Detailed Timeline of European History

 Detailed Timeline of
European History

Middle Ages (967-1050)

<< Crusades (1050-1240) >>
Europe’s Darkest Days (1240-1350)

Christian Crusades (1050 –

Increased Sense of Nationhood &
Loyalty to Church Throughout Europe

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Europe 1240 AD

Kumans, aka Kipchaks
A Turkic tribe from central
Asia, expand west into Europe, establishing a massive empire that covers
large parts of both Europe and Asia.

Kievan Rus Civil War & Fragmentation
(1050 – 1150):
After about 100 years of
civil war, the Kievan Rus nation breaks up into multiple principalities,
as princes resist central authority, and seek to extend influence over
neighbors. Primary descendant states are Novgorod Republic, Vladimir-Suzdal
and Halych-Volynia. Other Rus people remain loosely organized in smaller
political entities in surrounding areas, with some falling to foreign
rule (such as those in modern Belarus coming under Lithuanian control).

(Timeline Continued Below)

Kievan Rus successor statesNote: Rus Divisions.

Kievan Rus had always been fairly decentralized, due to the vast area it
covered, and the inability of one region to assert dominance over the
others. So it developed into regional centers, with loyalty lying with
the region rather than the state, leading to civil wars. The civil wars
led to the fragmentation of Kievan Rus into multiple, smaller kingdoms,
which was a more natural configuration at the time. Even those that were
conquered by foreign powers would retain their Rus identity, making
future consolidation into the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union more

Kievan Rus Successor States Formed
After Civil War:

Novgorod Republic: Will ultimately be absorbed by the Grand Duchy
of Moscow to form the basis of the Russian nation.
Vladimir-Suzdal Principality: Later becomes the Grand Duchy of
Moscow, the basis of the Russian nation.
Belarusians: Rus people of modern Belarus are overrun & submitted
to Lithuanian (Balt) rule.
Kingdom of Halych-Volynia: Predecessor to Ukraine.

Great Schism or East-West Schism
Since the partition of the
Roman Empire, there had long been animosity between Rome and
Constantinople Churches, as several doctrinal and political disputes had
risen between the two sides. It came to a head in 1054, when Rome
demanded Constantinople recognize Roman authority, which was refused.
Both excommunicated the other. Resulted in two separate churches, the
Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. – The World’s Largest Maps Store!

Norman and Anjou conquest of EnglandNorman Conquest of England
Normans from Normandy (Norse
who settled region in north France) invade & conquer England. They
become ruling class of England.

Byzantine Empire Loses Southern Italy
to Normans (1071):
The Normans drive
the Byzantines out of their long-held Southern Italy possessions

Byzantine Territory Lost to Turks
(By 1071):
Turk tribes take most of
Asia Minor from Byzantines.

Investiture Controversy – Weakening
Effect on the Holy Roman Empire (1074):

Involving the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church,
concerning the issue of secular influence (emperor, dukes, princes,
nobles) in appointing ecclesiastic authorities (bishops, priests,
clergy). In 1074, the Church prohibits this practice, resulting in civil
wars and the weakening of the emperor’s power, as certain dukes/nobles
would side with the pope, while the emperor attempted to maintain his
ecclesiastic-appointing privilege by force. The pope would prove
victorious, strengthening the power of the Church. On the other hand, it
would serve to further decentralize rule in the German states of the
Holy Roman Empire. This marks a reversal in fortune as the Germans would
begin to fall behind more cohesive powers to the west, after they had
risen to prominence in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Byzantine Loses of Serbia
Serbs break away from Byzantine
Rule, becoming a sovereign kingdom. Also capture Bosnia, which is later
taken by Hungary.

Note: Independent Serbian Kingdom.

