Resources

This companion website to the Routledge History of Monarchy is a resource for scholars, teachers, and students of royal studies which will be updated regularly. If you want to make a contribution, have comments or questions, or want to tell us how you use this website please write us an email to websitemonarchy@gmail.com.

We would like to thank several scholars for their help in compiling the timelines: Erik Lopinski, University of Toledo; Natalie Recker, University of Toledo; Eugénia Rodrigues, University of Lisbon; Aidan Norrie, University of Warwick; Augustine Dickinson, Center for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto; Abdulaziz Alqabli, King Saud University.

A big thank you also goes out to Laura Cook, Steve Donnachie, Kristen Geaman, Erik Lopinski, Cathleen Sarti, Jonathan Spangler, and Emily Joan Ward for putting together the information on monarchs, monarchical places, and events, and/or for providing their private photographs.

Africa


Egypt

3000 - 30 BC

Ancient Egypt

Between the uniting of Upper and Lower Egypt by Narmer in c.3000 BCE, and the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 30 BCE, Egypt was ruled by hundreds of pharaohs. The reconstructed list of Egyptian pharaohs is based on kinglists kept by the ancient Egyptians themselves. These kinglists, which are all fragmentary, include the Palermo Stone (which covers the period from the earliest dynasties to the middle of Dynasty 5), the Abydos Kinglist (which Seti I had carved on his temple at Abydos), and the Turin Canon (a papyrus that covers the period from the earliest dynasties to the reign of Ramesses II). In addition, Manetho, a priest in the temple at Heliopolis, wrote a History of Egypt in the third century BCE. Manetho had access to many sources that no longer survive, and it was he who divided the kings into the thirty dynasties we use today. These dynasties are generally divided up into eleven ‘periods’. See The Egyptian World, ed. Toby Wilkinson (London: Routledge, 2007), xvii–xxiv and The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, edited by Roger S. Bagnall, Kai Brodersen, Craige B. Champion, Andrew Erskine, and Sabine R. Huebner (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2012)

Egypt

5000 - 2950 BC

Predynastic Period


Dynasties: N/A, although a protodynastic period (‘Dynasty 0’) may have existed between c.3100-c.2950.
Famous Pharaohs: The so-called ‘Scorpion’ and ‘Crocodile’ kings, and Sekhen, one of the best-attested predynastic kings.
Summary: During the reign of Naqada III (during ‘Dynasty 0’), Egyptian farming and irrigation practices emerged, as did the first royal cemeteries. The earliest Egyptian Hieroglyphs appeared during this period, as did the world’s oldest (confirmed) board game, Senet (c.3500), and the world’s first (coloured) glazed ceramic beads.

Egypt

2950 - 2575 BC

Early Dynastic Period


Dynasties: I (c.2950-c.2775), II (c.2750-c.2650), III (some scholars place the Third Dynasty in the Old Kingdom, c.2650-c.2575)
Famous Pharaohs: Narmer, the unifier of Upper and Lower Egypt; and Djoser, builder of the Step Pyramid as part of his Saqqara funerary complex.
Summary: Upper and Lower Egypt were united under the rule of the king of Upper Egypt, Narmer, in ca.3000. It is this action that gave rise to the pharaonic title, King of Upper and Lower Egypt and/or Lord of the Two Lands, with the pharaoh’s double crown—the hedjet, or White Crown, for Upper Egypt, and the deshret, or Red Crown for Lower Egypt—represented their sovereignty over both lands. Many of the defining features of Egyptian art, architecture, and religion emerged during this period; by the end of the Third Dynasty, hieroglyphs contained more than 200 symbols. During this period, the capital moved from Thinis to Memphis.

Egypt

2575 - 2125 BC

Old Kingdom


Dynasties: IV (c.2575-c.2450), V (c.2450-c.2325), VI (c.2325-c.2175), VII/VIII (c.2175-c.2125, although Dynasty VII is likely spurious).
Famous Pharaohs: Khufu, Pepi II (who ascended the throne age six, and is claimed to have reigned for 94 years!).
Summary: The Fourth Dynasty is considered the height of pyramid building; the Great Pyramids of Giza—which includes the Pyramid of Khufu—were built during this time. The famous Egyptian forms of sculpture and relief carving were created during this period. The Old Kingdom saw the proliferation of the power of the Egyptian state: the country’s elaborate taxation system, the proliferation of administration and bureaucrats, and the construction of massive, monumental buildings, all date from this period. The concept of divine kingship also emerged, and was solidified, during the Old Kingdom. The rise of the power of the nomarchs—a governor of a province, called a nome (sepat in Egyptian)—who exerted more and more authority and independence, coupled with a pronounced drought sometime between 2200 and 2150, ultimately brought the Old Kingdom to an end.

Egypt

2125 - 2010 BC

First Intermediate Period


Dynasties: IX/X (c.2125-c.1975), XI (c.2080-c.2010).
Famous Pharaohs: N/A.
Summary: With the collapse of centralised pharaonic government, during this period, Egypt was divided into two main geographical and political regions: one centred at Memphis, and the other at Thebes. This period shows a shift in burial practices, with more non-elite burials being attested. Likewise, items, such as wooden objects, whose sole purpose was to accompany bodies to the afterlife, appear during this time.

Egypt

2010 - 1630 BC

Middle Kingdom


Dynasties: XI (post-reunification, c.2010-c.1938), XII (c.1938-c.1755), XIII (c.1755-c.1630).
Famous Pharaohs: Mentuhotep II (c.2010-c.1960), Amenemhat I (c.1938-c.1908), Amenemhat III (c.1818-c.1770), Sobekneferu (c.1760-c.1755).
Summary: Egypt was reunified during the reign of Mentuhotep II, ending the First Intermediate Period. The Middle Kingdom is considered Egypt’s ‘classical age’, and its literature and art continued to serve as models for the New Kingdom and the Late Period. Many surviving literary papyri date from the Middle Kingdom, and Osiris gained his position of prominence in the Egyptian pantheon during this period. Sobekneferu is the first attested female pharaoh in Egyptian history.

Egypt

1630 - 1539 BC

Second Intermediate Period


Dynasties: XIV (?), XV (c.1630-c.1520), XVI (?), XVII (c.1630-c.1539).
Famous Pharaohs: N/A.
Summary: The pharaohs of Dynasty XIII were unable to retain control over the whole of Egypt—perhaps exacerbated by a group of people of Palestinian settlers in Tell el-Dabaa, in the north-east Delta; their rulers comprising the Fourteenth Dynasty—and Egypt splintered into various political groupings, with different rulers in different parts of the country. The Fifteenth Dynasty comprises the ‘Hyksos’ pharaohs—invaders who settled in northern Egypt. Dynasty XVII only ruled around Thebes, in Upper Egypt.

Egypt

1539 - 1069 BC

New Kingdom


Dynasties: XVIII (c.1539-c.1292), XIX (c.1292-c.1190), XX (c.1190-c.1069)
Famous Pharaohs: Ahmose I (c.1539-c.1514), Hatshepsut (c.1473-c.1458), Amenhotep III (c.1390-c.1353), Akhenaten (c.1353-c.1336), Tutankhamun (c.1332-c.1322), Ramses II (‘the Great,’ c.1279-c1213), Seti II (c.1204-c1198), Tausret (c.1198-c.1190).
Summary: This period, also known as the Egyptian Empire, marked the peak of the country’s power and prosperity, attested in the vast building projects undertaken by the pharaohs, and the surviving artistic creations (including private art and architecture). Ahmose I, the founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty, was pharaoh of the area around Thebes; he reconquered Lower Egypt from the Hyksos, and reasserted Egyptian dominance over the tributary territories of Nubia and Canaan. His administrative reforms and construction projects were the most ambitious since to Old Kingdom, and were intended to reassert centralised, pharaonic authority. Ramses II “the Great” (1279-1213), known as Ozymandias in Greek sources, is widely seen as the most powerful Egyptian pharaoh. He ruled over 66 years and spent much of his reign expanding Egyptian territory, frequently campaigning in Syria. His was a prolific builder, building a new capital (Pi-Ramesses), and a temple complex now known as Ramesseum. His also built a new temple at Abu Simnel and multiple monuments to himself in Nubia, another land he conquered. He also had a colossal statue of himself (weighing 83 tons) made, which was discovered in Memphis in 1820. At the time of his death around age 90, Ramses had greatly increased Egypt’s wealth and was much honoured by later pharaohs. Hatshepsut (Dynasty XVIII) and Tausret (Dynasty XIX) ruled as female pharaohs during this period, and their reigns contributed to Egypt’s expansion.

Egypt

1069 - 664 BC

Third Intermediate Period


Dynasties: XXI (c.1069-c.945), XXII (c.945-c.715), XXIII (c.830-715), XXIV (c.730-c.715), XXV (c.800-657).
Famous Pharaohs: Sheshonq I (c.945-c.925), Osokron II (c.875-c.835), Bakenranef (c.720-c.715), Shabaqo (c.715-c.702).
Summary: By the reign of Ramses XI, the pharaohs were losing control of the whole country, with the priests of the city of Thebes, and those of Amun, effectively controlling the country. Smendes, the first pharaoh of Dynasty XXI, ruled from Tanis, and only controlled Lower Egypt. The demise of the New Kingdom also saw the loss of Egypt’s control over Nubia. The pharaohs of the Twenty-Second Dynasty, founded by Sheshonq I, bore Libyan names, and ruled in Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt was ruled from Thebes by the pharaohs of the Twenty-Third Dynasty. While Osokron II (from Dynasty XXII) managed to briefly reunite the two kingdoms, this was short lived, and for much of the period Egypt was comprised of various principalities and localised political entities. Only two pharaohs ruled from Dynasty XXIV, and their rule—which was based in Sais—came to end with the invasion of the Kushite pharaohs: Shabaqo, the fourth king of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, attacked Sais, captured Bakenrenef, and burned him alive. The Twenty-Fifth Dynasty is also known as the Kushite Dynasty, comprised of rulers from the Kingdom of Kush (modern-day northern Sudan) who invaded first Upper Egypt, then Lower Egypt, reuniting the country. Invasions by Assyrians meant the Kushite kings lost Lower Egypt; the Assyrians installed client kings—who formed Dynasty XXVI—who eventually asserted their independence, and reconquered the whole country.

Egypt

664 - 332 BC

Late Period


Dynasties: XXVI (664-525), XXVII (525-404), XXVIII (404-399), XXIX (399-380), XXX (380-343), XXXI (343-332).
Famous Pharaohs: Nekau I (672-664), Darius II (424-404), Amyrtaeos (404-399), Nepherites (399-393), Nectanebo (380-362), Darius III (last pharaoh of Dynasty XXXI, 335-332).
Summary: The Late Period is marked by periods of foreign rule interspersed with native Egyptian rule. Despite the Period’s political instability, traditional Egyptian art and customs generally continued, and this period saw the rise of Demotic as the language of administration and literature. The Twenty-Sixth Dynasty is also called the Saite Period after the city of Sais, where its pharaohs had their capital. The Dynasty ended when its last pharaoh, Psamtik III, was defeated at the Battle of Pelusium in May 525 by Cambyses II, emperor of the Achaemenid Empire. The Twenty-Seventh Dynasty consisted of the five Persian emperors between 525 and 404, and the period is known as the First Persian Period, or the First Egyptian Satrapy. The First Persian Period ended in 404 with a rebellion led by Amyrtaeos, the local Egyptian ruler of Sais, who ruled as the only pharaoh of Dynasty XXVIII until he was overthrown and executed by Nepherites in 399, the first pharaoh of Dynasty XXIX. Dynasty XXIX ended with the overthrow of Nefaarud II in 380 BC by Nectanebo I. The Thirtieth Dynasty would be the last dynasty of Ancient Egypt to be presided over by native Egyptians. Egypt fell again to the Achaemenid Empire at Battle of Pelusium in 343, with the Persian emperors reigning as the pharaohs of Dynasty XXXI. Dynasty XXXI, also known as the Second Persian Period, ended with the surrender of the province to Alexander the Great in 332.

Egypt

332 - 309 BC

Macedonian Period


Dynasties: N/A.
Famous Pharaohs: Alexander III (the Great, 332-323), Philip Arrhidaeus (Philip III of Macedon, 323-317), Alexander IV (son of Alexander the Great, 317-309).
Summary: In 332, Alexander the Great invaded and conquered Egypt. He visited Memphis, and travelled to the oracle of Amun at the Oasis of Siwa; there, the oracle declared him to be the son of Amun. He founded Alexandria in the Nile Delta as the new capital, and he used Egypt’s wealth to fund his conquests of the Persian Empire. Alexander left Egypt in early 331, leaving Cleomenes as the ruling nomarch. Alexander never returned to Egypt.

Egypt

305 BC - 30

Ptolemaic Period


Dynasties: N/A.
Famous Pharaohs: Ptolemy I (305-282), one of Alexander the Great’s generals was appointed satrap of Egypt on Alexander’s death in 323, and eventually took the title of pharaoh in 305; Ptolemy II (285-246) and Arsinoe II, the sibling-pharaohs; Cleopatra VII (50-30), the last pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt before its incorporation into the Roman Empire.
Summary: Ptolemy successfully defended Egypt against an invasion by Perdiccas, the succeeding commander of Alexander the Great’s army, in 321, and consolidated his position in Egypt and the surrounding areas during the Wars of the Diadochi (322-301)—the various generals of Alexander who fought for control of his empire. In 305, Ptolemy took the title of pharaoh, and ruled as Ptolemy I Soter (“Saviour”). The dynasty he founded would rule Egypt for nearly 300 years.

Egypt

30 - 642

Part of Roman/Byzantine Empire

Egypt

642 - 969

Part of Caliphate

Egypt

909 - 1171

Fatimid Caliphate

932 - 975

al-Mu'izz li-Dīn Allāh

The Fatimid Caliph al-Mu'izz li-Dīn Allāh (932-975) is considered the true founder of the Fatimid state. Al-Mu'izz succeeded in seizing Egypt from the Abbasid Caliphate in 969. During his era, the Fatimid state expanded in North Africa and Egypt and he entered into a military conflict with the Umayyads in Andalusia in order to secure the western borders. The Caliph contributed to the efforts of civilization in Egypt through the establishment of the city of Cairo in 969, which became the capital of the Fatimid caliphate. Also, he created Al-Azhar in 972 as a religious institution and mosque for the spread of Shiite Islam.

975 - 996

Nizar al-Aziz Billah

The Fatimid Caliph Nizar al-Aziz Billah (975-996): his era witnessed many political and cultural achievements. al-Aziz Billah entered a military conflict with the Abbasid Caliphate in Iraq in order to control Syria. Eventually, he seized many Syrian cities for Fatimid rule, such as Damascus in 979 and Aleppo in 996. The Caliph promoted economic activity in Egypt, especially with regard to the textile industry. His era also witnessed an evolution in the ceramics and glass industries. There was a spread of Shiite Islam in his era through the establishment of some Shiite observations in Egypt and the spread of those practices in Syrian cities. In the architectural realm, he created the Palace of the Pearl in Cairo in 982. Administratively, he was the first to enter the post of minister (wazir) in the Fatimid administration.

1036 - 1094

al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh

The Fatimid Caliph al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh (1036–1094): his era witnessed the largest expansion of the Fatimid caliphate to include North Africa, Egypt, Syria, and Hejaz. al-Mustanṣir tried to seize Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasids, through a military campaign in 1058, but failed in his plan. In his era, the position of the Fatimid Caliph was higher than the position of the Abbasid caliph because of his strength and control over large parts of the Muslim world, including Mecca and Medina. His era was characterized by administrative and economic reforms after a period of political corruption. His era is considered to be the last era of power and development of the Fatimid caliphate. After the death of al-Mustanṣir, political and military collapse began in Egypt and Syria.

