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Middle Ages

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Kings in the Middle Ages

What were the duties of Medieval Kings of England? Short, concise biographies of the Medieval Kings of England. From 1066 -1154 the Normans ruled the English after their victory at the Battle of Hastings. There are biographies and timelines of the Norman Kings, and even a Queen, of the Medieval Times encompass one of the most exciting periods in the History of England and Europe. Starting with the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest in England – when William the Conqueror effectively took all of the lands from the Saxon English and gave them to French nobles. The Kings and Queens of England in Medieval Times included Richard the Lionheart and the great Plantagenet English Kings from King Henry II (1154-1189) to King Edward III (1327-1377). The Hundred Years War between England and France. The Medieval Kings and Queens of the Royal Houses of Lancaster and York and the Wars of the Roses. The English Medieval Kings cover the periods from 1066 – 1485.


500ad0202Early Middle Ages – 5th-6th Century

Year Date Event Significance
410 August 24 Rome is sacked by Alaric, King of the Visigoths. Decisive event in the decline of the Western Roman Empire.
431 June 22-July 31 Council of Ephesus Confirmed the original Nicene Creed, and condemned the teachings of NestoriusPatriarch of Constantinople, that led to his exile and separation with the Church of the East.
455 June 2 Rome is sacked by Genseric, King of the Vandals.
Another decisive event in the Fall of Rome and held by some historians to mark the “end of the Roman Empire.”
476 September 4 Odoacer deposes the last Roman EmperorRomulus Augustulus This is considered to be the starting point of the Middle Ages
c. 500 Battle of Mons Badonicus. The West Saxon advance is halted by Britons. Chiefly known today for the supposed involvement of King Arthur but because of the limited number of sources, there is no certainty about the date, location, or details of the fighting.
507 Spring The Franks under Clovis defeat the Visigoths in the Battle of Vouillé. The Visigoths retreated into Spain.
c. 524 Boethius writes his Consolation of Philosophy It has been described as the single most important and influential work in the West on Medieval and early Renaissance Christianity.
525 Dionysius Exiguuspublishes the Dionysius Exiguus’ Easter table. This initiated the Anno Domini era, used for the Gregorian and Julian calendars.
527 August 1 Justinian I becomes Eastern Roman Emperor. Justinian is best remembered for his Code of Civil Law (529), and expansion of imperial territory retaking Rome from the Ostrogoths.
529—534 Justinian I publishes the Code of Civil Law. This compiled centuries of legal writings and imperial pronouncements into three parts of one body of law.
529 Benedict of Nursia founds monastery at Monte Cassino. The first of twelve monasteries founded by Saint Benedict, beginning the Order of Saint Benedict.
532 January 1 Nika Riots in Constantinople. Nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.
533 December 15 Byzantines, under Belisarius, retake North Africa from the Vandals. Vandal kingdom ends and the Reconquest of North Africa is completed.
535-554 Gothic War in Italy as a part of Justinian’s Reconquest. Byzantines retook Italy but crippled the Byzantine economy and left Italy unable to cope against the oncoming Lombards.
563 Saint Columba founds mission in Iona. Constructed an abbey which helped convert the Picts to Christianity until it was destroyed and raided by the Vikings in 794.
568 The Kingdom of the Lombards is founded in Italy. Survived in Italy until the invasion of the Franks in 774 under Charlemagne.
c. 570 Muhammed is born. Professed receiving revelations from God, which were recorded in the Qur’an, the basis of Islamic theology, in which he is regarded as the most important prophet.
577 The West Saxons continue their advance at the Battle of Deorham. Led to the permanent separation of Cornwall from Wales.
581—618 March 4—May 23 Sui Dynasty in China. China unified once again during this period for the first time in almost 400 years.
590 September 3 Gregory the Great becomes Pope. The missionary work reached new levels during his pontificate, revolutionized the way of worship for the Catholic Church (Gregorian Chants), liturgy, etc., and was soon canonized after his death.
597 Augustine arrives in Kent. Christianization of Britain (Anglo-Saxons) begins.
598—668 Massive Chinese (Sui and Tang) invasions against KoreanGoguryeo. Contributed to the fall of the Sui Dynasty, and Goguryeo fell under the forces of the Tang and Silla.

