Annotated Chronology

of Military Events

1996, 1997 Copyright. Richard R. Orsinger

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1500 Portuguese discover Brazil.

1500 Ismail Safavid captures Tabriz, and becomes Shah Ismail I, starting Safavid dynasty.

1509 Portuguese win naval battle over ______ near Diu.

1510 Portuguese capture Goa.

1510 Shah Safavid defeats Uzbeks of Transoxiana.

1511 Portuguese capture Malacca.

1512 Uzbeks conquer Transoxiana.

1513 English, under Thomas Howard, defeat Scottish, under James IV, at Flodden Field, Northumberland, England, killing the Scottish leader.

1514 Ottoman army defeats Shah Ismail I (Safavid)'s army at Chaldiran near Tabriz.

1517 Ottoman army conquers Jerusalem, Mameluke kingdom of Egypt, and Syria.

1517 Martin Luther posts 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Saxony.

1519 Spaniard Hernan Cortes tours Mexico City at the invitation of Aztec king Montezuma.

1520 Cortes expelled from citadel at Tenochtitlan, where a smallpox epidemic was raging.

1521 Beograde captured by Ottoman Turks.

1526 Babur, victorious in the Battle of Panipat, occupies Deli and Agra, beginning the Mogul Empire.

1526 Turks under Sulayman the Magnificant defeat and kill Hungarian King Louis II at Mohacs, beginning Ottoman dominion over Hungary.

1527 Spaniard Francisco Pizzaro begins invasion of Peru; causes smallpox epidemic among native peoples.

1532 At Cajamarca, Inca emperor Atahualpa is captured by Pizarro, leading to the fall of the Inca empire.

1532 Niccolo Machiavelli publishes Il Principe (The Prince).

1542 Portuguese sailors make contact with Japan.

1547 Roman Catholic Church convenes the first Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation.

1549 Catholic missionary Frances Xavier arrives in Japan.

1552 Russians overturn Khanate of Kazan.

1556 Russians overturn Khanate of Astrakhan.

1571 Christian armies defeat Turks at Lepanto.

08 23 1572 Royal army slaughters thousands of Protestants in Paris.

10 07 1572 Battle of Lepanto, in Gulf of Corinth, where fleets of Spain, Venice and the Pope defeat the Ottoman fleet, temporary curtailing Moslem expansion into the eastern Mediterranean.

1576 Antwerp, Belgium, sacked by Spanish army.

1578 Peace reached between Spain and Turkish Empire.

1586 English Queen Elizabeth sends a legion of English merchants, adventurers, and courtiers to colonize the lush hills and pastures of Ireland's Munster county. This is the largest overseas colonizing effort of the Tudor dynasty. [More]

1588 English defeat Spanish armada.

1591 Morocco captures Kingdom of Timbuctu.

1592 Japanese under Hideyoshi invade Korea. The Japanese are expelled by the Yi dynasty forces, with the aid of China, but only after six difficult years.

1598 French King Henry IV issues Edict of Nantes, giving rights to French Protestants.

1610 Jesuit Matteo Ricci (missionary in Peking) dies.

05 __ 1618 The Defenestration of Prague, starts the Thirty Years' War.

09 17 1631 Swedish Army under King Gustavus Aldolphus defeats Russian army (30 Years' War).

11 16 1632 Swedish King Adolphjus killed, but Swedish army is victorious in the Battle of Lutzen (30 Years' War).

1637 After Manchus invade Korea, Korea becomes a vassal state of the Manchu Empire. External influences are kept out until 1876.

1638 Japan issues edict banning emigration and prohibiting ship building.

1640 Start of English Civil Wars.

Frederick William of Hohenzollern, the Great Elector, rises to power in Prussia, and inaugurates a military state.

1641 Dutch capture Malacca from Portuguese.

1644 Manchus seize Peking, ending the Ming dynasty, and founding the Ch'ing dynasty of China (lasts from 1644 - 1911).

1645 New Model Army, under Sir Thomas Fairfax, defeats Royalists at Naseby, in English Civil War.

1648 Peace of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years' War.

The Fronde uprising against Louis XIII begins.

