17th century

The 17th century was the century that lasted from January 1, 1601, to December 31, 1700, in the Gregorian calendar. It falls into the Early Modern period of Europe and in that continent (whose impact on the world was increasing) was characterized by the Baroque cultural movement, the latter part of the Spanish Golden Age, the Dutch Golden Age, the French Grand Siècle dominated by Louis XIV, the Scientific Revolution, and according to some historians, the General Crisis. The greatest military conflicts were the Thirty Years' War,[1] the Great Turkish War, and the Dutch-Portuguese War. It was during this period also that European colonization of the Americas began in earnest, including the exploitation of the silver deposits, which resulted in bouts of inflation as wealth was drawn into Europe.[2]

Sébastien Leclerc I, Louis XIV Visiting the Royal Academy of Sciences, 1671
Louis XIV visiting the Académie des sciences in 1671. "It is widely accepted that 'modern science' arose in the Europe of the 17th century, introducing a new understanding of the natural world." —Peter Barrett[3]
New Amsterdam as it appeared in 1664. Under British rule it became known as New York City.
Tokugawa Ieyasu2
Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu is the founder of Japan's last shogunate, which lasted well into the 19th century
Miyamoto Musashi, Self-portrait, samurai, writer and artist, c. 1640
Hendrick Avercamp - A Scene on the Ice - WGA01076
A scene on the ice, Dutch Republic, first half of 17th century
Polska rullen - Livrustkammaren - 55709
Persian Ambassador during his entry into Kraków for the wedding ceremonies of King Sigismund III of Poland in 1605.
Albrecht Wallenstein.jpeg
Catholic general Albrecht von Wallenstein
Jan van der Hoecke - The Battle of Nördlingen, 1634
Battle of Nördlingen (1634). The Catholic Imperial army, bolstered by professional Spanish troops won a great victory in the battle over the combined Protestant armies of Sweden and their German allies
The Nightwatch by Rembrandt
The Night Watch or The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, 1642. Oil on canvas; on display at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
1622 massacre jamestown de Bry
The massacre of settlers in 1622. The massacre was instrumental in causing English colonists to view all natives as enemies.
Europe map 1648
Map of Europe in 1648 at the end of the Thirty Years' War
Lasalle au Mississippi
Claiming Louisiana for France
IV Mehmet
Sultan Mehmed IV
Matejko Khmelnytsky with Tugay Bey
Bohdan Khmelnytsky (left) with Tugay Bey (right) at Lviv, oil on canvas by Jan Matejko, 1885
Taniec tatarski
Crimean Tatar soldier fighting with the soldier of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Europe's steppe frontier was in a state of semi-permanent warfare until the 18th century.

In the Islamic world, the Ottoman, Safavid Persian and Mughal empires grew in strength. In India The Marathas dominated the political scene from the middle of the 17th century to the early 19th century as the Maratha Empire founded by Chatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosale. In Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa shogunate at the beginning of the century, beginning the Edo period; the isolationist Sakoku policy began in the 1630s and lasted until the 19th century. In China, the collapsing Ming dynasty was challenged by a series of conquests led by the Manchu warlord Nurhaci, which were consolidated by his son Hong Taiji and finally consummated by his grandson, the Shunzi Emperor, founder of the Qing dynasty.

From the middle decades of the 17th century, European politics were increasingly dominated by the Kingdom of France of Louis XIV, where royal power was solidified domestically in the civil war of the Fronde. The semi-feudal territorial French nobility was weakened and subjugated to the power of an absolute monarchy through the reinvention of the Palace of Versailles from a hunting lodge to a gilded prison, in which a greatly expanded royal court could be more easily kept under surveillance. With domestic peace assured, Louis XIV caused the borders of France to be expanded. It was during this century that English monarch became a symbolic figurehead and Parliament was the dominant force in government – a contrast to most of Europe, in particular France.

By the end of the century, Europeans were aware of logarithms, electricity, the telescope and microscope, calculus, universal gravitation, Newton's Laws of Motion, air pressure and calculating machines due to the work of the first scientists of the Scientific Revolution, including Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, René Descartes, Pierre Fermat, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, Christiaan Huygens, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Robert Hooke, Isaac Newton, and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. It was also a period of development of culture in general (especially theater, music, visual arts and philosophy).

