Written by leading experts in their field, the entries are international in scope, offering full coverage of the chief personalities, events, wars, politics, including colonialism and the internal histories of Africa, china and other great empires, and the social developments of the period. Entries on art, literature, music and ideas, from Mozart, Kant and Goya to the Enlightment and the novel, are included, while essay-length sections give an interpretative view of the century, with up-to-date surveys of the latest historical thinking on controversial topics. As the diversity of the coverage shows, the eighteenth century was marked by contrast. While there was a spectacular expansion of European empires, the United States of America declared its independence. The rights of man were proclaimed, and yet the vast majority of people were condemned by the new laws of political economy to live below subsistence level. A chronology, reading list, dynastic charts and a selection of maps complete this indispensable reference guide to the eighteenth century.