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The 1720s decade ran from January 1, 1720, to December 31, 1729.
- January 21 – Sweden and Prussia sign the Treaty of Stockholm (Great Northern War).
- February 17 – The Treaty of The Hague is signed between Spain, Britain, France, Austria and the Dutch Republic, ending the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
- February 24 – Battle of Nassau: Spanish forces assault the British settlement of Nassau, Bahamas during the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
- March 11 (February 29 Old Style) – Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden resigns, to let her husband Frederick I take over as king of Sweden. She had desired a joint rule, in a similar manner to William III and Mary II in Britain, but as the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates refuses this, she abdicates in her husband's favour instead.
- April – "South Sea Bubble" in England: A scheme for the South Sea Company to take over most of the unconsolidated national debt of Britain massively inflates share prices.
- April 4 (March 24 Old Style) – The Riksdag of the Estates elects Frederick I new King of Sweden.
- July 12 – "Bubble Act": the Lords Justice in Great Britain attempt to curb some of the excesses of the stock markets during the "South Sea Bubble". They dissolve a number of petitions for patents and charters, and abolish more than 80 joint-stock companies of dubious merit, but this has little effect on the creation of "Bubbles", ephemeral joint-stock companies created during the hysteria of the times.
- July 27 – The Battle of Grengam takes place in the Ledsund strait between the island communities of Föglö and Lemland. It was the last major naval battle in the Great Northern War that took place in the Åland Islands, marking the end of Russian and Swedish offensive naval operations in Baltic waters.
- August 14 – The Spanish Villasur expedition, which set out on June 16 from New Mexico, with the intention of checking French influence on the Great Plains of North America, ends in failure, as it is ambushed by a Pawnee and Otoe force.
- September – "South Sea Bubble": The English stock market crashes, with dropping prices for stock in the South Sea Company.
- November 16 – Pirate "Calico Jack" Rackham is brought to trial at Spanish Town in Jamaica; he is hanged at Port Royal two days later.
- The Tuscarora people leave North Carolina as a result of European colonization.
- The Town on Queen Anne's Creek, North Carolina is renamed Edenton, in honor of North Carolina Governor Charles Eden; it is incorporated in 1722.
- The Guild Regulation of 1720 is introduced in Sweden.
- The Kangxi Emperor announces that all western businessmen in China can trade only in Guangzhou.
- Edmond Halley is appointed as Astronomer Royal for England.
- The Academia Real da Historia is founded in Lisbon, Portugal.
- Jonathan Swift begins major composition work on Gulliver's Travels in Ireland.
- Il teatro alla moda, a satirical pamphlet by Benedetto Marcello, is published anonymously in Venice.
- The first yacht club in the world, the Royal Cork Yacht Club, is founded in Ireland.
- January 6 – The Committee of Inquiry on the South Sea Bubble in Great Britain publishes its findings.
- February 5 – James Stanhope, chief minister of Great Britain dies after collapsing while defending his government's conduct over the South Sea Bubble
- March 24 – Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg concertos are completed, and dedicated to Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt.
- April – Pirates John Taylor and Olivier Levasseur capture the 700-ton Portuguese galleon Nossa Senhora do Cabo at Réunion. The total value of treasure on board (from Goa) is estimated as between £100,000 and £875,000, one of the largest pirate hauls ever.
- April 4 – Robert Walpole becomes the first Prime Minister of Great Britain (although this is more a term of disparagement at this time).
- May 8 – Pope Innocent XIII succeeds Pope Clement XI, as the 244th pope.
- August 18 – The Sack of Shamakhi occurs.
- September 10 (August 23 Old Style) – The Treaty of Nystad is signed, ending the Great Northern War.
- October 22 – The Kelantan Sultanate is established at Kelantan Darul Naim (modern-day Kelantan Darul Naim, Malaysia).
- November 2 – The Romanov and architect of the Great Northern War Peter I, is proclaimed the first Emperor of All the Russias. This replaces the 174-year-long Tsardom of Russia with the Russian Empire (it collapses in 1917).
- December 22 – Philip V of Spain signs a Royal Decree in Lerma, transforming the Seminary of Saint Rose of Lima in Caracas into the Universidad Real y Pontificia de Caracas.
- José de Azlor y Virto de Vera, Marquis of San Miguel de Aguayo and governor of Spanish Texas, establishes the fort of Presidio La Bahía at its original location, on the ruins of the failed French Fort Saint Louis.
- Regular mail service between London and New England is established.
- A suggestion box is developed under the eighth shōgun of Japan, Yoshimune Tokugawa.
