Annotated Chronology

of Military Events


1996, 1997, 1998 Copyright. Richard R. Orsinger


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12 15 800 Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III.

801 Charlemagne captures Barcelona, Spain.

825 Ecgbert III, King of Wessex, defeats Mercian army at Ellandum, near Swindon, in Britain. [More] Ecgbert takes control of Kent, Sussex, Essex and Surrey.

835 Danish Vikings attack the Isle of Sheppey is eastern England.

840 Viking settlers establish Dublin, Ireland.

844 Viking raid on Seville, Spain, is repulsed.

845 Danish Viking leader Ragnar Lodgrok (Hairy Breeches) takes fleet up the Seine and besieges Paris. [More]

850 Danish Viking raiders winter in Kent for the first time, as Vikings begin transition from sea raiding to colonizing. [More]

856 Ivarr the Boneless (son of Ragnar Lodgrok) accedes to throne of Dublin.

865 Danish Vikings Halfdan and Ivarr the Boneless and a large force invade East Anglia with the intent of staying. [More]

866 According to the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, "a great heathen army came to the land of the East Angles, and there was the army a-horse." [More]

867 Ivarr the Boneless besieges and captures York, and destroys the Northumbrians, forever ending northern England's dominance in British affairs. Danish Viking kingdom established in York. [More]

869 Ivarr the Boneless captures East Anglian King Edmund, and has him ritually sacrificed. [More]

871 At the Battle of Ashdown, Wessex King AEthelraed I and his brother AElfred vanquish the Danish army, killing the Danish king and leaving the Berkshire hills strewn with Danish corpses. Later, King AEthelraed dies and AElfred accedes to the Wessex throne. [More]

872 Ivarr dies of natural causes in Dublin. Harald I gains control of Norway. [More] Danes pull back from Wessex and invade Mercia, occupying London. [More]

873 Danes occupy all of Mercia; Saxon King flees to Rome, where he dies. [More]

874 Vikings settle Iceland.

875 West Saxons pay Danegeld to stave off Danish invasion.

876 Danish King of Dublin, Halfdan "White Shirt" Ragnarsson (2nd son of Ragnar Lodbrock) takes control of eastern half of Mercia, and settles Danes in Northumbria. York becomes a Viking town. [More]

878 Large Danish force from Gloucester under Guthrum defeats West Saxon army under AElfred, and occupies Wessex. AElfred flees to isle of Athelney where, hiding in the marshes he bides his time, harassing the Danes and rebuilding his military strength. After seven weeks of guerilla warfare, AElfred leads his reconstructed army against the Danes, and vanquishes them at the Battle of Ethandum (Edington), capturing the Viking king Guthrum. Instead of killing him, AElfred baptises Guthrum and enters into peace treaty with him. [Asser's Life of King Alfred]. Vikings given a Danelagen in Mercia and East Anglia. AElfred lays the foundation for a united England. [More]

879 Swedish Viking King Rurik founds Kiev as center of Kievan Rus' domains.

885 Hundreds of Viking ships row up Seine with 40,000 men and lay siege to Paris for more than a year, but the siege fails. [More]

886 King AElfred recaptures London from the Danes. Alfred divides England with Danes under Danelaw pact.[More]

892 Armada of 250 Danish ships attack Britain. [More]

900 Vikings raid along Mediterranean coast.

907 Northern invaders of China end that T'ang dynasty.

910 Wessex King Edward (son of AElfred) launches an offensive to retake York from the Danes. Edward decisively defeats the Danes at Tettenhall, in Staffordshire. [More]

911 Viking King Gange-Rolf/Rollo is given land by the Franks (King Charles the Simple) and becomes the first Duke of Normandy. [More]

912 The Normans become Christian. [More]

917 Danes in East Anglia defeated, and Saxons take back control of East Anglia. Danish-held Mercia falls to the combined efforts of Edward the Elder and his sister AEthelflaed. [More]

918 AEthelflaed takes Derby in Mercia, but dies. [More]

919 Viking leader Ragnald retakes York. Ragnald is not a Dane; he is a Norwegian settler in Ireland, pushed out by Irish pressure. [More]

927 Edward the Elder's successor, AEthelstan (AElfred's grandson), conquers York, bringing all of Anglo-Saxon England under Wessex control. [More]

