1669 (The People's Chronology)
The elector of Brandenburg Ferdinand Maria calls a meeting of the imperial diet, which was suspended in 1612 and has not been reconvened since then.
Poland's nobility votes unanimously to elect Mikhail (Korybut) Wishniowiecki, 28, to succeed the late Jan II Casimir as their king, mostly because the young man's father, Jérémi Wishniowiecki, has been a great border magnate whose forces have kept the Cossacks in check (see 1668). The army commander-in-chief Jan Sobieski was married in 1665 to the ambitious French widow Marie-Casimire de la Grange d'Arquien (Marysienka), and she has been frustrated in her efforts to make her husband king, but Mikhail will prove to be a tool of the Hapsburgs, and a French faction in his court will rally to the support of Sobieski (see 1670).
Juan José de Austria leads an armed rebellion that forces Spain's queen regent Maria to dismiss her court favorite (and confessor) Father John Nithard (see 1677).
Crete falls to the Ottoman Turks, whose grand vizier Fazl Ahmed Köprülü takes Candia September 27 after a 28-month siege that has been part of a 21-year siege. Venetian commander in chief Francesco Morosini was sent with a fleet to relieve the siege 2 years ago, but although he has failed to prevent Candia's surrender he is absolved of all blame. Venice loses her last colonial possession in the eastern Mediterranean. The Turks will rule the island until 1898. Venice retains her control of the Dalmatian coast and with Morosini's help will liberate the Peloponnese (Morea) from the Turks (see 1687).
Dutch colonists quit Brazil under pressure from the Portuguese, who pay them in Setubal salt to move to Guiana.
Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, explores the region south of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie (see 1666; 1675; Louisiana, 1682).
Alexandria, Virginia, has its beginnings as colonial planter John Alexander acquires a large tract of land on the Potomac River.
German-born physician John Lederer leads an expedition across the Piedmont to ascend the Blue Ridge Mountains (see 1670).
English navigator John Narborough, 32, Royal Navy, leaves Deptford November 26 in command of an expedition to the South Sea (see 1670).
The first French trading station in India opens.
The Hanseatic League begun in 1241 holds its last meeting.
The Roberval balance invented by Paris mathematician Gilles Personier de Roberval, 66, at the Collége de France will be used in commercial weighing machines. A professor at the college since 1632, Roberval has studied ways of determining the surface area and volume of solids, developing and improving the method of indivisibles used by the Italian mathematician Bonaventura Cavalieri.
French astronomer Jean Picard, 49, makes the first use of telescopic sights to determine longitude and uses his observations for triangulation, measuring angles that consist of 13 triangles extending 1.2° northward from Paris (see Snell, 1617).
"A Preliminary Discourse Concerning a Solid Body Enclosed by Processes of Nature Within a Solid" ("De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis prodomus") by Nicolaus Steno, now 31, cites evidence to show that organisms covered by sediment in prehistoric times settled in fluid form and became fossils encased in solid rock (see 1667). Fossils, he suggests, are the remains of ancient living organisms, and many rocks are the result of sedimentation. Steno rejects the idea that mountains grew like trees and suggests, rather, that they were formed by changes of the Earth's crust, becoming the first to recognize that this crust contains a chronological history of geologic events whose history may be deciphered by studying strata and fossils. Although quartz crystals vary greatly in physical appearance, he reports, they all have the same angles between corresponding faces. His work marks the start of the science of crystallography, but religious fundamentalist dogma requires Steno to place all of geologic history within a 6,000-year span; he became a Roman Catholic in 1667, has given up science for religion, will take holy orders in 1675, and will be made a bishop in 1677, assuming the duties of apostolic vicar of Scandinavia and northern Germany (see Strachey, 1727).
A General History of the Insects by Jan Swammerdam presents a preexistence theory of genetics that the seed of every living creature was formed at the creation of the world and that each generation is contained in the generation that preceded it (see Maupertuis, 1745).
Chemist Robert Boyle discovers a substance that will be called phosphorus from the Latin word for morning star. Hamburg merchant-alchemist Henning Brand boils 40 buckets of urine down to paste, heats it with sand, and distills it to produce a white, translucent, waxy, malodorous substance that glows in the dark, a discovery that he describes in a letter to Gottfried W. Leibniz.