Egypt/Syria

1127 - 1250

Zengid Dynasty

1127 - 1146

Imad ad-Dīn Zengi

Imad ad-Dīn Zengi (1127–1146) was a founder of the Zengid dynasty in Syria and Iraq. Imad ad-Dīn annexed many Syrian cities at the beginning of the establishment of the Zengid dynasty, such as Aleppo in 1128 and Hama in 1130. Then he began his plan to defend the Islamic world in the conflict against the Crusaders through his success in retrieving Edessa in 1144. Imad ad-Dīn succeeded in establishing a new state in Syria under his leadership, completing his plan to retrieve the rest of the Syrian cities from the Crusaders. He had many architectural achievements in the construction of castles and the restoration of cities in Aleppo, Mosul, and Edessa that were built to secure the region against the Crusades. Imad ad-Dīn also supervised the construction of many Sunni schools in Damascus and Aleppo in order to spread Sunni Islam in preparation for the coming conflict with the Fatimid caliphate.

1146 - 1174

Nūr ad-Dīn Zengi

Nūr ad-Dīn Zengi (1146-1174): his era witnessed expansion in Syria and Egypt. Nūr ad-Dīn succeeded in seizing Damascus in 1153 and Mosul in 1170. He completed the plan of his father Imad ad-Dīn Zengi, in the struggle with the Crusaders and the annexation of Syrian cities. Moreover, Nūr ad-Dīn was able to control Egypt in 1168 after sending a military campaign to weaken the Fatimid Caliphate. Nūr ad-Dīn is considered the true founder of the Zengi army through the development of military training. The period of 1146-1174 witnessed wars of depletion between Nūr ad-Dīn and the Crusaders in Syria, which contributed to the weakening of the internal front of the Crusaders. Throughout his rule, Nūr ad-Dīn had good relations with the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad and the Seljuks in Central Asia, which helped ensure their political and military support in their wars against the Crusaders.

Egypt

1171 - 1260

Ayyubid Dynasty

1169 - 1193

Salah al-Din ibn Ayyubi

Salah al-Din ibn Ayyubi (1169–1193) was the founder of the Ayyubid state in 1169. The Sultan succeeded in uniting Egypt with Syria after overthrowing the Fatimid state. The sultan began his era in unifying the internal front in Egypt and Syria, which continued for 10 years from 1169 to 1179. After Salah al-Din strengthened the internal unity of his state, he began his wars against the Crusaders in Syria. In 1187, he defeated the Crusaders in the battle of Hittin. The Sultan succeeded in restoring many cities, such as Nablus, Haifa, Nazareth, Caesarea, Saffuriya, and Beirut in 1187. Finally, the Sultan succeeded in restoring Jerusalem. Overall, he contributed to the spread of Sunni Islam and the cultural and scientific renaissance through the construction of many schools and mosques.

1240 - 1249

As-Salih Ayyub

As-Salih Ayyub (1240-1249) was the last of the powerful sultans in the Ayyubid state. Ayyub establish a strong army in Egypt by importing many Mamluks from the Caucasus, especially after a period of weakness and civil wars after the death of Salah al-Din. The Sultan was able to defend Egypt and defeat the Seventh Crusade led by Louis IX from 1248-1254. The Sultan was interested in the cultural and urban renaissance through the construction of many libraries and schools in Egypt. However, the Sultan died before achieving his plan to restore Syria to the Ayyubid authority in Cairo.

Egypt

1260 - 1517

Mamluk Dynasty

1260 - 1277

Sultan Baybars

Sultan Baybars (1260-1277) is the true founder of the Mamluk Empire. He contributed greatly to the restoration of Syria from the Mongols through his successive wars against them from 1260 to 1270. Also, he was the first sultan in the Mamluk Dynusty to fight against the Crusaders in Syria, where he succeeded in restoring Safad in 1266 and Antioch in 1268. Internally, Baybars succeeded in reviving the Abbasid Caliphate in Cairo after its fall in Baghdad in 1258. Also, he contributed to the scientific renaissance through the establishment of endowments and the restoration of libraries and schools in Syrian cities. At the diplomatic level, Baybars was the first Mamluk sultan who succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with the Mongols after the restoration of Syria, Iraq, and Persia. Furthermore, he had an important role in establishing trade relations with Venice to trade wood and slaves. During this era, Alexandria became an important port on the Mediterranean Sea.

1310 - 1340

al-Nasir Muhammad

al-Nasir Muhammad (1310-1340): his era witnessed a renaissance in civilization and urban development, and is characterized by stability and growth. The sultan contributed to the agricultural renaissance in the Egyptian cities through the establishment of irrigation networks in the cities of Upper Egypt in order to increase agricultural productivity. The agricultural reforms of his era increased the income of the Mamluk treasury due to the high taxes on agricultural land, which was the main income of the Mamluk treasury. There were many architectural monuments and buildings of his era as a result of financial prosperity. He built many important buildings, such as al'Albaq palace in Cairo in 1323 and Castle Mosque in 1326, which represented the greatest buildings in Cairo during the Mamluk period.

1382 - 1399

Sultan Barquq

Sultan Barquq (1382-1399) was the founder of the Mamluk Circassian dynasty that ruled in the period of 1382-1517. Barquq succeeded in restoring the strength of the Mamluk state again after a long period of civil wars, conflict among powerful amirs, and the rule of the young sultans in the period of 1340-1380. The Sultan contributed to the restoration of state control over the rebel forces such as the Arab tribes in Egypt and the Turkmen tribes in Syria against whom he led military campaigns in the period of 1390 to 1396. On the other hand, the Sultan contributed to the restoration of fortresses in Aleppo and Damascus and protected them against the Mongol attacks led by Tamerlane. The Sultan brought many Mamluk recruits from the Caucasus and named them al-zāhirīya (Barquq), and this faction had a major role in political and military affairs in the first half of the fifteenth century.

Egypt

1517 - 1867

Egyptian Eyalet

Part of Ottoman Empire

Ethiopia

785 BC - 350

Kingdom of Kush

Sometimes called Meroe (650 BCE – 300 CE)

600 - 580

Aspalta

Aspalta is probably the best known king of Kush because of several extant stelae that give accounts of his reign. The inscriptions indicate that Aspalta was selected as king by two dozen military and religious leaders. Some historians believe he moved the capital from Napata to Meroe after Egyptians sacked the city, but it is also possible Meroe was the capital before that. Aspalta’s tomb and palace were excavated in the early twentieth century; many of the artifacts now reside in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ethiopia

100 - 940

Kingdom of Aksum

320s - 360

Ezana

ʿEzana was a 4th-century Aksumite king, the first Ethiopian monarch to convert to Christianity, whose reign is attested in several tri-lingual inscriptions as well as from numismatic and literary sources. His conversion came as a result of the influence of Frumentius, a Christian from Tyre who arrived in Aksum as a child with his brother as part of a trade expedition and had been held hostage at the royal court. After being released as an adult, he travelled to Alexandria to petition the patriarch, Athanasius I, to appoint a bishop for Aksum. Frumentius (later known as Abba Salama) was himself appointed to be bishop and he returned to Ethiopia sometime in the first half of the 4th century. The (Semi-)Arian Emperor Constantius II sent a letter to ʿEzana with the goal of having Frumentius replaced, seemingly to no effect. ʿEzana’s monumental inscriptions witness to a transition from polytheistic formulas to Christian ones and attest to a number of successful military campaigns against neighbouring peoples. ʿEzana is venerated as a saint in Ethiopia along with his brother, named in Greek sources as Sazanas. It seems probable that they can be identified as the saint-kings Abrəha and Aṣbəḥa mentioned in Ethiopian sources.

520 - 520

Kaleb

Kaleb (throne name Ǝllä Aṣbəḥa), who reigned as King of Aksum during the 6th century, is one of the best-known Aksumite kings. His reign is attested by a wealth of epigraphic and numismatic sources, as well as historiographic and hagiographic sources extant in multiple languages. During Kaleb’s reign, multiple efforts to assert Aksumite influence over Southern Arabia were undertaken. The final, successful military campaign, led by Kaleb against the Jewish Ḥimyarite Kingdom, was undertaken with at least the nominal support of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. This success marked the height of Aksumite influence on the Arabian Peninsula and Christian accounts tend to portray the campaign as a sort of holy war. Kaleb, in hagiographic tradition, is also closely associated with preeminent monastic saint Ṗänṭälewon, one of the Nine Saints responsible for the growth of monasticism within Ethiopia and under whose guidance Kaleb became a monk following his abdication from the throne. He is venerated as a saint not only within the Ethiopian Church but also among other churches, where he is often referred to as Elesbaan (from a Greek transliteration of his throne name).

Ethiopia

1137 - 1270

Zagwe Dynasty

1181 - 1221

Gäbrä Mäsqäl Lalibäla

Lalibäla (throne name Gäbrä Mäsqäl) was a 13th-century king of the Zagʷe Dynasty. The traditional etymology of his name, an Agäw term, is “the bees obey him,” referring to a story in which he, as an infant, was surrounded by bees that did not harm him. He is best known by association with the town bearing his name, famous for the numerous monolithic churches found there and which is revered among Ethiopians as a new Jerusalem. According to the hagiographic tradition surrounding the king, Lalibäla received a vision of heaven during which he was ordered by Christ to carve ten churches out of the rock, although scholars debate the extent of the king’s role in the construction of the churches. After his death, he was buried in one of the churches and the site subsequently became the center of a cult surrounding the king and his wife, Mäsqäl Kəbra.

Ethiopia

1270 - 1974

Solomonid Dynasty

1270 - 1285

Yəkunno Amlak

Yəkunno Amlak (r. 1270-1285) is the ruler credited with overthrowing the Zagʷe Dynasty and establishing (or restoring) the Solomonic Dynasty. An important part of his success in overthrowing the previous dynasty was the cooperation of religious leaders. While the hagiographic traditions surrounding the founders of what later became the two preeminent monasteries of Ethiopia, Iyäsus Moʾa, founder of the monastery of Däbrä Ḥayq Ǝsṭifanos, and Täklä Haymanot, founder of the monastery of Däbrä Libanos, both assert their respective founder’s critical role in Yəkunno Amlak’s success, it seems likely that it was primarily Iyäsus Moʾa who aided the Emperor in his effort. Aside from this, little is known concerning his source of power or precisely how he managed to displace the reigning Zagʷe monarch. Later sources sought to establish a connection between Yəkunno Amlak and the earlier Aksumite kings (in the process depicting the intermediary Agäw Zagʷe monarchs as usurpers), as well as a connection between the Aksumite kings and the Biblical King Solomon, thereby establishing a connection between King Solomon and the dynasty established by Yəkunno Amlak.

1434 - 1468

Zärʾa Yaʿəqob

Zärʾa Yaʿəqob (r. 1434-1468, throne name Qʷäsṭänṭinos) was a prominent member of the Solomonic Dynasty. He is well known for his extensive administrative and ecclesiastic reforms as well as his direct involvement in the theological controversies that dominated his reign. The first of these, the schism with the House of Ewosṭatewos, concerned the observance of the Qädamit Sänbät, the “First Sabbath” (i.e. Saturday). In 1450, Zärʾa Yaʿəqob presided over a council at Däbrä Məṭmaq which decided in favor of the practice and ended the schism. It was during his reign that another controversy began, that of Ǝsṭifanos, a monastic leader who, it is claimed, opposed the widespread veneration of Mary and the Cross as well as the doctrine of millenarianism, for which he and his followers were severely persecuted. Zärʾa Yaʿəqob also actively opposed magical practices, including prominent “demonic” cults, and those accused of such practices faced scourges and exile. In addition to his persecutions of dissident religious groups, he also produced a number of theological treatises, prayers, and polemics. It was also during his reign that a piece of the True Cross was brought to Amba Gəšän and a fixed capital was established at Däbrä Bərhan.

1632 - 1667

Fasilidas

Fasilidas (throne name 'Alam Sagad) is best known for restoring the official status of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and banishing the Jesuits from his kingdom. He was also a noted builder, founding Gondar as the capital in 1636 and building the "Old Cathedral" of St Mary of Zion in Axum.

1889 - 1913

Menelik II

Menelik II modernized Ethiopia and is famous for defeating Italian attempts at imperialism. The Treaty of Wuchale (1889) had two versions, the Italian-language one essentially making Ethiopia a protectorate of Italy. When Menelik II discovered the discrepancy, he rejected the treaty, leading to the battle of Adwa (1896). That battle was a decisive victory for Ethiopia. The current Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, was founded during Menelik's reign, after the Empress first settled there.

1930 - 1974

Haile Sellasie

One of the most famous of Ethiopia's emperors, Haile Sellasie is also a messianic figure in the Rastafarian religion. Shortly after his coronation, Haile Sellasie introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution in 1931. A few years later in 1936, he and his family were driven into exile by the invading Italian army. That same year, he pleaded with the League of Nations to assist Ethiopia, but the group only imposed partial sanctions on Italy. He was, however, named Time's Man of the Year for 1936. The emperor returned to Ethiopia in 1941, when Italy was militarily defeated. In 1961, the Eritrean War for Independence began, which lasted 30 years. The emperor was also the first official chairperson for the Organization of African Unity. Despite his excellent reputation abroad, the emperor's regime committed a number of human rights' abuses, often in connecting with the war with Eritrea. In the aftermath of the Wollo Famine, a group of military offers (called the Derg) deposed Haile Sellasie in 12 September 1974. The Derg abolished the monarchy in March 1975; Haile Sellasie died in August of that same year.

Zimbabwe

1250 - 1505

Great Zimbabwe

1629 - 1652

Mavhura Mhande

Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe) (1629-1652) was the elder son of Negomo. Since he lost the succession struggle for Kapararidze, he sought the support of the Portuguese. Mavhura signed a treaty with them (1629), by which, in exchange for military aid, he recognized himself as a vassal of the Portuguese crown. This treaty transferred a part of the territory south of the Zambezi River to the possession of the Portuguese King. Yet Mavhura accepted to be baptized by the Dominican friars, who he authorized to set up a parish in Zimbabwe. Later, the Portuguese established a military garrison in Zimbabwe to defend him from the Kapararidze attacks as well as the opposition of some other Karanga chiefs.

1652 - 1654

Siti Kazurukumusapa

Siti Kazurukumusapa (Dom Domingos) (1652-1654) was a son of Mavhura. During his father’s reign he harassed the Portuguese. However, he was forced to appeal to them to ascend the throne, fearing an attack of Kapararidze. Siti was baptized by the Dominicans on August 4, the feast day of St. Dominic, with his main wife, two sons and several high ranking Karanga. This event had a great repercussion throughout Christendom and was celebrated in Rome, with an engraved bronze tablet, as well as in Lisbon.

1654 - 1663

Cicate

Cicate (Dom João) (?1654-1663). The Portuguese sources report on the rise of a new mutapa, but do not indicate his name. He was most likely the mutapa referred to in later documents as Cicate or Dom João. Apparently, he was murdered by Portuguese merchants established in the Karanga fairs.

1663 - 1663

Cupica

Cupica (Dom Afonso) (?1663-1663) was a brother of Mavhura. His very short reign is documented by a letter he wrote to the Portuguese King, in which he required the maintenance of the Portuguese military garrison. The Portuguese merchants went to war with this mutapa, whom was murdered by the Karanga chiefs.

Munhumutapa

1400 - 1902

Munhumutapa

The state of Munhumutapa or Monomotapa, in East Africa, lasted for five centuries, between c. 1400 and 1902. The biographies of most of its rulers – the mutapa – are uncertain and some periods continue to be particularly obscure. The literature on these sovereigns has been drawing on Portuguese documents from the early 16th century onward and oral history recorded by scholars in the 20th century, which often do not match. There is also a considerable doubt about the affiliation of several mutapa. Thanks to Eugénia Rodrigues, Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa, for the biographies in this section.

1400 - 1420

Nyatsimba Mutota

Nyatsimba Mutota (15th century). Son of Chikura Wadyambeu (a semi-historic figure), Mutota is considered to be the founder of the state known as Munhumutapa, Monomotapa or Mukaranga and its first mutapa. Based in Shangwe, he conquered the territories north of the Karanga plateau, Chidima and Dande, and it is supposed that shortly before his dead he subjected Guruuswa, the traditional land of the Shona.

