1660 Daniel Foe was born in a working-class district of London. The year also marked the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy as Charles II returned from exile.
1662 The Act of Uniformity forces the congregation to which James Foe, Daniel’s father, belonged to leave the Church of England and declare themselves Presbyterians.
1665-66 The Great Plague, and the Great Fire of London.
1668 The death of Daniel Defoe’s mother, Alice.
1671-79 Defoe's schooling: Reverend James Fisher's school at Dorking, Surrey; the academy for dissenters of Reverend Charles Morton at Newington Green.
1683 Defoe took up a business career, living in Cornhill, near the Royal Exchange in central London.
1683 Defoe took up a business career, living in Cornhill, near the Royal Exchange in central London.
1684 Defoe married Mary Tuffey, whose dowry amounted to £3,700; together, the couple would have seven children.
1685 James the Second of the House of Stuart ascended the throne upon the death of his older brother, Charles the Second; Defoe joined the ill-fated Monmouth Rebellion.
1685-92 Defoe was an active trader in commodities, notably hosiery, wine, and tobacco. He was both an insurer of ships and a commercial traveller. He began to publish political tracts.
1688-1702 As an avid supporter of William III, Defoe held a number of civil service posts.
1690-1691 He contributed to the periodical the Athenian Mercury as a member of the Athenian Society. The twice-weekly journal was published between 17 March 1690 (i.e. 1691 Gregorian calendar) and 14 June 1697, with publisher John Dunton as the editor in chief.
1692 Defoe declared his first bankruptcy, and was imprisoned for debt.
1695 At this point he added the French-sounding prefix "De" to his last name when he was appointed manager-trustee of the royal lotteries.
1697 His Essay on Projects brought him to the attention of influential people in government.
1701 His True-Born Englishman constituted a spirited, poetic defence of King William as a Dutch immigrant; this outsold any previously composed poem in English, including Milton's Paradise Lost (1667).
1702 At the death of William of Orange and the ascension of Queen Anne, last of the Stuarts, Defoe published the political satire The Shortest Way with the Dissenters against the religious intolerance of High Church extremists.
1703 Publishing The Shortest Way led to Defoe's arrest for sedition and libel. A political prisoner, he was convicted to stand in the pillory (29-31 July), where, singing his "Hymn to the Pillory," his supporters pelted him with flowers. The failure of his brick and tile works at Tilbury precipitated another bankruptcy.
1703-1730 Released from Newgate Prison as a result of Robert Haley's political intervention, Defoe became a spy for successive ministries, both Tory and Whig. He maintained the public persona of a political journalist.
1704-1713 The politically influential Review appeared three times a week.
1707 In the Review Defoe actively promoted The Act of Union between England and Scotland.
1713-14 Arrested for debt and political commentaries.
1715 Defoe published the popular manual The Family Instructor.
1718 Second volume of The Family Instructor.
1719 At sage 59, Defoe published his first novel, the pseudo-autobiography The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. He followed up with the sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.
1720 Memoirs of a Cavalier; Captain Singleton; Serious Reflections . . . of Robinson Crusoe.
1722 The Journal of the Plague Year; Moll Flanders; Colonel Jack; Religious Courtship.
1724 Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress; A General History of the Pyrates; A Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain; The History of the Remarkable Life of John Sheppard.
1725 The Complete English Tradesman; biographies of criminals.
1726 The Political History of the Devil and The Complete English Tradesman.
1727 Conjugal Lewdness (A treatise concerning the use and abuse of the marriage bed); An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions; A New Family Instructor.
1728 Augusta Triumphans; A Plan of English Commerce.
24 April 1731 Defoe died in Rope-Maker's Alley, The Barbican (in the area once known as Grub Street in Greater London), of "lethargy," probably a stroke.
26 April 1731 Defoe interred at Bunhill Fields (today Bunhill Fields Burial and Gardens, Greater London) among such Puritan worthies as John Bunyan.
1870 The Borough of Islington, London, erected a monument to the memory of Daniel Defoe: "Daniel De-Foe Born 1661. Died 1731. Author of Robinson Crusoe. This monument is the result of an appeal in the "Christian World" newspaper to the Boys and Girls of England for funds to place a suitable memorial upon the grave of Daniel De-Foe. It represents the united contributions of seventeen hundred persons. September 1870."
1890 Posthumous publication of the manual The Compleat English Gentleman (incomplete manuscript).
1895 Posthumous​ publication​of Of Royall Education (incomplete manuscript).

Contexts​ & Editions


"A Memoir of the Author, and an Essay on his Writings." Daniel De Foe's Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Illustrated by Phiz. London and New York: Routledge, Warne, and Routledge, 1864. Pp. 1-15.

Shinagel, Michael (ed.). "Chronology." Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.​ Norton Critical Editions. New York: W. W. Norton, 1994. Pp. 433-34.

Stephen, Leslie. "De Foe's Novels." Hours in a Library. London: Smith, Elder, 1874. Pp. 54-58.

Last modified 2 Febuary 2018