9th Century

Year Date Event Significance
814 Death of Charlemagne. Would be a factor towards the splitting of his empire almost 30 years later.
825 Battle of Ellandun. Egbert defeats Mercians. Wessex becomes the leading kingdom of England.
827 Muslims invade Sicily. First encounter of attempts to counquer Byzantine Sicily, until the last Byzantine outpost was conquered in 965.
840 Muslims capture Bari and much of southern Italy.
843 Division of Charlemagne’s Empire between his grandsons with the Treaty of Verdun. Sets the stage for the founding of the Holy Roman Empire and France as separate states.
843 Kenneth McAlpin becomes king of the Picts and Scots, creating the Kingdom of Alba.
862 Viking state in Russia founded under Rurik, first at Novgorod, then Kiev.
864 Christianization of Bulgaria.
866 Fujiwara period in Japan. Would become the most powerful clan during the Heian period in Japan for around three centuries.
866 Viking “Great Army” arrives in England. Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia were overwhelmed.
868 Earliest known printed book in China with a date.
871 Alfred the Great assumes the throne, the first king of a united England. He defended England from Viking invaders, formed new laws and fostered a rebirth of religious and scholarly activities.
c. 872 Harold Fairhair becomes King of Norway.
874 Iceland is settled by Norsemen.
882 Kievan Rus’ is established. Would be sustained until the Mongol invasion of Rus’ over four and a half centuries, despite peaking during the middle 11th century during the reign of Yaroslav the Wise.
885 Arrival of the disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Bulgaria Creation of the Cyrillic script; in the following decades the country became the cultural and spiritual centre of the whole Eastern Orthodox part of the Slavic World.
885—886 Vikings attack Paris.
893 Simeon I becomes ruler of theFirst Bulgarian Empire in the Balkans.
896 Arpad and the Magyars are present in Pannonia.
899 Death of Alfred the Great.

10th Century

Year Date Event Significance
~900 Mayan Empire collapses
907 Tang Dynasty ends with Emperor Ai deposed. The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in China commences.
910 Edward the Elder, son of Alfred, defeats the Northumbrian Vikings at the Battle of Tettenhall; they never raid south of the River Humber again.
910 Cluny Abbey is founded by William ICount of Auvergne. Cluny goes on to become the acknowledged leader of Western MonasticismCluniac Reforms initiated with the abbey’s founding.
911 The Viking Rollo and his tribe settle in what is now Normandy by the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, founding the Duchy of Normandy.
917 Battle of AnchialusSimeon I the Great defeats theByzantines. Recognition of the Imperial Title of the Bulgarian rulers.
919 Henry the FowlerDuke of Saxony elected German King. First king of the Ottonian Dynasty. Henry I considered the founder and first king of the medieval German state.
925 The first King of Croatia (rex Croatorum), Tomislav (910–928) of the Trpimirović dynasty was crowned. Tomislav united Croats of Dalmatia and Pannonia into a single Kingdom, and created a sizeable state.
927 According to Theophanes Continuatus (The Continuer of Theophanes’s Chronicle) – Tomislav of Croatiadefeated Bulgarian army of Tsar Simeon I under Duke Alogobotur, in battle of the Bosnian Highlands. Bulgarian expansion to the west was stopped.
927 Death of Simeon I the Great. Recognition of the Bulgarian Patriarchate, the first independent National Church in Europe.
929 Abd-ar-Rahman III of the Ummayad dynasty in al-Andalus (part of the Iberian peninsula) takes the title of Caliph or ruler of the Islamic world. Beginning of the Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031).
936 Wang Geon unified Later Three Kingdoms of Korea.
955 Battle of LechfeldOtto the Great, son of Henry the Fowler, defeats the Magyars. This is the defining event that prevents the Hungarians from entering Central Europe.
c.960 Mieszko I becomes duke of Polans. First historical ruler of Poland and de facto founder of the Polish State.
960 Song Dynasty begins after Emperor of Taizu usurps the throne from the Later Zhou, last of the Five Dynasties. A 319 year period of Song rule (Northern & Southern combined) goes underway.
962 Otto the Great crowned the Holy Roman Emperor. First to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in nearly 40 years.
963-964 Otto deposes Pope John XII who is replaced with Pope Leo VIII. Citizens of Rome promise not to elect another Pope without Imperial approval.
965-967 Mieszko I of Poland and his court embrace Christianity, which becomes national religion.
969 John I Tzimiskes the last Byzantium empire and Nikephoros II are being executed. Sultane of Rums are proclaim.
976 Death of John I Tzimiskes; Basil II (his co-emperor) takes sole power. Under Basil II zenith of the power of Eastern Empire after Justinian.
978 Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir becomes de facto ruler of Muslim Al-Andalus. Peak of power of Moorish Iberia under “Almanzor”.
981 Basil II (called “Bulgar Slayer”) begins final conquest of Bulgaria by Eastern Empire. Conquest finished by 1018.
985 Eric the Red, exiled from Iceland, begins Scandinavian colonization of Greenland.
987 Succession of Hugh Capet to the French Throne. Beginning of Capetian Dynasty.
989 Peace and Truce of God formed. The first movement of the Catholic Church using spiritual means to limit private war, and the first movement in medieval Europe to control society through non-violent means.

