1700 CE

World About A. D. 1700.—In Europe, France under Louis XIV., now becomes the leading power, and makes great accessions of territory. England also becomes one of the important nations, and, besides being engaged in civil and foreign wars, was planting colonies in America and in India. Austria had increased her power in Italy and Hungary. The Spanish monarchy is broken up, and Spain sinks to an inferior position. Prussia has risen into prominence under the great elector, Frederick William. The United Provinces held a high place and had been engaged in a long struggle with France. Italy had fallen to a low condition. Savoy was slowly gaining in power, and Venice was engaged in wars with the Turks. Sweden was at the height of its power and possessions. Russia is rapidly rising, and Poland is declining. The Turks press forward into Austria, from which they are driven out, and make some important conquests in other parts; but their power is on the decline.

In Asia, this was the period at which the Mohammedan Empire in India was raised to its highest point of splendor and greatness by Shah Jehan, the “King of the World,” and by his son, the famous Aurungzeb, the crafty and ambitious “reviver of religion.” It was during these reigns that the English began to gain a hold on India.

Outside of Europe it cannot fail to be observed how completely the spread of knowledge on the outer borders of the known world was controlled by events which took place in western Europe. Chief of these was the gradual crippling and decay of the maritime supremacy of Spain and Portugal, and the rise of that of the Dutch and British into strength. Maritime enterprise had passed to Holland, England, and France.

In America the British dominion was extended by the formation of the Hudson Bay Company. In 1690 this fur company had built several forts and factories on the coasts, whence from time to time their operations extended inland.

The French also, after La Salle first descended (1682) the great river, Mississippi, “the father of waters,” invaded Spanish claims by settling in Louisiana, about the mouth of the great river, in 1699.

ABOUT A.D. 1700

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