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Marco Polo travels to China

1271 - 1295

Marco Polo was one of the first European travelers to travel into Asia. He was able to help assimilate and spread technology and eastern cultures to the west.

Little Ice Age

1300 - 1450

The Little Ice Age is a period of the Middle Ages, which the climate cooled dramatically in Europe and dropped the continent’s agriculture sustainability. It caused agricultural failure and famine, malnutrition, and ultimately the bubonic plague.

Babylonian Captivity

1309 - 1376

Babylonian Captivity describes the conflict between the Papacy and the French crown. One pope lived in Rome and another in Avignon, dividing the Church. It weakened faith in the hierarchy of the Church. It was one of the causes of the Reformation.

Great Famine

1315 - 1322

The Great Famine caused both a major lack of food, which starved the European population and the extreme devastation of the bubonic plague.

Hundred Years’ War

1337 - 1453

The Hundred Years’ War was a war started by a debate about succession, land, and the economy. The war was being won by the English with innovations like archers cannons until Joan of Arc turned the tide towards the French when she helped the country come together. The war lasted until 1453 and was won by the French.

Black Death

1347 - 1353

The Black Death was also called, “bubonic plague”. The Black Death caused a scare and irreparable damage to the Catholic Church. The plague started by spreading from Central Asia to the Mediterranean and the Middle East by fleas on rats that were living on merchant ships. The plague started in Southern Italy then spreading to the rest of Europe. This plague killed over one-third of the European population and weakened the faith of the church, but ended serfdom for those who did survive, raised wages for peasants, and led to revolutions in France and England.

Jacquerie Revolt


Jacquerie Uprising was a revolt by French peasants during the Hundred Years War because: the nobles raised taxes on peasants for the war, barely gave any protection against the mercenaries, and mercenaries pillaged their land. It ended with the massacre of the peasants.

Great Schism

1378 - 1417

Great Schism was a schism within the Christian Church following the Babylonian captivity. Rival popes lived in Rome and Avignon and both claiming each other's illegitimacy and saying they are the true Pope.

English Peasants’ Revolt


The English Peasants’ Revolt was also known as Wat Tyler's rebellion. It was a revolution in England during 1381 after a period of economic discontent and the imposition of the unpopular poll tax.

Invention of Printing Press


The Printing Press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg, which revolutionized how people communicated and shared knowledge. It helped spread ideas and innovations, for example, the 95 theses throughout Europe, which started the Reformation. It made literature easily mass producible and increased literacy in Europe.

Isabella and Ferdinand Marriage


The marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand led to a unified Spain. Ferdinand was the King of Aragon, and Isabel was the Queen of Castile. The wedding completed the Reconquista, exiling Muslims and the Jews. They supported and financed Christopher Columbus's voyage to the New World in 1492 and led Spain as the first global power.

Spanish Inquisition

1478 - 1834

The start of Spanish Inquisition, a judicial institution that was established to fight heresy in Spain. The Spanish Inquisition was made to keep control in the monarchy of the newly unified Spanish kingdom under Christianity, which caused a Christian empire throughout the world.

Columbus lands in America


Christopher Columbus sailed west from Spain in search of a sea route to establish trade routes with India, but instead, he discovered the New World which he thought was India. The discovery caused Europe to shift its focus more on the New World than Asia.

Invasion of Italy by Charles VIII


King Charles VIII of France invaded Italy to claim to the Kingdom of Naples. The attack of Charles VIII changed the development of Italy by being one of the leading causes of the Renaissance to end. The French Invasion weakened the Italian City-States, which resulted in Spanish Monarchy to rule over Italy.

95 Theses


Luther wrote 95 Theses against the Church’s practice of selling indulgences. The 95 Theses said that the Bible is the center of religious authority and that salvation is through faith alone. This document started the Protestant Reformation and changed religious history.

Diet of Worms


The Diet of Worms was when Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, and Pope Leo X, called upon Luther to recant his views of the church. He refused, saying that unless they could prove him wrong using scripture, he could not, because "it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience." This council allowed the religion of Protestantism to be seen throughout Europe causing the reformation movement and many religious wars.

Cortes conquers Aztecs


Cortes conquers Aztecs with an army of Spanish Forces and Natives for Spain. The conquest of Mexico caused Spanish dominance in the region and future Spanish colonization of South America.