High Middle Ages – 11th Century

Year Date Event Significance
c. 1001 Leif Ericson is to settle during the winter in present day Canada at L’Anse aux Meadows. Ericson is to be the first European to settle in the Americas during the Norse exploration of the Americas.
1016 Canute the Great becomes King of England after the death of Edmund Ironside, with whom he shared the English throne. Danes become kings of England for the next 26 years before the last rise of the Anglo-Saxons before the Norman Conquest.
1018 The Byzantines under Basil II conquer Bulgaria after a bitter 50-years struggle. Concludes the Byzantine conquest of Bulgaria.
1021 The Tale of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu, is completed sometime before this date.
It is sometimes called the world’s first novel, the first modern novel, the first psychological novel or the first novel still to be considered a classic.
1037 The Great Seljuk Empire is founded by Tughril Beg. Would be a major force during the first two Crusades, and an antagonist to the Byzantine Empire over the next century.
1049 Pope Leo IX ascends to the papal throne. Leo IX was the pope that excommunicatedPatriarch of ConstantinopleMichael Cerularius (who also excommunicated Leo), which caused the Great Schism.
1050 The astrolabe, an ancient tool of navigation, is first used in Europe. Early tool of marine navigators, astrologers, astronomers.
1054 The East-West Schism which divided the church intoWestern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Tensions will vary between the Catholic and Orthodox churches throughout the Middle Ages.
1066 William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invades England and becomes King after the Battle of Hastings. End of Anglosaxon rule in England and start of Norman lineage.
1067 Pope Gregory VII elevated to the papal throne. This begins a period of church reform.
1071 The Seljuks under Alp Arslan defeat the Byzantine army at Manzikert. The Normans capture Bari, the last Byzantine possession in southern Italy. Beginning of the end of Byzantine rule in Asia Minor.
1075 Dictatus Papae in which Pope Gregory VII defines the powers of the pope. Peak of the Gregorian Reform, and an immense factor in the Investiture Controversy.
1077 Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV walks to Canossawhere he stands barefoot in the snow to beg forgiveness of the Pope for his offences, and admitting defeat in the Investiture Controversy. This helps establish Papal rule over European heads of state for another 450 years.
1077 The Construction of the Tower of London begins. The tower of London was the ultimate keep of the British Empire.
1086 The compilation of the Domesday Book, a great land and property survey commissioned by William the Conqueror to assess his new possessions. This is the first such undertaking since Roman times.
1088 University of Bologna is formed. It is the oldest university in Europe.
1095 Pope Urban issues the Crusades to capture the Holy Land, and to repel the Seljuk Turks from the Byzantine Empire from Alexios I Komnenos. This would be the first of 9 Major Crusades, and a number of other crusades that would spread into the late 13th century.
1098 The Cistercian Order is founded. Was a return to the original observance of the Rule of St. Benedict.
1099 First Crusade. Jerusalem is re-taken from the Muslims on the urging of Pope Urban II. This would lead to the beginning of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which would last for nearly two centuries; within the era of the Crusades to the Holy Land.