1420 - 1450

Matope Nyanhehwe Nebedza

Matope Nyanhehwe Nebedza (15th century), son of Mutota, he is remembered as one of the main mutapa, associated with important institutions: the cult of the royal spirit mhondoro and the cult of the Supreme Being Dzivaguru, of the Tawara subjects, related to rainmakers. His capital (zimbabwe) was located south of the confluence of the Zambezi and Musengezi Rivers. Matope expanded the state eastwards, up to the Zambezi and Luenya Rivers, which enabled him to control this gold route to the Indian Ocean. These territories were governed by relatives, above all by sons and brothers. The domain of the Tonga, on the right bank of the Zambezi, was transmitted by the alliance with the local chief, who married one of the daughters/sisters of the mutapa, giving rise to the Makombe dynasty which ruled Barwe.

1490 - 1490

Nyahuma Mukombero

Nyahuma Mukombero (?-c. 1490), son of Matope, he concluded the conquest of Kiteve, through which passed the route connecting the Karanga plateau with the Swahili seashore of Sofala. He installed a Karanga dynasty there, whose rulers were known as sachiteve. At this juncture the state began to disintegrate owing to competition among lineages. The changamire Torwa of Guruuswa, recorded as a vassal of the mutapa, eliminated Mukombero and most of his offspring and became the mutapa himself.

1490 - 1494

Changamire

Changamire (c. 1490-93/94), the Torwa ruler of Guruuswa, who seized power in Mukaranga.

1494 - 1530

Chikuyo Chisamarengu

Chikuyo Chisamarengu (1493/4-1530), Mukombero’s son, he managed to expel the changamire and recovered control of the territory, except for Guruuswa. During his reign, Maniyka was incorporated into Munhumutapa. Kiteve became progressively autonomous, extending its influence to Danda, near the port of Sofala. Chikuyo established diplomatic and commercial relations with the Portuguese factory in Sofala founded in 1507. The mutapa was defeated in a dispute over the route connecting the plateau and the coast, in 1528, by the ruler of Danda – Nyamunda – who monopolised access to Sofala.

1530 - 1550

Neshangwe Munembire

Neshangwe Munembire (c. 1530-1550) continued the conflict with Nyamunda and defeated him in a war fought in 1540-1542. The mutapa then sent an embassy to the Portuguese in Sofala to pursue trade. However, the war had left the region devastated, affecting the resumption of mercantile activities. During this period the Portuguese joined the Muslim merchants who used the Zambezi route to the Karanga plateau.

1550 - 1560

Chivere Nyasoro

Chivere Nyasoro (c. 1550-1560) was probably a son of Chikuyo. During his reign the Portuguese began to participate in the gold fairs on the Karanga plateau, just like Swahili merchants already did. In 1560, the main fair, Massapa, had a Portuguese captain (the ‘captain of the doors’) who had jurisdiction and collected taxes (of which the most important was the kuruva) from all merchants in the name of the mutapa.

1560 - 1589

Negomo Mupunzagutu

Negomo Mupunzagutu (Dom Sebastião) (1560-1586/9), a son of Chikuyo, became the mutapa in a procedure contested by the ruler of Kiteve. Negomo received the first Christian mission in Mukaranga, headed by the Jesuit Dom Gonçalo da Silveira (1561), and he was baptised as Dom Sebastião, the name of the Portuguese king. He later ordered the missionary’s execution. The Portuguese warned the mutapa to expect a divine punishment for the death of Silveira and he then ordered the execution of the people who had advised him to kill the Jesuit. Negomo had to contend with a military expedition dispatched from Lisbon to avenge Silveira’s execution and to conquer Munhumutapa (1572-1575). The mutapa agreed to the Portuguese demands (freedom to trade, handing over the mines and freedom for missionary activities) but this did not change the situation on the ground.

1589 - 1623

Gatsi Rusere

Gatsi Rusere (1586/9-1623) was a son of the mukomohasha (captain-general of the armies) Nyandoro. During his reign the kuruva began to be paid by the Portuguese captain of Mozambique Island. From 1597 onward, Maravi groups from the area north of the Zambezi River invaded Mukaranga, while internal revolts resulted in a civil war. In 1606, one of the rebels – Matuzvianye – declared himself to be the mutapa. Gatsi Rusere demanded help from the Portuguese merchants, signing a treaty with their leader (1607). He granted the Karanga mines to the Portuguese in exchange for military assistance. Meanwhile, he decided to attack Barwe, which had failed to pay its tributes. Gatsi Rusere regained control over Mukaranga only in 1609. The unfruitful attempts by the Portuguese to discover silver in the Chikova region resulted in innumerable military clashes. At this time Barwe and Maniyka probably ceased to recognise the suzerainty of the mutapa.

1623 - 1629

Nyambo Kapararidze

Nyambo Kapararidze (1623-1629) was a son of Gatsi Rusere. He won the struggle for power against Mavhura Mhande, his father’s brother. After receiving the kuruva, the mutapa launched an attack against the Portuguese, possibly due to a breach of protocol. He was deposed in 1629 after Mavhura and the Portuguese formed an alliance.

1629 - 1631

Mavhura Mhande

Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe) (1629-1631), the eldest son of Negomo Mupunzagutu, he sought military support from the Portuguese. He signed a treaty with them (1629), in which he declared himself to be a vassal of the Portuguese crown and granted it part of the territory south of the Zambezi. Mavhura was baptised by Dominican missionaries and gave them permission to establish a parish in his capital. The Portuguese gained unfettered access to the mines and the fairs on the Karanga plateau and extended their dominions in the territory south of the Zambezi, where they created the prazos (land grants).

1631 - 1632

Nyambo Kapararidze

Nyambo Kapararidze (1631-1632). At the end of 1631, Kapararidze managed to obtain the assistance of various chiefs to attack the Portuguese and Mavhura and regained control of Mukaranga. He was especially cruel to the Dominicans, who had been Mavhura’s main supporters, and ordered their execution. However, he was defeated by the Portuguese army in the following year. Kapararidze continued to fight to recover the power.

1632 - 1652

Mavhura Mhande

Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe) (1632-1652) regained power with the support of his Portuguese allies, who maintained a military garrison in his capital, to defend him against attacks by Kapararidze and opponent factions among the Karanga elite. By means of the 1629 treaty he lost the ability to collect taxes from merchants and, instead of the kuruva tribute, the Portuguese administration in Mozambique would send him a saguate (gift), which, although of an equivalent value, underscored his status as a vassal. Mavhura’s government is considered to be the beginning of a set of puppet mutapa rulers controlled by the Portuguese. Nevertheless, he continued to have significant autonomy and maintained Karanga institutions.

1652 - 1654

Siti Kazurukumusapa

Siti Kazurukumusapa (Dom Domingos) (1652-1654) was a son of Mavhura. During his father’s reign, Siti was hostile towards the Portuguese but was forced to resort to their help to accede to power, fearing an offensive by Kapararidze. His baptism (on August 4, 1652, St. Dominic’s day), as well as the baptism of his main wife, two sons and various Karanga dignitaries, made a great impact in Rome as well as in Lisbon. Siti died shortly after he became the mutapa.

1654 - 1663

Cikate

Cikate (Dom João) (1654-c. 1663). Portuguese sources mention the installation of a new mutapa, but do not indicate his name, which was probably Cikate, mentioned only in subsequent documents. The Portuguese conducted a war against this mutapa and probably assassinated him.

1663 - 1663

Mutata Kupika

Mutata Kupika (Dom Afonso) (c. 1663-1663) was a brother of Mavhura. Little is known about his reign, although it is documented by a letter sent to the King of Portugal, in which he requested that the military garrison be maintained. Portuguese merchants waged war on this ruler, who was later deposed by Karanga chiefs.

1663 - 1692

Kamharapasu Mukombwe

Kamharapasu Mukombwe (Dom Filipe) (c. 1663-1692) was a son of Mavhura. He became the mutapa backed by the Portuguese but then later dared to turn against them. In 1673, when the Portuguese again sought silver in Chikova, Mukombwe declared war against them with Maniyka’s support. In the 1680s, the mutapa regained some territories dominated by the Portuguese merchants in the plateau, in exchange for allowing them to mine and trade there. By making grants of land from the territories recovered from the Portuguese and those confiscated from his adversaries, Mukombwe promoted the formation of powerful houses. He also tried to contain the expansion of changamire Dombo of Butwa, attacking his army immediately after it had defeated the Portuguese army at Maungwe (1684). However, he was beaten and had to ally with the Portuguese. Mukombwe is remembered as one of the most important mutapa due to the role he played in the resurgence of Munhumutapa.

1692 - 1694

Nyakunembire

Nyakunembire (1692-1694), a son of Mavhura, became mutapa, probably sustained by the changamire. In 1693, Nyakunembire appealed to the changamire to attack the Portuguese fair in Dambarare. About 60 people were killed during this assault, including Portuguese, Goans and Africans, and the Portuguese consequently abandoned the other fairs on the plateau. Nyamaende Mhande and Chirimbe, both of whom were sons of Mukombwe and had been exiled in Maniyka, took advantage of this situation. Mhande demanded the support of the Portuguese against Nyakunembire, having also mobilised important Karanga chiefs. The mutapa offered no resistance and sought refuge with the changamire. Some authors suggest that Nyakunembire began a new dynasty in Maniyka.

1694 - 1698

Nyamaende Mhande

Nyamaende Mhande (Dom Pedro) (1694-c. 1698), son of Mukombwe, he was educated and baptised at the house of Dona Vicência João, a mixed-blood lady who controlled the Inhambanzo lands. The Portuguese initially refused to hold Mhande, but Dona Vicência managed to mobilise support to enlarge her protégé’s army. In 1694, Mhande was recognised as the mutapa by high rank chiefs and the Portuguese thus sent him a garrison. In the context of new discoveries of silver in Chikova, in 1696, the mutapa signed a treaty allowing the Portuguese Crown to explore these mines. However, as in the past, the Portuguese faced the opposition of the local chief and failed to locate the mines. Mhande died in c. 1698.

1698 - 1702

Chirimbi

Chirimbi (Dom Manuel) (c. 1698-c.1702) was a son of Mukombwe. The Portuguese preferred Mapeze, a son of Mhande, as the mutapa, but they nonetheless sent Chirimbi a garrison to contain the hostility of some Karanga chiefs. Mapeze, in his turn, was baptised in 1699 and went to Goa, where he joined the Dominican order as Friar Dom Constantino do Rosário, as did his brother, Friar Dom João, shortly afterwards. In 1720, both these friars set sail on a journey to Lisbon but one died at the start of the voyage and the other died in São Salvador da Baía, in Brazil.

1702 - 1702

Boroma Dangwarangwa

Boroma Dangwarangwa (Dom João) (c. 1702). His reign is documented in 1702. Dangwarangwa was supported by the Portuguese merchants, which was probably the reason why the changamire invaded Munhumutapa and attacked the zimbabwe. Dangwarangwa sought refuge in the Portuguese settlement at Tete, near the Zambezi River. However, the Portuguese decided to confront the changamire and sent the few military forces they had available to join those of the mutapa. The ensuing battle resulted in the defeat of the allies and high casualties among their armies, including the life of the mutapa.

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1702 - 1706

Samutumbu Nyamhandu

Samutumbu Nyamhandu (c. 1702-1706) was probably a son of Mukombwe. Having been educated by the Jesuits, Nyamhandu spoke Portuguese fluently. He came to power holded by the changamire, with whom he signed a treaty that made him a vassal of Butwa. Samutumbu was also not invested according to Karanga ceremonies, which resulted in opposition from the Karanga elite. In this context, the mutapa sought the support of the Portuguese, who were suspicious of his intentions. Taking advantage of the civil war that broke out in Butwa after the changamire died, the Portuguese allied with Barwe and Maravi Kalonga (north of the Zambezi) in 1706 and attacked Mukaranga to install another mutapa in power, probably Gende. Although he won the battle, Nyamhandu died shortly afterwards.

Little is known about the subsequent period, which was marked by a civil war among various houses, some of which had emerged as a result of the territorial grants by mutapa Mukombwe (e.g. Kasekete, Gupo, Kandewa and Changara), and by the secession of chiefdoms on the plateau. Portuguese sources allude to a mutapa Semotane, in 1709, and a mutapa Gende (Zenda, Ginde or Nyenyedzi), placed on the throne by the Portuguese in 1710, while some authors also mention mutapa Gupo, Mupunzagutu and Sakapio.

1710 - 1740

Nyamhandu

Nyamhandu (Dom João) (c. 1710-c. 1740) fought for power during a civil war that extended over several years. In order to obtain external legitimacy, in 1710 Nyamhandu demanded Portuguese assistance. The Portuguese were divided and refused to support him but in 1711 they sent him a garrison for a while. However, the civil war continued and in 1715 a faction among the Portuguese supported Gende as the mutapa. Nyamhandu managed to regain power and, in 1718, after the death of his main adversary, Kamota Kasekete, the Portuguese recognised him as the mutapa, baptising him and providing him a military garrison. Nyamhandu was not able to extend his rule to the plateau, establishing his capital in the lowlands near the Zambezi River, in the territory of present-day Mozambique, where his successors remained. In the meanwhile, the Portuguese established a fair in Zumbo, on the east bank of the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi Rivers.

1743 - 1750

Debwe

Debwe (c. 1743-1750) was a son of Nyamhandu. He began by waging war against the Portuguese, who had supported the previous mutapa. In 1745, he attacked the lands of the Portuguese Crown in the area of Tete, which obliged the Portuguese to ask the changamire for help, having formed an alliance with him in the meanwhile.

1750 - 1760

Mupunzagutu

Mupunzagutu (c. 1750-c. 1760), son of Nyamhandu, he succeeded after the death of his brother. The Portuguese provided him a garrison and the habitual gifts. His authority over his subjects was weak, allegedly because he consumed large amounts of cannabis. In 1760, during a new civil war, Mupunzagutu was assassinated by his brother Zindave.

1760 - 1760

Zindave

Zindave (c. 1760), son of Nyamhandu, he assassinated Mupunzagutu and declared himself to be mutapa. He persecuted his brother Kamota, fearing his opposition.

1760 - 1761

Kamota

Kamota (c. 1760-1761), son of Nyamhandu, he defeated Zindave, who fled to Dande, where he was killed by Derere. At this time the mutapa state split into two: the western region, Dande, was governed by Derere; the eastern part, Chidima, continued to be called Mukaranga and its rulers mutapa.

1761 - 1762

Mutanyikwa

Mutanyikwa (1761-1762), son of Karidza, he commanded an army which eliminated Kamota. He ruled for about a year and, when faced with the threat of Zeze’s army, sought refuge in Maravi territory north of the Zambezi.

1762 - 1767

Zeze

Zeze (c. 1762-c. 1767), son of Nyamhandu, and supporter of his brother Kamota, he managed to muster an army that was powerful enough to be able to be declared the mutapa.

1767 - 1769

Ganyambadzi

Ganyambadzi (c. 1767-1769) was a son of Chikoka. During a new civil war he expelled Zeze from the Zimbabwe and became the mutapa. Ganyambadzi and his vassals attacked Portuguese prazos and often obstructed the route to the Zumbo fair. In 1769, Ganyambadzi was defeated by Changara and sought refuge in Maravi territory, in the lands of chief Bive. The Portuguese feared an alliance of the two chiefs, which would be contrary to their interests, and managed to ensure that the former mutapa left Bive’s territory. In 1772, he besieged the Zumbo fair and the Portuguese had to ask for help from the changamire to defeat him. Ganyambadzi withdrew to Barwe, where he installed a new ruler.

1769 - 1779

Changara

Changara (1769-c. 1779) defeated Ganyambadzi in 1769. The new mutapa signed a treaty with the Portuguese administration in which he promised to provide free passage to merchants and to allow the Dambarare fair to reopen. However, the plan to resume the old fairs on the plateau was no longer of interest to merchants from the Portuguese colony and was never implemented. Since Changara’s subjects were attacking Portuguese lands, the Portuguese governor of the Zambezi Valley region prohibited trade with the Karanga in 1770 and threatened to wage war against the mutapa. Relations between the two powers were re-established in the same year and the Portuguese send a garrison with gifts. Clashes between Changara and Ganyambadzi intensified from 1776 onward.

