The 18th century lasted from January 1, 1701 to December 31, 1800 in the Gregorian calendar.
During the 18th century, the Enlightenment culminated in the French and American revolutions. Philosophy and science increased in prominence. Philosophers dreamed of a brighter age. This dream turned into a reality with the French Revolution, although it was later compromised by the excesses of the terror of Maximilien Robespierre. At first, the monarchies of Europe embraced Enlightenment ideals, but with the French Revolution they feared losing their power and formed broad coalitions for the counter-revolution.
The Ottoman Empire underwent a protracted decline, as it failed to keep up with the technological advances in Europe. The Tulip period symbolized a period of peace and reorientation towards European society, after victory against a burgeoning Russian Empire in the Pruth River Campaign. Throughout the century various reforms were introduced with limited success.
The 18th century also marked the end of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as an independent state. The once powerful and vast kingdom, that was once able to conquer Moscow and defeat the great Ottoman armies, collapsed under numerous invasions. Its semi-democratic government system was not efficient enough to rival the neighbouring monarchies of the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire and the Archduchy of Austria which divided the Commonwealth territories among them, changing the landscape of Central European politics for the next hundred years.
Great Britain became a major power worldwide with the defeat of France in the Americas, in the 1760s and the conquest of large parts of India. However, Britain lost much of its North American colonies after the American Revolution, which was actively helped by the French. The Industrial Revolution started in Britain in the 1770s with the production of the improved steam engine. Despite its modest beginnings in the 18th century, it would radically change human society and the environment.