Media History Project
mediahst@umn.edu

1600-1699

  • 1600: Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno burned at the stake for scientific ideas.
  • 1600: Copperplate style of handwriting uses narrow pen nibs to draw fine lines.
  • 1600: William Gilbert’s theory tying electricity, magnetism will lead to modern media.
  • 1600: Start of Baroque (Portuguese: "pearl of odd shape") music era, will run to 1750.
  • 1600: English enjoy a new musical instrument, the recorder.
  • 1602: Hamlet is entered in Stationers’ Register.
  • 1602: Description of a performance of Twelfth Night.
  • 1602: Oxford University’s Bodleian opens, the first public library in England.
  • 1602: Possible date of a revision of All’s Well That Ends Well.
  • 1603: In Japan, start of kabuki dance, drama, performed by women.
  • 1604: Othello, Merry Wives of Windsor, and Measure for Measure are performed.
  • 1604: Work begins on the King James version of the Bible.
  • 1605: First regularly published weekly newspaper appears in Antwerp.
  • 1606: King Lear and The Merchant of Venice.
  • 1606: Ben Jonson’s satirical comedy, Volpone.
  • 1607: Macbeth may have been performed at court.
  • 1607: Modern opera arguably begins with Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo.
  • 1608: Antony and Cleopatra and Pericles are entered in Stationers’ Register.
  • 1609: Johannes Kepler publishes laws explaining elliptical planetary orbits.
  • 1609: Shakespeare’s Sonnets are entered in Stationers’ Register.
  • 1609: Troilus and Cressida is entered in Stationers’ Register.
  • 1609: Coriolanus, Timon of Athens (possible date).
  • 1610: The Roman Catholic Douay Old Testament follows the 1582 New Testament.
  • 1610: Ben Jonson’s play, The Alchemist.
  • 1610: Oxford starts to collect a copy of every book printed in England.
  • 1611: The King James version of the Bible is published.
  • 1611: The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline are performed.
  • 1612: The Tempest is performed.
  • 1615: Miguel de Cervantes completes Don Quixote de la Mancha.
  • 1615: Spanish playwright Lope de Vega, The Peasant in His Nook.
  • 1616: In England, George Chapman translates the Iliad and the Odyssey.
  • 1617: From Scotland, "Napier’s bones" are used for calculations.
  • 1617: John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets.
  • 1620: A book on teaching sign language is published by Juan Pablo de Bonet.
  • 1620: In Novuum Organum, Francis Bacon argues for objective scientific induction.
  • 1620: News sheets called "corantos" are sold in Europe.
  • 1622: William Oughtred invents the slide rule.
  • 1622: First ad in an English newspaper, The Newes.
  • 1622: First Folio gathers 35 plays by William Shakespeare.

