1697 (The People's Chronology)
Sweden's Karl (Charles) XI dies at Stockholm April 5 at age 40 after a brilliant 37-year reign. Leaving a realm that includes what later will be Finland, Estonia, and Latvia, as well as Ingermanland and parts of what later will be northern Germany, he is succeeded by his 14-year-old son, who will reign until 1718 as Karl (Charles) XII and whose deeds will eclipse those of his father. Stockholm's medieval royal castle Three Crowns has a great fire May 7 that destroys the national archive and everything else except part of the courtyard. The royal family is evacuated without harm, as are the remains of the late king who had been lying in state, but superstitious Swedes view the disaster as an ill omen for the new reign.
Admiral Niels Juel dies at Copenhagen April 8 at age 67, having built up the Danish Navy.
The Russian czar Peter leaves in January on a grand tour of nearly 18 months that will take him to Holland (where he will work in a shipyard for 3 weeks), France, the German states, and England (he remains at London for 3 months in the home of John Evelyn and meets with Sir Isaac Newton), becoming the first Russian sovereign to venture abroad. A hulking giant of 25 who towers well over six feet in an age when few men approach that height, Peter travels mostly incognito with a large entourage, studies everything from dentistry to shipbuilding, and after tasting the fruits of Western civilization determines to westernize Russia (see 1698).
Poland's noblity elects the 27-year-old elector of Saxony Friedrich Augustus I to succeed the late Jan III Sobieski, who was far better educated and more cultured; the new king is crowned in September and will rule until 1733 as Augustus II.
The Battle of Zenta on the Tisa River September 11 gives Austrian forces a victory over an Ottoman army commanded by the sultan Mustapha II. The Paris-born Austrian commander Prince Eugene of Savoy (François Eugène de Savoie Carignan), 34, kills 20,000 (another 10,000 drown in the river) and captures the Ottoman imperial seal, the army treasury (3,040,000 florins), all of the Ottoman artillery, wagons, munitions, and provisions, thousands of camels, oxen, and horses, and 10 of the sultan's wives. Mustapha is obliged to sue for peace (see Treaty of Karlowitz, 1699).
The Treaty of Ryswick September 20 ends the 11-year-old War of the League of Augsburg. France restores to Spain all conquests made since the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1679. The French East India Company regains the Indian pepper port of Pondichery on condition that the Dutch retain commercial privileges.
France recognizes William III as king of England in the treaty of Ryswick with William's sister-in-law Anne as heiress presumptive.
Spain cedes the western third of Hispaniola (Saint-Domingue, or Haiti) to France and retains the eastern part (Santo Domingo) under terms of the Treaty of Ryswick (see slave revolt, 1794).
Chinese forces conquer western Mongolia.
Abenaki tribespeople from Quebec raid the outskirts of the Massachusetts Bay colony town of Haverhill in March, kill 27 colonists, and take 15 captives, including Hannah Duston and her 5-day-old son, whom they kill by bashing his head against a tree on their 15-day forced march north. Mrs. Duston arises late one night, kills 10 of her captors (mostly women and children) while they sleep, scalps them, returns to Haverhill, and collects a bounty for the scalps she turns in.
France attempts to colonize West Africa.
A New Voyage round the World by buccaneer-explorer William Dampier is based on his journals and is the first general survey of the Pacific by an Englishman in a century (see 1688; Cavendish, 1586; Selkirk, 1704). The book becomes an instant bestseller, the Admiralty expresses admiration for its author's detailed observations, and it asks him to suggest a voyage that would be of benefit to the nation (see 1699).
The discovery of gold in Portugal's Brazilian colony brings thousands of prospectors from coastal towns into the Minas Gerais (General Mines) area and attracts immigrants from Portugal, many of whom will die of hardship, disease, and starvation (see diamonds, 1729).
Botanical Works (Opuscula botanica) by Rudolph Camerarius at the University of Tübinbgen expands on his 1694 work.
Zoologist Francesco Redi dies at Pisa March 1 at age 71.
"On the Ultimate Origin of Things" ("De Rerum Originatione") by Gottfried W. Leibniz attempts to prove that only God can be the originator.
A Historical and Critical Dictionary (Dictionnaire historique et critique) by philosopher Pierre Bayle, now 49, employs anecdotes, erudite annotations, commentaries, and quotations to gainsay whatever orthodoxy may be contained in its articles. Bayle taught at Rotterdam beginning in 1680 but lost his position in 1693 after being condemned by the French Reformed Church of Rotterdam and the French Roman Catholic Church for his attack on orthodox Christian beliefs.
Nonfiction: "An Essay upon Projects" by English journalist Daniel Defoe, 38, who suggests such innovations as an income tax, insurance, road improvements, and an insane asylum.
Juvenile: Mother Goose Tales (Contes de ma mère l'oie) by Paris poet-story teller Charles Perrault, now 69, who retells tales of "Bluebeard," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Puss in Boots," "Sleeping Beauty," and the like that are in many cases based on actual events. His "Cinderella" is based on a tale written down in the mid-9th century by one Tuan Ch'eng-shi, but Perrault has added a fairy godmother, a pumpkin carriage, animal servants, and glass slippers, although he may have confused the word vair (French for fur) with verre (glass). In his version Cinderella finds husbands for her stepsisters (see Grimm, 1815).
Theater: The Mourning Bride by William Congreve 2/20 at the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, London, with Anne Bracegirdle, now 34, creating the role of Almeria: "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast,/ To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak" (I, i); "Heav'n has no rage, like love to hatred turn'd,/ Nor hell a fury like a woman scorn'd" (III, viii); The Provok'd Wife by John Vanbrugh in May at the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, London, provokes an attack on the immorality of the theater from clergyman Jeremy Collier (see 1698).
Anthem: "I Was Glad When They Said" by English composer John Blow, 48, for the opening of Christopher Wren's Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, London.
The Russian czar Peter permits open sale and use of tobacco, imposing taxes to give the state a share in the profits from the lucrative trade (see Aleksis, 1648).
Captain William Kidd reaches Madagascar after a fruitless year at sea in which a third of his crew has died of cholera (see 1696). He shoots one of his gunners dead in the course of quelling a mutiny (see 1698).
Architecture, Real Estate
Vienna's Palace of Prince Eugene is completed by J. B. Fischer von Erlach, who will enlarge it between 1707 and 1710.
Architect Libéral Bruant dies at Paris November 22 at age 62.
The choir of London's new St. Paul's Cathedral opens December 2 (see 1675). Sir Christopher Wren has designed a structure in a style that combines late Renaissance and Baroque. He has given it a traditional English interior with a long nave, but he has eliminated three bays in the nave and given it ornately curved and brilliantly colored decoration, and in place of the spire that marked the old Gothic cathedral he has given the new one a triple-layered dome that peaks at 366 feet above the pavement and rivals the dome of any cathedral in Europe. St. Paul's last stone will be set in place in 1710, and it will remain England's largest cathedral into the 21st century.