928 King AEthelstan has 30 coin mints, and decrees there can be only one currency in Britain.

936 Irish recapture Limerick from Scandanavian invaders. [More]

937 Wessex King AEthelstan meets Celtic, Danish and Norweigan forces under Viking King of Dublin, Olaf Guthfrrthsson, at Brunanburgh, and defeats them. AEthelstan depicts himself on coinage as Rex totius Britanniae. Establishes what has since been known as the kindgom of England. [More]

941 Rus Vikings attack Constantinople.

944 English King Edmund I the Elder expels Norse King Olaf from Northumbria.

948 Erik Bloodaxe retakes York for the Vikings.

954 Northumbrians rise against Erik Bloodaxe and kill him.

955 King Otto I defeats Arpad and the Magyars at Lechfeld.

959 Edgar the Peaceful becomes the first king of a united England.

960 Sung dynasty of China founded.

981 Viking Erik the Red discovers Greenland.

985 Vikings settle Greenland.

991 Saxon King AEthelraed the Unready pays a Danegeld ransom of 10,000 pounds of silver to induce Viking raiders to leave England without plundering. [More]

994 King Olav Tryggvason I conquers Norway and declares at a Christian kingdom.

1000 Viking Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, explores the coast of Vinland (North America).

11 15 1002 On St. Brice's Day, by order of King AEthelraed, Danes are massacred around Britain.

1002 Brian Boruma wins military victory and becomes High King of Ireland.

1012 Thorkel the Tall works for King AEthelraed, protecting London from Sven Tveskagg/Forkbeard.

1013 AEthelraed battles Danish Viking leader Knut den store/Great (Canute) son of Sven Tveskagg/Forkbeard. Knut is victorious. AEthelraed flees to Normandy.

04 23 1014 Brian Boruma defeats Danes at Clontarf, and captures Dublin. Brian is murdered on the day of battle. [More]

1016 Knut defeats Edmund II Ironside and becomes King of England.

1017 Knut marries Emma of Normandy (widow of AEthelraed the Unready) and becomes Christian.

1027 Arlette, daughter of a tanner, gives birth to the illegitimate son of Robert, Duke of Normandy (France). The boy's name is William. Knut makes pilgrimage to Rome for coronation of Emperor Conrad II. [More]

1028 Knut conquers Norway.

1035 Knut dies at Shaftsbury, England, and is buried at Winchester Cathedral, London. His half-English son Harald rules as regent for Knut's minor brother, Harthacnut, until Harald dies in 1040.

1042 Harthacnut dies, and throne reverts to Wessex dynasty, with Edward (son of AEthelraed the Unready and Emma of Normandy), who rules until 1066 as Edward the Confessor.

1047 William of Normandy, age 20, with the assistance of French King Henry, defeats nobles attempting to usurp William's claim to Normandy, in the cavalry battle of Val-es-Dunes. [More]

1050 Oslo, Norway founded.

1053 Norman warrior Humphrey defeats forces of Pope Leo IX.

1057 Norwegian King Harald III Hardrada begins to debase Norway's silver currency by mixing in copper.

1064 Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is shipwrecked on the French coast, and is held for ransom by the Count of Ponthieu. [More] Duke William of Normandy procures his release. Harold takes oath that William will become king of England and Harold will be Earl of Essex, upon the death of English King Edward the Confessor. [More]

01 05 1066 Edward the Confessor dies, leaving no Saxon heir to the English throne. Harold Godwinson is coronated at Westminster Abbey, coinciding with the appearance of Halley's Comet. [More]

09 25 1066 King Harold defeats invasion of his half-brother Tostig and Harold III Hardrada of Norway at Stamford Bridge, near York, England. Hardrada is killed. Harold then learns that "William the Bastard" has landed at Pevensey. [More]

10 14 1066 William of Normandy, in league with Normans from as far away as Spain and southern Italy, defeats English King Harold at Hastings, ending Anglo-Saxon rule of England. William of Normandy becomes William I of England, at Westminster Abbey, on December 25, 1066. [More] England and Normandy are united into one kingdom for almost 150 years, until 1204. [More] William orders construction of castles in all major cities and towns of England.

1071 Seljuk Turks under Sultan Alp Arslan defeat Byzantines under Emperor Romanus IV at battle of Manzikiert. Some attribute the defeat to the mutiny of a large force of Cuman Turks serving with the Byzantine forces right before the battle, in conjunction with the retreat of the Byzantine Reserve
forces under the command of Andronicus Ducas. This battle permits the Seljuk Turks to consolidate control of the central Anatolian plateau. Turks cut off pilgrim routes to Jerusalem, prompting the First Crusade.

