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Timeline of the British Middle Ages


Early Britain     Saxons, Danes, and Normans     Plantagenet Kings     Tudor England     Stuart England     Scotland     European Middle Ages    

Early Britain (56 b.c to 784 a.d)

Invasion of Julius Caesar, to the first Viking Raids on Saxon England

Date Event
54 BC Julius Caesar invades Britain and demands tribute.
51 AD Emperor Claudius reconquers Britain.
61 Romans put down Boadicea's Rebellion.
77-84 Agricola Romanizes Britain; builds schools, roads, aqueducts.
122 Hadrian's wall built to protect Roman Britain from the Picts of Scotland.
304 Death of Saint Alban, the first Christian martyr in Britain.
402 Roman legions leave Britain.
433 Saint Patrick converts the Irish Celts to Christianity.
460 Hengist and Horsa, German princes from Juteland, arrive in Britain.
540 Saint Mungo helps convert the Celtic Scots to Christianity.
542 Death of King Arthur.
596 Saint Augustine of Kent sent from Rome to convert Saxon kingdoms of Britain.
660 Celtic Christian and Roman Christian churches are united.
700 Venerable Bede publishes An Ecclesiastic History of the English People.
757-796 Reign of King Offa in Mercia, greatest of the Saxon kingdoms.


Saxons, Danes, and Normans (802 to 1154 a.d.)

Egbert the Saxon becomes first King of Wessex to Death of the Last Norman King

Date Event
787 First Viking attack on Britain.
793 Sack of the monastery at Lindisfarne.
802 Egbert the Saxon reigns over united Anglo and Saxon kingdoms.
871-899 Reign of Alfred the Great—Saxons defeat Danes at the Battle of Edington.
937 Battle of Brunanburh—Wessex Saxons defeat Celts and Danes.
991 Battle of Maldon—Saxons are defeated by Vikings and made to pay tribute.
1002 Aethelred the Unready orders the death of all Danish citizens.
1016-1042 Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard assumes the throne of England.
1042 Edward the Confessor recalled to the throne, Saxon rule restored.
1065 Consecration of Westminster Chapel.
1066 Battle of Stanford Bridge—Harold Godwinson defeats Viking invaders.
1066 Battle of Hastings—Harold is killed and the Normans conquer England.
1086 Completion of Domesday Book.
1087 Death of William the Conqueror.
1095 First Crusade.
1100-1135 Reign of Henry I, youngest son of William the Conqueror.
1135-1154 Anarchy and civil war between followers of Stephen and Matilda, daughter of Henry I.
1154 Death of Stephen; crown passes to Henry II, son of Matilda.


Plantagenet Kings (1154 to 1485 a.d.)

Henry Plantagenet claims throne of England to War of the Roses

Date Event
1170 Murder of St. Thomas a Becket.
1172 Henry II conquers Ireland.
1190 Richard Coeur de Lion goes on Third Crusade.
1215 John Lackland signs Magna Carta.
1265 First Parliament meeting arranged by Simon de Montfort.
1284 Edward I conquers Wales.
1291 Edward I conquers Scotland.
1314 Battle of Bannockburn—Scots under Robert Bruce regain their independence.
1348-1349 Black Plague.
1337-1453 Hundred Year War—England vs. France.
1346 —Edward III prevails at the Battle of Crecy.
1356 —Edward the Black Prince prevails at the Battle of Poitiers.
1415 —Henry V prevails at the Battle of Agincourt.
1428 —Joan of Arc prevails at the Siege of Orleans.
1362 English becomes official legal language, displacing French.
1381 Wat Tyler Rebellion.
1399 Richard II deposed by Henry IV (Bolingbroke).
1400 Death of Geoffrey Chaucer, author of the Canterbury Tales.
1403 Henry IV puts down a rebellion at the Battle of Shrewsbury.
1455-1485 War of the Roses—Yorkists vs. Lancastrians.
1461 —Yorkists prevail at Battle of Towton; Lancastrians exiled.
1469 —Lancastrians regain throne due to machinations of Earl of Warwick.
1471 —Yorkists prevail again at Battle of Barnet.
1476 William Caxton bring a printing press to England. Publishes first book.
1483 —Richard III murders princes, usurps throne at death of Edward IV.
1485 —Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at Battle of Bosworth Field.


Tudor England (1485 to 1603 a.d.)

Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at Bosworth Field to Death of Queen Elizabeth

Date Event
1486 Henry VII Tudor marries Elizabeth of York, unites Lancastrian and Yorks.
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers America.
1497 John Cabot sails to North America under an English flag.
1515 Cardinal Wolsey appointed Lord Chancellor.
1517 Martin Luther incites widespread rebellion against the Church of Rome.
1520 Field of the Cloth of Gold: France and England at peace
1534 Act of Supremacy—Henry VIII breaks England's ties with the Rome.
1535 St. Thomas More executed for failing to acknowledge Henry VIII's divorce.
1536 Execution of Anne Boleyn.
1539 Dissolution of the monasteries enriches the Protestant gentry.
1553-1558 Reign of Mary I; failed attempt to return England to the Catholic faith.
1553 Lady Jane Grey executed for plotting to usurp the throne.
1558-1603 Reign of Elizabeth I.
1591 Edmund Spenser publishes the Faerie Queen.
1577-1580 Sir Francis Drake circumnavigates the globe.
1584 Founding of the "Lost Colony" at Roanoke, the first British colony in America.
1584 Poet Sir Sidney Philip dies fighting for the Netherlands
1587 Execution of Mary I of Scotland, Elizabeth's rival for the throne.
1588 England defeats the Spanish Armada, dealing a blow to Spanish naval supremacy.
1601 Elizabeth's favorite, Earl of Essex, executed for treason.
1594-1603 Tyrone rebellion in Ireland delivers Ulster to English rule.


