Detailed Timeline of
Age of Enlightenment & Expansionism (1650
English Civil War (1642-51): Pitted King Charles against the English Parliament. Charles attempted to swing the balance of power back toward absolute rule of the king, undermining the democratic process, leading to civil war. Charles was defeated and executed. England was left without a monarch until the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and even then, the monarch would remain cautious in overstepping his/her bounds of power, as defined by the constitution, ever-mindful of the fate of King Charles.
(Timeline Continued Below)
Anglo-Dutch Wars Between Great Britain and Netherlands to Establish Naval Dominance (1652-1784): A series of four separate wars occurring between 1652 and 1784. Began as England attempted to surpass the Dutch (Netherlands) as a naval power and maritime commercial leader. Initially, the Dutch maintained naval supremacy over England. By the 1700s, the English had surpassed the Dutch in terms of fleet size, and imposed its superior force upon the Dutch in the final war spanning from 1780 to 1784. England (now Great Britain) was decisively victorious, displacing the Netherlands as the world's leading navy and maritime commercial power.
Russian-Polish War (1654–57): Russia gains control over Ukraine.
Jews allowed in England again (1655).
Russo-Swedish War (1656-58): Russia attempts to gain access to the Baltic Sea, but Sweden is still too powerful for the emerging Eastern European power, and temporarily captures Russian territory in Poland. The conflict ends in a stalemate, with no territorial changes
Scotland Independence From England (1660): Scotland asserts independence from England during the chaos after the English Civil War. It comes at a steep economic drawback, as they are prohibited from trading with England or any of its colonies, forcing them to join the England-dominated Great Britain in 1707.
In conflict with Spain, France gains territory from Spanish Netherlands (1668).
France finally establishes presence in India (1668).
Ottomans capture Crete from Venice (1669).
French North America (1682): France claims areas south of Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico in modern U.S., naming it Louisiana (after Louis XIV).
Spain and Austria were the dominant European powers during the 16th century, supporting each other due to the Habsburg Dynasty connection, while France struggled to keep pace. They were sandwiched between these two great powers, which exerted military superiority over France. As religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants sparked in the 16th century, all three powers were on the Catholicism side, as staunch defenders of their faith. During the 80 years and 30 years wars, the culmination of the European Wars of Religion, France switched sides, to join the Protestants which were gaining power. France’s flip-flop was the main factor in swinging the war toward the favor of the Protestants. In which case, France gained territory from Spain and Austria, as well as other concessions. This catalyzed a rise for France in the 17th century, along with the gradual decline of Spain and Austria.
Religious Restrictions Re-Introduced in France (1685): Staunch Catholic Louis XIV abolishes the Edict of Nantes, which ensured religious tolerance for Protestants, gained after French Wars of Religion.
Glorious Revolution in England (1688): William of Orange from Netherlands invited to invade England and to assume the crown. First, he is compelled to agree to increased Parliamentary powers, weakening the powers of the crown. The English Bill of Rights is enacted in 1689, guaranteeing certain rights for all individuals and increasing parliamentary power. Closest thing to true democracy in Europe.
War of Grand Alliance - Coalition Against France (1688–97): England cooperates with other continental powers to curb the dominance of France. Little is gained or lost but England weakens France by routing their navy at sea. France had become a major continental power, at the expense of Spain. Various German states, Netherlands, Holy Roman Empire, Spain and England unite to fight France, to diminish its dominant influence. France supports the Ottomans, who attack the Holy Roman Empire from the east. Battles are fought to a stalemate on land. HRE neither loses nor gains territory.
Austria Conquers Hungary From Ottoman Empire (1699): Austria takes full control over all of Hungary from the Ottoman Turks. This includes Slovakia, Transylvania, and Slovenia (eastern Croatia). Religious conflict ensues as Austria is staunchly Roman Catholic, while Hungary had largely become Protestant while under Ottoman control. Marks the beginning of stagnation and decline of the Ottoman Empire.
Russian Victory Over Sweden in Northern War (1700-21): Battle for supremacy of the Baltic Sea. Pitted Sweden against an alliance of Denmark-Norway, Russia, Poland and Prussia. Sweden had been the dominant power in the north for about a century, but had been in a process of decline. Each of these countries had lost territory or trade to Sweden, and allied to reverse this. Sweden was unable to withstand the coalition against it, conceding its losses to end the war in 1721. Sweden lost continental Baltic territories (Latvia and Estonia), and Russia becoming the great power in the north. Poland had served as the battlefield, and was badly decimated, falling under Russian dominance due to its weakened state. Russia gained ports on the Gulf of Finland, giving Russia its first access to the sea, at ports which were not frozen the majority of the year. St. Petersburg (established during reign of Peter I the Great) was subsequently established (in 1703, during the early years of the war), giving Russia the ability to engage in maritime trade with the rest of Europe.
