Here are some one liners...
The (False) Messiah Makes His Claim -- A Jewish man claims to be the Messiah and about a third of all Jews believe him... until he converts to Islam. Then they stop believing him.
The Society of Friends, Spiritual Renewal and Global Cooling -- The Quakers are called that name for a reason. I explore why. It's weird.
The Peace of Westphalia Places Limits on Modern War -- The 30 Years' War and 80 Years' War come to a close and several treaties are signed that define how we limit war and how we place responsibility for the actions of a state's citizens.
The (False) Messiah Makes His ClaimThis is a little embarrassing. In case no one has noticed, the world has been going to Hell in a hand-basket and it is running out of hand-baskets. Millions lay dead in Germany and the Netherlands. It is Hell on Earth. Both Christians and Jews have been waiting desperately for the Messiah. Surely this must be the time. In the midst this despair, a man named Shabbatai Zevi (shah-bah-TIE ZVEE) rises up from his prayers and declares himself to be the Messiah. The power and sincerity of his claim is like dropping a lighted match into dry grass. It is prophesied that when Zevi enters Istanbul he will take the Sultan's crown. When Zevi enters the city in 1666, the Sultan will have him arrested and give him the choice of conversion to Islam or death. Zevi will convert to Islam! Support for his messiahship will collapse except for a small core that will to wait for his secret plan to unfold. They will wait into the modern day... some as Jews... some as Muslims... and all of them... very, very weird.   
The Society of Friends, Spiritual Renewal and Global CoolingSomething is changing in general religious observance. People are seeking a personal connection with God. This is not new. There have been examples since the Middle Ages, but a lot of groups have been springing up lately to seek out a spiritual experience. With so much war, death and destruction (often precipitated by organized religion) is it any wonder that religious folk are looking for inner peace? The Quakers are not known as Quakers yet. That is an outsiders description of them. They call each other Friends and they have organized themselves into the Society of Friends. They are a strange group at this time, often falling down at meetings, shaking and crying out in an ecstatic frenzy. To be proven a prophet, individuals will walk around naked in public, "in obedience to the Lord." (There are 45 documented cases of Friends walking around naked for this purpose.) These peculiarities will cause a backlash and they will be called "Quakers" because of their shaking fits. These fits will be greatly reduced after 1660 but Society of Friends will be remembered for them and the name will stick. 
The Peace of Westphalia Places Limits on Modern WarIt is the end of the 30 Years' War and the 80 Years' War. (The war between Spain and France is ongoing but that will wind up soon.) Cardinal Richelieu passed away a few years ago but he had been pushing for an overall peace treaty between nations and states. It looks like he has reached out from the grave and made it happen. States are now sovereign in that they are responsible for what happens within their borders, so if you are not within their borders you can't just cross the border to fix it. The state cannot deny responsibility for what its citizens do outside of the state. Also the state cannot hand over military equipment to non-military organizations (like terrorists, pirates, insurgents) and then say it had no idea what they would do with the equipment. Religious freedom is extended to the state sovereign only. He or she selects a state religion, but those who do not hold to the state religion are allowed to worship publicly at designated times or in private at any time they wish. In many ways, the Peace of Westphalia defines how we think of war and peace today. Millions upon millions of people have died for these treaties to be signed, and the lessons of horror will guide our behavior into the modern day.  
This Year on Wikipedia
Year 1648, Wikipedia.