Timeline from the roman principate to the beginning of the reformation

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1305 A.D. – Under pressure from King Philip IV the Fair, the cardinals elect a Frenchmen, the Bishop of Bordeaux, as Pope Clement V. He does not want to go to Rome, since Rome is a thorny mess of warring noble families. He sets up residence in Avignon, which is in the Holy Roman Empire, but right across the Rhone river from France. BEGINNING OF THE AVIGNON PAPACY

1307 A.D. – King Edward dies.

1314 A.D. – King Philip IV the Fair of France dies.

1323-1328 A.D.—Revolt of the farmers and merchants in Flanders. The people of Flanders resent their count, who is a faithful vassal of the French King. They set up their own parallel rebel government, which is crushed by the French army in 1328.

1324 A.D. – In Anatolia and the Balkans, the death of Osman. He is a Turk who managed to unite a force of Turks again (after their dissolution at the hands of the Mongols). By the time he died, he managed conquer NW Anatolia. His sultanate passes on to his sons. They are known as the Ottoman Turks.

1328 A.D.—King Charles IV of France dies, leaving only daughters. There are two choices for the throne: his nephew Edward (through his sister, Isabella, “the she-wolf of France”), who happens to be King Edward III of England; or his cousin, Philip of Valois, who is the last other male descendant of the Capetian line. The French nobles are pretty evenly divided, but eventually they choose Philip, partly because they don’t like to track primogeniture through female descendants, partly because Edward III is already King of England. Philip is crowned as King Philip VI.

1330’s A.D. – The French Avignon Popes begin building a palace at Avignon. This shows that they now intend to stay. The people of God are scandalized by how the Popes seem to have abandoned their people and by how they seem to be interested only in money (they have no revenue now from the Papal States, so they have to charge money for appeals made to them and they start selling indulgences).

1337 A.D. – Although Edward III has honored the French King as a lord up to now, tension rises high when the French harbor ships in Normandy (the Pope had called a Crusade, then cancelled it, but the French did not remove their ships). Already, France has been making alliances with England’s other enemy, Scotland (by giving asylum to Robert de Bruce). Thus, Gascony refuses homage to the king of France, and France responds by trying to take Gascony from the English. Edward III declares war on the “so-called King of France,” reminding him that he personally has just as much claim to be kin of France as Philip does. This is the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War.

1340 A.D. – The sea battle of Sluis. The English longbowmen shoot from special platforms on their ships and defeat the French fleet in the channel.

1345 A.D. – The Ottoman Turks cross the Hellespont into Europe. They begin to conquer this many cities, Byzantine, Slavic, and Bulgarian. Their strongest military weapon is troops of slave soldiers: Christian boys (since it is illegal to enslave Muslims) that they kidnapped and converted to Islam and trained as elite soldiers. The force is known as the Yeni Ceri; we call them the janissaries. They fight well.

1346 A.D. – The Battle of Crecy, in Notheastern France. 14,000 English (10,000 of whom are longbowmen) utterly defeat a French army of 60,000-100,000. The English capture the port of Calais (the French port closest to England).

Meanwhile, Edward the Black Prince begins burning and plundering the French countryside (chevauchees). The French nobles avoid open war and stick to fortified castles.

1346 A.D. – The Black Death arrives in Caffa, on the Black Sea, from Central Asia (brought there from China by the Mongols).

1347 A.D. – The Black Death arrives in Sicily, brought there by Genoese merchants from coming from Caffa.

1347-1351 A.D.—The Black Death kills 25%-50% of the population of Europe (up to 38 million people). This results in religious and economic turmoil.

1356 A.D. – The Battle of Poitiers, in central France: Edward the Black Prince (son of Edward III of England) utterly defeats the French again, and captures their King, John II, and holds him for ransom.

1356 A.D. – The Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV establishes the Golden Bull, which constitutes the procedure for electing Holy Roman Emperors from then on: there will be seven prince electors. Three of these are archbishops, the rest are lay lords. Of the four lay lords, three are German nobles, and the fourth is the King of Bohemia (modern-day Northern Czech Republic). Even though this provides a procedure, many of the other duchies and counties and regions of Germany are a bit resentful that they do not get to vote and that their independence seems to be slighted.

1358 A.D. – The Jacquerie, or French Peasants’ Revolt. It only lasts for a month (May-June), but it is extremely violent.

1359 A.D. – The Peace of Bretigny. The French have no choice but to make a truce in the Hundred Years’ War.

1360 A.D. – King John II of France is released, his ransom having been paid.

1361 A.D. – In the Balkans, the Ottoman Turks conquer Adrianople. They now have a circle around Constantinople. Constantinople begs for help. Pope Urban V calls for a crusade to help them, but everybody ignores it. Even Petrarch the Italian humanist writes a letter to the Pope, saying: “The Ottomans hate us less because they fear us less. The schismatics fear us and hate us with all their soul!”

