Historians will sometimes specifically refer to the 18th century as 1715-89, 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'Peasant_revolt" title ="Peasant revolt">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 an to take control of the entire peninsula.
In a strictly aesthetic analysis, the 18th century is generally considered was the beginning of Europe's artistic influence across the entire globe.
- The Enlightenment
- Scientific discovery and early Industrial Revolution. See the History of Science and Technology.
- American Revolution leading to United States declaration of independence in 1776 and Constitution in 1789.
- Rosetta stone is found by Napoleon'1799" title ="1799">1799.
- Wars of Empire between Great Britain, France, Spain, Austria.
- 1707 - The Kingdom of Great Britain is formed
- 1715 - Louis XIV dies
- 1750 - peak of the Little Ice Age
- 1770s - James Cook's explorations
- 1786 - On behalf of the British East India Company, Francis Light acquires the island of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah- the first British colony in South-East Asia.
- 1788 - First European settlement established in Australia
- 1789 - The French Revolution
Five overall largest mass killings of the 18th century
Note that the numbers given here are estimates
- French Revolution and Revolutionary Wars, 1.5 million deaths
- War of the Spanish Succession, 1.3 million deaths
- Seven Years War, 1.2 million deaths
- War between China and the Dzungars, 600,000 deaths
- War of the Austrian Succession, 350,000 deaths
The slave trade, the Thuggee cult and the extermination of the American Indians also undoubtedly caused millions of victims during the 18th century, but the number of them is too uncertain to be listed. 
- Catherine the Great (Russian Tsarina)
- James Cook (British navigator)
- Leonhard Euler (mathematician)
- Benjamin Franklin (inventor and diplomat)
- Alexander Hamilton (American statesman)
- David Hume (philosopher)
- Thomas Jefferson (American politician)
- Immanuel Kant (philosopher)
- Louis XIV of France (monarch)
- Adam Smith (Scottish economist)
- George Washington (General, 1st American President)
- Johann Sebastian Bach (composer)
- Denis Diderot (French writer and philosopher)
- Thomas Gainsborough (painter)
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German writer)
- Thomas Gray (British writer)
- William Hogarth (painter and engraver)
- Samuel Johnson (British writer)
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)
- Sir Joshua Reynolds (painter)
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau (French writer and philosopher)
- Friedrich Schiller (German writer)
- Jonathan Swift (British writer)
- Voltaire (French writer and philosopher)
- Benedict Arnold, considered a traitor by many people on both sides (United States and Britain) of the American Revolutionary War.
Inventions, discoveries, introductions
- Cotton gin by Eli Whitney
- The marine chronometer of John Harrison solves the longitude problem for navigation.
- Improved steam engines by Thomas Newcomen and James Watt
- first steam-powered automobile by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot
- textile manufacturing:
Decades and years
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