Habsburg-Valois Wars

1521 - 1559

The Habsburg-Valois Wars were a series of Italian Wars between France and the Spanish Habsburgs to control the Italian city-states. The Habsburgs won the war destroying Italy, but ultimately helped spread the Italian Renaissance to the rest of western Europe.

Turkish Victory at Mohacs


Turkish Victory at Mohacs was a battle between the Hungarians and the Ottomans. The Ottomans came away victorious, which led to a division of Hungary between the Ottomans, the Habsburgs, and the Transylvanians in Romania. The King of Hungary, Louis II, died as he fled the battle, and thus the claims for the throne in Hungary and Bohemia was passed on to the Habsburgs.

Pizarro conquers Incas


Pizarro was extended an invitation to the Incan Emperor Atahuallpa to attend a feast. Atahuallpa had 30,000 men and felt he had nothing to fear from Pizarro and his 180 men so he accepted. Pizarro with his European weaponry ambushed Atahuallpa, killing his soldiers, and capturing the emperor. Atahuallpa paid the largest ransom in the history of the world but was sentenced to death anyways ending the Incan Empire.

Reign of Ivan the Terrible

1533 - 1584

It was a tumultuous time in 16th century Russia in which a brutal king reigned over the land. Ivan persecuted those suspected of opposing his actions and throne, executing boyar families and creating a new nobility whose loyalty was guaranteed. Ivan died in 1584, yet massive territory was added to the Russian Tsardom.

Henry VIII ends Papal Authority in England


Henry VIII ends Papal Authority in England because the Pope wouldn't divorce him from Catherine of Aragon, the Christian religion forbade it. Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn either way because he wanted a male son, causing the Pope to declare the marriage illegal, angering Henry, so he denounced the Pope in England and made parliament pass the Supremacy Act. The act started the Anglican Church and made Henry head of the Church.

Scientific Revolution

1540 - 1700

The Scientific Revolution was a movement in the late 16th century until the early 18th century that challenged the reasoning of the church, allowed for new innovations to take hold, and enabled the spread of new ideas and inventions throughout Europe. Innovators and thinkers like Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, and Brahe emerged as leaders of the scientific revolution.

Council of Trent

1545 - 1563

Pope Paul III called the Council of Trent to reform the church and to secure reconciliation with the Protestants. It reaffirmed traditional practices and theology like salvation by faith and deeds, the role of priests and ritual, Vulgate (rejection of humanism), the role of Bible and tradition (reject putting Bible into vernacular), transubstantiation, the 7 sacraments, and the index of forbidden books.

Peace of Augsburg


The Peace of Augsburg was a treaty between Charles the V and the German princes. The agreement gave each German prince the right to determine the religion of his state (Catholicism or Protestantism), taking away the power of the church and adding it to the nobles.

Reign of Elizabeth I

1558 - 1603

The Reign of Elizabeth I brought religious peace to England by allowing both Catholics and Protestants to live in England. Her reign was the beginning of religious tolerance.

St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre


St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre occurred when King Charles IX sister Margaret of Valois (Catholic) and Henry of Navarre (Huguenot) decided to get married. Henry of Guise then planned an attack on all protestants who attended the wedding, leading to the three Henry's war, between Henry the third, Henry of Navarre, and Henry of Guise and the Edict of Nantes.

England beat Spanish Armada


The conflict began because Elizabeth I supported Protestantism. The biggest Spanish fleet was created to attack England and overthrow her but was defeated by the English. It was the start of the end of Spanish influence in Europe.

Reign of Henry IV in France

1589 - 1610

Henry IV was the first absolute ruler issued the Edict of Nantes. But at the end of his reign, he was assassinated by a Catholic extremist in 1610.

Edict of Nantes


The Edict of Nantes was a document published by Henry the Fourth. It put Catholicism as the primary religion of France, but it also granted the Huguenots the liberty to conscience and the freedom of public worship. This document helped France reach absolutism and restored internal peace in France.

English Civil War

1642 - 1649

The English Civil War was a conflict in England that denounced Charles I and installed Oliver Cromwell under the Directory. It also established a parliamentary republic.

Reign of Louis XIV

1643 - 1715

Louis XIV was an extended absolutist rule over France and the symbol of absolutism in Europe. Louis implemented many societal changes and built Versailles as the new royal palace to establish his power through Europe.

