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1519
Cortes begins his conquest of South America, which becomes part of the wider world economic and political system.
1564
William Shakespeare is born: his plays make fundamental statements about the human condition.
1651
Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan is published: this is the origin of the modern idea of civil society, equality before the law and egoistic individualism]
1687
Isaac Newton publishes Principia Mathematica, the foundation of modern physics.
1776
American Declaration of Independence determines the political evolution of the New World and the rise of American power.
1789
French Revolution marks a fundamental break with the tradition of monarchy; the “rights of man” are enshrined.
1815
Battle of Waterloo: the Napoleonic Empire ends, and with it Napoleon’s ambition to rule and reform all of Europe.
1825
Rocket steam locomotive built, marking the start of the railway age of cheap, fast land transport.
1859
Publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species. His theory of evolution transforms the view of Man and his environment, and belief in God.
1885
Benz develops first petrol-driven car, starting the most profound technical and social revolution of the modern age.