A Highly Abbreviated History of Europe: 1000 to 2000


  • 1054 -- schism between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox branches of the church
  • 1066 -- the battle of Hastings: William of Normandy conquers England
  • 1085 -- the conquest of Toledo (El Cid)
  • 1096-1099 -- the first Crusade

  • 1130 -- Roger II of Sicily (a Norman) consolidates southern Italy
  • 1147-1149 -- the second Crusade
  • 1169 -- England invades Ireland
  • 1189-1192 -- the third Crusade

  • 1202-1204 -- the fourth Crusade; the Eastern Roman Empire collapses
  • 1209-1229 -- Albigensian religious wars in southern France
  • 1215 -- King John signs the Magna Carta
  • 1228-1229 -- the fifth Crusade
  • 1231 -- the Inquisition begins
  • 1245 -- the Mongols dominate Russia (until 1480!)
  • 1248-1254 -- the sixth Crusade
  • 1270 -- the seventh Crusade
  • 1290 -- the Jews expelled from England

  • 1306 -- the Jews expelled from France
  • 1327 -- the 100 Years War between England and France begins
  • 1347-1354 -- the Black Death (1/4 to 1/3 of population dead in areas affected)
  • 1378-1417 -- the Great Schism: popes in Rome and Avignon
  • 1389 -- the Battle of Kosovo: Serbs defeated by Turks

  • 1419 -- Hussite religious uprisings in Bohemia presage the reformation
  • 1429 -- the Siege of Orléans (led by Jeanne díArc) turns the tide for France
  • 1453 -- the 100 Years War ends;  France becomes a nation at last
  • 1453 -- Constantinople falls to the Turks
  • 1455-1485 -- the Wars of the Roses in England; Lancaster eventually wins over York
  • 1479 -- the union of Castile and Aragon (Ferdinand and Isabela)
  • 1481 -- the renewal of the Inquisition in Spain (Torquemada)
  • 1492 -- the conquest of Granada
  • 1492 -- Columbus establishes first Spanish foothold in the Americas

  • 1517 -- Luther posts his 95 Theses against the Church
  • 1525 -- the Great Peasant War:  first Protestant rebellion in Germany
  • 1533 -- Ivan the Terrible consolidates Russia
  • 1534 -- establishment of Anglican Church (Henry VIII)
  • 1562-1598 -- the Huguenot religious wars in France
  • 1572 -- the Massacre of St. Bartholomew (20,000 Huguenots killed)
  • 1568-1648 -- the Dutch War of Independence from Spain
  • 1588 -- the destruction of Spainís Great Armada
  • 1598 -- the Edict of Nantes ends the Huguenot wars: tolerance in France

  • 1618-1648 -- the 30 Years War: Protestant and Catholic states vie for control of Germany
  • 1648 -- the Peace of the Hague ends Dutch War of Independence
  • 1648 -- the Peace of Westphalia ends 30 Years War (1/3 of German population dead)
  • 1642-1648 -- the English Civil War
  • 1649 -- English confiscation of all Irish landed property
  • 1649-1660 -- the English Commonwealth
  • 1683 -- the Siege of Vienna:  beginning of the end of the Ottoman threat to Europe
  • 1685 -- the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes: 1/2 million Huguenots flee France
  • 1688 -- the bloodless "Glorious Revolution" in England establishes a constitutional monarchy
  • 1689 -- the Declaration of Rights

  • 1701-1713 -- War of the Spanish Succession: France against all for power over Spain (the first "world" war)
  • 1707 -- the union of Scotland and England into the United Kingdom
  • 1713 -- the Peace of Utrecht:  "the Grand Alliance" picks apart Spanish holdings in Europe
  • 1756-1763 -- the Seven Years War: Great Britain and Prussia against France, Austria, and Russia (includes the French and Indian War in North America)
  • 1763 -- the Peace of Hubertusburg: Prussia comes into its own
  • 1772-1795 -- the partition of Poland (between Prussia, Russia, and Austria)
  • 1776 -- British colonials declare independence:  the American Revolution
  • 1789-1792 -- the French Revolution
  • 1793-1794 -- the Reign of Terror in France;  the guillotine gets heavy use
  • 1799-1815 -- the Napoleonic Wars: France against all

  • 1804 -- Napoleon crowns himself Emperor
  • 1815 -- Napolean defeated at the Battle of Waterloo; the Peace of Paris ends the Napoleonic Wars; the Congress of Vienna firms up the European Monarchies
  • 1834 -- the German Customs Union: major step to German unification
  • 1861 -- Victor Emmanuel II becomes King of a united Italy
  • 1861 -- the abolition of serfdom in Russia for 40 million serfs (compare: 4 million slaves emancipated in US during the American Civil War)
  • 1870 -- the Dogma of Papal Infallibility announced
  • 1870-1871 -- the Franco-Prussian War
  • 1871 -- Foundation of the German Reich (with Prussia in the driver's seat)

  • 1914 -- World War I begins:  Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia after the assasination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo;  Russia backs Serbia;  Germany honors alliance with Austria-Hungary and declares war on France when it refuses neutrality and honors its alliance with Russia;  Germany invades Belgium and Great Britain steps in
  • 1917 -- the Russian Revolution
  • 1917 -- the US enters the war
  • 1918 -- Armistice is declared
  • 1919 -- the Treaty of Versailles: breakup of Austrian-Hungarian Empire and severe punishment of Germany
  • 1922 -- fascist Mussolini granted unrestricted power in Italy
  • 1922 -- Irish Free State established
  • 1929 -- Stalin establishes totalitarian rule in Soviet Union
  • 1929 -- collapse of the New York Stock Market -- depression follows next year in Europe
  • 1933 -- Hitler sworn in as Chancellor:  basic civil rights suspended "to protect the German people"
  • 1936-1939 -- the Spanish Civil War:  fascist Franco wins
  • 1938 -- Austrians choose to become a part of Germany
  • 1939 -- World War II begins:  Germany takes over Czechoslovakia and proceeds to invade Poland; Britain and France declare war on Germany; Russia takes eastern Poland and invades Finland
  • 1940 -- Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium; by June, Paris has fallen; Italy joins Germany
  • 1941 -- Germany invades Russia without warning;  Japan atacks Pearl Harbor; US and Russia enter war against Germany, Italy, Japan, and their allies
  • 1942 -- systematic extermination of Jews and other "undesirables" begins
  • 1943 -- Italy falls to the allies
  • 1944 -- Operation Overlord, the invasion at Normandy, begins
  • 1945 -- Germany surrenders; Hitler commits suicide; US drops atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima; Japan surrenders;  World War II cost over 55 million lives
  • 1945 -- the UN is established; the "Cold War" between the US and its alllies and the USSR and its satellites, begins
  • 1946 -- India becomes independent; French, British, and other empires begin to disintegrate
  • 1948 -- the state of Israel declared, despite strong Arab opposition
  • 1956 -- the Hungarian revolution squashed by Russian troops
  • 1957 -- the European Economic Union ("the Common Market") established
  • 1961 -- the Berlin wall erected
  • 1962 -- the Cuban missile crisis:  we come very, very close to World War III -- and a nuclear one at that!
  • 1989 -- the Berlin wall comes down;  Germany is reunited
  • 1991 -- Mikhail Gorbachev order the dismantling of the Soviet Union;  the Cold War ends