January 21 – French-born highwayman Claude Duval is executed at Tyburn in London.
April 29 – Pope Clement X succeeds Pope Clement IX as the 239th pope.
May 2 – The Hudson's Bay Company is founded in England to operate in Canada.
May 26 – At Dover in England, Charles II of England and Louis XIV of France sign the Secret Treaty of Dover ending hostilities between their kingdoms. Louis will give Charles 200,000 pounds annually. In return Charles will relax the laws against Catholics, gradually re-Catholicize England, support French policy against the Dutch and convert to Catholicism himself.
June 15 – The first stone of Fort Ricasoli is laid down in Malta.
July 18 (July 8, O.S.) – Spain recognises Jamaica and the Cayman Islands as English possessions by the Treaty of Madrid.
August – Spanish frigates attack Charleston, South Carolina.
September 1–5 – William Penn and William Mead are tried in London after a Quaker sermon.
November 24 – Louis XIV of France authorises work to commence on the construction of Les Invalides a veterans hospital in Paris, France.
December 15 – Welsh privateer in English service Henry Morgan recaptures Santa Catalina Island, Colombia.
December 27 – Henry Morgan captures Fort San Lorenzo on Panama's Caribbean coast.
Stenka Razin begins the rebellion of Cossacks in the Ukraine.
Niani, capital of the Mali Empire, is sacked by the Bambara people of the emerging Segou Empire.
First French settlers arrive on the Petite Côte of modern-day Senegal.
April – Battle of Saraighat: The Ahom general Lachit Borphukan defeats the Mughal forces on the outskirts of present day Guwahati, of then sovereign Assam.
April 2 – In Rome, Pope Clement X canonizes Rose of Lima, making her the first Catholic saint of the Americas.
May 9 – Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempts to steal the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom from the Tower of London. He is immediately caught because he is too drunk to run with the loot. He is later condemned to death and then mysteriously pardoned and exiled by King Charles II.
June 22 – The Ottoman Empire declares war on Poland.
December – The first Seventh Day Baptist church in America is founded at Newport, Rhode Island.
December 30 – The Académie royale d'architecture is founded by Louis XIV of France in Paris, France; the world's first school of architecture.
March – The Synod of Jerusalem brings together bishops and representatives from the whole of Eastern Orthodox Christendom to discuss Orthodox dogma against the challenge of Protestantism.
March 15 – Charles II of England issues the Royal Declaration of Indulgence, suspending execution of Penal Laws against Protestant nonconformists and Roman Catholics in his realms; this will be withdrawn the following year under pressure from the Parliament of England.
March 17 – Third Anglo-Dutch War: The Kingdom of England declares war on the Dutch Republic.
April 8 – France declares war on the Dutch Republic, invading the country on April 29.
May 2 – John Maitland becomes Duke of Lauderdale and Earl of March.
June 1 – Münster and Cologne begin their invasion of the Dutch Republic; hence 1672 becomes known as het rampjaar ("the disaster year") in the Netherlands.
June 7 – Third Anglo-Dutch War: Battle of Solebay, an indecisive sea battle between the Dutch Republic and the joined forces of England and France.
June 12 – French forces under king Louis XIV cross the Rhine into the Netherlands. The city of Utrecht is occupied by the French Army.
July 4 – William III of Orange is appointed Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland on July 16.
August 20 – Johan de Witt, Grand Pensionary of Holland, is slaughtered by a mob in The Hague.
September – Raimondo Montecuccoli and the Great Elector assemble at Halberstadt to attack the French and the bishops of Münster and Cologne in their back. Bernard von Galen withdraws from the city of Groningen slowly to the south.
October – Spain begins construction on the masonry fort that will become Castillo de San Marcos, designed to protect St. Augustine, Florida.
October 18 – The Treaty of Buchach between the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is signed.
Richard Hoare becomes a partner in the London goldsmith's business which, as private banking house C. Hoare & Co., will survive through to the 21st century.
January 22 – Impostor Mary Carleton is hanged at Newgate Prison in London for multiple thefts and returning from penal transportation.
