Buried Roman city of Pompeii discovered.
Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d'Alembert publish first volumes of their Encyclopédie.
Pope Benedict XIV issues brief condemning the philosophes, including philosophers Diderot, Charles de Secondat, and Baron de Montesquieu.
Benjamin Franklin invents the lightning rod.
German Art Historian J. J. Winckelmann publishes Reflections on the Imitation of Greek Art in Paintings and Sculpture.
Francis Harwood: Bust of a Man, sculpture.
The British Museum opens to the public.
George III of England becomes king.
Josiah Wedgwood founds pottery works at Staffordshire, England.
Catherine II (the Great) of Russia becomes czarina.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (at six) tours Europe as a musical prodigy.
French philosopher Voltaire writes Philosophical Dictionary.
J. J. Winckelmann publishes History of Ancient Art.
British Parliament passes Stamp Act to tax American colonies.
In New York, delegates from nine colonies draw up a declaration of rights and liberties.
Potato becomes most popular European foodstuff.
Boston citizens refuse to house British troops.
Founding of the Royal Academy, London.
Thomas Jefferson begins work on his home, Monticello.
Excavations of Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, Italy, uncover some of the most important antiquities found in the 18th century.
Boston Massacre: five civilians killed in confrontation with British troops.
Industrial Revolution in England begins its slow spread over the world.
François Boucher, master of Rococo style, dies (b. 1703).
First public restaurant opens in Paris.
Encyclopedia Britannica first published.
Louis XVI of France becomes king.
Joseph Priestly discovers oxygen.
American Revolution begins; Paul Revere rides from Charlestown to Lexington, Massachusetts.
Jane Austen, English novelist, born (d. 1817).
James Watt perfects the steam engine.
Declaration of Independence signed in Philadelphia.
Jean Baptiste Greuze: The Father's Curse, drawing.
French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau dies (b. 1712).
Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) dies (b. 1694).
Joseph Wright of Derby: Penelope Unraveling Her Web, painting, commissioned by Josiah Wedgwood.
Peace of Versailles: Great Britain recognizes independence of the U.S.
Montgolfier brothers ascend in hot air balloon at Annonay.
Jean-Antoine Houdon travels to America to sculpt George Washington.
Domenicho Salsano, Italian priest, invents seismograph for measuring earthquakes.
David Roentgen: Long Case Musical Clock.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart writes The Marriage of Figaro, opera.
French Revolution: Bastille prison stormed and church property nationalized.
George Washington inaugurated as first president of the United States.
Joseph Chinard: Allegorical Portrait of the van Risamburgh Family, sculpture.
Joseph-Benoït Suvée: The Invention of Drawing, drawing.
James Hoban and Benjamin Henry Latrobe begin building the White House, Washington, D.C.
Louis XVI of France and Marie-Antoinette executed during Reign of Terror.
Jean-Paul Marat murdered.
Construction of William Thornton's Capitol Building, Washington, D.C., begins.
Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin.
Napoleon Bonaparte established as First Consul in Paris; conquers Italy.
Thomas Jefferson elected president of U.S.
Alessandro Volta invents electrochemical battery.
Napoleon proclaimed emperor by French Senate.
Alexander Hamilton killed in duel by Aaron Burr.
U.S. declares war on Britain.
Grimm Brothers publish their collection of fairy tales.
Parthenon marbles brought to England by Lord Elgin.
Napoleon abdicates the throne and is banished to Elba.
Francis Scott Key writes poem that will become U.S. national anthem.
Jacques-Louis David: The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis, painting.
Gérard-Jean Galle: Chandelier.
Chile declared independent from Spain.
Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein.
Revolutions in Spain and Portugal.
Missouri Compromise: Maine enters Union as a free state; Missouri as a slave state.
Discovery of the Venus de Milo, sculpture.
Liberia founded to repatriate former American slaves to Africa.
Mexico becomes a republic.
Charles Macintosh invents waterproof fabric.
Invention of photography: Joseph Niépce fixes camera's image.
James Fenimore Cooper publishes The Last of the Mohicans.
Revolution in Paris; Louis Philippe, "the Citizen King," becomes king.
Emily Dickinson, American poet, is born (d. 1886).
Eugène Delacroix paints Liberty Guiding the People.