Absolute Monarchs: Illustrated Timeline

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Absolute Monarchs: Illustrated Timeline
The Task:

The absolute monarchs of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries made hugely significant contributions to both their kingdoms and the kingdoms of those around them. In order to understand all of these contributions, we must look at each monarch and evaluate the consequences that his or her actions had for Europe at this time.

In groups, you will create an illustrated timeline about one major country during this time. I will give each group a different country and 5-6 dates that correspond to important events within that country. You must illustrate the event that happened on that date by drawing or creating a collage. Each group will then present their creations to the class and “teach” the class what happened on each date.
In your groups you will:

  1. Read about your events in your textbook and handouts provided by me.

  2. Decide what is important about each date and how you are going to illustrate the event.

  3. Create your drawings or collages for each date.

  4. Create, organize, and practice your presentation.

  5. Present your creations to the class and “teach” the class about the important events that took place in your assigned region.

Options for Depicting Date:


  • Collages with pictures cut out of magazines, put together in a creative manner to illustrate the event, 1 separate collage per date depicting the event, idea, or monarchs’ reign.

Creation/Presentation Guidelines:

  • Everyone in the group must work together and participate in BOTH the making and presenting of the project. It is up to your group to decide how to divide the work. However no one should be doing all of the work. Points will be deducted if you are not contributing.

  • Remember that everyone must be a part of the presentation!

  • Groups must be prepared. This means bringing the required materials (magazines, glue, tape, crayons, markers, etc.) to class everyday and practicing or rehearsing before presenting to the class. Class time will be given, but if more time is needed it is your responsibility to meet outside of class.

  • At the end of every class, each group must give me a written description of what your group did during class, who is doing what, and any concerns that your group may have.

  • Make sure that each date is drawn on a SEPARATE piece of paper. On the day of the presentations, a timeline will be drawn on the board and when each group presents they will place their pictures on the board with magnets on the corresponding date. The rest of the class will take notes on their classmates’ presentations.

  • Presentation should be roughly 1-2 minutes PER DATE. It can be longer if your group feels it needs to be (absolutely no longer than 5 minutes per date), but this is not necessary. It must be AT LEAST 1 minutes long PER DATE.

  • Presentations should include what happened on your date, any necessary history/vocabulary that the audience must be filled in on, a description of your illustration and why you chose to illustrate the event in the way that you did.

  • You do NOT have to memorize what you are going to say and you can have note cards, etc. to help you. I just do not want you reading it off the paper without feeling.

  • Be enthusiastic! If you are enthusiastic and excited, you will engage your listeners with your presentation.

  • BE CREATIVE! Have fun with this project! These options are very flexible and do not have strict structures to them. The more creative and fun you have with them the better the product will be.

  • Other ideas for illustrating are welcome. Please come and talk to me if you think of something else you might want to do and we will decide if it works.


  • 1556: King Philip II inherits the thrown

  • 1560s-1580s: Netherlands Revolts

  • 1580: King Philip II gains control of Portugal

  • 1588: The Spanish Armada

  • 1600s: Spain’s Decline


  • 1572: St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

  • 1624-1642: The Reign of Cardinal Armand Richelieu

  • 1643-1715: The Reign of Louis XIV and Versailles

  • 1685: Edict of Nantes is cancelled

  • 1701: The War of the Spanish Succession

Central Europe

  • 1713-1740: The Reign of Frederick William I

  • 1740: Maria Theresa inherits Austria

  • 1740-1786: The Reign of Fredrick II (the Great)

  • 1740-1748: War of Austrian Succession

  • 1756-1763: The Seven Years War


  • 1560s-1580s: Ivan the Terrible’s “Bad Years”

  • 1613: The Romanovs take power

  • 1690s: Peter the Great’s Reforms and Westernization

  • 1703: St. Petersburg

  • 1769-1796: Catherine the Great’s Reign


  • 1642-1649: The English Civil War

  • 1649: The Trial and Execution of Charles I

  • 1649-1648: Cromwell’s Rule

  • 1660: Restoration

  • 1688: The Glorious Revolution

  • 1689: The English Bill of Rights

Helpful Tips:

    1. If your group has a date that signifies the reign of an important monarch, it is not acceptable to simply draw a picture of that monarch. Read through what that person did in his or her reign and illustrate some of the important things that he or she contributed to his or her kingdom.

    2. If your group has a date that signifies a place (like St. Petersburg) or an item (like the English Bill of Rights), it is not acceptable to simply draw a picture of that place or item. Read through what the importance of that place or item was and include that in your drawing/collage.

    3. It is a good idea to talk and plan out everything that you are going to do BEFORE you start drawing or making collages. If you do not, you may end up overlapping or leaving out certain important things.

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