February 10 – Première of Molière's comédie-ballet The Imaginary Invalid in Paris. During the fourth performance, on February 17, the playwright, playing the title rôle, collapses on stage, dying soon after.
March 29 – Test Act: Roman Catholics and others who refuse to receive the sacrament of the Church of England cannot vote, hold public office, preach, teach, attend the universities or assemble for meetings in England. On June 12, the king's Catholic brother, James, Duke of York, is forced to resign the office of Lord High Admiral because of the Act.
April 27? – Jean-Baptiste Lully's first opera, Cadmus et Hermione, is premièred in France.
May 17 – In America, trader Louis Joliet and Jesuit missionary-explorer Jacques Marquette begin exploring the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.
June 7 – First Battle of Schooneveld: In a sea battle of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, fought off the Netherlands coast, the Dutch Republic fleet (commanded by Michiel de Ruyter) defeats the allied Anglo-French fleet commanded by Prince Rupert of the Rhine.
June 14 – Second Battle of Schooneveld: The Dutch fleet again defeats the jointed Anglo-French fleet.
June 17 – French explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet reach the headwaters of the Mississippi River and descend to Arkansas.
July 6 – French troops conquer Maastricht.
July 11 – The Netherlands and Denmark sign a defense treaty.
July 24 – Edmund Halley enters Queen's College at Oxford, as an undergraduate.
August 8 – In the American colonies, a Dutch battle fleet of 23 ships demands the surrender of New York.
August 9 – Dutch forces under Admiral Cornelis Evertsen de Jonge recapture New York from the English (regained by the English in 1674).
August 21 – Battle of Texel (Kijkduin): The Dutch fleet under Michiel de Ruyter defeats the English and French fleet. This prevents England's Blackheath Army from landing in Zeeland
August 30 – Leopold I, Spain, Netherlands and the Lutherans form an anti-French covenant.
September 12 – William, Prince of Orange occupies Naarden.
November 9 – King Charles II of England removes Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, from his position as Lord Chancellor.
November 11 – Polish and Lithuanian military units under the command of soon-to-be-king Jan Sobieski defeat the Turkish army in the Battle of Khotyn. In this battle, rockets of Kazimierz Siemienowicz are successfully used.
November 13 – Dutch troops commanded by Raimondo Montecuccoli and William, Prince of Orange conquer Bonn.
November 14 – Christopher Wren is knighted.
November 23 – James, Duke of York, marries Mary of Modena.
France begins its expedition against Ceylon.
Chelsea Physic Garden, the second oldest botanic garden in England, is founded by the Society of Apothecaries for the study of medicinal and other plants.
The Mitsui family's trading and banking house is founded in Japan.
The stalactic grotto of Antiparos (Aegean Sea) is discovered.
Archpriest Petrovich Avvakum writes his Zhitie (Life) as the first Russian autobiography.
February 19 – England and the Netherlands sign the Treaty of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. Its provisions come into effect gradually – see November 10.
May 21 – John III Sobieski is elected by the nobility as King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (to 1696).
June 6 – Shivaji is crowned as Chatrapati Shivaji at Raigad Fort in India.
August 11 – Battle of Seneffe: The French army under Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé defeats the Dutch–Spanish–Austrian army under William III of Orange.
November 10 – As provided in the Treaty of Westminster of February 19, the Dutch Republic cedes its colony of New Netherland to England. This includes the colonial capital, New Orange, which is returned to its English name of New York. The colonies of Surinam, Essequibo and Berbice remain in Dutch hands.
December 4 – Father Jacques Marquette founds a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan to minister to the Illinois Confederation (which will in time grow into the city of Chicago).
The British East India Company arranges a trading treaty with the Maratha Empire that has recently been founded by Shivaji Bhonsle in central India.
The first Dutch West India Company is dissolved.
Two skeletons of children are discovered at the White Tower (Tower of London) and believed at this time to be the remains of the Princes in the Tower.
