** A SPINOZA CHRONOLOGY **
1391. Spanish Jews are forced to convert to Catholicism for the sake of
"social and sectarian uniformity."
1478. Establishment of the Spanish Inquisition, whose primary task is
to convict and execute those found "judaizing."
1492. All practicing Jews in Spain are given the choice to convert or
1497. All Portuguese Jews (including Spinoza’s ancestors) are forced to
convert. A steady stream of Jewish refugees begins to flow from
1609. Beginning of the twelve year truce between the United Provinces
and Spain, effectively establishing political independence (after
nearly a 100 year struggle) for the seven northern provinces as
well as their (Protestant) sectarian separation from the
(Catholic) southern provinces.
1616. Death of Shakespeare.
1618. Defenestration of Prague and beginning of the Thirty Years War.
1619. Batavia, Java is established as headquarters of the Dutch East
1620. Francis Bacon writes Noveum organum.
1621. Hostilities resume between Spain and the United Provinces.
1622. Probable date Spinoza’s parents arrive at Amsterdam.
Birth of Carel Fabritius (dies 1654) in Midden-Beesmster.
1623. Birth of Blaise Pascal (dies 1662).
1625. Death of Stadholder Maurice of Nassau; he is succeeded by his
brother, Frederick Henry who consolidates the authority of the
House of Orange.
Hugo de Groot (Grotius) (1583-1645) publishes, in exile,
De jure belli et pacis.
1626. Birth of Jan Steen (dies 1679) in Leiden.
Founding of New Amsterdam.
1627. Birth of Robert Boyle (dies 1691) in Lismore, Munster.
1628. William Harvey discovers the mechanisms of the human
Descartes completes Regulae ad directionem ingenii.
1629. Descartes moves to Holland.
Birth of Christian Huygens (dies 1695) in The Hague.
Birth of Gabriel Metsu (dies 1667) in Leiden.
Birth of Pieter de Hooch (dies 1684) in Rotterdam.
1632. Birth of Baruch Spinoza, 24 November (dies 1677), in Amsterdam.
Birth of Anton van Leeuwenhoeck (dies 1723) in Delft.
Birth of Jan Vermeer (dies 1675) in Delft.
Birth of John Locke (dies 1704) in Wrington, Somerset.
Queen Christina (born 1626) ascends the throne of Sweden
(five regents govern in her stead).
Inquisitorial denunciation of Galileo.
1634. Alliance of the United Provinces with France against Spain.
Gassendi publishes Apologia de Epicurus.
1637. Descartes publishes Discours de la Methode.
1638. Manasseh ben Israel is appointed to the Amsterdam Yeshiva.
1639. Admiral Tromp, leading the Dutch navy, defeats the Spanish
fleet at Dunes.
1640. Uriel d’Acosta commits suicide.
Death of Rubens (born 1577) in Antwerp.
1641. Descartes publishes Meditationes de prima philosophia.
1642. Hobbes publishes De cive.
Death of Galileo (born 1564).
Birth of Issac Newton (dies 1727).
Rembrandt paints The Night Watch.
1644. Descartes publishes Principia philosophiae.
Publication of Dutch translation of Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia.
Queen Christina begins her de facto reign in Sweden.
Birth of Antonio Stradivari (dies 1737) in Cremona.
1646. Birth of Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (dies 1716) in Leipzig.
1648. The Treaty of Westphalia terminates the Thirty Years War.
The United Provinces sign a separate peace accord recognizing
independence of the United Provinces.
1649. Descartes completes Les Passions de l’âme.
Charles I of England beheaded.
1650. Under the tutelage of Dr. Van den Enden of Bremen, Spinoza
studies Latin, natural science (physics, mechanics, chemistry,
astronomy, and physiology), and philosophy. Spinoza probably
meets Clara Marie van den Enden (the master’s daughter) with
whom he later falls in love.
Death of Descartes in Sweden.
Death of William II, Count of Nassau, Prince of Orange.
1651. Probable date Spinoza first reads Descartes’
Hobbes publishes Leviathan.
Cromwell passes the Navigation Act.
The Dutch colonize the Cape of Good Hope.
Start of the first Anglo-Dutch war.
1652. Despite strong opposition from his father, Spinoza takes up
1653. Jan de Witt appointed Council Pensionary of the province of
Pascal joins the Jansenists at Port-Royal.
1654. Death of Spinoza’s father, Michael.
Treaty of Westminster ends the first Anglo-Dutch war.
Velasquez paints Las Meninas.
1655. Spinoza is accused of heresy (materialism and "contempt for
the Torah") before the Tribunal of the Congregation.
