1651 is a time for...


The first European settlement in the Gambia is built in this year. It is Fort James on James Island, erected by proud Baltic Germans.

The Governor of Martinique sends a group of 40 men to St. Lucia to establish a settlement there, having bought the island from the French Company the previous year. The site of their village is unknown, but it is thought to have been in the vicinity of Castries.

The island of Grenada is taken over by French conquerors and native Carib families leap to their death rather than being captured alive. The town Sauteurs - French for Jumpers - is named in memory of this.


In Massachusetts, Christians who have themselves fled from religious intolerance do what humans do best everywhere - they persecute. John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, and John Crandall are arrested for teaching the Baptist doctrine. They are later convicted and fined for the crime.

The Colonial Legislature passes a law that forbids Christmas:

"Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmass...either by forbearing labor, feasting, or in any other way...every such person so offending shall pay a fine for each offense of five shillings to the county." - The law is abolished about 1681.

War and Rebellion

Japan: In the Keian Incident, leaderless samurais rise and attempt to overthrow the shogunate. This is the first large-scale ronin revolt. In this year the third Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, dies.

Great Britain:

Charles Stuart is crowned at Scone in Scotland, but is defeated by the Cromwellians at the Battle of Worcester. The king has to flee to France, and Oliver Cromwell rules Britain until 1658.

Cromwell's Navigaton Act prohibits Dutch shippers from participating in English trade. This will lead to war with the Netherlands.

John Milton publishes a Latin pamphlet called First Defense of the English People, later to be followed by Second Defense of the English People and Defense of Himself.

For unknown reasons, a war erupts between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. The fighting ends, but the war is not formally ended until 1986. The "war" lasts for 335 years.


Thomas Hobbes publishes Leviathan, stating that man is a selfishly individualistic animal at constant war with others.

William Harvey describes organ formation in the developing embryo, and publishes the theory that all living things come from eggs.

Dutchman Antonie van Leeuwenhoek develops a microscope where he can clearly see cells, protists and "human larvae".


Dewa Cawu succeeds Dewa Pacekan as king of Bali.

Ahmad of Bantam dies and Abdul Fatha becomes new ruler of the west Java sultanate.

Rijaluddin Shah of the Malaysian state Kedah dies, his successor is Muhiyuddin Shah.

Death and art

German composer Heinrich Albert dies.

French composer Ennemond Gaultier dies, too. But the king is dancing - young Louis XIV starts his ballet career in this year.

In Italy, composer Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger dies while Domenico Gabrieli is born.

The opera Oristeo, a Greek love drama, is composed by Francesco Cavalli and performed in Teatro S Appolinare in Venice. Giovanni Faustini has written the libretto.

Probable death of poetess Lady Mary Wroth of England.

< 1650 | 1652 >

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