Primary Source Archives
Gale Primary Sources contains full-text archives and digitized literature that provide researchers with firsthand articles from 18th century journals and 18th century primary sources to drive research at your university.
Engage with the history of the world in the eighteenth century, which was a period of empire building and revolutions as well as advances in science and the arts. The European nations competed amongst themselves for global domination in exploration, trade, and colonization, with Great Britain becoming the leading world power. Even as these nations expanded their reach, they found their rule challenged by supporters of Enlightenment ideas, based on the ideals of liberty, progress, and the separation of church and state. The American Revolution (1775–1783), the French Revolution (1789–1799), and the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) would be the most successful of these uprisings, which shook the power of European monarchies.
Political revolutions weren’t the only kind of revolution, however. The Industrial Revolution that began in the mid-eighteenth century resulted in the transition of Europe from agriculture to manufacturing, and its population from rural to urban. Important inventions included the steam engine (1712), the spinning jenny (1764), the power loom (1785), and the threshing machine (1786). Cultural achievements included the musical compositions of Bach and Mozart, while this century also saw the development of the novel as a literary genre. The Industrial Revolution ushered in a period of economic and population growth that cemented Europe’s domination over much of the world.
One important rival to European dominance was the Ottoman Empire, although this Muslim power in the Middle East began to weaken under European encroachment during this century—particularly at the hands of Russia, in a series of Russo-Turkish wars. The Durrani dynasty, founded in present-day Afghanistan, would become the second-largest Muslim empire in the world, following military victories in Persia and India starting in 1747. The Mughal and Maratha empires in India would be severely weakened as a result, opening up India to subjugation by the British East India Company. Farther east, the Qing dynasty ruled China. In Africa, the Ashanti Empire dominated trade in the interior of the continent, becoming an important supplier of slaves to European traders.
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