Millennium | 15. Medieval Timeline - Palden Jenkins

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"Time is what stops everything happening all at once." - source unknown.

This is a timeline of selected major events and trends worldwide, during the period of the Early Middle Ages. It is not necessary reading unless it particularly interests you. If you wish to skip to the next chapter, click here.

The term 'Middle Ages' is very much a Western idea - to Westerners it is the period sandwiched between the classical period of Greece and Rome and the modern period following the 1500s and, from the current perspective, reaching a zenith in the late 20th Century. But to other people worldwide this was not so - they had more of an evolutionary continuity from ancient times at least up to the time of the arrival of European colonists and imperialists in the 1600s-1800s, and the 'Middle Ages' were for many of them a zenith of civilisation, a great age, after which many things went downhill.

In the West, the Middle Ages lasted a millennium from just before 500 to around 1500. The first half, 500-1000, is often called the 'Dark Ages', largely because European culture dipped from its previous heights during Greek and Roman times, in the eyes of city-dwelling, cultured people, at least, and then began rising from the 1500s onwards. But these Dark Ages were an Age of Light elsewhere - in the Muslim world, India, China and SE Asia, Africa and the Americas.

In the historical part of this book were are focusing on the thousand years preceding Year 2000, so we're not covering the time before 1000. This timeline covers the five centuries of the Middle Ages, 1000-1500.

1000s
1000  AFRICA: Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, zenith
+       CHINA: Great Age in painting and ceramics
+       ASIA: Sultanate of Ghazni: art, science, religion & trade
+       S AMERICA: Tiahuanacu zenith
+       C AMERICA: Ascendancy of Toltecs (1000-1450) in Yucatan
+       N AMERICA: Viking colonies in Vinland (Newfoundland)
+       EUROPE: widespread millenial fears
1006 INDIA: Muslims begin settlement of NW India
1012 GERMANY: first persecution of heretics by Catholics
1018 BYZANTIUM in ascendancy until 1185
+       INDIA: Mahmud of Ghazni sacks N India (breaking Hindu power)
1020 RUSSIA: Jaroslav the Wise, Kiev, laws, towns, schools, churches
1031 IBERIA: Collapse of the Cordoba Caliphate in Spain
1042 C ASIA: Rise of Seljuk Turks, threatening to Asian stability
1045 CHINA: movable-type printing invented in China
1054 EUROPE: schism between Greek and Roman Churches
1056 N AFRICA: Moors conquer N Africa and south Spain
1066 BRITAIN: Normans take England
1069 EUROPE: Norman Romanesque culture (Fr, Eng, Italy)
1071 W ASIA: Seljuk Turks defeat Byzantium (Europe under threat)
1074 EUROPE: assertion of Papal worldly power over kings
1076 NW AFRICA: Moors destroy the kingdom of Ghana
1078 C INDIA: Chalukya-Chola dynasty (1074-1267)
1083 IBERIA: 'Reconquista' (1085-1340) begins (Spanish nationalism)
1085 CHINA: backward conservatism;  JAPAN: reforms and changes
1096 W ASIA: First Crusade: Franks found Crusader states
1099 W ASIA: Crusaders take Jerusalem violently; Egyptians defeated

