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Chapter One: World Events: Selected Occurrences Outside the Muslim World

622-1500: Chapter One: World Events: Selected Occurrences Outside the Muslim World

by MUNIR A. SHAIKH

622

626

626–628

627

628

629

630*

630

633

634

635

638

639

641

642*

642–643

643

645

646

649

650*

651*

651

653

655

656

657

657–659

660

662

663

664

668

669

672

674-678

675

679

680*

680–711

681

681–687

681–737

683

685

687

692

694

695

696

697

698

700*

701

703

705

710

711

711–717

712

714

716–719

717

717–718

718–721

720

726

727

727–729

729–749

730s

730

731

732

735–736

740*

741

744

745

747

749

751

752

753

754–755

755–756

755–775

756

757

757–796

759

762

762–763

764

768

770

771

772–804

774

775

775*

778–824

778

780

781

784

787

788

790

792

794

797

800*

800

801

802

804–806

805

806

809

811

812

813

814

815

817

820

825

826*

826

829

830

831

834

838

840*

840

840–841

841

842

843

843–845

845

850*

850–900*

851

855

856

858

860*

860

862

862–885

865

866

867

868

869

869–870

871

871–879

874

875

876

877

878

879

880

880–881

881

882

884

885–886

886

887

888

889

891

893

894

894–924

896

899

899–955

900*

900s

902

905

907

910

911

912

913

914

919

920

922*

923

924

925

926

927

932

933

935–941

936

937

939

941

942

944

947

950*

951

954

955

957

959

960*

960

961

962

963

966–969

967

969

971

972

973

974–976

975–1025*

976

978

979

980

982

983

985

986

987

989

994

995

996

998

999*

1000*

1000

1001

1002*

1002

1003

1004

1005

1007

1013–1014

1014

1016*

1016

1018

1022

1024

1025–1028

1026

1028

1030–1031

1031

1034

1034–1040

1035

1039

1040

1041–1042

1042

1044

1045

1048

1050*

1050

1051

1054

1055

1056

1057

1059

1060

1061

1064

1066

1068

1070*

1071

1072

1074

1076–1122

1077*

1078

1081

1081–1085

1085

1085–1086

1087

1088

1091

1094

1095

1096–1099

1100*

1100

1100–1300

1104

1106

1108

1113

1113-1150*

1115

1117

1117–1128*

1118

1119

1120

1120–1121

1122

1122–1126

1123

1125*

1125

1126

1127

1130

1135

1137

1138

1143

1147

1150*

1152

1152–1154

1153

1154

1156

1157

1158–1159

1159

1160

1165–1168

1169–1170

1170*

1170

1171

1173

1174

1175–1176

1176

1179

1180*

1180

1182

1183

1185

1185–1191

1186–1188

1187

1189

1190

1190–1194

1191

1192

1194

1195

1196

1198

1199

1200*

120O–1250*

1202–1241

1202–1204

1203

1204

1206

1208–1209

1209

1211

1212

1214

1215

1216

1218

1219

1220

1221

1223

1224

1226

1227

1228–1229

1230

1231

1234

1235

1237

1240*

1240

1241

1242

1244

1245

1248

1250*

1250–1300*

1250

1253

1254–1273

1255

1258

1259

1261

1264

1265

1266

1266–1273

1267

1268

1269

1270

1271

1272

1273

1274

1275*

1275

1279

1281

1281–1282

1282

1285

1289

1290

1291

1292

1293

1294

1295

1296

1297

1298

1300–1350*

1302

1303

1303–1307

1305*

1305

1306

1307

1309

1310

1311

1314

1315

1316

1317

1320–1328

1321

1322

1324

1325*

1325

1325–1327

1326

1327

1328*

1328

1329

1330*

1330

1332*

1332

1333

1335

1336

1337

1340

1341

1345

1346

1347

1348

1349

1349–1351*

1350

1351

1354

1355

1356

1360

1364

1369

1370

1371

1373

1374

1375–1400*

1376

1378

1379

1380

1381

1382

1390

1391

1392

1399

1400*

1405–1433

1413

1413–1414

1415

1417–1420

1420

1422

1423

1424

1425

1429

1430

1431

1434

1434–1471

1436

1439

1444

1445–1456

1448

1448–1453

1450*

1453

1455

1460

1461

1462

1469

1470

1471

1476

1478

1479

1480

1483

1485

1486

1491–1492

1492

1493

1494–1496

1495

1495–1497

1497–1499

1498

1500

622

  • Byzantine emperor Heraclius I attempts to safeguard his possessions in Asia Minor from the Sasanid (Persian) empire by granting his generals civil as well as military authority over the regions they occupy.
  • Over the next nine years, Swithila, king of the Visigoths, extends Visigoth authority throughout Spain.
  • The eastern plain of China is ruled by Emperor Kao-tsu (reigned 618–626), founder of the T’ang dynasty (618–907), who brings northern and southern China under his control by 624. He claims to be a descendant of Lao-tzu, the first philosopher of Chinese Taoism. Though they are officially Taoists, the T’ang emperors also accord royal support to Buddhism.
  • Prince Shotoku of Japan dies, having served as regent for his aunt Empress Suiko (ruled 592–628) since the beginning of her reign. During his regency he established relations with China, sending scholars there to study Buddhism and Chinese culture.
  • Over roughly the next five centuries northwestern and central India are ruled by four dynasties of Rajputs (Sons of Kings).

626

  • The Avars, a nomadic people from eastern Europe, attack Constantinople and nearly succeed in occupying this capital of the Byzantine Empire.

626–628

  • The Celtic Christian Church of southern Ireland adopts the Roman Christian form of worship. Northern Irish churches make the change in 692.

627

  • Bishop Paulinus of Kent, the first of the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England to have been converted to Christianity (597), goes on a mission to Northumbria, where he converts King Edwin and many of his subjects.
  • Chinese emperor Kao-tsu’s son Li-Shih-min forces his father to abdicate and takes the throne as Emperor T’ai-tsung. Ruling until 649, he becomes known for tolerance, patronage of the arts, and establishing contacts with the Sasanid and Byzantine empires, as well as India and Central Asia.

628

  • Having achieved a decisive victory against the Sasanids at the Battle of Ninevah in December 627, Byzantine emperor Heraclius I is able to end a war that has continued off and on for decades. The Byzantines recover all conquered territory, which includes Jerusalem and Alexandria in Egypt. This victory is mentioned in the Qur’an.

629

  • Dagobert, king of Austrasia (the part of Frankish territory from the Meuse River to the Bohemian forests), becomes king of the entire Frankish realm, with territory corresponding roughly to modern France with parts of the Low Countries and western Germany. He is the last strong ruler of the Merovingian dynasty, founded in 481 by Clovis I, who converted to Roman Christianity in about 498.

630*

  • The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of East Anglia and Wessex are converted to Christianity.

630

  • Chinese troops conquer the eastern Turks (centered in Mongolia), who have earlier attacked the eastern Chinese capital at Ch’ang-an in 624 and 626.
  • Mahendravarman I dies. Under his reign, which began circa 600, the Pallava dynasty of southern India reaches the height of its power.

633

  • Because of a revival of paganism in Northumbria after the death of King Edwin in 632, his successor, Oswald, invites the monk Aidan of Iona to spread Christianity throughout northern England. The mission begins the temporary ascendancy in England of Celtic Christianity over that of the Roman Church.

634

  • Byzantine Empire troops are defeated by a Muslim army between Gaza and Jerusalem, beginning centuries of ultimately unsuccessful struggle against a succession of Muslim Empires.

635

  • Byzantine emperor Heraclius I forms an alliance against the Avars with Kubrat, King of the Bulgars, a nomadic people of Turkic origin.
  • A Nestorian missionary arrives in the Chinese capital of Ch’ang-an, where he is allowed to preach and is given a church (638). The Nestorians are a Christian sect centered in Persia that believes the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ are independent, two persons only loosely united.

638

  • In an attempt to strengthen political support against Muslim incursions in Syria and Egypt, Heraclius I tries to placate Monophysites (members of a heretical Christian sect who believed that Jesus Christ had only one, divine nature)—and perhaps respond to the strict monotheism of Islam—by promulgating the doctrine of Monothelitism, the belief that Christ had two natures (divine and human) but only one will. The compromise is ineffective. Muslim troops conquer Syria later this year and complete their conquest of Egypt in 642.

639

  • Dagobert I dies, having given Austrasia to his son Sigibert in 632, and leaving Neustria (roughly the northwestern part of modern France bounded by the Meuse, the Loire, and the Atlantic) and Burgundy to his son Clovis II. Though members of the Merovingian dynasty continue to rule in name until 751, power passes to nobles known as mayors of the palaces: Ebroi’n in Neustria and in Austrasia, Pepin I of Landen, founder of what becomes known as the Carolingian dynasty.

641

  • Heraclius I dies, having ruled the Byzantine Empire since 610, the year in which Muhammad began receiving divine revelation. By the end of the year the throne has passed through two sons to Heraclius’s grandson Constans II, who is unable to check either the advance of the Muslim Empire or internal dynastic strife.
  • After the Byzantine city of Oderzo in Italy falls to the Lombards, a Germanic people who conquered much of Italy in the sixth century, the seat of the Byzantine exarchate of Ravenna moves to Venice.

642*

  • Kubrat, King of the Bulgars, dies and his five sons divide their people into five hordes, three of which are absorbed into other peoples over the next few decades. Bezmer, or Bat-Bayan, leads his horde north, where it eventually settles around the confluence of the Volga and Kama Rivers. Asparukh leads his horde westward, eventually crossing the Danube River.

642–643

  • The Chinese make the khanate of the western Turks (in part of present-day Turkestan) a tributary state.

643

  • King Rothari codifies the laws of the Lombards.
  • The powerful Soga family of Japan kills Prince Shotoku’s son Yamashiro Oe and all his family.

645

  • China forms alliances with the Khitans of Manchuria and the Korean states of Paekche and Silla to invade the Korean state of Koguryo. Forced to withdraw after heavy losses, China makes another unsuccessful invasion attempt in 647.
  • Chinese Buddhist monk Hsüan-tsang returns home after a fifteen-year pilgrimage in India and heads a commission that translates seventy-five Sanskrit books into Chinese.
  • Prince Nakano Oe and Nakatomi Kamatari stage a coup in Japan, killing the Soga family and re-establishing the power of the royal family.

646

  • The Japanese royal family institutes the Taikwa reforms, re-establishing a central Japanese state and limiting the power of the nobility.

649

  • At the Lateran Synod in Rome, Pope Martin I condemns the doctrine of Monothelitism as heretical.

650*

  • Two Slavic tribes, the Croats and the Serbs, settle in Bosnia.
  • The Bulgars of the Volga region are conquered by Turkic tribes known as Khazars, who have established an empire in southern Russia.

651*

  • Indian philosopher-poet Bhatrihari dies.

651

  • Yazdigard III, the last Sasanid ruler of Persia, dies as the Muslim conquest of his empire becomes complete.

653

  • The exarch (military ruler) of Ravenna, one of the Byzantine enclaves on the Italian peninsula that was not conquered by the Lombards, arrests Pope Martin I for his condemnation of Monothelitism and sends him to Constantinople, where he dies in exile in 655.

655

  • Wu Hou, a junior concubine of Chinese emperor T’ai-tsung and later the favorite concubine of his heir Kao-tsung (reigned 649–683), triumphs over all her rivals, including the emperor’s wife, to marry Kao-tsung and become Empress Wu Hou. By 660 she, not her husband, is the real ruler of China.

656

  • The son of Pepin I of Landen, Mayor of the Palace Grimoald, attempts to make his son Childebert king of Austrasia, sparking a surge of support for the Merovingians in which father and son are killed.

657

  • Wulfhere, King of Mercia, begins efforts to convert his Anglo-Saxon kingdom to Christianity.

657–659

  • The western Turks disperse, some traveling across southern Russia and eventually reaching Hungary, others going to India.

660

  • The Korean kingdom of Paekche is invaded by China and calls on Japan for help.

  • Prince Nakano Oe becomes emperor of Japan.

663

  • Intending to regain Italian territory conquered by the Lombards and to prevent Muslim troops from conquering Sicily and Italy, Byzantine emperor Constans II transfers his capital to Italy, dreaming of restoring imperial Rome.
  • The Japanese army in Korea is defeated by the Chinese and withdraws from the peninsula.

664

  • Though at first Roman and Celtic Christian missionaries worked together in Britain, differences have developed, especially over how to calculate the date of Easter. The Synod of Whitby firmly establishes Roman Christianity as the dominant religion of England.

668

  • Constans II is killed during a mutiny of his troops in Syracuse and is succeeded by his son Constantine IV, who reigns until 685 during a period in which the Byzantine Empire is under constant attack not only from the Muslim Empire but also from Bulgar and Slavic peoples of the Balkans.
  • China forces Korea to become a vassal state.
  • The Hua Hu Ching, a fourth-century apocryphal text claiming that Lao-tzu is a prior avatar of Buddha, is banned in China.

669

  • Pope Vitalian appoints Theodore of Tarsus the first archbishop of Canterbury, in Kent, giving him authority over all English churches.

672

  • The death of Emperor Tenji, who has ruled Japan since 668, sparks warfare over the succession. Tenji’s younger brother is victorious and rules as Emperor Temmu. During his reign he codifies the Taika reforms as the Asuka Kiyomihara Code, establishing criminal and civil codes as well as governmental structure and dividing the people into freemen and slaves (about 10 percent). All land is the property of the state, which distributes it for the use of the people.

674-678

  • Constantinople is besieged by Arab naval forces. The conflict ends with a truce that lasts thirty years.

675

  • China completes its conquest of the Korean peninsula.

679

  • The Chinese check the advances of Tibetans who have been raiding northern China since the 630s.

680*

  • Ebroïn, mayor of the palace of Neustria, attempts to unify the mayoralties of Neustria and Austrasia under one house and is murdered.

680–711

  • Visigoth authorities intensify their persecution of Spanish Jews and try to compel them to convert to Christianity.

681

  • The Byzantine Empire recognizes by treaty that the land between the Balkans and the Danube is under the control of Asparukh’s horde of Bulgars, delimiting the territory in which the modern state of Bulgaria was later created and weakening the hold of the Avars in the region.

681–687

681–737

  • The Khazars become embroiled in a series of wars with the Muslim Empire and eventually withdraw north of the Caucasus Mountains, where they provide a buffer between the Muslims and eastern Europe.

683

  • On the death of Emperor Kao-tsung his son Wu Chao becomes Emperor Chung-tsung. A month later, after his wife attempts to exercise the same sort of power wielded by her mother-in-law, however, Empress Wu deposes this son and places another, Jui-tsung, on the throne. He rules in name only while his mother governs China. In 690 she usurps the throne.

685

  • Justinian II succeeds his father, Constantine IV, to the throne of the Byzantine Empire.

687

  • Pepin II of Heristal, grandson of Pepin I of Landen, defeats the Neustrians at the Battle of Tetry, becoming mayor of the palaces of Austrasia and Neustria and unifying the northern Frankish kingdom over the next decade.