1650 World population begins to increase at significantly greater rate, through today.

1655 British take Jamaica from the Spanish, who had ruled Jamaica since Columbus' arrival in 1494. In the upheaval, most of the Spaniards' 1,500 African slaves take to the mountains, establishing "Maroon" communities which become military strongholds, whose members bargain with the British officers for freedom and autonomy in exchange for promising to defend Jamaica and to help quell slave revolts. [More]

1659 Peace of the Pyrenees between France and Spain.

165__ Koxinga establishes pirate kingdom in South China Seas.

1683 Second Turkish siege of Vienna.

1683 Koxinga's grandson cedes Formosa (Taiwan) to Manchu Emperor of China.

1685 French King Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes, driving French Protestants from France.

1686 Turks ejected from Budapest.

1688 Moguls complete conquest of India.

1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk establishes border between Siberia and Manchuria (along the Amur of Heilung River), with Outer Mongolia as no man's land. This was China's first agreement with a western power.

1690 At the Battle of Boyne, deposed English King James II and his Irish and French allies are defeated by William III.

05 23 1692 French navy defeated by Anglo-Dutch fleet at La Hogue (War of the Grand Alliance).

1697 Austrians defeat Moslems at Zenta.

1699 Peter I of Russia joins coalition against Sweden.

1699 Treaty of Carlowitz, where Ottoman Empire surrenders Hungary to Austrians.

1707 Aurangzeb dies, destabalizing Mogul Empire in India.

1709 Peter I of Russia defeats Charles XII of Sweden at Poltav.

" Afgahn revolt against Safavid empire.

1727 Treaty of Kyakhta fixes the remainder of theRussian-Chinese border not settled in 1689.

1728 Fench establish a trading post in Canton, China.

1729 Chinese Imperial decree banning sale of opium.

1736 ___kills ___, ending Safavid dynasty.

1738 Persian ruler Nadir Shah invades India, captures Delhi.

1740 Start of War of Austrian Succession.

1747 Nadir Shah is assassinated.

1751 British troops under Robert Clive capture the fortified town of Arcot, in Southern India, from the French under Dupleix. Great Britain thereby established itself as the leading colonial power in India.

1756 Frederick II of Prussia invades Saxony, starting the Seven Years' War, a world-wide war fought in Europe, North America, and India, pitting France, Austria, Russia, Saxony, Sweden and Spain against Prussia, Great Britain and Hanover.

06 __ 1757 Frederick II of Prussia defeated by Austrians at Kolin (Seven Years' War).

1757 British defeat French at Plassey (Seven Years' War), permitting British a foothold in Bengal.

Chinese army defeats Kalmuk confederation.

1759 Siege of Quebec.

10 __ 1760 Russians capture Berlin.

1761 Afghani invaders defeat Marathas at Panipat, leading to collapse of the Maratha empire in India.

1763 Treaty of Paris ends Seven Years' War; British annex Canada; French concede India to Britain.

1774 Treaty of Kuchuk Kainardji, permitting Russian merchant ships to sail in the Black Sea.

04 19 1775 British soldiers exchange gunfire with colonial militia at Lexington, Massachusetts, then proceed to Concord where they destroy colonial munitions, and then engage in another skirmish. Colonial soldiers are killed, beginning the American Revolutionary War.

06 17 1775 American colonists repulse two British assaults, but finally are pushed from Breed's Hill in Boston, Massachusetts (Battle of Bunker Hill). However, the British fail to break the colonists' siege of Boston.

1778 French declare war on British.

1780 American General Benedict Arnold, Commander of fort at West Point, New York, plots to surrender the fort to British General Sir Henry Clinton, for a British commission and money. The plot is discovered, and Arnold defects to the British, and later leads a military raid against Virginia and another against Connecticut.

10 19 1781 British Commander Lord Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia, to American Continental Army under Virginian George Washington.

02 29 1782 British House of Commons passes motion to end the fighting, bringing the American Revolutionary War to an end.

