The 1750s was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1750, and ended on December 31, 1759. The 1750s was a pioneering decade. Waves of settlers flooded the New World (specifically the Americas) in hopes of re-establishing life away from European control, and electricity was a field of novelty that had yet to be merged with the studies of chemistry and engineering. Numerous discoveries of the 1750s forged the basis for contemporary scientific consensus. The decade saw the end of the Baroque period.

Treaty of Madrid (13 January 1750)Revolt of the Altishahr Khojas1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunamiKite experimentBattle of Quiberon BayFrench and Indian WarWilliam CullenHalley's Comet
From top left, clockwise: The Treaty of Madrid amends the pre-existing Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). Signed in 1750, this Spanish-Portuguese agreement, enabled Portugal to claim more holdings in what is now Brazil; Dzungar Khanate is captured by Qing forces in 1755, ultimately transferring Xinjiang into the hands of Han Chinese power – a legacy that continues to this day in modern-day China; A destructive earthquake and tsunami ravages the city of Lisbon in 1755, strongly influencing the studies of engineering, as well as philosophical thoughts on the Western Age of Enlightenment; Britain's victory during the Battle of Quiberon Bay signalled the rise of the British Navy's power, as it heightens its ranks of becoming the world's foremost naval power, and a dominant global entity for the next two centuries; Halley's Comet appears accurately from scientific projections for the first time in 1759; Artificial refrigeration is invented and first used in 1758 under the studies of Scottish physician and chemist William Cullen; The precipitation of the French and Indian War in 1754 proved to become one of North America's first major interstate conflicts, and one of the largest to significantly involve Native American tribes such as the Iroquois, the Cherokee, and the Mi'kmaqs; Benjamin Franklin conducts his now-iconic kite experiment in 1752, leading him to the discovery of electricity and the invention of lightning rods.
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Events

1750

January–MarchEdit

  • January 13 – The Treaty of Madrid between Spain and Portugal authorizes a larger Brazil than had the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, which originally established the boundaries of the Portuguese and Spanish territories in South America.
  • January 24 – A fire in Istanbul destroys 10,000 homes.[1]
  • February 15 – After Spain and Portugal agree that the Uruguay River will be the boundary line between the two kingdoms' territory in South America, the Spanish Governor orders the Jesuits to vacate seven Indian missions along the river (San Angel, San Nicolas, San Luis, San Lorenzo, San Miguel, San Juan and San Borja).[2]
  • March 5 – The Murray-Kean Company, a troupe of actors from Philadelphia, gives the first performance of a play announced in advance in a newspaper, presenting Richard III at New York City's Nassau Street Theatre.[3]
  • March 20 – The first number of Samuel Johnson's The Rambler appears.

April–JuneEdit

  • April 13Dr. Thomas Walker and five other men (Ambrose Powell, Colby Chew, William Tomlinson, Henry Lawless and John Hughes) cross through the Cumberland Gap, a mountain pass through the Appalachian Mountains, to become the first white people to venture into territories that had been inhabited exclusively by various Indian tribes.[4] On April 17, Walker's party continues through what is now Kentucky and locates the Cumberland River, which Walker names in honor of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland.
  • April 14
  • April 25 – The Acadian settlement in Beaubassin, Nova Scotia, is burnt by the French army, and the population is forcibly relocated, after France and Great Britain agree that the Missaguash River should be the new boundary between peninsular British Nova Scotia and the mainland remnant of French Acadia (now New Brunswick) [7]
  • May 16 – Two weeks after police in Paris arrest six teenagers for gambling in the suburb of Saint-Laurent, rioting breaks out when a rumor spreads that plainclothes policemen are hauling off small children between the ages of five to ten years old, in order to provide blood to an ailing aristocrat.[8] Over the next two weeks, rioting breaks out in other sections of Paris. Police are attacked, including one who is beaten to death by the mob, until order is restored and police reforms are announced.[9]
  • June 19 – At a time when mountain climbing is still relatively uncommon, Eggert Ólafsson and Bjarni Pálsson scale their first peak, the 4,892 feet (1,491 m) high Icelandic volcano, Hekla.[10]
  • June 24 – Parliament passes Britain's Iron Act, designed to restrict American manufactured goods by prohibiting additional ironworking businesses from producing finished goods. At the same time, import taxes on raw iron from America are lifted in order to give British manufacturers additional material for production.[11] By 1775, the North American colonies have surpassed England and Wales in iron production and have become the world's third largest producer of iron.
  • June 29 – An attempt in Lima to begin a native uprising against Spanish colonial authorities in the Viceroyalty of Peru is discovered and thwarted.[12] One of the conspirators, Francisco Garcia Jimenez, escapes to Huarochirí and kills dozens of Spaniards on July 25.