With break-up of Bulgarian Empire, Serbia is able to become a sovereign
kingdom again, battling Byzantine for control of surrounding South Slav
lands. Serbia does succeed in expanding modestly to the west and the

Temporary Muslim Recovery in Hispania
Muslim Almoravid Dynasty, a
Moorish NW African nation, annexes all of Muslim Hispania. Achieves some
victories against Christians.

Independent Portugal
County of Portugal claims
independence from the Kingdom of Leon, beginning of the nation of

Crusader StatesPalestine Crusade
Organized with the objective of restoring Jerusalem
(Holy Land) to Christian rule. The pope promised a remission of sins for
those who participated. European Crusaders laid waste to Jerusalem upon
entering, placing the city under Christian rule. Crusaders also
conquered and established other Palestinian territories. In Europe,
Jewish communities were destroyed, as part of the fervent support for
crusades. Over the following two centuries, Christians and Muslims would
battle for control of the Middle East, with the Muslims evicting the
European Crusaders from the region for good by 1291.

HungaryCroatia & Bosnia Gained by Hungary From
Serbia (1102):
Kingdom of Hungary
annexed Croatia, which also included Pannonia. It also gained
Bosnia/Herzegovina. Bosnia was lost to Byzantine in 1166, but regained
by Hungary in 1189.

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Note: Serbs and Croats.

The Serbs and Croats continue to evolve as distinct nations,
sub-dividing the homogenous “South Slav” group that first migrated into
the Balkans during 7th century. The dividing point was imposed by
external influences, marked at the boundary where Holy Roman Empire
influence met Byzantine and Bulgarian influence. That part which fell
under the control of the Holy Roman Empire became Croatia, separating it
from that part which fell under Bulgarian and Byzantine control, which
became Serbia. Due to their separation from centuries under forieign
rule, they developed separate variants of the previously common South
Slav language and culture, developing distinct Croatian and Serbian
identities. Those Slavs caught in the middle ground (not decisively part
of Croats or Serbs) would begin to establish their own identity,
language and culture during this period, serving as the basis for

Note: Hungary Military Superiority.

The Kingdom of Hungary possessed superior military capability compared
to that of the surrounding Slav peoples. Military knowledge was learned
from the years spent as clients to the Turkic kingdoms to the east,
before the Magyars (Hungarians) migrated westward into modern Hungary.
This enabled them to expand significantly to the north and south at the
expense of the surrounding Slavic tribes, who were ill-prepared to

Holy Roman Empire expansionBurgundy Annexed by Holy Roman Empire
The historically French County
of Burgundy is annexed by the Holy Roman Empire.

 Further Understanding:

 Effects of the Crusades

1. Senseless Violence & Wars: The Crusader mentality was that
Christianity must displace Islam/Judaism at all costs, even if through
violence. Persecutions of Jews escalated throughout Europe. On the
Crusaders’ march around the Mediterranean, the death toll was high for
Christians and Muslims. When Jerusalem was captured, Muslim and Jewish
residents in the city were slaughtered, including women. All of this for
a short-lived Christian kingdom in the Middle East which proved to be
2. Undermining Church Moral Authority: Such escapades as the
slaughter of Jews and Muslims were later used as an indictment against
the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) during the Protestant Reformation
beginning in the 16th century, convincing many that the RCC was not the
moral authority it had claimed to be throughout the Dark Ages.
3. Distrust of Christians: As Christians violently persecuted
Jews and destroyed Muslims in their path to the Middle East, they would
develop a reputation as a ruthless and exploitive group among these
4. Opened Way for Future Muslim Conquests of Europe: As animosity
grew between Roman Catholics and Byzantine (Eastern Orthodox), the
Crusaders were compelled (with papal authority) to conquer the Byzantine
capital of Constantinople. Byzantine would later recover its captial,
but would be irreversibly damaged, ripening it for destruction when the
Ottoman Turks began advancing into Europe. Once the Byzantine was
conquered by the Ottoman armies, much of the remainder of Eastern Europe
fell like a house of cards to the Ottoman Empire.
5. Asian Influence: The crusades did increase Europe’s knowledge
of the Asian world, which was more advanced than Europe in most aspects.
This helped to bring a more cosmopolitan influence to Europe, which may
have played a small part in the eventual Renaissance.
6. Increased Anti-Semitism: Devotion and loyalty to the Church
was on the rise as membership spread throughout all of Europe. As a
result, religious tolerance was at a low, leaving the significant Jewish
populations in Europe as an obvious target. Throughout Europe, entire
Jewish communities were destroyed (with inhabitants killed) in some
cases, along with common occurrences of violence (even slaughter)
against the Jews.