06 05 1783 Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier perform a 10-minute hot air balloon flight in Annonay, France.

07 14 1789 Unruly crown in Paris storms the Bastille Castle, starting the French Revolution. Issuance of the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

01 21 1793 French King Louis XIV and Queen Marie Antoinette are beheaded by guillotine.

1793 Napoleon Bonaparte distinguishes himself at seige of Toulon.

1795 French capture Amsterdam.

05 10 1796 Napoleon victorious at Lodi, Italy.

11 __ 1796 Napoleon victorious at Arcole.

01 __ 1797 Napoleon victorious at Rivoli.

02 __ 1797 Napoleon captures Mantua.

10 __ 1797 Napoleon enters into Treaty of Campo Formio.

07 __ 1798 Napoleon defeats Mamelukes at the Battle of the Pyramids, in Egypt.

08 01 1798 In the Battle of the Nile, British Admiral Horatio Nelson surprises the French navy at anchor in Aboukir Bay. The battle is joined as the sun set, and is fought by the light of burning ships. When the sun rises on August 2, Nelson later said, "Victory is not a name strong enough for such a scene."

1799 Napoleon takes control of France. French soldiers discover the Rosetta Stone. The Royal Military Academy is founded at Sandhurst, England.

06 14 1800 Napoleon crosses Alps via Grand St. Bernard Pass, then defeats Austrians at Marengo, Italy. USA begins Tripolitan War against the Barbary States along the north coast of Africa, which harbors pirates who prey upon ship traffic in the Mediterranean Sea.

1801 Concordat of peace between France and the Papacy. France and Austria enter into Treaty of Luneville.

1802 France and England enter into Treaty of Amiens, leaving France the predominant power on the European Continent; United States Military Academy established at West Point, New York.

04 30 1803 USA under President Thomas Jefferson makes the Louisiana Purchase from French leader Napoleon, for $ 15 million, essentially doubling the size of the USA.

05 __ 1803 Great Britain declares war on France.

1804 Karageorge leads rebellion which frees Beograde from Ottoman Turks.

12 02 1804 Napoleon crowns himself Emperor of the French.

1805 American inventor Robert Fulton developes the moored sea mine.

1805 After Napoleon annexes Genoa and declares himself King of Italy, Third Coalition is formed by Great Britain, Austria, Russia and Sweden.

10 21 1805 British navy under Horatio Nelson defeats French navy off of Cape Trafalgar, southwest coast of Spain. 20 French ships are captured, and British lose no ships, but Nelson is killed by a French sniper.

__ __ 1805 Napoleon defeats Austrian army at Ulm, and then occupies Vienna.

12 02 1805 Napoleon defeats Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz.

10 14 1806 Napoleon defeats Prussians at Jena, and Napoleon enters Berlin.

1806 Napoleon dissolves the Holy Roman Empire.

1808 Napoleon founds Saint Cyr l'Ecole French military academy.

1811 Albanian Mehemet Ali, who had risen to become governor of Egypt, destroys Mameluke military and takes control of Egypt. Ali Europeanizes his army, reforms the administration of Egypt, and builds the economy of Egypt.

06 18 1812 Start of War of 1812, between USA and Great Britain.

1812 Napoleon invades Russia with La Grande Armee, 500,000 strong.

09 14 1812 Napoleon enters Moscow. The next day, Moscow begins to burn.

10 19 1812 Napoleon begins his retreat from Russia.

09 10 1813 American ships under Oliver Perry defeat British ships in the Battle of Lake Erie. Perry reported to his commander General William H. Harrison: "We have met the enemy and he is ours."

03 __ 1813 American Andrew Jackson (later U.S. President) defeats Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend, and is promoted to Major General.

1814 British troops take Washington D.C. and burn the Capitol Building and the White House.

03 31 1814 Paris falls to Allied troops.

04 11 1814 Napoleon abdicates French throne.

12 24 1814 Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

01 08 1815 American Commander Andrew Jackson defeats British army under General Edward Packenham, at Battle of New Orleans. Jackson is assisted by French pirate Jean Lafitte, in exchange for pardons for Lafitte's men from U.S. President James Madison.