Millennium: 2nd millennium
State leaders:
Categories: Births – Deaths
Establishments – Disestablishments



Jan Pieterszoon Coen
Jan Pieterszoon Coen (8 January 1587 – 21 September 1629), the founder of Batavia, was an officer of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the early seventeenth century, holding two terms as its Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.


1680 van der Meulen Louis XIV bei Lobith anagoria
French invasion of the Netherlands, which Louis XIV initiated in 1672, starting the Franco-Dutch War
Atlas Van der Hagen-KW1049B10 050-De belegering van Wenen door de Turken in 1683.jpeg
The Battle of Vienna marked the historic end of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe.

Significant people

Anna of Austria by Rubens (1622-1625, Norton Simon Museum)
Anne of Austria, Queen of France


Visual artists



Science and philosophy

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

Major changes in philosophy and science take place, often characterized as the Scientific revolution.

See Also

  • Portal-puzzle.svg 17th century portal


  1. ^ "The Thirty-Years-War". Western New England College. Archived from the original on 1999-10-09. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  2. ^ "The Seventeenth-Century Decline". The Library of Iberian resources online. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  3. ^ Peter Barrett (2004), Science and Theology Since Copernicus: The Search for Understanding, p. 14, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 0-567-08969-X
  4. ^ Ricklefs (1991), page 28
  5. ^ History of UST UST.edu.ph. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  6. ^ The Tatar Khanate of Crimea
  7. ^ Alan Macfarlane (1997). The savage wars of peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian trap. Wiley . p. 64. ISBN 0-631-18117-2
  8. ^ Karen J. Cullen (2010). "Famine in Scotland: The 'Ill Years' of the 1690s". Edinburgh University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-7486-3887-3

Further reading

  • Chang, Chun-shu, and Shelley Hsueh-lun Chang. Crisis and Transformation in Seventeenth-Century China" (1998).
  • Reid, A. J. S. Trade and State Power in 16th & 17th Century Southeast Asia (1977).
  • Spence, J. D. The Death of Woman Wang: Rural Life in China in the 17th Century (1978).

Focus on Europe

  • Clark, George. The Seventeenth Century (2nd ed. 1945).
  • Hampshire, Stuart. The Age of Reason the 17th Century Philosophers, Selected, with Introduction and Interpretive Commentary (1961).
  • Lewitter, Lucian Ryszard. "Poland, the Ukraine and Russia in the 17th Century." The Slavonic and East European Review (1948): 157–171. in JSTOR
  • Ogg, David. Europe in the Seventeenth Century (6th ed. 1965).
  • Rowbotham, Sheila. Hidden from history: Rediscovering women in history from the 17th century to the present (1976).
  • Trevor-Roper, Hugh R. "The general crisis of the 17th century." Past & Present 16 (1959): 31–64.

External links

  • Vistorica: Timelines of 17th century events, science, culture and persons
Charles II of England

Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was king of England, Scotland and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death.

Charles II's father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. Although the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king on 5 February 1649, England entered the period known as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth, and the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell defeated Charles II at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, and Charles fled to mainland Europe. Cromwell became virtual dictator of England, Scotland and Ireland. Charles spent the next nine years in exile in France, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands. A political crisis that followed the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in the restoration of the monarchy, and Charles was invited to return to Britain. On 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday, he was received in London to public acclaim. After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if he had succeeded his father as king in 1649.

Charles's English parliament enacted laws known as the Clarendon Code, designed to shore up the position of the re-established Church of England. Charles acquiesced to the Clarendon Code even though he favoured a policy of religious tolerance. The major foreign policy issue of his early reign was the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1670, he entered into the Treaty of Dover, an alliance with his first cousin King Louis XIV of France. Louis agreed to aid him in the Third Anglo-Dutch War and pay him a pension, and Charles secretly promised to convert to Catholicism at an unspecified future date. Charles attempted to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant dissenters with his 1672 Royal Declaration of Indulgence, but the English Parliament forced him to withdraw it. In 1679, Titus Oates's revelations of a supposed Popish Plot sparked the Exclusion Crisis when it was revealed that Charles's brother and heir, James, Duke of York, was a Catholic. The crisis saw the birth of the pro-exclusion Whig and anti-exclusion Tory parties. Charles sided with the Tories, and, following the discovery of the Rye House Plot to murder Charles and James in 1683, some Whig leaders were executed or forced into exile. Charles dissolved the English Parliament in 1681, and ruled alone until his death on 6 February 1685. He was received into the Catholic Church on his deathbed.