- January 27 – Moll Flanders is published.
- March 8 – Battle of Gulnabad in Persia: The Pashtun people of Afghanistan, led by Mahmud Hotak, decisively defeat forces of the Persian Safavid dynasty, precipitating its fall.
- April 5 (Easter Sunday) – Dutch admiral Jacob Roggeveen lands on what is now Easter Island.
- April 2 The first Silence Dogood letter is printed, written by Benjamin Franklin.
- May 5 – Pennsylvania colony enacts a statute, requiring all persons importing any person previously convicted of sodomy, to pay £5 for each such incoming person.
- June 2 – Wapping, a black male slave owned by a Mr. Heale, is hanged for murder in the colony of Virginia.
- July – The Russo-Persian War (1722–23) begins, with Peter the Great's Persian campaign.
- July 25 – Father Rale's War (1722–25) begins along the Maine and Massachusetts border.
- August 15 – William Battin, 17, is hanged for arson and murder in the colony of Pennsylvania.
- October 23 – The six-month-long Siege of Isfahan ends, when the Safavid capital Isfahan capitulates to the Afghan rebels. Safavid Sultan Husayn abdicates, and acknowledges Mahmud Hotak as the new Shah of Persia.
- December 20 – After the longest reign by a Chinese Emperor in history (61 years), the Kangxi Emperor dies, and is succeeded by his son Yinzhen as Yongzheng Emperor.
- Edenton is incorporated as the county seat of Chowan County, North Carolina. The governor and assembly of North Carolina move to Edenton, making it the de facto capital of North Carolina until 1746, when the government is moved to New Bern.
- Peter the Great of Russia creates the Table of Ranks.
- A small group of Bohemian Brethren (the "Hidden Seed") from northern Moravia are allowed to settle in a new village, Herrnhut, on the Berthelsdorf estate of the pietist Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf in Upper Lusatia (Saxony), forming the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine, seed of the Moravian Church's renewal.
- The first public theatre in Denmark, Lille Grønnegade Theatre, is founded in Copenhagen.
- Modern music theory finds definition, in Jean-Philippe Rameau's Traité de l'harmonie réduite à ses principes naturels ("Treatise on Harmony"), published in Paris.
- The Brown Bess Musket enters into the service of the British Army.
- Johann Sebastian Bach composes The Well-Tempered Clavier.
- February 16 – Louis XV of France attains his majority.
- March 9 – The Mapuche Uprising of 1723 begins in Chile.
- June 26 – Russo-Persian War: Baku surrenders to the Russians.
- July 12 – Christian von Wolff holds a lecture for students and the magistrates at the end of his term as a rector, as a result of which he is banned from Prussia, on a charge of atheism.
- August – The Peterhof Palace opens just outside Saint Petersburg, Russia.
- September 1 – The Treaty of St. Petersburg is signed in Russia.
- September 14 – Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena lays down the first stone of Fort Manoel in Malta.
- November 23 – The Province of Carolina incorporates New Bern as Newbern (the town later becomes the capital of North Carolina).
- December 2 – Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, regent of France since 1715, dies
- December 26 – Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes, BWV 40, by Johann Sebastian Bach, is first performed in Leipzig.
- The Province of Carolina incorporates Beaufort, North Carolina, as the Port of Beaufort, making it the third incorporated town in the province.
- The Four Seasons, a set of violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, is composed.
- January 15 – King Philip V of Spain abdicates the throne in favour of his 16-year-old son Louis I.
- January 22 – Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, Spanish Captain general of the Río de la Plata, forces the Portuguese to abandon their fortified settlement at what will become the city of Montevideo in Uruguay.
- January 28 – Saint Petersburg State University is established.
- February 8 – Catherine I of Russia is officially named czarina by her husband, Peter the Great.
- February 20 – The premiere of Giulio Cesare, an Italian opera by George Frideric Handel, takes place in London.
- April 7 – The premiere performance, of the St John Passion (BWV 245) of Johann Sebastian Bach, takes place at St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig.
- May 29 – Pope Benedict XIII (born Pierro Orsini) succeeds Pope Innocent XIII, as the 245th pope.
- June 23 – The Treaty of Constantinople is signed, partitioning Persia between the Ottoman Empire and Russia.
- July 27 – Peter the Wild Boy is captured near Helpensen in Hanover.
- August 31 – Louis I of Spain dies of smallpox, aged 17, after a reign of 7 months, and his father Philip V resumes the throne.
- November 11 – Joseph Blake (alias Blueskin), English highwayman, is hanged in London.
