1642-6 The Great Civil War
1642 Charles I (Stuart; Anglican) captured. Queen Henrietta Maria and Charles, Prince of Wales, escape to France.
1649 Charles I beheaded.
1649-60 The Interregnum; the Commonwealth established.
1653 Oliver Cromwell (Puritan) becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.
1658Oliver Cromwell dies; his son Richard attempts to succeed him.
1660 The Restoration. Charles (II—Anglican) returns from France and takes the throne.
1681-5 Parliament does not meet. Court holds power.
1685 Charles dies; his brother James (II; Roman Catholic) succeeds him. Threat of "popery."
1688 James, Prince of Wales born. This means the crown will pass to him, a Roman Catholic, rather than to the King's Anglican siblings.
Glorious (i.e., bloodless) Revolution. James flees to France and is deposed, because his daughter Mary and her husband William, Prince of Orange, have been invited by Parliament to share the crown. Executive ! power lodged with William. Balance of power shifts finally from Court to Parliament.
1688-1788 For 100 years, till the death of Bonnie Prince Charlie, England feels the threat of an invasion from France which would restore Stuart (Jacobite), and thus Roman Catholic, rule. In fact, Jacobite risings occur twice during this period, in 1715 and 1745.
1694 Mary dies; William (III) sole ruler.
1701 James II dies in France. Act of Settlement directs succession, should Anne die childless, to the (Protestant) House of Hanover--unless "the Old Pretender," James (son of James II) or, later, Bonnie Prince Charlie, "the Young Pretender," would ! abjure Roman Catholicism. (See the chart of kings and queens.)
1702 William dies; Anne (Mary's Anglican sister) succeeds.
1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England.
1702-13 War of the Spanish succession.
1713 Peace of Utrecht.
1714 Anne dies; Dynastic crisis; George I (of Hanover) succeeds unopposed.
1715 Jacobite rebellion.
1720 Charles Edward Stuart (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender) born in France to James (the Old Pretender).
South Sea Bubble.
1721-42 Robert Walpole Prime Minister.
1727 George I dies; George II crowned.
1733 John Kay's flying shuttle.
1745 Jacobite rising in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
1754 Anglo-French war begins in North America.
1755 Lisbon earthquake.
1756-63 Seven Years' War.
1757 Clive captures India from the French.
1758 first threshing machine.
1759 British Museum opens.
1760 George II dies; his grandson crowned George III.
French surrender Montreal to the British.
Wedgwood opens pottery works.
1763 Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years' War. France cedes Canada and the Mississippi Valley to Britain.
1764 Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny.
1766 James "the Old Pretender" dies in France.
1769 Arkwright invents a spinning machine.
1771 Arkwright's first spinning mill.
1773 Boston Tea Party.
1774 Priestly isolates oxygen.
Accession of Louis XVI of France.
1775 American Revolution begins.
Watt's first efficient steam engine.
1776 Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.
American colonies declare their independence.
1778 Rousseau and Voltaire die.
1779 first steam powered mills. Crompton invents spinning "mule."
1781 Cornwallis surrenders to Washington at Yorktown, Va.
1782 Lord North resigns; full Parliamentary government restored.
1783 Peace treaty signed in Paris between Great Britain and the United States.
1785 Cartwright builds power loom.
1786 Coal gas first used for lighting.
1787 Warren Hastings impeached.
1788 Bonnie Prince Charlie dies in France.
1789 Bastille falls; French Revolution begins.
Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals  (see utilitarianism).
1791-2 Paine, The Rights of Man.
1792 Reign of Terror in France.
1793 Louis XVI executed in France. England and France at war.
Godwin, Political Justice.
1794 Execution of Robespierre ends the Reign of Terror.
1796 Invasion of England threatened.
1798 Battle of the Nile.
Malthus, Essay on . . . Population.
1799 Napoleon named First Consul of France.
1801 Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
1804 Napoleon declared Emperor.
1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
1809 Napoleon captures Vienna.
1811 Prince of Wales named Regent to act for George III, now insane.
1811-12 Luddite riots in the North and the Midlands. Laborers attack factories and break up the machines which they fear will replace them.
1812 Napoleon invades Russia.
1812-14 War of 1812 between England and the United States.
1814 Treaty of Ghent ends Anglo-U.S. War.
England and allies invade France.
Napoleon exiled to Elba.
1815 Napoleon escapes Elba; begins the "Hundred Days."
Battle of Waterloo; Napoleon exiled to St. Helena in the South Atlantic.
Corn Laws passed.
