Timeline of Jane Austen - 1780s


Year Austen Literary history Political history
  • Publication of The Education of Humanity by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
  • 2–11 June – Gordon Riots in London, protesting the Catholic Relief Act
  • Publication of Schiller's drama The Robbers
  • Publication of Immanuel Kant's philosophical treatise Critique of Pure Reason
  • 19 October – Franco-American force defeats the British at the Battle of Yorktown, effectively ending the fighting in America during War of Independence
  • Publication of Frances Burney's (pictured) novel Cecilia
  • Posthumous publication of the first part of Rousseau's autobiographical Confessions
  • Publication of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's novel Les Liaisons dangereuses
  • Edward Austen adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Knight of Godmersham, Kent
  • Spring – Jane Austen, Cassandra Austen, and Jane Cooper sent to live with Mrs. Cawley in Oxford to be educated
  • Summer – Mrs. Cawley moves to Southampton and the girls fall ill
  • 3 September – Treaty of Versailles signed, formally ending the American War of Independence
  • December – William Pitt becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain
  • Amateur theatricals at Steventon continueThe Rivals
  • Pitt's India Act gives the British Crown (rather than officers of the East India Company) the power to guide Indian politics
  • Spring – Austen and Cassandra attend Abbey School, Reading, Berkshire
  • Publication of William Cowper's (pictured) poem The Task
  • Edward Austen takes the Grand Tour of the Continent (1786–90)
  • April – Francis Austen enters the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth
  • November – James Austen travels to the Continent
  • December – Austen and Cassandra leave Abbey School
  • Publication of Robert Burns's Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect
  • December – Shays' Rebellion in the United States (December 1786 – January 1787)
  • Beginning of impeachment proceedings in British Parliament brought by Edmund Burke against Warren Hastings, Governor-General of India
  • Austen begins writing juvenilia (pictured)
  • Autumn – James Austen returns from the Continent
  • December – Amateur theatricals at Steventon continue – The Wonder
  • 13 May – First fleet of convicts sails to penal colony in Australia from Britain
  • 22 May – Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is formed in Britain
  • January – Amateur theatricals continue at Steventon – The Chances
  • March – Amateur theatrical continue at Steventon – Tom Thumb
  • 1 July – Henry Austen matriculates at St. John's College, Oxford
  • Summer – Mr. and Mrs. Austen take Jane and Cassandra to Kent and London
  • 23 December – Francis Austen leaves the Royal Naval Academy and sails to the East Indies
  • Winter – Amateur theatricals continue at Steventon – The Sultan and High Life Below Stairs
  • 1 January – First edition of The Times is published
  • Publication of Charlotte Smith's (pictured) novel Emmeline
  • November – Beginning of the Regency Crisis, caused by George III's madness
  • Publication of the first issue of James Austen's periodical The Loiterer; issued weekly until March 1790
  • 29 April – Publication of former slave Olaudah Equiano's autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
  • Publication of William Blake's poems Songs of Innocence
  • Posthumous publication of the second part of Rousseau's autobiographical Confessions
  • 14 July – Storming of the Bastille in Paris (pictured)
  • 26 August – The French Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
  • 5–6 October – "October days"; Parisian women, unable to buy bread, march to Versailles and bring the royal family back to Paris
  • December – End of the Regency Crisis (George III recovers)

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