03 01 1815 Napoleon, having left Elbe, lands near Cannes, France, and begins northward March to Paris, for the start of "The Hundred Days."

03 __ 1815 At Laffrey, Napoleon confronts Royal troops who were sent to arrest him. Napoleon steps before the troops saying: "Soldiers of the 5th Ligne, I am your Emperor, don't you recognize me? If there is one among you who wishes to kill his General, here I am." The troops responded "Long live the Emperor!"

1815 Napoleon defeated at Waterloo. Treaty of Paris and Act of Holy Alliance concluded.

05 05 1821 Napoleon dies at Saint Helena Island.

1822 Egyptian ruler Mehemet Ali takes Sudan.

1823 Mehemet Ali takes Crete.

1827 Combined French and Russian but primarily British navies destroy Mehemet Ali's Egyptian and Turkish fleet at Navarino, curtailing expansion of Ali's Egyptian empire and advancing Greek independence from Turkey.

1829 Turkey signs Treaty of Adrianople, granting Serbian autonomy.

1830 Unsuccessful revolution in France.

1831 Karl von Clausewitz dies, without having finished his work On War, later published, which argues that war is an extension of diplomacy.

1833 Mehemet Ali takes Syria from Ottoman Empire.

1834 British Parliament terminates East India Company's exclusive right to trade between England and China.

1836 Battle of the Alamo (San Antonio) and Battle of San Jacinto (near Houston); insurgents capture Mexican dictator/general Santa Anna and win independence for Texas.

12 16 1838 Boer Army defeats Zulu warriors at Battle of Blood River.

1839 British unsuccessfully invade Afghanistan. Chinese government adopts drastic measures to ban the import of opium, among other things by confiscating and burning 20,000 chests of opium in Canton. The British retaliate with a punitive expedition, initiating the First Opium War (1839-42).

1840 Napoleon's remains are returned to France.

1842 End of the First Opium War, with China defeated. Treaty of Nankin, in which China: (i) cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British; (ii) abolishes] the licensed monopoly system of trade; (iii) opens 5 ports--Canton, Amoy, Doochow, Ningpo and Shanghai--to foreign trade; (iv) limits tariff on trade to 5% ad valorem; (v) grants British nationals extraterritoriality (exemption from Chinese laws); (vi) treats Great Britain as an equal in official correspondence; and (vii) pays a large indemnity.

1844 American inventor Samuel F.B. Morse demonstrates telegraph to US Congress, transmitting the message "What hath God wrought" from Washington to Philadelphia. United States and France obtain commercial and legal concessions from China on par with that of the British under the Treaty of Nanking.

1845 Start of the Great Irish potato famine, which spawned the Young Irelanders independence movement. [More]

1847 Marx and Engels publish The Communist Manifesto.

1848 February Revolution in France. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is elected President of France.

1850 Samuel F.B. Morse develops "Morse Code" for use with telegraph.

1851 By coup d'etat, Louis Napoleon becomes Emperor Napoleon III of France.

1852 Connecticut-born wife and mother of 6 children Harriet Beecher Stowe serializes her story, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which heightens sentiments against slavery in the United States.

10 _ 1853 Start of Crimean War (French, British & Turks against Russia).

1854 Siege of Sevastopol.

10 25 1854 Battle of Balaclava (Crimean War). American naval officer Matthew C. Perry forces Japan to open trade with the west.

1856 Start of Second Opium War (Arrow War).

02 __ 1857 U.S. Supreme Court decides, in Scott v. Sandford, that Congress could not ban slavery in federal territories, holding the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. The Court also holds that Missouri slave Dredd Scott did not become free by virtue of moving with his owner to a non-slave state.

05 10 1857 Sepoy Mutiny in India.