January 5 – Franco-Dutch War – Battle of Turckheim: In Turckheim, Alsace, France, the French defeat Austria and Brandenburg.
January 29 – John Sassamon, an English-educated Native American Christian, dies at Assawampsett Pond, an event which will trigger a year-long war between English American colonists of New England and Algonquian Native American tribes.
April– – English merchant Anthony de la Roché, blown off course having rounded Cape Horn eastabout, makes the first discovery of land south of the Antarctic Convergence, landing on South Georgia and (probably) Gough Island.
June 8 – John Sassamon's alleged murderers are executed at Plymouth.
June 11 – Armed Wampanoags are reported traveling around Swansea, Massachusetts.
June 14–June 25 – Colonial authorities of Rhode Island, Plymouth, and Massachusetts attempt a negotiation with Metacomet (King Philip), leader of the Wampanoags, and seek guarantees of fidelity from the Nipmuck and Narragansett tribes.
June 24 – King Philip's War breaks out as the Wampanoags attack Swansea.
June 26 – Massachusetts troops march to Swansea to join the Plymouth troops.
June 26–June 29 – Wampanoags assault Rehoboth and Taunton; the natives elude colonial troops and leave Mount Hope for Pocasset, Massachusetts. The Mohegan tribe travels to Boston in order to side with the English colonists against the Wampanoags.
June 28 – Brandenburg defeats the Swedes in the Battle of Fehrbellin.
July 15 – The Narragansett tribe signs a peace treaty with Connecticut.
July 16–24 – An envoy from Massachusetts attempts to negotiate with the Nipmuck tribe.
August 2–4 – The Nipmucks attack Massachusetts troops and besiege Brookfield, Massachusetts.
August 10 – King Charles II of England places the foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London; construction begins.
August 13 – The Massachusetts Council orders that Christian Indians are to be confined to designated praying towns.
September 1–2 – While Wampanoags and Nipmucks attack Deerfield, Massachusetts, Captain Samuel Moseley commands Massachusetts troops in an attack on the Pennacook tribe.
September 12 – English colonists abandon Deerfield, Squakeag, and Brookfield due to a coalition of Indian attacks.
September 15 – The Bremen-Verden Campaign of the Northern Wars begins with the invasion of Amt Wildeshausen by the Munster army and their advance on Verden via the city of Bremen.
September 18 – The Narragansetts sign a treaty with the English in Boston; meanwhile, Massachusetts troops are ambushed near Northampton, Massachusetts.
October 5 – The Pocomtuc tribe attacks and destroys Springfield, Massachusetts.
October 13 – The Massachusetts Council convenes and agrees that all Christian Indians should be ordered to move to Deer Island.
November 2–12 – Commissioners of the Thirteen Colonies organize a united force to attack the Narragansett tribe.
Guru Teg Bahadur, ninth of the Sikh gurus, is executed by Mughal rulers; he prefers execution to defend the right of Hindus to practice their own religion. He is succeeded by Guru Gobind Singh as tenth Guru.
Gottfried Leibniz uses infinitesimal calculus on a function.
December 19 – United colonial forces attack the Narragansetts at the Great Swamp Fight.
Cassini discovers Saturn's Cassini Division.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek begins to use a microscope for observing human tissues and liquids.
January – Six months into King Philip's War, Metacomet (King Philip), leader of the Algonquian tribe known as the Wampanoag, travels westward to the Mohawk nation, seeking an alliance with the Mohawks against the English colonists of New England; his efforts in creating such an alliance are a failure.
January 29 – Feodor III becomes Tsar of Russia.
February 10 – After the Nipmuc tribe attacks Lancaster, Massachusetts, the colonist Mary Rowlandson is taken captive and lives with the Indians until May.
February 14 – Metacomet and his Wampanoags attack Northampton, Massachusetts; meanwhile, the Massachusetts Council debates whether a wall should be erected around Boston.
February 23 – While the Massachusetts Council debates how to handle the Christian Indians they had exiled to Deer Island on October 13, 1675, a coalition of Indians led by Metacomet attacks colonial settlements just 16 km (9.9 mi) outside of Boston.
