This is yet another timeline, that begins during the mid-18th century, in the year 1745. This timeline will feature some divergences from the real world, including the earlier modernization of Russia, the earlier expansion of the British Empire, and changes in other parts of the world as well, especially in Europe. This timeline is derived from the Alternate History of Europe Timeline 1430, that is also currently in progress. I will try to work on both timelines equally. However, a difference concerning Russia will have occurred 20 years before this timeline began (ie, the addition of another living daughter for Peter the Great, named Natalia, born 1721) as well.
First 30 Years of Timeline (1745-1775)Edit
On January 16, in the Empire of Russia, a coup is launched against the Russian Empress, Elizabeth I. The coup is engineered by Princess Natalia Romanov, the younger sister of Elizabeth and the youngest child of Peter the Great and Catherine I of Russia. Natalia had been born on January 18, 1721. She had matured into a beautiful, intelligent, and energetic young woman. She was well-educated and was fluent in various other languages besides her native Russian, including English, French, Dutch, German, and Italian. And she had all the qualities of a great ruler as well. She was kind, patient, and considerate. However, her sister, the Empress Elizabeth, was lazy, somewhat intellectually ignorant, impatient, and self-indulgent. She was more concerned about holding balls and parties then about looking after the welfare of her empire. She was also rumored to have a large flock of lovers, both male and female. Elizabeth's heir, the Grand Duke Peter, was ill-tempered, unattractive, mentally deficient, and cruel. Natalia despised this, and also wished to reform and strengthen Russia. Thus, with the support of various guards officers and courtiers, who also had similar ideas of reform, she overthrew Elizabeth and was proclaimed empress of Russia by the Governing Senate. The new Empress Natalia banished her sister and Peter to Siberia. She crowned herself Empress in the Assumption Cathedral, in Moscow, on 22 September, and issued a ascension manifesto which stated her intentions "to reform my country and bring benefits to all of my subjects." Natalia would eventually become one of Russia, and the world's, greatest monarchs.
Elsewhere, Britain, France, Prussia, Austria, and Spain all signed the Treaty of Aachen on 3 June, which thus brought a end to the War of the Austrian Succession, which had been raging since 1740. As a result of the treaty, Prussia's possession of Silesia was recognized and a general quo ante bellum peace was imposed amongst all the other powers. The Austrian Archduchess Maria Theressa's husband, Francis, was recognized as the Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick the Great of Prussia, who had ascended the throne in 1740, was very pleased about the treaty. However, his enemy in the war, Maria Theresa, was displeased, and vowed to reverse the terms of the treaty when she was able.
Meanwhile, in Great Britain, William Pitt Sr. became the new British Prime Minister through general elections, replacing the previous prime minister Henry Pellham, who had lost favor with the king, George II. Pitt, a Imperialist, was determined to extend yet further Britain's power and influence throughout numerous regions of the world. He also wanted to firmly combine Ireland, a possession of the British crown, with Great Britain itself, into one Union consisting of all the British Isles. If this happened, he realized, Britain would become yet more powerful and unified. As such, Prime Minister Pitt began making further plans for this goal to be achieved.
After a year of exhaustive and extensive work, Pitt finally succeeded in his goals. George II created a diplomatic congress consisting of representatives from both Great Britain and Ireland. The directive which was given to them was to "proceed most diligently, in the name of his most Brittanic and most Irish Majesty, towards matters of union between his grand realms of Great Britain and Ireland". Pitt himself was the head of the British delegation. The representatives, who convened on 19 February, did as told and worked with great effort. After several months of wrangling and argument, they finally drafted the Acts of Union, 1746 on 6 June. The Acts were then submitted to the British and Irish Parliaments. The Irish Parliament ratified the Acts on 17 June, since most of the members of that parliament were in favor for union with Great Britain. However, the British Parliament took longer. While the Commons were in favor of the Acts and approved them, most members of the Lords were reluctant, particularly over the guarantee of Emancipation for Irish Catholics. However, after the King (urged by Pitt) threatened to create several new peers to vote in favor of the Acts, the Lords quickly rushed to ratify the Acts on 14 July. Finally, on 18 July George II granted the Royal Assent to the Acts, which came into effect on the 1st of December.
The Acts' provisions were as follows:
- From 1 December 1746, and for ever after, the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland would be unified into one kingdom styled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The flag of Ireland, Saint Patrick's Cross, would be combined with the flag of Great Britain to become the Union Jack. All other ensigns, seals, and symbols for the new Union would basically be those of Great Britain.
- Ireland was granted 100 seats in the House of Commons and 32 seats in the House of Lords; 28 representative peers elected for life and the four highest clergymen of the Church of Ireland. All of the rules and procedures of the new Parliament of the United Kingdom would be those carried over from the Parliament of Great Britain. Also, the legal and judicial union of England, Wales, and Ireland was guaranteed.
- A unified Protestant church, the United Church of England and Ireland was created. All of the rituals and ceremonies of the Church of England would become those of the new Unified Church. However, free religion, the right to vote and hold public office, and the right to hold and sell property was guaranteed to all Catholics (Catholic Emancipation) and the independence of the Church of Scotland was guaranteed as well.
- The remaining articles created a trade and customs union between Britain and Ireland and stipulated that Ireland would have to contribute two-seventeenths of the expenditure of the United Kingdom, based off the ratio of British to Irish trade and commerical profits.
Certain European powers, such as France and Spain, were alarmed by the existence of the new United Kingdom, believing that it was even more powerful (a belief which proved true). However, most European powers quickly recognized the existence of the newly expanded version of Britain.
In Russia, Empress Natalia I began her reforms. The empress was determined to continue the reforms of her father Peter the Great, to modernize and strengthen Russia. She had a firm determination towards this goal and a effective will to carry this out. The Empress was supported by the Imperial Chancellor, Mikhail Bestauvev, a Enlightened man who also believed firmly in economic, social, cultural, and military reform. Natalia began by instigating various innovations concerning religion and culture. The Empress issued a decree on 4 March (Old Style) that adopted the Gregorian Calendar as the official calendar of the Russian Empire. Thus March 4 Old Style was immediately followed by March 16 New Style. The decree thus indicated her intention to bring Russia in line with Western Europe. Natalia also issued a manifesto that proclaimed official religious freedom for all of the subjects of her empire. Russian traditionalists and religious conservatives were alarmed at this manifesto, believing it to be "the Devil's work", but the Empress ignored them. Thus restrictions that had been placed on the Jews by Elizabeth were removed, as were restrictions on Old Believers imposed by Peter the Great and various Muscovite tsars. This gained her the support of various non-Orthodox religious groups.
In Austria, Archduchess-Queen Maria Theresa began her own series of reforms. The reason the young sovereign did so was to strengthen Austria's economy and military, to prepare it for a future war with Prussia. Maria Theresa realized that Austria had lost the War of the Austrian Succession with Prussia because her military was in inferior condition and because Austria was a heterogeneous dominion, consisting of not only the arch-duchy of Austria itself, but also the kingdoms of Bohemia, Hungary, and Croatia, as well the possessions in Belgium and Italy. She decided to improve on this. Assisted by her councilors, the archduchess issued the Taxation Codes of the Dominions of Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, and Croatia. The codes, all of which consisted of the same content, with name reference and other matters modified, established a Bureau of Taxation to collect and dispense taxes, reorganized the imperial treasury, and overhauled many currently existing taxes. The codes were a great success, and immediately tripled Austria's tax revenue.
In France, King Louis XV of France had a change of heart. The king, who until this point of time had been lavishing gifts on his mistresses and had ignored the affairs of state, began to realize that in order for France to become a worthy opponent of Britain, it would have to instigate serious domestic reform. As such, the king became involved in government and appointed a council of advisers, who would assist him in his reform. He issued a edict which ended the clergy's exemption from paying taxes, a first step towards reforming French society.
In Prussia, Frederick the Great also began instigating his own reforms as well. He wanted to secure Prussia's new position as a ascending European power and also wanted to bring modernization. As such, Frederick began promoting the arts and culture. The king issued a edict that proclaimed limited religious toleration for his subjects, including some of the Jews. He recruited Enlightenment scientists, musicians, writers, doctors, and philosophers into his kingdom, began construction on a Rococo-style palace, and expanded the Prussian Academy of the Sciences. Frederick's actions thus made Prussia more culturally diverse, and would be followed closely by Natalia the Great in Russia.
In Britain, Prime Minister Pitt pushed the India Governance Act through the Parliament. The Act placed heavy restrictions on the powers and privileges of the British East India Company, which effectively controlled Britain's possessions and interests in India. The Act created the office of Governor-Supervisor of the Company, who would be responsible for supervising and directing the affairs and relations of the East India Company. The act also incorporated most of the Company's armed forces into the British Army, creating the British Indian Army. This was a precursor to eventually incorporating the Company's possessions completely into the British Empire.
In Russia, the Empress Natalia began to patronize the arts, sciences, and education as well. The Empress believed, rightly, that her people needed to be educated in order for Russia to become a truly modernized country. As such, she worked towards that goal. The Empress issued a statue that established in Saint Petersburg the Smolenskian Institute, to educate young girls of the nobility, merchants, and townsmen. She intended to eventually extend attendance to peasant girls as well. Natalia herself wrote the institute's manual, and she banned the use of corporal punishment by the institute. Also, like Frederick, Natalia began to recruit Enlightenment writers, scientists, doctors, thinkers, and philosophers into Russia as well. Among those she recruited included Denis Diderot, a young and energetic writer, and Fransisco Rousseau, a young mathematician and astronomer. These two men would become instrumental to Russia's future cultural development.