Charles was one of the most popular and beloved kings of England, known as the Merry Monarch, in reference to both the liveliness and hedonism of his court and the general relief at the return to normality after over a decade of rule by Cromwell and the Puritans. Charles's wife, Catherine of Braganza, bore no live children, but Charles acknowledged at least twelve illegitimate children by various mistresses. He was succeeded by his brother James.

Charles II of Spain

Charles II of Spain (Spanish: Carlos II; 6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700), also known as El Hechizado or the Bewitched, was the last Habsburg ruler of the Spanish Empire. He is now best remembered for his physical disabilities, believed to be the result of inbreeding, and the war for his throne that followed his death.

He died childless in 1700 with no immediate Habsburg heir. His will named his successor as 16-year-old Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV and Charles's half-sister Maria Theresa. Disputes over Philip's inheritance led to the War of the Spanish Succession.

Charles I of England

Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

Charles was born into the House of Stuart as the second son of King James VI of Scotland, but after his father inherited the English throne in 1603, he moved to England, where he spent much of the rest of his life. He became heir apparent to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on the death of his elder brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1612. An unsuccessful and unpopular attempt to marry him to the Spanish Habsburg princess Maria Anna culminated in an eight-month visit to Spain in 1623 that demonstrated the futility of the marriage negotiations. Two years later, he married the Bourbon princess Henrietta Maria of France instead.

After his succession, Charles quarrelled with the Parliament of England, which sought to curb his royal prerogative. Charles believed in the divine right of kings and thought he could govern according to his own conscience. Many of his subjects opposed his policies, in particular the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent, and perceived his actions as those of a tyrannical absolute monarch. His religious policies, coupled with his marriage to a Roman Catholic, generated the antipathy and mistrust of Reformed groups such as the English Puritans and Scottish Covenanters, who thought his views were too Catholic. He supported high church Anglican ecclesiastics, such as Richard Montagu and William Laud, and failed to aid Protestant forces successfully during the Thirty Years' War. His attempts to force the Church of Scotland to adopt high Anglican practices led to the Bishops' Wars, strengthened the position of the English and Scottish parliaments, and helped precipitate his own downfall.

From 1642, Charles fought the armies of the English and Scottish parliaments in the English Civil War. After his defeat in 1645, he surrendered to a Scottish force that eventually handed him over to the English Parliament. Charles refused to accept his captors' demands for a constitutional monarchy, and temporarily escaped captivity in November 1647. Re-imprisoned on the Isle of Wight, Charles forged an alliance with Scotland, but by the end of 1648 Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army had consolidated its control over England. Charles was tried, convicted, and executed for high treason in January 1649. The monarchy was abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. The monarchy would be restored to Charles's son, Charles II, in 1660.

Elizabeth I of England

Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, his second wife, who was executed two-and-a-half years after Elizabeth's birth. Anne's marriage to Henry VIII was annulled, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI, ruled until his death in 1553, bequeathing the crown to Lady Jane Grey and ignoring the claims of his two half-sisters, Elizabeth and the Roman Catholic Mary, in spite of statute law to the contrary. Edward's will was set aside and Mary became queen, deposing Lady Jane Grey. During Mary's reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.

In 1558 upon Mary's death, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister to the throne and set out to rule by good counsel. She depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers, led by William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement was to evolve into the Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir; however, despite numerous courtships, she never did. She was eventually succeeded by her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland. She had earlier been responsible for the imprisonment and execution of James's mother, Mary, Queen of Scots.

In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father and half-siblings had been. One of her mottoes was "video et taceo" ("I see but say nothing"). In religion, she was relatively tolerant and avoided systematic persecution. After the pope declared her illegitimate in 1570 and released her subjects from obedience to her, several conspiracies threatened her life, all of which were defeated with the help of her ministers' secret service. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, manoeuvring between the major powers of France and Spain. She only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France, and Ireland. By the mid-1580s, England could no longer avoid war with Spain. England's defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 associated Elizabeth with one of the greatest military victories in English history.