692

  • Byzantine forces are badly beaten by a Muslim army at the Battle of Sevastopol.
  • Byzantine emperor Justinian II convenes the Quinisext Council at Constantinople. Not recognized by Rome, the council settles the biblical canon and other doctrinal matters that set eastern Christianity apart from the Church in the West.

694

  • A Manichaean missionary arrives at the Chinese court from Persia and is permitted to preach his religion. A dualist faith that holds all matter to be unalterably evil and the spirit (God) to be perfectly good, Manichaeanism was founded in the third century by Mani, who considered himself the successor to a long line of prophets, including Buddha, Zoroaster, and Jesus.

695

  • Leontius leads a successful rebellion against Justinian II and becomes Byzantine emperor, beginning two decades of anarchy in the empire.

696

  • The Khitans of Manchuria rebel against their Chinese governor and invade part of the Hopeh province of northeast China.
  • The Hua Hu Ching, a fourth-century apocryphal text linking Taoism and Buddhism, is accorded official toleration in China.

697

  • With the help of the Turks, Chinese troops drive the Khitans out of Hopeh.
  • According to historical tradition, Paolo Lucio Anafesto becomes the first doge (leader) of Venice, a major Italian seaport that is part of the Byzantine Empire.

698

  • The Byzantine army deposes Leontius and places Tiberius II on the throne.
  • Carthage, the last major Byzantine stronghold in North Africa, falls to the Muslims.
  • China’s one-time allies, the Turks, invade Hopeh but are driven out by Chinese forces.

700*

  • By this date the Lombards of Italy have converted from Arian Christianity (the belief that Christ was human, not divine; that is, a creation of God the Father) to orthodox Roman Christianity.
  • Tapestry weaving is well established in Peru.
  • Porcelain is produced in China.
  • The West African kingdom of Ghana arises on the Niger River bend.

701

  • In Japan the Taiho Code refines laws set forth in the Asuka Kiyomihara Code.

703

  • The Venerable Bede, a monk at the monastery of Jarrow in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, writes On Times, in which he introduces the counting of dates backward (B.C.) and forward (A.D.) from the birth of Christ.

705

  • Aided by the Bulgars, Justinian II reclaims the throne of the Byzantine Empire.
  • Leading Chinese officials seize the palace of Empress Wu and force her to abdicate in favor of her son Emperor Chung-tsung, whose wife, Empress Wei, attempts to wield power by openly selling offices and influence at court.

710

  • After the death of Witiza, Roderick, Duke of Baetica, claims the throne of Spain.
  • Emperor Chung-tsung of China dies, probably poisoned by his wife, Empress Wei, who tries to claim the throne for herself; but Wu’s daughter T’ai-p’ing helps Prince Li Lung-chi, a son of former emperor Jui-tsung, Chung-tsung’s brother, to restore Jui-tsung to the throne.
  • The Japanese court establishes its first permanent capital at Nara.

711

  • Supporters of Witiza’s son call on the Muslims of North Africa for aid. Berber general Tariq ibn Ziyad invades Spain, defeating Roderick and the Visigoths at the Battle of Guadalete River on 19 July. The Visigoth kingdom collapses, and by 719 the Muslims have reached the Pyrenees.
  • The Turkish khan Mo-ch’o has gained control of the Central Asian steppes from the Chinese frontier to Transoxiana and is a threat to China itself. When he is murdered in 716, his empire collapses.

711–717

  • Insurgent troops led by Philippicus defeat and kill Justinian II. Philippicus becomes emperor only to be overthrown by another military uprising in 713 that places Anastasius II on the throne; he is overthrown in 715 and replaced by Theodosius III. None of these weak emperors is able to check the advances of Muslim forces.

712

  • Liutprand becomes king of Lombard Italy. During his reign, which lasts until 744, he steadily reduces Byzantine territory in Italy.
  • In China, T’ai-p’ing’s attempts to control her weak brother Jui-tsung result in the emperor’s abdication in favor of his son Li Lung-chi, who becomes Emperor Hsüng-tsung. His reign, which lasts until 756, is marked by the height of the T’ang dynasty’s power and influence and the high renaissance of Chinese art, literature, and music. China is in a period of prosperity and population growth.

714

  • The death of Pepin II of Heristal begins a period of upheaval in Austrasia and Neustria.
  • The Tibetans begin yearly raids into northwest China that continue for decades.

716–719

  • Charles Martel (the Hammer), illegitimate son of Pepin II of Heristal, defeats Neustrian forces, establishing himself as mayor of Austrasia and Neustria, and sets out to reassert Frankish authority in southern Gaul. He supports the efforts of English missionary Wyn-frid (St. Boniface) to convert the pagans of Germany to Christianity, recognizing its value in the consolidation of political power.

717

  • Leo III, an excellent general and administrator, forces the abdication of Theodosius III and is proclaimed ruler of the Byzantine Empire. The founder of the Isaurian (Syrian) dynasty, he remains on the throne until his death in 741.

717–718

  • Constantinople is under siege by Muslim forces, which are eventually defeated by Leo III.

718–721

  • Visigoth noble Pelayo establishes the Christian kingdom of Asturias.
  • Spurning an offer of alliance from Turkish khan Bilge, successor to Mo-ch’o, Emperor Hsüng-tsung of China goes to war against him and is forced to sue for peace.

720

  • By this date the Byzantine Empire—which once nearly ringed the Mediterranean from Italy to much of the coast of North Africa and southernmost Spain—has lost much of the eastern rim of the Mediterranean and all its North African territory to the Muslim empire, which also controls Arabia, Persia, and the Iberian peninsula.

726

  • Byzantine emperor Leo III promulgates the Ecloga, a revision according to Christian principles of the Roman law by which his empire has been governed, and issues his first ban on religious images (icons) in churches.

727

  • Leo Ill’s Iconoclastic pronouncements spark an unsuccessful Greek revolt.
  • Orso Ipato becomes the first elected doge of Venice.

727–729

  • China engages in a full-scale war with Tibet.

729–749

  • During his reign, the devout Emperor Shomu of Japan establishes Buddhist temples and monasteries in every province and calls for the casting of the Great Buddha, a fifty-three-foot bronze statue dedicated at Todai Temple in Nara in 752.

730s

  • Though a settlement is reached in 730, fighting between China and Tibet flares up again within a decade and continues well into the 750s.

730

  • Leo III proclaims Iconoclasm the official policy of the Byzantine Empire, Pope Gregory II (reigned 715–731) and his successor, Gregory III (reigned 731–741), object to the imposition of Iconoclasm on churches in Byzantine areas of Italy, leading to further estrangement of the eastern and western Christian Churches. Ravenna revolts against Iconoclasm and makes an alliance with the Lombards, while Venice helps the Byzantines to retain some of their Italian territory.

731

  • A Byzantine fleet fails to restore Ravenna to the empire.
  • Pope Gregory III excommunicates all Iconoclasts.

732

  • Charles Martel is victorious at the Battle of Tours, near Poitiers in southern France, ending the Muslim advance.

735–736

  • Charles Martel drives the Muslims from Aquitaine in southern France.

740*

  • As aristocrats and generals gain power in China, Emperor Hsiüng-tsung exercises less and less authority. The aristocratic minister Li Lin-fu becomes virtual dictator.

741

  • Charles Martel dies, and his lands and powers are divided between his sons; Carloman becomes mayor of Austrasia, and Pepin III (the Short) gets Neustria.
  • On the death of Leo III his son Constantine V becomes Byzantine emperor, suppressing a revolt led by his brother-in-law Artavasdos.

744

  • On the northern border of China, the Uighur Turks establish an empire that remains a powerful force in the region until 840.

745

  • Constantine V achieves important victories against the Muslims in northern Syria.

747

  • Carloman enters a monastery, and Pepin III (the Short) has himself crowned king of all Carolingian holdings, with the support of Pope Zacharias.

749

  • Not long before his death the Buddhist monk Gyogi promotes the belief that Shinto, the native belief system of Japan, and Buddhism are two aspects of the same religion, leading to the gradual amalgamation of the two faiths.
  • Greek theologian John of Damascus, an eloquent defender of the value of icons in Christian worship, dies on 4 December.

751

  • Supported by Pope Zacharias, Pepin III (the Short) deposes Childeric III, the last Merovingian king.
  • The Lombards invade Ravenna, ending the Byzantine exarchate there. Though Venice is still nominally a Byzantine possession, it becomes increasingly independent of empire control.

752

  • Pope Stephen makes Pepin III (the Short) patrician of the Romans and consecrates his sons, establishing the legitimacy of the dynasty.
  • After the death of Li Lin-fu, Yang Kuo-chung—a relative of Emperor Hsiing-tsung’s favorite concubine, Yang Kuei-fei—begins to dominate the Chinese court.

753

  • The Chinese monk Ganjin arrives at the Japanese court in Nara, where he establishes the Ritsu sect of Buddhism.

754–755

  • Pepin III (the Short) goes to the aid of the Pope in his disputes with the Lombards.

755–756

  • An Lu-shan, the powerful military governor of three provinces on the northwest frontier of China, marches his troops toward the capital city Ch’ang-an and proclaims himself emperor. As Emperor Hsüng-tsung flees, his guard mutinies, kills Yang Kuo-chung, and demands that the emperor execute Yang Kuei-fei.

755–775

  • The Byzantines engage in repeated campaigns against the Bulgars, eventually weakening, but not crushing, them.

756

  • Pepin III (the Short) returns to Italy, defeating the Lombards and making the Donation of Pepin, which establishes the basis for a papal state (and the temporal power of the papacy). The donation also sets up the Franks as the protectors of the papacy.

757

  • An Lu-shan is assassinated by some of his own men, but his rebellion against the dynasty in China continues until 763. From this time until its fall in 907, the T’ang dynasty is too weak to assert any real authority, and China is ruled by warlords and plagued by raids from the north.

757–796

  • During the reign of Offa II, Mercia becomes the dominant kingdom in England.

759

  • Prankish troops force the final withdrawal of Muslim troops from southern France, as Pepin III (the Short) conquers Septimania and reasserts Frankish authority in Aquitaine, extending his kingdom south to the Pyrenees.
  • Not long after this date the Man’yoshu, an anthology of some 4,500 ancient and contemporary poems written in Japanese, is compiled. The poems are by writers from all classes of Japanese society.

762

  • The great Chinese poet Li Po dies in Tang-t’u, China.
  • At about this time the Japanese begin making pictorial books of wood-block prints.

762–763

  • Uighur Turks attack Chinese rebel forces and sack the eastern capital at Loyang. One of the Uighur leaders is converted to Manichaeism, which becomes the state religion of the Uighur empire.

764

  • Civil war erupts in Japan after the powerful Buddhist priest Dokyo, backed by former empress Koken, eliminates his main political rival, Oshikatsu, minister to Emperor Jun-nin and a member of the influential Fujiwara family. Junnin is deposed and Koken takes the throne as Empress Shotoku. During her reign, which lasts until 770, Dokyo is prime minister and high priest of state.

768

  • Pepin III (the Short) dies, and his kingdom is divided between his two sons, Charles (Charlemagne) and Carloman.

770

  • On the death of Empress Shotoku of Japan, the powerful Fujiwara family banishes from the capital her favorite, Donyo, who has attempted to have himself proclaimed emperor. The Fujiwaras place Emperor Konnin on the throne, considerably lessening the influence of the wealthy and powerful Buddhist establishment on the politics of Japan. The Fujiwaras remain a major force in Japanese government until the mid twelfth century.

771

  • Carloman dies, and the kingdom of the Franks is reunited under Charlemagne, who establishes his capital at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle).

772–804

  • Charlemagne’s troops engage in a difficult but ultimately successful campaign to conquer Saxony.

774

  • Charlemagne conquers Lombard Italy, incorporating it into his empire and fulfilling his father’s promise of establishing a papal state.

775

  • After the death of Constantine V, the Byzantine throne goes to his son Leo IV, who dies prematurely in 780.

775*

  • Monks on the Scottish Island of Iona begin what is now known as the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels in the ornate Celtic style. After Vikings (Norsemen) raid the island in 802, it is taken to the Abbey of Kells in Ireland, where it is probably completed.

778–824

  • Borobudur Temple in Java is built as a microcosm of the universe according to the ideas of Mahayana Buddhism.

778

  • Charlemagne’s forces are attacked by Basques at Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees as they return from an unsuccessful foray into Spain. The battle later becomes the inspiration for the early-twelfth-century French epic La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland).

780

  • Ten-year-old Constantine VI inherits the Byzantine throne. His mother, Empress Irene, becomes his regent.

781

  • Charlemagne gives the throne of Italy to his son Pepin and makes his son Louis I (the Pious) king of Aquitaine.
  • Byzantine forces suffer a major loss to Muslim troops in Asia Minor.

784

  • Hoping to lessen the influence of the powerful monasteries of Nara, Emperor Kammu, who ascended the Japanese throne in 781, moves his capital to Nagaoka.

787

  • The first recorded incursion of Danes takes place in England, beginning a long series of European raids by Danes, Norsemen, and Swedes, known collectively as Vikings.
  • Under the instigation of Empress Irene, the Council of Nicaea allows icons to be returned to Byzantine churches, decreeing that they should be revered and venerated but not worshiped.

788

  • charlemagne conquers Bavaria.

790

  • The Byzantine army forces Empress Irene into retirement, but Constantine VI recalls his mother two years later and makes her coruler.

792

  • The Bulgars rise again and win a major victory against the Byzantines.

794

  • Emperor Kammu moves his court to Heian-kyo, later known as Kyoto, which remains the capital of Japan until 1868.

797

  • Empress Irene orders her son Constantine VI deposed and blinded, claiming the Byzantine throne for herself.

800*

  • Chinese alchemists discover how to make gunpowder.
  • At his court in Aachen, Charlemagne establishes a palace school headed by the English monk Alcuin of York, beginning a revival of learning in western Europe that becomes known as the Carolingian Renaissance.
  • Charlemagne defeats the Avars.
  • The rulers of the Khmer (Cambodian) empire found the city of Angkor, which remains their capital until the fifteenth century.

800

  • On Christmas Day, Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne “Emperor of the Romans,” a conscious attempt to signal the birth of a Christian Empire (the precursor of the Holy Roman Empire) to rival the expanding Muslim Empire and to equal ancient Rome in its power and glory. At about this time Charlemagne sends an ambassador to the court of Abbasid khalifah (caliph) Harun al-Rashid. The Byzantine Empire refuses to recognize the new western empire.

801

  • Charlemagne’s forces take Barcelona, creating a Spanish March (buffer zone) between the Frankish Empire and Muslim Spain.

802

  • High-ranking Byzantine officials depose Empress Irene and place Nicephorus I on the throne.

804–806

  • The Byzantine territories of Anatolia, Cyprus, and Rhodes suffer repeated Muslim raids.

805

  • The Chinese Buddhist monk Saicho founds the Tendai Sect in Japan.

806

  • The Chinese Buddhist monk Kukai goes to Japan, where he founds the Shingon Sect. A devout Buddhist, Emperor Kammu encourages the growth of the Tendai and Shingon sects to counter the influence of the powerful Buddhist sects centered at Nara.

809

  • King Krum of the Bulgars begins a war with the Byzantines.