July–SeptemberEdit

October–DecemberEdit

Date unknownEdit

1751

January–MarchEdit

April–JuneEdit

July–SeptemberEdit

October–DecemberEdit

Date unknownEdit

1752

January–MarchEdit

April–JuneEdit

  • April 6 – Spanish Governor Tomás Vélez Cachupín of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, a province that now comprises most of the American state of New Mexico, begins the first peace negotiations with the indigenous Comanche tribe after inviting tribal representatives to his home in Taos.[57] As a sign of good faith, he unconditionally releases the four Comanche prisoners of war held at Taos. One of the released Comanches reports to his father, Chief Guanacante, about the hospitality extended to him during his imprisonment, and more meetings take place in July and in the autumn.
  • April 12
  • April 13 – The oldest property insurance company in the United States, "Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire", holds its organizational meeting at the courthouse in Philadelphia to elect a board of directors, largely through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin's newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, has been advertising the meeting since February 18, with a notice that "All persons inclined to subscribe to the articles of insurance of houses from fire, in or near this city, are desired to appear at the Court-house, where attendance will be given, to take in their subscriptions, every seventh day of the week, in the afternoon, until the 13th of April next, being the day appointed by the said articles for electing twelve directors and a treasurer." [60][61] The property insurance company is still in existence more than 250 years later.
  • April 22Adam Smith, appointed the year before as a professor of logic, is unanimously elected by the faculty of the University of Glasgow to be the new Professor of Moral Philosophy "on the express condition that he would content himself with the emoluments of the Logic Professorship until 10 October",[62] in that the 1751-1752 salary budgeted for the job has already been distributed to faculty members who had substituted for the previous moral philosophy professor, Thomas Craigie; from April to October, Smith's remuneration for teaching moral philosophy is limited to fees paid directly to him by his students (a half guinea per semester for the public class, and a guinea per semester for the private class. Smith's lectures on ethics are first published in 1759 in his work The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
  • May 10 – At Marly-la-Ville in France, physicist Thomas-François Dalibard successfully conducts the kite experiment proposed by Benjamin Franklin in the 1750 book Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity.[63]
  • JuneBenjamin Franklin reportedly carries out his famous kite experiment, duplicating experiments that show that lightning and electricity are the same. According to Franklin, lightning strikes the kite that he is flying during a thunderstorm and produces sparks identical to what he has previously generated artificially in a Leyden jar. However, the report of his experiment is not made until October 19, in Franklin's newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, leading 20th century researchers to doubt that he conducted the experiment, if at all, until sometime after September 28, when he had written in the Gazette about other such experiments, and that he was making a claim that he had conceived the experiment independently.[63]
  • June 3 – A fire destroys 13,000 houses in Moscow, capital of the Russian Empire, only 11 days after a May 23 fire destroyed 5,000 homes; by June 6, two-thirds of the city has been damaged or destroyed.[64]
  • June 13 – The Treaty of Logstown was signed by representatives of the Iroquois Confederation, Lenape and Shawnee leaders, and commissioners from Virginia headed by Joshua Fry. Christopher Gist and William Trent represented the Ohio Company. The treaty granted control over lands south and east of the Ohio River to the English, along with permission to build a fort on the site of what is now Pittsburgh.[65]
  • June 21Pickawillany (now Piqua, Ohio), the capital of the Miami Indian nation, is attacked and burned by Odawa, Ojibwe and French soldiers under the command of Odawa War Chief Charles Michel de Langlade.[66]

