Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik) 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543 a mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the centre of the universe.
Galileo Galilei; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) an Italian polymath: astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician.
Sir Isaac Newton 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726 an English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy laid the foundations of classical mechanics.
Sir Ralph Abercromby KB 7 October 1734 – 28 March 1801 a Scottish soldier and politician. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in the British Army, and served as Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, MP for Clackmannanshire and appointed Governor of Trinidad.
In the 17th Century British wool was making Britain rich and farmers began looking at new ways to transport bulk goods. By the 18th Century Parliament was looking at Canal engineering. The government was already involved with improving roads and building bridges.
James Brindley 1716 – 27 September 1772 an English engineer one of the most notable engineers of the 18th century, who under Francis Egerton (3rd Duke of Bridgewater) 21 May 1736 – 8 March 1803 a pioneer of naval construction and the “father of British inland navigation”, ushered in the Industrial Revolution.
All of the above lived in the same era when fuel was wood or locally produced charcoal, men were still fighting with pointed sticks and either saw themselves to bed when it got dark or relied on vegetable oil lamps and animal fat candles.
Apart from the printing press and gunpowder, very little had changed in each and all of their countries from pastoral times to make their lives distinguishable from Biblical eras.
And yet today with all its modern marvels is so uncaring that we never consider that they had much fuller lives. Consider the mortality of almost every decade of the 20th Century. I wonder how the statistics add up for premature deaths in the last 6000 years. I imagine the worst century for premature deaths was the last one.