Meanwhile, way on the other side of the world, in Japan, a new family of samurai ascended to the shogunate of Japan: the Kamuraki. Sediki Kamuraki, the head of the family and the new shogun, was a energetic and ambitious man. He had heard rumors of countries in Europe, "on the other side of the great earthly realm", who had advanced cultures, economies, and militaries. Kamuraki became determined for Japan to develop the same, and would become the man responsible for modernizing Japan and opening her to the world. In time, he would become one of Japan's greatest rulers. This will eventually become important.
In Russia, Empress Natalia conducted two primary actions involving serfdom and exploration. First, the Empress provided financial support to a exploration expedition that was commanded by Gregory Dezhnyov, a ancestor of the man who had originally crossed the Bering Strait a hundred years prior. The expedition colonized the remainder of the Kamchatka Peninsula for the Russian Empire, thus completing the colonization of Siberia. This expedition also colonized various Arctic islands as well. The reason that the Empress sponsored this expedition was because she believed that Russia needed to have firm control over the Bering Strait and a complete frontier in that region. Second, she instigated her first measure against serfdom. Serfdom, a institution which had existed in Russia since the late 1640s, remained strong just as it was dying out in the rest of Europe. It held most of the Russian population in bondage. Natalia, having gone on a trip to Western Europe before becoming empress, believed that it was completely inhumane and a strong factor in Russia's primitive and underdeveloped economic condition. As such, she was determined to gradually phase it out. Thus she issued the Statue for the Preservation of the Rights of the Peasants, which guaranteed the rights and privileges of all peasants, in the possession of either the state, the church, or the nobility and gentry. The statue allowed peasants to voice petitions and grievances to their masters, banned the use of corporal punishment against them, and granted them Sunday as a day of rest and relaxation. The statue prohibited the nobility from breaking up peasant families and also obliged them to take the welfare of their serfs into consideration. The statue was resented by the nobility, but was surprisingly effective.
In Prussia, King Frederick continued his reforms as well. The king of Prussia now focused much of his attention on the economic condition of Prussia. Frederick believed that in order for Prussia to strengthen her position as a European power, she needed to have a developed economy. Thus the king issued the General Directive on Economic Development, which encouraged economic development and modernization. The directive provided for the creation of canals, the establishment of new trading settlements and posts, and the development of industries in silk, porcelain, and other goods. Frederick drained the marshes of Oderburch and executed his directive with great energy and speed. Although he believed that serfdom was necessary for orderly discipline and rule in Prussia, he also decided that the peasants could be relieved to some extent. As such, he issued a decree, similar to the Russian statue, that provided for the fair treatment of serfs and gave them a rest day.
In Austria-Hungary, Queen-Archduchess Maria Theresa also continued her innovations. The Archduchess now worked towards centralization of her Austrian, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Croatian dominions, while also establishing effective separate administrations for Austria's Italian and Belgian possessions. As such, Maria Theresa, along with her husband Francis, Holy Roman Emperor and co-ruler of the Austrian dominions, issued a edict which established the Council of State. The council was to be consisted of thirty members, with ten from Austria, ten from Hungary, five from Bohemia, and five from Croatia. The chancellors of Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Croatia were all part of the council, as were the ministers of foreign affairs, finance, and justice for all the realms. The Council's responsibility was to advise the Queen-Archduchess on affairs of state, run the governments of all the dominions on a daily basis, and serve as the main administrative body. Maria Theresa also issued a order which unified the Austrian and Bohemian administrations into one body.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Shogun Kamuraki decided that in order for him to effectively begin his innovations and reforms within Japan, he needed to first bring the nobility and daimyo under control. With the support of both the military of the state and his family's own personal army, Kamuraki issued a decree that stripped the daimyo of most of their lands, titles, and privileges. Instead, Japan was reorganized into fifty prefectures, each one with a governor and a executive council, and a new nobility, loyal to the Shogun and the State, was created. The old daimyo attempted to revolt, but were suppressed. Kamuraki was thus on his way to transforming Japan into a major Asian power.
In Prussia, King Frederick began a reorganization of Prussia's local administration. The king believed that his realm, which was divided into three distinct parts, needed to have a uniform local administration. As such, Frederick issued the Statue on Local Administration of the Kingdom in Prussia and the Electorate of Brandenburg on 18 April, which completely overhauled Prussia's local administration. The statue divided Prussia into ten provinces, each province further subdivided into twenty districts. Each province would have a governor and a military garrison commander, both appointed and dismissed by the king at will. The governor would be assisted by a provincial secretary of state and a executive council, the council having the authority to dispense taxes in that province. Each district in turn, would have a sub-governor and a district council of advisers. The district governors would answer to the provincial governors, who in turn would answer to the King. The statue proved effective and increased the strength of Prussia's government.
In Russia, Empress Natalia intensified her patronization of the arts and sciences. The Empress removed most censorship restrictions and freely encouraged writers and publishers to print out virtually any work they wanted. This was in contrast with the Empress's father, Peter the Great, who had exerted harsh state control over the media. Natalia's free encouragement and removal of restrictions allowed Russia's media to blossom. Ambitious and energetic young writers, many of whom had been educated in Western and Central Europe, began printing pamphlets, novels, and books in large numbers, on historical, medical, scientific, and fictional subjects. Encouraged directly by the Empress, Denis Diderot (who had moved to Russia from France as should be recalled) published the first twenty articles of what was to become the Enclyopedie. The articles were written by him and Rousseau. The Enclyopedie quickly became popular across Europe, and was reprinted in France, Britain, and Prussia, although not in stern Austria. The Empress also established the Saint Petersburg Public Theater, and provided it generous finanical support. Admission to the theater was open to all people from the status of free laborman up.
In Austria, Queen-Archduchess Maria Theresa continued her own reforms. She now turned her attention to the military of her dominions. Although the Archduchess had little knowledge of her military and was considered a embarrassment in this respect by her military generals and advisers, she had a fond concern for the welfare and well-being of her soldiers and the professionalism of her forces. As such, the Archduchess, with the support of French and Dutch military experts, began to build up her army. She created a formal conscription system, raised taxes concerning the military, issued a discipline code, and established foundries and factories (especially in Austria proper and Bohemia), to provide equipment, weapons, and supplies for her army. The soldiers became very fond of their sovereign, because she was concerned about them. Maria Theresa also abolished most forms of corporal punishment within the military as well.
In France, Louis XV resumed his own reforms. The French king moved cautiously and slowly, and with great reason: the Ancient Regime form of government in France itself posed a great obstacle to the king, since the nobility and the clergy still wielded considerable power, influence, and privilege. The local parlements of France had the ability to nullify or block any royal decree or edict of the king at will. As such, Louis decided to slowly implement reforms. He issued a decree which appointed new governeurs for all of the provinces of France. These men, loyal to the king and only the King, would help counterbalance the parlements and impose the king's will on the local level. The king also issued a edict which required the nobility to provide to the Crown annual reports of their lands and incomes. This edict thus provided the King a discrete way to keep a watch for the nobles' wealth, and to maintain them within proper limits.
Meanwhile, both Spain and Portugal began applying pressure on the Pope, Benedict XIV, to implement measures that would eliminate the Society of the Jesuits. The Catholic monarchs of both nations wanted to insure their religious authority in their domains and to also incorporate the vast lands of the Amazon and inner America into their Empires. The native peoples and those lands had been protected by Jesuit missionaries and priests. The Pope, a bold and determined man, refused the requests of Spain and Portugal and instead issued a papal bull which reaffirmed the existence of the Jesuits. It will take some time before the Spanish and Portuguese will finally be able to accomplish their goals. But meanwhile, the Spanish viceroy of Peru pushed into southern Argentina, claiming those territories for Spain.
In China, the Qianlong Emperor suddenly came down sick with a severe form of fever. The doctors of the Emperor tried everything they could to save him, but their efforts were in vain. The Emperor died on June 13. His eldest surviving son, the Crown Prince Yongzhang, ascended to the throne as the Youhungzhang Emperor. The Youhungzhang Emperor was a ambitious, determined, and energetic young man. He had heard about Western European nations and how they were able to prosper with modern economies, militaries, and societies. The Youhungzhang Emperor became determined to transfer this to China, and to drop customs and traditions which he considered "archaic".
And finally, in Japan, the Shogun, Kamuraki, removed the ban on foreign commerce and contact that had been imposed by the previous shogunate dynasty over the course of the 17th century. The removal of the contact ban was vital in opening Japan up to the rest of Asia. Kamuraki established official relations with China, which was received warmly by the Youhungzhang Emperor, and also dispatched a mission to establish diplomatic relations with Russia. The Shogun encouraged commerce and trade with other nations or colonies in Asia and also recommenced the construction of Japanese naval vessels.
Queen/Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria terminated the Austrian alliance with Britain. The reason that the Archduchess did so was because she believed that Britain had provided little assistance to Austria during the War of the Austrian Succession, despite the facts that British forces had tied French troops in Germany and that British finanical support had kept Austria in the war. Maria Theresa, now, ironically, turned to France for a alliance. After intensive negotiations, France and the Hapsburg Empire signed the Treaty of Versailles on 7 March. Under the terms of the treaty, France and the Hapsburg Dominions would assist each other in times of war and would co-coordinate military operations. Maria Theresa had just ignited the "Diplomatic Revolution", which would see the creation of new alliances as a precursor to a new war.
