Europe: Late 1600s to Early 1700s


The late 1600s and early 1700s stood between the scientific revolution on its left and the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution on its right. Louis XIV brought the age of absolutist monarchies to its head before it hastily declined again. France passed its power off to England, which passed through King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector), Richard Cromwell (Lord Protector), King Charles II, James II, William III of Orange and Mary of Stuart II, Queen Anne, and King George I, all during Louis’s reign of 1643-1715.

England has a strong government ruled in a large part by parliament once James II is overthrown. Poland is dismembered by the end of the 1700s while Sweden fades into the background and Prussia gains an absolutist monarchy much like France’s. Soon after, Louis XIV attacks the United Provinces and declares war on the Holy Roman Empire, but the Empire managed to defend itself much better than it did during the Thirty Years’ War.

Peter the Great of Russia makes a stand, dragging Russia by the hair into the modern and Western age, much to the resentment of the Russian nobility. But despite Peter’s successful reign, doubting his son’s loyalty, he has his son killed and is left without an heir, only able to scribble Give it all to before he dies.

Louis XIV’s aggressive foreign policy forces Europe to ally against him three times and for two major wars, the War of the Spanish Succession and the Nine Years War. At the same time Louis is building the grandest palace in Europe that Prussia, Sweden, Russia and many other countries will attempt to out-do: Versailles.

Slaves still suffer in Western Europe while serfs serve the same purpose in Eastern Europe. Peasants will continue to struggle to make a living for the next 200 years. Nobles in France are provided with a glorious court to attend while slowly being drained of their political power through debt and excessive time spent with the king. Finally, the world has not yet seen such a flourishing of pirates—Blackbeard, Calico Jack, Sir Henry Morgan and Jean Lafitte—as exist in this Golden Age of Piracy.

Pictures from left to right:
Gabriel, Metsu. Details of Man and Woman Sitting at the Virginal 1658. []
Siberechts, Jan. Cour de ferme 1662. []
Netscher, Caspar. Die Spitzenklöpplerin [The Spinster]" 1662. [, The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei]
Netscher, Caspar. Portrait of Suzanna Doublet-Huygens 1667-9. []1
Gillis van Tilborch. "Details of The Tichborne Dole" 1670. []
Netscher, Caspar. Christiaan Huygens, the astronomer 1671. []
Wissing, Willem. Mary of Modena 1680. []2
Douven, Jan Frans van. Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici in Hunting Dress 1690s. []

1 Portrait of Suzanna Doublet-Huygens (1637-1725) fifth and last child of Constantijn Huygens and Suzanna van Baerle, and their only daughter
2 Mary of Modena, 2nd wife of James II