Daniel Defoe (1660?–1731)


  • Birth

    Daniel Foe is born, probably in the parish of St. Giles, to James, tallow chandler, and Alice Foe.

  • The Plague

    Defoe is possibly taken to the country outside of London to avoid the plague.

  • The Great Fire of London

  • Early education

    Goes to study at Rev. James Fisher's school at Dorking, Surrey.

  • Dissenting academy

    Studies outside Londont at dissenting academy in Stoke Newington under Charles Morton.

  • Embarks on mercantile career

    Begins career in trade as a wholesaler in the hosiery business, located in Cornhill in the City of London.

  • Marriage

    Marries Mary Tuffley, daughter of a prosperous tradesman in the parish of St. Botolph, Aldgate.

  • Rebellion of Duke of Monmouth

    Joins the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth and captured after the battle of Sedgemoor. Eventually receives a royal pardon.

  • Revolution of 1688

    Rides to Henley to meet the incoming army of William III on its way to London.

  • Travels

    Travels to Chester with King William and vists Liverpool on business.

  • Bankruptcy

    Business failures lead to first bankruptcy, for about £17,000, caused through losses in marine insurance.

  • Government post

    Gains small government post connected with the Glass Duty.

  • Manager of official government lottery

  • Publication of An Essay upon Projects

    (Defoe wrote over 500 separate books and pamphlets. This chronology lists those for which he is chiefly remembered today.)

  • Travels

    Visits Scotland for the King (first visit to Scotland).

  • Publication of The True-Born Englishman

    Defoe's The True-Born Englishman, a verse satire, is his first important work.

  • Meets Robert Harley

  • Publication of The Shortest Way with the Dissenters

    Political satire, The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, causes furore; Defoe is forced to flee from authorities.

  • Conviction of sedition

    Arested, convicted of sedition; escapes and then recaptured. Stands in the pillory.

  • Publication of first collection of Defoe's works

  • The Review

    Begins weekly paper, The Review, a journal of news and (chiefly) opinion, which Defoe conducts singlehanded until 1713.

  • Resident in Scotland

    Resident in Scotland for long periods as agent and spy for the leading ministers Harley and Godolphin.

  • Bankruptcy

    Bankrupt again, owing to failure of his brick factory at Tilbury.

  • Proposes a scheme for settling refugees from the German Palatinate

  • Travels

    Visits Derbyshire to take the waters at Buxton. By this date he is living in Stoke Newington.

  • Imprisonment

    Arrested at least twice for political and other reasons. Imprisoned in the Queen's Bench gaol for indiscreet pamphlets but released.

  • Tried for libel but the case is dropped.

  • Starts to write for Tory newspaper, Mist's Weekly Journal

  • Publication of Robinson Crusoe, Part I

  • In trouble with the authorities again but escapes punishment

  • Publication of Captain Singleton

  • Publication of Memoirs of a Cavalier

  • Publication of Moll Flanders

  • Publication of Journal of the Plague Year

  • Publication of Colonel Jack

  • Publication of The Fortunate Mistress [Roxana]

  • Publication of Tour of Great Britain volume I

  • Publication of pamphlets concerning Jack Sheppard, Jonathan Wild, and other criminals

  • Publication of Complete English Tradesman volume I

  • Publication of Compleat English Tradesman volume II

  • Publication of Tour of Great Britain volume II

  • Publication of Tour of Great Britain volume III

  • Lawsuit over old debt

    Lawsuit with the assignee of an old creditor; finally forced to go into hiding.

  • Publication of Augusta Triumphans: or The Way to make London the most Flourishing City in the Universe

  • Death

    Defoe dies in his lodgings in Rope Makers' Alley, still a fugitive. Buried in Bunhill Fields on north of the city.

β€”Pat Rogers