Must know dates

Ottomans capture Constantinople


Mehmet II the Conqueror = end of the Roman Empire

Columbus/Reconquista of Spain


Reconquering of the Spanish's Iberian peninsula back from the Berber Muslims. Fueled by Christians' devotion to their religion, desire for land and profit and was also a crusade against infidels (Muslims). Since the Europeans were marveled by the Asian goods they encountered during the crusades, Columbus decided to discover a western shortcut to China.

1st slaves to Americas


Juan de Cordoba of Seville becomes the 1st merchant to send slaves from Africa to the New World. First slaves were sent by the Spanish and the Portuguese after their free source of labor (the natives of Americas) were declining from disease and overworking.

Martin Luther and 95 Theses


The Protestant Reformation
Criticized the sale of indulgences, the luxurious lifestyle of the pope, and the corruption of the clergy.

Cortez conquered the Aztecs


Captured Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire = end of Aztecs

Dias rounded Cape of Good Hope


Proved that there's a sea route to the east and opened way for European sea voyages around Africa and into Asia

Pizarro toppled the Inca


Pizarro captured by the Inca during the Battle of Cajamarco. This allowed the Spanish to suppress any rebellions from the Inca and then successfully conquer the empire.

Battle of Lepanto


Defeat of Ottoman Navy by the allied Christian forces when the Ottomans were trying to take over Cyprus.

Defeat of the Spanish Armada by the British


Spain vs Britain; Philip II vs Elizabeth It was called the "invincible armada" and it was defeated by the English with Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis in charge. Made England a global power in naval forces.

Battle of Sekigahara


Battle between Tokugawa Ieyasu and Ishida Mitsunari. Tokugawa's victory = unification of Japan, marking the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate's reign


1607 - 1705

First permanent English settlement in the Americas. Not a very wise location since there was an ideal spot just up ahead of the town.

30 years war

1618 - 1648

Started as a local, religious conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics in Bohemia but then spread to involve the majority of Europe

Unsuccessful Ottoman siege of Viena


Their defeat at the gates of Viena marks the decline of their empire. Also marks the beginning of the Great Turkish War

Glorious Revolution/English Bill of Rights


King James II of England overthrown by Parilament and thus the English Bill of Rights was signed to limit the power of the monarchy


Treaty of Tordesillas


Splitting the New World between the Spanish and the Portuguese as dictated by the Pope. Spain gets the western side of the line and Portugal gets the eastern side of the line, leaving Portugal with a portion of Brazil.

The Protestant Reformation

1517 - 1685

Started unintentionally by Martin Luther and his 99 Theses against the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Reformation

1545 - 1563

Also known as the Counter Reformation. A directed reform of the Roman Catholic Church by the Council of Trent in response to the Protestant Reformation.

Governments and Empires

Holy Roman Empire

962 - 1806

Carles V was unable to establish a unified state due to external pressures from the French and Ottomans and also due to internal conflicts from the Protestants.


1299 - 1922

One of the gunpowder empires. Islam, Turkic


1340 - 1533

The Songhai used the Mali Empire's decline to their advantage in 1340 and gained independence

Ming Dynasty

1368 - 1644

Cleansing all traces of Mongol influence from the previous rule in China


1415 - 1999

Controlled ports in the Indian Ocean Maritime for trade and commerce. Wasn't interested in gaining territory for trade.

Aztec Empire

1427 - 1521

Started by semi-nomadic people who settled down in Tenochtitlan and became a formidable tribute empire with the help of the Triple Alliance


1438 - 1533

Located in Cusco (Peru) and was the largest empire before the arrival of the Spanish.


1474 - 1700

One of the key players in the Age of Exploration. Christopher Columbus was able to sail to the New World thanks to Spain's king and queen.


1485 - 1707

Had a separate Protestant Revolution in which King Henry VIII broke off from the Catholic Church due to his desire to divorce. Has a constitutional monarchy with Parliament.


1492 - 1791

One of the most powerful forces in Europe. They were one of the key reasons why Charles V was unable to unify the Holy Roman Empire.


1501 - 1736

Wedged in between the Ottomans and the Mughals. The empire didn't exactly last too long since they were Shia Muslims with Sunni Muslim neighbors. Couldn't really trade either because of that.


1526 - 1857

Empire in India, they ruled over a population with mainly Hindus. Meaning religious conflicts between the Hindus and the Muslim minorities. Akbar saw this and practiced religious tolerance but his successor reversed his efforts.

Qing Dynasty

1644 - 1911

The last imperial dynasty of China. Ruled by the Manchurians.


1721 - 1917

During this time, Russia was far behind compared to the rest of Europe. Peter the Great was all about westernization in Russia.


Zheng He

1371 - 1433

Chinese admiral who commanded voyages throughout the Indian Ocean. A key player in China's role in the Indian Ocean Maritime Trade.

Prince Henry the Navigator

1394 - 1460

Portuguese prince who didn't really sail the oceans and wasn't really a navigaor either. He was responsible for many of the expeditions down Africa's west coast and his actions aided the start of the Great Age of Discovery. Also started the first school for oceanic navigation along with an astronomical observatory.

Johannes Gutenberg

1395 - 1468

Introduced the printing press to Europe. Thanks to him, Martin Luther's 99 Theses spread widely during the Protestant Reformation.

Mehmed II

1432 - 1481

Mehmet the Conqueror. Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He conquered Constantinople which brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. He then went onto to Asia and Europe.

Barholomew Dias

1450 - 1500

Portuguese navigator who discovered the Cape of Good Hope, proving to the Europeans that there is actually an oceanic route to India by going around the tip of Africa. Also discovered the south-east trade winds and the westerlies to the west and south of South Africa.