13th Century

Year Date Event Significance
1202 The Fourth Crusade sacked Croatian town of Zadar (ItalianZara), a rival of Venice. Unable to raise enough funds to pay to their Venetian contractors, the crusaders agreed to sack the city despite letters from Pope Innocent III forbidding such an action and threatening excommunication. Siege of Zara was the first major Crusade’s action and the first attack against a Catholic city by Catholic crusaders.
1204 Sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Considered to be the beginning of the decline of the Byzantine Empire.
1205 Battle of Adrianople. The Bulgarians under Emperor Kaloyan defeat Baldwin I. Beginning of the decline of the Latin Empire.
1206 Genghis Khan was elected as Khagan of the Mongols and the Mongol Empire was established. The Mongols would conquer much of Eurasia, changing former political borders.
1208 Pope Innocent III calls for the Albigensian Crusade which seeks to destroy a rival form of Christianity practiced by the Cathars.
1209 The University of Cambridge is founded.
1209 Founding of the Franciscan Order. One of the more significant orders in the Roman Catholic church, founded by Saint Francis of Assisi.
1212 Children’s Crusade.
1212 Spanish Christians succeed in defeating the Moors in the long Reconquista campaigns, after the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. By 1248, only the small southern kingdom of Granada remained under Muslim control.
1215 June 15 The Magna Carta is sealed by John of England. This marks one of the first times a medieval ruler is forced to accept limits on his power.
1215 Fourth Lateran Council. Dealt with transubstantiation, papal primacy and conduct of clergy. Proclaimed that Jews and Muslims should wear identification marks to distinguish them from Christians.
1216 Papal recognition of the Dominican Order.
1219 Serbian Orthodox Church becomes autocephalous under St. Sava, its first Archbishop.
1227 Genghis Khan dies. His kingdom is divided among his children and grandchildren: Empire of the Great KhanChagatai Khanate, Mongolian Homeland, and the Blue Horde and White Horde. (Which would later become the Golden Horde.
1237–1240 Mongol invasion of Rus’ resumes. Causes the split of Kievan Rus’ into three components (present day RussiaUkraine,Belarus, greatly effects various regions of raided lands in other parts of Europe; Golden Horde formed.
1257 Founding of the University of Paris.
1257 Provisions of Oxford forced upon Henry III of England. This establishes a new form of government-limited regal authority.
1258 Siege of Baghdad Mongols (the Ilkhanate) ensure control of the region; Generally considered the end of the Islamic Golden Age.
1272-73 The Ninth Crusade occurs. Considered to be the Last Major Crusade to take place in the Holy Land.
1273 Rudolph I of Germany is elected Holy Roman Emperor. This begins the Habsburg de factodomination of the crown that lasted until is dissolution in 1806.
1274 Thomas Aquinas‘ work, Summa Theologica is published, after his death. Is the main staple of theology during the Middle Ages.
1279 Battle of Yamen. Marks the end of the Song Dynasty in China, and all of China is under the rule of Kublai Khan as the emperor.
1282 Sicilian Vespers. Sicilians massacres Angevins over a six-week period, after a Frenchman harassed a woman. Would mark a two decade period of war, and peace treaties between mainly between Aragon, Sicily, and the Angevin.
1296 Edward I of England invades Scotland, starting the First War of Scottish Independence.
1297 The Battle of Stirling Bridge. William Wallace emerges as the leader of the Scottish resistance to England.
1298 Marco Polo publishes his tales of China, along with Rustichello da Pisa. A key step to the bridging of Asia and Europe in trade.
1299 July 27th The Ottoman Empire is founded by Osman I. Becomes longest lasting Islamic Empire, lasting over 600 years into the 20th century.

