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Seventeenth Century Timeline (1600 to 1699)

Era of Queen Elizabeth the First (1558-1603)

1600: The East India Company is founded on the 31st December.

1601: William Shakespeare writes “Hamlet”.

Era of King James the First (1603-1625)

1604-5: The Gunpowder Plot om the 5th November.

1605: William Shakespeare publishes “King Lear”.

1606: William Shakespeare publishes “Macbeth”.
Ben Jonson writes “Volpone, or the Fox”.

1607: William Harvey becomes a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

1608: Birth of John Milton on the 9th December. The first municipal library in England is opened at Norwich.

1610: Ben Jonson writes “The Alchemist”.

1613: Sir Francis Bacon becomes Attorney General.

1614: John Webster writes “The Duchess of Malfi”.

1615: John Donne is appointed as a royal chaplain.

1616: Death of William Shakespeare on the 23rd April.
Ben Jonson performs “The Devil is an Ass”.

1618: William Harvey is appointed “Physician Extraordinary” to King James the First.
Sir Francis Bacon becomes Lord Chancellor.
Death of Sir Walter Raleigh on the 29th October.

1619: Inigo Jones begins building the Banqueting House in Whitehall.

1620: Sailing of the “Mayflower” and Pilgrim Fathers to America on the 6th September.

1623: Publication of the First Folio of all Shakespeare’s collected plays.

Era of King Charles the First (1625-1649)

1626: Death of Sir Francis Bacon on the 9th April.

1627: Birth of Robert Boyle on the 25th January.

1628: The Petition of Right.
Oliver Cromwell enters the House of Commons.
William Harvey published “Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus” (“An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals”).
Birth of John Bunyan in November.

1629: Dissolution of Parliament by King Charles.

1631: Death of John Donne on the 31st March.
Birth of John Dryden on the 19th August.

1632: Birth of John Locke on the 29th August.
Birth of Sir Christopher Wren on the 20th October.

1633: Birth of Samuel Pepys on the 23rd February.

1634: Covent Garden market opens in London for the first time. Peter Paul Rubens paints the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall.

1635: Birth of Robert Hooke on the 18th July.

1637: Death of Ben Jonson on the 6th August.

1640: Oliver Cromwell is called up for the “Short Parliament” and the “Long Parliament”.

1641: Thomas Hobbes falls out with French philosopher Renee Descartes. The Grand Remonstrance (a set of grievances) is presented to the King by Parliament.

1642: Battle of Edgehill  on the 23rd October begins the English Civil War.
Robert Boyle visited Florence where he was influenced by the works of Galileo.
Birth of  Isaac Newton on the 25th December.

1643: John Milton writes “The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce”.

1644: The Battle of Marston Moor on the 2nd July turns out to be the most decisive battle of the English Civil War as Oliver Cromwell beats Prince Rupert.

1645: Creation of the New Model Army by Oliver Cromwell on the 15th February.
Self Denying Ordnance declared on the 3rd April.
Battle of Naseby on 14th June.

1646: Oliver Cromwell takes the Royal stonghold of Oxford.

1648: Start of the Second Civil War.

1649: Trial and Execution of King Charles the First. The King is beheaded outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall on the 30th January.

Era of Parliamentary Interregnum (1649-1653)

1650: Birth of the Duke of Marlborough on the 26th May.

1651: King Charles the Second is crowned as King of England at Scone in Scotland as a provocative act. Charles invades England but is defeated on the 3rd September by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester.
William Harvey writes “On the Generation of Animals” showing that mammals reproduce from a sperm and egg.
Thomas Hobbes publishes “Leviathan”.

1652: First Anglo Dutch War. The English Navy are victorious at the Battle of the Downs.
Christopher Wren made observations of the planet Saturn. Death of Inigo Jones on the 21st June.

Era of Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector 1653-1660)

1653: After the “Barebones Parliament” Oliver Cromwell is nominated as Lord Protector.

1654: Thomas Hobbes writes “Of Liberty and Necessity”.

1656: Birth of Edmond Halley on the 8th November.
John Bunyan began to discuss religion with the followers of George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement, and wrote an attack called “Some Truths Opened”.

1657: Death of William Harvey on the 3rd June.
Christopher Wren becomes Professor of Astronomy, Gresham College, London Foundation of the General Post Office.

1658: Robert Hooke becomes assistant to Robert Boyle on the construction of his air pump.
Death of Oliver Cromwell on the 3rd September who is succeeded by his son Richard.

1659: Birth of Henry Purcell. Richard Cromwell is forced to resign by the army and a military committee rules the country.

Era of King Charles the Second (1660-1685)

1660: General Monk reconvenes the Long Parliament and Charles the Second is restored to the throne as King at the Declaration of Breda.
Birth of Daniel Defoe.
Robert Boyle writes “New Experiments Physico-Mechanicall”.
The Declaration of Breda in April.
John Bunyan is arrested while preaching in Bedfordshire.
First meeting of the Royal Society of London is held in November.

