1800 on
Since the end of the eighteenth century a lot of things have happened. Two of the first things that happened were that William Herschel discovered infrared rays, and the spinning jenny was smuggled out of England, bringing the technological seed for the first wave of the Industrial Revolution in continental Europe.

The human population of Earth has risen from just under 880 million to close to 6 billion.

The 880 million who started the nineteenth century are all dead.

So are their children, and their children’s children, and almost all of their children’s children’s children’s children.

Revolution after revolution has taken its course;

revolutions in revolutions

and revolutionary new ways of making things revolve.

Capitalism has risen and risen, and from time to time and from place to place it has fallen, for a time.

And everywhere, it has stumbled.

The dead people are all still dead.

Most of the living people are still alive, although sometimes they wish they weren’t.

Steel has been invented, and used to make amazing ships and amazing weapons and some of the most useless objects you are ever likely to see.

1818 brought the tin can to America, the Orinoco Valley to the hands of Simon Bolivar, and total deafness to Ludwig von Beethoven. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, Percy Shelley Ozymandias, and Thomas Bowdler released his Family Shakespeare.

In the next year, Francois-Louis Cailler made the world’s first known sweet eating chocolate, and Florida and Alabama became part of the United States. August von Kotzebue, a reactionary German journalist, was murdered by a student named Karl Sands who denounced him as an enemy of liberty, and Walter Scott wrote Ivanhoe.

Walter Scott continued to write quite prolifically over the next few years, while Jean Champollion deciphered the Rosetta Stone, Dom Pedro became Emperor of Brazil (having declaring its independence from Portugal, his father’s kingdom) and Faraday wrote a book about electric motors and successfully liquefied chlorine, and Tsar Alexander died horribly after eating poisonous mushrooms.

Walter Scott died after a while as well, as you do.

He never got to see the films they made of his books.

He never got to see any good films.

He never will.

But he did get to wander around quite a lot, and look at things.

Then everyone else died, except the people who are still living.

Nowadays, there’s quite a few Walter Scotts.

Only some of them are dead.