1779 - 1785

Ganyambadzi

Ganyambadzi (c. 1779-1785). In c. 1779, Ganyambadzi’s army defeated Changara, who sought refuge near the Zumbo fair. In Barwe, Ganyambadzi demanded that the Portuguese recognise him as the mutapa, which they delayed doing since the political and military situation was still very uncertain and Ganyambadzi was not in Chidima. Finally, in 1780, the Portuguese sent a garrison with the customary gifts. The mutapa signed two treaties with the Portuguese, in 1781 and in 1783, relating to trade, diplomacy, control of lands and jurisdiction over conflicts between Karanga and Portuguese subjects. Ganyambadzi died in 1785.

1785 - 1794

Bangoma

Bangoma (1785-1794), a son of Mupunzagutu, maintained amicable relations with the Portuguese. However, his subjects continuously attacked merchants at the Zumbo fair, while the former mutapa Changara sent regular embassies to the fair demanding gifts. In this context, the Portuguese shifted the settlement at Zumbo to the Mukariva Peninsula, on the western shore of the Luangwa River, in 1788. Trade at the fair was already diminishing by this time.

1794 - 1806

Changara

Changara (1794-c. 1806), the former mutapa, regained power in 1794. His reign was marked by a serious drought in the Zambezi Valley, which impoverished the region. The chiefs who were established along the river increased taxes on the Zumbo merchants. In 1804, Mburuma chief, of the Luenge people north of the Zambezi River, attacked the fair and the Portuguese merchants abandoned it for some time. As a result, the mutapa and other Karanga chiefs lost revenues derived from taxation.

1806 - 1806

Mutua

Mutua (c. 1806), a descendant of a former mutapa, deposed Changara and became the mutapa himself.

1806 - 1810

Choofombo

Choofombo (c. 1806-1810) was a son of Changara. In 1807, the Portuguese governor of the Zambezi Valley, António Vilas Boas Truão, issued orders to burn the sacred graves (matsanza) of former mutapa rulers located in the Chikova region. After various clashes, Chifombo defeated the Portuguese army and imprisoned the survivors, including the governor. The mutapa, supported by his advisors, issued orders to execute all the Portuguese, except for two brothers from the mixed-blood Cruz family, one of whom –António José da Cruz (Bereco) – was the brother-in-law of the mutapa. The hostilities continued during subsequent years. The Portuguese stopped sending the usual gifts (saguate) to the mutapa and, in 1811, they abandoned the Zumbo fair. Very little is known about the subsequent period.

1821 - 1830

Kandeya I

Kandeya I (1821?-c. 1830). A mutapa from the Kandeya house, identified by scholars as Kandeya I, he resumed relations with the Portuguese administration, claiming his saguate in 1823. The gift was dispatched in 1826, but it is not known whether the Portuguese continued to send saguates in subsequent years. This period was marked by a severe famine. Additionally, a prince – Dzeka – attacked Chidima and the mutapa was forced to abandon the zimbabwe and seek refuge in the bush. These wars affected trade routes and reduced the revenues from the tributes that the mutapa collected from merchants.

1830 - 1843

Dzeka

Dzeka (c. 1830-c. 1843). His reign witnessed the invasions by the Nguni from southern Africa. In 1835-36, the Nguni carried out military raids in Chidima. Even though they were defeated these attacks disrupted the trade networks.

1843 - 1867

Kataruza

Kataruza (c. 1843-c. 1867), also from the Kandeya house, he became the chief of a small territory, according to David Livingstone. However, the mutapa continued to collect taxes from the trade routes. In 1861-1862, the Portuguese officially reoccupied the Zumbo fair. In the meanwhile, several ivory merchants settled near the fair, obtaining lands from the local chiefs.

1867 - 1876

Kandeya II

Kandeya II (c. 1867-c. 1876), son of Kataruza, the second mutapa known as Kandeya seized power with the support of the Cruz family, which controlled the Massangano prazo, on the south bank of the Zambezi River. The matrimonial alliance between the mutapa and the Cruz family, supported by the mhondoro (royal spirit medium) Nebeza, alarmed the Portuguese, and, particularly, those who were seizing control of lands on the southern shores of the Zambezi River. The Portuguese army defeated the mutapa at the Kangure River, a tributary of the Mazowe River, and occupied part of the territory.

1876 - 1890

Dzuda

Dzuda (c. 1876-c. 1890) was a son of Dzeka. In c. 1881, he mustered an army to make an unsuccessful bid to reoccupy lands dominated by the Portuguese. On the contrary, in the context of the Scramble for Africa and the rivalry with the British, the Portuguese administration encouraged the lords of lands in the Zambezi Valley to expand their territory. In 1885, the Portuguese occupied what remained of Mukaranga state and the mutapa went into exile. Dzuda tried to organize a war against the Portuguese but, in c. 1890, he was defeated by Chioko Dambamupute.

1890 - 1902

Chioko Dambamupute

Chioko Dambamupute (c. 1890-1902), son of Kataruza, he tried in vain to recreate the mutapa state, while the British and Portuguese battled over the borders of their empires in the region. In 1897, Chioko managed to obtain the support of some chiefs and important mhondoro. Three years later, the makombe of Barwe and the Cruz family in Massangano joined his rebellion. Chioko was killed in 1902 when he participated in the Barwe ruler battle against the Portuguese.


Asia


China

2205 - 1766

Traditional dates of Xia Dynasty

China

1766 - 1122

Traditional dates of Shang Dynasty

1200 - 1200

Fu Hao (1200s BCE)

Fu Hao was a queen and general in the late Shang dynasty. One of the wives of Wu Ding, she was one of the most powerful generals of her time. She was also a priestess, conducting rituals and sacrifices as attested by various oracle bones. Her husband valued her advice so much that he continued to consult her, via oracle bones, after her death. Her undisturbed tomb in Yinxu was discovered in the 1970s and has provided numerous artifacts and evidence of human sacrifice. Shang Tomb of Fu Hao

China

1122 - 771

Western Zhou Dynasty

1046 - 1043

Ji Fa (King Wu)

One of the heroes of China, Wu was instrumental in bring down the Shang dynasty. He set up a feudal system to rule his newly-conquered lands, but died only three years later.

781 - 771

You

The last king of the Western Zhou Dynasty, You is famed as a king who “cried wolf.” The story goes that You favored a new concubine named Bao Si, and deposed his previous queen and older son for Bao Si and her son. Bao Si was not easily entertained, so You lit the warning beacons to trick his nobles into showing up when there was nothing amiss. This amused Bao Si greatly, so You continued to do it to entertain her. When the father of You’s deposed queen attacked, no one responded when the king lit the warning beacons; You and his son by Bao Si were subsequently killed and Bao Si was captured. You was succeeded by his elder son.

China

770 - 256

Eastern Zhou Dynasty

So called because the capital was moved east to Luoyang, the Eastern Zhou era is split into two time periods. The first, the “Spring and Autumn Period” (771-476 BCE) saw the nobles increase in power vis a vis the kings. The second period, the “Warring States” era (475-221 BCE) saw the Zhou kings largely reduced to figureheads. This era is known for its many influential philosophers, including Confucius, Mencius, and Sun Tzu, among many others.

China

221 - 206

Qin Dynasty

221 - 210

Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BCE), the first Emperor of China and founding monarch of the Qin dynasty. Qin Shi Huang would unite most of what would be considered modern day China (221 BCE). He would go on to create a centralized state with officials loyal to him administering different areas. His reign would also see writing, measures, and currency standardized. During the reign of Qin Shi Huang he would have a robust system of roads and canals built to facilitate trade and military action. However, his reign was not entirely positive as he distrusted intellectuals, which led to a massive book burning in 213 BCE. Qin Shi Huang also has a very extravagant tomb filled with thousands of life-sized terracotta soldiers, providing a legacy of the first emperor that can be observed today.

China

202 - 8

Former Han Dynasty

256 - 195

Gaozu

Emperor Gaozu emerged victorious from the unrest following the unraveling of the Qin dynasty in China. He came from humble peasant origins yet founded the Han dynasty. Gaozu of Han would reduce taxes and oversee a period of general peace during his reign. He would depend upon officials to administer his empire that were promoted based upon merit rather than heredity.

156 - 87

Wudi (Emperor Wu)

Emperor Wu was the most influential ruler of the Han dynasty. Wu would go on to make a long lasting impact on Chinese society. Emperor Wu would be a great patron of Confucianism during his rule stressing that his officials be fluent in Confucian writings. He would expand Han China to the largest historical boundaries in Chinese history. In order to finance these military campaigns Wu would take over the printing of currency. Emperor Wu would also remove nobles from their land and confiscate their assets while subsequently selling titles. During his reign the central government would also get involved in the regulation of commodities such as salt and grain in order to reduce shortages and increase income.

China

24 - 220

Later Han Dynasty

China

589 - 618

Sui Dynasty

604 - 618

Yang

Yang (604-618 CE), second emperor of the Sui dynasty, succeeded his father, whom many historians of succeeding dynasties suspected that he murdered. Yang oversaw the completion of the Grand Canal, reconstruction of the Great Wall, and an expansion of territory. However, thousands of soldiers died of malaria during the conquest of Champa in modern Vietnam and campaigns against a Korean kingdom were unsuccessful. With the treasury bankrupt and facing revolts, Yang was strangled to death by one of his generals.

China

618 - 907

Tang Dynasty

626 - 649

Taizong

The Emperor Taizong, who was named Li Shimin, was the second emperor and in many ways the co-founder of the Tang dynasty along with his father, the Gaozu emperor. Taizong was the driving force behind his father’s rebellion and push for the throne. He was an adept military commander who began commanding troops while still in his teens. The Taizong emperor was a very influential ruler who appointed wise counselors while disdaining superstition in exchange for ideas based on reason and science. During his reign Tang China would regain land, pushing their borders to near the limits of Han China. The Taizong emperor would reform the legal code of China as well as allowing the code to be amended frequently to account for changing circumstances.

624 - 705

Empress (Consort) Wu Zeitan

Empress (Consort) Wu Zetian (624-705) of the Tang dynasty was an influential ruler who effectively seized control of Tang dynasty China. Wu was born of low rank but found her way into palace life as a concubine of the Taizong Emperor. She would later catch the eye of Taizong’s son Emperor Gaozong rising to the rank of Empress Consort around 655. After Gaozong suffered a debilitating illness she would consolidate almost complete control over the affairs of the state. After Gaozong died Empress Wu would use her influence to remove Gaozong’s chosen successor from power and replaced him with her youngest son who would be the Ruizong Emperor. She would effectively control all decisions made by her son. She would eventually elevate herself to the full imperial throne in 690. During her rule she would use secret police to consolidate her power; however she also had a keen eye for talented administrators. Empress Wu Zetian would help to establish and promote the examination system for officials, as well as outright removing or executing incompetent officials. She was also a great patron of Buddhism promoting it throughout China during her reign. She would also order a few successful military campaigns during her reign. Empress Wu was a ruthless and effective ruler who helped to solidify Tang dynasty China.

China

960 - 1127

Northern Song Dynasty

960 - 976

Taizu

Emperor Taizu (960-976 CE) born Zhao Kuangyin was the first emperor and founder of the Song dynasty. He reunited much of China under one ruler after several decades of smaller kingdoms following the end of the Tang dynasty. Taizu expanded the imperial examination system so that the majority of bureaucrats were selected through the exams. He also founded academies and decreased the power of the military, leaving the empire in relative internal peace.

1100 - 1161

Qinzong

Qinzong (1100-1161 CE) born Zhao Huan ruled briefly from 1126-1127 as the final emperor of the Northern Song dynasty. He and all his family, aside from one brother who escaped and founded the Southern Song Dynasty, were captured by the Jurchen Jin Empire in 1127. Qinzong was held a prisoner (although he later received a stipend) by the Jin Empire until he died in 1161.

China

1127 - 1279

Southern Song Dynasty

1127 - 1187

Gaozong

Gaozong (r.1127-1187) was born Zhao Gou, the younger brother of Emperor Qinzong. After his family was captured by the Jin Empire, he fled to the south where he reestablished the Song Dynasty in present-day Hangzhou. Although he fought the Jin for many years, Gaozong eventually signed a peace treaty with them, the Treaty of Shaoxing, in which the Jin kept the territory they had already conquered. Since his own son had died as a toddler and his close family was prisoners of the Jin, Gaozong adopted his sixth cousin as his son. Gaozong technically abdicated in 1162 in favor of his son, who became Emperor Xiaozong; however, he continued to rule until his death in 1187. The emperor was also an accomplished poet.

China

1271 - 1368

Yuan Dynasty

1271 - 1294

Khubilai

Khubilai (1271-1294) was a Mongol Khan who would go on to conquer China and establish the Yuan dynasty. Khubilai would retain many Chinese institutions as he believed that the best possible method to exploit the Chinese conquest was through the use of Chinese methods of administration and rule. He would also build a new capital in northern China that would become modern-day Beijing. During his reign he would do away with the ability to rise through social ranks via the examinations and instead established a system of hereditary occupations to help guarantee stability. Khubilai would also establish a hierarchy based upon ethnicity with Mongols occupying the top role. These systems would help to establish stability and reduce the risk of revolt from the majority Chinese population. He would also attempt an ill-fated invasion of Japan.

China

1368 - 1644

Ming Dynasty

1402 - 1424

Yongle Emperor

Yongle Emperor (1402-1424 CE) born Zhu Di, he became emperor after overthrowing his nephew. Devoted to Chinese culture, he sponsored the Yongle Encyclopedia, tolerated a variety of philosophical ideas, and even built two mosques. He is also famous for further expanding the imperial examination system (after purging many scholars following his takeover) and increasing the power of the palace eunuchs. One of those eunuchs, Zheng He, was sent on exploratory voyages and brought a giraffe back to China. The Yongle Emperor also re-established Beijing as the capital city and began construction on the Forbidden City.

1572 - 1620

Wanli Emperor

Wanli Emperor (1572-1620 CE) was the longest-reigning Ming emperor but contributed significantly to the dynasty’s decline. After a prosperous early reign, the Wanli Emperor eventually withdrew from government. The main reason for this seems to be a dispute over the succession with his top ministers. Wanli favored his third son, while many ministers favored his eldest. Although the eldest son was eventually declared heir, and would succeed as the Taichang Emperor, Wanli stopped meeting with his ministers, attending meetings, and answering memoranda. With the emperor essentially on strike, it was difficult to govern effectively. The Ming army suffered heavy losses fighting the Manchus, who would eventually conquer China in 1644.

China

1644 - 1912

Qing Dynasty

1654 - 1722

Kangxi Emperor

The Kangxi Emperor (1654-1722) of the Qing dynasty was the longest reigning Chinese Emperor at over 60 years on the throne. Kangxi came to power at fourteen and quickly worked to establish himself. He kept many political institutions from the previous Ming dynasty which helped to solidify relations with Han Chinese as they could still become officials in the Manchu Qing regime. During his reign China would go on to conquer modern day Mongolia and Tibet, establishing a presence in Central Asia. The Kangxi Emperor was a great patron of Western learning. He was personally interested in the learning of Jesuit scholars who served the imperial court. The Kangxi Emperor would have many European works translated into Chinese. He would also oversee the compilation of the Kangxi Dictionary, a great cultural achievement. Kangxi was also a great patron of Tibetan Buddhism.

1723 - 1735

Yongzheng Emperor

Yinzhen (1723-1735) called the Yongzheng Emperor of the Qing dynasty of China, became Emperor following his father’s death in 1723. Yongzheng was an efficient ruler who would seek to reduce corruption during his reign. He would also oversee many important financial reforms. The most important of these was ordering the preparation of biannual reports from the provincial governors. These reports would include estimates on needs for famine assistance, military garrisons, and public works. These financial reforms would help to lay the foundation for later financial success in the Qing dynasty, as well as increasing the control of the central government over the provincial administrations.

1735 - 1796

Qianlong Emperor

Aisin Gioro Hongli, also known as the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty, was an impressive statesman and influential head of state that oversaw a period of prosperity throughout the Qing Empire. It was during his reign that Qing China would reach its territorial peak with the conquest of modern-day Xinjiang province. Qianlong was a well-known polyglot who could address visitors to the imperial court in their own languages. He was said to speak Mongolian, Uighur, Tibetan, and Tangut. Qianlong was a great patron of Tibetan Buddhism and Confucian values. The emperor was also a lover of the arts, penning thousands of poems himself and patronizing many different artists. He would abdicate in 1796 in order to have a shorter reign than his grandfather the Kangxi emperor. He died in 1799.

