To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun,
For my mean Pen are too superior things;
Or how they all, or each their dates have run,
Let Poets and Historians set these forth.
My obscure lines shall not so dim their worth.

- Anne Bradstreet, The Tenth Muse

 He nothing common did or mean
 Upon that memorable scene,
 But with his keener eye
 The axe's edge did try.

- Andrew Marvell, An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's return from Ireland


Born in 1650:

Died in 1650: Events of 1650:
  • Johan de Witt publishes his treatise on conic sections, Elementa curvarum linearum, then moves on to politics.  He leaves Dordrecht as the leader of his city's delegation to the Dutch government in The Hague.
  • Anne Bradstreet's brother-in-law takes a collection of poems she wrote in Massachusetts across the Atlantic and has them published. The Tenth Muse, Lately sprung up in America. By a Gentlewoman in those parts is probably the earliest-known work of American literature.
  • Henry Vaughn's collection of religious poems, Silex Scintillans, is published.
  • Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's wives direct building projects, too. Begum Fatehpuri completes her project, Delhi's Fatehpuri Masjid Mosque.  Shah Jahan begins another mosque, Delhi's Jama Masjid.
  • Otto Von Guericke invents the air pump, and also discovers a new way of collecting static electricity, using a ball of sulfur.
  • Oliver Cromwell has consolidated power in England, but still needs to mop up Ireland and Scotland.
  • Swedish chancellor Axel Oxenstierna falls ill and twenty-four-year-old Kristina Vasa is left to plan her own coronation.
    • The commoners of Sweden want a reduction in taxes; the nobility oppose it. Kristina sides with the nobility, taking as payment their acceptance of her lover Karl Gustav as her heir.  This enrages Polish King Jan II Casimir Wazy, who threatens war.  Cardinal Mazarin brokers a peace summit in Lübeck but the Poles are not satisfied.
    • Soon after Rene Descartes presents Queen Krisitna plans for her new Academy, she talks her guest into getting up at 5 AM for a mathematical discussion, far before his usual hour.  Descartes catches pneumonia and dies a week later.
  • Cardinal Jules Mazarin arrests the princes du Condé, Conty, and Longueville, who were the principal forces behind the previous year's peace treaty with Spain. Mazarin wants no peace with Spain. Many french nobles do, and  The 'Fronde' erupts into violence again.  Italians are seen as warmongers; most of those in France flee. Frondist Marshal Jean Turenne attempts to invade France from the Spanish Netherlands but Marshal Plessis Praslin defeats him.
  • William II would like his brother-in-law restored to the throne of England, but the leaders of the Dutch states think that's a very bad idea.  In order to force their compliance, he imprisons them.  However, while negotiating a peace treaty with France he catches smallpox and dies, aged 25.  His son, born weeks later, inherits Nassau and Orange, but the office of stadtholder is suspended.
  • With his uncle Dorgon's death, Qing Emperor Sun Zhi theoretically rules in his own right now, but he is twelve years old and the eunuchs and Buddhist priests of the Forbidden City are making the decisions.
  • Serbians revolt against Ottoman rule.
  • Muscat and Oman, led by Imam Bin Saif al-Yarubi, expel the Portuguese from the northern ports they occupied.  Now free from both Ottoman and European control, al-Yarubi becomes the first sultan of Oman.
  • Maryland's governor William Stone organizes a new county out of the area north of the Patuxent River, naming it for his Lord Proprietor's wife, Anne Arundel.
  • New Mexico Governor Hernando de Ugarte y la Concha discovers a plan for an uprising of Pueblo Indians and crushes it before it begins.
Of course, 1650 is a convenient round number for people to date things that happened about this time, if not precisely this year.  Among them:
  • In Western music, the use of harmony becomes much better developed and more widespread.
  • A new form of musical composition, the overture, appears in Italy and France.
  • Native cultures on the North American Great Plains are completely transformed by horses, which have escaped or been stolen from Spanish ranches in New Mexico.
  • The human population of the Earth reaches 500 million.
  • English slave traders begin to take business away from the Dutch.   Ships carrying hundreds of captives from Africa begin arriving in Virginia.

1649 - 1650 - 1651

How They Were Made - 17th Century

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