811

  • Emperor Nicephorus I is defeated and killed in a costly battle with the Bulgars. Emperor Michael I Rhangabe is equally unsuccessful in stopping the Bulgar advance on Constantinople.

812

  • The Byzantines sign a treaty with Charlemagne that allows them to keep their territory in southern Italy, Venice, and Dalmatia.

813

  • The Byzantine army deposes Emperor Michael I Rhangabe and places Leo V (the Armenian) on the throne.
  • On 11 September, Charlemagne has his last surviving son, Louis I (the Pious)* crowned coruler of his Empire.

814

  • Charlemagne dies on 28 January and is succeeded by Louis I (the Pious).

815

  • Under Emperor Leo V (the Armenian) the Council of St. Sophia revives Iconoclasm in the Byzantine Church.

817

  • Louis I (the Pious) announces that on his death his empire will be divided among three sons: Lothar I (Italy), Pepin I (Aquitaine and Burgundy), and Louis II (the German) (Bavaria).
  • Byzantine Emperor Leo V (the Armenian) wins a major victory over the Bulgars at the Battle of Mesembria and forces them to sign a thirty-year peace treaty.

820

  • Emperor Leo V (the Armenian) is assassinated, and Michael II, the first emperor of the Phrygian dynasty, is placed on the Byzantine throne.

825

  • Egbert, King of Wessex, defeats Beorhtric, King of Mercia, at the Battle of Ellendune, destroying the dominance of Mercia over the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Essex accept Egbert as their king.

826*

  • Muslims from North Africa capture the island of Crete from the Byzantines and use it as a base for pirate ships until 961, when it is reconquered by the Byzantines.

826

  • At the request of King Harald of Denmark, the Benedictine monk Ansgar begins his mission to convert Scandinavia to Christianity.

829

  • Egbert becomes king of Mercia.
  • Byzantine emperor Michael II is succeeded by his son Theophilus.

830

  • Lothar I, Pepin I, and Louis II try unsuccessfully to overthrow their father; another attempt in 833 also fails.
  • The Magyars, an ethnic blend of Ugric and Turkish peoples, have migrated southwest through the Khazar empire from western Siberia and have reached the west bank of the Don River.

831

  • Abbot Paschasius Radbertus of Corbey writes De corpore et sanguine Christi (Concerning Christ’s Body and Blood), clearly setting forth the doctrine of transubstantiation, which later becomes the dominant interpretation of the Eucharist in the Western Christian Church.

834

  • The use of a crank to turn a rotary grindstone is documented in western Europe for the first time.

838

  • Louis I (the Pious) gives Neustria (modern northwestern France) to his son Charles II (the Bald), who is also given Aquitaine after his brother Pepin’s death in this year.
  • Egbert achieves a major victory over invading Vikings (Danes) and their Cornish Briton allies at the Battle of Hingston Down.
  • Emperor Theophilus is defeated by Muslim forces, who capture the important Byzantine frontier fortress at Armoria.

840*

  • Vikings (Norsemen) found the towns of Dublin and Limerick on the Irish coast as bases for trade with their homeland.

840

  • Louis I (the Pious) dies. His son Lothar I begins efforts to gain control of all Carolingian lands.

840–841

  • Though Venice is still nominally a part of the Byzantine Empire, by this time the great trading city is making international agreements in its own name and is essentially self-ruling.

841

  • Lothar I is defeated by his brothers, Louis II (the German) and Charles II (the Bald), at the Battle of Fontenoy.
  • France is invaded by Vikings (Norsemen), who settle in the region that becomes known as Normandy. By 843 they have made it all the way to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

842

  • Louis II (the German) and Charles II (the Bald) renew their alliance against Lothar I in the Strasbourg Oaths. Charles makes his declaration in lingua romana (Old French) and Louis makes his in lingua teudisca (Old German), creating a manuscript that documents an early stage in the evolution of modern German and French.
  • Michael III ascends the Byzantine throne with his mother, Theodora, as regent.

843

  • The Treaty of Verdun gives Lothar I control of northern Italy and Lorraine; Louis II (the German) receives the lands east of the Rhine River; Charles II (the Bald) becomes the king of the West Franks (modern-day France).
  • Genoa becomes a republic.
  • Icons are restored to Byzantine churches.
  • Kenneth I MacAlpin becomes the first king to rule both the Scots and the Picts.

843–845

  • T’ang emperor Wu-tsung, a Taoist, persecutes Buddhists, Manichaeans, Nestorians, and Maddens (members of a Persian sect), ending a long period of general religious tolerance in China. Only Buddhism survives.

845

  • Vikings (Norsemen) sack Paris.

850*

  • Groups of Jews settle in Germany. The Yiddish language begins to develop from Hebrew, Aramaic, and German roots.
  • Under Vijayawada, who reigns until 870, the prosperous Hindu Cola (or Cholla) dynasty of Tamil kings begins its territorial expansion in southern India.

850–900*

  • Salerno University is founded in Italy and rapidly becomes well known for its medical faculty.

851

  • Egbert’s successor, Aethelwulf, defeats a Viking (Danish) army that has attacked Canterbury and London, but is having difficulty defending the long, unfortified English coastline from repeated raids.

855

  • Lothar I dies. His lands are divided among his three sons: Louis II is given Italy; Charles gets Provence; and Lothar II obtains Lotharingia (modern-day Lorraine).

856

  • Theodora is forced to retire as regent for Michael III. Her brother Bardas takes advantage of his nephew’s weakness to become de facto ruler of the Byzantine Empire.

858

  • Fujiwara Yoshifusa, father-in-law of the emperor of Japan, becomes the first commoner to serve as regent when his nine-year-old grandson, Seiwa, takes the throne.
  • Photius is named patriarch of Constantinople, replacing Ignatius, who has fallen into disfavor with Bardas. Pope Nicholas I challenges Photius’s elevation, sparking the Photian Controversy between the eastern and western Christian Churches.

860*

  • Viking (Norse) explorers discover Iceland.

860

  • Sailing down the Dnieper from Kiev to the Black Sea, the Russians launch an unsuccessful naval attack on Constantinople.

862

  • Charles II (the Bald) grants Flanders to his son-in-law, Baldwin I (Iron Arm).

862–885

  • Byzantine missionaries Cyril and Methodius preach Christianity among the Slavs of Moravia and Bohemia. Cyril adapts the Greek alphabet to the Slavic tongue, and it becomes known as the Cyrillic alphabet.

865

  • Boris I of Bulgaria is converted to Christianity, eventually affiliating with the Eastern Church.
  • Louis II (the German) divides his kingdom among his three sons: Carloman (Bavaria and Carinthia), Charles the Fat (Swabia); and Louis the Younger (Franconia, Thuringia, and Saxony).

866

  • Emperor Seiwa of Japan achieves his majority, but his grandfather continues to serve as regent, inaugurating nearly two centuries of clan dominance known as the Fujiwara period (866-1160).
  • A Viking (Danish) army of nearly three thousand men attacks England and captures Northumbria.
  • Bardas is murdered by Basil, a favorite of Byzantine emperor Michael III.

867

  • In the midst of the continuing Photian Controversy, Photius condemns and excommunicates Pope Nicholas I for refusing to recognize him as patriarch of Constantinople.
  • Basil orders Emperor Michael III deposed and murdered, replacing him on the throne as Emperor Basil I, the founder of the Macedonian dynasty. He deposes Photius, who has protested the murder of Michael III, and restores Ignatius to the office of patriarch.

868

  • Empress Shotoku of China orders the printing of the first known book, the Diamond Sutra, a collection of Buddhist incantations.

869

  • Lothar II dies and his lands are divided between his uncles Louis II (the German) and Charles II (the Bald).

869–870

  • The Council of Constantinople excommunicates Photius and attempts to smooth over differences with the Roman Church, but friction remains.

871

  • Having already captured York and East Anglia, Vikings (Danes) raid London and meet fierce resistance in Wessex. Late in the year Alfred (the Great) becomes king of Wessex and negotiates a temporary peace.

871–879

  • Taking advantage of internal dissent within the Muslim Empire, the Byzantines engage in sporadic border warfare with the Muslims and make some inroads.

874

  • Ingólfr Arnarson becomes the first permanent Norse settler of Iceland.

875

  • Louis II dies; Charles II (the Bald) invades Italy and is crowned the Holy Roman Emperor.
  • Byzantine forces capture Bari in southern Italy. They later take Tarentum (880) and Calabria (885), re-establishing a large foothold on the peninsula.

876

  • Charles II (the Bald) attempts, but fails, to take the territory of Louis II (the German), who dies in August. His son Louis III (the Younger) defeats his uncle at the Battle of Andernach on 8 October. Louis’s son Charles III (the Fat) becomes king of Swabia.

877

  • The death of Charles II (the Bald) leaves the Empire in a state of anarchy. His son Louis II (the Stammerer) becomes king of the West Franks but refuses to become emperor.
  • On the death of Ignatius, Photius is restored as patriarch of Constantinople, causing a renewal of friction with Rome.

878

  • The Vikings, led by the Danish king Guthrum, are defeated by King Alfred the Great at the Battle of Edington in Wiltshire. Alfred establishes the Peace of Wedmore, in which Guthrum accepts Christianity and agrees to withdraw to the “Danelaw,” England north Watling street from Chester to London and the Thames from London to the sea.

879

  • Seeking Byzantine support against the Muslims of Spain, who are conducting naval raids along the Italian coastline, Pope John VIII recognizes Photius as patriarch of Constantinople and sends legates to a new Church council held in Constantinople.

880

  • Fujiwara Mototsune becomes the first kampaku (civil dictator), the de facto ruler of Japan. With one exception, until 1160 a member of the Fujiwara clan serves as kampaku during the reign of adult emperor or as regent when a minor is on the throne.
  • After the death of Louis II (the Stammerer) in April 879, his sons Carloman and Louis III divide the kingdom of the West Franks.

880–881

  • The Byzantines achieve several naval victories over Muslims in the eastern Mediterranean.

881

  • Charles III (the Fat) becomes Holy Roman Emperor.

882

  • Louis III dies, and his brother Carloman becomes sole ruler of the West Franks.
  • Louis III (the Younger) dies, and his brother Charles III (the Fat) gains Saxony.

884

  • On the death of Carloman, King of the West Franks, Charles III (the Fat) gains control of West Frankish lands, uniting under his rule all the territory controlled by Charlemagne except Provence.

885–886

  • Vikings (Norsemen) lay siege to Paris, but the city is defended by Count Eudes (Odo). Charles III (the Fat) fails in his attempt to aid Eudes.

886

  • After repelling a Danish invasion of Kent in 885, Alfred the Great captures London and is acknowledged as king of all England south of the Danelaw.
  • Basil I dies and is succeeded as Byzantine emperor by his son Leo IV (the Wise), who has been co-emperor since 870 and completes the codification of Byzantine law begun by his father.

887

  • Charles III (the Fat) is deposed by the German magnates, marking the final dissolution of Charlemagne’s empire. Charles’s nephew Arnulf, the illegitimate son of Carloman, becomes king of Germany.

888

  • Eudes, Count of Paris, is elected king of the West Franks. Another faction backs Charles III (the Simple), younger brother of West Frankish kings Louis III and Carloman, and a five-year civil war ensues.

889

  • The Pechenegs, a Turkic people, enter the area between the Don and lower Danube Rivers, driving the Magyars to the eastern edges of their territory.
  • Boris I retires to a monastery and is succeeded as ruler of the Bulgars by his son Vladimir.

891

  • Fujiwara Mototsune dies, and Emperor Uda, whose mother is not a Fujiwara, refuses to appoint a new kampaku. Having ascended the Japanese throne in 887, Uda rules independently of the Fujiwaras until his death in 897. He is supported in his efforts by the powerful scholar-poet-politician Sugawara Michizane (later deified as Tenjin).
  • The Vikings (Norsemen) are defeated at the Battle of the Dyle (in present-day Belgium) by Arnulf of Germany.
  • With the help of the Magyars, Arnulf attacks the Moravians, who are making incursions into Germany.
  • After a vacancy on the throne since 887, Guido of Spoleto is crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

893

  • Charles III (the Simple) becomes king of France and rules from Laon. He is the last Carolingian king to exert any true authority in France.
  • Boris I comes out of retirement, puts down a revolt against his son Vladimir, deposes and blinds him, and makes his son Simeon I (the Great) king of the Bulgars.

894

  • Emperor Uda appoints Sugawara Michizane Japanese envoy to the T’ang dynasty of China, but Michizane convinces the emperor that contact with the Chinese is undesirable because of growing influence from the Near East and that China no longer has anything to teach Japan. Although unofficial contact between the two countries continues, this break in diplomatic relations marks the end of some three centuries of Chinese influence on Japanese culture.

894–924

  • Simeon I (the Great) of Bulgaria engages in a series of wars with the Byzantine Empire, hoping to place himself on the imperial throne. Despite repeated attempts, he is never able to take Constantinople.

896

  • Led by Arpad, the Magyars settle in Hungary, subjugating the resident Slavs and Huns.
  • Arnulf of Germany invades Italy, capturing Rome. With his victory he is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Formosus.

899

  • Arnulf of Germany dies and is succeeded by his six-year-old son, Louis IV (the Child), the last Carolingian ruler of Germany.
  • Alfred I of England dies and is succeeded by his son Edward (the Elder).

899–955

  • The Magyars conduct raids in Central Europe.

900*

  • The Chimú kingdom arises in the Moche Valley of Peru, beginning to fill a vacuum left by the collapse of the Huaris.
  • Bantu-speaking people establish city-states on the east coast of Africa.
  • The classic period of Mayan civilization in present-day Guatemala, Honduras, southern Mexico, Belize, and El Salvador comes to an end. At its height the Mayan Empire consisted of some forty cities and had a total population of about two million people. While the lowland cities are abandoned after 900, the cities in the highlands of the Yucatán peninsula continue to flourish for several more centuries.
  • By this time the last inhabitants of Teotihuacán, near present-day Mexico City, have abandoned what is left of their once-great city, devastated by fire some 150 years earlier. They have been driven away by the arrival of warlike peoples such as the Toltecs.
  • The Mataram dynasty is established in Java, Indonesia.

900s

  • Many works of vernacular European literatures—Celtic, Old French, Old High German, and Old Norse—are written down for the first time.

902

  • The Byzantine island of Sicily falls to the Muslims after a long series of raids that began in 827.
  • Work begins on the Campanile of St. Mark’s in Venice.

905

  • Edward the Elder of England defeats an internal struggle for his throne initiated by his cousin Aethelwald, who had Danish support.

907

  • A Russian delegation led by Prince Oleg arrives in Constantinople to discuss a trade agreement, signed in 911.
  • The T’ang dynasty, which has ruled China since 618, falls because of internal rebellions and Turkish invasions, ending a golden age of Chinese culture and beginning the breakup of China into separate kingdoms.
  • Khitan Mongol leader A-pao-chi proclaims himself ruler of the Khitan nation, and by 916 he has created a Chinese-style dynasty to rule a nation that includes Mongolia and much of Manchuria.

910

  • Duke William I of Aquitaine donates land to found the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny in France.