1817 David Ricardo, Principles of Political Economy.
1819 Peterloo Massacre of Corn Law protestors.
1820 George III dies; succeeded by Prince Regent as George IV. Cato Street Conspiracy
1821 Napoleon dies.
1822 Classical Tripos established at Cambridge.
1823 London Mechanics Institute founded.
1827 Thomas Arnold appointed to Rugby.
1829 Catholic Emancipation Act.
Peel establishes the Metropolitan Police.
1830 George IV dies; his brother William IV succeeds.
Manchester - Liverpool Railway (first in England).
1832 First Reform Bill: adds £10/year householders to the voting rolls and reapportions Parliamentary representation much more fairly, doing away with most "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs. Adds 217,000 voters to an electorate of 435,000.
1833 Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire.
Factory Act.
1834 New Poor Law.
Houses of Parliament burn down.
Late 1830s First of the Parliamentary "Blue Books"—facts and figures about England compiled by the Royal Commissioners.
1836-48 Chartist movement.
1837 William IV dies; succeeded by his niece, Victoria.
1838 Regular Atlantic steamship service begins.
1839 Anti-Corn-Law League founded.
1840 Queen Victoria marries her cousin Albert, who becomes Prince Consort.
Penny post started.
S.F.B. Morse invents the telegraph.
Grammar Schools Act.
1842 Chartist Riots.
Copyright Act.
1845-6 Potato Failure in Europe; starvation in Ireland. Corn Laws (which had kept up the price of grain) repealed.
1848 Revolutions in Europe.
Queen's College (for women) founded in London.
1849 Gold discovered in California and Australia.
1850 Telegraph cable laid under English Channel.
1851 Great Exhibition ("Crystal Palace").
Population of United Kingdom at 21 million.
1853-6 Crimean War.
1855 Livingston discovers Victoria Falls.
Civil Service Commissioners appointed.
1857-8 The Mutiny (India).
1858 First Atlantic cable laid.
1860 Garibaldi takes Naples; unification of Italy.
1861 Albert dies; Victoria retires into mourning.
1861-5 American Civil War.
1862 Bismarck becomes Prussian premier.
1864 Geneva Convention establishes Red Cross.
1866 Italy defeated by Austria.
Telegraph cable laid under the Atlantic.
1867 Second Reform Bill: enfranchises many workingmen; adds 938,000 to an electorate of 1,057,000 in England and Wales. (Disraeli's legislation)
South African diamond fields discovered.
Fenian rising in Ireland.
1869 Suez Canal opened.
Union Pacific Railway completed in U.S.
1870 Forster's Elementary Education Act establishes School Boards.
Vatican Council (establishes the infallibility of the Pope).
1870-1 Franco-Prussian War.
1871 University Tests Act removes religious tests at Oxford and Cambridge.
Trade unions legalized.
Newcastle engineers strike for a nine-hour day.
Germany unified.
1873 Population of the United Kingdom at 26 million (France 36 million).
1876 Victoria named Empress of India.
Edison invents the phonograph.
Compulsory school attendance in Great Britain.
1877 Transvaal annexed.
1879 Somerville and Lady Margaret Colleges (for women) founded at Oxford.
Zulu war.
1880 War with Transvaal.
1881 Cambridge Tripos exams opened to women.
1882 Triple Alliance (Germany, Italy, and Austria).
Married Women's Property Act enables women to buy, own, and sell property, and to keep their own earnings.
1883 "Oom Paul" Kruger named president of the South African Republic.
Fabian Society founded.
Mahdi Rebellion in the Sudan.
1884-5 Third Reform Act and Redistribution Act extend vote to agricultural workers; electorate tripled.
1885 Fall of Khartoum.
1886 First (Irish) Home Rule bill rejected.
1887 Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
1889 London dock workers and match girls strike for 6d./hour.
1890 Parnell--O'Shea divorce case ends Parnell's influence; no Home Rule for Ireland.
1894 Dreyfus trial in France.
1895 U.S. equals the U.K.'s industrial output.
1897 Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
1898-99 Spanish-American War.
1899-1902 Boer war.
1901 Victoria dies; Edward Prince of Wales succeeds.
1903 U.S. acquires Canal Zone from Panama.
1904 Entente Cordiale (England and France).
1905 Revolution in Russia.
1914-18 The "Great War" (World War I).
1916 Easter Rising in Dublin.
1917 Russian Revolution.
1918all men over 21 and women over thirty enfranchised.
1922 Irish Free State established.
James Joyce, Ulysses; T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land.
1928Equal Franchise Act grants right to vote to women over 21 (as well as men).
1936-8 Spanish Civil War.
1938 Chamberlain cedes Czech territory to Hitler at Munich.
1939-45 World War II.

Last modified 19 January 2024