17th Century 1600-1699

The 17th Century 1600 - 1699. Use the timeline and maps  to explore this historic period and it’s medley of science, art and politics.


Use the historic theme ‘Intellectual Enlightenment’ to find out how world perception was changed during this period.

Unlike the War of the Roses, which largely affected a minority of people in a small part of the country, the Civil War in England touched a glacial hand upon everyone. Friends, family and neighbours became estranged and no one was ever to forget the experience. The century dawns with the death of Elizabeth I after a 44 year reign and the emergence of the Stuarts led by James VI of Scotland and as James I of England.

The dichotomy of censorship and intrigue with the dawn of 'The Enlightenment'

The world was turned on it's head, censorship where there had been none, a press excited beyond description and spies in every camp.

Yet this century brings us the dawning of Enlightenment, the King James bible, great scientists coalesce and institutions formed, Newton, Hooke, Wren, Boyle talk at the newly founded Gresham College and the Royal Society.

The 17th Century is the one that delivers Shakespeare to the world and one that a London company sends ships to found a new town, Jamestown in America.   Galileo exhibits the wonders of the telescope to the pontifical court. Tobacco makes it's way to England and the slave trade is booming.

Harvey discovers blood circulation whilst at the same time people are being burned and hung tried as witches based on superstitious mumbling. The weather across Europe becomes colder, Cromwell rules Britain and the people become fed up with austerity (doesn't that sound familiar), when Cromwell dies they welcome back their monarch, King Charles II.

As the century progresses the Black Death, the Plague, marches across Europe. London burns and it must all, have seem quite apocalyptic. The Dutch and the English continue their war of attrition and miles away from Europe, the British East India Company found a trading post, Calcutta.

Consider the 30 Years War and its impact on European politics.

Originally a Protestant Catholic war in the Holy Roman Empire which became a political conflict between the Franco and Haspburg Empires. This is a series of connected conflicts which is only dwarfed by the Napoleonic Wars and the World Wars in terms of number of killed.

The Peace of Westphalia ended the 30 years War. It marked the establishment of European states which ended feudalism. It's the foundation for all European law today.

Change in Britain is also profound and American Settlement proceeds in Jamestown.

The Plantation of Ulster proceeds, Cromwell leads a revolution, a King, Charles ,I loses his head and another his son Charles II returns from exile and is restored to the throne.


1600East India Company founded.This company is chartered to trade with the East Indies and later India.
1601-1604Shakespeare's Plays including Hamlet 12th Night Measure for MeasureArts Theatre Authors Playwrights Writers Shakespeare Intriguing People
1603Death of Queen Elizabeth IRoyalty
1603King James VI of Scotland, becomes James I, King of England, Ireland and Scotland. Scotland is no longer independent.Royalty
1603Hugh Platt discovers coke, a charcoal like substance produced by heating coalScience
1603Johnson writes SejanusArts Writers Authors
1604King James I authorises the King James Bible.Royalty
1604Commons Apology