911

  • Charles III (the Simple) cedes to the Norseman Rollo the Duchy of Northmen (Normans), which becomes known as Normandy. Rollo converts to Christianity, is baptized Robert, and becomes Charles’s vassal. Charles gains control of Lorraine.
  • On the death of Louis III (the Child), the last Carolingian king of the East Franks, Germany splinters into many smaller principalities. Their rulers elect Conrad I, Duke of Franconia, king of Germany, but he has to fight challenges from Swabia and Bavaria.

912

913

  • Leo VTs seven-year-old son, Constantine VII (Porphyrogenitus), becomes Byzantine emperor and reigns until 959. A scholarly, artistic man, Constantine leaves the work of government to the strongmen associated with him.

914

  • Bulgar ruler Simeon I (the Great) extends his power in the Balkans through raids in Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia.

919

  • Henry I (the Fowler), Duke of Saxony and the strongest opponent of Conrad I, is elected king of Germany. The Swabian and Bavarian dukes are brought to heel, and Henry forms an alliance with Charles III (the Simple) of France.

920

  • Romanus I (Lecapenus) is made co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire with his son-in-law Constantine VII (Porphyrogenitus) and becomes de facto ruler of the empire.

922*

  • The Volga Bulgars convert to Islam.
  • Robert, Duke of Paris, seizes the crown of France from Charles III (the Simple).

923

  • Charles III (the Simple) kills Robert in a battle at Soissons, only to be captured by Hebert, Count of Vermandois, in whose custody he dies in 929. Robert’s son-in-law Rudolf, Duke of Burgundy, becomes king.

924

  • Edward the Elder dies and is succeeded by his son, Aethelstan, who annexes Northum-bria in 926 on his way to controlling most of England.

925

  • Simeon I (the Great) proclaims himself tsar of all the Bulgars, presiding over the first Bulgarian empire. Having proclaimed the independence of the Bulgarian Church from Constantinople, he is recognized by the Pope but not by the Byzantines.

926

  • In return for helping the Juchens of Manchuria to conquer northern China, Khitan ruler A-pao-chi is given the northeast corner of China, which includes the city of Beijing.

927

  • German king Henry I (the Fowler) launches an attack on, and defeats, the Heveller, a Slavic tribe that has a strong fortress on the Havel River that was thought to be invincible.

932

  • Chinese minister Fong Tao orders the printing of a collection of Chinese classics in 130 volumes.

933

  • German king Henry I (the Fowler) defeats the Magyars at Riade on the Unstrut River. The Magyars, who have invaded with a force of nearly one hundred thousand men, are crushed by two German armies.

935–941

  • The provincial military class in Japan revolts unsuccessfully against imperial rule.

936

  • Henry I (the Fowler) dies and is succeeded as king of Germany by his son, Otto I (the Great).
  • On the death of King Rudolf, Louis IV, son of Charles III (the Simple), becomes king of France, but the kingdom is actually ruled by Hugh the Great, son of King Robert.

937

  • Aethelstan’s English forces defeat Scottish and Danish armies at the Battle of Brunanburh, helping to unify the Anglo-Saxon kingdom.

939

  • Vietnam gains its independence from China.

941

  • Igor, Duke of Kiev, launches a naval attack on Constantinople, but his fleet is defeated by the Greeks. His second attempt, in 944, fails as well.

942

  • Kettledrums and trumpets arrive in western Europe from Muslim regions.

944

  • Romanus I (Lecapenus) is deposed by his sons Stephen and Constantine, who force him to become a monk. After exiling Romanus’s sons in 945, Constantine VII (Porphyrogenitus) becomes sole ruler again, but the Byzantine Empire is largely governed by the powerful general Bardas Phocas, who is under the influence of Constantine’s wife, Empress Helena, and her favorite, Basil.

947

  • The Khitans of northeastern China proclaim the Liao dynasty, which rules that portion of their empire until 1125.
  • Quetzalcoatl, revered by the Toltecs as a god, is born in Mexico.

950*

  • The war-like Toltecs build their capital city, Tula, about fifty miles north of present-day Mexico City.

951

  • Otto I (the Great) invades Italy, largely to open the passages through the mountains.

954

  • On the death of Louis IV of France his eldest son, Lothaire, becomes king. The kingdom is controlled by Hugh the Great until 956 and then by Hugh’s uncle, Archbishop Bruno of Cologne, brother of King Otto I (the Great) of Germany.

955

  • The Magyars attempt another invasion of Germany, but they are defeated at the Battle of the Lechfeld by Otto I (the Great) and driven back into Hungary, where they establish a permanent kingdom.
  • A treaty between Ordono III and ‘Abd al-Rahman-al-Nasir secures the independence of Leon and Navarre.

957

  • Olga, widow of Prince Igor of Kiev and regent for their son Svyatoslav, is baptized in Constantinople and begins efforts to convert Russians to Christianity. She is later canonized as the first saint of the Russian Orthodox Church.

959

  • Byzantine emperor Constantine VII (Porphyrogenitus) dies and is succeeded by his son Romanus II, who allows the eunuch Joseph Bringas to run affairs of state and leaves military affairs to Nicephorus Phocas, son of Bardas Phocas.

960*

  • Monasticism undergoes a revival in England.

960

  • Chao K’uang-yin stages a coup in China and proclaims himself Emperor T’ai-tsu, establishing the Sung dynasty which remains in power until 1279. In the Sung period China undergoes a revival of Confucianism; Chinese trade goods such as porcelain and steel become world famous; and artists, particularly watercolor landscape painters, flourish. During his reign, which lasts until 976, T’ai-tsu begins the reunification of the Chinese empire.

961

  • Byzantine general Nicephorus Phocas recaptures Crete from the Muslims.

962

  • After invading Italy for the second time, Otto I (the Great) is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope. During his reign he sends an ambassador to the Umayyad capital in Cordoba, Spain, to learn about Muslim society and military capacities.
  • The Germans are working silver and copper mines in the Hartz Mountains.

963

  • Byzantine emperor Romanus II dies on 15 March, leaving Joseph Bringas in charge of the affairs of state and naming his twenty-year-old empress, Theophano, regent for his two sons, Basil (age six) and Constantine (age three). After the people of Constantinople revolt against Bringas, the imperial army places Nicephorus Phocas on the throne (16 August) as Nicephorus II, and he marries Theophano (20 September).

966–969

  • With the aid of Prince Svyatoslav of Kiev, the Byzantines defeat the Bulgars. Svyatoslav refuses to cede his conquest to the Byzantines and announces plans to establish a Russo-Bulgarian empire.

967

  • Otto I (the Great) forces Pope John XIII to crown his son, Otto II, as joint Holy Roman Emperor.

969

  • Byzantine emperor Nicephorus II (Phocas) is murdered in a plot devised by his wife, Empress Theophano, and his relative and trusted lieutenant John Tzimisces, who has been having an affair with Theophano. When Patriarch Polyeuctus of Constantinople insists that he do penance in order to become Emperor John I, Tzimisces banishes Theophano to a convent and punishes the murderers.

971

  • Prince Svyatoslav of Kiev invades the Byzantine Empire, where he is defeated by John I (Tzimisces) and forced to evacuate Bulgaria. John annexes eastern Bulgaria to the Byzantine Empire.

972

  • The Chinese begin printing with movable type.

973

  • On the death of his father, Otto I (the Great), Otto II becomes king of Germany and Emperor of the Romans.
  • Commercial relations are established between Italy and Fatimid Egypt.

974–976

  • In campaigns against the Fatimid Muslims in Syria, John I (Tzimisces) takes Antioch, Damascus, and other cities but dies—probably of typhoid—before he can take Jerusalem.

975–1025*

  • Beowulf, an Old English epic that has evolved over several centuries, is written down for the first time.

976

  • On the death of John I (Tzimisces), Basil II and Constantine VIII, sons of Romanos II and Theophano, become the rulers of the Byzantine Empire. They are under the influence of their granduncle Basil the Chamberlain (also known as Basil the Eunuch), illegitimate son of Romanus I (Lecapenus).
  • During his reign, which lasts until 997, T’ai-tsung, brother and successor of T’ai-tsu, completes the reunification of the Chinese empire.

978

  • Otto II of Germany puts down a revolt by Henry II of Bavaria.
  • Aethelred II (the Unready) becomes king of England and is soon facing new Danish raids.

979

  • Bardas Phocas defeats Bardas Skleros, who has led a military uprising against Byzantine emperor Basil II.

980

  • Samuel becomes tsar of Bulgaria, establishing his capital in Macedonia and extending his empire into the northern part of present-day Albania and northern Greece.

982

  • Banished from Iceland for manslaughter, Norseman Erik the Red settles on the island he later calls Greenland.
  • German king Otto II’s troops are defeated by Muslim forces near Stilo in southern Italy.

983

  • On the death of Otto II, his three-year-old son Otto III becomes king of Germany and Emperor of the Romans. His mother and grandmother rule as regents.

985

  • Returning to Iceland, Erik the Red recruits settlers for Greenland, choosing the name to make the island seem more attractive than Iceland.
  • Byzantine emperor Basil II exiles Basil the Chamberlain to end his influence on imperial policy.
  • On the death of King Lothaire, his weak son Louis V becomes king of France.

986

  • Icelanders led by Erik the Red establish two main settlements in Greenland.
  • Blown off course during a storm, Icelander Bjarni Herjulfsson and his crew make the first recorded European sighting of the North American continent.

987

  • The last Carolingian king of the West Franks, Louis V, dies and is succeeded by Hugh Capet, the first Capetian king of France.

989

  • With the help of Prince Vladimir of Kiev, Byzantine emperor Basil II puts down a revolt led by his generals Bardas Phocas and Bardas Skleros. Basil rewards Vladimir with the hand of his sister Anna, on the condition that he and his subjects convert to Christianity. A mass conversion of Russians to Eastern Christianity follows.

994

  • The Danes, led by Sweyn I Forkbeard, invade England and impose tribute.

995

  • Fujiwara Michinaga becomes head of his clan and de facto ruler of Japan, fostering a Japanese literary renaissance while struggling to suppress rebellions by warrior families who resent the Fujiwaras’ centralized control of the nation.
  • Military victories at Aleppo and Horns strengthen the Byzantines’ position in Syria.

996

  • Emperor Basil II recovers Byzantine holdings in Greece by defeating Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria at the Battle of Spercheios River.
  • Hugh Capet of France dies and is succeeded by his son Robert II (the Pious).

998

  • The Feast of All Saints is celebrated for the first time at Cluny.

999*

  • Influenced by the success of Christian missionaries sent by Olaf I Tryggvason, king of Norway, the Althing, or Icelandic assembly, decides that all Icelanders must abandon the old Norse religion in favor of Christianity.

1000*

  • Over the past three thousand years, people speaking the Bantu family of languages have spread out from western Africa and now dominate the cultures of most of sub-Saharan Africa, diffusing their knowledge of iron work and agriculture.
  • The West African city-state of Benin emerges in what is now Nigeria, becoming renowned for its metalwork. By the late fifteenth century, when Portuguese explorers visit it for the first time, it has become a large, powerful, and prosperous walled city.
  • The Incan civilization begins to develop in South America.
  • Struggles between rival religious groups begin to weaken the Toltec state of central Mexico.
  • Among the Eastern Woodlands peoples in the northwestern part of present-day New York State the introduction of corn sparks the development of the Owasco culture, the foundation of the groups Europeans later call the Five Iroquois Nations: the Mohawks, Senecas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Cayugas. Once they begin practicing horticulture, their population grows and competition for land increases, leading eventually to the construction of fortified hilltop towns.
  • The Navajo and Apache peoples from the far north in Canada arrive in the American Southwest, where they encounter Pueblo Indians, including the Zuni and Hopi, who have been in the region for thousands of years. The Navajo learn agriculture, weaving, and artistic styles from the Pueblo tribes, but the Apache remain mostly hunter-gatherers. Only a few groups of their people supplement their diet by growing maize and other vegetables.
  • At Cahokia, near present-day East St. Louis, Illinois, members of the group archaeologists call Mississippians begin building the largest earthen structures in pre-Columbian North America. Following a tradition begun around 2300 B.C. these mound builders place structures such as the council house, chiefs’ houses, and their temple on their mounds. Situated on land well suited for agriculture and strategically located for trade, Cahokia becomes a prosperous and influential city, with a population that eventually reaches about twelve thousand people. Its political and religious rituals, symbols, and costumes spread throughout the Southeast.
  • Maori people settle New Zealand following long voyages across the Pacific Ocean.

1000

  • Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, converts to Christianity during a visit to Norway.
  • The Danes, led by Sweyn I, defeat the forces of Olaf Tryggvason of Norway.

1001

  • Leif Eriksson and his crew sail to places they call Vinland, Helluland, and Markland, possibly Nova Scotia, Labrador, and Newfoundland.

1002*

  • Leif Eriksson and his party return to Greenland, where he proselytizes for the Christian religion, first converting his mother, who builds the first Christian church on the island.

1002

  • Otto III dies and his cousin Henry II becomes king of Germany. He is crowned Emperor of the Romans in 1014.
  • Danish settlers are massacred in England, prompting the Danish king to send regular raiding parties to the island for the next twelve years.
  • Byzantine emperor Basil II takes Macedonia from the Bulgars.

1003

  • Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria recovers Macedonia from the Byzantines.

1004

  • Thorfinn Karlsefni and his wife, Gudrid, lead an expedition of about 130 people from Greenland to the North American continent, landing possibly at Baffin Island, traveling south, and settling along what was probably the Gulf of St. Lawrence. After three years they abandon the settlement they call Vinland and return to Greenland. Thorfinn and Gudrid’s son, Snorri (born circa 1005), may be the first European born in mainland North America.

1005

  • Malcolm II Mackenneth becomes king of Scotland and rules until 1034.

1007

  • Byzantine emperor Basil II subdues Macedonia, but conflict with the Bulgars continues.

1013–1014

  • Danish king Sweyn I invades England and is acknowledged as king, but after his death in Gainsborough, Aethelred the Unready regains the throne.

1014

  • Rajendra becomes king of a Cola empire that includes southern India, the Laccadive and Maldive Islands, and northern Ceylon (Sri Lanka). During his thirty-year reign, he extends the northern boundaries of his kingdom, completes the invasion of Ceylon, and conquers portions of the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago.
  • King Brian of Ireland defeats the Vikings (Norsemen) at Clontarf, ending Viking control of Ireland. Many Norse settlers remain in Ireland.
  • Byzantine emperor Basil II annihilates the Bulgarian army at the Battle of Balathista, earning the byname “Bulgaroctonus” (Slayer of Bulgars). He blinds several thousand Bulgar soldiers and sends them to Tsar Samuel, who—according to tradition—dies from the shock of seeing them.

1016*

  • The victory of Malcolm II Mackenneth at the Battle of Carham makes him the first Scottish king to rule over a country with roughly the same boundaries as modern Scotland.

1016

  • On the death of Aethelred the Unready of England in April, his son Edmund II Ironside is proclaimed king in London, but nobles in Southampton offer the throne to Canute I (the Great), son of Sweyn I of Denmark. The dispute is finally resolved by Edmund’s death in November. Canute rules England until his death in 1035.