Meanwhile, the British Parliament passed two vital acts this year, both of which had been drafted by Prime Minister Pitt. The first of these acts, the Calendar Act of 1751, provided that the United Kingdom and her possessions would adopt the Gregorian Calendar from the 1st of January 1752 onwards, after a century and a half of refusal to do so. Pitt pushed this act through because he believed that it would be a symbolic measure of Britain's "modern status". The second of the Acts was the Slave Trade Regulations Act. The Act placed a tax of thirty Pounds per slave imported into Britain's possessions and also set out extensive and detailed regulations about the treatment and transportation of African captives during the Middle Passage. This act was a attempt by Pitt, who despised the slave trade, to relax the burdens upon those Africans being imported. It was accepted in Britain, but unpopular in the southern part of the Thirteen Colonies.
In Prussia, King Frederick II became alarmed by Austria's new alliance with France. As such, he decided to strengthen the Prussian military and make preparations in case of war. The king issued a proclamation which conscripted 20,000 young Prussian men between the ages of 18 and 24 into the Army. These men were organized into new units, consolidated into garrisons, and given weapons and uniforms. Frederick II constructed a series of new forts and military defenses in Silesia, established a series of military foundries and factories, and reorganized the military command structure. But at the same time as he made these military preparations, he also continued to promote culture, personally producing several works of poetry, establishing a Academy of the Arts, and inviting Voltaire to Prussia.
In Russia, Empress Natalia launched a great construction campaign in Moscow, the former Russian capital and the Empire's second largest city. This campaign was meant to demonstrate on how the Empress was gradually reforming and modernizing Russia, and on how she was finally concluding the stamping out of archaic customs and traditions began by her father, Peter the Great. Bartholomeo Rastrilleri, a Italian architect who had been recruited by Empress Elizabeth, supervised the campaign. The campaign, which will take two years to complete, completely reconstructs the Moscow Kremlin, realigns the street system of Moscow, digs a canal system for the city, and constructs a variety of Baroque and Rosocco-style palaces and residences. It will cost nearly 3,000,000 rubles. To pay for the campaign, and to also continue the process of binding the nobles to state control, the Empress levied taxes on the nobility, concerning their livestock, residences, and household goods. The nobles complain but do not resist.
In the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan Osman III suffered a "unfortunate accident". This accident was the poisoning of his food, a plot which had been carefully orchestrated by Osman's younger brother, Mustafa. Prince Mustafa was a ambitious and energetic man who direly wanted the throne and did not want to wait a long period of time to get it. Despite the efforts of his personal physician, Osman III died on June 1 and was succeeded by his brother as Sultan, who became Mustafa III. Mustafa was determined to reassert the authority of the Sultan over the Grand Vizier and to instigate reforms of the Ottoman military and economy, bringing them back up-to-date with the rest of Europe. However, he will have to fight a struggle in the Ottoman court to accomplish these goals.
The Youhungzhang Emperor, in China, began his own reforms as well. The Emperor believed that in order for him to proceed with the other reforms, he needed to reform China's culture and remove many archaic customs and traditions, both amongst his people and at the court. This would also extend to reforming diplomatic customs and rituals as well. The Emperor issued a decree which encouraged the importation and use of European dress. Any noble who was found to be wearing traditional Chinese clothing would be fined and his clothes ripped off. The Youhungzhang Emperor enforced this decree heavily, which proved unpopular amongst the nobility. However, they were in no position to resist. The Emperor himself, as well his advisers and courtiers, were among the first to adopt European dress, including powdered wigs. Also, he issued a edict which encouraged women to attend public occasions and, if unmarried, to socialize at such parties.
In Japan, Shogun Kamuraki conducted cultural reform similar to that in China as well. The Shogun issued a decree which forced all of the nobility and merchants to adopt modern European dress as well. Any noble found wearing traditional Japanese robes would be fined and imprisoned. The Shogun's decree also ended social isolation for women and prescribed European-style conditions governing marriage and family. Also, the Shogun began recuriting British and Dutch merchants, adventurers, and advisers into Japan, and he sponsored a expedition which colonized the remainder of the island of Hokkaido.
In Austria, Queen-Archduchess Maria Theresa began a series of measures to impose state control over the Catholic Church within her realm. Although the Archduchess was a ardent Catholic, she firmly believed that the Church need not infringe on her autocratic authority. In accordance with this belief, the Archduchess issued a edict which banned the reading or importation of papal bulls into Austria without the approval of the government's Council of Morality, a body that would regulate public morals, values, and religious expression. The Archduchess made sure that the appointment and dismissal of archbishops, bishops, and abbots was firmly under her control. Despite this, she maintained the church's independent courts and it's control of medicine.
Frederick II of Prussia published The Responsibilities of a Sovereign, a pamphlet which promoted the idea of a autocratic Enlightened monarchy. The pamphlet, written by the king himself without assistance, argued that it was a sovereign's duty to "watch after his lamb", a comparison to Jesus's protection of "his flock" in the Bible. The sovereign ruler, Frederick claimed, had to be firm, but generous, guiding his people towards the right path. In order to conduct actions to benefit his kingdom, he needed to have absolute power. The pamphlet became widely circulated across Europe, from Portugal to Russia. It would inspire Natalia I in Russia and also, Mustafa III in the Ottoman Empire, to further reform.
King Joseph I of Portugal appointed Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the former Portuguese ambassador to Britain, the Prime Minister of Portugal. Melo was a ambitious but ruthless man, who wanted to implement Enlightened reforms in Portugal, concerning civil, economic, governmental, ecclesiastical, and military affairs. Melo had read various Enlightened tracts and pamphlets, including works of Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot, and believed firmly in reform. At the time of his appointment, Portugal was a weak nation, with a economy dependent on colonial Brazil and a ineffective military. Melo was determined to change this all, to make Portugal once again a worthy European power.
Spain and Portugal continue to apply considerable pressure on the Pope to disband the Society of Jesus. In Portugal, Prime Minister Melo, just shortly after being appointed to office, as described above, issued a government order that placed restrictions on the privileges and property of the Jesuits and brought them under state supervision. In Spain, the Spanish king, Ferdinand VI, engaged in various reform projects concerning the navy and arts, took time to issue a royal edict which also placed similar limitations on the rights of the Jesuits and imposed state supervision over them. The Pope heavily protested the Spanish and Portuguese actions, even considering bulls of excommunication against the kings of the two nations.
Empress Natalia I of Russia continued further her support of the arts and sciences. The Empress extended the availability of attendance at the Smolenskian Institute to peasant girls (with the approval of their masters, of course). She also continued to encourage writing and literature, providing generous finanical and official support that allowed Russian literature to blossom into new fields of creativity. By her ongoing construction campaigns in Moscow, the Empress built the Moscow Public Theater, with admittance open to all who lived in Moscow, regardless of social status. Reading the works of Montesquieu, she also began considering a extensive reform of the legal and judicial system of Russia as well, which was based upon a antiquated and archaic legal code of 1649.
Sultan Mustafa III of the Ottoman Empire began to gradually reacquire power for the Ottoman Crown. The Sultan gathered a personal base of supporters at court, involved himself in day-to-day affairs of the government, and required the Grand Vizier to act compliant and subordinate to him. He also began using his position as caliph of Islam to full effect, influencing appointments of Muslim priests and exerting control over Ottoman mosques and other religious structures. However, the Grand Vizier and his own base of supporters, despised the Sultan's actions and plotted to stop him. By the end of the year, internal governmental conflict would be breaking out.
The Youhungzhang Emperor decided that in order for China to strengthen her power and influence, her territorial boundaries must be extended. As such, the Emperor incorporated Tibet, a semi-independent Chinese protectorate, into the Qing Empire. A Chinese garrison was established in Lhasa, the Dali Lama and his advisers were arrested and executed, and Tibet was divided into thirteen provinces, each with a governor and a council, just like the other Chinese provinces were governed. Elsewhere, the Emperor incorporated Korea, a Chinese vassal state, into the Empire as well. Korea was divided into six provinces. All of these actions were popular with the military, thus securing their support.
In the Americas, tensions began to develop that would eventually help contribute to the upcoming war between Britain and France. The French government, particularly King Louis XV, still undergoing his gradual reforms, believed that control of the disputed Ohio Country was vital to secure France's possessions in Louisiana and New Canada. As such, the French dispatched 8,000 troops to the Americas and began moving forces down from Montreal, establishing forts in western areas of Pennsylvania and Virginia claimed by the British. Britain, in alarmed response, began preparing a combined diplomatic-military mission to persuade the French to withdraw.
A devastating earthquake occurred in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The earthquake, with a magnitude of 9.2, struck right in the heart of the Portuguese capital. Several aftershocks, each in the range of 5.0-8.0, occurred after the main earthquake. The earthquake and its aftershocks caused considerable economic and property damage. 40,000 people died as a result of the main earthquake, with a further 10,000 from the aftershocks. Nearly ninety percent of the city was destroyed or severely damaged. Portugal's economy suffered severe losses, and the country became yet more dependent on the wealth and resources of Brazil. Prime Minister Melo undertook immediate relief and reconstruction efforts. Teams of volunteers, firefighters, and policemen were organized to maintain order and help in relief efforts. Camps for the homeless were established and the Portuguese Army was stationed in Lisbon to assist in reconstruction efforts. As a result of Melo's exhaustive relief and reconstruction efforts, the city will completely recover in about two years. Britain, Portugal's closest ally, provided ample finanical support to the Portuguese government.
Heinrich von Bruhl, the "Prime Minister" of Saxony and the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruling both of those territories in the name of the ineffective King Augustus III the Saxon, intensified his efforts at gathering a large amount of money, properties, and titles. Bruhl was a ineffective and lazy politician, who cared little for the affairs of either of the domains that he was entrusted to govern. He made backroom deals with various corrupt Polish and Saxonian nobles, engaged in political intrigue and disputes, and fattened himself off his wealth and goods. Both Poland and Saxony experienced severe economic, political, and military decay and decline, which would leave them exposed to other foreign powers, such as Russia, Prussia, and Austria, amongst others.
