Religion and politics are taboo things to mention in conversations with others, or so my mother says. They can be controversial topics that separate friends and family members and, as history reflects, those two realms have caused much more than just a battle of wits. Christians and Islamic people have often been engaged in bloody combat over a discrepancy in their beliefs. It is evident now just like it was long ago. In 1688, the Ottoman Empire was on the downturn. The empire was spread too thin and many countries were no longer willing to put up with their militaristic style of conquering, a component of the Muslim religion. But, truth be told, it no longer posed a large threat to Europe at this time. The Ottoman Empire, mostly Muslim, was in possession of the majority of Hungary in the late 1600’s and they attempted to possess Vienna. They suffered an unsettling defeat. In a span of five years following this, Austria, Poland, and Venice (along with German and French assistance) teamed up against the Turks. Austria eventually took over Turkish owned Hungary in 1688 and quickly became a major power during that time. Many Germans and Poles view this as a Christian victory over Islam.

Within Christianity, there are certain sects that do not really get along, as history shows. In 1688, relations between the Roman Catholics and Protestants began to heat up. King James II, a Roman Catholic, had two Protestant daughters, of which the oldest, Mary, was next in line to take the throne. James II remarried and fathered a son that happened to be born on June 10, 1688 named James Francis Edward Stuart. This son was now the heir to the throne and, to the repulse of England, was being brought up to be Roman Catholic, thus creating a Roman Catholic dynasty. A movement began to instate Princess Mary and her husband William of Orange as successors to the crown. Eventually, James II was overthrown with the help of William of Orange and other key parties. One year later, a Bill of Rights was passed which declared the rights of successors to the crown. The events that led up to the passing of the Bill of Rights and the overthrow of King James II is often referred to as The Glorious Revolution.

In Ayutthaya, Thailand, changes in the governing body were taking place right when James II was being dethroned. The present King Narai was in failing health and his daughter, Kromluang Yothathep, was instructed to take the throne with help from one of two Siamese counselors: Phetracha and Mom Pi. Phetracha is outraged with Narai’s decision and, with the backing of the court and Buddhist clergy, he kills Mom Pi, two other potential heirs, and Phaulkon (a favorite counselor of the king). King Narai dies, and Phetracha claims the throne. To legitimize this coup d’état, he marries the daughter and sister of the late Narai.

As Phetracha showed, individuals make up the whole of history as they have the capacity to create and erase and influence. William Dampier, a British navigator and plant collector made a record for his homeland on his exploratory travels. Though eventually being remembered for collecting plants in areas of Brazil, New Guinea, and Timor, his renown extends elsewhere. In 1688, while collecting plants, he stumbles upon the north-western coast of Australia making him the first Englishman to see Australia. Unfortunately, he did not collect any plant specimens. Whereas Dampier worked with the natural world, Antonio Verrio (Italian –born) concentrated on the representation of the spiritual world. As a gifted painter, he was hired to complete six rooms and a stairwell ceiling, with the help of a few assistants, in the Burghley House in England. His most notable work is the Heaven room, which was elaborately painted around 1688.

1688 was a big year for everyone across the world and in some ways, that year alone changed the world. I guess though, 1689 and 1670 changed the world too. One can hope that it was always for the better, but as you know, history can be repetitive.


Morgan Faulk