As she grew older, Elizabeth became celebrated for her virginity. A cult grew around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day. Elizabeth's reign became known as the Elizabethan era. The period is famous for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Francis Drake. Some historians depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic and military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor in an era when government was ramshackle and limited, and when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. After the short reigns of her half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher and statesman, who served as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. His works are credited with developing the scientific method, and remained influential through the scientific revolution.

Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive reasoning and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, he argued this could be achieved by use of a sceptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves. While his own practical ideas about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have a long-lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a sceptical methodology makes Bacon the father of the scientific method. This marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, the practical details of which are still central in debates about science and methodology today. In addition to his work in the sciences, Bacon was also a venerable patron of libraries and developed a functional system for the cataloging of books by dividing them into three categories—history, poetry, and philosophy—which could further be divided into more specific subjects and subheadings. Bacon was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge where he rigorously followed the medieval curriculum, largely in Latin.

Bacon is the first recipient of the Queen's counsel designation, which was conferred in 1597 when Queen Elizabeth reserved Bacon as her legal advisor. After the accession of King James I in 1603, Bacon was knighted. He was later created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St. Alban in 1621. Because he had no heirs, both titles became extinct upon his death in 1626, at 65 years of age. Bacon died of pneumonia, with one account by John Aubrey stating that he had contracted the condition while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat. He is buried at St Michael's Church, St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his own day as a "natural philosopher") who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"), first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.

In Principia, Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint until it was superseded by the theory of relativity. Newton used his mathematical description of gravity to prove Kepler's laws of planetary motion, account for tides, the trajectories of comets, the precession of the equinoxes and other phenomena, eradicating doubt about the Solar System's heliocentricity. He demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and celestial bodies could be accounted for by the same principles. Newton's inference that the Earth is an oblate spheroid was later confirmed by the geodetic measurements of Maupertuis, La Condamine, and others, convincing most European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics over earlier systems.

Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism separates white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. His work on light was collected in his highly influential book Opticks, published in 1704. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling, made the first theoretical calculation of the speed of sound, and introduced the notion of a Newtonian fluid. In addition to his work on calculus, as a mathematician Newton contributed to the study of power series, generalised the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, developed a method for approximating the roots of a function, and classified most of the cubic plane curves.

Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian who privately rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. Unusually for a member of the Cambridge faculty of the day, he refused to take holy orders in the Church of England. Beyond his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study of alchemy and biblical chronology, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death. Politically and personally tied to the Whig party, Newton served two brief terms as Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge, in 1689–90 and 1701–02. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 and spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as Warden (1696–1700) and Master (1700–1727) of the Royal Mint, as well as president of the Royal Society (1703–1727).

James II of England

James II and VII (14 October 1633O.S. – 16 September 1701) was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it also involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown.James inherited the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland with widespread support in all three countries, largely based on the principle of divine right or birth. Tolerance for his personal Catholicism did not apply to it in general and when the English and Scottish Parliaments refused to pass his measures, James attempted to impose them by decree; it was a political principle, rather than a religious one that ultimately led to his removal.In June 1688, two events turned dissent into a crisis; the first on 10 June was the birth of James's son and heir James Francis Edward, threatening to create a Catholic dynasty and excluding his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. The second was the prosecution of the Seven Bishops for seditious libel; this was viewed as an assault on the Church of England and their acquittal on 30 June destroyed his political authority in England. Anti-Catholic riots in England and Scotland now made it seem only his removal as monarch could prevent a civil war.Representatives of the English political elite invited William to assume the English throne; after he landed in Brixham on 5 November 1688, James's army deserted and he went into exile in France on 23 December. In February 1689, Parliament held he had 'vacated' the English throne and installed William and Mary as joint monarchs, establishing the principle that sovereignty derived from Parliament, not birth. James landed in Ireland on 14 March 1689 in an attempt to recover his kingdoms but despite a simultaneous rising in Scotland, in April a Scottish Convention followed their English colleagues by ruling James had 'forfeited' the throne and offered it to William and Mary. After defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690, James returned to France where he spent the rest of his life in exile at Saint-Germain, protected by Louis XIV.

James VI and I

James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union.

James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, positioning him to eventually accede to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died childless. He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58. After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England (the largest of the three realms) from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, and styled himself "King of Great Britain and Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for England and Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began.

