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Timeline: 1781 to 1790

1781  In Peru, Jose Gabriel Condocanqui, a mestizo, identifies himself with Inca royalty by calling himself Tapuc Amaru II. He is rebelling against economic abuses and gains broad support, including among some Criollo Spanish. He holds power at Cuzco and La Paz, but within a year he is captured and executed. In coming years colonial authorities will continue to respond to the uprising by destroying what is left of the wealth and status of Indian nobility and they will end local autonomy in Peru's highland communities.

1781  During the American Revolutionary War, a French fleet drives a British naval force from Chesapeake Bay. The British general, Lord Cornwallis, is surrounded on land and sea by Americans and French and surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia.

1781  A militant Islamic order, Tijaniyya, is set up in Algeria. It is Sufi spirituality and requires "complete submission to God and adherence to the Sharia." It includes three principles: Asking God for forgiveness; chanting La Ilaha Illallah everyday; and offering prayers upon the Prophet.

1782  In Japan unusually bad weather damages crops. In many areas high taxes have left farmers without reserves of rice. There is famine. People forage for roots, eat cats and dogs and cannibalism occurs.

1782  In Thailand, Rama I reigns. He begins the Chakri dynasty, to last into the twenty-first century.

1782  England has its last "hanged, drawn and quartered" execution for treason. For treasonable correspondence with the French, a Scotsman, David Tyrie, is hanged until almost dead, disemboweled, emasculated, his entrails and genetalia burned in front of him, then he is beheaded and his body cut into four pieces.

1782  Britain's parliament advises King George III to make peace with the rebels in America. In Paris informal talks begin. The Dutch recognize the independence of the former colonies. Formal negotiations begin.  

1783  King George has declared the thirteen colonies "free and independent." France and Spain sign articles of peace with Britain. In Paris, delegates from the colonies sign the Treaty of Peace.

1783  The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rules slavery illegal based on the state's 1780 constitution. All slaves are immediately freed.

1784  The Continental Congress, with nine states represented, ratifies the Treaty of Paris.

1785  Napoleon Bonaparte becomes a lieutenant in the French artillery.

1785  The United States signs the Treaty of Hopewellwith the Cherokees (November 28). It lays out boundaries of land that is supposed to belong to the Cherokees.

1786  Mozart's comic opera about oppression, The Marriage of Figaro, appears.

1787  New York is the eleventh state to ratify the US Constitution. Congress elects George Washington as President. Congress adds ten amendments to the constitution – the Bill of Rights.

1787  France has gone deep in debt through wartime borrowing. Much of the government's annual budget goes to pay an ever increasing interest on the debt. The government is spending little for maintaining public welfare. The government would like to start taxing those privileged who have been exempt from taxation, and they do not like it. Clergy, nobles and commoners want political change.  

1788  Louis XVI creates more dissatisfaction by abolishing the power of parliament to review royal edicts. There has been insufficient government planning and storage of grain for emergency shortages. A hailstorm destroys crops. France has its worst harvests in forty years. Winter food riots occur.

1788  Britain's prisons have been overcrowded, and having lost its thirteen colonies in the Americas it can no longer send convicts there. Instead it sends eleven ships with 1,372 people, including 732 of its more unruly convicts, to a place in Australia named after Lord Sydney, secretary of state for Britain's colonies.

1789  Frustrated commoners have created a new National Assembly and are joined by some clergy and nobles. Parisians storm the Bastille. The National Assembly declares an end to feudal rights and proclaims The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. A constitution is in the making, and an intimidated Louis XVI agrees to become a constitutional monarch.

1789  In Paris, a delegation of distinguished mulattos (gens de couleur) from France's wealthiest colony, St. Domingue (Haiti), asks whether the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen applies to them, and they are told that it does. 

1789  On November 21, North Carolina becomes the twelfth state to ratify the US Constitution.

1790  On May 29, Rhode Island becomes the last and thirteenth state to ratify the US Constitution.

1790  In England, executing women for treason by burning them at the stake is abolished.

1790  The National Assembly abolishes tariff barriers within France – which had been the moneymaking devices for local nobility. It abolishes all aristocratic and hereditary titles. Harvests have improved and many believe that God is siding with the revolution. Deputies to the National Assembly are mostly Christians, and they see the message of Jesus as supporting liberty, tolerance and against despotism. In their opinion the revolution should conform to Christian principles. They want less opulence in the Catholic Church. They decide that the government should oversee the elections of pastors and bishops, and they want clergymen to swear loyalty to this plan. Violence erupts between supporters of the revolution and defenders of the Church. About half of the clergy are to refuse to swear loyalty to the government plan.

1790  George Washington's dentist creates a dental drill powered by a foot peddle.

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