India

322 - 185

Maurya Dynasty

322 - 297

Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire. He rose to power by conquering the Nanda Empire, the dominant force on the Indian subcontinent. He did this around the age of 20, laying the basis for a large empire that stretched over much of modern day India. Chandragupta would also conquer some of the eastern territories of the Seleucid Empire showing the strength of his military. He would make peace with the Seleucids, however, and marry the ruler Seleucus I Nicator’s daughter, thereby establishing a friendly relationship with the Hellenistic world. This would lead to increased exposure and transfer of ideas between the Mediterranean and India. Chandragupta would lay the groundwork for his son and grandson to further consolidate his empire.

269 - 232

Ashoka

Ashoka was an ancient Indian Emperor that established an Empire that would stretch over much of modern day India (aside from the extreme south of the sub-continent). He became ruler in 269 BCE but much of his life is shrouded in legend. Ashoka was considered a bloodthirsty and ruthless military commander who after pushing his empire to its furthest limits would convert to Buddhism in 273BCE. After his conversion, he was a relatively peaceful ruler who placed pillar and rock edicts supporting Buddhist teachings around his kingdom. He was also a pivotal factor in the spread of Buddhism, spreading it as far south as modern Sri Lanka. He would die in 232 BCE after around 30 years of rule.

India

320 - 547

Gupta Dynasty

335 - 375

Samudra Gupta

Samudra Gupta (335-375 CE) was the son of Chandra Gupta I, founder of the Gupta Dynasty. Samundra expanded the territory of the empire, bringing areas such as Kashmir and the Deccan under his command. So famed was his military prowess that a eulogy to Samudra, which celebrated his conquests, was carved into one of the Ashokan pillars in Allahabad. Samudra also revived royal patronage of the ritual of the horse sacrifice, important to the Vedic tradition.

375 - 415

Chandra Gupta II Vikramaditya

Chandra Gupta II Vikramaditya (375-415 CE), son of Samundra, took over after the brief reign of his brother Ramagupta, who was defeated by the Sakas. Chandra Gupta II was also known for his military abilities. He further extended the borders of the empire to its peak size, although he ruled in a decentralized fashion.

India

300s - 1279

Chola Kingdom

985 - 1014

Raja Raja Chola I

Raja Raja Chola I (985-1014 CE) was an important ruler of the Chola Kingdom in what is now Southern India. He ruled from 985-1014. He would establish a more centralized administration over a loose collection of nobles that made up his kingdom. He did this by instituting a system of audits that held local municipalities responsible. He would conquer much of Southern India including the northern part of Sri Lanka. Raja Raja Chola would also establish dominion over the Maldives. He had a tolerant religious policy while being a Hindu himself. He built the Brihadisvara temple dedicated to Shiva which is one of the largest temples in India. Raja Raja Chola I also constructed a large navy to help assist with military conquest and trade. Raja Raja Chola would patronize many excellent pieces of architecture many of which were temples.

1014 - 1044

Rajendra Chola I

Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 CE) succeeded his father Raja Raja Chola I as the ruler of the Chola Kingdom. He would rule from 1014-1044. During his reign the Chola kingdom would expand greatly to the north until it encompassed much of the eastern Indian subcontinent. He would also complete the conquest of Sri Lanka. Rajendra Chola I, who saw the importance of having a strong navy, would also make a naval expedition where he would establish tributaries through much of modern day Malaysia, and other parts of Southeast Asia. He would establish the Chola Kingdom as the largest empire in India during the time. The Chola kingdom would increase the size of its military greatly during his reign.

India

1206 - 1526

Delhi Sultanate

This Muslim polity in India was headed by 5 separate dynasties: a Turkic slave dynasty (1206-1290), the Khalji dynasty (1290-1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1388), the Sayyid dynasty (1414-1450), and the Lodi dynasty (1450-1526).

1296 - 1316

Alauddin Khalji

Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316) came to power after murdering his father-in-law and predecessor and spent much of his reign focused on successful conquests. Domestically, Alauddin worked to accumulate great wealth in the royal treasury: he revoked land grants made by previous sultans and increased taxes to one half of the produce (formerly it was one-fifth or one-third). Although he was a skilled administrator, his dynasty was overthrown just 4 years after his death.

India

1526 - 1540

Mughal Empire

India

1555 - 1857

Mughal Empire

1526 - 1530

Babur

Babur of the Mughal Dynasty (1483-1530) was born Zahir-ud-Din-Muhammad; he was a Central Asian Conqueror who after attempting multiple times to capture Samarkand laid the basis for the Mughal Empire in India. He would conquer Punjab in less than a month and then solidify his position with another battle. Babur accomplished these victories through skilled use of firearms as well as encirclement tactics. Babur was also a patron of the arts and music during times of relative peace. His empire was very decentralized; because he was more concerned with military matters than administration, many administrators were essentially autonomous. Babur would also support the influx of Persian and Central Asian culture into India. The chronicles of his life are an important piece of literature called the Babarnama. Babur would lay the foundation for one of the greatest empires in Indian history while also patronizing the arts.

1556 - 1605

Akbar I

Akbar I was a Mughal Emperor who would extend the bounds of the Mughal Empire to include most of the Indian sub-continent north of the Godavari River. During his rule the Mughal Empire would also become extremely wealthy due to conquest. However, he was also interested in intellectual pursuits and rumored to have a library of over 20,000 volumes. He established a system of law that treated all religions equally in order to help keep his large realm stable. Akbar abolished the tax on Hindus which would help endear him to his majority Hindu subjects. Akbar would also use marriage-based alliances to help solidify and secure his realm by marrying women of many different faiths. Akbar I’s policies helped to increase economic activity, reform the military, and reform the legal system into one based upon religious tolerance.

1605 - 1627

Jahangir

Jahangir was born in 1569 as Salim, the oldest son of Emperor Akbar. He would fight a rebellion against his father, but by the time Akbar died in 1605 they had reconciled and the Empire was passed to him. Jahangir was a great patron for the arts who preferred to eschew combat in favor of staying at his court. During this period the Mughal Empire would continue to expand through military force and political intrigue. This expansion would help to consolidate the Empire that his forefathers had painstakingly built. His wife would hold a large amount of influence over him; Mehrunissa would be consulted for most policy decisions. Jahangir personally enjoyed constructing gardens among other artistic items. Jahangir would spend much of his life as an alcohol and opium addict which would eventually lead to his death. He would leave behind a more consolidated empire with many cultural artifacts.

1611 - 1627

Empress Consort Nur Jahan

Empress Consort Nur Jahan (1577-1645 CE) was the final and most beloved wife of the Emperor Jahangir. Nur Jahan is believed by many to have been the real power behind the throne of her husband’s reign. She was the widow of a Persian military officer who had been under the employ of the Mughal Empire. Jahangir would meet and fall in love with her and they would marry in 1611. From 1611 to 1627 she would effectively wield imperial power, running many of the affairs of the state for opium and alcohol addicted Jahangir. Interestingly she was a physically robust woman who joined her husband on hunts. Nur Jahan would also be a driving force behind the growth of arts and culture during her period of influence. She would lose her influence after the death of her husband and the rise of his son Shah Jahan after a brief succession conflict. She would live the rest of her days confined to a palace with her daughter.

1628 - 1666

Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan was born in 1592 to the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. He rose to the throne after the death of his father in 1628. An excellent administrator, he inherited a depleted treasury, but over his reign the Empire would become one of the wealthiest in the world. Shah Jahan was also not as religiously tolerant as previous Mughal Emperors, as he sought to assert the dominance of Islam over other religions such as Hinduism. Shah Jahan was also a great patron of the arts and poetry like many other Emperors of the Mughal dynasty. Shah Jahan was most famous as a patron of architecture, commanding the construction of many iconic examples of Mughal architecture including the world famous Taj Mahal, which he built in honor of his beloved wife who had died. During his reign, the administration of the Empire was increasingly centralized with an increase in tax revenue and economic growth as a result. Personally Shah Jahan tried to exude an air of perfection in public which was in contrast to earlier Mughal rulers who were more accessible.

India

1674 - 1818

Maratha Empire

1674 - 1680

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja

Shivaji was born sometime around 1630 and died in 1680. Shivaji would lay the foundations for the Maratha Empire. Shivaji founded his state during a rebellion against the Bijapur Sultanate. The result would be the creation of a Maratha kingdom. Shivaji was a devout Hindu who promoted the use of Marathi in his court and Sanskrit in writing. He allowed his subjects to have freedom of religion with no forced conversion to his beliefs. Shivaji made many changes that would lay the foundation for future Maratha success. A brilliant military commander, he would introduce a standing army that excelled in the use of small unit tactics. He would also establish part-time peasant soldiers that would work in the field part of the year. Shivaji would tie the populace closer to the state with people of all classes actively involved in the defense of the state. He would win many military victories against opponents such as the Mughal Empire.

Korea

918 - 1392

Koryo Kingdom

949 - 975

Emperor Gwangjong

Gwangjong (949-975 CE), born Wang So, was the fourth son of Taejo, founder of the dynasty. Gwangjong succeeded his brother at the age of 25. Gwangjong’s goal throughout his entire reign was to curb the power of the nobility and increase the power of the ruler. To that end, he refused to marry a noblewoman and took wives from among his own relatives. In 956, the emperor emancipated all slaves, which increased his power base while decreasing the nobles’ (they had owned most of the slaves and taxed them, but free people paid their taxes to the emperor instead). In 958, Gwangjong instituted civil service examinations based on the Chinese model: the exams covered the Confucian classics and bureaucrats would earn their places based on merit. While Gwangjong’s reforms were popular with the common people, his nobles resisted, leading to a failed rebellion. In reaction, beginning in 960, Gwangjong began to purge thousands of his opponents. Although Gwangjong managed to restructure the government, many of his reforms would be undone. Under his son and successor, the bureaucracy began to turn into a hereditary system rather than a meritocracy. Under the following emperor, the emancipation of slaves was rescinded.

Korea

1392 - 1910

Yi Dynasty (Joseon)

1392 - 1398

Taejo

Taejo (1335-1408 CE), born Yi Seong-gye, was the founder of the Joseon dynasty of Korea. He founded the dynasty by overthrowing the previous Goryeo Dynasty. Originally a general of the preceding regime and a military commander of considerable repute, he would defeat Mongols and Japanese Pirates. Taejo would then go on to disagree with the court and turn an army meant for Manchuria back on the capital where he defeated loyalist forces. He would establish the Joseon dynasty around 1393, but he would have a relatively short reign of only a few years. He would live until 1408 though he would abdicate as his sons struggled for the throne. Taejo would also closely tie Korea to Ming Dynasty China after the collapse of the Yuan dynasty. During his reign Taejo would build the first great palace. His reign, while short-lived, was very important as it would install one of Korea’s longest lived dynasties.

1418 - 1450

Sejong

Sejong the Great was born the third son of the preceding ruler (Taejong) and ascended to the throne due his father’s favor and his brother, the original heir’s, light-hearted disposition. This would be of great benefit to Korea as Sejong would institute many reforms and rule effectively. Importantly Sejong was interested in governing according to Confucian principles; this meant he believed in promoting men of talent and representing virtue and scholarship. Perhaps the most important creation credited to Sejong the Great was the creation of the Korean alphabet which allowed the Koreans to express themselves in a more simplified and efficient manner than the Chinese they wrote in during preceding periods. Sejong was also an excellent military reformer. During his reign the Koreans would wipe out Japanese pirates in Tsushima Island; he would also expand his territory to the north. He would also order the compilation of a treatise on farming that would prove of great importance to the common people and the dynasty itself. Overall King Sejong the Great is considered one of the best leaders in Korean history mainly due to his creation of the enduring Korean alphabet.

Persia

1792 - 1750

Hammurabi

Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE), an early king of Babylonia, is famous for his law code, the Code of Hammurabi. Although his code is not the oldest, it was one of the most influential. In his code, Hammurabi focused on physically punishing perpetrators and limiting what victims could exact in retribution. His code focuses on retributory justice, exemplified by “eye for an eye” type punishments. The stele on which the laws were carved and displayed is now at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

550 - 331

Achaemenid Empire

550 - 530

Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, conquered numerous kingdoms to create his empire. This is reflected in his series of titles, which include: King of Persia, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkan, King of Anshan, and King of the Four Corners of the World. Cyrus is noted for his establishment of a centralized government in which provinces were ruled by satraps (governors) and his acceptance of the religions and customs of the various peoples he conquered. He has been hailed as an early promoter of human rights, partially based on the text of the Cyrus Cylinder, although historians debate this. Cyrus is spoken of positively in the Jewish Bible and has a wide reputation as a wise and competent ruler – one who deserves to be called great.

522 - 486

Darius I

Darius I (522-486 BCE) ruled the Achaemenid Empire at its largest extent. He is perhaps most famous for his attempt to crush Athens after they supported his enemies in the Ionian Revolt; Darius was defeated at Marathon, but he reclaimed Thrace and extended his conquests into Macedon. Within the empire, Darius worked to increase centralization, standardizing weights and measures and making Aramaic the official language of the empire. The king also introduced a new standardized currency, the daric, which came in both gold and silver. An ardent Zoroastrian, Darius nevertheless permitted conquered people to maintain their previous religious traditions.

486 - 465

Xerxes I

Xerxes I (486-465 BCE), son of Darius I, also ruled the Achaemenid Empire at its height. Early in his reign, Xerxes crushed rebellions in Egypt and Babylon and continued his father’s war against Greece. Xerxes was victorious at the Battle of Thermopylae and later captured and burned Athens. However, the king had to leave Greece to attend to a rebellion in Babylon; the force he left in Greece was later defeated. Xerxes was murdered by a royal official with the help of a eunuch in what was probably an attempt to dethrone the Achaemenids. However, Xerxes’ son Artaxerxes succeeded him. Xerxes, referred to as Ahasuerus, also features in the Book of Esther.

Persia

224 - 642

Sasanian Empire

240 - 270

Shapur I

Son of Ardashir, founder of the Sasanian dynasty, Shapur I is noted for his success in battle against the Roman Empire. In 260, Shapur captured Valerian and his army at the Battle of Edessa; the Romans were subsequently taken deeper into the Sasanian empire. This victory is commemorated with a rock relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, which shows a kneeling Valerian supplicating a mounted Shapur.

309 - 379

Shapur II

Shapur II, the longest-reigning Sasanian ruler, is noted for his expansion of the empire. Through a series of wars with the Romans, Shapur II gained control of Georgia and Armenia, and left the kingdom larger and militarily stronger than what he had inherited. Shapur II’s reign saw the completion of the Avesta, the written texts of Zoroastrianism. Shapur II is also noted for his poor relations with his Christian subjects. After Constantine the Great’s conversion to the religion, Shapur II feared his Christian subjects might become foreign agents. He imposed increased taxes on Christians, attempted to force some of the clergy to convert to Zoroastrianism, and ultimately executed a number of them.

531 - 579

Khusro I

Khusro I is one of the most celebrated Sasanid emperors, renowned for his administrative acumen and cultural patronage. He regularized the tax system; all land was taxed under a single program and noble families were no longer exempt. This stabilized government finances. Khusro also created a new social class, the deghans. These small landowners were lower nobility and were used extensively as bureaucrats in local and provincial government. The king reformed military recruitment and training, leading to some success against the eastern Roman empire. Finally, Khusro has a reputation as a philosopher king because of his promotion of the study of and translation of works of philosophy, medicine, and mathematics. He also expanded the Academy of Gondishapur and introduced chess into Persia.