1364 A.D. – King John II dies. His son Charles V takes over. Peace has not been good for the French: both English armies and French nobles have been ransacking the poor French peasants (both armies have to be maintained, but neither country had the resources to pay them enough, so they take it out on the French peasants). Charles V starts the War again. He begins to reclaim French territory.

1374 A.D. – Petrarch dies

1376 A.D.—Edward the Black Prince dies, having returned to England.

1377 A.D. – King Edward III of England dies. His grandson Richard (the Black Prince’s son) takes over as Richard II. He is only 10 years old. The English side is not particularly strong right now.

1377 A.D. – St. Catherine of Siena, a Dominican sister famous for her charity and her mysticism, comes to Avignon on a mission from Florence and tells the Pope Gregory XI to go back to Rome. He obeys. END OF THE AVIGNON PAPACY

1378 A.D. – The rebellion of the woolcarders (Ciompi) in Florence. They storm the Palazzo della Signoria and set up a guild (which the city did not allow them to do before). However, by 1382, they were pushed out of Florentine politics, and the guild ceased to exist.

1378 A.D. – Pope Gregory XI dies. The people of the city of Rome tell the cardinals that if they don’t choose an Italian, they will be torn to pieces. The conclave obliges: they elect the Bishop of Bari as Pope Urban VI.

The French cardinals return home, but then say that the conclave was invalid because they were coerced. They elect their own Pope, Clement VII. BEGINNING OF THE GREAT SCHISM.



Pope Clement VII and his successors (1)

Support: France, Scotland, Spain

Pope Urban VI and his successors (3)

Support: Italy, England, Ireland, the Holy Roman Empire, Hungary, Poland, the Teutonic Knights

1380 A.D. – Venice wins the War of Chioggia against its main sea competitor, Genoa. Venice wins because of an innovation: warships equipped with cannons. Venice begins a period of unparalleled prosperity. It becomes a haven for humanists, partly because of the romantic setting of the city, which draws this kind of people, partly because it is a very peaceful city-state, the “Most Serene Republic.”

1381 A.D. – The English Peasants’ Revolt: Wat Tyler and John Ball lead a movement of well-trained new landowners (who had bought land cheap after the Black Death and made profit by selling food), objecting to the King’s taxes. On the way to London, they kill many nobles, including the Chancellor and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and they let out all of the prisoners from Newgate Prison. They claim that their argument is with the nobles, not the king. King Richard II (who is 14 years old) agrees to meet with them outside the city. But it was a trap: the king had an ambush prepared, and the rebellion was crushed.

1381 A.D.-- The revolt of the industrial workers in Ghent and Rouen.

1382 A.D. – The same in Rouen.

1389 A.D. – The Ottoman Turks slaughter at the battle of Kosovo, thereby conquering Bulgaria. This puts them right on the border of Hungary.

1394 A.D. – The Ottoman Turks begin besieging Constantinople. The siege will last for 8 years, until Constantinople is saved by Tamerlane.

1394 A.D. – Emmanuel Chrysoloras, a refugee from Constantinople (now being besieged by the Ottoman Turks) goes on a tour of Europe, and then settles down in Florence and establishes a center of Greek literature and learning.

1396 A.D. – The French and the English call another truce of 20 years. Richard II (now 32) is betrothed to the 7-year-old daughter of King Charles VI (who sometimes has bouts of insanity).

There are civil wars in France between the Duke of Burgundy, who acted as regent while Charles VI was insane, and those loyal to the King. France cannot retain a united army.

1396 A.D. – Battle of Nicopolis-- King Sigismund of Hungary calls for a Crusade against the Ottoman Turks, and manages to convince the Duke of Burgundy to join, who convinces other people to join. In the end, a European force gathers consisting of Scots, French, English, Italians, and Knights Hospitallers, as well as a Venetian and Genoan navy. It is the most diverse “crusade” ever. They are confident, but they can’t manage to stay united: the French (led by Count John of Nevers, the Duke of Burgundy’s son) don’t want to be told what to do by the Hungarians. They meet the Ottomans at Nicopolis. The French rush ahead of everybody else, and kill the first wave, but when they arrive at the top of the hill, the Ottomans are waiting: it was a trap. The French are slaughtered, then everybody else runs. THE OTTOMANS HAVE NO ONE TO STOP THEM FROM GOING WEST INTO EUROPE.

1399 A.D. – The English are fed up with the weak rule of Richard II, and he is forced to abdicate by Henry Bolingbroke. Henry becomes King Henry IV. This is the end of the Plantagenet House and the beginning of the Lancaster House of England.