In Austria, Queen-Archduchess Maria Theresa continued her efforts at centralizing and unifying her various dominions. The Archduchess issued a decree which divided Austria, Bohemia, and most of western Hungary into 130 bezirks (districts). Each district would be controlled by a governor-general, appointed and dismissed by the Archduchess at will. The governor-general would act as the representative of the Crown of the Dominions and the Council of State, overseeing the affairs of his district. He would be assisted by a council of nobles, consisting of various nobles, gentlemen, and landowners living in that district chosen by the governor at will. Each district would have a secretary of finances, responsible for managing the district treasury and collecting taxes, and a garrison commander, who would control the militia and military forces stationed in that district. All, including the governor-general, would be supervised by a royal intendant, who would report directly on their actions to the Crown. This new provincial administration, effective in the Austrian, Bohemian, and western Hungarian regions where it was implemented, would eventually be extended to Croatia, eastern Hungary, the Austrian Netherlands, and Milan.
In Russia, Empress Natalia I now decided to begin a gradual reform of the Russian government. The government had been organized into its present state by Natalia's father, Peter the Great. It was primarily consisted of three organizations: the Governing Senate, which acted as a supreme council of state and justice and was lead by a ober-procurator, the Holy Synod, which served as the governing body of the Orthodox Church, and the colleges, collectively managed and operated bodies responsible for certain affairs of state. The government civil service operated by the lines of the Table of Ranks, also established by Peter the Great. Natalia was determined to change some of this. The Empress issued a edict that reorganized the membership of the Holy Synod, to now consist of a governing procurator, a vice procurator, a secretary of affairs, and twelve other members, consisting of the primary archbishops and bishops of Russia. The edict also established new rules and procedures for the Synod as well.
In the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mustafa III, engaging in a extensive struggle with his courtiers and the Grand Vizier for more power, was able to make some gains. He was able to issue a proclamation which reaffirmed his position as the "supreme executor of Allah's will", thus confirming his religious authority. The Sultan, gathering support amongst the Janissaries, also reasserted his position as commander-in-chief of the Ottoman army. However, he was bogged down in disputes once again, and could achieve no more for the year.
In Japan, Shogun Kamuraki continued his own modernization efforts. The Shogun personally received a Dutch diplomatic mission to Kyoto, the Japanese capital at the time. He exchanged gifts and diplomatic letters with them, establishing formal contacts with the Dutch East Indies through the mission. Kamuraki issued a edict which required the use of European-style firearms and guns in the military. He further encouraged European dress and customs, redesigned the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, increased commerce, and implemented a policy of religious toleration. Christian doctors, missionaries, scientists, and explorers were recruited into Japan. Kamuraki also dispatched another mission to establish contact with Russia (the first mission having never reached its destination).
The "Diplomatic Revolution" continued in Europe. Britain, alarmed by Austria's new alliance with France, promptly began negotiations with Prussia. Prime Minister Pitt, although he was primarily a Imperialist who believed in overseas expansion and colonization, believed that Prussia, a small but powerful militaristic state, could serve as protection for Hanover, a personal possession of the British Crown, and protect British interests there, thus freeing the United Kingdom to launch overseas land and naval expeditions against French colonies. Frederick the Great of Prussia, too, believed that a alliance between the two nations would be beneficial, since British naval strength and loans would assist Prussia's campaigns on the continent against Austria and France. As such, after negotiations were concluded, Britain and Prussia signed the Treaty of Westminster on 1 August. By the Treaty, Britain would provide to Prussia a annual subsidy of £150,000 in times of war, and in turn, Prussia would allocate troops to defend Hanover against attack. The treaty effectively marked the establishment of a British-Prussian Alliance. Austria and France were both alarmed.
In order to counterbalance the British-Prussian alliance, France and Austria signed the Second Treaty of Versailles with Sweden, which still controlled parts of Pomerania in Germany. By this treaty, the three powers would pledge to each-other military assistance and finanical aid in times of war. A secret treaty provision indicated that the three powers would launch a coordinated offensive against Prussia (France from the West, Austria from the South, and Sweden from the North). The provision also provided that if Britain honored it's obligations to Prussia, Hanover would thus be attacked by French and Swedish troops as well. With this treaty, Prussia would now be in grave danger in times of war.
In Portugal, Prime Minister Melo, while concluding reconstruction efforts of Lisbon, instigated the first of his reforms. The prime minister was determined to end his nation's economic dependence on colonial Brazil and on Britain. As such, he conducted a series of measures meant to establish economic independence. With the support of King Joseph I, Melo established a series of state-owned enterprises and companies, for silk, textiles, porcelain, clothing, and weapons. He provided generous finanical support to numerous merchants and industrialists, lowered most internal levies and trade imposts, and effectively deployed Brazilian economic resources for the establishment of Portuguese foundries and factories. His economic policies proved successful and increased Portugal's economic strength.
Empress Natalia I of Russia, issued a wide-ranging statue, the Statue on the Imperial Privy Council of the Russian Empire. This statue completely overhauled much of the central government organization. The Imperial Privy Council of the Russian Empire was created, replacing both the Governing Senate and the Colleges of Peter the Great. The council would consist of ministers: those of foreign affairs, war, the navy, commerce and manufacturing, the treasury, justice and internal security, and the court and chancellory. Each minister would wield sole control over their ministry, not sharing power with others, as had been the case with the colleges. The Privy Council would take care of the government's daily operations and civil service, provide advice to the Empress, and serve as the highest council of state. Each minister would report directly to the Empress. It would also act as the supreme council of justice, until the Empress would issue further reforms concerning the judicial system. The Imperial Chancellor would act as the chief minister of the council and would be the superior of the other ministers. The statue also reorganized the Table of Ranks, completely overhauling both civil and military ranks, in accordance with the creation of ministries. This statue proved outstandingly effective, greatly streamlining government administration.
In the Americas, a British force of 6,000 troops under the command of General Edward Braddock, was ambushed and captured by a combined French-Indian force of nearly 10,000 troops. Braddock and his men had been dispatched by the colonial governments, with the approval of the British government in London, to force the French to retreat from their bases in Pennsylvania and Virginia. One of Braddock's men who managed to escape, George Washington, delivered the news of the attack back to the headquarters of the colonial governor of Virginia, who then relayed it to London. Many British were outraged by the raid. For the next two years, raids and pillaging operations would be conducted along the Ohio valley by both sides.
In China, the Youhungzhang Emperor instigated a reform of the Chinese military. The Emperor, assisted by European military engineers and mercenaries whom he had recruited, issued a new discipline code, introduced European weapons and firearms, and reorganized the entire military command structure. He also introduced European uniforms and adopted European military tactics and strategies. The Emperor levied taxes on the nobility and the landowners to pay for this new military.
On the European continent, actions occurred that finally lead to war. France, Austria, and Sweden concluded the Third Treaty of Versailles with the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway. By this treaty, Denmark-Norway pledged to assist the other three powers with finanical aid and military forces in times of war. Again, a secret provision stated that Denmark-Norway would attack Prussia from the north and north-west, along with Sweden's northern attack, Austria's southern attack, and France's western attack. The provision also provided that Hanover was to be attacked as well, when Britain honored it's alliance with Prussia. Britain was distressed by this new alliance, and attempted to conclude a treaty with Holland. However, the Dutch did not want to become involved in war, focused on economically developing the East Indies. So Britain and Prussia would be alone against France, Austria, Denmark-Norway, and Sweden. However, it was Prussia which made the first move:
On August 3, Frederick the Great, foolishly, invaded the Electorate of Saxony, which had been aligned with Austria. Frederick's expert Prussian troops quickly advanced into the Saxonian electorate, taking Dresden by August 9 and gaining a major victory over Saxonian and Austrian forces at the Battle of Lobotiz. Eventually, by the end of August, virtually all of Saxony was occupied by Prussia. Frederick incorporated the Saxonian forces into the Prussian army and divided the electorate into three provinces, just like in Prussia proper. This invasion of a neutral country caused outrage. France, Austria, Denmark-Norway, and Sweden immediately reacted, all of them declaring war against Prussia on August 6. A Austrian army of nearly 40,000 moved to the border with Saxony, while a French army of 60,000 crossed the Rhine into Germany, heading towards Prussia. Sweden likewise shipped 21,000 troops to Pomerania, while Denmark-Norway brought in 8,000 troops. Britain, having tried to avoid war on the continent, was forced to oblige to it's alliance with Prussia and declared war against France, Austria, Denmark-Norway, and Sweden on August 17. Britain dispatched 2,000 troops under the command of the Duke of Cumberland to Hanover, the Hanoverian army of 18,000 was mobilized, and finanical aid began flowing to Prussian coffers. On September 2, a French naval fleet and force of 15,000 assaulted the British island possession of Minorca, in the Mediterranean. Admiral Robert Byng attempted to defend the island, but was heavily outnumbered and forced to retreat. Minorca fell on September 13. As a result of his failure to save Minorca, Byng was executed by court martial. The unofficial clashes in North America between British and French colonial forces now became official. France however withdrew 6,000 of its 8,000-man force in the Americas, in order to use them against Prussia.
