Events That Changed the World in the Eighteenth Century

Events That Changed the World in the Eighteenth Century

Events That Changed the World in the Eighteenth Century

Events That Changed the World in the Eighteenth Century

Synopsis

Warfare on three continents, empire building, and revolution--political, agricultural, and industrial--dominate 18th-century world history. In Europe royal dynasties formed, fought major wars that carved up the map of Europe and the Americas, and began the great colonial expansion that dominated the next century. But the 18th century also ushered in the Enlightenment, which fired the imagination of Europeans, and the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions, which changed society and work forever. To help students better understand the major developments of the 18th century and their impact on 19th- and 20th-century history, this unique resource offers detailed description and expert analysis of the 18th century's most important events: Peter the Great's Reform of Russia; the War of the Spanish Succession; the First British Empire; the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War; the Enlightenment; the Agricultural Revolution; the American Revolution; the Industrial Revolution; the Slave Trade; and the French Revolution.

Excerpt

At the start of the seventeenth century, the Russian state found itself in dire straits. During a period known as the Time of Troubles (1598-1613), Russia lacked stable leadership, suffered invasion and defeat at the hands of the Poles, and experienced widespread social chaos. Some sense of order returned only in 1613 with the selection of Michael Romanov as tsar, or ruler. The Romanov dynasty founded at that time ruled Russia until its overthrow in 1917.

Throughout the remainder of the seventeenth century, Russia gradually recovered. However, it remained a semi-Asiatic state far removed from the European mainstream. It looked to the East rather than the West, and it reflected Eastern values and traditions in its style of dress and in its attitudes and practices, such as the seclusion of women. Nevertheless, Western influences managed to seep into Russia. Trade with the West increased, and a number of foreigners, especially Germans and Dutch, resided in the capital, Moscow.

The man who decisively turned Russia westward, Peter the Great, was born in 1672. Tall, strong, and physically imposing, the young Peter displayed boundless energy and insatiable curiosity. He was particularly attracted to military matters, organizing a miniature army of his own . . .

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