Persia

1501 - 1722

Safavid Dynasty

1524 - 1576

Tahmasp I

Shah Tahmasp I (1524-1576 CE) came to the throne as a child. By 1533, when he entered adulthood, he had laid the foundation to assert his authority over the tribal groups that had helped his family to the throne and served as his regents. Tahmasp promoted ethnic Georgians, Armenians, and Circassians to civil and military posts; over time, this severely curtailed the power of the tribes. Tahmasp’s reign included conflict with the Ottoman Empire; the Safavids lost territory and even moved their capital further east as a precaution. Under Tahmasp the arts flourished and he encouraged the development of the Persian rug industry. He died in 1576 from poisoning (it is unknown if it was accidental or malicious).

1588 - 1629

Abbas I

Shah Abbas I (1588-1629 CE) further consolidated the power of the shah. He continued the practice developed under Tahmasp I of promoting Georgians, Armenians, and Circassians and effectively crushed the power of the tribes that had put the Safavids on the throne. Abbas engaged in a number of military campaigns designed to regain lands the dynasty had previously lost to the Ottomans and Mughals; he successfully regained Tabriz and Baghdad, which had been lost under Tahmasp I. Abbas also drove Portuguese traders out of Safavid territory and established a new capital, Isfahan, which was planned with meticulous care. Abbas also promoted the Persian rug industry and enticed Chinese artisans to his lands in order to improve the Safavid ceramics industry.

Caliphate

661 - 750

Umayyad Dynasty

661 - 680

Mu‘awiya

Mu‘awiya (661-680 CE) was the founder of the Umayyad dynasty. Prior to becoming caliph, Mu‘awiya had been governor of Syria, which was his base of power; he moved the capital of the caliphate to Damascus. Mu‘awiya became caliph after the assassination of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the nephew of Muhammad and the fourth of the “rightly-guided caliphs.” Mu‘awiya fought against Ali at the battle of Siffin in 657 because he did not think Ali had done enough to punish the assassins of his relative and the previous caliph, Uthman. After Ali’s death, Mu‘awiya was the most powerful figure in the community, enabling him to take the reins of power. During his reign, Mu‘awiya allowed non-Muslims to freely practice their religions; he also used many Christians in his growing bureaucracies. Mu‘awiya appointed his son Yazid as his successor, a controversial move since the caliphate had not descended by hereditary succession, but Yazid ultimately succeeded his father and the position of caliph started to be passed down in the dynasty.

685 - 705

‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan

‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (685-705 CE) oversaw the expansion of the caliphate in North Africa and instituted a number of reforms. ‘Abd al-Malik made Arabic the official language of the government, which helped to streamline the administration. He also reorganized the postal service and minted a uniform currency for the entire caliphate. Finally, he built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

Caliphate

750 - 1258

Abbasid Dynasty

1261 - 1517

Abbasid Dynasty

under Mamluk Sultanate

754 - 775

Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur

Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (754-775 CE), generally known as al-Mansur, was the second Abbasid caliphate but is generally considered the true founder of the dynasty. In response to unrest in the region of modern-day Iraq, al-Mansur founded a new royal city and palace, which became the core of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid dynasty. The Abbasid caliphs expanded the royal bureaucracy, generally modeling it along Persian practices. Under al-Mansur, the famous translation movement began; it started with a group of Syriac Christians gathering manuscripts of Greek works, collating them, and finally translating them into Arabic. With this background, arts, letters, sciences, and jurisprudence would flourish under the Abbasid rulers. Despite his support of translation, al-Mansur also persecuted some legal scholars (namely Abu Hanifa).

786 - 809

Harun al-Rashid

Harun al-Rashid (786-809 CE) is probably the most famous of the Abbasid caliphs, appearing as a character in a number of stories in The Book of 1001 Nights. Despite his fame as a character, Harun al-Rashid severely harmed the caliphate by partitioning it between his sons on his death, which led to civil war. During his reign, though, the caliph founded the library Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) where translation and scholarship flourished. Harun al-Rashid had far-flung diplomatic contacts: he sent an embassy to Tang China and had multiple interactions with the envoys of Charlemagne. The caliph’s court was noted for its luxury and magnificence, and according to Carolingian records his gifts to Charlemagne even included an elephant.

Caliphate/Turkey

1299 - 1922

Ottoman Dynasty

The Ottoman dynasty had two distinct succession practices. From the mid-1300s to 1603, succession was determined by which of the previous sultan’s sons could best prove his claim. Often this involved fratricide, or the killing of his brothers and other candidates for the throne. After 1603, succession fell to the eldest male relative of the previous sultan, leading to many sultans being succeeded by their brothers or nephews and not their sons. This second practice continued until the end of the dynasty.

1520 - 1566

Suleiman I

Suleiman I the Magnificent (1520-1566 CE) was the longest reign Ottoman sultan. He is well known for his military success in Europe, in which he conquered Hungary but was repulsed at Vienna in 1529. He later humiliated the Habsburgs in the 1540s; the two dynasties would be rivals for centuries. In addition to military success in the Indian Ocean and North Africa, Suleiman issued a new, streamlined law code that was used for three hundred years. The sultan also expanded the education system, allowing more boys to attend primary school for free. In addition, Suleiman was a generous patronage of the arts and architecture and even wrote poetry.

1808 - 1839

Mahmud II

Mahmud II (1808-1839 CE) is noted for his 1826 abolition of the Janissary Corp and his reforms and modernizations. Mahmud attended meetings of the Divan, or council of state, something sultans had not done regularly for centuries. He also cut back on unnecessary bureaucratic posts and reformed abusive taxation. He ended restrictions on drinking alcoholic beverages and encouraged the wearing of European-style clothing. Just before his death he was preparing the Tanzimat reforms, which were put in place by his sons and successors. Despite his successes, Mahmud’s reign also saw the shrinking of the empire. For instance, Greece became independent in 1821.

1839 - 1861

Abdulmecid I

Abdulmecid I (1839-1861 CE), son of Mahmud II, promulgated the Tanzimat reforms. This was an extensive program of reform and far-reaching change that included reorganization of the military, court system, and financial sector. The reforms created a Ministry of Education and established universities on the European model, as well as reworking the criminal code following French models. In 1856, non-Muslims were permitted to serve in the military and homosexuality was decriminalized in 1858.

Vietnam

1010 - 1225

Lý Dynasty

1072 - 1128

Lý Nhân Tông

Lý Nhân Tông (1072-1128 CE) was the son of Lý Thánh Tông and became ruler at only 7 years old. His mother and the chancellor served as eminently-capable regents. Early in his reign, the emperor ordered the beginning of Confucian examinations in Vietnam; he founded Confucian schools and later reformed the rankings of officials. In addition, Nhân Tông prohibited the killing of water buffalo because they were needed for farming. He defended his territory against the Chinese Song dynasty, eventually negotiating a cease-fire and reclaiming the land in later years after diplomatic missions to the Song. Nhân Tông had no biological son, so he adopted the two-year-old son of one of his nobles in 1117. This child succeeded Nhân Tông after he died aged 61, the longest-reign monarch of Vietnam.

1224 - 1225

Lý Chiêu Hoàng

Lý Chiêu Hoàng (1224-1225 CE) was the only Empress Regnant in Vietnamese history. Her ill father abdicated in her favor when she was only 6 years old, but the young ruler was under the control of Trần Thủ Độ, Commander of the Royal Guard. He married her to his nephew Trần Cảnh when both children were only 7; Thủ Độ had the empress cede her title to her new husband and she was demoted to Empress Consort after her husband’s coronation in January 1226. She was Empress Consort until 1237 when she was demoted again to Princess since she had yet to bear her husband any children. She later remarried a noble and had two children with him. She died in 1278 at age 60.

Vietnam

1225 - 1400

Trần Dynasty

1293 - 1314

Trần Anh Tông

Trần Anh Tông (1293-1314) had a peaceful and prosperous reign as the first Trần emperor who didn’t have to fight off the Mongols. He expanded his territory into the Champa region, although relations between the two were strained. In 1314, Anh Tông abdicated in favor of his son and served as retired emperor until he died in 1320. According to commissioned histories, in his youth Anh Tông would often get drunk until he offended the retired emperor. After apologizing in writing to him, Anh Tông swore of drinking.

Vietnam

1428 - 1789

Later Lê Dynasty

1428 - 1433

Lê Lợi

Lê Lợi (1428-1433) founded the Later Lê Dynasty after twenty years of Ming rule (the Ming had been asked to intervene in a dispute between previous dynasties). He fought Ming forces for about ten years before the Ming recognized him as ruler and the status of Vietnam as a vassal state. Lê Lợi continued the Chinese-style Confucian government that had been adopted by earlier dynasties. He is perhaps most famous because of the legends surrounding him and his magic sword. During his campaign against the Ming, Lê Lợi visited the home of a fisherman who had a sword blade he had found in a lake. The blade emitted light when in Lê Lợi’s presence and Lê Lợi saw the words “Will of Heaven” when he lifted the blade, so the fisherman gave the blade to him. Later Lê Lợi saw a strange light coming from a banyan tree where he then found the hilt of the sword. The sword caused Lê Lợi to grow taller and gain strength, and he and his armies won multiple victories. After Lê Lợi had become emperor, he was boating on a lake in Hanoi when a golden turtle approached and asked the emperor to return the sword to its true owner, the Dragon King, who lived in the lake. Lê Lợi returned the sword to the turtle, which disappeared beneath the water to take the sword back. The lake was then named “The Lake of the Returned Sword,” the name it bears today.

1460 - 1497

Lê Thánh Tông

Lê Thánh Tông (1460-1497) steeped his government in the principles of Confucianism. He revived the examination system after a couple decades of lax use, and he promoted Confucianism at the expense of Buddhism. New temples of literature were built that venerated the Confucian classics, but no new Buddhist temples or monasteries could be erected. Thánh Tông divided his government into 6 ministries, following Chinese practice, and had a census taken. Despite his emulation of Chinese governmental practices, Thánh Tông’s relations with China were not particularly friendly, as Chinese captives were forced into military service and sometimes castrated.

Mongol

1206 - 1368

Mongol Empire

1229 - 1241

Ogedei

Ogedei (1186-1241) would succeed his father as the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Ogedei was born in 1186 as the third son of Genghis Khan. During his reign the borders of the Mongol Empire would expand to the East and South. He would extend his control all the way to the Adriatic Sea and make Russia a tributary of the Mongol Empire. Ogedei would also finish the construction of the Mongol capital of Karakorum in the way his father had wished. Ogedei would also strengthen the bureaucracy of the Mongol Empire using different ethnic groups from across the Empire as administrators. Ogedei oversaw the conquest of Northern China. Under his stewardship the Mongols would continue to pursue the goal of Genghis Khan by continuing an expansionist policy. Ogedei would pass away in 1241 due to his alcoholism.

1251 - 1259

Mongke Khan

Mongke Khan (1209-1259) would rise to the title of Great Khan in 1251. During his reign the Mongol Empire would resume expansionist policies. These policies would be pursued with military campaigns directed towards East Asia and the Middle East. As a result of these policies, and changes in administrative techniques, the Mongol Empire would become the largest Empire in history. The boundaries of the empire stretched from Korea in the east to Ukraine in the west. Mongke also stuck to the Mongol policy of religious impartiality; while being a shamanist himself, he would patronize the building of other religious structures such as mosques and churches. His capital in Karakorum had no less than 12 Buddhist temples, two mosques, and a church according to Franciscan Monk William of Rubruck who traveled to the Khan’s capital. Mongke was said to delight in learning about other religions and is quoted as saying “We Mongols believe there is but one God, by Whom we live and by Whom we die, and towards Him we have an upright heart.... But just as God gave different fingers to the hand so has He given different ways to men.” Mongke was also a patron of many artisans and craftsman and had many Europeans employed in his capital.

1260 - 1294

Khubilai

Khubilai (1215-1294) was a Mongol Khan who would go on to conquer China and establish the Yuan dynasty. Khubilai would retain many Chinese institutions as he believed that the best possible method to exploit the Chinese conquest was through the use of Chinese methods of administration and rule. He would also build a new capital in northern China that would become modern-day Beijing. During his reign he would do away with the ability to rise through social ranks via the examinations and instead established a system of hereditary occupations to help guarantee stability. Khubilai would also establish a hierarchy based upon ethnicity with Mongols occupying the top role. These systems would help to establish stability and reduce the risk of revolt from the majority Chinese population. He would also attempt an ill-fated invasion of Japan.

Japan

660 - now

Imperial Dynasty

673 - 686

Emperor Tenmu

Emperor Tenmu (673-686 CE) was the first person to be referred to as “Tennō” (Emperor of Japan) during his lifetime. He worked diligently to increase the power of the emperor, which including altering the titles and ranks of the nobility and issuing a new law code. He also supported Buddhism in addition to Shinto.

1867 - 1912

Meiji Emperor

Meiji Emperor (1867-1912 CE) presided over a dynamic period in Japanese history, although his exact involvement in and support of events is still unclear. After the resignation of the shogun in late 1867, the Emperor restored imperial rule in January 1868. Later that year, he presented the Charter Oath, which abolished the old feudal system and proclaimed a democratic government. Ultimately, the new Parliament was relatively powerless, as was the Emperor, and Japan was ruled by an oligarchy. However, the Emperor did attend Cabinet meetings and other government functions, speaking rarely. During his reign, Japan industrialized and flexed its military might in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), although a poem written by the Emperor suggests he might have been a pacifist.


Europe


Greece/Byzantine Empire

359 - 336

Philip II of Macedon

Rise of Macedonian kingdom to dominant territory in Hellenistic Greece

Greece/Byzantine Empire

336 - 323

Alexander III of Macedon / Alexander the Great

Expansion of Macedonian kingdom and hellenistic Greece and forming of an Empire

Greece/Byzantine Empire

323 - 31

Hellenistic period

Disintegration of Alexander's Empire, establishing of successor kingdoms which still promote Greek cultural power and influence

Greece/Byzantine Empire

330 - 330

Constantinopel

Constantine re-founds and rebuilds Constantinopel as second Rome (seat of the emperor) in place of the antique Byzantium. It later becomes the capital of the Byzantine Empire.

Greece/Byzantine Empire

395 - 1453

Byzantine Empire

The Roman Emperor Theodosius I leaves each of his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius, one part of the Empire. Afterwards the Roman Empire was never re-united, and since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th century, the Eastern Roman Empire (or, Byzantine Empire) remained until the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The largest territorial stretch was reached in the 11th century with dominions in Southern Italy, Bulgaria and large parts of the Balkans to Turkey and Armenia in the East.

Greece/Byzantine Empire

482 - 565

Justinian I

Eastern Roman Emperor who tries to reclaim the Western parts of the Roman Empire. Influential for his judicial reforms, i.e. the revision of the Roman laws. They still form the basis of todays civil laws.

Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire

750 - 510

Roman Kingdom

Mythical period of monarchical rule over Rome, starting with Romulus, then Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Targuinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, and Tarquinius Superbus. Period ends with the overthrow of the last king, and the establishment of the Roman Republic

Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire

27 - 297

Roman Principate

Starts with the reign of Augustus. Characterised by rule of monarchical emperors under the pretext of keeping up the Roman Republic. Ends under Diocletian with the establishment of the Dominate, a more absolute monarchy.

Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire

297 - 476

Roman Dominate / Late Roman Empire

Fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 after deposition of Romulus Augustus. Eastern Roman Empire remains intact, and Roman influences continue throughout the Early Middle Ages in Europe.

Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire

324 - 337

Constantine the Great

One of three emperors (tetrarchie) since 306, establishes sole rule against Maxentius and Liciisun 324. Constantinople as new capital of the Roman Empire (Second Rome), begin of Christianisation of Rome.

Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire

568 - 774

Kingdom of the Lombards

(Northern) Italian kingdom under various Germanic people, foremost the Lombards, but also Saxons, Ostrogoths, Bulgars, etc. Conflicts with Pope and Byzantine Empire (751 conquest of last Byzantine strongholds in Italy). Franks (Pepin the Short in alliance with Pope Stephen II) conquer the Lombardic kingdom.

Holy Roman Empire

800 - 1806

Holy Roman Empire

Complicated, complex, and multi-ethnic monarchy in Central Europe. Myth of successor to the (Western) Roman Empire (translatio imperii), first re-start with coronation of Charlemagne 800. Second re-start with coronation of Otto I in 962. Electoral monarchy: emperor ("King of Romans") elected by 7 (since 1648: 8) prince-electors. Dissolved by abdication of Francis II after defeat by the French under Napoleon Bonaparte on 6 August 1806.

