It recently struck me that 2007 is a pretty good year for anniversaries for anyone interested in the long 18th century. The big one must surely be the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade. It’s easy to become jaded at all those overblown anniversary celebrations we see every year, mostly (it seems) simply opportunities for commercial exploitation, but I hope that this one might be a genuine opportunity to reflect and learn?
Meanwhile, we British are already using the tercentenary of Acts of Union between Scotland and England as an excuse to have (even more than usual) arguments about how much longer “Great Britain” is likely to last. (Expect plenty of opinion polls about how many Scots want to go it alone and how many English people would say good riddance.) It’s going to be entertaining, and it might even be educational for the many people out there who still don’t know the difference between ‘England’ and ‘Britain’.
According to Wikipedia, 1657 and 1757 were also interesting (lots of Seven Years’ War and similar action in the latter), though no really outstanding landmarks. (But if you fancy a really looong 18th century, don’t forget the creation of Jamestown in 1607 and the Indian Rebellion of 1857…)
Upate: another good one I missed: it’s also the 300th anniversary of the birth of Linnaeus. Although, having stopped to look at that page, I notice that they can’t seem to decide whether to spell the adjective ‘Linnean’ or ‘Linnaean’!
A slightly belated happy new year to all!