10 16 1859 Abolitionist John Brown forcibly takes U.S. Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Va., in a plan to create a mountain haven for run-away slaves. A group of marines, led by Col. Robert E. Lee, kills or captures Brown's men. Brown is hanged on Dec. 2, 1859.{More]

06 24 1859 French and Piedmontians fight Austrians at Solferino, with great losses to each side. Construction begins on Suez Canal [Qanat as Suways], connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez and thus the Red Sea.

1860 Abraham Lincoln, one of 4 contenders, elected President of U.S. by less than a majority of the popular vote. Most slave states resolve to secede from the Union.

1861 Bismark assumes power in Prussia.

04 12 1861 South Carolina shore battery fires cannon upon U.S. Fort Sumter in Charlotte Harbor, starting American Civil War.

1862 Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant publishes Un Souvenir de Solferino, regarding suffering of the wounded at the Battle of Solferino, leading to the Geneva Convention and the establishment of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

1863 Union army besieges and captures Confederate city of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

07 01 1863 Battle of Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), greatest battle of the American Civil War, and turning point leading to eventual demise of Confederacy.

1863 Founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

1864 Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field.

1865 Start of War of the Triple Alliance, with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay versus Paraguay.

04 09 1865 Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, at courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia, effectively ending the American Civil War.

1866 Start of Austro-Prussian War.

1866 Robert Whitehead demonstrates self-propelled underwater torpedo.

1866 First permanently successful telegraph cable laid across the Atlantic Ocean.

1867 Swedish chemist Alfred Bernhard Nobel developes dynamite, a stable explosive. In Japan, Shogun is forced to resign.

1868 Restoration of Meiji Emperor in Japan, leding to Japan's industrialization. Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarch established.

1869 Suez Canal opens.

1870 Start of Franco-Prussian War.

09 01 1870 Napoleon III captured by Prussians at Sedan.

03 17 1876 American soldiers attack camp of Oglala Sioux Indians under Crazy Horse, at Powder River. The Sioux are victorious.

06 17 1876 Chief Sitting Bull and 1,000 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors route U.S. General George Crook and 1,300 combatants at The Battle Where the Girl Saved Her Brother (Battle of the Rosebud), Montana, USA.

06 24 1876 7th U.S. Cavalry under Gen. George A. Custer killed to a man (212 dead) by Sioux Indians at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Montana, USA. Japan breaks Korean isolation by forcing a trade treaty upon Korea.

1878 Congress of Berlin. Austro-Hungarian troops occupy Bosnia-Hercegovina.

1879 At the Battle of Isandhlwana, 10,000 Zulu warriors with spears annhialate 1,800 British soldiers.

1879 Dual Alliance between Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1882 British occupy Egypt.

1883 Hiram Maxim patents the belt-fed machine gun.

06 05 1884 Former Union General William T. Sherman refuses the presidential nomination of the Republican Party, saying: "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected."

1885 British General Charles Gordon killed at siege of Khartoum, Sudan. The relief expedition arrived two days after the city fell.

06 18 1887 Germany and Russian enter into secret Reinsurance Treaty, guaranteeing Russian neutrality if France attacks Germany.

1888 Convention of Constantinople making Suez Canal neutral, and guaranteeing passage during war or peace.

1889 After years on the "war path," Apache chief Geronimo surrenders to Gen. Nelson Appleton Miles, and is imprisoned.

03 18 1890 Bismark resigns.

12 20 1890 Wounded Knee, South Dakota. American soldiers massacre 200 Sioux men, women and children. The last American Indian battle.

1890 Franco-Russian Alliance created.

1890 American Navy Captain Albert Thayer Mahan publishes The Influence of Sea Power Upon History.

1894 Japan attacks China.

07 25 1894 Japanese Admiral Heihachiro Togo, from the cruiser Naniwa, start the Chinese-Japanese War.

1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki ending the Sino-Japanese War, with China ceding Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan.

03 01 1896 Ethiopians defeat Italians at Aduwa.

1897 World Zionist Organization founded in Basel, Switzerland. Start of Greco-Turkish War.

1898 Start of Spanish-American War.

1899 Outbreak of the Philippine-American War. Start of Boer War in South Africa.

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Last updated October 28, 1997.