At 57 years and 246 days, James's reign in Scotland was longer than those of any of his predecessors. He achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie (1597), The True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron (1599). He sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would later be named after him: the Authorised King James Version. Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character ever since. Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James's reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch. He was strongly committed to a peace policy, and tried to avoid involvement in religious wars, especially the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain.

Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler (; German: [joˈhanəs ˈkɛplɐ, -nɛs -]; December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630) was a German astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer. He is a key figure in the 17th-century scientific revolution, best known for his laws of planetary motion, and his books Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae. These works also provided one of the foundations for Newton's theory of universal gravitation.

Kepler was a mathematics teacher at a seminary school in Graz, where he became an associate of Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg. Later he became an assistant to the astronomer Tycho Brahe in Prague, and eventually the imperial mathematician to Emperor Rudolf II and his two successors Matthias and Ferdinand II. He also taught mathematics in Linz, and was an adviser to General Wallenstein. Additionally, he did fundamental work in the field of optics, invented an improved version of the refracting telescope (the Keplerian telescope), and was mentioned in the telescopic discoveries of his contemporary Galileo Galilei. He was a corresponding member of the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome.Kepler lived in an era when there was no clear distinction between astronomy and astrology, but there was a strong division between astronomy (a branch of mathematics within the liberal arts) and physics (a branch of natural philosophy). Kepler also incorporated religious arguments and reasoning into his work, motivated by the religious conviction and belief that God had created the world according to an intelligible plan that is accessible through the natural light of reason. Kepler described his new astronomy as "celestial physics", as "an excursion into Aristotle's Metaphysics", and as "a supplement to Aristotle's On the Heavens", transforming the ancient tradition of physical cosmology by treating astronomy as part of a universal mathematical physics.

Louis XIII of France

Louis XIII (French pronunciation: ​[lwi tʁɛz]; 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who was King of France from 1610 to 1643 and King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown.

Shortly before his ninth birthday, Louis became king of France and Navarre after his father Henry IV was assassinated. His mother, Marie de' Medici, acted as regent during his minority. Mismanagement of the kingdom and ceaseless political intrigues by Marie and her Italian favourites led the young king to take power in 1617 by exiling his mother and executing her followers, including Concino Concini, the most influential Italian at the French court.

Louis XIII, taciturn and suspicious, relied heavily on his chief ministers, first Charles d'Albert, duc de Luynes and then Cardinal Richelieu, to govern the Kingdom of France. King and cardinal are remembered for establishing the Académie française, and ending the revolt of the French nobility. They systematically destroyed castles of defiant lords and denounced the use of private violence (dueling, carrying weapons, and maintaining private armies). By the end of 1620s, Richelieu established "the royal monopoly of force" as the ruling doctrine. The reign of Louis "the Just" was also marked by the struggles against the Huguenots and Habsburg Spain.

Mary II of England

Mary II (30 April 1662 – 28 December 1694) was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband and first cousin, King William III and II, from 1689 until her death; popular histories usually refer to their joint reign as that of William and Mary. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the adoption of the English Bill of Rights and the deposition of her Roman Catholic father, James II and VII. William became sole ruler upon her death in 1694. He reigned as such until his own death in 1702, when he was succeeded by Mary's sister Anne.

Mary wielded less power than William when he was in England, ceding most of her authority to him, though he heavily relied on her. She did, however, act alone when William was engaged in military campaigns abroad, proving herself to be a powerful, firm, and effective ruler.


Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (; French: [mɔ.ljɛːʁ]; 15 January 1622 – 17 February 1673), was a French playwright, actor and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and universal literature. His extant works include comedies, farces, tragicomedies, comédie-ballets and more. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed at the Comédie-Française more often than those of any other playwright today. His influence is such that the French language itself is often referred to as the "language of Molière".Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre. Thirteen years as an itinerant actor helped him polish his comic abilities while he began writing, combining Commedia dell'arte elements with the more refined French comedy.Through the patronage of aristocrats including Philippe I, Duke of Orléans—the brother of Louis XIV—Molière procured a command performance before the King at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, The Doctor in Love, Molière was granted the use of salle du Petit-Bourbon near the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. Later, he was granted the use of the theatre in the Palais-Royal. In both locations Molière found success among Parisians with plays such as The Affected Ladies, The School for Husbands and The School for Wives. This royal favour brought a royal pension to his troupe and the title Troupe du Roi ("The King's Troupe"). Molière continued as the official author of court entertainments.Despite the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted criticism from churchmen. For Tartuffe's impiety, the Catholic Church denounced this study of religious hypocrisy followed by the Parliament's ban, while Don Juan was withdrawn and never restaged by Molière. [1] His hard work in so many theatrical capacities took its toll on his health and, by 1667, he was forced to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, The Imaginary Invalid, Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a haemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan. He finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later.