Was a draft proposed document of the House of Commons Committee, which would assert parliamentary privilege above the interference of the King's Privy Council. It was drafted due to a dispute with the King James I but when he backed down and became more conciliatory, it was not presented to him. It perhaps tells a little of the parliamentary zeal that is building but its importance has sometimes been exaggerated by historians. It is an early example of parliament exerting its will and preparing to take-on and assert itself over its monarch.
James I Monarchy
House of Commons
1604-1608Shakespeare writes Othello King Lear Macbeth Anthony and Cleopatra and CoriolanusArts Theatre Authors Playwrights Writers Shakespeare Intriguing People Published Works
1605The Gunpowder Plot. A plot to blow up Parliament is devised by extremist Catholics but it is thwarted and the plotters hanged. A plot to blow up Parliament is devised by extremist Catholics but it is thwarted and the plotters hanged.
1605Bacon writes Advancement of Learning, arguing against magic and encouraging the development of scientific methodsWriters Philosophers Enlightenment Published Works Science
1606Virginia Company granted Royal CharterOrganisation Companies Empire
1606-1669Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn born Painter, greatest Dutch masterArt Artists Painters Baroque
1607The Jamestown Colony is founded. A London company has sent three ships and a small group of settlers to Virginia. After many trials a colony is settled and named after King James I
1608-1613Shakespeare's last plays Tempest Winter's Tale Henry VIIIArts Theatre Authors Playwrights Writers Shakespeare Intriguing People
1609Henry Hudson, employed by the Dutch East India Company, anchors off Manhattan Island and trades with local Indians. So will begin the Hudson Bay Company.Business
1609Johann Kepler discovered that planets moved in elliptical orbitsScience
1611Authorised Version of the BibleChurch and Religion Published Works
1612-1613New English and Old English Clash results in Anti-Catholic Legislation
The Catholics lost their parliamentary majority.
Church and Religion
Church of Ireland
Church of England
Government Politics Parliament
1613Webster The White DevilPublished Works Writers Authors
1613Globe Theatre BurnedTheatres London Shakespeare
1615William Baffin penetrates to within 800 miles of the North Pole, the closest anyone will get until the 19th century.Exploration Science
1616Ben Johnson WorksWriters Authors Playrights Published Works Arts Literature
1616Pochahontas arrives in LondonExploration Americas USA London
1616William Harvey lectures about the circulation of the blood to the Royal College of PhysiciansMedicine
1617Isaac Oliver Painter died . He was a painter and son of a Huguenot Goldsmith. A pupil of Hilliard his style was different employed darkshadowsBritish Artists Painters Minaturists Elizabeth I
1618Sir Walter Ralegh executedIntriguing People Explorers Monarchy
1618Thirty Years War BeginsBattles Wars and Campaigns Conflicts
1619Nicholas Hilliard was England's principal portrait painter during the reign of Elizabeth I. He was son of Goldsmith and trained as a Jeweller. He had a large family and specialised in Miniatures to keep them all. He also painted life size portraits of Elizabeth I some survive.British Artists Painters Minaturists Elizabeth I
1619First slaves20 Africans arrive in Jamestown Virginia aboard a Dutch ship and are sold as indentured servants, the forerunners of slaves.
1620Cornelius Drebbel builds a navigable submarine. It cruised 15m below the surface of the River Thames in LondonScience
1620Pilgrim FathersThe Pilgrim Fathers arrive at Cape Cod MA.
1621John Donne Metaphysical Poet appointed Dean of St Pauls LondonLondon Arts Poets Authors Writers Intriguing People
1623First Folio of Shakespeare's published works. You can directly access Bodleian First Folio Digital projectOxford University's Bodleian First Folio digitising project hereLiterature Publishing Authors Writers Playrights Shakespeare
1625Death of James I, accession of Charles IMonarchy Government and Politics
1626Francis Bacon English philosopher diedScience philosophy
1627Francis Bacon's book 'The new Atlantis' published postumously. In this utopian tale he predicts robots, telephones, tape recorders and the elecetric motorWriter Science
1628Charles I's chief minister, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, is assassinatedPolitical
1629Charles I starts personal rule with Dissolution of ParliamentMonarchy Government and Politics
1632Sir Christopher Wren architect is born in WiltshireArchitecture Science Intriguing People
1632-1675Jan Vermeer Painter finest Dutch genre painter not recognised in his own lifetime. Famous works Girl with a Pearl Earing, only 35 certain artworks to his name.Art Painter Baroque
1633English Massachusetts Bay colony founded AmericaEmpire Colonies Americas USA Massachusetts
1633Galileo condemned for heresy by the ChurchAstronomers Enlightment
1633Laud appointed Archbishop of CanterburyChurch and Religion Government and Politics Monarchy
1633John Donne Metaphysical Poet writes PoemsPoet Poetry Published Works
1640Sir Peter Pul Rubens Painter of the Baroque Era diedArtists Painters Intriguing People
1640Long Parliament SummonedGovernment and Politics law
1641Triennial Act
the first act that mandates a parliament shall be called at least of minimum of once in every 3 years.
17th Century
1641Sir Anthony Van Dyck Artists Painter died. He was an Anwerp born infant prodigy son of family of silk merchants,Artists Painters Baroque
1642Charles I attempts to arrest the Five Members in the Commons
The king fails and flees from London.
Charles I
Government and Politics
1642Issac Newton is born at WoolsthorpeScience intriguing people
1642Civil War begins as Charles I raises his standard at NottinghamPolitical
1642Civil War Battle of EdgehillWar
1645Execution of Archbishop of Canterbury LaudGovernment and Politics law
1645Parliamentary Army vicorious at marson MoorCivil War Parliamenarians
1648Thirty Years War endsWar
1648The Rump Parliament votes to abolish the English monarchy, the Rump was formed after Pride's Fall of the Long parliament, in which all of Charles I's remaining supporters were removed from Parliament.Royalty Political
1649Trial and Execution of Charles IMonarchy Government and Politics
1649-1652Cromwells campaign in Ireland and ScotlandGovernment Civil War Politics
1651Thomas Hobbs Leviathan publishedWriter Philosopher