Empress Natalia I of Russia decided to remain neutral in the war, because she was focused on internal reforms within Russia and also was beginning to plan a invasion of the Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire, in order to extend Russian influence and territory to the Black Sea. The Empress as such instigated numerous reforms concerning the military so as to prepare for this. She issued the Military Statue of 1756, which replaced Peter the Great's Military Statue of 1716. The new statue realigned and modified the discipline regulations, lessening their severity, encouraged professionalism and Prussian-style tactics and maneuvers, and reorganized the military command structure. Natalia became very popular amongst the military rank and file, due to her kindness and concern for their welfare. The Russians then subsumed the Zazphorian Cossacks into their army and established a military base at the former location of their sich.
In the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mustafa III was able to resume his reforms. The Sultan finally was able to gain the complete compliance of the Grand Vizier, who returned virtually all of his powers and duties back to the Sultan. Mustafa III had also, with the support of guards officers and his closest advisers, been able to quell resistance from the nobility at the court. Thus he could embark on his reforms. The sultan recruited Italian and French military experts, mercenaries, and engineers, setting them to work on modernizing and reorganizing the military. He established colleges for mathematics and sciences, attendance of which were open to young noblemen, sons of merchants and priests, and sons of freemen. He encouraged the publication of scientific, religious, fictional, and historical works, especially looking to Natalia I of Russia's similar cultural encouragements as a model.
Farther in the East, the Youhungzhang Emperor launched a extensive military campaign against Xixjang, in Central Asia, intending to extend China's territory to the north-east. The Emperor attacked Xixjang with 100,000 troops and 50 elephants, the elephants which he had specifically imported from India. The Xihjangians were overwhelmed by the mighty and Westernized Chinese forces, who raced quickly through their territory. The Emperor himself commanded the invasion forces. By the end of the year, China had made major gains, annexing much of eastern Xixjang, which was reorganized into twelve provinces.
Extensive war continued to rage in Europe. Frederick the Great and a combined Prussian-Saxonian army of 50,000 now moved out of Saxony, invading Bohemia on 8 April, controlled by Austria. The king of Prussia intended to take Prague, the Bohemian capital, and crown himself King of Bohemia. His force, after devastating many of the northern Bohemian lands, approached Prague and instigated a major siege of the city. Frederick's forces cut off all supplies to the city and intended to starve it into surrender. When Maria Theresa heard of the Prussian advance into Bohemia, she became distressed. However, a Austrian army of 56,000 marched into Bohemia and launched a massive counterattack against Prussian forces. Frederick and Prussia were defeated at Kolin on 17 April, a village just three miles south of Prague, and were forced to retreat back to Prussia.
Shortly after this, however, a two front offensive occurred against Hanover and Prussia. A Swedish army of 40,000 invaded East Prussia, capturing Memel and defeating a smaller Prussian force at the Battle of Gros-Jagansdorf on 29 April. The Swedish army, however, began to suffer from disease and supply problems, and were routed by the Prussian army at the Battle of Leustheal on 3 May. Frederick himself commanded the force which repulsed the Swedish army. The Swedes were then forced to withdraw from East Prussia. In the West, a French army of nearly 50,000 men under Prince Soubise reached Hanover. The force encountered the much smaller British-Hanoverian force of 20,000 men. Soubise's brilliant tactics caused the utter defeat of the British-Hanoverian force at the Battle of Hastenbeck. The Duke of Cumberland, the British commander in Hanover, was forced to surrender to Soubise and sign the Convention of Clositentein. The convention removed Hanover from the war, reduced the Hanoverian army to just 1,000 men, and allowed France to occupy most of Hanover. The French then proclaimed King Louis XV Elector-in-chief of Hanover. Soubise then advanced to western Prussia, having already occupied Prussian territories in the Rhineland, but was defeated by Frederick at the Battle of Roussbach. Frederick then defeated a Austrian army in southern Silesia at the Battle of Leuthen, turfing them out of Prussian territory. Frederick also launched an offensive against Swedish Pomerania, occupying most of that territory and besieging Straslund. By the end of the year, Britain had revoked the Convention of Clositentein and the new British commander in Hanover, the Duke of Brunswick, launched a series of offensives which drove the French out of Hanover. In America, however, the French were able to advance, capturing a large amount of territory in the Ohio and Mohawk regions.
Empress Natalia I of Russia began to move Russian troops to near the border with the Crimean Khanate (a puppet state of the Ottoman Empire). These troops especially gathered at the Zazphorian Fortress, on the former location of the Sich. Altogether, the number of troops that were gathered equaled about 120,000. Sultan Mustafa III ignored the Russian movements, being too tied up in his reform projects.
Frederick the Great of Prussia began the military campaigns of 1758 by invading Bohemia yet again with 38,000 troops. The Prussian forces, as in the previous invasion of Bohemia the year before, advanced deeply into Bohemian territory, besieging Prague and devastating large amounts of territory. However, a Austrian army of 45,000 forced the Prussian army to retreat back to Prussia at the Battle of Lieus. The Prussians lost nearly a fourth of their forces and much of their cannon. After this point, Frederick will launch no more invasions of Austrian territory. In the meantime, Sweden launched a renewed offensive against Prussia, winning the Battle of Salisedorf on 19 February and occupying East Prussia. Frederick however did not consider Sweden a major threat at this point, and did not launch a counterattack. Britain, meanwhile concluded another treaty with Prussia, increasing finanical aid to nearly £670,000. The British also dispatched 9,000 troops to Hanover as well, strengthening defense of that realm and increasing the British-Hanoverian forces to 29,000 men. Britain then launched an offensive across the Rhine, but this was defeated by French forces. The British-Hanoverian forces did win the Battle of Krefield and recaptured part of Prussian Cleves for Prussia.
Frederick then became concerned about Swedish advances as the year progressed. On 29 March, Swedish forces advanced to Zorndorf, a small town in the eastern part of Brandenburg (Sweden having been granted free passage through Royal Prussia by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). The Swedish army consisted of 22,000 men. Frederick intercepted the Swedes with 20,000 men and they engaged in the indecisive Battle of Zorndorf. The Prussians lost 8,000 men, while the Swedes lost 6,800 men. The Swedes retreated in good order, reorganizing their forces. Both sides, however, claimed victory. At the same time, the Swedish Navy broke the Prussian siege of Straslund and won the Battle of Fehrbellin, recapturing the rest of Swedish Pomerania. They were assisted by Norwegian forces in Holstein-Gottorp, who until this point had only launched raids into Prussian territory. Frederick responded by invading Holstein-Gottorp (he had free passage through Hanover), winning the Battle of Oslaw and annexing most of the duchy. Meanwhile, a Austrian army of 48,000 men under Marshal Daun invaded Prussian-occupied Saxony, routing a Prussian army of 10,000 at the Battle of Lechnaugh. Frederick lost most of his artillery but retreated in orderly fashion, using the woody landscape of Saxony to his advantage. Eventually, the Austrians were forced to terminate their offensive and to retreat back into Austria proper.
In North America, India, and West Africa, Britain launched offensives against the French colonies in those regions. During 1757, the British had lost many more frontier forts and their attack on the French fortress of Louisbourg had been a disaster, leading to severe British and colonial losses. However, Prime Minister Pitt, believing Hanover was secure from French and Norwegian attack, decided to redirect more energy to the colonial campaigns. A British force of 14,000 men established a new siege of Louisbourg on 5 May, and after two and a half months, forced the surrender of the fortress on 14 July. As a result of this victory, the British annexed the French settlements in Nova Scotia. Throughout the rest of the year, the British launched further campaigns that seized French territories in Newfoundland and New Brunswick, thus opening the way for a attack on Quebec and securing control of parts of the St. Lawrence River. They also destroyed French and Indian forts in the western New York region.
Meanwhile in India, a British-Indian army of 5,000 men under the command of Lord Robert Clive confronted a Benghali-French army of nearly 40,000 men under the command of Siraj Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal. Although the British forces were heavily outnumbered by the Benghali-French forces, Clive used superior organization and tactics to achieve a major victory for Britain. The Battle of Plessy forever determined the course of power in India, destroyed the independence of Bengal, and severely weakened the French East Indies Company. Nawab Daulah was killed in the battle. Later that same year, a French enclave within British East India was captured and occupied. In West Africa, the British launched expeditions that seized the French posts of Goree, Senegal, and Gambia along the coast. Large numbers of goods and slaves were captured.
Pitt also launched naval expeditions to raid or "descend" on the northern French coast. The British supermacy on the seas effectively allowed the expeditions to proceed without any problems. A British army of 2,000 marines, under the command of Sir Thomas Bligh and Sir Richard Howe, landed near Cherbourg on 7 August, a major French port. The marines sacked the town, destroyed the town fortifications, severely damaged the port, and captured countless numbers of French merchant vessels and boats. Similar operations were launched against Calais and St. Malo, which reaped similar success. The French, as a result of these raids, brought nearly 10,000 troops to the northern coast to protect the ports and towns there from further raids. Britain attempted another raid near St. Cast, but the marine force was defeated and captured by the French, thus ending the descent policy.
Meanwhile, Russia declared war against the Ottoman Empire and over 100,000 troops crossed the Russian-Ottoman boundary into the Crimean Khanate. Russian forces arrived at Azov, Russia's sole foothold on the Black Sea, and immediately instigated a offensive into the Ottoman Caucasian territories. General Mikhail Sheremetev and a army of 30,000 defeated a Ottoman/Crimean army of nearly 80,000 at the Battle of Morsolav and captured large parts of Ottoman Caucasia. Meanwhile, Russian forces also ravaged the northern lands of the Crimean Khanate, penetrating as far as the coast. Empress Natalia I was determined to extend Russian territory and influence yet further.