  • 1623: Wilhelm Schickard’s calculating clock, a forerunner to the computer.
  • 1623: John Donne’s memorable line "…for whom the bell tolls" is written this year.
  • 1624: Artist Franz Hals, The Laughing Cavalier.
  • 1625: A woman, Francesca Caccini, writes an opera-ballet.
  • 1625: Holland’s Hugo Grotius publishes what will be basis of international law.
  • 1625: Spanish playwright Tirso de Molina, The Trickster of Seville.
  • 1625: Francesca Caccini, perhaps first woman composer, produces an opera-ballet.
  • 1627: France introduces registered mail as a way to send money.
  • 1628: William Harvey describes the circulation of the blood.
  • 1631: Professional female singers make first appearance in England.
  • 1631: A French newspaper carries classified ads.
  • 1632: Galileo writes his Dialogo for the public in support of Copernicus.
  • 1632: In London, a coffeehouse. They will become centers for communication.
  • 1633: Galileo recants during Inquisition trial, is sentenced to lifetime house arrest.
  • 1635: Artist Antony van Dyck, Lamentation.
  • 1635: Diego Velázquez paints The Surrender of Breda.
  • 1635: Founding of Boston Latin School, first public high school in America.
  • 1636: Harvard University is founded.
  • 1637: French classical dramatist Pierre Corneille’s masterpiece, Le Cid.
  • 1637: René Descartes’ Discourse on Method is turning point of modern philosophy.
  • 1637: Painter Nicolas Poussin, The Rape of the Sabine Women.
  • 1639: In Boston, someone is appointed to deal with foreign mail.
  • 1639: Puritans ship a printing press to the American colonies.
  • 1639: In Italy, the first comic opera, Chi Soffre Speri.
  • 1639: Peter Paul Rubens paints The Judgment of Paris.
  • 1640: Some newssheets are printed daily; "corantos" become "diurnos".
  • 1640: Puritan’s press in Cambridge, Massachusetts, prints the Bay Psalm Book.
  • 1642: Performance of Monteverdi’s last and best opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea.
  • 1642: Rembrandt van Rijn paints The Night Watch.
  • 1642: Puritans close all theaters in England.
  • 1644: John Milton’s Areopagitica defends freedom to publish.
  • 1644: René Descartes: "Cogito, ergo sum." ("I think, therefore I am.")
  • 1645: Future philosopher Blaise Pascal builds his "Pascaline" calculator.
  • 1646: Kircher, a German Jesuit scientist, builds a magic lantern to project images.
  • 1646: Book describes large camera obscura entered through a trap door.
  • 1648: Swedes attack Prague, seize many books.
  • 1649: Audiences cheer Alessandro Scarlatti’s opera, Gli equivoci nel sembiante.
  • 1650: From the royal court in Paris, a dance of small steps, the minuet.
  • 1650: Leipzig publishes the first daily newspaper.
  • 1650: Japan, closed to the outside world, creates "No" theater.
  • 1650: In Western music, the overture.
  • 1650: Anglican Bishop James Ussher dates creation from 4004 B.C.; many believe him.
  • 1651: Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan: life in nature: "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
  • 1653: Parisians can put their postage-paid letters in mail boxes.
  • 1653: Jesuit priest reports Incas use "quipos," colored strings to keep records.
  • 1653: Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler praises the pleasures of fishing.
  • 1655: The word "advertising" is introduced.
  • 1656: Christian Huygens constructs an accurate pendulum clock.
  • 1656: English philosopher Margaret Cavendish writes of women’s role in society.
  • 1657: In Paris, the earliest fountain pen carries its own ink supply.
  • 1657: Camera obscuras shrink from room size, can be carried under one arm.
  • 1657: A textbook on probability, by Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens.
  • 1659: Londoners get a private penny post for a short while.
  • 1660: Samuel Pepys begins diary of his life in Restoration England.
  • 1661: Postal service begins within the colony of Virginia.
  • 1661: Bible is published in North America, "Algonquin Indian version."
  • 1662: Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer includes anthems.
  • 1662: English Parliament declares that censorship is for the public good.
  • 1664: A scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions, is published in England.
  • 1664: Molière play Le Tartuffe skewers religious hypocrisy, banned by Louis XIV.
  • 1665: Artist Jan Vermeer, Woman Weighing Pearls.
  • 1665: Pascal’s Pensees argues that reason alone is inadequate to satisfy men.
  • 1666: Isaac Newton explains his calculus.
  • 1666: Robert Boyle explains temperature-pressure-volume relations in gases.
  • 1666: Molière’s acid pen deals with anti-social people in Le Misanthrope.
  • 1666: Leibniz lays foundation for binary calculation.
  • 1666: In Italy, Antonio Stradivari fashions, signs his violins.
  • 1666: After the Great Fire in London, merchants advertise to win back customers.
  • 1666: Isaac Newton publishes his physical laws, notes that light is source of color.
  • 1667: John Milton’s Paradise Lost. He is paid £10.
  • 1668: John Dryden becomes England’s first official poet laureate.
  • 1669: Pepys ends his diary, but it won’t be published until 1825.
  • 1670: Pocket watches add minute hands.
  • 1670: Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme ridicules social climbers.
  • 1671: Miton’s epic Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes.
  • 1673: Mail is delivered on a route between New York and Boston.
  • 1673: In Holland, a paper pulp beating machine.
  • 1674: French tragedian Jean Racine presents his drama Iphigenia in Aulis.
  • 1675: Leibniz invents differential and integral calculus.
  • 1675: Concerned about rebellious talk, England’s Charles II suppresses coffee houses.
  • 1677: Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics is published posthumously.
  • 1677: Boston sets up the first organized postal system in the American colonies.
  • 1677: French classicist Jean Racine’s best known play, Phèdre, is presented, attacked.
  • 1678: Publication of John Bunyan’s allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress.
  • 1679: In London, a business journal is published.
  • 1680: Stradivari makes a cello.
  • 1681: William Dockwra’s private penny postal service in London; jealousy will kill it.
  • 1684: In Naples, Scarlatti helps develop operatic structures: aria, overture, recitative.
  • 1684: Robert Hooke lays out plan for visual telegraph; no one tries it.
  • 1685: Johann Sebastian Bach is born.
  • 1686: Leibniz posits a benevolent deity in Discourse on Metaphysics.
  • 1686: In Stockholm, Sweden gets a theater.
  • 1687: Newton’s Principia Mathematica, arguably the greatest scientific book of all time.
  • 1688: The start of the Genroku period, Japan’s brilliant flowering of literature.
  • 1689: Henry Purcell composes opera Dido and Aeneas for girl’s school in Chelsea.
  • 1689: John Locke writes a Letter Concerning Toleration of other religions.
  • 1690: Locke’s empirical An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
  • 1690: After one issue Publick Occurrences, first colonial newspaper, is suppressed.
  • 1691: First papermill in the American colonies, in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
  • 1691: The New England Primer teaches the alphabet plus religious text.
  • 1693: Astronomer Edmund Halley discovers formula for the focus of a lens.
  • 1694: In France, Jean de La Fontaine completes his 12 volumes of animal fables.
  • 1694: In Paris, L’Académie française publishes a dictionary.
  • 1696: By now England has 100 paper mills.
  • 1697: In Holland, Pierre Bayle writes complex Historical and Critical Dictionary.
  • 1697: French poet Charles Perrault’s Tales of Mother Goose tells classic fairy tales.
  • 1698: Public library opens in Charleston, South Carolina.