|Norman Conquest of England
|| France (William the Conqueror) - England (Harold II)
Battle of Hastings (14 Oct 1066). Most decisive battle on
English soil which led to the successful conquest by the Normans.
Harold II died in battle.
Began rule of a dynasty of Norman Kings and almost complete
replacement of English nobility by Normans, Bretons and Flemings.
||1095 - 1272
|| Christians - Turks
Holy Wars authorized by the Pope, fought against infidels
in the East, heretics who threatened Catholic unity, and
against Christian lay powers who opposed the Papacy.
|Conquests of Genghis Khan
||1190 - 1227
|| Mongols - N China, Kara - Chitai Empire
Subjugation of hostile tribes - Naimans, Tanguts, and
|War of the Sicilian Vespers
||1282 - 1302
|| Sicily - France
Massacre of the French in Sicily maked the beginning of
revolt of Sicilians against Charles of Anjou.
War of Sicilian Vespers ensued. Angevins supported by
papacy, Italian Guelphs and Philip II of France, while
Aragonese helped by Italian Ghilbellines. James II ascended
to throne, made peace with papacy, France, and Angevins (to
whom he renounced Sicily) by Treaty of Anagni.
|Hundred Years' War
||1337 - 1453
|| England - France
Edward III claimed French throne in 1340 and styled
himself 'King of England and France'. Traditional rivalries
exploded into a dynastic struggle. 1415 Battle of Agincourt -
Henry V led overwhelming victory over French. 1417 English then
began systematic conquest of Normandy, a task beyond their
resources. Evicted from Guyenne (1453) which reduced England's
French territories to Calais (lost in 1558) and the Channel
Islands. However, the title of King of France was not
relinquished until 1801.
|Fall of Constantinople
|| Turks - Byzantine Empire
Collapse of the Byzantine Empire. Since 1261, when
Constantinople has been retaken from Latin rule by Michael VII
Paleologus, the Byzantine Empire had been threatened by
growing power of Ottoman Turks in Asia Minor. 1422 Ottoman Sultan
of Turkey Murad II laid siege to the city. This failed but
attempt thirty years later by Mehmed II succeeded. Constantinople
fell 1453. Last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI Paleologus
died in battle.
|Wars of the Roses
||1455 - 1485
|| Civil wars in England.
Between two rival factions of the House of Plantagenet -
York (white rose) and Lancaster (red rose). Began when Richard,
Duke of York, claimed protectorship of crown after King Henry
VI's mental breakdown and ended with Henry Tudor's defeat of
Richard III in Battle of Bosworth. Wars escalated by gentry
and by aristocratic feuds.
|French Wars of Religion
||1562 - 1598
|| Catholics - Huguenots.
Caused by growth of Calvinism, noble factionalism, and
weak royal government. From 1550's Calvinist or Huguenot numbers
increased, fostered by missionary activities of Geneva. Noble
factions of Bourbons, Guise, and Montmorency were split by
religion as well as by family interests. Civil wars were
encouraged by Philip II's support of Catholic Guise faction and
by Elizabeth I's aid to Huguenots. They ended when Henry of
Navarre returned to Catholicism and crushed the Guise Catholic
|Thirty Year's War
||1618 - 1648
|| France - Habsburg rulers.
Power struggles between Kings of France and Habsburg
rulers of Holy Roman Empire and Spain. War fuelled by conflict
between Calvinism and Catholicism, and also by the underlying
constitutional conflict between Holy Roman Emperor and the
German Princes. With Frederick V's defeat (1620) and intervention
by other powers (such as Sweden, Denmark, and France) the
conflict intensified and spread. Spain collapsed and left the
emperor isolated. Peace negotiations opened and ended German
war at the Peace of Westphalia.
||1639 - 1640
|| Scotland - England.
Two wars between Charles I and Scotland caused by Charles
I's unpopular policies towards the Scottish kirk. Resulted in
English defeats and bankruptcy for Charles who was then forced
to call the Short and Long Parliaments in 1640, bringing to an
end his personal rule.
|English Civil Wars
||1642 - 1651
|| Charles I - Parliamentarians.