The military campaigns of 1759 began with a combined Norwegian-Swedish offensive into Prussia. A Swedish-Norwegian army of 33,000 men, commanded by General Berkenkaumpf, engaged a Prussian army of 25,000 men at the Battle of Kay. The battle was a smashing Swedish-Norwegian victory, with the Prussians losing nearly 14,000 men. As a result of the victory, parts of eastern Brandenburg were occupied by Swedish forces. Denmark-Norway also launched a offensive into Prussian held Holstein-Gottorp, winning the Battle of Neumkampt and recapturing the duchy. Meanwhile, Austria, with considerable French support, finally launched an offensive into Prussia proper. A Austrian army of 40,000 and a French army of 20,000 marched into Prussian Silesia. Frederick the Great confronted them with a army of 50,000. However, he suffered a severe defeat in the Battle of Kunersdorf on 27 May, losing nearly 48,000 men. As a result of this decisive Austrian-French victory, most of Silesia was occupied by Austria. Saxony was also liberated from Prussian occupation.
In France, King Louis XV appointed on 9 January a new Chief Minister: the Duc de Choiseul. Choiseul was determined to end the war with Britain, by launching powerful invasions of both Hanover and Britain itself. As such, the French Chief Minister assembled a massive fleet of 40 ships of the line and 20 galleys that would ferry 100,000 troops to the southern British coast. However, two defeats at sea prevented the French from fulfilling their plans. At the Battle of Lagos on 29 October, British admiral Edward Boscawen defeated and scattered the French Mediterranean fleet under Admiral Jean Sabran, which had consisted of half of the intended invasion fleet. On 28 November, Admiral Sir Edward Hawke defeated and captured the other half of the invasion fleet at the Battle of Quiebron Bay. Choiseul was forced to cancel his invasion plans. The British then imposed a massive blockade of the French coast to prevent any further invasion attempt. In Hanover, the Duke of Cumberland and a combined British-Hanoverian-Brunswhickan army of 40,000 men defeated a French invasion force of 58,000 men at the Battle of Minden.
Elsewhere, Britain enjoyed what was called a Annus Mirablis, a string of important victories in North America, the Caribbean, and India. In North America, on 9 May a British force under the command of Sir James Wolfe instigated a massive siege of the French city of Quebec, in New Canada. A British army of 14,000 men, supported by a colonial army of 2,000 men, surrounded the city and entrapped the 6,000 French defenders. After four months, Quebec fell to the British on 12 September. Wolfe, however, was killed in the fighting, but was posthumously rewarded by King George II. As a result of this victory and the successful siege of Montreal, Quebec fell into British hands. British forces also cleared the French from the Ohio Country and drove as far as the Mississippi River. In the Caribbean, a British force of 1,000 captured the French island possession of Guadeloupe. In India, most of France's eastern coastal enclaves fell to British forces.
Meanwhile, the Russian Empire continued it's own campaign against the Ottoman Empire. Field Marshal Peter Rumanstyev and a Russian army of 40,000 men fought a Crimean Tatar army of nearly 70,000 men near Diesyney, a town on the lower banks of the Dnieper River. The Battle of Diesyney was a smashing victory for Russia, with the Crimeans losing nearly 20,000 men to the Russian losses of only 6,000. As a result of the victory, Russia occupied territory on the outlet of the Dnieper, gaining access to the north Black Sea. Russian forces also seized the remainder of Ottoman Caucasia. Empress Natalia also dispatched the Baltic Sea Fleet to the Mediterranean. The fleet sailed along the northern coasts of Scandinavia and Britain, then down along the French and Iberian coasts, reaching Gibraltar by the end of the year.
In the East, China conquered the remainder of Xinjang.
Prussia suffered yet more losses in this year. A Austrian army of nearly 50,000 men engaged a Prussian army of 25,000 men under General Foque at the Battle of Landshut. The battle was a smashing Austrian victory, with the Prussians losing 18,000 men and General Foque himself being captured. As a result of this victory, the remaining Prussian part of Silesia was occupied by Austria. Austrian forces then tried to advance north, but were defeated by Frederick at the Battle of Liegnitz, although both sides suffered heavy casualties. French forces in the west recaptured Prussian Cleves, taking 5,000 Prussian troops prisoner. However, the continual resistance of British-Hanoverian troops prevented France from sending troops to western Prussia. Meanwhile, Sweden and Norway occupied more of Prussian Pomerania and penetrated as far as Berlin. Meanwhile in North America the Seven Nations of Canada, aligned with the French, surrendered to the British. In India, Pondicherry, the French capital city of India, fell to a British army of 5,000 men. Other French posts and settlements were also taken.
Meanwhile, Russia continued and intensified it's campaign against the Ottoman Empire. General Rumyantsev and a army of 38,000 Russian troops confronted a Ottoman-Tatar army of 75,000 men near Larga, a village near the Pruth River. The Battle of Larga, which lasted eight hours during 8 and 9 July, was a decisive Russian victory. 20,000 Ottoman-Tatar troops died and a further 30,000 were captured. As a result, much of the western Crimean Khanate fell to the Russian Empire. Rumyantsev and his army then confronted a Ottoman-Crimean army of 100,000 men near Kagul, a village on the southern coast of Ukraine. The Battle of Kagul was a even greater victory for the Russians, who captured 40,000 Ottoman-Tatar soldiers and occupied most of the rest of the southern area of the Crimean Khanate. Also, the Russian Baltic Fleet, which consisted of 9 ships of the line and 30 galleys, confronted a Ottoman fleet of 16 ships of the line and 50 galleys, decisively defeating them in the Battle of Chesma, which took place off Chesme, a village in western Greece. As a result of this victory much of the Adriatic Sea came under Russian dominance.
At the beginning of 1761 the Kingdom of Prussia was in a sorry condition. King Frederick II now only had 100,000 troops at his disposal, most of this number being composed of inefficient, ill-organized, fresh recruits. Most of the professional soldiers had been killed in earlier in the war. Frederick was also in a weak state, with most of his resources exhausted and much Prussian territory occupied by Sweden, France, or Austria. And yet Prussia would experience further defeats throughout this year. On 19 May, Sweden and Denmark-Norway launched a joint siege of Kolberg, Prussia's last remaining port on the Baltic Sea. The two nations had launched two earlier sieges, both of which had been halted by Prussian forces. However, this time their combined army of 48,000 men overwhelmed the Prussian defense force of 8,000 men. Kolberg fell to Swedish-Norwegian forces on 6 June. Thus Prussia had now lost it's remaining foothold on the Baltic. Meanwhile in the South, the Austrians advanced closer to Berlin, capturing the Prussian fortress of Schelewitz on 18 June. Britain, Prussia's sole ally, now believed a complete Prussian collapse was imminent. However, in the West, a Prussian-Hanoverian-British army of 65,000 men defeated a French army of nearly 100,000 men at the Battle of Villenhausen. Meanwhile, in India the British captured the final remaining French enclaves. They also captured most other French islands in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, Russia continued its own war against the Ottoman Empire. Russian Generals Alexander Suvorov and Peter Rumanstev (the victor of Larga and Kagul) launched a massive campaign into the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, puppet states of the Ottoman Empire. This occurred after the remainder of the Crimean Khanate fell under Russian occupation. A Russian army of 68,000 crossed the Pruth River and entered eastern Moldavia. The Russian force plundered and raided many Moldavian towns and villages, captured thousands of Ottoman and Moldavian troops, and defeated a much larger Ottoman army of 140,000 men at the Battle of Kaisi. Russia as a result occupied much of Moldavia. Meanwhile in the south, a rebellion broke out in Ottoman controlled Greece, instigated by the Russian fleet off the coast. 50,000 Greek revolutionaries all across Greece rose against their Ottoman masters. Empress Natalia promised the revolutionaries support and began arranging a force of 50,000 marines to land on the Greek coast.
This year would see two more countries enter the war. On 4 January 1762, Britain declared war against Spain. British Prime Minister William Pitt (who would be ousted later in the year) was overconfident and wanted to strike blows against one of France's closest allies. Spain responded to the British declaration of war by launching a invasion of Portugal. This invasion was supported by France, now committed to coordinating the war against Britain with their ally. 60,000 Spanish and 20,000 French troops flooded into Portugal. The Spanish, invading from Leon, made major gains, conquering much of northern Portugal. At the same time, they launched a invasion of Portuguese Brazil, occupying a vast portion of that colony. Britain immediately reacted, sending 8,000 troops to Portugal, beefing up that country's 10,000-man army. The British-Portuguese force, although heavily outnumbered, was able to halt the Spanish advance and tied down many of their troops. Meanwhile, Britain launched naval expeditions against Spanish Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Philippines, using many colonial soldiers in those efforts. All of these expeditions succeeded, and all four of those Spanish possessions fell to British forces. The British also launched extensive raids and pillaging operations against Spanish New Spain and Peru. In Europe, Prussia was on the verge of collapse, with Austrian forces just miles outside of Berlin and Britain threatening to halt finanical aid. However, a vital event occurred that saved Frederick the Great from destruction. Sweden and Denmark-Norway, tired and exhausted by the long war, began peace negotiations with Prussia. By the Treaty of Stockholm, both countries restored virtually all their conquests (except Kohlberg) to Prussia, thus allowing Frederick to focus completely on Austria and France. Frederick then launched a fresh campaign against Austria, winning the Battle of Freiburg in October 1762 and driving the Austrians out of Silesia and southern Brandenburg. Meanwhile, French morale began to weaken and France extended a offer of peace to Britain. Lord Bute, who became Prime Minister of Britain in May 1762, succeeding William Pitt, took the offers into consideration, since Britain itself was running low on funds. Bute also reduced British finanical aid to Prussia.