Rule of Oliver Cromwell

1653 - 1658

Oliver Cromwell was a military dictator in England that was attained by Civil War. It resembled what the people sought to exterminate in an absolute monarchy.

English Restoration


The English Restoration of the crown occurred under Charles II, the son of Charles I and after the Directorate of Oliver Cromwell.

Reign of Peter the Great

1682 - 1725

Russian Emperor Peter the Great westernized and expanded Russia during his reign, more than any other Russian ruler. Peter is one of the more well known absolute monarchs, and his reforms of Russian society are more westernized than before with a western capital city.

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes


The revocation of the Edict of Nantes happened when Louis XIV revoked the Protestant right to practice their religion in France in order to achieve an absolute state and a more uniform religious entity.

Glorious Revolution

1688 - 1689

The Glorious Revolution was a bloodless revolution in England to cede the power of James II and put it in the hands of William and Mary.


1690 - 1789

The Enlightenment was a period in the 18th century that was focused on politics and society instead of science and mathematics. Writers like Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire brought up controversial ideas as revolutionary thoughts spread across the European world.

War of Spanish Succession

1701 - 1713

The War of Spanish Succession was a war in Europe that allowed Louis XIV’s grandson, Phillip, on the Spanish throne. It asserted French dominance in Europe, but it allowed England to add French colonies in North America and maintain a colonial presence.

Last Outbreak of the Bubonic Plague

1720 - 1722

The last bubonic plague emerged in 1720. This plague, the cause of the black death, was finally eradicated with improvements in hygiene and food surpluses that decreased malnourishment.

Seven Years’ War

1756 - 1763

The Seven Years' War was a conflict mostly between Britain and France that ensured British domination over North America and on the high seas. War debts also led to American and French displeasure with higher amounts of taxation and, eventually, to revolution.

Reign of Catherine the Great of Russia

1762 - 1796

Catherine the Great was a Russian ruler and was considered to be an enlightened absolutist. Catherine ensured domestic reform in Russia, although she considered absolutism to be the best form of government, she ruled in an enlightened way. She continued the westernization movement of Peter the Great in her rule.

American Revolution

1775 - 1783

The American Revolution was a rebellion against the corrupt British monarchy in the North American colonies that eventually was successful, giving birth to a new nation in America and dwindling the prestige of Great Britain’s military. The revolution, which was the first of the enlightened rebellions, spread revolutionary ideas to Europe and Latin America.

Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations


The Wealth of Nations was a new idea instituted by economic genius Adam Smith in which he advertised for a laissez-faire form of government when considering the economy. The wealth of Nations also criticized the implementation of guilds, because of their selective qualities, due to Smith’s belief that the economy should be free for everyone to use.

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense


Common Sense was a book that attacked Britain’s monarchy and parliament for its evident neglect of the colonies and its imposition of taxes on the colonists. Paine’s book is considered to be one of many short-term causes of the American Revolution.

Ratification of US Constitution


Ratification of US Constitution dictated the progress of the young United States and provided an idea of a fair alternative of government to other European countries.

The Storming of the Bastille


The storming of the Bastille was a major event in Paris that was set in motion by many underlying inequalities in French society. The riots on the Bastille were caused by King’s orders that mercenaries be sent into the city.

Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of Rights of Women


The Rights of Women is known as the first “feminist” work of literature, it spread the feminist movement to wider audiences, although it did not take hold until later.

Execution of Louis XVI


The execution of Louis XVI was the event that took the French revolution away from the monarchy indefinitely and allowed for Robespierre and the National Assembly to officially take control of the government.

Reign of Terror

1793 - 1794

The Reign of Terror during which Robespierre and his committee of Public Safety executed thousands of French citizens suspected of being anti-revolution. The Thermidorian Reaction put an end to the Reign of Terror and Robespierre was executed.

Napoleon invades Russia


Napoleon passes across Europe and attempts to invade Russia, but is forced to return to France without a victory as winter brought bitterly cold temperatures, lack of rations, and death to the soldiers.

Napoleon is Defeated and Exiled

1814 - 1815

The Battle of Waterloo officially brought an end to the Napoleonic Era. It was a defeat at the hands of the British, Prussian, Austrian, and Russian armies, which led to the ultimate exile of Napoleon at St. Helena in the Caribbean.