1100s
1100 W EUROPE: first universities founded: Salerno, Bologna, Paris
1110 W ASIA: Omar Khayyam (poet & mathematician) at work
1115 BYZANTIUM: Constantinople threatened by Seljuk Turks
+       ITALY: Florence becomes an independent republic
+       EUROPE: deadly winter, harvests hit
1121 EUROPE: zenith of Medieval Scholastic Philosophy
1124 MEDITERRANEAN: Italian ports supersede Islamic trade
1126 CHINA: Ch'in dynasty, N China; Sung dynasty in S China
1130 ASIA: Khitans migrate to Turkestan, Kara-Khitai state (to 1211)
1131 EUROPE: Manichaeism enters Europe from Byzantium
1133 RUSSIA: rise of Moscow as leading Russian principality
1135 ISLAM: Almohads gain influence in NW Africa and Iberia
1139 FRANCE & PERSIA: appearance of two Messiah claimants
1143 INDIA: Chalukya Kumarapala (Jain reformer, patron of learning)
1147 E EUROPE: Second Crusade plunders Balkans, fights Greeks
1148 EUROPE: European trade fairs (Pavia, Lille, St Ives, Douai)
1150 W AFRICA: rise of Yoruba city-states in Nigeria
+       SE ASIA: Angkor Wat temple complex built in Hindu Cambodia
1151 C AMERICA: Toltec decline in Yucatan (seeds of Aztec culture)
1152 S AMERICA: Manco Capac, Inca culture at Cuzco, Peru
1153 SE ASIA: zenith of Buddhist culture in Burma
1154 FRANCE: Chartres Cathedral begun (Gothic architecture)
1158 EUROPE: rise of Craft Guilds in European cities
1160 JAPAN: civil war, then Taira clan dominance (1160-81)
1161 N EUROPE: first Hansa trading ports at Visby and Lübeck
+       INNOVN: explosives first used in China (by Sung armies)
1163 EURASIA: Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela visits C Asia & China
1169 C EUROPE: eastward move of Germans (towns, trade, roads)
1170 SE ASIA: Srivijaya kingdom (Java) zenith (Shailendra dynasty)
1171 IRELAND: beginning of English rule (Norman Henry II)
1175 INDIA: Muhammed of Ghazni founds first Muslim empire
1180 SE ASIA: zenith of Hindu Angkor empire in Cambodia
1184 GERMANY: Frederick Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor
+       EUROPE: Persecutions & massacres of Jews in France and England
+       ROME: Cathars, Albigensians & Waldensians declared heretics
1188 W ASIA: Saladin destroys Crusader kingdoms, takes Jerusalem
+       EUROPE: first large European naval fleets (Venice)
1192 C AMERICA: zenith of second era of Toltecs in Yucatan
+       JAPAN: Kamakura Shogunate (to 1333) - reforms
1197 GERMANY: civil war in Germany (to 1214)

1200s
1200 W AFRICA: rise of Mali and Hausa city-states in Sahel
+       C AMERICA: Aztecs occupy the Valley of Mexico
1204 BYZANTIUM: Crusaders take Byzantium; Latin Empire (to 1261)
+       INDIA: Mohammed of Ghor completes Muslim conquest of N India
1206 ASIA: Genghiz Khan unites Mongols, begins conquest of Eurasia
+       INDIA: Sultanate of Delhi founded (Muslim rule in N India)
1208 FRANCE: Crusade against Albigensians & Cathars in SW France
1210 IDEAS: St Francis of Assisi reforms Franciscan brotherhood
1211 CHINA: Genghiz Khan invades China by 1215
1212 IBERIA: Christians expel Muslims from much of Spain
1215 BRITAIN: King John signs Magna Carta (aristocratic oligarchy)
+       INDIA: Islamic architecture & culture enters India
+       PERSIA: Genghiz Khan conquers Persia
1219 JAPAN: Hojo period (efficient admin and justice)
1220 SE ASIA: first Thai kingdom of Siam
1223 E EUROPE: Mongols beat Russians & Kumans, retire to C Asia
1224 ROME: decline in power of Papacy, resurgence of a secular Holy Roman Empire
1225 E EUROPE: peak of German colonisation of E Europe
1226 E EUROPE: Teutonic Knights conquer & convert pagan Prussia
+       ASIA: Mongols close Silk Roads, trade moves to Arabian sea lanes
1229 JAPAN: Dogen introduces Soto Zen Buddhism from China
1233 EUROPE: Papal Inquisition against heretics by Dominicans
1235 INDIA: Delhi Sultanate stretches from Sindh to Bengal
1236 E EUROPE: Mongols conquer Russia (1236-9)
+       IBERIA: Arabs lose Cordoba to Castile (tips balances in Spain)
+       GERMANY: Jews given royal protection for finance of state
1241 C EUROPE: Mongols invade Poland, Hungary & Bohemia
1244 W ASIA: Mongols ravage Mesopotamia, Armenia, Georgia
1246 SE ASIA: fall of Buddhist Haripunjaya (Siam - Shan invasion)
1247 IDEAS: Roger Bacon, thinker (experimentation & observation)
1252 SPAIN: Castile under Alfonso X the Wise (towns & learning)
+      EUROPE: Inquisition uses torture (Christian intolerance)
1255 EUROPE: Prague & Stockholm founded (medieval trade & culture)     
+      N EUROPE: Hansa League (Lubeck, Hamburg, Wismar, Rostock)
1258 ASIA: Mongols take Baghdad Caliphate & Damascus
+      BRITAIN: establishment of the House of Commons at Westminster
1260 CHINA: Mongol Yuan dynasty under Kublai Khan (China opens)
+      ITALY: Joachim of Fiore - growing religious paranoia in Europe
1263 N AFRICA: Mamluks rule Egypt (to 1517, Turks from Ukraine)
1275 CHINA: Marco Polo (Venetian) arrives in China
1287 EUROPE: first Persian Ilkhan embassy to W Europe
+      SE ASIA: Mongols of Kublai Khan pillage Pagan, Burma
1289 INDIA: Khalji dynasty, Delhi (to 1320) (Afghan, repressive)
+      INNOVN: block printing in Italy (learned from China)
1290 EURASIA: trade & cultural relations (to 1340) (stable empires)
+      INNOVN: spectacles invented in Italy
1291 W ASIA: Mamluks conquer Acre (end of Crusading era)
1298 SE ASIA: Islam in Malaya & Indonesia (Sultanate of Malacca)
+    BRITAIN: Parliament gains legislative power, right of taxation
1299 W ASIA: Ottomans expand in Anatolia & Bosporus