In the same year, Normans in southern Italy, led by Robert Guiscard, defeat the Byzantines at Bari and eject them from Italy.

After Manzikert and Bari, Alexios I Komnenos obtains the Byzantine crown, and issues an appeal to Pope Gregory VII to help stem the Seljuk tide.

1074 Pope Gregory II sends letter exhorting a crusade to the middle east. Due to the Investiture Controversy with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and the expansion of Norman power in southern Italy under Robert Guiscard, the Crusade did not begin.

1076 Almoravids defeat Kingdom of Ghana.

1090 Hasan ibn al-Sabbah acquires mountain fortress of Alamut, takes title of Sheikh al-Jabal and founds the Empire of Assassins.

1095 Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos sends letter to Roman Catholic Pope Urban II, asking for assistance from the west against the Seljuk Turks, who had taken nearly all of Asia Minor. Byzantine delegates are permitted to address the Council of Piacenza. Pope Urban gives his approval to any nobles inclined to respond, and proceeds to attend to church business in France. At the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban addresses a great crowd and urges all to go to the aid of the Greeks and to recover Palestine from the rule of the Muslims. The speech: [Fulcher of Chartres's version]; [Robert the Monk's version]. Urban offers salvation to all concerned. [More]

1096 Beginning of the First Crusade. The early Crusaders (the People's Crusade) were poorer knights and peasants, who embarked without adequate preparation. Some participated in massacres against German Jews on the way, without the approval of the Catholic Church. When they arrived in Asia Minor, they were annihalated by the Turks. Frankish barons, led by a papal legate, set out in several large contingents. This group is known as the First Crusade.

10 _ 1097 Crusaders capture City of Nicea; begin siege of Antioch.

1098 In June, Antioch falls to the Crusaders. Crusaders capture city of Edessa.

1099 In July, Crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon capture Jerusalem and massacres inhabitants. Jerusalem remains in Christian hands for 88 years. Surprisingly, the taking of Jerusalem by the Christians did not have a big impact on the Muslim world, and is barely mentioned in contemporary chronicles. Some Crusaders complete their pilgrimage at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and return to Europe. Others stay, and establish a kingdom known as "Outremer" (French for "across the sea").

05 24 1103 Olavsson III Magnus, King of Norway, killed in Ireland.

1137 Eleanor of Guienne (Eleanor of Aquitaine) marries French King Louis VII, joining Aquitaine and France.

1144 On Dec. 24, Muslim leader Zengi, leading a Jihad against the Christian Franks in the Holy Land, captures Edessa and destroys the oldest Crusader State.

1147 Russian City of Moscow founded.

03 18 1152 Eleanor of Guienne divorces Louis VII of France at Beaugency. [More]

05 18 1152 Eleanor of Guienne marries Henry II Plantagenet, who becomes King of England in 1154. [More] This begins a long struggle between France and England over Aquitaine. [More]

1154 In response to the fall of Edessa, Pope Eugene II sends letter to French King Louis Vii, asking for the Second Crusade.

1170 Eleanor, sick of husband Henry II's infidelities, moves her residence to Poitiers, France.

1171 Kurdish officer Saladdin (Salah ed-Din) consolidates his control of the Muslim empire.

1184 Battle of Uji River, Japan.

1185 The Minamoto clan of Yoritomo defeats the Taira clan, and Yoritomo becomes the first shogun of Japan.

07 04 1187 Saladin defeats Crusader Guy de Lusignan and his army at the Horns of Hattin, near the Sea of Gallilee, and captures Jerusalem from the Crusaders. Within months, Saladin captures all Crusader territory except the seaport of Tyre.

1189 Beginning of the Third Crusade, led by King Richard the Lion-Hearted of England, King Philip Augustus II of France, and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.

1191 King Philip and King Richard set sail from Sicily to attack the Middle East. Richard's fleet is scattered by fierce winds and is forced to seek shelter on Crete and Rhodes. Three of his ships sink near the coast of Cyprus. Richard lands his crews and attacks the locals with archers and armored knights. The following day, Cypriot nobles sought audience and pledged allegience to the King of England. Richard thereafer used Cyprus as a supply bridge on the way to Jerusalem.