1400 A.D. – Richard II is apparently murdered.

Henry IV of England has to enforce his authority among the English nobles and suppress rebellions in Scotland in Wales. By the time he dies, the Lancaster house if firmly established.

1402 A.D. – Tamerlane (Timur the Lame) invades Anatolia and attacks the Ottoman Turks. He is a Mongolian shepherd from northeast Iran who started out as a raider of other shepherds. By doing this, he formed a band of raiders, and eventually grew into a popular and brutal military leader. He conquers all of Persia and Mesopotamia, marking his territory with pyramids of the skulls of his victims. He is merciless. He destroys the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Ankara. This ends the siege of Constantinople (for now).

1405 A.D. – Tamerlane dies. His empire dissolves right away. Anatolia becomes a no man’s land.

1409 A.D. – The cardinals from both papacies (Avignon and Rome) decide that having two popes is too much of a mess: two papal courts, two bureaucracies, two incomes, two sources of expenditure. It is also theologically problematic. So they convoke the Council of Pisa. The Council demands that both popes step down, then the Council elects Pope Alexander V as Pope. But no Pope steps down. THERE ARE NOW THREE POPES.

1413 A.D. – Henry IV dies. His son Henry V takes over. He wants to become King of France. He begins a campaign in England to gather support for the war. In doing so, he appeals to England itself, to the idea of England. Priests even preached that God was English. Henry also makes an alliance with the Duke of Burgundy against the King of France.

1413 A.D. – A descendant of Osman becomes sultan Mehmed I. He successfully restores the Ottoman Empire. He returns Anatolia to its old administrative system; starts a feudal system for the military; and reboots the janissaries. Slowly, the Ottoman Turks regain their former empire. By the time Mehmed I dies, they have regained it all.

1414 A.D. – The H. R. E. Sigismund is fed up with the three popes, so he calls the Council of Constance. At this Council, the Roman pope (Gregory XII) agrees to step down, and the Pisa Pope (John XXIII) is imprisoned.

1415 A.D. – The Battle of Agincourt. Henry V with 6000 Englishmen (mostly longbowmen and peasants) defeats a force of 30,000 French. The English only lose 300 men (one of whom was shot by a musket: the first time someone died by a gun in battle). The French lose 6000, including most of their important nobility.

1415 A.D. – Jan Hus is burned at the stake at the Council of Constance.

1415 A.D. – In their southward search for an alternate (i.e., non-Ottoman) route to the East, the Portuguese conquer the port of Ceuta from Muslim Morocco.

1417 A.D. – At Constance, the Pope Martin V is elected. The Avignon Pope (Benedict XII) refuses to step down, but he is excommunicated, and no one takes him seriously except the kingdom of Aragon in Spain (he flees there and dies 6 years later). END OF THE GREAT SCHISM.

1420 A.D.—Pope Martin V begins repairing the city of Rome, which has become a malaria-infested, dilapidated marshy ruin.

1420 A.D. – The Treaty of Troyes: King Henry V marries the French princess Catherine. The Treaty also agrees that when King Charles VI of France dies, Henry V will be King of France. It seems that the war is over and the English won. But it’s not over…

1422 A.D. – King Charles VI of France dies. King Henry V of England dies. Although his son, Henry VI should be King of France according to the Treaty of Troyes, Henry VI is too young, and the dauphin Charles (i.e., the uncrowned French prince) refuses to relinquish his claim. Both sides begin to fight again to take over France. The dauphin controls central and south France, but is trying to move North to get to Rheims, where he can be crowned King. The English and Burgundians fight back, moving South and conquering more French territory.

1422 A.D. – In England, upon the death of the much-loved King Henry V, his son becomes King Henry VI. The problem is that he is mentally unstable, and soon, Duke Edward of the House of York begins to have intentions for the throne.

1428 A.D. – The Siege of Orleans begins. Orleans is held by the French, but it is surrounded by English forces, who remain for a year.

1429 A.D. – St. Joan of Arc appears at the dauphin’s court at Chinon. She demands to speak to the dauphin. An impostor addressed her, but she knows it’s not the dauphin, even though she never saw him before. Once she speaks to the real dauphin, she tells him that St. Margaret, St. Michael, and St. Catherine have appeared to her and told her to raise the siege at Orleans and to get the dauphin crowned king at Rheims. The king of course does not believe her, but then she tells the king some of his deepest secrets and the she is tested by the theologians at the University of Paris. The king and the theologians both think she should be believed. So she is put personally in charge of the French military. SHE IS ONLY 17!

Joan of Arc enters Orleans, and after 9 days, eliminates the English siege. She is a national hero.

