As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. During this period, the power of England and the United Provinces increased; while that of Spain and Portugal declined.
- Major changes in philosophy and science take place, often characterised as the Scientific revolution.
- Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England in 1603.
- The Thirty Years' War in Europe (1618 - 1648).
- James I of England institutes the baronetage as a means of raising money.
- Scottish and English Protestants sent to colonize Ireland, as reaction to Catholicism there.
- The English Civil War (1642 - 1651).
- The Manchu conquer the Chinese Ming Dynasty and begin the Qing Dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China, in 1644.
- The Dutch republic known as the United Provinces became the dominant economic and political power in Europe, gaining formal independence from Spain in 1648. It also underwent crashes, e.g. the windhandel in tulips led to many bankruptcies in 1637.
- The Dutch East India Company was established in 1602, embarking on colonial expansion based on shareholdership rather than royal control. Dutch merchant ships sail all over the world, leading to the "Golden Age of the Dutch Republic".
- The Deluge (1648 - 1667): series of wars and civil wars in Poland with Sweden, Russia, Brandenburg and Transylvania which caused Poland to lose power status and began rise of Russia to power status.
- William Shakespeare, English author and poet (1564 - 1616).
- Henry Purcell, English composer (1659 - 1695).
- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spanish Author (1574-1616)
- [[Ren� Descartes]], French philosopher and mathematician (1596 - 1650).
- Galileo Galilei, Italian scientist (1564 - 1642).
- Gottfried Leibniz, German philosopher and mathematician (1646 - 1716).
- Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician (1642 - 1727).
- Blaise Pascal, French theologian, mathematician and physicist (1623 - 1662).
- Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher (1588 - 1679).
- Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England (1599 - 1658).
- Sir Thomas Browne, English author,philosopher and scientist (1605-1682).
- Queen Christina of Sweden, high profile catholic convert, matron of arts (1626 - 1689).
- John Locke, English philosopher (1632 - 1704).
- Baruch Spinoza, Dutch philosopher (1632 - 1677).
- Christiaan Huygens, Dutch mathematician, physicist and astronomer (1629 - 1695).
Inventions, discoveries, introductions
- Calculus is invented and used to formulate classical mechanics.
- Cannon and gunpowder technology refined.
- First measurement of the speed of light, 1676.
Decades and yearsaf:17de eeu
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