1652Sir Cristopher Wren makes observations of the planet SaturnScience
1653Cromwell becomes Lord ProtectorGovernment and Politics Civil war
1657Christopher Wren becomes Professor of Astronomy, Gresham College, London.Science
1658Richard Cromwell suceeds his father Oliver on his deathGovernment and Politics
1658Robert Hooke invents the balance spring for watchesScience
1659Richard Cromwell defeated by army leads to recall of he Rump ParliamentGovernment and Politics
1660Restoration of Charles IIMonarchy Government and Politics
1660Royal Society foundedScience
1660Samuel Pepys starts his diaryWriter
1660Restoration of Chales IIMonarchy Government
1660Samuel Pepys begins to keep his diaryAuthors writers Diarists
1660Astracea Redux by John DrydenWriters Authors Published Works Literature
1660England is producing 2 million of tons of coal a year. This is 80% of the entire world output.Business
1662Robert Boyle asserts that in an ideal gas under constant temperature, volume and pressure vary inversely. This is known as Boyles Law.Science
1662Resoration of Church of england completed and final revision of the Book of Common PrayerChurch and Religion
1662Royal Society receives its Royal CharterOrganisations Enlightenment
1664Poems by Katherine Philips a female author: One of the first women to acquire fame as a writer in England, she addressed jer poems of love and companionship to the women in her circle the “Society of Friendship.” Detailed biography from Warwick University http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/undergraduate/modules/fulllist/second/en228/handouts/katherine_philips/Poets Poetry Published Works Milton Authors Writers Early English Female writers
1665Plague in LondonMajor Events London
1666City of London destroyed by The Great FireMajor Events London
1666Sir Christopher Wren appointed Commissioner for Rebuilding the City of London after the great fire.Architecture
1666Robert Boyle in the Origine of formes and qualities maintains that everything is built of atomsScience
1667Annus Mirabulus by John DrydenPoets Poetry Major Published Works Dryden
1667Dutch ships attack the English fleet in the MedwayPolitical
1667Pradise Lost John Milton PoetPoets Poetry Major Published Works Milton Authors writers
1668Newton becomes a fellow of Trinity College CambridgeScience
1668Newton invents the reflecting telescopeScience
1668John Wallis suggests the Law of Conservation of MomentumScience
1671Paradise Regain'd by John Milton, full text here http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/58 quote I who e're while the happy Garden sung,
By one mans disobedience lost, now sing
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind,
By one mans firm obedience fully tri'd
Through all temptation, and the Tempter foil'd
In all his wiles, defeated and repuls't,
And Eden rais'd in the wast Wilderness.
Lines 1-7
Poets Poetry Published Works Milton Authors Writers
1672Issac Newton elected Fellow of the Royal Society LondonScience
1674Sir Christopher Wren produces second plan and model for St Paul’s Cathedral unveiled as the first designs were not felt grand enough by the City of London Council.Architecture
1675A Satyre against Mankind by John Wilmot Earl of Rochester https://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/mankind.html and analysis here https://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/mankind.htmlPublished Works Rochester
1675The Country Wife by Wycherley a Restoration ComedyPublished Works Wycherley
1677All for Love by John DrydenLiterature Poets Published Works Arts
1678The Pilgrams Progress Part 1 by BunyanPublished Works Literature Arts
1681Lord Salisbury tried for High TreasonGovernment Aristocracy Civil unrest
1681Principal collection of Andrew Marvell's poems, edited by his widow and 'taken from exact copies, under his own handwriting, found since his death among his other papers'.Cromwell suppressed 3 poems whose publication was thought to be not suited to the politics of the day.Published Works Poets Metaphysical Literature
1681Pennsylvania foundedPennsylvania is established as a Quaker colony by William Penn.
1682Sir Christopher Wren produces plans for the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.Architecture
1682Issac Newton observes Halley's CometScience
1684The famous 'Coffee House' meetings take place between Halley, Hooke, and Christopher Wren concerning the question of the motion of the earth and the problem of the inverse square relation.Science
1685Charles II Died and James II accedes to the throneMonarchy
1685Duke of Monmouth's rebellion crushed at SedgemoorGovernment Civil Unrest
1685 - 1688Restoration of Catholicism to EnglandKing James II attempts to restore Catholicism to England.
1687Sir Isaac Newton first published Newton states laws of motion and gravity in Principia Mathematica 1686-1687Principia MathematicaEnlightentment Science Intellectuals Intriguing People
1688Around this date Lloyds of London is foundedBusiness
1688The Glorious Revolution. King James II is deposed and William and Mary become King and Queen of EnglandPolitics
1688John Dryden made Poet Laureate English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwrightPoet Laureate Poetyr Intriguing People
1689Bill of Rights 1689Bill of Rights 1688 – 1 of 4 great historic documents…Law Government Parliament
1689Issac Newton meets John Locke philosopher for the first time they become close friendsScience philosophy
1689Issac Newton becomes a member of the House of Commons for CambridgeScience Politics
1690Locke leader of the Enlightenment Essay Concerning Human UnderstandingEnlightenment Philosophy Philosophers Intellectua;s
1690William III defeats the former James II at the Battle of the BoyneBattles Royalty
1694Bank of England founded as Joint Stock Company Public Subscription a private CompanyBusiness and Industry Organisations Banking & Finance
1694Queen Mary DiedMonarchy
1696Sir Christopher Wren appointed Surveyor of the Royal Naval Hospital in GreenwichArchitecture
1698Thomas Slavery's Miners Friend is patented. Designed to pump water from coal mines, it is the first practical machine to be powered by steamScience
1688First British explorer in AustraliaThe first British explorer William Dampier lands in Australia's northwest coast.
1642Van Diemen's LandDutch explorer Abel Tasman lands in Van Diemen's Land now Tasmania.
1642Dutch explorer sights South Island New Zealand.Abel Tasman sights New Zealand

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