The dauphin is crowned King Charles VII. He asks Joan to continue fighting, even though she has done her two missions.

1430 A.D. – St. Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians at Compiegne. She attempts to escape from prison by jumping out of a 70 foot tower. The Burgundians and English would really like to discredit her, since she has managed to re-energize all of France. Thus, she is tried for heresy by the Burgundian Bishop of Beauvais, Bishop Cauchon.

1431 A.D. – St. Joan of Arc is found guilty and is burned at the stake (the Pope later demanded a retrial in 1456, and Joan was declared innocent. She was canonized in 1920).

1431-1439 A.D. – The Council of Basel/Ferrara. Due to the importance of the Councils of Pisa and Constance, a number of bishops decide to meet, first in Basel, then in Ferrara, in a Council. They try to pass restrictions on the Pope’s finances (he is trying to rebuild the city of Rome), and they set themselves up as a court of appeals superior to the Pope. “Synodus maior est Papa” is their motto. This is known as conciliarism. The Pope simply declares the council as invalid and moves the Council to Florence. The people simply disregard the Basel/Ferrara part of the Council, and believe Florence as the true Council.

1435 A.D. – The Burgundians, their ancient feud with the King being over, reunite with the rest of the French.

1436 A.D. – Brunelleschi completes the dome of the Duomo of Florence.

1439 A.D.—At the Council of Florence, the Pope and bishops from Constantinople declare their unity again. For a brief time, the Eastern and Western Church are united once again. But it is only the leaders of both Churches who agree. The people on both sides still want nothing to do with each other.

1440 A.D. – Working in the Vatican library (though it’s not yet called that), the humanist Lorenzo Valla proves that the Donation of Constantine is a forgery. This document had been used in the Middle Ages to support the legitimacy of the Pope’s temporal rule of central Italy, as it claimed to be evidence of a Constantine donating the area around Rome to Pope Sylvester, to be ruled directly by him. The fact that it’s a forgery, however, changes things little: the Papal States are already a part of the map of Europe.

1440’s A.D. – Johannes Gutenberg invents the printing press in Mainz, Germany. In only one century, there will be 9 million printed books in Europe.

1446 A.D. – Brunelleschi dies.

1447 A.D. – The last Visconti duke of Milan, Filippo Maria, dies without a male heir. Under the Visconti dukes, Milan had been a powerful city-state, maintaing control of the Alpine passes, and expanding to swallow up many smaller city-states, until they were stopped by an alliance of Venice, Florence, and the Papal States. When the last Visconti dies, the people try to initiate a republic in Milan, but the condottiere (contract mercenary captain) Francesco Sforza quickly seizes control. The Sforza family undertakes a program of patronizing humanistic artists, most especially, Leonardo da Vinci.

1451 A.D. – In the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mehmed I dies. His son takes over as Mehmed II. His father already conquered back the old Ottoman Empire. Mehmed II wants to be the one to finally break Constantinople. No help is coming from the West!

1453 A.D. – The French beat the English (with the help of cannons) at the battle of Castillon-Sur-Dordogne. The Hundred Years’ War is over. The English have no land in France except the port of Calais.

1453 A.D. – The Fall of Constantinople: Mehmed II has 100,000 soldiers, mostly janissaries, and a number of 20 foot long cannons, built in Hungary, that fire 1200 pound boulders. Eventually, they bust a hole in the wall of Constantinople. The city is being defended by only 7000 soldiers. They easily storm it and take it over. They desecrate the Churches, shove people into them and kill burn the churches down, and they turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Now, it’s Istanbul.

1455 A.D. – Johannes Gutenberg publishes the Gutenberg Bible.

1455 A.D. – In England, the outbreak of the War of the Roses, in which the House of York (symbolized by a white rose) battled against the Royal House of Lancaster (symbolized by a red rose). This is a bloody civil war, and England has only just lost the Hundred Years’ War in France, so the toll is heavy for the people.

1461 A.D. – Henry VI is deposed by Duke Edward of York. He is crowned as King Edward IV.

1462 A.D. – In Russia, after the destruction wrought by Tamerlane, the prince of Moscow, Ivan III, marries the niece of the last Byzantine emperor. In doing so, he gave himself the title tsar (Caesar), and tries to present Moscow as the “third Rome.” He begins consolidating power by promising land to soldiers who fight well, taxing heavily, and forcing people into serfdom if they try to escape from Russia to avoid the taxes. He also frequently moves nobles around, so that they do not establish any power connections in any one place.

