Brief Chronology of Leibniz's Life

Born June 21 in Leipzig, son of Friedrich Leibniz (1597-1654), professor of moral philosophy at the University of Leipzig

Early education at the Nicolai School in Leipzig

Studies under Jacob Thomasius at the University of Leipzig; bachelor's thesis on scholastic theories of individuation (1663); attends lectures of Erhard Weigel at the University of Jena (summer 1663)

Legal studies in Leipzig; receives doctorate of law from University of Altdorf (1666); publication of On the Art of Combinations

Resides in Nuremburg, Mainz, and Frankfurt; secretary to Johann Christian von Boineburg, minister to the elector of Mainz

Letters to Hobbes, Arnauld; publication of the New Physical Hypothesis

Travels to Paris on diplomatic mission for the elector of Mainz; begins mathematical studies under Christiaan Huygens; first trip to England (1673), where he is elected to the Royal Society on the basis of his model of a four-function calculating machine

Discovery of the differential and integral calculus

Second trip to England; visits Spinoza at The Hague; enters service of Duke Johann Friedrich of Hanover as court librarian and legal advisor

Death of Johann Friedrich, who is succeeded by his brother Ernst August; Leibniz becomes a trusted friend and correspondent of Ernst's wife, Sophie, and their daughter Sophie Charlotte, later Queen of Prussia

On a New Method for Maxima and Minima, first published account of the calculus

Composition of Discourse on Metaphysics; correspondence with Arnauld.

Journey through Austria and Italy to research the history of the House of Brunswick; formulation of the science of dynamics

Publication of Specimen dynamicum and New System of the Nature and Communication of Substances, and of the Union of the Soul and the Body

Death of Ernst August, who is succeeded by his son Georg Ludwig; publication of On Nature Itself

Founding of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, with Leibniz as its first president

Composition of New Essays on Human Understanding, a commentary on Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)

Publication of Essays on Theodicy, Concerning the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil

Composition of Monadology and Principles of Nature and of Grace; ascension of Georg Ludwig to the British throne as George I; Leibniz left in Hanover to complete his history of the House of Brunswick

Correspondence with Samuel Clarke; Leibniz dies in Hanover on November 14, 1716

G.W. Leibniz: Texts and Translations
Donald Rutherford, University of California, San Diego /
Last update: October 1, 1999