Meanwhile, the Russian Empire continued to persecute its own campaigns against the Ottoman Empire. General Rumanstev occupied the remainder of Moldavia, and his army, now beefed up with Moldavian conscripts, advanced into Wallachia. The Ottomans gathered a army of about 130,000 men to resist the 100,000 man force of Rumanstev, and were finally able to halt his advance at the Battle of Buchalis. However, the Greek Revolutionaries, beefed up with 50,000 Russian marines, advanced, liberating much of southern Greece from Ottoman rule.
By the beginning of 1763, King Frederick the Great of Prussia had advanced into Austria, occupying parts of Bohemia and achieving victory in the Battle of Liesenburg on 8 January. However, all powers, including Prussia, were exhausted, with all of their treasuries running low with funds. Britain terminated finanical aid to Prussia on January 15. Pressured by the British, Prussia began negotiations with France and Austria on January 18. These negotiations took place at Hubertusburg, a town in northern Saxony. After negotiations that lasted about a month, the Treaty of Hubertusburg was signed by Prussia, France, Austria, Saxony, and Hanover on February 16. The treaty restored the status quo ante bellum amongst all the powers. France returned the Prussian possessions in the Rhineland to Prussia and Austria affirmed Prussia's retainment of Silesia. Prussia also ended its occupation of northern Bohemia, returning those territories to Austria. Although no territorial changes occurred, Prussia's position as a ascending great European power was confirmed.
At the same time, negotiations were conducted amongst Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal. Britain had accepted the French offer of peace on February 17, just one day after the signing of the Treaty of Hubertusburg. Eventually, on March 7, the Treaty of Paris was signed. The treaty resulted in considerable gains of territory and power on the part of Britain. By the terms of the treaty, both France and Spain restored Minorca to Britain and northern Portugal and southern Brazil to Portugal. In return, Britain restored Cuba and the Philippines to Spain, and Guadeloupe, Martinique, parts of Senegal, and a small part of the Northern Cicars to France. France seceded Canada, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tobago to Britain. Spain seceded Florida to Britain as well. However, France gave the territories west of the Mississippi River, including New Orleans, to Spain. In addition, while France was restored a enclave in India, it promised not to maintain any fortifications and to also recognize British suzerainty and client rulers in much of India. Britain agreed not to maintain fortifications in British Honduras but retained a trading post and log-cutting colony there. Britain also confirmed the rights of its new subjects in Canada, the Caribbean, and India to practice the Roman Catholic faith. France also recognized the king of the United Kingdom as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire due to his Hanoverian descent.
Thus, while the Seven Year's War was at a end, in eastern Europe the Russo-Ottoman War continued. In Wallachia, General Rumanstev reorganized his forces and ambushed a Ottoman army of 150,000 men at the Battle of Iasi. The battle was a decisive Russian victory, with more then 50,000 Ottoman troops captured and 30,000 wounded. As a result, most of Wallachia fell under Russian occupation. In Greece, the revolutionaries, continually supported by the Russian fleet and the marines, advanced northwards, liberating considerable territories. A army of 9,000 revolutionaries and 10,000 Russian marines won the Battle of Castioplhis against a Ottoman army of 98,000 men. However, Russia's treasury was beginning to run low on funds, and both Austria and France were now threatening to intervene on the side of the Ottoman Empire. Thus, Empress Natalia authorized the beginning of negotiations with the Ottoman Empire by the end of the year.
Russia began negotiations with the Ottoman Empire in order to end the Russian-Ottoman War, which had been ongoing since 1757 and had, for most of its duration, coincided with the Seven Years' War in Central Europe. By this time, Russia was running low on funds and threats of intervention on the side of the Ottomans was coming from Austria and France, who wanted to maintain Russian power within certain limits. Thus, Empress Natalia believed that it was essential to bring the war to a close as soon as possible. Finally, after three months of extensive negotiation, the Treaty of Kucuk Kaynjaria was signed by the Russian and Ottoman Empires on 7 April at Kucuk Kaynjaria, a village in southern Wallachia. By the terms of the treaty, Russia returned both Wallachia and Moldavia to the Ottoman Empire. Russia was however, acclaimed as the "protector" of all Christians within the Ottoman Empire, and could intervene into Wallachian or Moldavian internal affairs in case of Ottoman misrule or violation of the treaty's provisions. The Crimean Khanate was reduced in territory and proclaimed a independent state, dependent upon Russia for military support. However, the Ottoman sultan would remain the religious leader of the Tatars as the Muslim caliph, thus ratifying his authority in a realm outside of Ottoman boundaries. Russia gained Ottoman Caucasia, unlimited sovereignty over Azov, the ports of Kerch and Enkiale on the Kerch peninsula in the Crimea, and a small strip of territory between the Dnieper and Bug rivers reaching to the Black Sea. Thus the Russian Empire gained two direct outlets to the Black Sea, no longer a Ottoman lake. Naval and commerical restrictions imposed by the 1739 Treaty of Nis were removed. In a major blow to the Ottomans, Greece was granted independence as a grand principality and aligned to Russia. Also, Russian merchant and transport vessels were granted passage through the Dardanelles, Eastern Orthodox Christians within Ottoman territory were granted the right to fly the Russian flag, and provisions for the construction of a Russian Orthodox Church in Constantinople were provided. The treaty was a humiliating blow for the Ottoman Empire, particularly to Mustafa III, whose reform efforts were halted, and a victory for Russia and the Empress.
King Frederick the Great of Prussia devoted his energy and attention to restoring and rejuvenating Prussia after the long and devastating Seven Years' War. During the war, the king had to drastically cut back on the revenues of his court and even had to melt down the gold and silver in his palaces. However, with the war over, he could now pay attention to restoring the strength and fortunes of Prussia. Frederick considerably reduced taxes, especially in Pomerania and Silesia, for six months, believing that if burdens would removed from his people, his kingdom would recover more quickly. He was right. The Prussian Army was stationed all across Prussia to maintain order and to assist in the restoration of the economy and the daily lives of the Prussian people. The king gradually began to restore Prussia's currency to its pre-war value. He also established the Bank of Berlin, which helped rejuvenate commerce.
Queen-Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria was upset that her attempt to retake Silesia from Prussia in the Seven Years War had failed. However, she too, decided to devote her attentions to the continuing internal reform and consolidation of her domains. The Archduchess commissioned the compilation of the Codex Theresianius, a legal code which would apply to all of her domains equally. The code would organize, list, and clarify all the laws, decrees, proclamations, and statues of Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, and Croatia between 1300 and 1760. It would spell out the exact rights and responsibilities of her people, including those of the clergy and the nobility. The Code will take several years to finish, but will greatly streamline Austria's legal system.
In Britain, the British Prime Minister Lord Bute, the man responsible for bringing the Seven Years' War to a end, was replaced in national elections as Prime Minister by George Grenville. Bute was very unpopular in Britain due to the manner in which he had concluded negotiations with France and Spain. Many were angered at how hard-fought gains in the Philippines, Cuba, and in the Caribbean islands had been returned to Spain and France, despite the considerable British gains in North America, Africa, and India. Thus they vented their anger on Bute. Grenville, as Prime Minister, would focus his attention on Britain's dire finanical situation.
Russian Empress Natalia now resumed her energetic reform efforts to the full. As provided above, in 1748 the Empress had issued the Statue for the Preservation of the Rights of the Peasants, which had guaranteed the rights and privileges of the serfs and protected them from the abuse of their owners. Now she endeavored to move yet further against serfdom. She now believed that the actual gradual abolition itself could now occur. The first stage would be to abolish serfdom on church lands. After months of extensive preparation and consultation with her advisers, the Empress issued the Imperial Statue for the Emancipation of the Serfs on Church Lands on 17 June. This statue, a detailed and extensive document, formally liberated all Russian serfs owned by the Orthodox Church or bound to labor with Church priests or other religious officials. Under the statue, each liberated serf family was provided eleven acres of land to cultivate for their own use. They were not required to pay any tax for their freedom, which probably contributed to the extraordinary success of the statue. Hundreds of thousands of serfs received their freedom as a result of this statue. The nobility however were alarmed. The Empress then decided to embark on other reforms and wait for a number of years before focusing on serfdom again.
Meanwhile, the Austrian Archduchess Maria Theresa continued her centralization efforts. She, along with her son Joseph, who had been elected Holy Roman Emperor that same year and was made co-ruler of the Austrian dominions, issued a edict which extended the local administrative system of districts which the Archduchess had established in Austria, Bohemia, and western Hungary, to eastern Hungary, Croatia, and Austrian Milan. The edict made adjustments in this administration and increased its efficiency and subordination to the Crown of the Dominions. The Archduchess also issued a decree which established the Council of Affairs to administer the Austrian Netherlands. The council was to consist of fifteen councilors, ten from the Austrian Netherlands and five from Austria, all appointed and dismissed directly by the Archduchess. The Council would issue proclamations and decrees concerning Austrian Netherlands (with the approval of the Archduchess), run the government there day-to-day, and carry out the Archduchess's orders.
King Frederick II of Prussia continued his post-war reconstruction efforts. He resumed his support of the arts and sciences, believing that support of Prussian culture would contribute to general restoration of the country. The king continued to maintain a strict leash on the revenues of the royal court, saving money for use on his finanical restoration efforts. However, he also issued the General Edict on Taxation of the Kingdom in Prussia and Electorate of Brandenburg, which reorganized the taxation system, introduced French-style labor and excise taxes, and divided Prussia into eight large tax districts, each supervised by a tax collector appointed by the King directly. The edict, although it was effective and quadrupled the revenues of Prussia's treasury, proved unpopular to the Prussian population and harmed Frederick's considerable popularity.
