::18th century


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Millennium: 2nd millennium
Decades: 1700s 1710s 1720s 1730s 1740s
1750s 1760s 1770s 1780s 1790s
Categories: Births – Deaths
Political boundaries in 1700
Washington crossing the Delaware, December 25, 1776, an iconic event of the American Revolution
Storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789, an iconic event of the French Revolution
Development of the Watt steam engine in the late 18th century was an important element in the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.

The 18th century lasted from January 1, 1701 to December 31, 1800 in the Gregorian calendar.

During the 18th century, the Enlightenment culminated in the French and American revolutions. Philosophy and science increased in prominence. Philosophers dreamed of a brighter age. This dream turned into a reality with the French Revolution, although it was later compromised by the excesses of the Reign of Terror of Maximilien Robespierre. At first, the monarchies of Europe embraced Enlightenment ideals, but with the French Revolution they feared losing their power and formed broad coalitions for the counter-revolution.

The Ottoman Empire underwent a protracted decline, as it failed to keep up with the technological advances in Europe. The Tulip period symbolized a period of peace and reorientation towards European society, after victory against a burgeoning Russian Empire in the Pruth River Campaign. Throughout the century various reforms were introduced with limited success.

The 18th century also marked the end of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as an independent state. The once powerful and vast kingdom, that was once able to conquer Moscow and defeat the great Ottoman armies, collapsed under numerous invasions. Its semi-democratic government system was not robust enough to rival the neighbouring monarchies of the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire and the Archduchy of Austria which divided the Commonwealth territories among them, changing the landscape of Central European politics for the next hundred years.

Great Britain became a major power worldwide with the defeat of France in the Americas in the 1760s, and the conquest of large parts of India. However, Britain lost much of its North American colonies after the American Revolution, which was actively helped by the French. The Industrial Revolution started in Britain in the 1770s with the production of the improved steam engine. Despite its modest beginnings in the 18th century, it would radically change human society and the environment.

Western historians have occasionally defined 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 with an emphasis on directly interconnected events.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> To historians who expand the century to include larger historical movements, the "long" 18th century<ref name=Baines>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> may run from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}, "Introduction" by P. J. Marshall, page 1</ref> or even later.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

18th century sections
Intro  Events  Significant people  Inventions, discoveries, introductions  Literary and philosophical achievements  Musical works  Decades and years  References  Further reading