March 29 – Providence, Rhode Island is attacked and destroyed by Native Americans.
May 2–May 3 – Mary Rowlandson is released from captivity and returns to Boston.
May 19 – Peskeomskut massacre (battle of Turner's Falls) involved a raid led by Captain William Turner at first light on an encampment consisting mainly of women and children. An estimated 300-400 lives were taken in less than 1/2 hour first from gunshot directly into the sleeping tents, then by sword and by drowning as the victims tried to flee. This incident happened on the west bank of the Connecticut River just above the falls known as Turner's Falls in Gill, Massachusetts.
May 26 – A fire destroys the Town Hall and 624 houses in Southwark in England.
May 31 – The Massachusetts Council finally decides to move the Christian Indians from Deer Island to Cambridge, Massachusetts (approximate date).
June – Bacon's Rebellion begins in the Virginia Colony.
June 1 – Battle of Öland: A combined fleet of the Dutch Republic and Denmark–Norway decisively defeats the Swedish Navy which loses its flagship Kronan.
June 12 – The Indian coalition attacks Hadley, Massachusetts, but are repelled by Connecticut troops.
June 19 – Massachusetts issues a declaration of amnesty to any Indian who surrenders.
July 2 – Major John Talcott and his troops begin sweeping Connecticut and Rhode Island, capturing large numbers of Native Americans from Algonquian tribes and exporting them out of the Thirteen Colonies as slaves.
July 4 – Captain Benjamin Church and his soldiers begin sweeping Plymouth Colony for any remaining Wampanoag tribesmen.
July 11 – The Wampanoags attack Taunton, Massachusetts, but are repelled by colonists.
July 17 – In France, Madame de Brinvilliers is executed for poisoning her father and brothers. The case also scares the king Louis XIV into starting a series of investigations about possible poisonings and witchcraft, later called the Affair of the Poisons.
July 27 – Nearly 200 Nipmuc tribesmen surrender to the English colonists in Boston.
August 2 – Captain Benjamin Church captures Metacomet's wife and son.
August 12 – King Philip (Metacomet), the chief of the Wampanoags that had waged war throughout southern New England in a war that bore his name, is killed by an Indian named Alderman, a soldier led by Captain Benjamin Church.
August 17 – Battle of Halmstad fought at Fyllebro: Decisive Swedish victory over Denmark–Norway.
September 19 – Jamestown is burned to the ground by the forces of Nathaniel Bacon during Bacon's Rebellion.
September 21 – Pope Innocent XI succeeds Pope Clement X as the 240th pope.
October 17 – Treaty of Żurawno between Ottoman (Turkish) Empire and Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
November 16 – A prison is founded on Nantucket Island in the English colony of Massachusetts.
December 4 – The Battle of Lund is fought in Sweden during the Scanian War.
December 7 – Ole Rømer makes the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light.
King Philip's War continues, between the settlers in New England and the indigenous tribes led by Metacomet.
The Russo-Turkish War (1676–81) begins.
Emperor Yohannes I of Ethiopia decrees that Muslims must live separately from Christians throughout Ethiopia.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovers microorganisms.
The States of Finland meet in Turku.
The French East India Company founds its principal Indian base at Pondicherry, on the Coromandel Coast.
January 1 – Jean Racine's tragedy Phèdre is first performed.
January 21 – First medical publication in America (Pamphlet on smallpox), Boston.
February – The first arrest in the case that was to develop in to the famous Affair of the Poisons.
April 11 – Battle of Cassel: Philippe I, Duke of Orléans defeats William of Orange.
April 16 – The Statute of Frauds is passed into English law.
April 6 – Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor visits the University of Innsbruck.
May 29 – The Treaty of Middle Plantation establishes peace between the Virginia colonists and the local Indians.
May 31 – Battle of Møn: During the Scanian War, Danish ships clash with Swedish ships under Niels Juel between Fehmarn and Warnemünde; the Danish defeat the Swedish and capture a number of ships.
