It is ordered by this Court and authoritie therof, that there shall never be any bond-slavery, villenage or captivitie amongst us; unlesse it be lawfull captives, taken in just warrs, and such strangers as willingly sell themselves, or are solde to us: and such shall have the libertyes and christian usages which the law of God established in Israell concerning such persons doth morally require, provided, this exempts none from servitude who shall be judged thereto by Authoritie.

- Massachusetts Body of Liberties


Born in 1641:

Died in 1641:


Events of 1641:

  • Evangelista Torricelli's physics treatise De Motu appears. Galileo Galilei (under house arrest) is so impressed he invites Toriecelli to Florence to collaborate with him.
  • Rene Descartes publishes his Meditationes de Prima Philosophia.
  • Pierre Cornille's tragedy Cinna premeires.
  • Frans Hals paints The Governors of St Elizabeth Hospital.
  • Sir John Denham's drama The Sophy appears.
  • Georges de Scudery's Ibrahim, ou I'illustre Bassa is published.
  • Shah Jahan orders the fabulous Shalimar gardens to be built near Lahore, at the same time as his uncle's burial at nearby Shahdara.
  • The Inquisition condemns Jansenius's work Augustinus, which splits hairs over the concept of grace, as heretical.
  • Massachusetts Bay Colony passes a 'Body of Liberties' for its citizens. Each law cites passages of the Old Testament to back itself up. Ironically, it permits the institution of slavery, making Massachusetts the first colony to do so. Religious freedom is also conspicuously absent.
  • Japanese shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu issues the Sixth Sakoku (National Seclusion) Edict limiting all contact with the West to the Dutch factory on an island in Nagasaki harbor (after transferring it from Hirado). Japan remains isolated from the world until the shock of Perry's flotilla in 1853.
  • A bloody European conflict, raging since 1618, continues. Imagine Afghanistan in 1990? That's Germany in 1641.
    • Friederich Wilhelm, Elector of Brandenburg, dismisses pro-Imperial advisor Schwartzenberg, and concludes a truce with Sweden. He also inveigles Polish king Wladyslaw IV Vasa to confirm him as Duke of Prussia.
    • The Swedish army (1300 soldiers with only 500 Swedes and Finns) is in disarray after a failed coup the previous winter. However, they and their French and Brunswick allies make a half-hearted attempt to beseige Regensburg (where an imperial diet is in session), but pull back when the Danube thaws. Baner dies amid squabbling with French general de Guebriant. Discipline breaks down again soon afterwards.
    • Under General Wrangel, the allies manage to hold off a Bavarian/Imperial attack on the town Wolfenbüttel, preventing the capture of nearby Lüneberg. Discipline breaks down again soon afterwards; the army refuses to pursue the Imperialists, demanding more pay.
    • Sweden and France renew their alliance with the Prliminary Treaty of Hamburg. They then invite the Emperor to peace negotiations in Münster.
    • Swedish chancellor Axel Oxenstierna appoints Lennart Torstensson to command the Swedish army. He brings 7000 Swedish recruits and brutally suppreses unrest in the ranks.
    • A plot against Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu has been brewing, engineered by the duc de Bouillon. The comte de Soissons leads a pro-Imperial invasion of France and wins the Battle of La Marfeé near Sedán, but a bullet goes through his head soon after the battle. Where the bullet came from is unclear.
    • Monaco signs the Treaty of Péronne with France, granting it sovreignty, the recognition of Honore II Grimaldi as its Prince, and protection by French troops. A Spanish garrison must be expelled first.
    • (December 25) The Bavarian and Austrian ambassadors accept the Preliminary Treaty of Hamburg and negotiations are set to begin in Münster the following year.
  • The disputes between English King Charles I and the Long Parliament reach a head:
    • Parliament, headed by Sir John Pym, orders Charles's chief minister, the Earl of Strafford, imprisoned in the Tower of London on March 1. His trial begins March 22. On April 10, the impeachment of the Strafford fails because the offenses they accuse him of are not high treason. However, that doesn't stop Parliament. They introduce a bill of attainder ordering his death. When an army plot to free him fails, the plotters (including playwright (Sir John Suckling) must flee to France. This galvanizes Parliament into passing the bill. Charles, hoping to appease Parliament, signs the attainder, and the Earl loses his head.
    • Parliament passes the Triennial Act, demanding that there be no more than a 3-year gap between Parliaments, abolishes hereditary knighthood, as well as instruments associated with Charles's unpopoular policies: the Council of the North, the Court of High Commission, the Court of the Star Chamber, and the Ship Money.
    • Pym introduces a Root and Branch petition demanding the abolition of the episcopacy.
    • 1641 rising in Ireland. When Parliament attempts to demobilize an Irish army gathered by the Duke of Strafford, it mutinies. Angered by the 'plantation' of English and Scottish settlers, Catholic peasants in Ulster rise in rebellion, killing many of their Protestant landlords. Phelim O'Neill is expelled from the Irish Parliament and joins the rebellion.
    • Instead of funds and troops to suppress the Irish rebellion, Parliament presents Charles with a Grand Remonstrance listing the shortcomings of his rule, and demanding that Charles replace ministers believed to be plotting the return of Catholicism, and the reduction of Anglican bishops' power. Charles and Parliament send separate armies to suppress the rebellion.
    • Charles bungles an attempt to exclude Covenanters from the Scottish Parliament.
    • (December) A petition demanding the exclusion of bishops and Catholics from the House of Lords is presented to Parliament. Later, a group of short-haired apprentices demonstrates in support of the petition in front of Westminster. Supporters of Parliament are henceforth called 'Roundheads'.
  • Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan allows Khushal Khan Khattak to succeed his father as a Pashtun chieftain, but the Emperor's son Aurangzeb decides to imprison him at Gwaliar.
  • Ottoman naval and land forces drive out the Cossacks occupying Azov for Russia.
  • Stamford is founded in Connecticut.
  • Spain is exhausted from the Thirty Years' War. Olivares attempts to mislead Philip IV, into believing things aren't so bad. Philip's trust is beginning to show signs of wear.
    • A hurricane sinks nine ships of the Spanish treasure fleet off Florida. A tenth, Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, attempts to limp to San Juan but wrecks on Abrojos reef. The wreck will be salvaged by John Phips in 1688, but millions more in gold and silver will be recovered when the wreck is discovered again in 1976.
    • Portugal having won independence from Spain on the battlefield the previous year, crowns the keader of the rebellion, the Duke of Bragan¸a as king, João IV.
    • João's brother-in-law, the Duque de Medina Sidonia, enters a conspiracy to have himself declared king of Andalucia, but betrays it to Olivares himself.
    • A French army supporting a revolt in Catalonia enters Barcelona; the Castilian siege of the fortress of Montjuic overlooking Barcelona is broken by fishermen.
  • Anthony van Diemen leads Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie forces in the capture of Malacca from the Portugese. The VOC also captures Angola from Portugal.

1640 - 1641 - 1642

How They Were Made - 17th Century

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