- November 16
- China expels foreign missionaries.
- Blenheim Palace construction is completed in England. It is presented as a gift from the nation to the Duke of Marlborough, for his involvement in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.
- The Austrian Netherlands agree to the Pragmatic Sanction.
- Shah Mahmud Hotaki of Afghanistan goes insane.
- Longman, the oldest surviving publishing house in England, is founded.
- The Terengganu Sultanate is established at Terengganu Darul Iman (now known as Terengganu Darul Iman, Malaysia).
- February 8 – Catherine I becomes Empress of Russia, on the death of her husband, Peter the Great.
- February 20 – The first reported case of white men scalping Native Americans takes place in New Hampshire colony.
- March 2 – In London, a night watchman finds a severed head by the River Thames; it is later recognized to be that of the husband of Catherine Hayes. She and an accomplice are later executed.
- March 30 – The second performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's St John Passion, BWV 245 (including 5 movements from his Weimarer Passion), takes place at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig.
- April 30 – Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor and King Philip V of Spain sign the Treaty of Vienna.
- May 12 – The Black Watch is raised as a military company, as part of the pacification of the Scottish Highlands under General George Wade.
- May 21 – The Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky is instituted in Russia by Empress Catherine I.
- May 24 – Jonathan Wild, fraudulent Thief-Taker General, is hanged at Tyburn in London, for actually aiding criminals.
- June 24 – The Grand Lodge of Ireland in Dublin holds its first recorded meeting, making it the second most senior Grand Lodge in world Freemasonry, and the oldest in continuous existence.
- A fire in Wapping, London, destroys 70 houses.
- In Qing dynasty China, 66 copies of a 5,020 volume-long encyclopedia, the Gujin Tushu Jicheng (Complete Collection of Illustrations and Writings from the Earliest to Current Times) are printed, necessitating the crafting of 250,000 movable type characters cast in bronze.
- 1725–1730 – Freemasonry is established in France, as an English import.
- February 1 (January 21 Old Style) – The Conventicle Act is adopted in Sweden.
- February 8 – The Supreme Privy Council is established in Russia.
- February 13 – Parliament of Negrete between Mapuche and Spanish authorities in Chile bring an end to the Mapuche uprising of 1723–26.
- April 15 – Isaac Newton tells William Stukeley the story of how he developed his theory of gravity.
- May 1 – Voltaire begins his exile in England.
- July 11 – André-Hercule Cardinal de Fleury, recalled from exile by King Louis XV of France, banishes Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon, and Madame de Prie from court.
- August 7 – Pirate Nicholas Brown is captured near Xtabi, Jamaica.
- October 26 – Jonathan Swift's satirical novel Gulliver's Travels is first published (anonymously) in London; it sells out within a week.
- November – Mary Toft allegedly gives birth to 16 rabbits in England; the story is later revealed to be a hoax.
- December 24 – The settlement of Montevideo is founded by the Spaniards in the Viceroyalty of Peru.
- The Supreme Privy Council is established in Imperial Russia.
- The Gujin Tushu Jicheng, an immense Chinese encyclopedia, is printed using copper-based movable type printing.
- Muhammad bin Saud becomes head of the House of Saud.
- The remaining ruins of Liverpool Castle in England are finally demolished.
- February 11 – Spain besieges Gibraltar, in order to recapture the territory.
- February 2 – Johann Sebastian Bach's solo cantata, Ich habe genug, BWV 82, premieres in Leipzig.
- February 20 – German composer George Frideric Handel becomes a British subject.
- April 11 – Johann Sebastian Bach's St Matthew Passion (BWV 244b) premieres at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig.
- May 12 – History of the Moravian Church: The 18th century renewal: The Brotherly Agreement is adopted by the Moravian Church community at Herrnhut, under the influence of Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf, beginning the Church's renewal.
- May 31 – The Royal Bank of Scotland is founded by Royal Charter in Edinburgh.
- June 11 – George, Prince of Wales, becomes King George II of Great Britain, on the death of his father.
- June 27 – Uxbridge, Massachusetts, is incorporated as a town.
- July – History of the Ursulines in New Orleans: Seventeen Ursuline Sisters from France land in New Orleans, Louisiana, where they found the orphanage which is the predecessor of Catholic Charities and the Ursuline Academy, making the latter the oldest continuously-operating school for girls, and the oldest Catholic school in the United States.
- August 13 – History of the Moravian Church: The 18th century renewal: The Moravian Church community at Herrnhut undergoes a Pentecostalist experience.