1192 Afghan ruler Muhammad of Ghor defeats Prithvi Raj and captures Delhi, founding the Delhi Sultanate, first Moslem empire in India, which lasts until 1398.

1192 Saladin and the Crusaders enter into the Peace of Ramla, leaving the Crusaders with a strip of coastal territory.

1194 King Richard I Coeur de Lion , returning from Third Crusade, is captured by Austrian Emperor Henry VI, and is freed in 1194 only after payment of a huge ransom.

1194 Yellow River in China drastically changes is course from north to south of the Shantung Peninsula.

01 08 1198 Innocent III elected as Roman Catholic Pope. Innocent promotes a Fourth Crusade, which is diverted by Venetian merchants and displaced Byzantine princes into an attack against the Byzantine emperor.

1203 Philip Augustus expels English from Normandy and conquers the province. [More]

1204 Constantinople falls to Crusaders, who massacre inhabitants. [See Byzantine historian Nicetas Choniates' account of the sack of Constantinople.] In France, Chateau Gaillard (originally built by King Richard the Lionhearted) on the Seine River falls to besiegers who climb up the latrine shaft.

1206 Genghis Khan (Temujin) holds khuriltai, where he accepts leadership of all Mongols. Genghis later founds the Yuan dynasty of China.

1213 Genghis Khan attacks Chin Empire of northern China.

1215 English King John I Lackland signs Magna Charta, at Runnemede. John later repudiates the Magna Charta, leading to the First Barons' War (1215-1217).

1216 Roman Catholic Pope Innocent III issues a call for the 4th Crusade.

1217 The Fifth Crusade is directed against Egypt, on the theory that Jerusalem can be held only if Egypt is held. The Crusade fails.

1227 Genghis Khan dies.

1228 Mongols defeat Russian princes, but this being a reconnaisance mission, the victory is not consolidated. [More]

1229 Christians retake Jerusalem until 1239.

1231 Mongols invade Korea.

1236 Mongols return to Russian, and in 4-year period subjugate the country. [More]

1240 Mongol leader Batu Khan (son of Juchi, oldest son of Genghis Khan) razes Kiev, curtailing growth of Kievan Russia, and permitting Muscovite Russia to emerge as dominant force in Russian life.

1241 Mongols defeat Bela IV at Muhi, and occupy Hungary for a year.

1243 Christians retake Jerusalem for one year.

1255 Hulagu Khan (grandson of Genghis Khan) captures Bagdhad.

1256 Generals of Hulagu Khan, after 3-year siege, destroy Assassins' castles and massacre Persian Assassins. [More]

1256 Kublai Khan attains throne of Mongolian Empire.

1260 Marmelukes of Egypt defeat Mongol forces in Palestinian desert.

1261 Byzantines recapture Constantinople from Crusaders.

1263 Norsemen ejected from Scotland.

1265 Edward I (Longshanks) defeats Barons at Evesham in the Barons War (1264-67).

1266 Venetians Niccolo Polo and brother Maffeo Polo make trade expedition to Constantinople, and then east to Bolgara and then Sarai, in the Kingdom of Barka Khan. After a year, their return blocked by war between Barka Khan and Hulagu Khan, the Polo brothers journey east to Kublai Khan's capital Kaifeng. Three years later they returned to Venice.

1267 Kublai Khan begins construction of new capital at Peking.

1271 Niccolo, Maffeo and Marco Polo leave for China.

1271 Kublai Khan formally creates the Yuan dynasty of China.

1274 Mongols unsuccessfully attempt to invade Japan.

1275 The Polos arrive at Cambuluc (Peking).

1279 Mongols under Kublai Khan defeat Sung dynasty of China.

1281 Kublai Khan's Mongol fleet destroyed in typhoon (Kamikaze or "Divine Wind"), thwarting invasion of Japan.

1286 Kublai Khan's uncle Nayan, with 400,000 horsemen, meets Kublai Khan, with 260,000 cavalry and 100,000 infantry, in battle. Kublai Khan is victorious, and Nayan is captured and executed. [More]

1291 Moslems expel Crusaders from the Middle East.

1294 Kublai Khan dies.

1295 Khans of Persia convert to Islam. The Polos return to Venice.

1296 Marco Polo, fighting for Venice, is captured by Genoa and imprisoned for two years, where he dictates his Travels to his cell mate.