1018

  • Lombard and Norman forces led by the nobleman Melus invade Italy and are defeated at Cannae by a Byzantine army, which secures Byzantine holdings in southern Italy.
  • On the death of his father, Sweyn I, Canute I (the Great) of England becomes Canute II of Denmark.

1022

  • The Byzantines, who have been annexing portions of Armenia since 968, gain possession of the Armenian kingdom of Vaspurakan, and the ruler of the Armenian kingdom of Ani is compelled to make Emperor Basil II heir to his estates.

1024

  • On the death of Henry II, his cousin Conrad II becomes king of Germany; in 1027 he is crowned Emperor of the Romans. He is regularly challenged by revolts in Italy and Germany, but he manages to suppress them and rules until 1039.

1025–1028

  • After the death of Basil II, his brother, Constantine VIII, rules the Byzantine Empire until his death three years later.

1026

  • The Danes defeat an attempt by the Swedes and Norwegians to conquer their country.

1028

  • The death of Fujiwara Michinaga begins the decline of Fujiwara control in Japan, as other clans begin to usurp power in the countryside.
  • Canute the Great of England and Denmark becomes king of Norway.
  • After the death of Constantine VIII, his daughters Zoë and Theodora are named coempresses of the Byzantine Empire. Theodora lives in retirement until Zoë exiles her to a monastery, and Zoë rules the empire until 1050 with a succession of three husbands, the first of which is her father’s handpicked successor, Romanus III (Argyropolus). During the early part of their reign, Zoë and Romanus allow the patriarch of Constantinople to persecute the Monophysties of Syria, engendering hatred for the Byzantines in the region and causing thousands of Syrians to flee to Muslim territory.

1030–1031

  • Conrad II of Germany leads an unsuccessful expedition against the Hungarians but follows it by defeating the Poles and forcing them to pay homage.
  • Romanus III is severely defeated in 1030 by Muslims who have attacked Syria, but the following year General Georgios Maniakes preserves the Byzantine hold on the territory.

1031

  • Robert II (the Pious) dies and is succeeded by his son Henry I in France.

1034

  • Malcolm II of Scotland dies and is succeeded by his daughter’s son, Duncan I.
  • Byzantine emperor Romanus III (Argyropolus) dies, reputedly poisoned by his wife, Empress Zoë, who marries Romanus’s young chamberlain and makes him Emperor Michael IV (the Paphlagonian).

1034–1040

  • The Byzantine fleet achieves several significant naval victories over the Muslims in the eastern Mediterranean.

1035

  • Harold I (Harefoot), the illegitimate son of Canute I (the Great), becomes regent in England and seizes the throne outright in 1037.
  • William II becomes the duke of Normandy.

1039

  • Conrad II dies and is replaced as king of Germany and Emperor of the Romans by his son Henry III (the Black). During his reign, which lasts until 1056, Henry controls Poland, Bohemia, and Saxony.

1040

  • Danish king Hardecanute, the legitimate son of Canute I (the Great), invades England and unseats his half brother, Harold, from the throne.
  • Byzantine troops crush a Bulgar uprising. Bulgaria is incorporated into the Byzantine Empire, and its autonomous church comes under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople.
  • Macbeth rises up against his young cousin Duncan I, kills him in a battle near Elgin on 14 August, and is crowned king of Scotland.

1041–1042

  • On the death of Michael IV (the Paphlagonian) Empress Zoë elevates her favorite Michael V (Kalaphates), who attempts to make himself sole emperor by exiling Zoë to a convent. Members of the nobility depose Michael, blind him, and imprison him, placing Zoë and her sister Theodora on the throne as co-empresses.

1042

  • Edward the Confessor, son of Aethelred the Unready, takes the throne of England on the death of his half brother Hardecanute; Edward rules England until 1066.
  • Byzantine empress Zoë marries Constantine IX (Monomachus), elevating him to emperor and relegating Theodora to the background.
  • General Georgios Maniakes fends off a Norman invasion of Byzantine holdings in southern Italy. In 1043 he leads disaffected troops against Constantinople, but the rebellion falls apart after he is accidentally killed en route.

1044

  • Englishman Robert of Chester prepares a treatise on chemistry based on Arabic learning.

1045

  • Byzantine emperor Constantine IX (Monomachus) occupies Ani and takes over the government of all Armenia.

1048

  • Byzantine forces defeat an army of Saljuk Turks, who have been moving westward from Central Asia and threatening the Byzantine and Muslim Empires.

1050*

  • The astrolabe and other Arab astrological tools come into use in Europe.
  • Over the next 250 years the Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest build their cliff houses at Mesa Verde and apartment-like housing at Chaco Canyon and other sites.
  • The Pechenegs, who have been raiding Byzantine territory since the defeat of the Bulgars, are now a constant threat in Byzantine Thrace and Macedonia.

1050

  • After the death of Empress Zoë, her third husband, Constantine IX (Monomachus), rules the Byzantine Empire alone until 1055.

1051

  • William II of Normandy defeats Geoffrey Martel and captures Anjou.

1054

  • Angry at Pope Leo IX’s support for Norman conquests in Byzantine southern Italy, Patriarch Michael Kerularios of Constantinople anathematizes the Roman Church, an act widely regarded as the beginning of the schism between the Western and Eastern Christian Churches.

1055

  • On the death of Constantine IX (Monomachus), Empress Theodora reasserts her claim to rule the Byzantine Empire.

1056

  • A bishop’s seat is established in Iceland.
  • Henry III dies and is succeeded as king of Germany and Emperor of the Romans by six-year-old Henry IV, who reigns until 1106.
  • On the death of Empress Theodora in August, Michael VI (Stratioticus) becomes the Byzantine emperor. He is deposed the following August by members of the military aristocracy, who put Isaac I Comnenus on the throne.

1057

  • Macbeth of Scotland is killed in battle on 15 August by Malcolm III Canmore, the son of Duncan I. Malcolm rules Scotland until his death in 1093.

1059

  • Byzantine emperor Isaac I Comnenus abdicates in favor of Constantine X (Ducas).
  • Pope Nicholas II decrees that the cardinal clergy of Rome are responsible for electing a new Pope, thus eliminating secular rulers from the election process. Though he is unable to enforce the decree against opposition from the Emperor of the Romans, he establishes the important precedent of reserving power within the Church to the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

1060

  • Henry I of France dies and is succeeded by his son Philip I.

1061

  • Norman brothers Robert and Roger Guiscard begin a long campaign to capture Sicily from the Muslims. The invasion is not entirely complete until the fall of Muslim forces at Messina in 1091. In 1072 Roger becomes Roger II, Count of Sicily.

1064

  • Ani, in Armenia, falls to the Saljuk Turks.

1066

  • On the death of Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwinsson becomes king of England and defeats an invading army led by King Harald Hardrada of Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (25 September) in Yorkshire.
  • Norman troops under William the Conqueror land on the southern coast of England and defeat Harold Godwinsson’s weary army at the Battle of Hastings (14 October). Harold Godwinsson is killed, ending Saxon rule of England. William the Conqueror becomes William I of England on Christmas Day and rules until 1087, imposing systematic feudal land tenure.
  • During the Norman Conquest a celestial body later named Halley’s Comet is seen in the skies.

1068

  • On the death of Byzantine emperor Constantine X (Ducas), Romanus IV Diogenes marries the widowed Empress Eudoxia and becomes co-emperor with Constantine’s minor son, Michael VII (Ducas).

1070*

  • Italian merchants found the Order of St. John (later Order of Knights Hospitalers of St. John) to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Lands in Jerusalem. The order eventually becomes known as the Knights of Malta.

1071

  • After a three-year siege, a Norman fleet commanded by Robert Guiscard conquers Bari, the last important Byzantine stronghold in southern Italy.
  • Byzantine emperor Romanus IV Diogenes is defeated and taken captive by Saljuk Turks at the Battle of Malazgirt (Manzikert). The power of the Byzantine state is broken.
  • Michael VII (Ducas) becomes sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.

1072

1074

  • Michael VII (Ducas) calls on the Saljuks for help against Roussel de Bailleul, a Norman mercenary who tries to establish his own kingdom in Asia Minor, thus paving the way for the Saljuks’ conquest of most of Anatolia.

1076–1122

  • Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV and their successors engage in the long dispute known as the Investiture Controversy, a power struggle over whether secular rulers have the right to select and install bishops.

1077*

  • Work begins on the 230-foot-long, 20-inch-wide Bayeux Tapestry, depicting events leading up to and including the conquest of England by William I (the Conqueror) in 1066.

1078

  • After riots over grain policy break out in Constantinople, rival generals, Nicephorus Bry-ennius in Albania and Nicephorus Botaneiates in Anatolia, march on the city to claim the throne. Michael VII (Ducas) abdicates, and Botaneiates becomes Emperor Nicephorus III. His ascent is greeted by military insurrections, which are put down by General Alexius Comnenus.

1081

  • Alexius Comnenus seizes the Byzantine throne, ruling as Alexius I Comnenus until 1118.

1081–1085

  • Led by Robert Guiscard and his sons, Bohemond and Roger Borsa, Normans from southern Italy invade Byzantine territories in western Greece (1081), Macedonia (1083), and Corfu (1083). Alexius I Comnenus wins the support of Venice by granting it extensive trading privileges (1082), and in 1085 the Byzantine and Venetian fleets defeat the Normans near Corfu, a loss that, with the death of Robert, convinces the Normans to abandon their invasion.

1085

  • Alfonso VI of Castile captures the Muslim city of Toledo in Spain, which becomes a major center for the translation into Latin of Arabic scientific, medical, and philosophical manuscripts, including ancient Greek and Roman writings.

1085–1086

  • William I (the Conqueror) of England has the Domesday book compiled to determine the taxable capacity of his kingdom.

1087

  • William I (the Conqueror) is fatally wounded in a fall from a horse during warfare with Philip I of France. He is replaced on the English throne by his son, William II (Rufus), who rules until 1100.

1088

  • The University of Bologna is founded.
  • Arabic medicine is taught at Salerno.

1091

  • Alexius I Comnenus defeats the Pechenegs.

1094

  • Spanish mercenary soldier Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar captures Valencia from the Muslims in Spain.

1095

  • Responding to a call from Alexius I Comnenus for help against the Saljuks, Pope Urban II calls for a Crusade to claim the Holy Land for Christianity.

1096–1099

  • Crusader victories during the First Crusade enable Alexius I Comnenus to recover the western coast of Anatolia for the Byzantines, but rather than turning over all conquered territories the Crusaders establish the Latin Christian kingdoms of Jerusalem, Edessa, Antioch, and Tripoli—which only grudgingly acknowledge the Byzantine emperor as their overlord.

1100*

  • Inuits, a people of North America, settle in northern Greenland.
  • Troubadour poetry emerges in southern France under the patronage of Duke William IX of Aquitaine and his descendants Eleanor of Aquitaine and Marie of France.
  • The French epic poem La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland) tells the tale of a French warrior killed while defending the rearguard of Charlemagne’s troops at Ronces-valles in 778.
  • In western Europe, Gothic architecture begins to supplant the earlier Romanesque style.

1100

  • William II (Rufus) of England is killed while hunting. His brother Henry I (Beauclerc) becomes king and rules until 1135.

1100–1300

  • Tahitian chiefs make a series of voyages to the Hawaiian Islands.

1104

  • Alfonso I (the Battler) becomes king of Aragon and Navarre, ruling until 1134.

1106

  • A second bishopric is established in Iceland.
  • An army led by Henry I of England defeats the troops of his brother, Robert II (Curthose), Duke of Normandy, on 28 September at the Battle of Tinchebrai in northwest France. Robert is imprisoned.
  • On the death of Henry IV, his son Henry V becomes king of Germany and Emperor of the Romans.

1108

  • Philip I of France dies and is succeeded by his son Louis VI (the Fat).

1113

1113-1150*

  • During his reign Khmer king Suryavarman II builds Angkor Wat, a huge temple complex in his capital city.

1115

  • The religious and military order of the Knights Templar is founded to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. These knights become bankers and money brokers who handle transactions between different provinces and states.

1117

  • Alexius II Comnenus defeats the Saljuks at Philomelion and recovers a large portion of Anatolia.

1117–1128*

  • Peter Abelard’s Sic et Non (Yes and No) helps to establish Scholasticism as the dominant teaching method in the universities of western Europe.

1118

  • Alfonso the Battler captures the province of Saragossa in northeast Spain, which Muslims have held for nearly four hundred years.
  • On the death of Alexius II Comnenus, his son John II Comnenus becomes Byzantine emperor.

1119

  • A loose grouping of schools is established at Paris. By 1215 it has become the University of Paris.
  • The use of a compass for sea navigation is documented for the first time in China.

1120

  • Construction begins on Chartres Cathedral in France, one of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture. It is essentially completed by 1220.

1120–1121

  • John II Comnenus continues his father’s campaign against the Saljuks and recovers still more of Anatolia for the Byzantines.

1122

  • John II Comnenus defeats the Pechenegs, alleviating their threat to the Byzantine Empire.

1122–1126

  • After John II Comnenus refuses to renew the generous trade agreements granted by his father, a Venetian fleet ravages Byzantine islands in the Aegean until John complies with their demands.

1123

  • The Juchens conquer the Liao dynasty lands in northern China and proclaim the Chin dynasty, which rules until 1234.

1125*

  • Latin translations of Arabic writings and Arabic manuscripts of classical works discovered in Muslim lands begin to flood western Europe.

1125

  • Henry V dies without an heir. Lothar II is elected the king of Germany.

1126

  • The Juchens of Manchuria conquer the northern portion of the Sung empire in China.
  • A bishop’s seat is established in Greenland.
  • Deriving his knowledge from Arabic manuscripts, Adelard of Bath introduces Euclidean geometry into Europe.

1127

  • Sung prince Kao-tsung escapes from Juchen invaders and rules the portion of the empire that lies south of the Yangtze River.

1130

  • Roger II becomes ruler of the newly formed kingdom of Sicily. He patronizes many scientific projects, including the creation of sophisticated maps, such as those completed by al-Idrisi in 1154, the year of Roger’s death.

1135

  • On the death of Henry I of England, his nephew Stephen, a grandson of William the Conqueror, claims the English throne, having earlier been forced by Henry to recognize his daughter, Empress Matilda of Germany, as the rightful heir. A civil war breaks out between Stephen and Matilda.

1137

  • Byzantine troops complete a three-year campaign to conquer Cilician (Little) Armenian, which has been under the control of the Latin Christian state of Antioch. Raymond of Antioch is forced to do homage to the Byzantine Empire.
  • Louis VI (the Fat) of France dies and is succeeded by his son Louis VII (the Young).

1138

  • Following the death of Lothar II in 1137, Conrad III is elected king of Germany. He loses Saxony to Bavaria but expands German control in the Scandinavian areas.

1143

  • On the death of John II Comnenus, his son Manuel I Comnenus becomes Byzantine emperor.

1147

  • European troops led by Louis VI of France and Conrad III of Germany arrive in the East for the Second Crusade, which ends in 1149, after their poorly coordinated offensive accomplishes little of importance. Relations between the Crusaders and the Byzantines worsen.
  • Prince Yury Vladimirovich Dolgoruky, prince of Suzdal, founds the Russian city of Moscow.

