Common section


Major Events in European History

1337-1453—Hundred Years’ War between England and France.

1347—The bubonic plague, or the Black Death, invades Europe.

c.1350—Publication of Boccaccio’s Decameron.

1377–1418—The Great Schism.

1378—The Ciompi revolt in Florence.

c.1390—Publication of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

c.1450—Johann Gutenberg invents the movable type printing press.

1455-1485—The English Houses of York and Lancaster fight in the War of the Roses.

1469—Ferdinand and Isabella marry and unite Castile and Aragon, or modern-day Spain.

1485—The Tudor Era begins in England after the War of the Roses.

1492—Christopher Columbus sets sail westward for Asia and then lands in the Bahamas.

1492—Ferdinand and Isabella kick Jews out of Spain.

1503-1506—Leonardo da Vinci works on Mona Lisa.

1508-1512—Michelangelo paints the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

1513—Niccolo Machiavelli writes The Prince.

1516–1519—Desiderius Erasmus produces his Greek and Latin translations of the New Testament. Both, according to Erasmus, are more accurate than the Vulgate.

1517—Johann Tetzel begins sale of indulgences.

1517—Martin Luther writes and perhaps posts his 95 Theses.

1519-1522—Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition circumnavigates the globe.

1521—Charles V and the Diet of Worms outlaw Martin Luther.

1521—Cortes destroys Aztec Empire.

1525—German peasants revolt in Luther’s name.

1527—King Henry VIII asks for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

1529—Diet of Speyer uses “Protestant” for the first time.

1530—Henry VIII receives annulment of marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

1530—Pizarro destroys Inca Empire.

1534—Act of Supremacy makes Henry VIII head of Church of England.

1536—Publication of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.

1543—Publication of Copernicus’s On the Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies.

1549—Thomas Cranmer issues the Book of Common Prayer for the Church of England.

1555—The Peace of Augsburg allows German princes to choose the religion of their principalities.

1558—Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England.

1568—The Netherlands revolt against Spain.

1588—Defeat of the Spanish Armada.

c. 1590—William Shakespeare begins writing.

1598—Henry IV issues Edict of Nantes.

1603—James VI of Scotland becomes first Stuart king of England.

1611—Publication of the King James Bible in England.

1618—Defenestration of Prague begins the Thirty Years’ War.

1628—William Harvey develops theory on the circulation of blood.

1632—Publication of Galileo’s Dialogues on the Two Chief Systems of the World.

1633—Trial of Galileo.

1642–1649—The English Civil War.

1643–1715—Louis XIV rules France.

1648—The Peace of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years’ War.

1653-1658—Cromwell rules the Protectorate in England.

1685—Louis XIV revokes Edict of Nantes.

1687—Publication of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia.

1688—The Glorious Revolution in England.

1689—Peter the Great becomes czar of Russia.

1698—Thomas Savery creates first steam engine.

1701-1713—War of the Spanish Succession.

1721—Johann Sebastian Bach completes the Brandenburg Concertos.

1733—John Kay creates the flying shuttle.

1740—Pinnacle of Prussian military state under Frederick William I “the Soldiers’ King.”

1751—Publication of Diderot’s Encyclopedie.

1755—The Lisbon earthquake.

1756–1763—Seven Years’ War.

1759—Publication of Voltaire’s Candide.

1762—Catherine the Great begins her rule in Russia.

1764—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart writes first symphony at age eight.

1765—James Hargreaves invents the cotton spinning jenny.

1776—British colonies in America declare their independence.

1776—Publication of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.

1787—Louis XVI calls for Assembly of Notables.

1789-1794—French Revolution.

1793—King Louis XVI of France is executed for treason.

1796—Edward Jenner develops smallpox vaccine.

1798—Publication of Thomas Malthus’s Essays on the Principle of Population.

1798—Publication of Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge.

1799–1815—Napoleon takes control of French government; begins Napoleonic Era.

1799—Combination Acts in England ban labor unions.

1808—Ludwig von Beethoven completes Fifth Symphony.

1812—Napoleon suffers defeat in Russia.

1815—Napoleon loses to Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo.

1815—The Congress of Vienna ends Napoleonic Era.

1815-1848—The Age of Metternich.

1818—Creation of Prussian Zollverein.

1825—George Stephenson invents the locomotive.

1829—Frederic Chopin’s first piano concerts in Vienna.

1830—Revolution erupts in France, again.

1832-1846—Reform legislation passes in England including Reform Bill of 1832, Poor Law, and the repeal of the Corn Laws.

1845-1846—Great Potato Famine in Ireland.

1848—Publication of Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels.

1848—Revolutions break out in Paris, Hungary, and Vienna; the rise of nationalism.

1851—Louis Napoleon becomes Emperor Napoleon III of France.

1859—Publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species.

1860—Giuseppe Garibaldi and his 1,000 Red Shirts invade Sicily.

1861—Unification of Italy.

1862—Prince Otto von Bismarck becomes minister-president of Prussia.

1866—First transatlantic cable from Europe to the United States.

1866—Austro-Prussian War.

1870–1871—Franco-Prussian War.

1871—Unification of Germany.

1880-1900—The scramble for Africa; imperialism.

1894—The Dreyfus Affair in France.

1898—The Boxer Rebellion in China.

1898—The Spanish-American War.

1898—Marie Curie discovers radium.

1899—Publication of Rudyard Kipling’s White Man’s Burden.

1899-1902—The British fight Afrikaners in the Boer War.

1905—The First Russian Revolution.

1905-1910—Albert Einstein works on theory of relativity.

1914—World War I begins with assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

1914-1918—World War I, also known as the Great War and the War to End All Wars.

1917-1918—Russian Revolution or Bolshevik Revolution.

1919—The Treaty of Versailles.

1922—Benito Mussolini rises to power in Italy.

1928—Stalin begins Five-Year Plans.

1929–1939—The Great Depression.

1929—Publication of Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front.

1930—Talkies become part of entertainment culture.

1933—Adolf Hitler rises to power in Germany.

1936—Hitler and Mussolini back Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

1936—Publication of John Maynard Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

1939—Hitler and Stalin sign non-aggression pact.

1939—Hitler invades Poland.

1939-1945—World War II and the Holocaust.

1946—First meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

1947—The Marshall Plan.

1948—The Berlin Airlift.

1948—Israel becomes a nation.

1950-1970s—Cold War.

1955-1962—De-Stalinization in Soviet Union.

1957—Russians launch Sputnik satellite into orbit.

1957—Treaty of Rome creates European Common Market.

1960—U-2 spy plane incident.

1961—Construction of Berlin Wall.

1962—The Cuban Missile Crisis.

1970s—Détente in Cold War.

1979—Margaret Thatcher becomes British prime minister.

1979—Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.

1986—Nuclear accident in Chernobyl.

1989—Fall of Berlin Wall; reunification of East and West Germany.

1989—Fall of communism in Europe.

1991—The Soviet Union collapses.

1991–1995—War in former Yugoslavia.

1992—The Treaty of Maastricht creates the European Union.

1997—Mother Theresa dies.

2002—Trial of Slobodan Milosevic begins.

2005—Pope John Paul II dies.

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