1302 Flemish army defeats French army near Courtrai, Belgium, in the "Battle of the Spurs."

1314 Scotsman Robert the Bruce defeats English King Edward II at Bannockburn, Sterlingshire, Scotland.

1324 Ruler of Mali makes pilgrimage to Mecca.

1337 Start of Hundred Years' War.

08 26 1346 Edward III of England defeats Philip VI of France at Crecy en Ponthieu. English longbowmen so far eclipse Genoese crossbowmen that the long bow replaces the cross bow as an instrument of war.

1348 Start of Black Death plague in Europe.

1356 English Edward the Black Prince captures John II of France and his son, Philip the Bold of Burgundy, at Poitiers.

1364 Timur (Tamberlane) captures Samarkand.

1368 Chu Yuan-chang, a Han Chinese peasant and former Buddhist monk who had become a rebel army leader, emerged as successor to Kublai Khan, founding the Ming dynasty, with a capital at Nanking.

1369 Amsterdam joins Hanseatic League.

1371 Serbs defeated by Ottoman Turks at Maritsa River.

1384 Timur captures Herat, Sistan, Rayy, and Il-Khanid (the capital of Sultaniyeh).

1389 Turkish army under Sultan Murad I defeats Serbs under Prince Lazar at Kossovo Field (meaning "field of the black birds"), bringing Turkish rule to the area which lasts until the Balkan War of 1913. Just before the battle, a Serb posing as a deserter brought before Sultan Murad produces a dagger and stabs the Sultan to death. He is immediately killed, as is Serb leader Lazar who is captured in the battle.

1392 Yi Songgye, with the aid of the Ming rulers of China, seize the Korean throne from the Koryo dynasty. The Yi dynasty lasts until 1910.

1395 Timur sacks Sarai Berke, ending central control of the Mongol Golden Horde.

1396 Ottomans defeat Hungarians at Nicopol.

1398 Timur sacks Delhi, causing demise of the Delhi Sultinate, founded back in 1192.

1402 Timur captures Ottoman Turk Sultan Beyazid I at Angora.

1404 Timur dies, and is buried at Samarkand.

1412 Jeannette d'Arc (Joan of Arc) born in Domremy, France.

10 25 1415 Henry V of England defeats French army at Agincourt, Pas de Calais, France. 7,000 French killed; 500 English killed.

1421 Upon the death of the Ming emperor, capital of China moved from Nanking to Peking.

1425 Saint Michael comes to Jeanne d'Arc and says that she will hear voices sent from God.

10 12 1428 English begin siege of Orleans. [More]

05 08 1429 Jeanne D'Arc raises the siege of Orléans.

05 30 1431 Jeanne D'Arc is immolated at Rouen, France.

1439 Treaty between Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church.

1444 Ottomans defeat Hungarians at Varna.

1453 Turkish leader Mohammed II besieges and captures Constantinople.

10 19 1453 English surrender last outpost in Aquitaine to French, ending the Hundred Years' War.

1455 Richard Duke of York wins Battle of St. Albans, first battle of England's War of the Roses (House of Lancaster vs. House of York).

1460 Queen Margaret of Anjou defeats and kills Richard Duke of York at the Battle of Wakefield.

1462 Vlad IV ("Vlad the Impaler") of Walachia defeated by Ottoman Sultan Muhammad II.

147_ Burgundian King Charles the Bold defeated by Swiss army at Grandson and at Morat.

1477 Burgundian King Charles the Bold defeated and killed at the gates of Nancy by Swiss army and Rene II of Lorraine.

1479 Venice loses naval war to Turkey, together with most of her territories along the Aegean Sea.

1480 Ivan III of Moscow assumes position of Tsar of Russia.

1485 At the Battle of Bosworth Field, Henry Tudor defeats English King Richard III, and takes the English throne as Henry VII, ending the War of the Roses. This ends the Plantagenet line and establishes the House of Tudor. After the War of the Roses, English nobles were so weak that they could not challenge the strength of the Tudors, essentially ending feudalism in England.

01 18 1486 Henry VII marries Elizabeth of York (granddaughter of Richard, Duke of York), uniting the English houses of York and Lancaster.

1488 African Kingdom of Mali falls to Moroccan invaders.

1492 Jews expelled from Spain. Spanish capture Granada from Moslems.

1492 Columbus discovers North America (covers 2,600 mi. oneway, going 36 days without sight of land).

1498 Leonardo da Vinci completes his fresco of The Last Supper, in Milano, Italia.

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Last updated September 14, 1998.