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Norwegian Civil War
Norwegian civil war begins, as
claimants to the throne compete for the crown.

Northern Europe crusadesGerman Conquests of Balts and Slavs as
Part of Christian Crusades (1147):
pope approves a crusade into the Balt & Slav lands to the east of the
Holy Roman Empire. German duchies such as Saxony take it upon themselves
to conquer these lands, subduing local populations, forcing them to
convert to Christianity, and to recognize the authority of the pope.
Initially, these territories are established as “marches” (buffer
territories), as opposed to direct rule under the Holy Roman Empire.

Note: Independent Baltic Tribes.

Baltic people not conquered by Christians consolidate in modern Latvia &
Lithuania, where they successfully defend against further conquests.
Balt territory is drastically reduced by Christian Crusades.

Angevin (Anjou – French County)
Conquest of England (1154):
Count of Anjou (province in France) succeeds in bid for throne of
England (as Henry II), beginning the Angevin era in England. Also adds
Aquitaine (another province in France) through marriage. Now, two
significant French regions (Anjou & Aquitaine) belong to the English
crown. Norman rule in England comes to an end.

Note: Origin of Enduring
English/French Rivalry.

As French ruling families ascend to the throne of England, they put
France in the awkward position of having a rival king maintain
possessions in what is traditionally French territory. This will soon
lead to conflict and war. Close proximity of these competing powers will
perpetuate tensions and conflict until the 20th century, when Germany
gives them a reason to form an alliance.

Duchy of Austria Established
Austria, which had been a
“march” (buffer territory) on the eastern edge of the Holy Roman Empire,
now becomes a duchy. Marks the beginning stages of the modern nation of
Austria, which would eventually rise to dominate the Holy Roman Empire
and German peoples.

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Northern Italy De-Facto Independence
Northern Italy cities form the
Lombard League, a coalition of city states to avoid Holy Roman Empire (HRE)
rule. The HRE began to lose grip starting with Investiture Controversy
(1074), which soured Italians toward the emperor. The HRE would
reconquer the region in 1237, but rule would remain tumultuous, as the
city states in Northern Italy would continue to operate somewhat

Muslims Rapidly Retreat in Hispania
The Almohad Dynasty overthrows
the Almoravids, taking over Iberian territories. Would suffer string of
defeats against the Christian kingdoms to the north, losing vast amounts
of territories, until they were relegated to the southern corner of

Bulgarians Regain Independence
Bulgarians revolt against
weakening Byzantine Empire, beginning the 2nd Bulgarian Empire.

Crusaders Establish Kingdom of Cyprus
Under French oversight.

Norman Ireland
Normans invade of Ireland after losing control of
England. They gain the advantage in the continued battle of control with
the Irish kingdoms.

Southern Italy Conquered by Holy Roman
Empire (1189):
End of Norman rule of
Southern Italy (Kingdom of Sicily). The Holy Roman Emperor had a
dynastic claim through marriage, enabling the invasion & conquest of
Southern Italy by the Holy Roman Empire.