Parliamentary opposition to Royal policies. First battle
at Edgehill (Oct 1642) but neither side victorious. Royalists
then threatened London, the Parliamentarians stronghold. By
Autumn then North and West were in their hands. Crucial event
was 1643 alliance of Parliament with the Scots. This increased
military strength helped the parliamentarians, led by Oliver
Cromwell, defeat the Royalists at Marston Moor. 1646 saw end of
first civil war with Charles' surrender to the Scots at Newark
in May. 1646-48 negotiations between parliament and King began.
Aug 1647 army presented King with Head of Proposals asking for
religious tolerance and parliamentary control of the armed
forces. Charles made secret pact with the Scots, promising to
establish Presbytarianism in England. Scots invaded England
and were only repulsed in Battle of Preston. Around 100,000
men died in the two wars (10% of the adult male population).
Charles brought to trial by Cromwell (who was also signatory
of his death warrant) and executed Jan 1649.
|War of League of Augsburg
||1688 - 1697
|| Louis XIV - European Alliance.
The third major war of Louis XIV of France in which his
expansionist plans were blocked by the alliance led by England,
United Provinces (of the Netherlands) and Austrian Habsburgs.
Issue underlying war was the balance of power between Bourbon
and Habsburg dynasties. War began when French marched into the
Palatinate while Austria was defeating the Turks in the East.
Grand Alliance of United Provinces, England, Saxony, Bavaria,
and Spain, all fearful of French annexations, joined together
against France. The war was costly and lengthy. Louis XIV
opened negotiations for peace 1696 and in 1697 Treaty of
Rijswijk drawn up. Did not resolve conflict between Habsburgs
and Bourbons, nor English and French, both of which erupted
again only four years later in the Spanish Succession.
|War of Spanish Succession
||1701 - 1714
|| Alliance - Louis XIV.
Alliance of British, Dutch, and Habsburg Emperor against
French. supported by Spanish. War arose out of conflict as to
succession to throne of Spain following death of childless
Charles II. Claimants were England, Dutch Republic and France.
When alliance collapsed the war was concluded by Treaties of
Utrecht which divided inheritance among the powers, Britain's
imperial power grew at the expense of France and Spain.
|War of Jenkin's Ear
||1739 - 1743
|| Britain - Spain.
Began in 1739 but then merged into War of the Austrian
Succession. Anti-Spanish feeling in Britain provoked war as
Captain Robert Jenkins claimed Spanish coastguards in the
Caribbean cut off his ear.
|War of Austrian Succession
||1740 - 1748
|| Prussia - Austria.
Struggle for mastery of German states. Hostilities prompted
by Frederick II of Prussia's seizure of Habsburg province of
Silesia. French allied with Bavaria and Spain and later
Saxony and Prussia. Austria supported by Britain who feared
France's hegemony in Europe which would threaten Britain's
colonial and commercial empire. After 1744 this developed into
a colonial conflict between Britain and the Franco-Spanish
bloc. Peace concluded only by Treaty of Aiz-la-Chapelle (1748)
which preserved Austrian inheritance but also confirmed
Prussian inheritance of Silesia.
|Seven Years' War
||1756 - 1763
A major European conflict rooted in the rivalry between
Austria and Prussia and the imminent colonial struggle between
Britain and France in the New World and the Far East. Hostilities
in N America (1754) predate the Diplomatic Revolution in
Europe (1756) which created two opposing power blocs: Austria,
France, Russia, Sweden and Saxony against Prussia, Britain, and
Portugal. British maritime superiority countered Franco-Spanish
naval power and prevented an invasion by the French. The
European war, precipitated by Prussia's seizure of Saxony, was
marked by many notable pitched land battles. Saved from total
defeat when Russia switched sides, Frederick II of Prussia
retained Silesia in 1763.