Holy Roman Empire

751 - 888

Carolingian Rule

Frankish king Pepin the Short as "Patricius Romanorum" (754), Reconquest of Ravenna which form the basis of the Papal State (Donation of Pepin 756), 800 coronation of Charlemagne to Roman Emperor, 812

Holy Roman Empire

768 - 814

Charlemagne

King of the Franks (768), King of the Lombards (774), Holy Roman Emperor (800)

Holy Roman Empire

919 - 1024

Ottonian Dynasty

Saxon dynasty which was reigned as Roman Emperors, the first three all named Otto. Becomes extinct after Otto III in the direct male line, and after Henry II (member of the Bavarian line of the Ottonians), and the Salian dynasty continues rule over the Empire.

Holy Roman Empire

1024 - 1125

Salian Dynasty

Four Salian emperors, Conrad II, Henry III-V, who were elected as Roman Emperors and established the Empire as major European power.

Holy Roman Empire

1076 - 1122

Investiture Controversy

Conflict between church and state, starting with the conflict between pope Gregory VII and emperor Henry IV over the right to appoint clerical offices (esp. Bishops and arch-bishops who were also rulers of territories in the empire and elsewhere). Connected to the Gregorian Reform in church as well as to the question of who had the right to invest and depose whom: pope the emperor, or vice versa? Part of this conflict is Henry IV's walk to Canossa (1077) to apologize to the pope who had excommunicated and deposed him. Later, several antipopes as well as rival German kings played a role, until the conflict was finally resolved at the Concordat of Worms (1122) which forbid lay investiture but allowed secular rulers influence in the process of appointment.

Holy Roman Empire

1024 - 1077

Empress Agnes of Poitou

Agnes of Poitou was the daughter of Agnes of Burgundy and Duke William of Aquitaine and Poitou. She married the German king Henry III in 1043. When Henry III died on 5 October 1056, he left his eldest son and heir, Henry IV, and the German kingdom in Agnes’s hands. Agnes travelled throughout the kingdom with her son, wrote letters to secure support for him, and acted as intervener and mediator in royal documents and judicial affairs. In 1062, in an event commonly called the ‘Kaiserswerth Coup’, Agnes was removed from her position as guardian of king and kingdom. Following her removal, she stayed in her son’s kingdom until his knighting and coming of age in 1065, after which she travelled to Rome. Agnes continued to be involved in high-level political dealings for the rest of her life, regularly acting as mediator between her son and the pope.
Further reading: ‘Agnes of Poitiers, Empress’, Epistolae: Medieval Women’s Latin Letters www.epistolae.ctl.columbia.edu/woman/23.html; Emily Joan Ward, ‘Agnes of Poitou (c.1025-1077) and ‘Medieval’ Attitudes to Women in Power?’, Doing History in Public Blog www.doinghistoryinpublic.org/2014/01/15/agnes-of-poitou-c-1025-1077-and-medieval-attitudes-to-women-in-power

Holy Roman Empire

1017 - 1056

Emperor Heinrich III

As was often the tradition in the German kingdom, Henry had been designated as king during his father’s lifetime. As the eldest son of Conrad II and Gisela of Swabia, Henry became Duke of Bavaria in 1026, at the age of nine, and was then crowned on Easter Day 1028. Henry initially married Gunhild, daughter of Cnut, king of Denmark and England, in 1036 but she died two years later after bearing him a daughter. After Conrad’s death on 4 June 1039, Henry ruled as sole German king. In 1043, he remarried, taking Agnes of Poitou as his second wife and, in 1046, the royal couple set out for Rome where they were crowned emperor and empress by Pope Clement II. Emperor Henry III died on 5 October 1056, at the age of thirty-nine.
Further reading: Hanna Vollrath, ‘The Western Empire Under the Salians‘, in The New Cambridge Medieval History. Volume 4: c.1025-c.1198, Part 2, eds David Luscombe and Jonathan Riley-Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 38-71; Peter Munz, ‘The Emperor Henry III’, History Today 17 (1967) www.historytoday.com/peter-munz/emperor-henry-iii;

Holy Roman Empire

1050 - 1106

Emperor Heinrich IV

Henry was born on 11 November 1050 and received an oath of fidelity from the German princes when he was barely six weeks old. In July 1054, Henry was co-crowned at Aachen. When his father, Emperor Henry III, died on 5 October 1056, Henry IV succeeded as sole ruler. Initially Henry’s mother, Agnes of Poitou, was responsible for his care and for governing his kingdom. But, in 1062, Henry was kidnapped from the palace of Kaiserswerth by Archbishop Anno of Cologne, who replaced Agnes as the king’s guardian. Later, another archbishop, Adalbert of Hamburg-Bremen, became very close to the king and accompanied him on his first military campaign to Hungary. Henry was knighted at Easter 1065 and he married Bertha of Savoy-Turin the same year. As an adult ruler, he became infamous for his disputes with Pope Gregory VII over the question of lay investiture (also referred to as the ‘investiture controversy’), which led the pope to excommunicated Henry.
Further reading:< I. S. Robinson, Henry IV of Germany, 1056-1106 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Levi Roach, ‘Henry IV of Germany: a ‘Bad King’?’, History Today, 20 February 2017 www.historytoday.com/levi-roach/henry-iv-germany-%E2%80%98bad-king%E2%80%99

Holy Roman Empire

1138 - 1254

Hohenstaufen (or Staufer) Dynasty

Three members of the dynasty, Frederick I, Henry VI and Frederick II, were crowned as Roman emperors. Since the elections of the Hohenstaufen were strongly contested in the electoral college who tried to keep imperial power to a minimum, two closely related dynasties struggled in this period over the power in central Europe (todays Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, parts of France, parts of Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy incl. Sicily, and the kingdom of Bohemia): the Hohenstaufen and the house of Welf (or Guelph).

Holy Roman Empire

1194 - 1250

Friedrich II Hohenstaufen

Frederick II was born in 1194, the son of the German Emperor Henry VI, he was orphaned by the death of both parents by 1198 and was raised under the guardianship of the Papacy. In 1212 he reclaimed the title of Holy Roman Emperor, and brought the kingdoms of Germany and Sicily under his control. He was expected to act as leader of the Fifth Crusade (1217 – 1221), but much to the Papacy’s annoyance, he repeatedly delayed in setting out, and would not finally do so until 1228 with the Sixth Crusade (1227 – 1229). In 1225 Frederick married the heiress of the kingdom of Jerusalem, Isabella II, daughter of its king, John of Brienne. Contrary to agreements made with John, Frederick usurped the Jerusalemite crown, and held a coronation in the newly recaptured city of Jerusalem in 1229. He departed soon thereafter, never to return to his Levantine kingdom. For further information, see: David Abulafia, Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor (London: Allen Lane, 1988). Ernst Kantorowicz, Frederick II 1194-1250 (London: Constable and Co. Ltd, 1931).

Holy Roman Empire

1356 - 1356

Golden Bull

Constitutional document of the Empire in which the process of election (incl. the electoral college was fixed) after a long period of controverse elections which resulted in a power vacuum.

Holy Roman Empire

1452 - 1806

Habsburg Emperors

In 1452, Frederick III was elected as Roman emperor as first of the Habsburg dynasty who would continue to be elected (with one exception in the early 18th century) until the end of the Empire. The Habsburgs are one of the most influential dynasties in European history, still active today.

Holy Roman Empire

1495 - 1495

Diet of Worms

Starting point of a reform of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsreform).

Holy Roman Empire

1519 - 1556

Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor

Under Charles V, the Habsburg rule reached its furthest expansion: aside from the territories of the Habsburg, the Roman empire (incl. Italian possessions), and the inheritance of Spain (incl. Italian possessions) and Burgundy, his realm also included the Low Countries and the American colonies of Spain. During a series of abdications between 1554 and 1556, these territories were once again separated and given to several members of his family. His reign constitutes the last attempt at universal monarchy until Napoleon.

Holy Roman Empire

1792 - 1815

French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleon

Series of conflicts between France and mostly the rest of Europe incl. Russia. During these wars, the Holy Roman Empire was officially dissolved on 6 August 1806 when Francis II (only monarch in history to rule over two empires at the same time: 1804-1806 as Roman Emperor and Emperor of Austria) abdicated after the defeat in the Battle of Austerlitz.

France; Iberian Peninsula

418 - 725

Visigothic Kingdom / Kingdom of Toulouse

Successor realm after collapse of Roman rule in Aquitaine, and later over the Iberian Peninsula. Defeat by Clovis I at the beginning of the 6th century resulted in loss of territories in later France, and defeats by Islamic African realms lead to the loss of Iberian territories, and the end of the realm in the early 8th century.

France

457 - 752

Merovingian Rule over the Franks

Salian Frankish dynasty who establishes territorial rule and a kingdom in todays France. First unification of the scattered territories of Salian Franks by Clovis I (d. 511). Since the late 7th century, decline of monarchical rule and power execution by mayors (among them the Pippinids and later Carolingians).

France

457 - 843

Francia

Kingdom of the Franks, slow formation out of the remains of the Roman Empire and unification under Merovingian rule, and later under the Mayors, the Peppinids, and the Carolingians; 843 Treaty of Verdun separates the realm into three territories: West Francia for Charles the Bald (later: France), Middle Francia for Lothair I (later Low Countries, Burgundy, Northern Italy), and East Francia (later German kingdoms)

France

714 - 741

Charles Martel

De facto ruler over Francia since 718, known for leading (and winning) the "Battle of Tours" against the Arabs from the Iberian Peninsula in 732. Founder of the Carolingian dynasty.

France

751 - 987

Carolingian Rule

Expansion of rule into todays German realm, conquest of Saxony (Northern Germany), Lombardic kingdom (Northern Italy) and several other territories in Central Europe. Charlemagne is crowned as Roman Emperor in 800, foundation of Holy Roman Empire.

France and Holy Roman Empire

843 - 843

Treaty of Verdun

Treaty signed between the three sons of Louis the Pious (son of Charlemagne) which separated the Carolingian realm into three territories: West Francia (later France), Middle Francia (later Burgundy, Low Countries, Northern Italy), East Francia (later German realms); More treaties which changes the territorial layout follow but the separation into three (or more) kingdoms remain

France

987 - 1328

Capetian Rule

Frankish dynasty founded by Hugh Capet. Cadet branches of the Capetians are the Valois, the Bourbons, the Anjou as well as the House of Burgundy. Several cadet branches still exist today. The rule of the main branch in France began with Hugh Capet, and ended with Charles IV the Fair in 1328. After Charles's death without male issue, the throne of France (under Salic law) went to his paternal cousin, Philipp of Valois. Disputing claims from the line of Charles's sister Isabella of France were an important reason for the Hundred Years' War.

France

1008 - 1060

Henri I of France

The second son of King Robert II of France and Constance of Arles, Henry I was born in 1008. He was crowned king during his father’s lifetime, on 14 May 1027, following the death of his elder brother, Hugh. Henry became sole ruler when Robert died in 1031, although he faced opposition from his mother for a short while after his succession. His first wife, Matilda, died in 1044, and it was several years before Henry remarried Anne, daughter of Iaroslav I of Kiev, in 1051. Anne and Henry had three sons – Philip, Robert, and Hugh – before Henry died on 4 August 1060.
Further reading: Constance Bouchard, ‘The Kingdom of the Franks to 1108’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History. Volume 4: c.1025-c.1198, Part 2, eds David Luscombe and Jonathan Riley-Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 120-53; Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: Kings of France, 987–1328 (London: Continuum, 2007)

France

1024 - 1075

Anne of Kiev, Queen of France

Anne of Kiev (also called Anna Iaroslavna) came from Kieven Rus’ to France in 1050 to marry the French king Henry I. She was the daughter of Iaroslav I of Kiev and Ingegerd of Sweden. The marriage, and Anne’s coronation, took place at Reims cathedral on 19 May 1051. Anne quickly gave birth to their first son, Philip, in 1052, and two more sons followed, Robert and Hugh. Anne’s husband died in August 1060, leaving their eight-year-old son as sole ruler of the French kingdom. For the first couple of years of Philip’s reign, Anne appeared prominently alongside him, sharing in royal rule, governing the kingdom on his behalf, and directing the court itinerary. In 1062, Anne remarried Raoul, count of Crépy and Valois, and she appeared with her new husband witnessing royal documents later in Philip’s reign. Anne founded the monastery of Saint-Vincent at Senlis.
Further reading: Emily Joan Ward, ‘Anne of Kiev (c.1024 – c.1075) and a Reassessment of Maternal Power in the Minority Kingship of Philip I of France’, Historical Research 89 (2016), 435-53.; ‘Anna Iaroslavna’, Rusian Genealogy, Christian Raffensperger and David J. Birnbaum www.genealogy.obdurodon.org/findPerson.php?person=anna2#text_1; Talia Zajac, ‘Gloriosa Regina or “Alien Queen”?: Some Reconsiderations on Anna Yaroslavna’s Queenship (r. 1050-1075)’, Royal Studies Journal 3 (2016), 28-70.

France

1052 - 1108

Philip I of France

The eldest son of Henry I and Anne of Kiev, Philip was crowned at Reims on his seventh birthday, 24 May 1059, during his father’s lifetime. Henry died just over a year later, on 4 August 1060, and the eight-year-old Philip initially had support from his mother in governing the kingdom. When she remarried in 1062, Baldwin V, count of Flanders, assumed sole charge of the king and kingdom (Baldwin was married to Philip’s paternal aunt, Adela). The Flemish count administered the French kingdom until 1066, the year Philip turned fourteen. Philip married Bertha, daughter of the count of Holland, several years later, in 1072. His later marital history attracted ecclesiastical censure when he put aside his first wife for Bertrada de Montfort.
Further reading: Jean Dunbabin, ‘What’s in a Name? Philip, King of France‘, Speculum 68 (1993), 949-68; Capetian France, 987-1328, eds Elizabeth M. Hallam and Judith Everard, 2nd edn (Harlow: Longman, 2001); ‘Philip I of France and Bertrada’, in Dissolving Royal Marriages: A Documentary History, 860–1600, ed. David d’Avray (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 47-9

France

1165 - 1223

Philip II 'Augustus' of France

From the moment of Philip’s birth in 1165, he was portrayed as a child given by God (a Deo datus). Louis VII had been waiting for a male heir for twenty-eight years of marriage. Only his third wife, Adela of Champagne, provided the much-longed-for son. Louis waited until his son was fourteen before organising his coronation at Reims on 1 November 1179. That same year, Philip’s father fell seriously ill, and the newly-crowned boy king took control of royal government. Louis VII eventually died on 19 September 1180. Although Philip ruled alone, the count of Flanders took a prominent role in supporting the new king and negotiated Philip’s marriage to Isabella of Hainault in April 1180. The count’s involvement alienated the queen mother, Adela, and brought the king into direct conflict with his maternal family. Philip’s later achievements in extending the lands of the French kings gained him the title ‘Augustus’ from his biographer Rigord.
Further reading: Jim Bradbury, Philip Augustus: King of France, 1180-1223 (London, 1998); Jordan, William Chester, ‘Quando fuit natus: Interpreting the Birth of Philip Augustus’, Ideology and Royal Power in Medieval France: Kingship, Crusades and the Jews, William Chester Jordan (Aldershot:, 2001), 171-188; Rigord, Deeds of Phillip Augustus (for the years 1179-1189), translated by Paul Hyams www.usna.edu/Users/history/abels/hh315/rigord_deeds_1179-1189.htm