1150*

  • Imported Muslim musical instruments begin to influence western European music.
  • The Spanish epic Cantar del mio Cid (Poem of the Cid), recounts the deeds of a hero based on Castilian warrior Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar during warfare to recapture Valencia from the Muslims.

1152

  • On the death of his uncle Conrad III, Frederick I (Barbarossa) is elected king of Germany and becomes Emperor of the Romans. During his thirty-eight-year reign, he leads six expeditions into Italy.

1152–1154

  • The Byzantines defeat the Hungarians, who have attempted to take Serbia and Bosnia.

1153

  • King Stephen of England recognizes Henry of Anjou (Henry II), the son of his rival, Empress Matilda, as his heir.

1154

  • On the death of King Stephen, Henry II assumes the English throne.

1156

  • Civil war breaks out in Japan as retired emperor Sutoku attempts unsuccessfully to regain power from his brother, reigning emperor Go-Shirakawa. The emperor is backed by samurai warriors led by Taira Kiyomori and by the Fujiwaras, who—despite their support of the winning side—continue to lose influence as the Taira family begins its ascent.
  • Austria is formed from the duchy of Bavaria.

1157

  • Valdemar I (the Great) becomes king of Denmark. During his reign, which lasts until 1182, he greatly improves Danish military capabilities.
  • In Moscow, Prince Yury Vladimirovich Dolgoruky begins building the fortifications that become the Kremlin.

1158–1159

  • The Byzantines send a military expedition against the Latin Christian kingdom of Antioch and force its ruler, Raymond, to renew his homage to the Byzantine Empire.

1159

  • The Spanish Jew Benjamin of Tudela begins a journey across the Mediterranean, through Constantinople to India and back to Spain via Egypt.

1160

  • Minamoto Yoshitomo and Fujiwara Nobuyori, who were allied with Taira forces in 1156, are defeated in a coup attempt against the Taira family, ending the Fujiwara period in Japan and leaving Taira Kiyomori in control of the entire country.

1165–1168

  • The Byzantine Empire engages in a successful war against Hungary and incorporates Dalmatia, Bosnia, and part of Croatia into the empire.

1169–1170

  • Hoping to break the trade monopoly of Venice, Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus signs treaties with Genoa and Pisa, arousing animosity among Venetians.

1170*

  • A large number of scholars have come together in the English town of Oxford, forming the basis for the University of Oxford.

1170

  • Chrétien de Troyes writes Arthurian legends such as Lancelot.
  • Archbishop Thomas Becket is murdered at Canterbury Cathedral in England because of his resistance to King Henry II’s demands for greater royal control over the clergy.

1171

  • The severing of relations between Venice and the Byzantine Empire is followed by naval warfare.

1173

  • Construction begins on the bell tower for the cathedral of Pisa, which is completed in 1174 and becomes known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

1174

  • The Toltec Empire of central Mexico falls after internal chaos and invasions by less-civilized nomads.

1175–1176

  • The Venetians and Normans form an alliance against the Byzantines, forcing them to pay a heavy indemnity.

1176

  • Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus attacks the Saljuks and suffers a severe defeat at the Battle of Myriocephalon. Though the Byzantines achieve some military success in 1176, the Battle of Myriocephalon is often identified as a harbinger of the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

1179

  • The Mayan city of Chichen Itzá is burned and destroyed.

1180*

  • Glass mirrors with lead backing come into use in Europe.
  • Windmills with vertical sails begin to appear in Europe.

1180

  • Taira Kyomori places his two-year-old grandson on the throne of Japan as Emperor Antoku, provoking a rebellion led by Minamoto Yoritomo, whose father Kyomori had executed after his coup attempt in 1160.
  • Manuel I Comnenus dies and is succeeded as Byzantine emperor by his eleven-year-old son, Alexius II Comnenus, whose mother, Mary, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, serves as regent. She entrusts the government to Manuel’s unpopular nephew Alexius.
  • Louis VII (the Young) dies without issue and is succeeded on the French throne by his brother Philip II Augustus.

1182

  • Canute VI becomes king of Denmark upon the death of his father, Valdemar the Great. During his reign, which lasts until 1202, Canute expands Danish influence to Pomerania, Holstein, and Mecklenburg.
  • Philip II Augustus of France expels the Jews from all the territory he controls.

1183

  • After growing resentment and rioting over the influence of Latins (western Europeans) in the Byzantine government, Andronicus I Comnenus, a cousin of Manuel I Comnenus, seizes the throne from Alexius II Comnenus, has him strangled, and marries his thirteen-year-old widow.

1185

  • The Minamoto clan defeats the Tairas and establishes the Kamakura shogunate. During this period of feudalism, which lasts until 1333, emperors are ceremonial figureheads, and powerful military governors known as shoguns are the real rulers of Japan.
  • Isaac Comnenus, Byzantine governor of Cyprus, declares himself the independent ruler of the island.
  • King William II (the Good) leads his Norman Sicilian troops across Greece and occupies Thessalonica, the second most important city of the Byzantine Empire. News of the defeat sparks a revolt in Constantinople. Andronicus I Comnenus is killed by a street mob. Isaac II Angelus seizes the throne.

1185–1191

  • The Byzantines drive the Normans from Greece and the Balkans.

1186–1188

  • The Byzantines are unable to put down a revolt in Bulgaria that leads to the establishment of a new Bulgarian state north of the Balkans.

1187

  • The Latin state of Jerusalem falls to the forces of Salah al-Din (known in the West as Saladin) and comes under Muslim control.

1189

  • Richard I (the Lionhearted), eldest son of Henry II, becomes king of England. With Frederickl (Barbarossa) of Germany and Philip II Augustus of France, he leads the Third Crusade, which lasts until 1192.

1190

  • Frederick I (Barbarossa) drowns in Cilicia; Henry VI becomes king of Germany and is crowned Emperor of the Romans in 1191.

1190–1194

  • The Byzantines suffer major defeats in a war with Bulgaria.

1191

  • Crusaders led by Richard I (the Lionhearted) and Philip II Augustus take Acre, in the kingdom of Jerusalem, and slaughter the inhabitants. Richard seizes Cyprus from Isaac Comnenus.

1192

  • After Latin Christian forces fail to retake Jerusalem, the Third Crusade ends. Richard I (the Lionhearted) sells Cyprus to Guy of Lusignan, the deposed ruler of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.
  • Defeated by Indian troups at Taraori in 1191, Muslim Ghurid leader Mu’izz al-Din returns to win a great victory that opens the way for his subordinates to establish Ghurid control over northern India.

1194

  • While returning from the Third Crusade, Richard I (the Lionhearted) is captured in Austria by King Leopold and is ransomed to England. After his release he begins a war against Philip II Augustus, who has prepared to attack Henry’s French lands.

1195

  • Isaac II Angelus is deposed and blinded by his brother Alexius III, who seizes the Byzantine throne. During his reign, which lasts until 1203, the already-decaying government and military bureaucracy of the empire collapses completely.

1196

  • Emperor Henry VI, heir to Norman domains, demands Durazzo (in present-day Albania) and Thessalonica (in Greece) from the Byzantines, but Henry’s death in 1197 removes any immediate threat from the West, as civil war breaks out between rivals for the German crown: Henry’s brother Philip of Swabia, supported by France, and Otto of Brunswick, who is backed by England and is recognized by Pope Innocent III as Otto IV of Germany in 1201.

1198

  • Innocent III becomes Pope and recognizes the sovereignty of Serbia, Hungary, and Bulgaria—all of which have been refused recognition by the Byzantines. Innocent calls for another crusade but finds little enthusiasm for the endeavor. During his pontificate, which lasts until 1216, the exercise of papal authority over secular rulers reaches its height.

1199

  • Richard I (the Lionhearted) of England is mortally wounded while making war against Philip II Augustus in France. His successor is his brother John I (Lackland), who continues the war against France.

1200*

  • Kabbalism, a Jewish mystic philosophy, develops in southern Europe.
  • The Chimá kingdom builds an impressive capital at Chan Chan in the Moche Valley of Peru. Basing their wealth on llamas and agricultural products, the kingdom begins a period of expansion around 1370, becoming the most powerful civilization in Peru before the rise of the Incas.
  • The major city-state of Great Zimbabwe dominates southern Africa, founded by the Shona, one of the Bantu-speaking peoples who have come to the region. Its rulers largely control the trade in gold, slaves, and ivory between the inland regions and the Indian Ocean coast.
  • Khmer king Jayavarman VII builds the temple complex Angkor Thorn in his capital city.
  • Specialized agriculture has been established in various regions throughout Europe. Burgundy and Bordeaux specialize in wine, while the area around Toulouse in southern France focuses on cloth dye. Northern England is known for its sheep and wool, while northern Germany is known for its cattle.
  • Known to the Muslims since the mid eighth century and in the West since the tenth ce­tury, when it arrived via Spain and Sicily, the Chinese invention of paper is coming into widespread use in Europe.
  • Amsterdam, Holland, is founded as a small fishing village.

120O–1250*

  • French poet Guillaume de Loris writes the first part of Roman de la Rose (Romance of tr Rose).

1202–1241

  • Much of the Baltic region comes under the control of the Danes during the reign of Va–demar II.

1202–1204

  • The Fourth Crusade is led by Boniface of Montferrat and Venetian doge Enrico Dandolo.

1203

  • Sumanguru, ruler of the Susu kingdom of Kaniaga (in the southwestern part of present-day Mali), plunders the Ghanian capital of Kumbi.
  • Motivated by the wish of Pope Innocent III to reunite the Byzantine and Roman Churches and by the long-standing trade disputes between the Venetians and the Byza­tines, Latin Christian knights attack Constantinople. Responding to an earlier request for help from Alexius, son of Isaac II Angelus, the Crusaders depose Alexius III and place Isaac and his son on the throne. Alexius IV governs as a puppet of the Crusaders.

1204

  • Popular discontent in Constantinople leads to the deposition and murder of Alexius IV. Alexius V (Ducas) seizes the throne, and the Crusaders respond by sacking the city with such brutality that the Pope and the crusade movement are discredited. The Crusaders place Baldwin I (of Flanders) on the throne of the Latin kingdom that controls Consta­tinople until 1261. Boniface of Montferrat is made king of Thessalonica, and the Venetians gain control of important harbors and islands on their trade routes. Members of Byzantine royal families establish enclaves at Trebizond on the Black Sea, Epirus in northwest Greece, Nicaea in Anatolia, and elsewhere, but the Byzantine Empire never recovers from the sack of its capital.

1206

  • Temujin, great-grandson of Mongol leader Kabul Khan, is proclaimed Genghis Khan (Emperor within the Seas), uniting the Mongol tribes into a single nation and forging them into a powerful fighting force.
  • Muslim conquerors establish the Sultanate of Delhi in northwestern India, establishing a dynasty that rules until 1266. It depends on Hindu soldiers, civil servants, to maintain the kingdom.

1208–1209

  • After the assassination in 1208 of Philip of Swabia, one of the claimants to the German throne, Pope Innocent crowns Otto IV Emperor of the Romans in 1209.

1209

  • The Latin Christian Church launches an internal European Crusade in southern France against the Cathars, a Christian dualist sect.
  • Francis of Assisi founds the brotherhood of friars that becomes known as the Franciscan order, which Pope Innocent III approves in 1210.
  • In England some scholars migrate from Oxford to Cambridge, forming the basis for the University of Cambridge.

1211

  • Led by Genghis Khan, the Mongols begin their invasion of the Chin state in northern China.

1212

  • Frederick II, who has gained the support of Pope Innocent III, becomes king of Germany.
  • At the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, the Christian kingdoms of Leon, Castile, Aragon, Navarre, and Portugal severely defeat the Almohad army, opening the way for the Christian conquest of southern Iberia.

1214

  • Philip II Augustus of France and Frederick II of Germany defeat John of England and Emperor Otto IV at the Battle of Bouvines. Frederick becomes Emperor of the Romans (crowned 1220).

1215

  • English barons meet with King John at Runnymede and force him to sign the Magna Carta (15 June), a feudal charter that limits the powers of the king and protects individual liberties.
  • Pope Innocent III calls the Fourth Lateran Council, which sets out fundamental rules of Christian practice and belief.

1216

  • The Cola empire of southern India begins to break up.
  • On the death of John of England his nine-year-old son, Henry III, becomes king.
  • Pope Innocent III approves the founding of the Dominican Order.

1218

  • The Fifth Crusade begins, with efforts concentrated on Egypt. It ends in 1221 after Crusaders fail to take Cairo.
  • The University of Salamanca is founded.

1219

  • Control of the Kamakura shogunate in Japan passes from the Minamoto family to the Hojo family.

1220

  • Genghis Khan completes his conquest of Persia.

1221

  • King Lalibela, of Ethiopia, who sponsored the building of eleven rock-hewn churches in Aksum, dies.

1223

  • The Mongols defeat the Russian and cuman forces at the Battle of the kalka River in Southern Russia but then return to Asia rather than continuing the invasion.
  • Philip II Augustus of France dies and is succeeded by his son Louis VIII.

1224

  • Sumanguru conquers the Mandingo (or Mande) peoples of Kangaba (near the modern border of Mali and Guinea) and makes their kingdom part of his West African empire.

1226

  • On the death of his father, Louis VIII, Louis IX (the Pious) becomes king of France and rules for forty-four years.

1227

  • Genghis Khan dies. His kingdom is divided among his sons, with Ogodei, the eldest, as Great Khan, or overlord.

1228–1229

  • Against the wishes of the pope, Emperor Frederick II launches the Sixth Crusade. Capturing Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth, he is proclaimed king of Jerusalem.

1230

  • The Mongols continue their conquest of Iran and Central Asia.
  • Sundiata begins the expansion of the Malian Empire.

1231

  • Mongol troops occupy Korea.
  • Emperor Frederick II captures Sicily.
  • Pope Gregory IX founds the papal Inquisition to deal with the continuing existence of heretical Christian sects, such as the Cathars and Waldenses, especially in southern France and northern Italy.

1234

  • The Mongols annex the Chin empire of northern China.

1235

  • Sundiata, Mandingo king of Kangaba, defeats Sumanguru at the Battle of Kirina (near the modern city of Koulikoro in Mali), re-establishing the independence of his kingdom and beginning the expansion of the powerful empire of Mali.

1237

  • Mongol armies under Batu, grandson of Genghis Khan, renew their invasion of Russia, conquering the Volga Bulgars.

1240*

  • The Mongols capture Moscow and force its princes to accept them as overlords.
  • The Great Council of England begins to be called “Parliament.”

1240

  • Mongol troops take Kiev, ending their conquest of southern and central Russia. The western part of the Mongol Empire becomes known as the Golden Horde.
  • Sundiata destroys Kumbi, former capital of Ghana, annexing Ghana and taking control of its gold-trade routes.

1241

  • Mongol armies menace Eastern Europe, successfully invading Poland and Hungary and reaching the Adriatic Sea. Great Khan Ogodei dies, and his wife becomes regent for his son Guyuk.