Kingdom of Prussia Formed (1701): Bradenburg-Prussia (part of eastern buffer territories from Germans expanding east into Slav & Balt lands) becomes a kingdom, keeping just the name “Prussia”. Would eventually become the dominant state among the German states, taking the lead in the creation of the modern nation of Germany. Jews are allowed to return.
War of Spanish Succession (1706-14): Grandson of Louis XIV of France inherits the throne of Spain. Louis XIV exerts control over Spanish foreign policy, causing England, Netherlands and Holy Roman Empire to initiate war, in order to prevent a Spanish-French union, which could dominate all of Europe. The English-led coalition wins, with England (Great Britain) capturing Gibraltar (which it still possesses to this day) and the Hudson Bay territories (in Canada) from France.
England Becomes Great Britain (1707): Great Britain formed when Scotland and Ireland are annexed into the new England-dominated kingdom, known as the Acts of the Union. Scotland had technically been part of England, but had operated independently for years. Scotland was facing financial ruin after its last attempt at independence, due to economic sanctions imposed by England. Therefore, being combined with England was a better alternative. From the perspective of England, it wanted to eliminate an enemy on its northern border.
Austria Gains Spanish Netherlands (1714): Gained from Spain in War of Spanish Succession.
Austria Gains Northern Italy From Spain (1714): Gained from Spain in War of Spanish Succession.
Austria Gains Southern Italy & Sicily From Spain (1714): Gained by Austria from Spain during War of Spanish Succession.
Note: Spain & Austria Divide. When the grandson of Louis XIV of France became King of Spain, other nations objected, as France had already become the most powerful state in western/central Europe. They now threatened to control another major power. This sparked the War of Spanish Succession, and pitted Spain against Austria. Austria had a claim on the throne, and attempted to forcibly make good on it, with the help of the Dutch and Great Britain, which were mostly interested in avoiding a unified Spain and France. As a result of this war, Austria gained Spain’s Italian and Netherland possessions. This would end Spanish & Austrian cooperation, which had helped to make them the two most powerful European nations as a result of their Habsburg connection.
Serbian Independence From Ottoman Empire (1718): Austria-Ottoman War, Serbs persuaded to join fellow Christians from Austria in battle against Ottomans, freeing Northern Serbia from Ottoman rule.
Russian Orthodox Church (1721): Placed under state control by Tsar Peter I. Authorized to collect taxes from peasants, which would be a reason why it was persecuted during communist takeover in 1917, as it was seen as an enemy of the people.
(Timeline Continued Below)
Russia Gains Control Over Poland (1725): A weakened and disorganized Poland-Lithuania comes under Russian domination, serving as a client/buffer state.
War of the Polish Succession (1733): France and Spain want one candidate related to their respective monarchs, and Austria wants another, part of the Habsburg family. In war, Spain gains Naples and Sicily from Austria, but in the peace settlement Austria/Russia are pacified with a Russian-preferred Habsburg monarch.
Austria Gains Tuscany During Poland War of Succession (1733).
Southern Italy & Sicily Retaken by Spain from Austria during War of Polish Succession (1733).
Kingdom of Sardinia Formed (1733): Island of Sardinia is ceded to Savoy by Spain, resulting in the new Kingdom of Sardinia (Savoy + Sardinia).
Prussia Gains Territory From Austria in War of Austrian Succession (1740): Prussia invades Austrian Empire to claim throne after it comes into dispute. France and Bavaria join Prussia and invade Prague, but are driven out by the Austrians. Fighting in Italy and Germany largely ends in stalemate, except with Prussia retaining the Austrian region of Silesia, making them the clear victor in the conflict.
Note: Austria-Prussia Rivalry. Austria is no longer the undisputed leader of the Holy Roman Empire, as Prussia has now risen to challenge it as the dominant German state. Prussia eventually overtakes Austria decisively in the 19th century, becoming the basis for the modern nation of Germany, while leaving Austria to become a separate, less powerful state.
Beginning of French and Indian War (1754): Conflict between France and Great Britain over disputed lands west of British colonies in modern U.S. Would become incorporated in Seven Years War in Europe.