1464 A.D. – Cosimo de Medici dies. The patriarch of the most powerful banking family of Florence, he had become the city’s effective ruler, even though he was officially only a city council member. He did this since almost all of the city owed him favors, as he had given money to those who needed it at some time (he was even the main banker to the Pope—but he refused any loans to Venice and Naples). He also gained popularity by patronizing artists in Florence, thus helping make Florence the center of the Renaissance.

1465 A.D. – In England, Henry VI is locked in the Tower of London.

1469 A.D. – In the Iberian Peninsula (modern-day Spain), Queen Isabella of Castile marries King Ferdinand of Aragon. This unites the power of the two most powerful Christian Spanish kingdoms, although both remain separate political entities. Ferdinand and Isabella proceed to strengthen the Spanish royal power by visiting all the regions of their kingdoms and by replacing rebellious nobles with younger, better educated lesser nobles, thereby establishing an efficient, well-oiled bureaucracy.

1469 A.D. – Cosimo de Medici’s son, Piero the Gouty, dies. Lorenzo de Medici, Cosimo’s grandson, takes over the Medici rule of Florence. He was a very successful diplomat as regards the relations of Florence with the other Italian city-states and the major kingdoms of Europe, and he was a patron of the arts on a large scale. But under him, the Medici patrimony was depleted quickly: he spent a lot of money.

1470’s A.D.—In England, Sir Thomas Malory writes his Morte d’Arthur. This becomes part of England’s patriotic fervor, centered on the person of the king.

1470 A.D. – In England, the supporters of Henry VI manage to replace him on the throne. But then he dies the next year.

1471 A.D. – In England, after the death of Henry VI, the throne goes back to Edward IV of the House of York.

1472 A.D. – The Medici banks in England go bankrupt, due to unpaid loans incurred during the War of the Roses.

1476 A.D. – William Caxton establishes the first printing press in England.

1478 A.D. – Lorenzo de Medici survives an assasination attempt on him that occurs while he was attending Mass at the Duomo in Florence. The attempt was mostly initiated by the Pazzi and Salviati families, rival Florentine banking families. But many people were involved, including the priest that was celebrating the Mass, and the young archbishop of Pisa. Lorenzo survives, and then takes revenge, he has the archbishop of Pisa killed as well as many members of the Pazzi family, and he has the artists Raphael and Leonardo paint their hanging dead bodies. The archbishop just happened to be the nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, who allies with Naples and starts a war against Lorenzo, but it does not last long, since Lorenzo goes to Naples and bribes the rulers of Naples to stay out of it (thus depleting even more of the Medici treasury).

1478 A.D. – In Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella ask the Pope to grant them permission to have their own Inquistion (called the Spanish Inquisition) to test the sincerity of many of the Jewish converts to Christianity (called Conversos).

1478 A.D. – In Russia, Tsar Ivan III the Great conquers Novgorod, thereby doubling his territory.

1480’s A.D.—In Africa, in the region of Guineau, the Portuguese have established a successful trade in gold and slaves. The Portuguese are continuing their southward exploration, funded by Prince Henry the Navigator.

1480 A.D. – In Russia, Tsar Ivan III the Great refuses tribute to the Mongol khanate of the Golden Horde. The Mongols can do nothing about it. Ever since Tamerlane, their hold on the distant Western khanates has been weak.

1482 A.D. – In Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella begin a war with Granada, the last Muslim kingdom in Spain.

1483 A.D. – In England, King Edward IV dies. His thirteen-year old son becomes King Edward V (though he is never crowned). His uncle Richard serves as regent. But soon, a lot of people close to the royal house die, and the young king himself is locked in the Tower of London, along with his younger brother (also named Richard). After two months, the two boys disappear, and their uncle Richard is crowned King Richard III (boo, hiss). He is a very unpopular king.

1484 A.D. – Pope Sixtus IV dies. Pope Innocent VIII is elected.

1485 A.D. – In England, William Caxton publishes Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.

1485 A.D. – In England, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, of Welsh descent, and from the House of Lancaster, defeats King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. END OF THE WAR OF THE ROSES. Henry Tudor becomes King Henry VII. This is the beginning of the Tudor House in England (we’ve had five houses now: Norman (William I), Plantagenet (Henry II), Lancaster (Henry IV), York (Edward IV), and now Tudor (Henry VII)… just so you know, there are three Houses left.

1486 A.D. – King Henry VII marries Elizabeth of York (the sister of the two boys in the Tower). This unites the Lancaster and York families. To commemorate the union, the Lancaster Rose and the York Rose are merged into the red and white Tudor Rose.

1488 A.D.—The Portuguese mariner Bartolomeu Diaz rounds the Cape of Good Hope, thus proving that Africa does not extend all the way to the South Pole. But his men threaten to mutiny, so he turns back before he follows the eastern coast of Africa.