1300s
1307 W AFRICA: zenith of Mandingo empire (end of Songhai)
1314 FRANCE: Knights Templars (power-elite) outlawed for heresy
1315 EUROPE: disease & famine reduces population by 10%
1316 EUROPE: Gedymin founds Lithuania (largest land in Europe)
1317 INDIA: Delhi Sultanate at zenith (trade, textiles, tax, cosmopolitan)
1320 ITALY: cultural revival: Dante, Petrarch & Giotto
1321 INNOVN: William of Occam (writes on facts, proof, knowledge)
1325 C AMERICA: rise of Aztecs (foundation of Tenochtitlan city)
+       CHINA: famine kills 8m people (18%): Yuan disintegration
+       EURASIA: Ibn Batuta visits Africa, Arabia, India, Russia, China
1332 ASIA: bubonic plague hits India
1333 IBERIA: zenith of Moorish Grenada under Yusuf I Almohad
+       N INDIA: repression & overtaxation (cruelty, extortion, revenge)
1335 S INDIA: Vijayanagar (to 1565, Hindu scholarship, culture, art)
1336 JAPAN: Ashikaga era (to 1568, social change, industry, culture)
1337 W EUROPE: Hundred Years' War (England claims France)
1340 IDEAS: Pegalotti's Merchants' Handbook (on world travel)
1341 ASIA: Black Death (bubonic plague) starts in Asia
1343 EURASIA: disaster & population shrinkage, trade & travel die
1348 EUROPE: Black Death kills 25m people in four years
1349 SE ASIA: Chinese settle Singapore (Chinese overseas growth)
1350 JAPAN: Japanese cultural revival
+       SE ASIA: golden age of Majapahit empire in Java
+       ASIA: cultural & economic zenith in East Asia
1354 INNOVN: mechanical clock built for Strasbourg Cathedral
1355 EUROPE: Desolation: villages die, towns grow after Black Death
1363 C ASIA: Turk-Mongol invasions of Asia under Timurlenk
1364 C AMERICA: Aztec expansion under Itzcoatl, through C Mexico
1366 OTTOMANS: Ottomans adopt Adrianople (Greece) as capital
1368 CHINA: Ming dynasty, Nanking (driving out Mongols)
1373 N EUROPE: zenith of Hansa League, political & trading power
1374 S INDIA: zenith of Hindu state of Vijayanagar
+       RUSSIA: predominance of Moscow over other Russian states
1378 W ASIA: Armenia & Azerbaijan taken by Turkoman nomads
1379 EUROPE: persecution & burnings for witchcraft and heresy
1381 IDEAS: John Wyclif, church reformer, at work (later executed)
1387 E EUROPE: Lithuania turns Christian (last Euro pagan state)
1389 E EUROPE: Ottomans gain Balkans at Bt of Kosovo (Serbia)
1395 EUROPE: first stirrings of Renaissance (in Italian cities)
1399 CHINA: Ming irrigation, reforestation & repopulation works
+       IBERIA: Henry the Navigator sponsors Atlantic expeditions