Seven Years War in Germany (1756-63): Incorporates French & Indian War, being waged in North America. Austria attempts to regain the region of Silesia, taken by Prussia in the War of Austrian Succession in 1740. Russia and France join Austria, while England joins Prussia. Battles would take place primarily in Germany. Great Britain and France also battle in India. Prussia is left to fight the land theater of the battle largely alone, against the three powers joined against it. The fact that it fights this opposition to a stalemate without losses or gains is a victory, establishing Prussia as the pre-eminent land-based power in Europe. France performs poorly, sending France into a downward spiral, which helps bring about the French Revolution.
End of French & Indian War - Great Britain Thoroughly Defeats France (1763): Great Britain (GB) gains Florida from Spain. As compensation, Spain is given Louisiana (large tract of land covering much of the modern U.S. midwest), which was taken from France. Some Caribbean possessions are traded back and forth between GB and France. GB also gains Canada from France, ending French colonial presence in North America.
Further Understanding: France Decline
France falls from its dominant position among European powers, while Great Britain (GB) rises to top after the French & Indian War. This propelled England to the status as the dominant global power, gaining much of France’s possessions throughout Asia and the Americas. France still remains a continental power, due to its population, geopolitical position and cohesion. France also benefits from non-threatening states to each side, as Spain and the Holy Roman Empire are in a process of decline. GB is mostly a naval threat to the north (not a serious threat to conquer France, too large of a task for an army of lesser size). Due to mercantilistic mind set (all or nothing), France tries to thoroughly defeat GB in all theaters where they clash (western hemisphere, India), rather than attempt to co-exist. This proves to be a fatal mistake for their overseas empire, badly damaging their economy, prestige and collective psyche, helping to bring about the French Revolution.
France Purchases Corsica (1764): France purchases Corsica from Rep. of Genoa, part of France ever since.
Ottoman Empire Loses Territory to Russia (1768–74): Russo-Turkish war, ended in Russian victory. Began with Ottomans declaring war on Russia. Russia gains Southern Ukraine, Northern Caucasus and Crimea, giving it access to the Black Sea, along with a large addition to its Turkish constituency.
First Partition of Poland (1772): Poland becomes a protectorate of Russia, but threatened by Prussia and Austria to the west. Prussia, Austria and Russia agree to divide Poland-Lithuania amongst themselves. Russia agrees, realizing it does not have the resources to control/defend the entire nation. The bulk of Poland-Lithuania remains intact, but largely under foreign domination. Russia gains eastern tract of land from Poland-Lithuania. Austria gains a portion of western Ukraine, and Prussia annexes territories spanning across the northern section of Poland.
American Revolutionary War (1775-83): American Revolutionary War with American colonists. Decentralized nature of colonists spread British troops thin, preventing them from maintaining captured cities and subduing the revolutionary activity. The involvement of the French made American victory possible. The Dutch and Spanish - French allies - also aided the revolutionaries. As the financial cost of the war mounted, and prospects of a decisive victory grew dim, Great Britain finally recognized American independence. Although British prestige took a hit, North America was the least profitable sector of its overseas empire. Even small, individual islands in the Caribbean were far more profitable than North America as a whole. Despite the loss, Great Britain would continue to grow in worldwide dominance through the wealth generated in the Caribbean, India, East Asia and Africa.
Note: Prussia Expansion. Continues to expand eastward into Slav lands, while also taking territory from a weakened Poland-Lithuania state. Begins to challenge Austria's dominance within the Holy Roman Empire, conquering the Silesian region from Austria.
Note: Holy Roman Empire Decline. After a few centuries of Catholic-Protestant division and warfare, the Germans of the HRE became fragmented. They are further wedged apart by the Prussia-Austria struggle for dominance.
Note: Austria. Conquers Hungary from the Ottoman Empire and annexes lands away from Poland. Also conquers Spanish Netherlands and Northern Italy from Spain. Remains the leading German state, but Prussia begins to rival its power and influence within the Holy Roman Empire.
this site is not completly acurate. the ther main superpowers back then was england, frace, and spain
#1 - heeep - 10/14/2011 - 11:17
Coming to history for the first time at 77, I find this site extremely helpful in providing an overview of the main themes of change - even if some readers might disagree with some details . The maps are particularly useful.
#2 - Kenneth - 11/04/2012 - 13:11
This was very helpful. It was easy to read and concise. Thank you!
#3 - Katie - 11/18/2012 - 15:41
This website is better than my AP EUROPEAN HISTORY TEACHER.
#4 - LHS - 09/26/2013 - 23:56