian mathematician
  • Jean le Rond d'Alembert, French mathematician, physicist and encyclopedist
  • Laura Bassi, Italian scientist, the first European female college teacher
  • George Berkeley, Irish empiricist philosopher
  • Jeremy Bentham, English philosopher and reformer
  • Daniel Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician and physicist
  • Edmund Burke, British statesman and philosopher
  • Alexis Clairault, French mathematician
  • Eugenio Espejo, Ecuadorian scientist
  • Leonhard Euler, Swiss mathematician
  • David Hume, Scottish philosopher
  • Edward Jenner, English inventor of vaccination
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician, physicist and astronomer
  • Immanuel Kant, German philosopher
Emanuel Swedenborg
Emanuel Swedenborg
  • Joseph Louis Lagrange, Italian-French mathematician and physicist
  • Pierre Simon Laplace, French physicist and mathematician
  • John Law, Scottish economist
  • Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian scientist
  • Antoine Lavoisier, French chemist
  • Adrien-Marie Legendre, French mathematician
  • Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné), Swedish biologist
  • Adam Smith, Scottish economist and philosopher
  • Emanuel Swedenborg, Swedish scientist, thinker and mystic
  • Antonio de Ulloa, Spanish scientist and explorer
  • James Watt, Scottish scientist and inventor

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

The Spinning Jenny
The Spinning Jenny
  • 1709: The first piano was built by Bartolomeo Cristofori
  • 1712: Steam Engine invented by Thomas Newcomen.
  • 1717: The diving bell was successfully tested by Edmond Halley, sustainable to a depth of 55 ft.
  • c. 1730: The octant navigational tool was developed by John Hadley in England, and Thomas Godfrey in America
  • 1736: Europeans discovered rubber - the discovery was made by Charles-Marie de la Condamine while on expedition in South America. It was named in 1770 by Joseph Priestly
  • c. 1740: Modern steel was developed by Benjamin Huntsman
  • 1741 Vitus Bering discovered Alaska
  • 1745: The Leyden jar invented by Ewald von Kleist was the first electrical capacitor
  • 1751 - 1785: The French Encyclopédie
  • 1755: The English Dictionary by Samuel Johnson
  • 1755: The tallest wooden Bodhisattva statue in the world is erected at Puning Temple, Chengde, China.
  • 1764: The Spinning Jenny created by James Hargreaves brought on the Industrial Revolution
  • 1765 James Watt enhances Newcomen's steam engine, allowing new steel technologies
  • 1761: The problem of Longitude was finally resolved by the fourth chronometer of John Harrison
  • 17681779 James Cook mapped the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean and discovered many Pacific Islands
  • 1771: The enormous Putuo Zongcheng Temple complex of Chengde, China is completed
  • 17731782: The Qing Dynasty huge literary compilation Siku Quanshu
  • 1776: The Wealth of Nations, foundation of the modern theory of economy, was published by Adam Smith
  • 1779 Photosynthesis was first discovered by Jan Ingenhousz of the Netherlands
  • 1798 Edward Jenner publishes a treatise about smallpox vaccination
  • 1799: Rosetta stone discovered by Napoleon's troops

Decades and years