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|Centuries:||16th century – 17th century – 18th century|
|Decades:||1650s 1660s 1670s – 1680s – 1690s 1700s 1710s|
|Years:||1685 1686 1687 – 1688 – 1689 1690 1691|
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- March – William Dampier makes first recorded visit to Christmas Island.
- April 18 (Julian calendar) – Germantown Quaker Protest Against Slavery drafted by four Germantown Quakers.
- April 29 – Frederick I of Prussia becomes Kurfürst (Elector) of Brandenburg.
- June 30 – A high-powered conspiracy of notables, the "Immortal Seven", invite William and Mary to depose James II of England.
- July – Phetracha stages a coup d'état and becomes king of Ayutthaya.
- October 27 – King James II of England fires his minister Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland.
- November 5 – The Glorious Revolution begins: William of Orange lands at Brixham but James II of England is prevented from meeting him in battle because many of his officers and men desert to the other side.
- November 9 – William of Orange captures Exeter after the magistrates flee the city.
- November 23 – A group of 1500 Old Believers immolated themselves to avoid capture when troops of the tsar laid siege to their monastery on Lake Onega.
- November 26 – Hearing that William of Orange has landed in England, Louis XIV declares war on the Netherlands. Perhaps revealingly, he does not attack the Netherlands but instead strikes at the heart of the Holy Roman Empire with about 100,000 soldiers. The Nine Years' War begins in Europe and America.
- December 11 – After a series of defeats King James II of England flees England for France.
- Austria occupies Belgrade.
- Francesco Morosini becomes Doge of Venice.
- Fire destroys Bungay in England.
- Ottoman Turks besiege Vienna.
- Neuruppin becomes a Prussian garrison town.
- Antonio Verrio begins work on the Heaven Room at Burghley House.
- Janez Vajkard Valvasor becomes a member of the Royal Society.
- The Austrians incite a rebellion against the Ottomans in Bulgaria.
- for more information, see Category:1688 births.
- January 18 – Lionel Cranfield Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (died 1765)
- January 29 – Emanuel Swedenborg Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian (died 1772)
- February 2 – Queen Ulrike Eleonora of Sweden (died 1741)
- February 4 – Pierre de Marivaux, French playwright (died 1763)
- March – William Burnet, British colonial administrator (died 1729)
- April 4 – Joseph-Nicolas Delisle, French astronomer (died 1768)
- April 15 – Johann Friedrich Fasch, German composer (died 1758)
- May 22 – Alexander Pope, English poet (died 1744)
- June 10 – James Francis Edward Stuart, "The Old Pretender" (died 1766)
- July 19 – Giuseppe Castiglione, Italian missionary to China (died 1766)
- August 14 – King Frederick William I of Prussia (died 1740)
- September 12 – Ferdinand Brokoff, Czech sculptor (died 1731)
- October 17 – Domenico Zipoli, Italian composer (died 1726)
- October 22 – Nadir Shah of Persia (died 1747)
- Date Unknown – Charles Rivington, English publisher (died 1742)
- January 7 – James Howard, 3rd Earl of Suffolk
- February 2 – Abraham Duquesne, French naval officer (born 1610)
- April 29 – Friedrich Wilhelm I of Brandenburg (born 1620)
- May 14 – Antoine Furetière, French writer (born 1619)
- June 5 – Constantine Phaulkon, Greek adventurer (born 1667)
- June 26 – Ralph Cudworth, English philosopher (born 1617)
- July 11 – Narai of Thailand (born 1639)
- July 21 – James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, Irish statesman (born 1610)
- August 25 – Henry Morgan, Welsh privateer and Governor of Jamaica (born c. 1635)
- August 31 – John Bunyan, English writer (born 1628)
- September 2 – Robert Viner, Lord Mayor of London (born 1631)
- October 6 – Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle, English statesman (born 1653)
- October 23 – Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange, French philologist (born 1610)
- November 26 – Philippe Quinault, French dramatist (born 1635)
- December 15 – Gaspar Fagel, Dutch statesman (born 1634)
- for more information, see Category:1688 deaths.