July–SeptemberEdit

  • July 1 – In Istanbul, Divitdar Mehmed Emin Pasha is dismissed from his position as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire by the Ottoman Sultan, Mahmud I. The Sultan appoints Çorlulu Ali Pasha as the new Grand Vizier.
  • July 30 – The first of the Kronstadt canals, conceived by Peter the Great and designed to link two of the harbors of the Russian city, is completed and opened to maritime traffic.[67]
  • August 3Edward Cornwallis, the British Governor of Nova Scotia, is recalled to Britain after being unsuccessful in pressuring Nova Scotia's Acadian population to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown or to face expulsion. His replacement, Peregrine Hopson, is more lenient with the Acadians but is reassigned less than two years later.[68]
  • August 21 – A group of Scottish Presbyterians who had fled to America from Scotland held the first Covenanter communion in the 13 American colonies, meeting in New Kingstown, Pennsylvania.[69]
  • August 25 – The first group of the United Brethren church, commonly called the Moravians, leaves Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on a mission to find 100,000 acres (40,000 ha) of land on which to build "Villages of the Lord" for German emigres to settle upon in America; after a 450 miles (720 km) journey, they arrive in Edenton, North Carolina on September 10 and eventually purchase the Wachovia tract, a set of lands in the western North Carolina colony.[70]
  • September 2 of Julian calendar (Wednesday) (September 13 "New Style") – Great Britain and the British Empire use the Julian calendar for the last time and adopt the Gregorian calendar, making the next day Thursday, September 14 in the English-speaking world. A newspaper at the time notes the next day that "Altho' we have more than once, for the Information of our Readers, publish'd some Accounts of the Alteration of the Style, which took Place this Day, agreeable to a late Act of Parliament, in all his Majesty's Dominions in Europe, Asia, Africa and America" and notes that "The Supputation of the Year began on the first Day of January last, and for the future the first Day of that Month will be stiled the first Day of every Year in all Accounts whatsoever, which Supputation or Reckoning never took Place before this Year in any Courts of Law until the 25th Day of March", and adds, "This Day, had not this Act passed, would have been the 3rd of September, but is now reckoned the 14th, eleven nominal Days being omitted." [71]

October–DecemberEdit

  • October 19 — In his Philadelphia newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, Benjamin Franklin first describes the performance, in Philadelphia of the kite experiment that he had proposed in his 1750 book. Although the original account makes no claim that he was the first to do the experiment (which had been done by other scientists (including Thomas-François Dalibard in May), nor that he conducted the test, and it does not give a date for the experiment, it becomes embellished as the story that Franklin "discovered electricity"; in 1766, the story first circulates that Franklin flew the kite in June, 1752, without specifying a date (as Franklin had done in other scientific accounts).[63]
  • November 3 – A hurricane destroys the Spanish settlement on Florida's Santa Rosa Island, leaving only two buildings standing;[72] the remaining residents decide to move from the barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico and to start a settlement on the nearby mainland and construct the Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola, which later forms the nucleus of the city of Pensacola, Florida.
  • November 8 – British Governor Hopson of Nova Scotia and French Governor General of New France, the Marquis Duquesne, agree to a free exchange of deserters from each other's armies in Canada, with the understanding that neither side will execute a deserter once returned.[73]
  • November 22 – "Father Le Loutre's War", the war between the British Canadian colonists of Nova Scotia and the indigenous Mi'kmaq (Micmac) tribe halts temporarily when a peace treaty is signed between the warring parties at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia.[74] Governor Hopson, accompanied by former Governor Cornwallis, signs on behalf of the British and Chief Kopit (Jean-Baptiste Cope), the Sakamaw of the Mi'kmaq, signs on behalf of his people.
  • December 5 – The first presentation of a Shakespearean play in America is performed when a company of players stages The Merchant of Venice in Williamsburg, Virginia.[75]

1753


January–MarchEdit

  • January 29 – After a month's absence, Elizabeth Canning returns to her mother's home in London and claims that she was abducted; the following criminal trial causes an uproar.
  • February 17 – The concept of electrical telegraphy is first published in the form of a letter to Scots' Magazine from a writer who identifies himself only as "C.M.". Titled "An Expeditious Method of Conveying Intelligence", C.M. suggests that static electricity (generated by 1753 from "frictional machines") could send electric signals across wires to a receiver. Rather than the dot and dash system later used by Samuel F.B. Morse, C.M. proposes that "a set of wires equal in number to the letters of the alphabet, be extended horizontally between two given places" and that on the receiving side, "Let a ball be suspended from every wire" and that a paper with a letter on it be underneath each wire.[76]
  • March 1Sweden adopts the Gregorian calendar, by skipping the 11 days difference between it and the Julian calendar, and letting February 17 be followed directly by March 1.
  • March 17 – The first official Saint Patrick's Day is observed.[where?]

