18th century

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(17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries)

As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800 in the Gregorian calendar.

European history scholars will sometimes specifically refer to the 18th century as 1715-1789, denoting the period of time between the death of Louis XIV of France and the start of the French Revolution. In Europe, the principal nations of this period (in terms of industrial capacity) were: Austria, Britain, France, Prussia, and Russia.



The 18th Century was the period of the so-called "enlightened absolutism" and was the time when political changes began that would lead to the modern nation state. France's absolutism would generate the peasant revolts that, for the first time, would begin to shake the old ways and feudal life. The Enlightenment was in full bloom and threatened the power of theology. The rise of nations like Austria, Russia, and Prussia began to shift the balance of power away from the west and create new competition in Europe other than France, England, and Spain.

Other important aspects of the 18th century were the rise of cultural centers such as Paris and Vienna where nations could boast their power, enlightenment, and impression to the rest of Europe. Across the globe, European colonies were both being established, and, in the case of America, breaking away from their parents. In Asia, exploration and influences from Europe were beginning to shake the structures of old empires, especially India, where civil war enabled the British to take control of the entire sub-continent.

In a strictly aesthetic analysis, the 18th century is generally considered to be the beginning of Europe's artistic influence across the entire globe. In music, the era of Baroque music reached its apotheosis in the music of J.S. Bach, and the Classical music era began. In the visual arts, the Rococo style replaced the Baroque, then was succeeded by the Neoclassical movement.


Significant people

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

List of 18th century inventions


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