- August 30 – Anne, eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain, is given the title Princess Royal.
- September 8 – A barn fire during a puppet show in the village of Burwell, Cambridgeshire, England, kills 78 people, many of them children. Another report says that all but six of the 160 persons assembled were killed in the accidental fire.
- October 11 – George II of Great Britain is crowned. Handel's Coronation Anthems are composed for the event, including Zadok the Priest, which has been played at every subsequent Coronation of the British monarch.
- November 18 – An earthquake in Tazriz, Persia kills 77,000.
- November 21 – The Netherlands signs the Treaty of Seville.
- November 27 – The foundation stone of the Jerusalem's Church in Berlin is laid.
- An old woman known as Janet (Jenny) Horne of Loth, Sutherland becomes the last alleged witch in the British Isles to be executed, when she is burned at the stake in Dornoch, Scotland. (Some sources give the date as June 1722.)
- The first Amish move to North America.
- 1727–1800 – Lt. Col. Francisco de Mello Palheta smuggles coffee seeds to Brazil in a bouquet, starting a coffee empire.
- February 28 – Battle of Palkhed: Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I defeats the Mughal Governor of Deccan, Qamar-ud-din Khan, Asif Jah I, Nizam-ul-Mulk.
- March 14 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau leaves Geneva for the first time.
- May 31 – The Royal Bank of Scotland extends the first overdraft (to Edinburgh merchant William Hogg for £1,000).
- July 14–August 14 – Vitus Bering sails northward from the Kamchatka Peninsula, through the Bering Strait, and round Cape Dezhnev.
- Late Summer – Voltaire ends his exile in England.
- August 29 – The City of Nuuk is founded in Greenland, as Fort Godt-Haab, by royal governor Claus Paarss.
- October 20–23 – The Copenhagen Fire of 1728 (the largest in the Danish city's history) burns.
- English astronomer James Bradley uses stellar aberration (first observed in 1725) to calculate the speed of light, and observes nutation of the Earth's axis.
- The Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Gerónimo de la Habana, the oldest university in Cuba, is founded in Havana.
- Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of King George II of Great Britain, arrives in Britain for the first time, aged 21.
- March 23 (evening) – Johann Sebastian Bach's First Köthen Funeral music premieres at St. Jakob, Köthen, in honor of the funeral of his former employer Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen.
- March 24 (morning) – Johann Sebastian Bach's funeral cantata Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt, BWV 244a premieres at St. Jakob, for the same event as the previous day.
- April 15 – Johann Sebastian Bach's St Matthew Passion, BWV 244b is performed again, at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig.
- July 25 – Seven of the original eight Lords Proprietor sell their tracts within the Province of Carolina, back to the British crown. The Province is permanently divided, and reorganized into the Royal Colonies of North Carolina and South Carolina.
- July 30 – Baltimore, Maryland is founded.
- August 1 – The Comet of 1729, possibly the largest comet based on the absolute magnitude, on record, is discovered by Fr. Nicolas Sarrabat, a professor of mathematics at Marseille.
- September 29 – October 5, Battle of Damghan: The Persians under Nader Shah Afshar defeat the Afghans and their allies.
- November – The first (wooden) Putney Bridge is completed, as the only fixed crossing of the River Thames between London Bridge and Kingston, England.
- November 9 – The Treaty of Seville is signed between Great Britain, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic.
- November 29 – Natchez revolt: The worst native american massacre to take place on Mississippi soil occurs when Natchez people kill 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children at Fort Rosalie (near modern-day Natchez, Mississippi).
- The third oldest settlement in Mississippi, Port Gibson, is founded.
- A fire in Istanbul destroys 12,000 houses and kills 7,000 inhabitants.
- Jonathan Swift (anonymously) publishes his satire A Modest Proposal.
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 297–298. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
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At Catherine's urging, "Billings went into the room with a hatchet, with which he struck Hayes so violently that he fractured his skull" but did not kill him. Wood, "taking the hatchet out of Billings's hand, gave the poor man two more blows, which effectually dispatched him." They were then faced with the problem of how to dispose of the body.
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- Dublin Weekly Journal 26 June 1725. "History of Freemasonry in Ireland". Freemasonry in North Munster. Provincial Grand Lodge of North Munster. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto; Villaroel Carmona, Rafael; Lepe Orellana, Jaime; Fuente-Alba Poblete, J. Miguel; Fuenzalida Helms, Eduardo (1997). Historia militar de Chile (in Spanish) (3rd ed.). Biblioteca Militar. p. 88.
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