April–JuneEdit

July–SeptemberEdit

  • July 7 – The Parliament of Great Britain's Jewish Naturalization Act receives royal assent, allowing naturalization to Jews; it is repealed in 1754.
  • August 7 – The Unity of Brethren, a branch of the Moravian Church, receives a grant the Wachovia Tract, 99,985 acres (404.62 km2) of land (approximately 157 square miles), in western North Carolina, for the benefit of German-speaking immigrants to America. The area now includes Winston-Salem, North Carolina.[80]
  • August 21 – After receiving a series of warnings about incursions into land claimed by the Crown Colony of Virginia (from the colony's Lieutenant Governor, Robert Dinwiddie), the cabinet of British Prime Minister Henry Pelham votes to send a warning to Britain's colonial governors "to prevent, by Force, These and any such attempts" to encroach on their lands "that may be made by the French, or by the Indians in the French interest."[81] Britain's Secretary of State for the Southern Department, the Earl of Holderness, sends the circular order on August 28.[82]
  • September 3Tanacharison, a chief of the Oneida people tribe that is one of the "Six Nations" of the Iroquois Confederacy, meets with French officers who have come into the Ohio and Allegheny region and warns them not to advance further into the Iroquois territory.[83]
  • September 18 – Britain's Board of Trade sends a directive to the colonial and provincial governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania ordering them to send delegates to a summit meeting with the Iroquois Confederacy. The message instructs the governors that King George II has ordered "a Sum of Money to be issued for Presents to the Six Nations of Indians" and ordering New York's Governor George Clinton "to hold an Interview with them for delivering these Presents, for burying the Hatchet, and for renewing the Covenant Chain with them."[84]

October–DecemberEdit

  • October 31Virginia Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie commissions 21-year-old militia Major George Washington to dissuade the French from occupying the Ohio Country.
  • November 12Spain's King Fernando VI issues a set of 25 regulations and restrictions for theatrical performances, including a requirement that the directors of the acting troupes "take the greatest care that the necessary modesty is preserved" and that the actors should be reminded that chastity requires that "indecent and provocative" dances should be avoided [85]
  • November 12 – A fire destroys the Emperor's Palace in Moscow[86]
  • November 24José Alfonso Pizarro completes more than four years as the Spanish Viceroy of New Granada (which comprises modern-day Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador) and is succeeded by José Solís Folch de Cardona.[87]
  • November 25 – The Russian Academy of Sciences announces a competition among chemists and physicists to provide "the best explanation of the true causes of electricity including their theory", with a deadline of June 1, 1755 (on the Julian calendar used in Russia, June 12 on the Gregorian calendar used in Western Europe and the New World).[88]
  • December 11 – Major George Washington and British guide Christopher Gist arrive at Fort Le Boeuf (near modern-day Waterford, Pennsylvania and the city of Erie), a French fortress built in territory claimed by the British Crown Colony of Virginia. Washington presents the fort's commander, French Army Captain Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, a message from Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie advising that "The lands upon the Ohio River are so notoriously known to be the property of the Crown of Great Britain that it is a matter of equal concern and surprise... to hear that a body of French fortresses and making settlements upon that river, within His Majesty's dominions," adding that "It becomes my duty to require your peaceable departure." Captain Legardeur provides a reply for Washington to take to Dinwiddie, declaring that the rights of France's King Louis XV to the land "are incontestable", and refuses to back down, leading to beginning of the French and Indian War in 1754.[89]