1491 A.D. – In Spain, a story gets around that the Jews sacrificed a boy in one of their rituals, and word also gets around that the Jews say that Christian souls were created by the devil (some actually did say that).

1492 A.D. – In Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella declare that all Jews in Aragon and Castile must either convert to Christianity or be expelled from Spain. The Spanish Inquisition is used to test their sincerity. About 50,000 convert to Christianity. About 2000 are killed by the Spanish Inquisition. Many flee to Portugal, Italy, or North Africa.

1492 A.D. – In Spain, the Muslim King of Granada surrenders and hands over the keys to Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella. End of the Reconquista and the Muslim political states in Spain.

1492 A.D. – In Spain, a Genoese mariner who works for the Portuguese, named Christopher Columbus, askes Queen Isabella to fund his voyage to find a Western route to India. At first she refuses, but then she changes her mind and pawns the crown jewels to get Columbus three ships (the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria), a ragtag crew (all the good sailors had good jobs, so Columbus had to hire criminals), and they left from a small port (all the big ports were being uses to expel the Jews from Spain). After two months at sea and a near mutiny, he landed in the modern-day Bahamas. But he still thought it was India. At any rate, he claims it for Spain.

1492 A.D. – Lorenzo de Medici dies.

1492 A.D. – Pope Innocent VIII dies. He had a pretty shameful reign. He sold indulgences like crazy, and he had his illegitimate son (born before he became Pope) marry Lorenzo de Medici’s daughter. To pay for the wedding, he mortgaged the papal crown. His chancellor, Rodrigo Borgia of Valencia (Spain), also had the idea of gaining money by having capital criminals pay for their freedom.

At the next conclave, Rodrigo Borgia is elected as Pope. He had bribed many of the cardinal electors. When he heard the news, he shouted with glee, “I am Pope! I am Pope!” He takes the name Alexander VI.

1493 A.D. – Pope Alexander VI makes his seventeen-year old son, Cesare Borgia, a cardinal.

1494 A.D. – Pope Alexander VI proclaims Ferdinand and Isabella as the “Catholic monarchs.”

1494 A.D. – Spain and Portugal ask the Pope to intervene on the matters of overseas claims. Pope Alexander VI settles the Treaty of Tordesillas, which draws a line down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and establishes that West of the line belongs to Spain (i.e., the Americas), and East of the line belongs to Portugal (Africa, India, China). The line goes through Brazil, but it has not yet been discovered.

1494 A.D. – King Charles VIII attacks Florence on his way down to Naples. The current Medici ruler makes an alliance with him to prevent destruction in Florence. The people of Florence get really mad at this, and are tired of the Medicis in general, so they banish the family. They turn to a charismatic Dominican preacher to rule the city. This was in part because he had predicted that the French would attack Florence for its sins of worldliness and vanity (referring to its humanistic/artistic renaissance). The preacher’s name was Girolamo Savonarola.

Savonarola agrees to rule Florence as a “Christian and Religious Republic.” He hopes to see Florence become the center of a new Christendom that will arise from the ashes of an upcoming French devastation of Italy. He holds a “Bonfire of the Vanities” in the piazza della Signoria, where the people of Florence burn their boardgames, gambling materials, and worldy art (even the young Botticelli burns some of his early paintings).

1497 A.D. – The Portuguese mariner Vasco da Gama finds a route to India by going around Africa. A major achievement for the Portuguese.

1497 A.D. – Portugal expels the Jews.

1498 A.D. – Savonarola has been preaching against Pope Alexander VI. He has also been saying that a council should be called to judge the Pope. This sounds like Conciliarism, and the Pope will not stand it. Savonarola is tried for heresy, found guilty, and burnt at the stake in the Piazza della Signoria of Florence.

Florence continues as a Republic. One of the people who works as a diplomat on the Council of Ten is Niccolo Machiavelli, who, in his many diplomatic travels, sees how lots of states, both big and small, in Europe work. He also meets with Cesare Borgia.

1498 A.D. – Pope Alexander VI gives his son Cesare complete rule over the power of the Papal States. Cesare begins a campaign of conquest and control. He conquers the regions of Umbria and Emilia-Romagna, thus expanding papal territory. He becomes known for his cruelty.

1500 A.D. – The Portuguese, proceeding further West to catch better currents and winds, accidentally land in Brazil. They claim the land, since it is on their side of the line marked by the Treaty of Tordesillas.

1500 A.D. – Charles is born to Juana (the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella) and Prince Philip Habsburg the Handsome (son of the H.R.E. Maximillian, and ruler of Austria and the Netehrlands)

1500-1502 A.D. – Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain decide to enforce the conversion or expulsion rule to the Muslims in Spain as well, and also use the Spanish Inquisition to test Muslim converts to Christianity (called Moriscos).