Probable date of composition of Spinoza’s Korte verhandeling
van God, de mensch en des zelfs welstand (Tractatus de Deo et
homine etjusque felicitate).
1656. Spinoza, at twenty-four years old, is excommunicated from
the Amsterdam Synagogue.
An edict of the States of Holland prohibits the teaching of
Christian Huygens uses the pendulum to regulate clock movements.
Pascal publishes Lettres provinciales (against the Jesuits).
1658. Death of Cromwell.
1659. Huygens identifies the rings of Saturn.
1660. The Amsterdam Synagogue officially petitions the municipal
authorities to denounce Spinoza as a "menace to all piety
Restoration of the monarchy in England with the accession of
Death of Velasquez (born 1599).
1661. Spinoza leaves Amsterdam for nearby Rijnsburg; begins
writing Ethica; meets Henry Oldenburg.
Probable date of Vermeer’s Little Street and View of Delft.
Inauguration of the absolute monarchy of Louis XIV of France.
Huygens invents the manometer (for ascertaining the elastic
force of gases).
Robert Boyle publishes The Skeptical Chymist.
1662. Probable completion of Spinoza’s Tractatus de intellectus
Death of Pascal (born 1623).
1663. Spinoza moves to Voorburg, outside The Hague; takes up residence
with the painter, Daniel Tydemann.
New Amsterdam is seized by the English and renamed New York.
1664. Spinoza publishes, in the Hague, Renati Des Cartes principiorum
philosophiae along with Cogitata metaphysica.
Probable date of Vermeer’s Lacemaker.
1665. Beginning of the second Anglo-Dutch war (lasts until 1667).
1666. Newton’s annus mirabilis (universal gravitation, differential
calculus, lunar orbit).
Leibniz submits dissertation, Nova methodus discendique juris;
also completes De arte combinatoria.
Louis XIV invades the Spanish Netherlands.
Death of Frans Hals (born Antwerp, 1580) in Haarlem.
Death of Guercino (born Northern Italy, 1591).
1667. Admiral de Ryuyter sails his navy into the mouth of the Thames;
destroys the English fleet.
Treaty of Breda marks the end of hostilities between England
and the Netherlands.
War of Devolution begins as French troops invade the Spanish
1668. Leeuwenhoeck produces the first accurate description of red blood
Newton constructs reflecting telescope.
Birth of Giovanni Battista Vico (dies 1744).
The Triple Alliance (England, United Provinces, Sweden) halts the
French conquest of the Spanish Netherlands.
Signing of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.
1669. Death of Rembrandt (born Leiden, 1606) in Amsterdam.
Tractatus theologico-politicus is denounced by the (Calvinist)
Church Council of Amsterdam as a "work forged in Hell by a
renegade Jew and the Devil and issued with the knowledge of
Mynheer Jan de Witt."
Spinoza moves to The Hague; takes up residence on the
Pascal’s Pensées published posthumously.
1671. Leibniz sends Spinoza his Notita opticae promoteae; Spinoza
sends Leibniz his Tractatus theologico-politicus.
Clara Marie van den Enden marries Dr. Kerckrinck, a wealthy
Amsterdam physician and disciple of Spinoza.
1672. Louis XIV, having undermined the Triple Alliance, invades the
United Provinces. The Dutch open the dikes and manage to hold the
French within a day’s march of Amsterdam. Jan de Witt and his
brother are held responsible (by an already incensed,
anti-libertarian Calvinist clergy) for the invasion, and are
massacred by a mob on 20 August. William of
Orange is made Captain-General of the United Provinces.
1673. Spinoza is invited by the Elector Palatine to accept a
Professorship of Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg;
Spinoza declines the offer.
The French are expelled from Dutch territory, but not before
they lay waste to large areas of the countryside.
1674. At the instigation of William of Orange, an edict banning
Tractatus theologico-politicus is issued by the States of
1675. Spinoza completes Ethica.
Leibniz visits Spinoza in The Hague.
Death of Vermeer (born 1632).
Birth of Antonio Vivaldi (dies 1741).
1677. Death of Spinoza (born 1632), 21 February.
Publication, by Spinoza’s friends in Amsterdam, of the
Opera Posthuma (Ethica, Tractatus politicus, Tractatus de
intellectus emendatione, Epistolae, Compendium Grammatices
Leeuwenhoeck discovers spermatozoa.
William of Orange marries Princess Mary, daughter of the
Duke of York.
1678. Dutch translation of Spinoza’s works published.
1679. Death of Hobbes (born 1588).
Tempus Spinozanum Compiled: Spring 1994