Christopher Columbus

1451 - 1506

Sailed for the new world in the name of the Spanish in August 1492. He 'discovered' the new world when he set foot on present-day Bahamas and claimed it for Spain.

Vasco de Gama

1460 - 1524

This Portuguese explorer disovered an ocean route from Portugal to the East via around Africa and past the Cape of Good Hope and reached Calicut, India on May 1498.

Sunni Ali

1464 - 1492

Founder of the Songhay empire in West Africa. "Ali the Great" Reigned from 1464 to 1492. Under his reign, Songhay surpassed the Mali at its peak.


1466 - 1520

The ninth ruler of Tenochtitlan of the Aztecs. He was killed when the Spanish came over with Hernan Cortes. The Aztec was at its peak during his reign as he expanded through warfare.

Niccolo Machiavelli

1469 - 1527

Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, and humanist in Florence during the Renaissance. Wrote "the Prince" to gain the favor of the Medici but the neither the Medici or the public agreed. Thus, he became associated with corrupt ruling and today, Machiavellian means corrupt government due to his bad reputation.

Francisco Pizarro

1471 - 1541

Spanish conquistador who conquered the Inca Empire.

Nicolaus Copernicus

1473 - 1543

Mathematician and astronomer. He suggested that the sun was at the center of the universe contrary to the Church's accepted concept of an Earth centered model.

Vasco de Balboa

1475 - 1519

Spanish conqiustador/explorer who was the first European to reach the eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean. He traveled through the dense jungles of present-day Panama and claimed the ocean and its shores in the name of Spain. This allowed for the beginnings of Spanish conquest/exploration along the western coast of South America.

Ferdinand Magellan

1480 - 1521

Was given credit for being the first to circumnavigate the real world. Unfortunately, he died before reaching the Philipines but some of his crew members survived for the whole duration.

Martin Luther

1483 - 1546

German monk who criticized the corruption of the Catholic Church and wrote the 99 Thesis. It spread widely thanks to the Gutenburg printing press. Lutherism and further schisms in Christianity was the result. The Protestant Reformation.

Hernan Cortes

1485 - 1547

Spanish Conquistador who led the expedition in the Americas that resulted in the collapse of the Aztec Empire and brought a substantial chunk of Mexico under King of Castile's rule in the 16th century.

Shah Ismail

1487 - 1534

The founder of the Safavid dynasty. He took over what is now present day Iran, declared himself the Shah of the new Persian state, and sent Shia preachers to Anatolia to promote rebellion among the Turks in the Ottoman Empire.

Ignatius Loyola

1491 - 1556

Founder of the Jesuits (the Society of Jesus) which was crucial in the Catholic Reformation. The Jesuits came to be in 1450 and they emphasized education and were effective advisers and missionaries worldwide.


1494 - 1566

Suleyman the Magnificent. Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Expanded the empire all the way to the edge of Western Europe. Established public works projects in major cities of the Islamic world. Extensive renovations of the Dome of the Rock.


1497 - 1533

The last Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire before the Spanish conquest. He was caputured by Pizarro and was used to control the Inca Empire. With his execution, the Inca empire ended completely.

John Calvin

1509 - 1564

Organized the model Protestant community in Geneva. Calvanism. Calvanist missionaries became successful in Scotland, Low Countries, France, and England.

Tokugawa Ieyasu

1542 - 1616

Born in times of civil war, he became the shogun, bringing peace and unity in Japan. He restored stability to Japan and encouraged foreign trade. Later, the Tokugawa shogunate cut off foreign contact.


1542 - 1605

Akbar the Great; thirdd Mughal Emperor. Practiced religious tolerance to ease the animosity within the empire with the different religions. Created his own cult which blended Islam, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism.

Matteo Ricci

1552 - 1610

An Italian priest who funded the Jesuit China Mission. His method in China was to show interest in learning China's cultures and traditions rather than straightforwardly showcasing their intentions of laying out a new religion.

Galileo Galilei

1564 - 1642

Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who was a key player in the Scientific Revolution. He saw sunspots, moons of Jupiter, and mountains of the moon using a telescope. Wrote the "Starry Messenger". Had to recant due to threats from the Church.

Thomas Hobbes

1588 - 1679

English philosopher whose ideas of the world are relevant to today's politics. Idea of social contract, a 'state of nature' in which there are no government institutions.

John Locke

1632 - 1704

English philosopher and physician and was one of the most influential thinkers of the Enlightenment. All human knowledge comes from sense perceptions.

Louis XIV

1638 - 1715

The Sun King of France. During his reign, absolute monarchy was at its height and he built a lavish court at Versailles to showcase his power.


1654 - 1722

The second emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty who came to power after his father's death. He came to power at the age of eight and had help in ruling the empire through regents until he was older. He found history to be important and had a Qing Dynasty dictionary created.


1694 - 1778

French philosophe, believed in religious liberty and individual freedom. Wrote about seventy volumes that were usually satires. He didn't like the Church or absolutists or democracy.


1711 - 1799

The sixth emperor of the Qing Dynasty. He was skillful in handling relationships with the Manchu, Han and other ethnic minorities. The Qing Dynasty was at its peak during his reign.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1712 - 1778

Genevan philosopher whose political philosophy influenced the French Revolution and the development of modern political, sociological, and educational thoughts.

Adam Smith

1723 - 1790

Scottish moral philosopher. Wrote "The Wealth of Nations" which influenced today's economics and the ideas of individual freedom (laissez faire). Laws of supply and demand determine price.

Reign of PeterCatherine the Great

1762 - 1796

Peter III of Russia died a few months after being crowned the king due to his wife's coup detat and thus, Catherine the Great took over the throne afterwards. Pushed forward for Westernazation in the highly falling behind Russia.