In Britain, King George III, who had ascended to the British throne in 1762, issued the Proclamation of 1765, urged by the British Prime Minister, Lord Grenville. The royal proclamation organized Britain's new acquisitions in Canada and Florida and settled settlement disputes in North America. By the terms of the proclamation, the British colonies of Quebec, West Florida, and East Florida were established, each to be governed by a royal governor appointed by the King with the advise of the Prime Minister. Each colony was to have a executive council and a legislative assembly to consist of two houses: a House of Gentry and a House of Commons. The proclamation also created a boundary line between the British Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic coast and the Indian territories west of the Appalachian Mountains, prohibiting colonial settlement west of the line. This provision in particular angered the British colonists there, who continued their settlement in defiance of the proclamation.
In Portugal, Prime Minister Melo resumed his reform efforts, which had been interrupted by the Seven Years' War. The prime minister was now focused on expelling the Jesuits from Portugal, with or without papal support. At first, he continued to pressure the Pope to issue a papal bull to disband the Jesuits. The pope, however, remained firm and refused to do so, calling the Jesuits "loyal followers of the Pope" in a official papal proclamation which again reaffirmed the Church's support of the Society. Melo then decided to make a move regardless. In July, the Prime Minister convinced King Joseph I to issue a royal edict, which formally banished the Jesuits from Portugal. As a result of this edict, the Jesuit missions and schools in Portugal were shut down, a formal prohibition against the Jesuits was enacted in Portugal and in Portuguese colonies, and the government seized Jesuit property all across Portugal. The Pope protested heavily and issued a formal protest, but did not go as far as a bull of excommunication.
In the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mustafa III was deposed from the throne by a group of nobles and the Grand Vizier. The Sultan's reform efforts had failed because of the Russo-Ottoman War, which had handed a severe defeat on the Ottoman Empire and had lead to the loss of both the Crimean Khanate and Greece. The leader of the coup, Grand Vizier Hasul Pasha, proclaimed himself Sultan Abdul Hamid I. The new sultan would be completely focused on indulging in luxury and ignoring the affairs of state, thus leaving the Ottoman Empire to decay.
In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, on 3 January 1766, Augustus III, King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Elector of Saxony, died. Negotiations in the Sejm, the Polish parliament, immediately commenced concerning on who would next be elected king. Two fractions vied for the throne: the Saxonian faction, which insisted that Augustus's grandson, Frederick Augustus, be elected the next King (he had immediately become Elector of Saxony upon the death of his grandfather); and the Czartoryski faction, which wished for Stanislaw Poniatowksi, a young and ambitious man, to become King. Frederick Augustus received support from the Holy Roman Emperor. Poniatowksi, however, was supported by the Russian Empress Natalia I. He had been a friend of the Empress during the 1750s, primarily due to his position as the chief secretary of the Polish embassy in Saint Petersburg. To insure his election, the Empress sent 80,000 Russian troops into Poland on 12 February. The troops then forced the Sejm to elect Poniatowksi King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The young 34-year old man did not know it, but he was to be the last King of a independent Poland. Poniatowksi was coronated on 8 November by the Archbishop of Cracow.
King Frederick II of Prussia instigated a further series of measures that promoted the continuing growth of the Prussian economy. The king established a silk factory in Berlin, sponsored the construction of canals and artificial waterways in East Prussia, and issued a edict which converted the serfs into bonded peasants, who would enjoy more privileges and rights. They were now able to pay money to purchase their freedom and to travel across the land with a writ signed by their owner. The king also negotiated a commerical treaty with Britain, which greatly improved Prussian commerce and trade.
In France, the reform efforts of King Louis XV thus came to a end. The Seven Years' War had interrupted the reforms, weakened French power and influence, significantly decreased the size of the French colonial empire, and widened the already huge national debt. The nobles, however, gained increased authority and were able to roll-back the reforms that the king had already implemented. Plus, the king himself became disheartened and fell back into his old ways of lavishing gifts on mistresses and neglecting the affairs of state. Thus France was seriously harmed.
In Britain, Prime Minister Grenville pushed through Parliament the Quartering Act of 1766, which billeted British troops in all businesses, private homes, and privately-owned business throughout the Thirteen Colonies in the Americas. Homeowners would be required to pay for the upkeep of the billeted soldiers. The act was passed in response to increasing dissent in the colonies, primarily over the Royal Proclamation of 1765, and to also supposedly secure the colonies from any Indian raids or other such operations. The act however, was viewed as tyrannical in the Thirteen Colonies and increased opposition to British policies.
In Russia, the Empress finally decided to act on reform of the legal system. For years, she had been contemplating the possibility of replacing the Sobornoye Ulozheniye (Law Code) of 1649, which had been implemented by Tsar Alexis I. The code, which was largely based off medieval and archaic law codes or legal compilations, was inefficient and outdated. The Empress believed that a new, modern, and more detailed law code would act as a major reform in Russia. As such, the Empress appointed a legal commission, which consisted of lawyers, political advisers, and the ministers of justice and the court. The commission was to draft a new law code, which was to include a compilation of all laws, edicts, decrees, proclamations, charters, and statues in Russia from 1400 to the present day. The code would be revised and adopted by the Empress. The commission was also to make further recommendations on reform. The commission, which first convened on 21 February, worked hard on the code for most of the rest of the year. They used various laws and other legal codes of other nations, such as those of Prussia, Austria, Sweden, Holland, and Britain, as examples. Finally on 14 November, the Commission formally presented their completed work to the Empress, along with a article of recommendations for further reform. The Empress made some minor modifications and additions, and on 9 December, the Complete Legal Code and Compilation of the Russian Empire (комплэтэ лэгал кодэ анд компилатион оф тъэ руссиан эмпирэ) was published. The code, a extensive and exhaustive work, consisted of a introduction (personally written by the Empress), 1,800 chapters (each chapter sub-divided into 100 articles), a conclusion, and a statement of recommendations. The code organized and listed all laws, decrees, proclamations, edicts, statues, and charters in Russia issued under the Grand Principality of Moscow, the Tsardom of Russia, and the Russian Empire, from 1400 until 1765. It solved contradictions between these laws and clearly spelled their meanings. The code also described all manner of civil, criminal, and political law, laying down punishments and detailed descriptions, along with lists and legal charts. The Code was a great success and many, including Voltaire, hailed the work. Voltaire in particular called the Empress "the greatest reformer in history, the Empress of power." It thus replaced the Code of 1649 as the legal code and compilation of the Russian Empire.
The Empress, at the same time she commissioned and published the new Russian legal code, also intervened into the affairs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Natalia wished to exert Russian influence in the Commonwealth, which would increase the strength and power of her empire. She was also alarmed at limited reforms that King Poniatowksi pushed through the Sejm in the early part of the year. These reforms included the limitation of the power of the traditional Polish hetmans, a new system of tariffs, and the reduction of the use of the liberum veto concerning finanical matters. Thus the Empress instructed the Russian "ambassador" to Poland, Nicholas Repnin, to pressure the Sejm to implement legislation that she favored. Repnin, with the support of a small detachment of Russian soldiers, forced King Poniatowksi to convene a session of the Sejm. This sejm, which was called the Repnin sejm due to Repnin's influence, produced legislation in Poland which favored Russia. The Sejm passed the Cardinal Laws, which repealed Poniatowksi's minor reforms, confirmed the liberum veto and the other privileges of the Polish nobility (election of the king, the right of formation of confederations, and immunity from punishment by the king), and imposed limitations on the abilities of the king and his royal council. However, the laws did contain some beneficial reforms. For example, religious toleration and fair treatment was guaranteed for all Protestants and Orthodox Christians, the use of the liberum veto in the local councils of Poland was abolished, and a statue of the rights of the peasants was issued, similar to the Russian statue of 1748. The Sejm's actions, however, were viewed unfavorably by many in the Commonwealth, who rightfully feared increasing Russian influence.
British Prime Minister Lord Grenville pushed the Stamp Act of 1767 through the British Parliament. This act was intended to raise more revenue for the British government, which had severe debts dating from the Seven Years' War. The act imposed a direct tax on the Thirteen Colonies. By the terms of the act, most printed material in the colonies (including legal documents, magazines, newspapers, and marriage licenses) had to be written on stamped paper produced in London, carrying a revenue stamp. The stamp tax would have to be paid by direct British currency, not by colonial money. The act was very unpopular within the colonies, and many colonists, merchants, and business-owners started a boycott of British goods. The British government responded harshly, by suspending the writ of fair arrest within the colonies and imposing firmer control over colonial governments.
Empress Natalia decided to tackle medicine, knowing that it was sparse and inefficient amongst her people. In the late 1740s and early 1750s, the Empress had already recruited doctors, scientists, philosophers, thinkers, and writers into Russia, in order to encourage the modernization of culture. She thus decided to put the doctors and scientists whom she had recruited to great effect. The Empress, with the assistance of Dr. John Dinsdale, a Scottish physician who had immigrated to Russia in 1756, published the Manual on the Health of the Population of the Russian Empire. This manual encouraged modern sanitary methods and practices, laid out the Empress's extensive goals for the reform of the health system, and encouraged the nobility, merchants, and clergy to support the establishment of modern hospitals. Natalia also introduced smallpox inoculation into her realm, which had been developed by Dinsdale. She set a example for the Russian people by being inoculated herself on April 18, 1768. Although the Empress's voice became strained and weakness increased in her, she fully recovered within two weeks and developed a natural immunity against smallpox. Dinsdale published his experiments in Saint Petersburg, encouraged by the Empress. Soon, nobles, merchants, clergy, and townspeople began to have themselves inoculated, which became a proven and popular practice.
Meanwhile, on June 1, the