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Timeline: 1751 to 1760

1751  More history is being written. Montesquieu has a book on the Causes of the Greatness and Decline of the Romans, first published in 1734. Voltaire's book, The Age of Louis XIV, is published. Voltaire goes to Berlin for three years, serving as philosopher-poet to Frederick the Great.

1751  Indonesians have been rebelling against Dutch rule. The Dutch have crushed the latest rebellion, but guerilla attacks continue against the plantations of the Dutch East India Company around Batavia.

1752  Portugal appoints its first governor to its coastal and inland possessions in East Africa, called Mozambique, and Portugal declares Mozambique a colony.

1753  A work by the Scottish physician James Lind is published that describes citrus fruit as the only effective cure for scurvy.

1753  In Great Britain on July 1, Parliament passes the Jewish Naturalization Act, which ends discrimination against Jews. Widespread opposition will lead to its repeal in 1754.

1754  Jean Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on the Origins of Inequality is published. He prefers the communism and relative equality of hunter-gather societies. But he recognizes that modern societies will not return to the simple, smaller societies that had existed before civilization. 

1754  Both England and France have claimed the Ohio Valley. George Washington and a force of Virginia militiamen march into Ohio to drive away the French. King George II of Britain is concerned about the security of his territory on the continent, Hanover, and signs a defensive treaty with Frederick the Great of Prussia to discourage the French from attacking Hanover.

1755  In Britain's Atlantic coast colonies, whites have increased in population from 275,000 in 1700 to 1.5 million. Slaves number roughly 470,000, nearly one for every three whites.

1755  Earthquake, tsunami and fire destroys much of Lisbon and, it is said, kills over 100,000 people. People wonder how God could have allowed so much suffering. The German mathematician-philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz defends God, claiming that with God as the author of nature everything works out for the best, that God's wisdom is supreme.

1756  Austria is shaken by Britain's alliance with Prussia. It signs an alliance with France. Russia also feels threatened by the alliance between Britain and Prussia and joins the alliance with France and Austria. Frederick the Great does not want war but feels it is important to move militarily first. War erupts to be called the Seven Years' War. Sweden joins the war against Prussia.

1756  The Manchu dynastry ruling China establishes loose control over what today is Xinjiang province.

1756  In a fragment of what was the Mughal empire, a Mughal prince, Siraj-ud-Daula, takes power. A few weeks later he demands that the British destroy their fortifications at Calcutta – a part of his domain. The British East India Company refuses. War follows including British imprisoned in what becomes known as the Black Hole of Calcutta.

1757  A force under the British East India Company recaptures Calcutta and ally themselves with Hindu bankers against Siraj-ud-Daula. The East India Company's force of 800 redcoats and 2000 Indians defeat Siraj-ud-Daula at the Battle of Plassy. The East India Company will now be the power behind the throne in Bengal and will take responsibility for collecting taxes and maintaining law and order in Calcutta and in the area from Bihar in the northwest to Orissa to the southwest.

1758  The Japanese scholar, Aoki Konyo, introduces the sweet potato to his fellow countrymen, and he completes a Dutch/Japanese dictionary.

1759  Voltaire's response to Leibniz and the Lisbon earthquake is published – his novel, Candide. The fictional character Dr. Pangloss is Leibniz.

1759  In an internationally recognized move, rule over Naples and Sicily falls to Ferdinand, third son of Spain's king Charles III.

1760  British arms have succeeded against the French in North America. French resistance there ends.

1760  The slow-moving Maratha (Hindu) army reaches Delhi on 1 August and takes control of the city the next day. The fighting continues against an Afghan force that includes Pashtun tribesmen.

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