Late Middle Ages – 14th Century

Year Date Event Significance
1307 Friday, October 13th The Knights Templar are rounded up and murdered by Philip the Fair of France, with the backing of the Pope. Hastens the demise of the order within a decade.
1307 Beginning of the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy during which the Popes moved to Avignon. Begins a period of over seven decades of the Papacy outside of Rome that would be one of the major factors of the Western Schism.
1310 Dante publishes his Divine Comedy. Is one of the most defining works of literature during the Late Middle Ages, and among the most recognizable in all of literature.
1314 Battle of Bannockburn. Robert the Bruce restores Scotland‘s de facto independence.
1325 The Aztecs found the city of Tenochtitlan. This would be the epicenter and capital of the Aztec kingdom for nearly 200 years until the Siege of Tenochtitlan led by Hernán Cortés.
1328 The First War of Scottish Independence ends in Scottish victory with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton and de jure independence.
1333 Emperor Go-Daigo returns to the throne from exile, and begins the Kenmu restoration. The Kamakura Shogunate comes to an end, and the Kenmu Restoration only lasts a few years before the Ashikaga Shogunate begins.
1337 The Hundred Years’ War begins. England and France struggle for a dominating position in Europe and their region. The war will span through three/four different war periods within a 116 year period.
1346 August 26th Battle of Crécy. English forces led by Edward III and Edward, the Black Prince defeat the French forces of Philip VI despite being outnumbered at least 4 to 1, with the longbow being a major factor in favor of England. Also considered to be the beginning of the end of classic chivalry.
1347 The Black Death ravages Europe for the first of many times. An estimated 20% – 40% of the population is thought to have perished within the first year. The first of many concurrences of this plague, This was believed to have wiped out as many as 50% of Europe’s population by its end.
1347 The University of Prague is founded. It its the oldest Czech and German-Speaking University in the world
1368 The fall of the Yuan Dynasty. Its remnants, known as Northern Yuan, continued to rule Mongolia. The breakup of the Mongol Empire, which marked the end of Pax Mongolica.
1370 Tamerlane establishes the Timurid Dynasty. During this 35 year period, Tamerlane would ravage his fellow Islamic states such as the Golden Horde and the Delhi Sultanate in order to accomplish his goal of a restored Mongol Empire.
1378 The Western Schism during which three claimant popes were elected simultaneously. The Avignon Papacy ends.
1380 Prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow led a united Russian army to a victory over the Mongols in the Battle of Kulikovo.
1380 Chaucer begins to write The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s greatest work, and one of the foundations towards the formation of the Modern English language
1381 Peasants’ Revolt in England. Quickest-spread revolt in English history, and the most popular revolt of the Late Middle Ages.
1381 The Bible is translated into English by John Wycliffe. First print published in English (Vulgate)
1386 October 18-19th The University of Heidelberg is founded. It is the oldest university in Germany.
1389 June 28th Battle of Kosovo in Serbia. This was in many respects the decisive battle between the Turks, led by Sultan Murat, and Christian army, led by the Serbs and their duke Lazar. The battle took place in Kosovo, the southern province of the Medieval Serbian Empire. After this battle Turkish empire continued to spread over the Balkans, to finally reach Vienna.
1392 Joseon Dynasty founded inKorea. Becomes longest reigning Korean dynasty.
1396 The Battle of Nicopolis. The last great Crusade fails.
1397 The Kalmar Union is formed. Queen Margaret I of Denmark unites the DenmarkSweden, and Norway, and lasts until 1523.
1399 Richard II abdicates the throne to Henry of Bolingbroke, who becomes Henry IV of England. End of Plantagenet Dynasty, beginning of the Lancaster lineage of kings.