1400s
1400 SE ASIA: growth of Malacca (Arabic dhows meet Chinese junks)
+       ITALY: rise of Medicis in Florence (seed-point of Renaissance)
1401 W ASIA: Mongol Timurlenk conquers Baghdad & Damascus
1402 W ASIA: Timurlenk defeats Ottomans (Ottomans disintegrate)
1405 S ASIA: Chinese explore Indian Ocean (to 1433)
1408 W EUROPE: end of Catholic Great Schism (two popes)
1414 W EUROPE: Council of Konstanz reforms Catholic church
1415 W EUROPE: Agincourt: England resumes claim on France, wins
+       NW AFRICA: Portuguese occupy Ceuta (expansion into Africa)
1419 E ASIA: Korea expands, independent cultural development
1421 CHINA: modernisation, capital moves from Nanking to Beijing
1427 C AMERICA: Aztecs grow in influence across Mexico
1428 SE ASIA: Chinese expelled by Vietnam Le dynasty (to 1788)
1429 FRANCE: French revival; Jeanne d'Arc seige of Orleans
1430 RUSSIA: Khanate of Crimea (to 1783) (remnant of Mongol empire)
1431 SE ASIA: Siam invades Cambodia - end of Khmer empire
1432 ASIA: Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho visits 20 states, as far as Africa
1434 W AFRICA: Portuguese explore W African coast
1438 S AMERICA: Inca conquering period (Equador & Chile by 1531)
1444 E EUROPE: Bt of Varna, Turks beat Hungary & Poland
1445 INNOVN: Gutenberg publishes the first printed book in Europe
+       RUSSIA: Khanate of Kazan (to 1556) (Mongol khanate in E Russia)
1449 CHINA: 1m people die in rebellions against Ming
1450 W AFRICA: Songhai empire zenith, university at Timbuktu
+       S AMERICA: Monomatapa empire founded
+       AFRICA: slave trade begins (10m slaves transported by 1870)
+       EUROPE: general economic recovery & upswing
1451 S AMERICA: Incas overcome Chimu culture in Peru
1452 EUROPE: Medicis stimulate Renaissance (culture & humanism)
1453 W EUROPE: England loses French land; Hundred Years' War ends
+       E EUROPE: Ottomans capture Constantinople; Byzantium dies
1454 S AMERICA: yellow fever wipes out much of Mayan culture
1467 W ASIA: Turkomans of Azerbaijan & Kurdistan take Persia
1470 ASIA: Khan Dayan: peaceful Mongol Buddhist kingdom (to 1543)
1472 N AMERICA: Danish Deitrich Pining rediscovers Newfoundland
1473 S AMERICA: Incas conquer Bolivia & N Chile (1471-93)
1478 RUSSIA: Ivan the Great, Czar (1478-1505), expands Russia
1479 IBERIA: union of Aragon & Castile (Spanish state takes shape)
1483 RUSSIA: Russians explore Siberia (in Mongol vacuum)
1490 INDIA: Kabir, teacher (Hindu-Muslim reconciliation, Sikhs)
1492 IBERIA: fall of Arab Grenada: Arabs & Jews expelled from Spain
+       N AMERICA: Columbus explores Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti, initially believing them to be part of Asia
+       E EUROPE: Ottomans invade Hungary & Croatia (Europe at risk)
1494 W AFRICA: 2nd zenith of Songhai (to 1529), Askia Mohammed
1495 EUROPE: da Vinci, Heironymus Bosch, Dürer
1497 N AMERICA: Cabot reaches Newfoundland, looking for Asia
+       ATLANTIC: Vasco da Gama (Port) enters Indian Ocean
+       N AMERICA: Cartier explores Labrador, Quebec, St Lawrence
1498 INNOVN: Michaelangelo & Erasmus at work
1499 EUROPE: beginning of High Renaissance

Next: The World in 1500

The Illustrated Guide to the Millennium

© Copyright Palden Jenkins 1998, 2012.
This material may be downloaded, printed out in single copies for personal use
and quoted in parts with proper attribution and a link to this site.
All other uses require permission of the author, Palden Jenkins.
The Illustrated Guide to the Millennium was partially written in 1997-98 and never published.

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