1503 A.D. – Pope Alexander VI dies. A Borgia enemy becomes the next Pope. Cesare loses all control of the Papal States, and in the end is killed in a skirmish.

The next pope dies in the same year. Then Pope Julius II is elected.

1505 A.D.—In Germany (under the H.R.E.) a law student named Martin Luther is struck thrown off of his horse by a lightning bolt that struck close by. He vows, “St. Anne, save me, and I’ll become a monk.” He lives, and he keeps his vow, becoming an Augustinian priest.

1506 A.D. – Christopher Columbus dies.

1508 A.D. – Pope Julius II leads his own army to subjugate the rebellious cities of Bologna and Perugia. He becomes known as “the warrior Pope”.

1508 A.D. – In Germany, Martin Luther becomes professor of New Testament studies at the University of Wittenberg. He has a lot of personal questions about the Faith, particularly, about how sinful man can be righteous before God, since people (especially himself) can only seem to keep on sinning and never do true good. He also is dubious about all the Catholic accretions to the sacraments, especially indulgences.

1509 A.D. – Pope Julius II manages to drive out the Venetians, who have been encroaching on Papal territory.

1509 A.D. – In England, King Henry VII dies. He had married off his son Arthur to Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. But Arthur had already died before Henry VII. The next king is Henry VII’s son Henry, who becomes King Henry VIII. To keep the alliance with Spain, King Henry VIII gets a papal dispensation to marry Catherine of Aragon (i.e., his former brother’s wife), which was against the canon law of the time. This is very important, since later, King Henry VIII will want to separate from Catherine and remarry, and he will claim that he should never have married his brother’s widow.

1510 A.D. – In India, the Portuguese capture the city of Goa, and prevent any further Muslim access there, dominating the trade. This is done by Afonso de Albuquerque, the Portuguese governor of all lands adjacent to the Indian Ocean, who sees it as part of his mission to eliminate Muslim possession of the trade routes and to spread Christianity to the peoples of India.

1512 A.D. – The Medicis return and seize power again in Florence. They punish anyone who was associated with the previous Republic. This includes Machiavelli, who is tortured, and forced out of the city.

1513 A.D. – In an attempt to ingratiate himself with the Medicis once again, Niccolo Machiavelli writes The Prince, dedicating it to the current Medici ruler. The book proposes to be a realistic political theory, emphasizing the fact that the peace and the advancement of the state is the main goal of the ruler, and that he should obtain it by any means necessary, right or wrong. The end justifies any means. It is the book in which Machiavelli famously declares that the prince should avoid being hated, but, if he must choose, he should be feared rather than loved.

1513 A.D. – Pope Julius II dies. Before he did, he had patronized Michelangelo in Rome, who painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling at his commission. Michelangelo had also been working on a humongous tomb for Pope Julius II, but he never finished it: all we have is the part with the Moses and a few other statues, and no one felt like paying for it after Julius died.

The next pope is the humanist Leo X, of the Medici family. When he was elected, he said, “Since God has seen fit to grant us the papacy, let us enjoy it.”

1517 A.D. – Prince Philip Habsburg the Handsome dies. Charles becomes heir to Austria and the Netherlands. King Ferdinand also dies, and thus Charles becomes heir to Castile and Aragon and Granada. He is called King Charles I of Spain.

1517 A.D. – In Germany, a Dominican preacher named Johannes Tetzel travels around preaching about indulgences. His motto is, “When a coin in the coffer clings, a soul from Purgatory springs.” That does it for Martin Luther: he writes 95 Theses (statements) against indulgences and nails them to the door of the cathedral at Wittenberg. The 95 Theses are soon printed, and distributed all over Germany. Pope Leo X hears about it, but says, “It’s just the rantings of another drunken monk.” THE REST YOU’LL HEAR NEXT YEAR.

1519 A.D. – In the New World, Hernan Cortes lands on Mexico’s eastern shore with 600 men, 16 horses, and 6 cannons. In a few weeks, he enters the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. He progressed so quickly because he made alliances with the states that were subject to the Aztecs, who were pretty harsh overlords (lots of human sacrifice).

1519 A.D. – Leonardo da Vinci dies.

1519 A.D. – The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian dies. The electors choose Charles (already king of Spain, Austria and the Netherlands) as Holy Roman Emperor. Under this title, he takes the name Charles V. He is the most powerful man in Europe. He spends much of his reign fighting King Francis I of France for control of Italy (both countries have claimed Italian soil since the death of Frederick II Hohenstaufen due to various family connections). To pay for all these wars, he needs lots of money (war is expensive now, as professional mercenaries have to be paid, and Emperor Charles has the largest army ever since the Roman Empire: 150,000 troops). Taxes help, gold and silver from the New World help, but in the end, he has to rely on taking huge loans from wealthy companies and people with annuities (minimum payments made every year). This is a new system of loaning, and it requires intelligent accountants to keep everything in order. Charles hires new people to organize the cash flow, and Spain’s bureaucract becomes even stronger.

