1770 (circa): Nicolas Cugnot, a French military engineer, builds a steam tractor designed to pull artillery pieces. The idea is not taken up.
1771: Arkwright, Needs and Strutt open first water-powered spinning mill on the River Derwent at Cromford, Derbyshire, employing 300 operatives. Arkwright and Thomas Highs meet in Manchester.
1773: Boston Tea Party - beginning of the end of British rule in America. Population of Manchester reaches 22,500.
1774: A Government Act permits "the use and wear of any new manufactured stuffs wholly made of cotton," ending years of prohibitive restrictions and duties. Matthew Boulton and James Watt open their steam-engine factory in Soho, Birmingham. Robert and Thomas Barber, of Bilborough in Nottinghamshire, take out a patent for a power loom.
1775: Start of American War of Independence as colonists rebel against imposition of taxes without representation.
1778: Joseph Bramah invents the water closet.
1779: Samuel Crompton builds his spinning mule, combining Arkwright's drafting rollers with the spindle-drafting of the Jenny. One operative can now look after more spindles and produce finer yarns. It soon becomes the machinery of choice in many cotton-spinning mills. Jedediah Strutt opens spinning mill at Millbrook, Belper. Navigator Captain James Cook is murdered in Hawaii.
1780: Population of England and Wales estimated at 7.5 million.
1781: Arkwright loses court case against man accused of pirating his machines - his patents are set aside, sparking rush to build water-frame mills. Samuel Need dies and Arkwright-Strutt partnership is dissolved.
1783: William Pitt the Younger is Prime Minister of Britain. American War of Independence ends with Treaty of Paris. Samuel Slater - later to take British cotton-spinning secrets to America - begins apprenticeship with Jedediah Strutt at Belper.
1784: Quarry Bank Mill at Styal founded by Samuel Greg.
1785: Arkwright's patents restored in January court case, but finally set aside by Court of King's Bench in June. James Watt's steam engine first used to power a cotton mill. Clergyman Edmund Cartwright patents the power loom. French chemist C.L. Bertholet introduces chemical bleaching of cotton, using chlorine. Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries cross English Channel by balloon.
1786: Arkwright attempts unsuccessfully to power his mill in Miller Street, Manchester, using Newcomen-type engine. Cartwright patents a better automatuic loom.
1787: First fleet leaves England carrying convicts to Australia. At home, Cartwright opens a weaving shed in Doncaster - powered by a bull! Two years later, a steam engine is installed. Eighteen of the 20 looms weave cotton, but the venture fails and the shed closes in 1793.
1788: A total of 159,000 men, 90,000 women and just 101 children estimated to be employed in cotton manufacture in Manchester. First British convict fleet arrives in Australia and penal colony established at Sydney.
1789: Start of French Revolution. National Assembly formed. Bastille stormed - Paris under mob rule. In Manchester, Drinkwater installs a steam engine in his spinning mill. Fletcher Christian leads the Mutiny on the Bounty.
1790: Planters in the Southern United States begin producing cotton. Samuel Slater's first mill goes into operation at Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
1791: Legislative Assembly supercedes Estates General and Constituent Assembly in France. Witchhunt against Unitarians in England - scientist Joseph Priestley's Birmingham home burned down.
1792: Mob torches Robert Grimshaw's power weaving sheds at Knott Mill, Manchester, newly-equipped with Cartwright looms. "Church and King" protesters attack property of radicals in Manchester - Thomas Walker, leader of town's Constitutional Society, charged with and acquitted of armed conspiracy after defending his property. War of the first Coalition against France - start of French Revolutionary wars. In France, National Convention takes over from Legislative Assembly. Country abandons monarchy - French Republic declared.
1793: Execution of Louis XVI (Jan 21). Reign of Terror begins under Robespierre. French government declares war on Britain (Feb 1). Cartwright's Doncaster mill closes and he goes bankrupt. In America, Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin, a device for separating cotton from the seed, making possible a huge rise in cotton imports from the US. Effigy of radical writer Tom Paine burned in Manchester.
1794: British troops pull out of the Netherlands, which fall to France. Naval operations in the West Indies cost 40,000 British lives, mainly from disease, over the next two years. Fall of Robespierre. Napoleon Bonaparte's "whiff of grapeshot" is prelude to dissolution of the Convention.
1795: New government of France is called the Directory. Bonaparte marries Josephine de Beauharnais. Bread riots in Paris - and in Rochdale, where vicar and magistrate Thomas Drake calls in the militia. Two rioters killed.
1796: Napoleon's defeat of Austria in Italy leaves Britain isolated.
1797: Mutinies at Spithead and The Nore. Spithead sailors win better pay and a royal pardon but the Nore Mutiny, influenced by radical political ideas, is supressed and the leaders hanged. Nelson defeats France and Spain at Cape St Vincent. Henry Maudslay designs a screw-cutting lathe.
1798: Riots in Manchester following failure of corn crop. Police offer premium to suppliers bringing largest quantity of wheat or oatmeal to town's market. French occupy Rome and capture the Pope, Pius VI. Bonaparte launches Egyptian Expedition. Nelson destroys French fleet at Battle of the Nile.
1799: Nelson destroys Danish fleet at Copenhagen. Napoleon overthrows the Directory and the Consulate is declared, with Napoleon First Consul for 10 years. In England, William Pitt the Younger introduces Income Tax. Soup kitchens opened for Manchester's poor.
1799-1800: Government pass the Combination Acts, outlawing trade unionism. Hopes that Government will introduce a minimum wage for weavers are dashed. These are known as the Barley Days in Lancashire - people are so poor they cannot afford to eat meat. Manchester's population now 75,000, compared with 25,000 in 1772.