1242

  • The Mongol threat to Europe ends when Batu withdraws his troops to conquered Russian territory and establishes the capital of the western part of the empire at Sarai on the lower Volga.

1244

  • Jerusalem is recaptured by the Saljuk Turks.

1245

  • Pope Innocent IV sends Giovanni di Piano Carpini and Lawrence of Portugal on a mission to the Mongol court.

1248

  • Louis IX (the Pious) of France leads the Seventh Crusade, which ends in 1250.
  • Great Khan Guyuk dies. He is succeeded by his nephew Mongke.

1250*

  • The city of Cahokia is in a decline that may have been triggered by factors such as climate changes, a breakdown of its economy, or internal and external strife. Though its society disappears, the political and religious influence continues.
  • Christian laypeople and clergy in Italy begin the religious practice of flagellation. The practice spreads into Germany and the Low Countries, and flagellant brotherhoods are formed.

1250–1300*

  • French poet Jean de Meun completes Roman de la Rose (Romance of the Rose).

1250

  • On the death of Frederick II, Conrad IV becomes king of Germany.

1253

  • The Venetians and the Genoese engage in ongoing naval warfare over trade rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

1254–1273

  • The death of Conrad IV is followed by a long interregnum, during which many German princes struggle for power.

1255

  • Sundiata dies after having extended borders of the Malian empire north to the Sahara, west to the Senegal River, south to the gold fields of Wangara, and east into present-day Sudan.

1258

  • Mongol armies led by Hulegu, brother of Great Khan Mongke, take Baghdad. Hulegu founds the Ilkhanid dynasty to rule Persia as part of the vast Mongol empire.
  • An English committee draws up the Provisions of Oxford, establishing a baronial veto over decisions made by the king. In 1261 Henry III reneges on his oath to support the provisions, leading to the outbreak of a civil war known as the Barons’ War.

1259

  • Great Khan Mongke dies while leading his army in China and is succeeded by his brother Kublai.

1261

  • The Latin kingdom of Constantinople is conquered by Michael VIII Palaeologus of Nicaea, a Byzantine aristocrat. The Byzantine rulers of Epirus and Thessaly refuse to acknowledge Michael as emperor, and separate Byzantine states continue to exist in Greece and Anatolia. Because Michael blinds and banishes John IV Lascaris, his coruler of Nicaea, Arsenius, the new patriarch of Constantinople, excommunicates the emperor.
  • Having previously been self-governing, the people of Greenland and Iceland swear allegiance to the king of Norway, who has sought to unite all Norwegian Viking settlements under his reign.

1264

  • Henry III is captured by his brother-in-law, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, at the Battle of Lewes (14 May). Simon forces Henry to renew his pledge to the reforms of 1258.

1265

  • With the help of troops from the Welsh borderlands, Prince Edward (later Edward I) comes to the aid of his father, Henry III, defeating and killing Montfort at the Battle of Evesham (4 August).
  • Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus exiles Patriarch Arsenius of Constantinople, replacing him with Joseph. The empire splits into Arsenites (opponents of Michael and his pro-Latin policies) and Josephites (supporters of Michael).

1266

  • Charles of Anjou, brother of Louis IX of France, defeats Manfred of Sicily at the Battle of Benevento and establishes himself as Charles I of Sicily.

1266–1273

  • Thomas Aquinas writes his Summae theologae (Comprehensive Theology), a cornerstone of all subsequent Roman Catholic theology.

1267

  • Roger Bacon describes gunpowder, marking its introduction to Europe, probably via Arabic sources.

1268

  • Charles I of Sicily captures Conradin, his rival claimant to Sicily, and has him beheaded in Naples.

1269

  • Peter of Maricourt (Peter the Pilgrim) describes magnetic polarity and other experiments with a “lodestone.”

1270

  • Louis IX of France and Edward I of England launch the Eighth—and final—Crusade. Louis dies in Tunis and is succeeded by his son Philip III (the Bold).

1271

  • The Eighth Crusade ends, having accomplished nothing.
  • The Roman Christian Church canonizes Louis IX.
  • Kublai Khan proclaims the Yuan dynasty in China, establishing his capital at Ta-Tu (present-day Beijing). He rules until 1294, promoting cultural life and religious tolerance while oppressing all opponents of Mongol rule.
  • Marco Polo leaves Venice to travel to China.

1272

  • Henry III dies. Called back from crusade, Edward I assumes the throne in 1274 and rules until 1307.

1273

1274

  • Kublai Khan’s fleet is virtually destroyed in an attempt to invade Japan.
  • A delegation sent by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus to the Council of Lyon submits the Eastern Christian Church to the authority of the Pope, a diplomatic ploy to gain papal protection and avoid a repetition of the events of the Fourth Crusade. Because of violent opposition, leading to persecution and imprisonment of many Eastern Christians, the union of the two Churches never comes about.

1275*

  • Moses of Leon writes his Sefer ha-zohar (Book of Splendor), the fundamental work of Jewish mysticism.

1275

  • Marco Polo arrives at the court of Kublai Khan and lives in his domains for the next seventeen years.

1279

  • Kublai Khan completes his conquest of the Sung kingdom in southern China, reunifying all of China under Mongol rule.
  • The last king of the Indian Cola dynasty dies.

1281

  • Mongol hopes of conquering Japan are dashed when a typhoon (”kamikaze”) destroys Kublai Khan’s great invasion fleet.

1281–1282

  • Charles I of Sicily makes two attempts to wrest Albania from the Byzantines. His second invasion fails after a rebellion at home removes him from power. Defending his empire in the West prevents Emperor Michael VIII from protecting his eastern provinces from the Turks, and by Michael’s death in 1282 they have advanced well into western Anatolia.

1282

  • Edward I of England leads an army into Wales to put down a second revolt led by Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. Llywelyn is killed, and his brother David is hanged, drawn, and quartered in 1283.
  • Erik V (Glipping), the king of Denmark from 1259 to 1286, is forced to grant the nobles a constitution, which recognizes a national assembly and puts the king under its authority.
  • Andronicus II becomes Byzantine emperor. Ruling until 1328, he repudiates the union between Eastern and Western Churches.

1285

  • Philip IV (the Fair) succeeds his father, Philip III (the Bold), as king of France.

1289

  • Pope Boniface VIII sends John of Monte Corvino on a mission to China.

1290

  • Edward I expels the Jews from England.

1291

  • The Crusader state of Acre is conquered by Mamluks, ending the presence of Latin military states in the eastern Mediterranean.

1292

  • Supported by Edward I of England, John de Balliol becomes the successor to Alexander III (died 1286) after a long dispute over the Scottish throne.
  • Marco Polo leaves China and reaches Venice three years later. Soon thereafter he is taken prisoner during a sea battle and is imprisoned in Genoa, where he begins dictating the story of his travels to a fellow prisoner.

1293

  • Perhaps because of prolonged drought in the thirteenth century and conflicts with Navajo and Apache peoples, the Pueblo peoples abandon their cliff dwellings, moving southward and eastward and establishing new, large villages. Designs on the pottery of this so-called Regressive Pueblo period are naturalistic representations of animals and people rather than the geometric patterns of earlier periods.
  • Turkish leader Othman (for whom the Ottoman Empire is named) emerges as the prince of a border principality in northeastern Anatolia and begins to seize Byzantine territory.

1294

  • King John Balliol of Scotland is angered by Edward I’s demand for help in a projected war against Germany and signs a treaty with France.

1295

  • Edward I of England calls the Model Parliament, with the broadest representation to date, including clergy, knights, burgesses, and aristocrats as well as commoners representing shires, towns, and parishes.

1296

  • Edward I of England invades Scotland with around thirty thousand infantrymen and five thousand cavalry, destroying Berwick and massacring the inhabitants before defeating Scottish forces at the Battle of Dunbar and removing Balliol from the throne. The Scots are forced to acknowledge Edward as their king.
  • The Serbs conquer western Macedonia and northern Albania, and in 1298 they force Byzantine emperor Andronicus II to acknowledge their sovereignty there.

1297

  • Scottish nobleman William Wallace gathers an army and defeats the English at Stirling Bridge.

1298

  • Edward I sends another army against the Scots, who are defeated at the Battle of Falkirk.

1300–1350*

  • The Salado Indians build Casa Grande (Big House), a four-story unreinforced-clay fortress topped by an adobe watchtower in the Gila Valley of present-day Arizona. It is near the site of a village and irrigation system built by Hohokam Indians circa 300 B.C.E.-500 C.E.

1302

  • Flemish burghers defeat an army of French knights at the Battle of Courtrai (Battle of the Golden Spurs).
  • Philip IV (the Fair) of France calls the first Estates-General, which has members from the clergy, nobility, and common people.

1303

  • Pope Boniface VIII founds the University of Rome.
  • Pope Boniface VIII enters into a dispute with Philip IV (the Fair) of France, who has his agents kidnap the Pope. Boniface dies later this year.

1303–1307

  • Byzantine emperor Andronicus I hires an army of Catalan mercenaries to fight the Turks, but after one successful engagement against them, the Catalans attack Constantinople.

1305*

  • Florentine painter Giotto paints the frescoes for the Arena Chapel in Padua.

1305

  • The English capture Wallace, who is found guilty of treason, hanged, drawn, and quartered.

1306

  • Robert I the Bruce murders John Comyn, his rival for the Scottish throne (10 February), and is crowned king at Scone (25 March).

1307

  • Mansa Musa, the grandson or grandnephew of Sundiata, becomes the emperor of the Malian empire. He is renowned worldwide for his wealth, his devotion to Islam, and his patronage of the arts.
  • John of Monte Corvino becomes the first archbishop of Beijing.
  • Edward I of England dies and is succeeded by his son, Edward II.

1309

  • Amid political factionalism in Italy, Pope Clement V moves the seat of the papacy from Rome to Avignon, France, where it remains until 1377.

1310

  • English nobles force Edward II to accept the Lords Ordinances, reforms that require parliamentary consent to royal appointments, declarations of war, and the king’s departure from the realm.

1311

  • After failing to take Constantinople, the Catalans advance through Greece, conquer Athens, and create the Catalan Duchy of Athens and Thebes.

1314

  • Robert I the Bruce defeats an English army at the Battle of Bannockburn.
  • Philip IV (the Fair) of France dies and is succeeded by his son Louis X (the Stubborn).

1315

  • A group of barons led by Thomas of Lancaster, a cousin of King Edward II, takes virtual control of the English government.

1316

  • Louis X (the Stubborn) of France dies and is succeeded by an infant son, John I, who lives only a few days. The crown goes to Louis’s brother Philip V (the Tall).

1317

  • Mongol rule in Persia begins to collapse because of factional struggles among the Mongol ruling class, economic troubles, and the decline of the ruling family.

1320–1328

  • Byzantine emperor Andronicus II disinherits his grandson Andronicus, who responds by starting a civil war that devastates much of the empire. Andronicus II is finally forced to yield the throne to Andronicus III, who rules until 1341.

1321

  • Dante completes his Commedia (Divine Comedy).

1322

  • Forces loyal to Edward II defeat Thomas of Lancaster at Boroughbridge, Yorkshire. Edward has Lancaster beheaded and revokes the Lords Ordinances.
  • Philip V (the Tall) of France dies and is succeeded by his brother Charles IV (the Fair).

1324

  • Mansa Musa makes a pilgrimage to Mecca, stopping in Cairo with a retinue that is said to include one hundred camels, each carrying three hundred pounds of gold.

1325*

  • Ibn Battutah leaves Tangiers for some thirty years of travels that provide the basis for his writings about Asia and Africa, major sources of information about those continents for Westerners.
  • The Mexica (Aztecs) build their great capital city of Tenochtitlán on the site of presentday Mexico City.

1325

  • Mansa Musa annexes the Songhai kingdom of Gao (in the western part of modern Mali), making it part of the empire of Mali.

1325–1327

  • Queen Isabella of England, wife of Edward II and daughter of Philip IV of France, goes to France, where she conspires with her lover, the exiled English baron Roger Mortimer. In September 1326 they lead an invasion of England, depose Edward II, and have Isabella and Edward’s fifteen-year-old son, Edward III, crowned king. Edward II dies in prison (September 1327), probably murdered. The reign of Edward III is marked by constant conflict with France.

1326

  • Gunpowder cannons are mentioned for the first time in European records.

1327

  • Exiled from Florence, Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) goes to Avignon, France, where he meets the woman he addresses as “Laura” in his sonnets.

1328*

  • After an unsuccessful military campaign in 1327, Edward III of England signs the Treaty of Northampton, recognizing Scottish independence. Edward’s seven-year-old sister, Joanna, is married to Robert I the Bruce’s four-year-old son, David.

1328

  • Charles IV (the Fair) of France dies without issue and is succeeded by Philip VI, son of Charles of Valois and a nephew of Philip IV.

1329

  • Scottish king Robert I the Bruce dies and is succeeded by his son David II.

1330*

  • The bubonic plague, or Black Death, begins to kill huge numbers of people in northeastern China. The epidemic is carried westward by traders, travelers, and nomadic peoples.

1330

  • After a three-year regency during which England has been ruled by Roger Mortimer and Queen Isabella, Edward III overthrows their rule and has Mortimer executed.

1332*

  • Mansa Musa, emperor of Mali, dies, having made the cities of Niano, Tombocktu, and Gao into important religious and cultural centers with mosques, libraries, and Muslim schools. He leaves his empire strong and prosperous, but by the end of the century quarrels over royal succession divide Mali and leave it vulnerable to invasion. Around this time Mali is the source of about two-thirds of the gold circulating in the Eastern Hemisphere.

1332

  • Edward de Balliol, son of John de Balliol, invades Scotland. He is crowned king in September but is driven out of the country in December.

1333

  • The English defeat a Scottish army at Halidon Hill and restore Edward de Balliol to the Scottish throne. David II flees to France.
  • Richard of Wallingford describes his astronomical clock at the monastery of St. Albans. It shows the movement of stars, the sun, and planets, as well as striking hours on a bell.
  • Emperor Go-Daigo of Japan successfully overthrows the Kamakura shogunate, but his subsequent actions provoke civil war.
  • Togon-termür becomes the last Yuan (Mongol) emperor of China. During his reign his anti-Chinese policies result in frequent rebellions, and in 1368 he is forced to flee to the steppes of inner Asia, clearing the way for Ming dynasty rule of China (1368–1644).

1335

  • The Sultanate of Delhi now dominates most of the Indian subcontinent.
  • After the death of II-Khan Abu Sa’id, the Mongol empire in Persia breaks into separate kingdoms ruled by Ilkhanid princes until 1353.

1336

  • Ashikaga Takauji, who has proclaimed himself shogun, drives Emperor Go-Daigo of Japan from the capital and places Kogon on the throne, establishing the Ashikaga shogunate, under which Japanese feudalism enters its golden age. During the Ashikaga period, which lasts until 1568, aristocrats depend on armed retainers (samurai), who followed a strict code of conduct (bushido).

1337

  • After losing all northwestern Anatolia to the Ottoman Turks, the Byzantines come to terms with the Ottomans and other Turkish emirs, a move that enables the Byzantines to hire Turkish soldiers to help them against European enemies such as the Italians, Serbs, and Bulgars.
  • The French and the English start an intermittent struggle known as the “Hundred Years’ War,” which begins when Edward III of England, grandson of Philip IV, claims the French throne, which has gone to Philip IV’s nephew Philip VI. Edward lands an army in Flanders.