Philip V of Spain

Philip V (Spanish: Felipe V, French: Philippe, Italian: Filippo; 19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746) was King of Spain from 1 November 1700 to his abdication in favour of his son Louis on 14 January 1724, and from his reaccession of the throne upon his son's death on 6 September 1724 to his own death on 9 July 1746.

Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a grandson of King Louis XIV. His father, Louis, Grand Dauphin, had the strongest genealogical claim to the throne of Spain when it became vacant in 1700. However, since neither the Grand Dauphin nor Philip's older brother, Louis, Duke of Burgundy, could be displaced from their place in the succession to the French throne, the Grand Dauphin's maternal uncle (Philip's granduncle) King Charles II of Spain named Philip as his heir in his will. It was well known that the union of France and Spain under one monarch would upset the balance of power in Europe, such that other European powers would take steps to prevent it. Indeed, Philip's accession in Spain provoked the 13-year War of the Spanish Succession, which continued until the Treaty of Utrecht forbade any future possibility of unifying the French and Spanish thrones.

Philip was the first member of the French House of Bourbon to rule as king of Spain. The sum of his two reigns, 45 years and 21 days, is the longest in modern Spanish history.

René Descartes

René Descartes (, UK also ; French: [ʁəne dekaʁt]; Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; adjectival form: "Cartesian"; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years (1629–49) of his life in the Dutch Republic after serving for a while in the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and the Stadtholder of the United Provinces. He is generally considered one of the most notable intellectual figures of the Dutch Golden Age.Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes' influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system (see below) was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution.

Descartes refused to accept the authority of previous philosophers. He frequently set his views apart from those of his predecessors. In the opening section of the Passions of the Soul, an early modern treatise on emotions, Descartes goes so far as to assert that he will write on this topic "as if no one had written on these matters before". His best known philosophical statement is "I think, therefore I am" (French: Je pense, donc je suis; Latin: Ego cogito, ergo sum), found in Discourse on the Method (1637; written in French and Latin) and Principles of Philosophy (1644; written in Latin).Many elements of his philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like Augustine. In his natural philosophy, he differed from the schools on two major points: first, he rejected the splitting of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejected any appeal to final ends, divine or natural, in explaining natural phenomena. In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation.

Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Spinoza and Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Leibniz, Spinoza, and Descartes were all well-versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well.

Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle (; 25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle's law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system. Among his works, The Sceptical Chymist is seen as a cornerstone book in the field of chemistry. He was a devout and pious Anglican and is noted for his writings in theology.

Thirty Years' War

The Thirty Years' War was a war fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. One of the most destructive conflicts in human history, it resulted in eight million fatalities not only from military engagements but also from violence, famine, and plague. Casualties were overwhelmingly and disproportionately inhabitants of the Holy Roman Empire, most of the rest being battle deaths from various foreign armies. In terms of proportional German casualties and destruction, it was surpassed only by the period January to May 1945; one of its enduring results was 19th-century Pan-Germanism, when it served as an example of the dangers of a divided Germany and became a key justification for the 1871 creation of the German Empire.Initially a war between various Protestant and Catholic states in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, it gradually developed into a more general conflict involving most of the European great powers. These states employed relatively large mercenary armies, and the war became less about religion and more of a continuation of the France–Habsburg rivalry for European political pre-eminence.

The war was preceded by the election of the new Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, who tried to impose religious uniformity on his domains, forcing Roman Catholicism on its peoples. The northern Protestant states, angered by the violation of their rights to choose, which had been granted in the Peace of Augsburg, banded together to form the Protestant Union. Ferdinand II was a devout Roman Catholic and much more intolerant than his predecessor, Rudolf II, who ruled from the largely Protestant city of Prague. Ferdinand's policies were considered strongly pro-Catholic and anti-Protestant.

