** A Spinoza Chronology **

Compiled by Ron Bombardi
Department of Philosophy
Middle Tennessee State University

If your browser doesn't support tables, see the Plain Text 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 be expelled.
1497 All Portuguese Jews (including Spinoza’s ancestors) are forced to convert. A steady stream of Jewish refugees begins to flow from Portugal.
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 India Company.
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, Muenster.
1628 William Harvey discovers the mechanisms of the human circulatory system.
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 Méthode.
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’ philosophical works.
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 lens-grinding.
1653 Jan de Witt appointed Council Pensionary of the province of Holland.
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 Cartesian philosophy.
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 and morals."
Restoration of the monarchy in England with the accession of Charles II.
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 emendatione.
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 acemaker.
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 Netherlands.
1668 Leeuwenhoeck produces the first accurate description of red blood corpuscles.
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 Stille Veerkade.
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 Holland.
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 Opera Posthuma (Ethica, Tractatus politicus, Tractatus de intellectus emendatione, Epistolae, Compendium Grammatices Linguae Hebrae).
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).