June 25–June 26 – Siege of Malmö.
July 14 – Sweden defeats the Danes in the Battle of Landskrona.
October 29 – Michel le Tellier becomes chancellor of France.
November 4 – The future Mary II of England marries William of Orange.
November 16 – French troops occupy Freiburg.
The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith is written (published in 1689).
Spinoza's Ethics (Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata) is published as part of his Opera Posthuma in Amsterdam.
Elias Ashmole gifts the collection that begins the Ashmolean Museum to the University of Oxford in England.
Charles II of England makes Henry Purcell court musician.
Jules Hardouin Mansart begins la place Vendôme in Paris (completed in 1698).
Francis Aungier, 3rd Baron Aungier of Longford, is created 1st Earl of Longford in the Peerage of Ireland.
The John Roan School is established in Greenwich, London.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz gives a complete solution to the tangent problem.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek observes spermatozoa under the microscope.
End of the use of male impotence as a factor in French divorce proceedings.
Ice cream becomes popular in Paris.
The population of Paris first exceeds 500,000.
January 27 – The first fire engine company in what will become the United States goes into service.
February 18 – The first part of English nonconformist preacher John Bunyan's Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress is published in London.
May 11 – French admiral Jean d'Estrees runs his whole fleet aground in Curaçao.
June – French buccaneer Michel de Grammont leads 6 pirate ships and 700 men in a daring raid on Spanish-held Venezuela, reaching inland as far as Trujillo, Venezuela.
June 25 – Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia becomes the first woman to be awarded a university degree, a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Padua.
August 10 – The Treaties of Nijmegen end the Franco-Dutch War. The County of Burgundy is ceded to the Kingdom of France.
September 6 – Titus Oates begins to present allegations of the Popish Plot, a supposed Roman Catholic conspiracy to assassinate king Charles II of England. Oates applies the term Tory to those who disbelieve his allegations.
October 17 – English magistrate Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey is found murdered in Primrose Hill, London. Titus Oates claims it as a proof of his allegations.
December 3 – Test Act provides that members of both the House of Lords and House of Commons of England must swear an anti-Catholic oath before taking office.
Rebellion breaks out in southern China.
About 1,200 Irish families sail from Barbados to Virginia and the Carolinas.
In Ireland, the vacant Bishopric of Leighlin is given to the Bishop of Kildare to form the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.
The first chrysanthemums are planted in Europe.
January 24 – King Charles II of England dissolves the "Cavalier Parliament" after nearly 18 years.
March 6–May 27 – In England, the "Habeas Corpus Parliament" (or "First Exclusion Parliament") meets. It is dissolved on July 12 while in recess by Royal prerogative to prevent it passing a Bill excluding the king's brother, the Catholic James, Duke of York, from the succession to the English throne as part of the Exclusion Crisis.
May 27 – The Parliament of England passes the Habeas Corpus Act "for the better securing the liberty of the subject".
June 1 – Battle of Drumclog: Scottish Covenanters defeat a small government force.
June 4 – Armenia earthquake: A tremor with an estimated surface wave magnitude of 6.4 takes place in the Yerevan region of the Persian Empire.
June 22 – Battle of Bothwell Bridge in Scotland: Royal forces led by James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth and John Graham of Claverhouse subdue the Scottish Covenanters.
August 7 – The brigantine Le Griffon, commissioned by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, is towed to the southern end of the Niagara River, to become the first ship to sail the upper Great Lakes.
November 27 – A fire in Boston, Massachusetts, burns all of the warehouses, 80 houses, and all of the ships in the dockyards.
The Tibet–Ladakh–Mughal War (1679–84) starts with the Tibetan invasion of Ladakh.
European explorers discover Niagara Falls.
The city of Duluth, is founded. (citation needed)
The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb reimposes jizya.
Malpas Tunnel on the Canal du Midi in Hérault, France, Europe's first navigable canal tunnel, is excavated by Pierre-Paul Riquet (165 m, concrete lined).