Subterranean Physics by German chemist-physician Johann Joachim Becher, 34, sets forth a theory that when a substance burns, a combustible earth is produced, all substances being composed of three earthshe vitrifiable, the mercurial, and the combustible (see Stahl, 1700). Becher will suggest that the elector of Bavaria establish South American colonies and a monopoly in the cloth trade. Munich merchants will force him to take flight, and when he proposes at Vienna that a canal be constructed to link the Danube with the Rhine and tries to transmit Danube sand into gold, he will fall into disgrace and flee to England.
The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroys Hindu temples and forbids practice of the Hindu religion. Hindus begin rebellions against the autocratic Aurangzeb.
Congregational minister Richard Mather dies at Dorchester in the Massachusetts Bay colony April 22 at age 72, having formulated his denomination's creed and policy but failed to convince his son Increase to accept the Half-Way Covenant which permitted a modified Church membership for people unable to meet the strict tests for full membership.
Pope Clement IX dies at Rome December 9 at age 69 after a 2½-year reign in which he has encouraged missionary work, reduced taxes, and extended hospitality to Sweden's former queen Kristina. He will not be replaced until next year.
Nonfiction: "Meat out of the eater" by Massachusetts Bay colony clergyman Michael Wigglesworth discusses the necessity of the afflictions that God visits upon His children.
Puritan pamphleteer William Prynne dies at London October 24 at age 69, having been given the office of Keeper of the Records of the Tower of London in 1661 as a reward for supporting the restoration of Charles II. He has spent his final years writing histories that contain compilations of official documents.
Fiction: Adventurous Simplicissimus (Der Abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch das ist; Beschreibung des Lebens eines Seltzamen Vagantens Genannt Melchior Sternfels von Fuchshaim) by German magistrate Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen, 49, is the first great German novel. Set amidst the havoc of the Thirty Years' War, the picaresque tale relates adventures of a youth who becomes successively a soldier, jester, bourgeois, robber, pilgrim, slave, and hermit; The Versailles Promenade, or the Tale of Celanire (La Promenade de Versailles, ou l'histoire de Célanire) by Madeleine de Scudéry.
Satirist Johann Michael Moscherosch dies at Worms April 4 at age 68.
Painting: Girl at the Spinet by Johannes Vermeer; Self-Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, who dies at Amsterdam October 4 at age 63, impoverished and alone.
Theater: Tartuffe, or L'Imposteur by Molière 2/5 at the Palais-Royal, Paris; Tyrannic Love, or The Royal Martyr by John Dryden in June at London's Theatre Royal; Britannicus by Jean Racine 12/13 at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, Paris.
Playwright Agustin Moreto dies at Toledo the night of August 26 at age 51, having written at least 36 plays plus collaborating on many others and gained wide popularity despite a lack of originality.
The Paris Opéra has its beginnings June 28 in letters of patent granted by Louis XIV "to establish an academy to present and have sung in public operas and spectacles with music and in French verse," the Académie de Royale Musique (see 1671).
Composer Antonio Cesti dies at Florence October 14 at age 46, having written at least 12 operas.
The first Stradivarius violin is created by Italian violinmaker Antonio Stradivari, 25, who has served an apprenticeship in his home town of Cremona in Lombardy to Nicola Amati, now 73, whose grandfather Andrea Amati designed the modern violin. The younger Amati has improved on his grandfather's design and taught not only Stradivari but also Andrea Guarnieri, 43, who also makes violins at Cremona.
Mount Etna in Sicily erupts March 11, killing 15,000.
Famine in Bengal kills 3 million.
Food And Drink
England permits import of ready-processed chocolate, which greatly improves the quality of the beverage.
The Turkish ambassador at the court of Louis XIV popularizes coffee among the haut monde of Paris. Suleiman Aga offers it to all his visitors, but the marquise de Sévigné is not impressed: writing to her daughter Françoise Marguerite, 24, comtesse de Grignan, in Provence, she says, "There are two things Frenchmen will never swallowhe poetry of Racine and coffee" (see 1699).
London's Yeomen of the Guard at the Tower of London get the name "Beefeaters" from the grand duke of Tuscany Cosimo de' Medici. Established in 1485 to guard the tower, the warders draw large daily rations of beef, says the grand duke.