15th Century

Year Date Event Significance
1402 July 20th Battle of Ankara Bayezid I is captured by Tamerlane‘s forces, causing the interregnum of the Ottoman Empire.
1405 Chinese Naval Expeditions of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean (to Eastern Africa) begins, under the leadership of Zheng He. This will be the first of seven of the Ming Dynasty-sponsored expeditions, lasting until 1433.
1409 Ladislaus of Naples sells his “rights” on Dalmatia to the Venetian Republic for 100,000 ducats. Dalmatia would with some interruptions remain under Venetian rule for nearly four centuries, until 1797.
1415 Kingdom of Portugal conquers Ceuta. Beginning of the Portuguese Empire.
1415 October 25th Battle of AgincourtHenry V and his army defeat a numerically superior French army, partially because of the newly introduced English longbow. The turning point in the Hundred Years’ War for 15th Century England that lead to the signing of the Treaty of Troyes signed 5 years later, making Henry V heir of France.
1417 The Council of Constance ends. The Western Schism comes to a close, and elects Pope Martin V as the sole pope.
1419 Hussite Wars begins after 4 years after the death of Jan Hus in central Europe, dealing with the followers of Jan Hus and those against them. Although the war was a stalemate (ended around 1434), it was another factor that between the Catholics and Protestants before the Protestant Reformation.
1429 Joan of Arc lifts the siege of Orléans for the Dauphin of France, enabling him to eventually be crowned at Reims. The battle at Orléans is the first of many which ultimately drive the English from continental Europe.
1431 Trial and execution of Joan of Arc. Death of the woman who helped turned the Hundred Years’ War in favor of the French over the past two years.
1434 The Medici family rises to prominence in Florence. This ushers in a period of significance of the Medici’s, such as bankers, popes, queens (regents) and dukes, throughout Europe (mainly Italy, especially the Florentine Republic), over the next three centuries.
1439 Johannes Gutenberg invents the printing press. Literature, News, etc. becomes more accessible throughout Europe.
1442 Battle of Szeben Third significant victory for the Hungarian forces led by Janos Hunyadi over the Ottoman forces.
1444 November 10th Battle of Varna Final battle of the Crusade of Varna; Ottomans are victorious over the Hungarian-Polish armies, and Władysław III of Poland dies.
1453 Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks. End of the Byzantine Empire (or Eastern Roman Empire to some); Constantinople becomes capital of Ottoman Empire.
1453 The Hundred Years’ War ends. England’s once vast territories in France is now reduced to only Calais, which they eventually lose control of as well.
1455 May 22 Battle of St. Albans Traditionally marks the beginning of the War of the Roses.
1456 Siege of Belgrade Major Ottoman advances are halted for 7 decades, last major victory for Hunyadi.
1459 Smederevo falls under the Turks/Ezio Auditore is born. Marks the end of the Medieval Serbian Empire.
1461 The Empire of Trebizond falls to the Ottoman Turks. Last Roman outpost to be conquered by the Ottomans.
1467–1477 Ōnin War takes place in Japan. First of many significant civil wars between shogunates that would continue for another century during the Muromachi period.
1485 Thomas Malory composes Le Morte d’Arthur Perhaps the best-known work of Arthurian literature in English.
1485 August 22nd Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard III dies in battle, and Henry Tudor becomes king of England; last shift of Houses/kingship during the War of the Roses.
1487 June 16 Battle of Stoke. Marks end of the War of the Roses.
1492 Reconquista ends. Marks end of Moorish/Muslim rule within Iberian Peninsula; Unification of Spain and Portugal, respectively.
1492 Christopher Columbus reaches the New World. Age of Discovery into the New World begins.

1402-1499

Events between the traditional end of the Middle Ages in 1492 and the beginning of the 16th century:

Year Date Event Significance
1494 June 7 Spain and Portugal sign the Treaty of Tordesillas and agree to divide the World outside of Europe between themselves. Pope’s ruling will lead to the division of Brazil and Spanish America, as well as the formation of the Spanish Philippines and Portuguese colonies in India and Africa.
1494—1559 The Italian Wars. Italian Wars will eventually lead to the downfall of the Italian city-states.
1497 Vasco da Gama (Spanish) begins his first voyage from Europe to India and back. Vasco da Gama was the first European to sail directly to Eastern Asia from Europe.
1499 Ottoman fleet defeats Venetians at the Battle of Zonchio. The first naval battle that used cannons in ships.
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