1340

  • The Christian forces of Alfonso XI of Castile and Alfonso IV of Portugal defeat Gra-nadan Muslim forces at the Battle of Rio Salado, retaining Castilian control over the Strait of Gibraltar and thwarting Muslim efforts to reclaim lost territory bordering the kingdom of Granada.

1341

  • Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) is named poet laureate of Rome.
  • On the death of Andronicus III Palaeologus his minor son John V Palaeologus becomes Byzantine emperor, and civil war breaks out in the empire.
  • In the wake of widespread resentment of English control over King Edward Balliol, David II returns from France and regains the Scottish throne.

1345

  • The Ottoman Turks extend their conquest of Byzantine territory into Europe.

1346

  • Bubonic plague reaches the Golden Horde, beginning the disintegration of Mongol rule in Russia.
  • Stefan Dusan, king of Serbia since 1331, has himself crowned emperor of the Serbs and Greeks. He has already conquered much of coastal Albania and part of Greece, and by 1348 his empire includes all of northern Greece.
  • In a major victory at the Battle of Crécy (26 August), English longbowmen and foot soldiers prove their superiority to French troops.

1347

  • Bubonic plague reaches Constantinople and other parts of the Byzantine Empire.
  • John Cantacuzenus, who has opposed the forces of John V Palaeologus in the Byzantine civil war, takes Constantinople and seizes the throne, reigning as John VI until 1354.
  • After a long siege the English take Calais in France.

1348

  • Bubonic plague reaches North Africa, mainland Italy, Spain, England, and France.

1349

  • Pope Clement VI condemns the religious practice of flagellation.
  • Bubonic plague reaches Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, and the Low Countries.

1349–1351*

  • Italian poet Giovanni Boccaccio writes The Decameron, set during the plague that ravaged Florence in 1348.

1350

  • Bubonic plague reaches Scandinavia and the Baltic lands.
  • Philip VI of France dies and is succeeded by his son John II (the Good).

1351

  • Serbs led by Stefan Dusan lay siege to Thessalonica.

1354

  • John V Palaeologus retakes Constantinople and forces the abdication of John VI Cantacuzenus as the Turks advance steadily on Byzantine territory.

1355

  • Stefan Dusan is advancing on Constantinople when his sudden death puts an end to his efforts to expand the Serbian empire.

1356

  • At the Battle of Poitiers (19 September) Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III of England, defeats and captures King John II (the Good) of France.

1360

  • The Treaties of Bretigny and Calais give Edward III full sovereignty over French lands he previously held as vassal to the king of France. In return, Edward renounces his claim to the French throne. John II of France is ransomed but remains in England, where he dies in 1364.

1364

  • Charles V (the Wise) of France inherits the throne from his father, John II. Refusing to accept the provisions of peace agreements with England, he re-opens hostilities.

1369

  • Chu Yuan-chang overthrows the Mongol Yuan dynasty of China and proclaims himself emperor Hung-wu, establishing his capital at Nanking and founding the Ming dynasty, which rules China until 1644.

1370

  • On the orders of Charles V, the French begin building the fortress known as the Bastille in Paris.

1371

  • David II of Scotland dies and is succeeded by his cousin Robert II, the first Stuart king of Scotland.

1373

  • The Turks force John V Palaeologus, who has unsuccessfully sought help in the West, to become their vassal.

1374

  • John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, strikes a bargain with Alice Perrers, influential mistress of the aging Edward III, and becomes virtual ruler of England. He and his supporters are opposed by a faction led by Edward the Black Prince, heir to his father’s throne.

1375–1400*

1376

  • In the midst of revolutions backed by the Turks, the Genoese, and the Venetians, Byzantine emperor John V Palaeologus is deposed and succeeded by his son Andronicus IV.
  • At the Good Parliament of 1376, supporters of Edward the Black Prince impeach some of John of Gaunt’s supporters, the first parliamentary impeachment of government officials in English history. The death of Prince Edward on 8 June, however, robs Parliament of the ability to deal with John of Gaunt.

1378

  • After Pope Gregory XI moves the papacy back to Rome in 1377, there begins a period known as the Great Western Schism (1378–1417), during which cardinals in Rome and Avignon each elect their own pope.
  • Edward III of England dies and is succeeded by his grandson, ten-year-old Richard II, son of Edward the Black Prince. Until Richard comes of age in 1389, England is ruled by a council headed by John of Gaunt.
  • After some twenty years of disputes between England and the papacy, John Wycliffe of Oxford begins a systematic attack on the doctrines of the Latin Christian Church. Though his actions do not lead to schism in the Church, he is considered a Precursor of the Protestant Reformation.

1379

  • Byzantine emperor John V Palaeologus regains his throne.

1380

  • The death of Charles V of France halts the gradual reduction of English territory in France. He is succeeded by his eleven-year-old son, Charles VI, who reigns until 1422, largely a figurehead. France is controlled by prominent members of the nobility.
  • John Wycliffe plans the first English translation of the Bible, which he carries out with the help of John Purvey and Nicholas of Hereford.
  • Prince Dmitry of Moscow defeats the Mongols at the Battle of Kulikovo.

1381

  • Protesting (among other things) the attempt of some landowners to return English peasants to the feudal system of servitude, which has been considerably weakened by the labor shortage that followed the plague, Wat Tyler starts the Peasants’ Revolt, the first popular uprising in English history, leading a large group of Kentish laborers who capture the city of Canterbury and then go on to London. Richard II offers concessions but Tyler counters with more-radical demands, which included the confiscation of all Church lands. Tyler is wounded in fighting that breaks out during negotiations and then is captured and beheaded on the orders of the lord mayor of London. After Tyler’s death the rebellion ends quickly.

1382

  • Mongol troops recapture and plunder Moscow.

1390

  • Robert II of Scotland dies and is succeeded by his son John, who rules as Robert III.

1391

  • Manuel II, second son of John V Palaeologus, ascends the throne of a Byzantine Empire that for much of his reign is reduced to the cities of Thessalonica and Constantinople and Morea.

1392

  • The Yi dynasty is established in Korea, where it rules until 1910.

1399

  • Henry Bolingbroke—son of the late John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and, like Richard, a grandson of Edward III—deposes Richard II and rules England as Henry IV, first king of the House of Lancaster. During his reign, which lasts until 1413, Henry faces a series of internal rebellions, as well as Scottish and French invasion attempts.

1400*

  • The Incan civilization begins a period of expansion that leads to its domination of the Andean region.

1405–1433

  • Cheng Ho (Zheng He) leads a fleet of Chinese treasure ships to lands in and around the Indian Ocean, reaching Indonesia, India, East Africa, and many islands.

1413

  • On the death of Henry IV, his son Henry V becomes king of England.

1413–1414

  • At the Disputation of Tortosa between Spanish Jews and Christians, Joseph Albo defends Judaism.

1415

  • Taking advantage of civil war over the succession to the French throne, Henry V renews English claims to the crown of France and wins a major victory at the Battle of Agincourt on 25 October, greatly enhancing the standing of England as a major European power.

1417–1420

  • After his success at Agincourt, Henry V of England forms an alliance with the Burgundian faction and conquers all of northern France. The Treaty of Troyes (1420) recognizes Henry as the regent and heir apparent to the mad king Charles VI (deposing the dauphin, later Charles VII) and arranges Henry’s marriage to Charles VI’s daughter Catherine.

1420

  • The Ming dynasty of China moves its capital from Nanking to Beijing, where it has constructed the enormous palace and temple complex known as the Forbidden City.

1422

  • Sultan Murad II of the Ottoman Empire lays siege to Constantinople and invades Greece.
  • Henry V of England dies suddenly and is soon followed by Charles VI of France. The English acclaim Henry’s nine-month-old son, Henry VI, king of England and France, while Charles’s son Charles VII asserts his claim to the French throne, and fighting in France continues.

1423

  • The Byzantines hand over Thessalonica to the Venetians.

1424

  • On the death of the king of Siam, his two sons compete for the throne by fighting to the death on elephants.

1425

  • The Portuguese begin a series of voyages to explore the west coast of Africa.
  • Spanish Jew Joseph Albo completes his sefer ha-’iqqarim (Book of Principles), in which he set out the dogmas and beliefs that are valid for both Judaism and other religions. The book is published in 1485.
  • Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus dies and is succeeded by his son John VIII.

1429

  • Joan of Arc leads French troops to end the English siege of Orléans and make possible the coronation of Charles VII at Reims.

1430

  • Ottoman sultan Murad II captures Thessalonica.

1431

  • Having captured Joan of Arc, the English try her for witchcraft and burn her at the stake in Rouen. They then crown Henry VI king of France at Paris.

1434

  • The Medici family rises to power in Italy, ruling Florence for most of the period from 1434 to 1737 (except for intervals in 1494–1512 and 1527–1530).

1434–1471

  • Under Pachacuti the Incas greatly expand their territory.

1436

  • The forces of French king Charles VII retake Paris from the English.

1439

  • To gain much-needed support from the West, Byzantine emperor John VIII Palaeologus accepts a union of the Eastern and Western Christian Churches, creating opposition at home that serves to negate the value of Western help.

1444

  • A Christian army sent to aid the Byzantines is decisively defeated by the Turks at the Battle of Varna.

1445–1456

  • Johannes Gutenberg invents a method of printing with movable type. The books from his press include the Constance Mass Book (1450) and the first printed Bible (1456).
  • The Incas build the great city of Machu Picchu in Peru. It is inhabited for about a century and then abandoned.
  • Europeans begin trading in African slaves.

1448

  • Constantine XI Palaeologus inherits the throne from his brother. He is the last Byzantine emperor.
  • The Hungarians are defeated by Ottoman sultan Murad II at the Battle of Kosovo.

1448–1453

  • The forces of Charles VII gradually conquer all English holdings in France except Calais, bringing an end to the Hundred Years’ War. (Calais is ceded to the French in 1558.)

1450*

  • The East African kingdoms of Kilwa and Zimbabwe are in decline.

1453

  • Muhammad II (the Conqueror) captures Constantinople for the Ottoman Empire, bringing to an end the one-thousand-year-old Byzantine Empire.

1455

  • The thirty-year Wars of the Roses begin in England between supporters of two rival claimants to the throne. The Lancastrians, who wear red roses, support King Henry VI. The Yorkists, who wear white roses, back Richard, Duke of York, who—as a descendent of Edward III’s third son, Lionel, Duke of Clarence—has a better claim, according to the rules of primogeniture, than Henry, who is descended from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Edward’s fourth son.

1460

  • Yorkist forces led by Richard Neville, Duke of Warwick, defeat the Lancastrians at the Battle of Northampton (10 July) and capture Henry VI, who comes to a compromise with Richard, Duke of York, by which Richard will succeed to the English throne on Henry’s death. Angry that her son, Prince Edward, is thus disinherited, Henry’s queen, Margaret of Anjou, gathers her own forces, who kill York at Wakefield in December.

1461

  • York’s son and heir, Edward, Duke of York, takes London on 26 February and is proclaimed King Edward IV of England on 4 March. Henry, Margaret, and their son flee to Scotland.
  • Charles VI of France dies and is succeeded by his son Louis XI.

1462

  • Ivan III (the Great) of Moscow becomes the first sovereign to rule a unified Russian nation. He reigns until 1505.

1469

  • The Wars of the Roses resume in England. Edward IV’s brother George, Duke of Clarence, and Edward’s former ally Richard Neville, Duke of Warwick, rise up against the king, defeating his supporters at Edgecote and taking the king prisoner.

1470

  • After Edward IV regains control of England, Warwick and Clarence flee to France, where they ally themselves with Louis XI and Henry VI’s wife, Margaret of Anjou. Returning to England in September, they depose Edward IV and return Henry VI to the throne.

1471

  • Having fled to the Netherlands and gained the support of the Burgundians, Edward IV returns to England and defeats the Lancastrians. On 4 May Margaret of Anjou is captured and Henry VI’s son Edward is killed. Henry VI is murdered in the Tower of London on 21 May, and Edward IV resumes the English throne.

1476

  • Under the patronage of Edward IV, William Caxton sets up the first English printing press at Westminister. Among the roughly one hundred books he prints over the next fifteen years are Geoffrey Chaucer’s canterbury tales (1477) and Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur (1485).

1478

  • Pope Sixtus IV authorizes the Spanish Inquisition to discover, and reform or punish, Christians who hold heretical or unorthodox beliefs, including converts to Christianity from Judaism or Islam who are suspected of retaining their prior beliefs and practicing those religions in secret.

1479

  • Queen Isabella, wife of King Ferdinand of Aragon, inherits the throne of Castile, leading to the union of the two Spanish kingdoms under their joint monarchy.

1480

  • Ivan III (the Great) repels the last Mongol advance on Moscow, ending Mongol power in Russia.

1483

  • Tom´s de Torquemada becomes Grand Inquisitor for the Spanish kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca. By 1498 he has had some two thousand “heretics” burned at the stake.
  • On the death of Edward IV of England on 9 April, his twelve-year-old son, Edward V, becomes king, with his father’s brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, serving as lord protector. In June, Richard usurps the throne and is proclaimed Richard III.
  • Louis XI of France dies and is succeeded by his son, Charles VIII.
  • Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant Reformation, is born in the German state of Saxony.

1485

  • In England, the Wars of the Roses begin anew as Yorkists angry with Richard III turn to the Lancastrian claimant, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, whose forces defeat and kill Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August. The victor ascends the throne as Henry VII.

1486

  • Henry VII of England unites the Houses of York and Lancaster by marrying Edward IV’s daughter Elizabeth of York.

1491–1492

  • Michelangelo sculpts two of his earliest works, Madonna of the Stairs and Battle of the Centaurs.

1492

  • The Muslim kingdom of Granada falls to Spanish Christian forces, ending Muslim political rule in the Iberian peninsula and setting the stage for the Christianization of premodern Spain and Portugal.
  • Seeking a westward route to Asia for the Spanish rulers Ferdinand and Isabella, Christopher Columbus discovers the Americas, reaching the Bahamas and Cuba.

1493

  • Muhammad I Askia seizes the throne of the Songhai empire of West Africa, greatly expanding its territory during his twenty-five-year reign.

1494–1496

  • Charles VIII of France conquers Naples, claiming he has inherited it through his father, but the Holy League (Emperor Maximilian I, Pope Alexander VI, Spain, Venice, Milan, and England) force him to withdraw.

1495

  • At the Imperial Diet at Worms, Emperor Maximilian I proclaims “perpetual peace.”

1495–1497

1497–1499

  • Looking for a sea route to India, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama commands an expe dition around the Cape of Africa into the Indian Ocean. He reaches the southwestern coast of India in may 1498 before starting back to Portugal.

1498

  • Charles VIII of France dies while planning another expedition to Italy and is succeeded by his cousin Louis XII, son of Charles, Duke of Orleans.

1500

  • Portuguese mariner Gaspar de Corte Real explores the east coast of Greenland and the Labrador peninsula.

* Denotes Circa Date

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