My father was a farmer upon the Carrick border, O,
And carefully he bred me in decency and order, O
This is the timeline of Robert Burns short life highlighting some of his greatest achievements. We put it into historical context by adding the major events in World and Scottish history that were in occurrence at the same time.
World events highlighted in Red
Scottish events highlighted in Blue
Robert Burns events highlighted in Yellow
Nor’ Loch in Edinburgh drained – now site of Princes Street Gardens.
Robert Burns born in Alloway, the first child of William and Agnes Burnes.
Death of George II.
Sheep introduced into The Highlands.
Catherine the Great becomes Empress of Russia.
End of 7 years war. France loses her North American colonies.
The Carron Ironworks are opened.
A young Burns attended school at Alloway Mill for a few weeks then taught by John Murdoch in Alloway Village.
James Watt develops the Steam Engine.
The family move to Mount Oliphant Farm by Alloway.
The Old Pretender – James Francis Stewart dies.
The first Encyclopaedia Brittanica published in Edinburgh.
Spanish missionaries establish first mission in California.
James Cook claims New Zealand and New Souh Wales for the British Crown.
Bengal famine – a third of the population dies.
The height of Glasgow’s tobacco trade with the American colonies.
James Arkwright builds the first water-powered mill.
Walter Scott born.
First recorded ascent of Ben Nevis.
Oxygen discovered in Sweden by Carl Wilhelm Scheele.
North Bridge, Edinburgh completed.
The Boston Tea Party.
Robert writes his first song “O once I lov’d (a bonie lass)”.
Declaration of American Independence.
Adam Smith publishes “Wealth of Nations”.
The family move to Lochlea Farm by Tarbolton.
France is the first nation to recognise the USA.
James Cook killed in Hawaii.
Luanda is the major slave port in West Africa.
First iron bridge built at Ironbridge in Shropshire.
Glasgow’s population reaches 40,000.
Bachelors Club in Tarbolton founded.
Robert becomes a Freemason.
Robert works as a flax-dresser in Irvine.
Famine in Iceland because of a volcanic eruption.
The family move to Mossgiel Farm by Mauchline.
Death of William Burnes, buried in the Auld Kirk in Alloway.
The family changes the name to Burns.
Robert makes the acquaintance of Jean Armour.
Robert Burns elected Depute Master of St James Lodge, Tarbolton.
Birth of Elizabeth Burns, daughter of Elizabeth Paton, a maidservant.
Robert writes “To a Mouse”.
Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” performed for the first time.
Betrothal to Margaret Campbell “Highland Mary”.
Death of Margaret Campbell.
The Kilmarnock Edition published.
Twins, Robert and Jean, born to Jean Armour with whom undertakes a form of wedlock.
Robert visits Edinburgh.
Freed slaves from London establish Freetown in Sierra Leone.
Naismith portrait painted.
The Edinburgh Edition published.
Members of the Grand Lodge of Scotland toast Robert Burns as Caledonia’s Bard.
Robert fathers a child to an Edinburgh servant girl, May Cameron.
Robert visits The Borders, The Highlands, and Stirlingshire/Perthshire.
Robert meets Agnes McLehose.
Robert meets James Johnson and agrees to contribute to “The Scots Musical Museum”.
First British convicts sent to Sydney, Australia.
Unrest in France.
The Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, dies in Rome.
Marriage of Robert Burns and Jean Armour in Mauchline.
Twin daughters are born to Jean.
Robert fathers son, Robert, born to Edinburgh servant girl, Jenny Clow.
Robert’s family moves to Ellisland Farm, Dumfriesshire.
Robert writes “Auld Lang Syne”.
George Washington becomes the first President of the USA.
Robert begins work as an excise officer.
Francis Wallace Burns born to Jean.
Burning women at the stake for treason is abolished in England.
Flora MacDonald dies and is buried at Kilmuir in Skye.
Robert writes “Tam o’ Shanter”.
Robert Burns is an inaugural subscriber to Dumfries Theatre.
First American ship docks in Japan.
William Nicol Burns born to Jean.
Robert takes leave of Agnes McLehose.
Elizabeth born to Anna Park, barmaid at the Globe Inn.
Formal renunciation of Ellisland Farm lease.
Robert’s family moves to Dumfries.
Robert writes “Ae Fond Kiss”.
Prussia and Austria declare war on France.
Gustav III of Sweden assassinated.
Alexander MacKenzie travels across Canada.
Elizabeth Riddell Burns born to Jean.
Burns is made an honorary member of The Royal Company of Archers.
Louis XVI guillotined in Paris.
Second Edinburgh Edition published.
Robert visits Galloway and Wigton (England).
James Glencairn Burns born to Jean.
First graphite pencil produced.
Robert is a founder member of the Dumfries Volunteers.
Napoleon occupies Venice.
Catherine the Great of Russia dies.
Jenner developing a smallpox vaccine.
Scottish missionary/explorer, Mungo Park, is the first European to see the River Niger.
Death of Robert Burns and burial in St Michael’s Churchyard in Dumfries.
Birth of Maxwell Burns.