These events caused widespread fears throughout northern and central Europe, and triggered the Protestant Bohemians living in the then relatively loose dominion of Habsburg Austria (and also with the Holy Roman Empire) to revolt against their nominal ruler, Ferdinand II. After the so-called Defenestration of Prague deposed the Emperor's representatives in Prague, the Protestant estates and Catholic Habsburgs started gathering allies for war. The Protestant Bohemians ousted the Habsburgs and elected the Calvinist Frederick V, Elector of the Rhenish Palatinate as the new king of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Frederick took the offer without the support of the Protestant Union. The southern states, mainly Roman Catholic, were angered by this. Led by Bavaria, these states formed the Catholic League to expel Frederick in support of the Emperor. The Empire soon crushed the perceived Protestant rebellion in the Battle of White Mountain, executing leading Bohemian aristocrats shortly after. Protestant rulers across Europe unanimously condemned the Emperor's action.

After the atrocities committed in Bohemia, Saxony finally gave its support to the Protestant Union and decided to fight back. Sweden, at the time a rising military power, soon intervened in 1630 under its king Gustavus Adolphus, transforming what had been simply the Emperor's attempt to curb the Protestant states into a full-scale war in Europe. Habsburg Spain, wishing to finally crush the Dutch rebels in the Netherlands and the Dutch Republic (which was still a part of the Holy Roman Empire), intervened under the pretext of helping its dynastic Habsburg ally, Austria. No longer able to tolerate the encirclement of two major Habsburg powers on its borders, Catholic France entered the coalition on the side of the Protestants in order to counter the Habsburgs.

The Thirty Years' War devastated entire regions, resulting in high mortality, especially among the populations of the German and Italian states, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Southern Netherlands. Both mercenaries and soldiers in fighting armies traditionally looted or extorted tribute to get operating funds, which imposed severe hardships on the inhabitants of occupied territories. The war also bankrupted most of the combatant powers.

The Dutch Republic enjoyed contrasting fortune; it was removed from the Holy Roman Empire and was able to end its revolt against Spain in 1648 and subsequently enjoyed a time of great prosperity and development, known as the Dutch Golden Age, during which it became one of the world's foremost economic, colonial, and naval powers. The Thirty Years' War ended with the Treaty of Osnabrück and the Treaties of Münster, part of the wider Peace of Westphalia. The war altered the previous political order of European powers. The rise of Bourbon France, the curtailing of Habsburg ambition, and the ascendancy of Sweden as a great power created a new balance of power on the continent, with France emerging from the war strengthened and increasingly dominant in the latter part of the 17th century.

Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes (; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, was an English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan, which expounded an influential formulation of social contract theory. In addition to political philosophy, Hobbes also contributed to a diverse array of other fields, including history, jurisprudence, geometry, the physics of gases, theology, ethics, and general philosophy.

William III of England

William III (Dutch: Willem; 4 November 1650 – 8 March 1702), also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1672 and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as "King Billy".William inherited the principality of Orange from his father, William II, who died a week before William's birth. His mother, Mary, was the daughter of King Charles I of England. In 1677, William married his fifteen-year-old first cousin, Mary, the daughter of his maternal uncle James, Duke of York.

A Protestant, William participated in several wars against the powerful Catholic King of France, Louis XIV, in coalition with Protestant and Catholic powers in Europe. Many Protestants heralded him as a champion of their faith. In 1685, William's Catholic uncle and father-in-law, James, became king of England, Scotland and Ireland. James's reign was unpopular with the Protestant majority in Britain. William, supported by a group of influential British political and religious leaders, invaded England in what became known as the Glorious Revolution. On 5 November 1688, he landed at the southern English port of Brixham. James was deposed and William and his wife became joint sovereigns in his place. William and Mary reigned together until Mary's death on 28 December 1694, after which William ruled as sole monarch.

William's reputation as a staunch Protestant enabled him to take power in Britain when many were fearful of a revival of Catholicism under James. William's victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is still commemorated by loyalists in Northern Ireland and Scotland. His reign in Britain marked the beginning of the transition from the personal rule of the Stuarts to the more Parliament-centred rule of the House of Hanover.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. At age 49 (around 1613), he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; this has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, his sexuality, his religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Such theories are often criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.

Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. Until about 1608, he wrote mainly tragedies, among them Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he wrote tragicomedies (also known as romances) and collaborated with other playwrights.

Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays. The volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time".Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain popular and are studied, performed, and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world.

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