1661: Birth of Nicholas Hawksmoor.
Robert Boyle argued against Aristotle’s four elements of earth, air, fire and water and said that matter was made up of small corpuscles in “Physiologocial Essays”.

1662: Robert Boyle’s Law states that the pressure and volume of gas are inversely proportional. Foundation of the Royal Society of London by Wren and others.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane opens for the first time.

1663: England takes New Amsterdam from the Dutch and it becomes known as New York.

1664: Birth of John Vanbrugh on the 24th January.
John Dryden wrote his second play “The Indian Queen”.
Christopher Wren designs the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.

1665: Isaac Newton formulates his theories of gravitation.
Robert Hooke writes “Micrographia”

1665-6: The Great Plague.
Samuel Pepys Describes the months of the Great Plague in his diary.
“The London Gazette” is published for the first time.

1666: Beginning of the Great Fire of London on 2nd September.
Christopher Wren appointed Commissioner for Rebuilding the City of London after the great fire.

1667: John Locke moves into The earl of Shaftesbury’s home as his personal physician.
John Milton writes “Paradise Lost”.
John Dryden writes “Annus Mirabilis”.
Birth of Jonathan Swift on the 30th November.

1668: Henry Purcell becomes a chorister in the Chapel Royal.
John Dryden created Poet Laureate.
Isaac Newton invents his reflecting telescope.

1669: Christopher Wren appointed Surveyor of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Surveyor General of the King’s Works.

1670: Isaac Newton gives his lectures on optics.
John Milton writes “History of Britain”.

1671: Birth of Rob Roy MacGregor on the 7th March.
Construction of Christopher Wren’s Monument to the Great Fire of London.
Passing of the controversial Game Laws which meant that the majority of farmers could not kill game even on their own land.

1672: Samuel Pepys appointed Secretary to the Admiralty.
John Dryden produced the comedy “Marriage a La Mode”.

1674: Robert Hooke writes “Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth”.
Birth of Jethro Tull on the 30th March.
Death of John Milton on the 8th November.

1675: Foundation of Greenwich Observatory.
Christopher Wren lays the foundation Stone of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

1677: Henry Purcell is appointed Court Composer.

1678: Birth of Abraham Darby.
John Bunyan writes “The Pilgrim’s Progress”.

1679: Death of Thomas Hobbes on the 4th December.
John Dryden writes “Troilus and Cressida.
Edmond Halley writes “Catalogus Stellarum Australium”.
Nicholas Hawksmoor joins his teacher Sir Christopher Wren in London.
The Act of Habeus Corpus is passed which meant that people unlawfully detained could not be prosecuted at a court of law.

1680: Return of Halley’s Comet. The penny post is started in London.

1682: William Penn leaves England to found Pennsylvania which was eventually to become the United States.
Christopher Wren makes designs for the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Edmund Halley observes the comet which is henceforth known as “Halley’s Comet”.

1683: The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Britain’s first museum is opened to the public for the first time.
Isaac Newton describes gravity’s force over the tides.

1684: Isaac Newton begins work on “Principia Mathematica”.

1685: Birth of George Berkeley on the 12th March.
Daniel Defoe supports the Duke of Monmouth’s Rebellion. (The Duke is Charles’ illegitimate son)
(6th July:) Duke of Marlborough sees off the rebels at the Battle of Sedgemoor.

The era of King James the Second (1685-1688)

1685: The Bloody Assizes held by Judge Jeffries in September after Monmouth’s Rebellion. John Locke writes “A Letter to the Bishop of Worcester”.

1686: Alice Molland of Exeter was the last person to be hanged as a witch.

Era of King William and Queen Mary (1688-1702)

1688: The Glorious Revolution: William of Orange invades England.
John Vanbrugh is imprisoned at Calais as a spy by the French.
Death of John Bunyan on the 31st August.
Birth of Alexander Pope.

1689: Henry Purcell writes “Dido and Aeneas”.
Isaac Newton meets John Locke for the first time.
Nicholas Hawksmoor  works on designs for the new wing of Hampton Court Palace.

1690: 1st-12th July: Battle of the Boyne.
John Locke writes “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding”.

1691: Death of Robert Boyle on the 30th December.
John Vanbrugh writes “The Provoked Wife”.

1692: MacDonald clan massacred by the Campbells in Glencoe.
Henry Purcell performs”The Fairy Queene”

1693: Birth of John Harrison in March.

1694: Foundation of the Bank of England by the Scotsman William Paterson.

1695: Henry Purcell writes Funeral Music for Queen Mary.
Death of Henry Purcell on the 21st November.

1696: Christopher Wren appointed Surveyor of the Royal Naval Hospital in Greenwich.

1697: Birth of William Hogarth on the 12th November.
Daniel Defoe works as an Agent for King William the Third in Scotland and England.

1698: Foundation of the London Stock Exchange.

1699: Christopher Wren is appointed Surveyor of Westminster Abbey.

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