Stuart England (1603 to 1714 a.d.)

James Stuart ascends to throne of England to Death of Queen Anne

Date Event
1603 James I assumes throne on death of Elizabeth
1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament discovered.
1607 Founding of Jamestown colony in Virginia.
1607 Voyages of Henry Hudson to the New World.
1611 King James version of the Bible first published in England.
1616 Death of William Shakespeare.
1620 Voyage of the Mayflower; Puritans settle in New England.
1641-1649 English Civil Wars.
1642 Battle of Edgehill; opening battle in Civil War.
1645 Battle of Naseby; Charles I is taken prisoner.
1649 —Execution of Charles I; Oliver Cromwell invades Ireland.
1649-1658 Commonwealth, led by Cromwell.
1653 First Anglo-Dutch War—great naval battle between English and Dutch under Robert Blake.
1659 Restoration of Charles II.
1665 Great Plague of London.
1667 Great Fire of London.
1688 Glorious Revolution: James II deposed by parliament; William III and Mary installed.
1689 Williamite War in Ireland—James II exiled to France after the Battle of Boyne.
1702-1714 Reign of Queen Anne, last Stuart monarch.
1701-1714 War of the Spanish Succession checks the growing influence of France.
1704 —British victory at the Battle of Blenheim under Duke of Marlborough.
1704 —British gain possession of the gateway to the Mediterranean at the Siege of Gibraltar.
1707 England and Scotland join to become Great Britain.


Scotland (483 to 1707 a.d.)

Union of Picts and Scots under Kenneth Macalpine to the Act of Union

Date Event
540 Saint Mungo arrives from Ireland as a missionary to Scotland.
563 Saint Columba founds the Monastery of Iona.
563 Saint Aidan founds the Monastery of Lindisfarne.
843 Picts and Scots unite under Kenneth Macalpine.
1040 Duncan, the king of Scots, is killed by the usurper, Macbeth.
1058-1096 Reign of Malcolm Canmore and his wife Saint Margaret of Scotland.
1286 Death of Alexander III of Scotland leaves the Scottish throne vacant, chaos ensues.
1297 William Wallace leads the Scots in revolt against Edward I.
1306 Robert I of Scotland is crowned king of Scotland, in defiance of Edward I.
1314 Scottish victory at the Battle of Bannockburn guarantees Scotland's independence from England.
1371 Robert II of Scotland ascends the throne as the first Stuart king of Scotland.
1424 Henry VI releases James I of Scotland from prison.
1460 Fall of the Black Douglases.
1513 James IV of Scotland dies at the Battle of Flodden Field, a disastrous loss for Scotland.
1560 The Scottish Parliament, led by John Knox, establishes a national church.
1567 Mary I, Queen of Scots, exiled from Scotland and imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth.
1603 James I (a.k.a. James VI of Scotland), assumes throne of England on death of Elizabeth.
1641 Scotland declares against Charles I in the English Civil Wars.
1649 After execution of Charles I, Scotland declares against Cromwell in the English Civil Wars.
1692 Massacre of Glencoe results from Scots' Jacobite resistance to William III .
1707 Act of Union unites England and Scotland into Great Britain.
1715 First Jacobite uprising in Scotland in support of the Old Pretender.
1745 Second Jacobite uprising in Scotland in support of Bonnie Prince Charles.


European Middle Ages

(500 to 1650 a.d.)

Clovis, King of the Franks, converts to Christianity, to the Thirty Years War

Date Event
  Christian Conversion
500 Conversion of Clovis to Catholic Christianity.
520 Saint Benedict founds Western Monasticism.
785 Baptism of Wittekind, chief of the Saxons.
865 Cyril and Methodius convert Slavs to Christianity.
1000 Olaf I converts Vikings to Christianity.
1000 Steven of Hungary converts Hungarians to Christianity.
  The Viking Menace
885 Vikings besiege Paris.
911 Rollo the Viking becomes the first Duke of Normandy.
  The Moslem Threat and the Crusades
732 Charles Martel stops the Mohammedan invasion at the Battle of Tours.
1096 Peter the Hermit organizes the First Crusade.
1270 Saint Louis of France dies on his final Crusade in Tunis.
1453 Mohammed II conquers Constantinople, expands Turkish empire in Balkans.
1492 Siege of Granada, last stronghold of the Moors is conquered.
1517 Don John of Austria defeats Turkish Army at the Battle of Lepanto.
1683 Second Siege of Vienna relieved by Polish king Sobieski.
  Church-State Conflicts
800 Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome.
1076 Gregory VII seeks to reform lay bishoprics; excommunicates Henry IV.
1303-1378 "Avignon Papacy" is captive of the French Crown.
1378-1417 Western Schism. Multiple claimants for the office of pope.
  New World Exploration
1492 Columbus discovers America.
1498 Vasco da Gama opens up a trade route to Asia.
1520 Ferdinand Magellan dies while circumnavigating the globe.
  The Reformation
1450 Gutenberg publishes the first Bible.
1517 Martin Luther initiates Protestant Reformation in Germany.
1572 St. Bartholomew Day's Massacre of Huguenots in France.
1568 Revolt of the Netherlands led by William the Silent
1598 Henry IV of France issues edict of Nantes, granting rights to Protestants.
1620-1650 The Thirty Year's War reduces the power of the Catholic Hapsburgs.

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