1519 -1521 A.D. – Ferdinand Magellan leads his voyage that circumnavigates the globe for the first time (although he dies on the way).

1520 A.D. – Raphael dies.

1520 A.D. – King Francis I of France attacks Italy. He is a romantic, impetuous individual who dreams of chivalry and glory. He manages to conquer Milan and even the Papal States, but Pope Leo X works out a deal. The terms are that, in exchange for the right to name bishops and “recognition” of France’s overlordship over Milan and the Papal States, France must let them rule themselves, and also recognize papal supremacy over councils (i.e., the opposite of conciliarism). King Francis agrees. But while he is in Italy, he falls in love with Renaissance humanism. He brings its ideas back to France, and there, he patronizes artists.

1520 A.D. – In the New World, Montezuma, the ruler of the Aztecs dies. The Aztec people blame Cortes. They drive him and his Spanish soldiers out. Many of them drown in the lake around Tenochtitlan, the gold in their pockets weighing them down and causing them to sink. Many of Cortes’ men die. This is known as “la noche triste”.

1521 A.D. – Cortes returns with more men, and conquers Tenochtitlan. He takes down the pyramid, builds a cathedral, and claim Mexico for Spain. His success begins a movement of conquistadores.

1527 A.D. – In his war with King Francis I of France, Emperor Charles V sacks Rome (the Pope was more on the side of the French). King Francis returns to France, but then makes alliances with the Protestants in Germany and the Ottoman Turks.

1531 A.D. – In the New World, Francisco Pizarro enters Inca Peru. He eventually kidnaps the Inca king Altahualpa.

1532 A.D. – Pizarro orders Altahualpa to fill a room with gold in exchange for his freedom. Altahualpa does fill the room with gold, but then Pizarro kills him anyway. He claims all of Peru for himself. Eventually, he is killed, and different conquistador wannabes fight over the claim for Peru, but finally it is set under Spanish control by the priest Gasca.

1533 A.D. – In Russia, the grandson of Ivan III, also named Ivan, becomes Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible. He continues conquering more land for Russia, taking Kazan and Astrakhan on the Volga river.

1536 A.D. – Erasmus of Rotterdam dies.

1542 A.D. – The Dominican priest Bartolome de las Casas, who was raised and ordained in the New World, writes a book entitled New Laws for the Indies, in which he argues for better treatment of the Native Americans. He also debates Juan Gines de Sepulveda, the chaplain to Emperor Charles V, who days that the natives are subhuman and are natural slaves. Las Casas argues that one with experience (like himself) should be trusted.

1552 A.D. – Bartolome de las Casas writes his most important work, A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies, in which he advocates that the slave labor is terrible for the Native Americans, and he advocates using slaves imported from Africa instead. He thought this would be better for everyone, since the Africans were stronger people and had more experience in working sugar plantations. Later, he would bitterly regret this suggestion when he saw how the African slaves were treated.

1557 A.D. – The Portuguese establish the first permanent trading post for Europeans in China at Macau.

1560’s A.D. – In Russia, Ivan the Terrible battles against Livonia and Lithuania in the Livonian War. However, he starts losing, and he blames his nobles.

1564 A.D. – Michelangelo dies.

1565-1572 A.D. – In Russia, Ivan the Terrible goes on a bloody assassination campaign known as the oprichnina. Thousands of his subjects are killed as he has mood swings that go from head-beating repentance (he would beat his head on the Church floor until he was bleeding), and then drunken, blasphemous, murderous orgies. He even kills his own son.

1583 A.D. – Ivan the Terrible loses the Livonian War.

1584 A.D. – Ivan the Terrible dies.


In Rome: Pope Leo X (a Medici humanist, not too concerned with spiritual things)

In Spain and the Holy Roman Empire: H.R.E. Charles V/Charles I, King of Spain (same person, the most powerful person in Europe, but getting a little tired from the wars in Italy)

In France: King Francis I (the upstart who wants glory, lost to Charles, brought the Renaissance to France, and allies with the Protestants and the Ottoman Turks against H.R.E. Charles V)

In England: King Henry VIII (from the Tudor House, a very strong monarch, married to his brother’s widow, still having no son)

In Russia: Ivan IV the Terrible (strong Russia, but brutal ruler)

In Germany: Martin Luther (not a ruler, but soon many German princes will ally with his cause).
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