Date unknownEdit

1754

January–MarchEdit

April–JuneEdit

July–SeptemberEdit

  • July 3French and Indian WarBattle of Fort Necessity: George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French Capt. Louis Coulon de Villiers.
  • July 10 – The Albany Plan of Union is given official approval by the delegates from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, with Connecticut opposing. The plan approved at the meeting in Albany, New York is based on Benjamin Franklin's suggestions of "a general union of the British colonies on the continent" for a common defense policy. As amended at the assembly, the proposed union calls for the British Parliament to approve the arrangement, which would encompass all of the British North American colonies except for Georgia and Nova Scotia. The plan, to be considered by the individual colonies for ratification, provides for an inter-colonial legislature (the Grand Council) composed of between two and seven representatives for each colony, depending on population. It also provides for a "President General" who can veto Grand Council legislation, a common defense budget with colonies contributing proportionately to their representation, and an inter-colonial army whose officers would be selected by the Grand Council.[93]
  • July 17 – Classes begin at Columbia University, founded on October 31 as King's College by royal charter of King George II of Great Britain.[94] The college is originally located in Lower Manhattan in the Province of New York. Instruction is suspended in 1776, and the school reopens in 1784 as Columbia College. With the college's growth in the 19th Century, it is renamed Columbia University in 1896.
  • August 6 – The British North American Province of Georgia is created. Originally established in 1732 as a place for impoverished English citizens and debt prison parolees to make a new life, is given its first royal government. Administered for 22 years by the Board of Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America, chaired by philanthropist James Oglethorpe, the colony is transferred by the Trustees to the British crown's Board of Trade and Plantations. King George II, for whom the colony was named, follows the Board's recommendation by proclaiming Georgia a royal province, and appointing Royal Navy Captain John Reynolds as the first Royal Governor.[95] Reynolds arrives in Savannah on October 29 to take office.[96]
  • August 17 – Pennsylvania becomes the first of the British colonies to address Benjamin Franklin's Albany Plan for an inter-colonial union. With Franklin absent from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's House of Representatives votes against to not consider the Plan at all, and to not refer it to the next legislative session for debate.[93]
  • August 19 – Lieutenant Colonel George Washington is forced to confront his first mutiny as 25 members of his Virginia militia refuse to obey orders from their officers. Washington, who is attending church services at the time, quickly suppresses the rebellion and the mutineers are imprisoned before more join.[97]
  • August 30New Hampshire settlers Susannah Willard Johnson and her family are taken hostage by the Abenaki Indians during an attack near Charlestown. Nine months pregnant at the time of their capture, Johnson gives birth two days later to a child, whom she names Elizabeth Captive Johnson. For the next two years, the family is held for ransom in Canada before she is released. In 1796, she will recount the story in a popular memoir, A Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Johnson.[98]
  • September 2 – A powerful earthquake strikes Constantinople shortly after 9 o'clock in the evening. A Scottish physician, Dr. Mordach Mackenzie, reports in a letter that the tremor damaged or destroyed numerous buildings and comments, "Some say there were 2000 people destroyed by this calamity, in the town and suburbs; some 900; and others reduce them to 60, who, by what I have seen, are nearer the truth."[99]
  • September 11Anthony Henday, an English explorer, becomes the first white man to reach the Canadian Rockies, after climbing a ridge above the Red Deer River near what is now Innisfail, Alberta.[100]

October–DecemberEdit

  • October 24China's Qianlong Emperor reverses a longstanding policy that barred Chinese subjects from ever returning to China if they remained out of the country for more than three years.[101]
  • October 31 – What will become Columbia University is chartered as "a College in the Province of New York... in the City of New York in America... named King's College", with the charter submitted by New York's colonial governor, James De Lancey.[94]
  • November 28 – Denmark establishes the Renteskirverkontor, an office within the Chamber of Finance, to oversee the colonial affairs of the Danish West Indies (Dansk Vestindien).[102] Peder Mariager, who had been a minor official of the Danish West Indies Company, becomes the first administrator. The colony, consisting of the islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix later is purchased by the United States from Denmark and is now the U.S. Virgin Islands .
  • November 29Karim Khan Zand, the King of Persia (now Iran) recaptures the city of Shiraz from Afghan warlord Azad Khan Afghan, who had taken control of much of central Iran since 1749.[103]
  • December 13Osman III succeeds his brother Mahmud I as Ottoman Emperor; he will rule until his death in 1757.
  • December 26 – Massachusetts becomes the third colony (after Pennsylvania and Connecticut) to reject the Albany Plan for an inter-colonial union, voting 48 to 31 to postpone consideration of the union question indefinitely.[93]

Date unknownEdit

1755

January–MarchEdit

April–JuneEdit

July–SeptemberEdit

October–DecemberEdit

Date unknownEdit

1756

January–MarchEdit

April–JuneEdit

July–SeptemberEdit

October–DecemberEdit

Date unknownEdit

1757

January–MarchEdit

April–JuneEdit

July–SeptemberEdit

October–DecemberEdit

Date unknownEdit

1758

January–MarchEdit

April–JuneEdit

July–SeptemberEdit

October–DecemberEdit

Date unknownEdit

  • Marquis Gabriel de Lernay, a French officer captured during the Seven Years' War, establishes a military lodge in Berlin, with the help of Baron de Printzen, master of The Three Globes Lodge at Berlin, and Philipp Samuel Rosa, a disgraced former pastor.

1759

January–MarchEdit

April–JuneEdit

July–SeptemberEdit

October–DecemberEdit

Date unknownEdit

Significant peopleEdit

BirthsEdit

1750

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1752

1753

1754

1755

1756

1757

1758

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DeathsEdit

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Sultan Osman III

1758

1759

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