Territory Gained by Papal States
When the Holy Roman Empire
conquers Southern Italy, they give additional territory to the Papal

France Takes County of Anjou from
England (1202):
France takes County of
Anjou from England, since it belonged to the Angevin King of England,
who had stopped paying tribute to France on behalf of this French

Note: Increased Sense of “France”
becomes disturbed by English rule of territories in traditional
“Francia” lands. This serves as motivation for French people to become
more cohesive and unified against foreign rule. However, many duchies
and counties are still independent, owing allegiance to the crown in
symbolism only.

Byzantine Loses Crete to Venetians
Venetians conquer Crete from
crumbling Byzantine Empire.

Crusaders Conquer Byzantine
Crusaders conquer Byzantine
capital of Constantinople, and the surrounding areas, establishing the
Latin Empire. Crusaders were frustrated with Byzantine’s efforts to
assert control over Palestinian Crusades. Byzantine aristocrats managed
to maintain rule over other regions of the empire.

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Byzantine Empire losses

Note: The Beginning of the End for Byzantine
The East/West Schism of 1054 would compel western European crusaders
(under Roman papal authority) to sack Constantinople in 1204 after
further tensions arose between the East and West Churches during the
Crusades. This resulted in the short-lived Latin Empire. Although
Byzantine would be restored in 1261, it would be irreparably harmed,
making it ripe for conquest by the advancing Ottoman Turk threat from
the east in the 14th and 15th centuries. With the final collapse of
Byzantine in 1453, the road was paved for the Muslim Ottoman Empire to
expand deep into Eastern Europe, ruling large parts of Europe for

Magna Carta in England
First seed of democracy
planted. It is the first step toward democracy since the end of Rome.
Nobles in England reach breaking point with failures of the King
(especially losses of economically important territories in France),
along with what they perceived to be a major abuse of monarch powers. So
they marched into London, subduing King John, forcing him to agree to
the document ensuring certain rights.

Denmark Conquests of Finnic Territory
As part of Northern Crusades,
Denmark conquers northern portion of modern Estonia (Finnic territory).
The Livonian Order conquers southern portion.

Official Independence of Portugal
The Iberian Kingdom of Castile
absorbs the neighboring Kingdom of Leon, serving as an opportunity for
the County of Portugal to officially assert its independence, as neither
Leon nor Castile were in any position to forcibly prevent this. Portugal
also received official recognition as an independent kingdom from the

Livonian Order Conquests of Balt
Territories (1237):
The Livonian Order,
an autonomous branch of Teutonic Knights (German knightly order),
conquers Livonia and surrounding areas (modern Latvia) from Baltic
peoples. Part of ongoing crusading efforts against pagans of northern

Muslims Driven Into Small Corner in
Hispania (1238):
The Almohads abandoned
Hispania, being succeeded by the Kingdom of Granada. The Muslims were
now subordinate to the Christians, preserving its existence by remaining
highly cooperative and willingly paying tribute.

Note: Predecessor to Spain.

As the Kingdom of Castile begins to rise to dominance in Hispania, it
begins to absorb other kingdoms, such as Leon. Castile will eventually
absorb all of Hispania (except Portugal), forming the Kingdom of Spain,
marking the birth of the modern nation of Spain. The Castilian language
will also rise to dominance, serving as the predecessor to the modern
Spanish language.

End of Norwegian Civil War
End of Norwegian civil war as
single king finally recognized by warring factions.

Note: England’s Geopolitical
Chaos on
the continent spares no one, as all are vulnerable to new geopolitical
circumstances. By now, England is a kingdom w/sufficient defense against
conventional military invasion. Christianization and civil war remove
the Norse (Viking) threat, further enabling England to consolidate
power. In France, England shows it can impose its will on continental

Note: Increasing Sense of Nationhood
within the British Isles
Strong rule from the Normans then Angevins from France further
galvanizes England. Welsh (Wales), Scottish and Irish resistance against
England rule cements the permanent divisions that will forever help
define geopolitics in the British Isles, although each will eventually
succumb to English rule.

Europe’s Darkest Days (1240 – 1350)

High Middle Ages (967 – 1050)

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