France

1188 - 1252

Blanche of Castile, Queen of France

As a twelve-year-old girl, Blanche, daughter of Alfonso of Castile and Eleanor of England, had been escorted by her grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, from her home in Castile to France to marry Louis, son of the French king. Over the two decades of their marriage, Blanche and Louis had at least twelve children. Blanche was crowned alongside her husband when he succeeded as Louis VIII in 1223. Her role as queen consort only lasted three years, however, since Louis died in November 1226, leaving his wife in charge of the custody of their children and the governance of the kingdom. Their eldest son, Louis IX, succeeded as king at the age of twelve. Blanche was a prominent figure throughout Louis IX’s minority, continuing her involvement in royal rule even after he had turned twenty-one. When Louis went on crusade in 1248, he left his young son and the kingdom in his mother’s hands. Blanche died whilst Louis was absent from the kingdom.
Further reading:Lindy Grant, Blanche of Castile, Queen of France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016); Lindy Grant, ‘Like Grandmother, Like Granddaughter: Eleanor Of Aquitaine and Blanche Of Castile’, Yale Books Blog, 11 November 2016 www.yalebooksblog.co.uk/2016/11/11/eleanor-of-aquitaine-and-blanche-of-castile/; ‘Blanche of Castile’, Epistolae: Medieval Women’s Latin Letters www.epistolae.ctl.columbia.edu/woman/77.html

France

1187 - 1226

Louis VIII of France

Louis was born on 5 September 1187, son of Philip II and Isabella of Hainault. In May 1200, aged twelve, Louis married Blanche of Castile. In 1216, English barons who were discontent with the rule of King John invited Louis into England and offered him the throne. Louis was unable to secure coronation, however, and peace was concluded with John’s son, the young Henry III, in 1217. Louis VIII succeeded his father as king of France in 1223 but reigned for only three years. He left on the Albigensian crusade in June 1225 but was struck down by an attack of dysentery at Montpensier in October 1226. Fearing his death was near, Louis called twenty-six barons and ecclesiastical magnates to a council on 3 November. Louis VIII designated his wife, Blanche, to act as guardian for their son and the kingdom before his death on 8 November 1226.
Further reading: Catherine Hanley, ‘The Forgotten King of England: Louis VIII’, Yale Books Blog, 2 June 2016 www.yalebooksblog.co.uk/2016/06/02/forgotten-king-england-louis-viii/; Katherine Har, ‘When the French Invaded England’, British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog, 23 May 2015 www.blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2015/05/when-the-french-invaded-england.html

France

1226 - 1270

Louis IX of France

Louis, born on 25 April 1214, was the second son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile. His elder brother, Philip, died in 1218, leaving Louis as the eldest son and his father’s heir. When Louis VIII died on 8 November 1226, Louis IX was taken to Reims for coronation and his knighting took place en route. Blanche, Louis’s mother, became guardian for her son and the kingdom. During Louis’s minority, there was an attempt to kidnap him from his mother, although this plot was unsuccessful. It is unclear when precisely Louis was seen to have come of age, but it was probably during his twenty-first year when he married Margaret of Provence and she was crowned alongside him. Louis IX died in 1270. He was sanctified two decades after his death by Pope Boniface VIII and, for this reason, is often called ‘Saint Louis’.
Further reading: Louisa Woodville, Saint Louis Bible (Moralized Bible), Khan Academy ( www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonial-americas/medieval-europe-islamic-world/a/blanche-of-castile-and-king-louis-ix-of-france); Jacques Le Goff, Saint Louis (Paris: Gallimard, 1996). Translated into English by Gareth E. Gollrad as Saint Louis (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009).

France

1328 - 1589

Valois Rule over France

The cadet branch of the Capetian, the Valois, ruler over France during a time of French state formation (also helped along by the Hundred Years' War).

France and England

1337 - 1453

Hundred Years' War

Disputing claims to the throne of France after the death of the last direct male heir of the senior Capetian line were one of the reasons as well as the trigger for several wars between France and England in this period later known as Hundred Years' War. The main opponents were the House of Valois (kings of France according to Salic Law), and the House of Plantagenet (kings of England, and claiming the French throne due to female inheritance). Despite the Plantagenets being dominant for large parts of the wars, ultimately, the Valois won the French throne and managed to reduce English dominium to a small territory around Calais. However, since the war raged mostly in French territory, most of the destruction was to France. On the other hand, the English were weakened which was one of the reasons for the ensuing Wars of the Roses, also destroying England (just without much French help).

France

1589 - 1792

Bourbon Rule over France

In 1589, after the assassination of Henry III who died childless, his cousin from the House of Bourbon, Henry IV, inherited the French throne. Both houses are cadet branches of the Capetians, and both could be traced back to sons of Louis IX of France

France

1643 - 1715

Louis XIV of France

Louis XIV from the House of Bourbon inherited the throne at the age of 4. His personal rule began in 1661, when he was 28 and he took over government after the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin. Louis XIV is most famously known as the sun-king who established an absolute monarchical rule in France and represented himself as absolutist monarch.

France

1798 - 1815

French Revolution and Napoleonic Era

Social and political revolution in France, influenced by the American Revolution as well as spreading anti-monarchical ideas throughout Europe. First establishment of a French Republic (1792-1799), followed by the French Consulate (1799-1804), basically a military dictatorship under Napoleon but officially still a republic. On May 18, 1804, Napoleon took the title of "l'Empereur des Français" and he coronated himself in December of the same year, once again establishing monarchical rule also de facto.

France

1815 - 1848

Renewed Bourbon monarchical rule

After Napoleon, the French monarchy was restored and the Bourbons re-established on the throne. The character of the monarchy, however, had changed, and continuous political conflict with liberal, anti-monarchical, or republican groups were characteristic for this period which also included the July Revolution of 1830, and finally came to an end with the founding of the Second Republic in 1848.

France

1848 - 1870

Second Republic and Second Empire

Republican government under Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1851, this republic was transformed into the Second Empire under the same, now as Napoleon III. The Second Empire was the last rule of monarchs over France, afterwards, there were only republican governments.

East-Central Europe

1250 - 1569

Grand Duchy of Lithuania

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a monarchically ruled realm in East-Central Europe, at the height of its power in the 15th century ruling over large territories between Poland and the Teutonic Order to the West, and Novgorod, Moscow and Russian territories to the East. Their territories covered most of todays Belarus and Ukraine. The Lithuanian house of Gediminas (Gedimind dynasty) ruled from the 14th to the 16th century over the Grand Duchy, and one of its branches, the Jagiellonians, brought together the personal union between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the kingdom of Poland.

East-Central Europe

1569 - 1569

Union of Lublin

This treaty replaced the personal union between the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with a real union, and made this new realm, Poland-Lithuania, an elective monarchy since the last Jagiellonian king, Sigismund II Augustus, remained childless throughout three marriages.

East-Central Europe

1569 - 1795

Poland-Lithuania

The commonwealth of the crown of the kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was an elective monarchy after the death of the last Jagiellonian king, Sigismund II Augustus. The nobility in this realm was unusual powerful and numerous. The realm reached from the Baltic Sea nearly to the Black Sea, and was situated between the Holy Roman Empire, Habsburg territories, and Russia for most of the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th century, territories of Poland-Lithuania were shared three times between Habsburg, Prussia, and Russia, which in the end left nothing of Poland-Lithuania (Partitions of 1772-1795).

East-Central Europe

1000 - 1867

Kingdom of Hungary

In 1000 or 1001, the Grand Prince of the Hungarians, Stephen I, was crowned king after the acceptance of Pope Sylvester II and emperor Otto III. Around the same time, the Hungarians became Christian. The ruling dynasty, the Árpáds, died out in the main line in 1301 which started a period of civil wars and insecure inheritance of the throne. In 1308, Charles I, a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, could secure his rule and establish his dynasty on the Hungarian throne (until 1382). After another period of unrest and struggles for the throne, the Prince-Elector of Brandenburg Sigismund of Luxemborg who was married to the daughter of the last Hungarian king, Mary, succeeded in taking the throne. Sigismund was elected as German king in 1411, king of Bohemia in 1419, king of Italy in 1431, and finally Holy Roman Emperor in 1433. He was also the last member in the male line of the house of Luxemburg, and after his death, his son-in-law was elected as king of Hungary. In the 16th century, Hungary was partly conquered by the Ottoman Empire, partly ruled by the Habsburgs and partly constituted as the Principality of Transylvania. In the late 17th and early 18th century, the Habsburgs could extend their rule over most of the Hungarian kingdom.

East-Central Europe

1867 - 1918

Austro-Hungarian Empire

The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a composite monarchy between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. Both realms have been joined by a personal union since the 16th century, but were now also a constitutional union. The multinational state was dissolved in autumn of 1918 after the First World War, and republican states, Austria, Hungary, Czecho-Slovakia, Polanda and two kingdoms (Yugoslavia and Romania) were its successors.

East-Central Europe

1881 - 1947

Kingdom of Romania

This kingdom was established in the 19th century under the rule of a German prince from the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen branch. Mostly, the territories of the kingdom had been under Ottoman suzerainty. In World War I, Romania fought (mostly unsuccessfully) against the Central Powers, and after the war, territories in Transylvania and from the Austro-Hungarian Empire were incorporated into the realm. In the Second World War, Romania joined the Axis Powers, was changed to a dictatorship (still under royal rule and with several changes of ruler), and finally had to abolish the monarchy under Soviet pressure on 30 December, 1947. The last king, Michael I, lived in exile in Switzerland and died in 2017.

East-Central Europe

1918 - 1941

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

After the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this new kingdom was formed and joined with the existing kingdom of Serbia. After the occupation in 1941, the royal family fled to London and formed a government-in-exile. In 1944, however, political pressure forced Peter II to abdicate and Yugoslavia became a socialist federal republic.

East-Central Europe

1804 - 1867

Austrian Empire

Multinational realm under the Habsburg Dynasty which was established during the Napoleonic Wars. The Austrian Empire included Habsburg territories which were ruled in personal union before, and now became a more formal structure. In 1867, the Austrian Empire formed with the Kingdom of Hungary the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

East-Central Europe

1185 - 1396

Second Bulgarian Empire

The First Bulgarian Empire was a (Eastern) Roman province whose leader was given the honorary title of Caesar. Nonetheless, Bulgaria was under Eastern Roman, later Byzantine rule. In 1185, noble rebellions against weak Byzantine rule led to the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire which was first allied with the Roman pope (against Byzantium). After the decline of the Asen dynasty on the Bulgarian throne, the restoration of an Orthodox Patriarchate, and especially foreign pressure by the Hungarians, Byzantines, and the Mongols, the Second Bulgarian Empire began to decline in the 14th century, and was soon conquered by the Ottomans.

East-Central Europe

1878 - 1946

Third Bulgarian State

The third Bulgarian state was first a principality under de jure Ottoman rule, but de facto mostly independent, and since 1908 the kingdom of Bulgaria, a constitutional monarchy under the ruling house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry. The last tsar, Simeon II, who inherited the throne as a 6-year old boy, and was deposed after a referendum establishing a republic in 1946 at the age of nine, went into exile in Egypt and later Spain. Since Simeon II never signed any documents regarding the loss of his throne, he upheld the claim to the (non-existing) Bulgarian throne and issued several proclamations addressed to the Communist regime in Bulgaria in the Cold War-era. In 1990, Simeon returned to Bulgaria where he was greeted with cheers. Nonetheless, at this time, he did not renew his claim, and instead formed a new political party which soon enabled him to be elected as prime minister in 2001-2005.

East-Central Europe

1217 - 1346

Kingdom of Serbia (medieval)

The kingdom of Serbia was formed out of the Grand Principality of Serbia (1091-1217), and was ruled by the Nemanjic Dynasty. The last king of this kingdom, Stefan Uros IV Dusan, conquered large parts of Greece, and formed the Empire of Serbia (1346-1371) which, however, was already lost to the Ottomans under Stefan's son, Uros the Weak.

East-Central Europe

1815 - 1882

Principality of Serbia

After a final successful uprising against the Ottomans, the so-called Serbian Revolution from 1804-1817, Serbia gained de facto independence from the Ottoman Empire. The new state was internationally recognized by the Treaty of Berlin (1878), and gained the status of a kingdom in 1882.

East-Central Europe

1882 - 1918

Kingdom of Serbia (modern)

Under the rule of the Obrenovic Dynasty, the principality of Serbia was formed to a kingdom in 1882 under Milan I. In foreign policies, Serbia was close to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria brought longer lasting, nationalistic tensions in Serbia against the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the front, triggered the July Crisis and finally was one immediate trigger for World War I. Serbia stood against Austria-Hungary, was mostly defeated by an alliance of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Bulgaria, but gained huge territories after the collapse of these powers in 1918. The kingdom of Serbia became then part of the newly formed kingdom of Yugoslavia.

East-Central Europe

925 - 1102

Kingdom of Croatia (medieval)

Under the rule of the Trpimirovic dynasty, the Dukedom of Croatia was elevated to a kingdom by papal chancellery, and soon incorporated nearby territories like todays Dalmatia. The kingdom of Croatia was often in conflict with their neighbours Bulgaria, and allied with the Byzantine Empire. After the dynasty died out in the male line in 1091, civil war and succession crisis formed the end of the kingdom. In 1102, the Croatian crown was passed to the Arpad dynasty, kings of Hungary. This personal union lasted until 1527, afterwards, Croatia became part of the Habsburg territories.

British Isles

450 - 1066

Anglo-Saxon England

After the end of the Roman Empire, Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, Goths, Jutes, etc.) settle in what would later become England (but not in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and only later in Cornwall)

British Isles

793 - 1066

Viking Age

Starting with the Raid of Lindisfarne (793), Vikings raid and later settle on the British Isles: establishment of Danish law (Danelag) and rule in England, Norwegians in parts of Ireland and Scotland.

British Isles

871 - 899

Alfred the Great

King of Wessex, wins over Danes (878)

British Isles

1016 - 1035

Knut the Great

English and Danish king (personal union) and ruler over parts of Norway

British Isles

1066 - 1066

Battle of Hastings

Begin of Norman conquest after the Norman-French army under William, Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror) wins over Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson

British Isles

1066 - 1087

William the Conqueror

Duke of Normandy since 1035, later king of England after the death of his childless cousin Edward the Confessor. To enforce his claim, he conquered England and defeated the Anglo-Saxon king. His reign marks the begin of Anglo-Norman England, and Horrible Histories also start their song of English kings with him.

British Isles

1167 - 1216

King John of England

When he was born in 1167, John was the youngest of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine’s four sons and thus unlikely to succeed as king. Yet, when Richard I died childless in 1199, it was John who succeeded to the throne over the claims of his young nephew Arthur. John cast aside his first wife, Isabella of Gloucester, and married Isabella of Angoulême in 1200. His reputation as a king is overwhelmingly negative. His reign saw the loss of Normandy in 1204, the baronial rebellion which led to the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, and then the invasion of a French prince in 1216 at the request of the English barons. John died of dysentery at Newark on 19 October 1216, calling on the pope to help secure his perpetual hereditary succession and support his nine-year-old son and heir, Henry.
Further reading: David Carpenter, Stephen Church, and Marc Morris, ‘The Life and Death of King John (Audio)’, The National Archives – Media, 29 November 2016 www.media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/life-death-king-john/; Stephen Church, ‘King John’s Testament and the Last Days of his Reign’, English Historical Review 125 (2010), 505-28; Jessica Nelson, ‘King John and Recordkeeping’, The National Archives – Blog, 18 October 2016 www.blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/king-john-recordkeeping/

British Isles

1207 - 1272

Henry III of England

Born on 1 October 1207, Henry III was the first child king of the English for over two centuries, since Æthelred II (d.1016). Henry’s father, John, had been king of England since 1199, and his mother was John’s second wife, Isabella of Angoulême. When John died on 19 October 1216, Henry was nine years old and faced an adult rival for the kingship in Louis, eldest son of the French king, Philip Augustus. The papal legate, Guala Bicchieri, crowned Henry at Gloucester and William Marshal secured the position of ‘guardian of king and kingdom’. Victories at the battle of Lincoln and the naval battle of Sandwich in 1217 turned the tide in Henry’s favour and peace was settled. Henry did not marry until he was twenty-eight. In 1236 he took Eleanor of Provence, the sister of Louis IX’s queen, as his wife and they had five children together.
Further reading: D. A. Carpenter, The Minority of Henry III (London: Metheun, 1990); ‘Introduction to Reign’, Henry III Fine Rolls Project www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/commentary/reign_intro.html; ‘The Siege of Lincoln Castle and Battle of Sandwich’, British Library – Collection Items www.bl.uk/collection-items/the-siege-of-lincoln-castle-and-battle-of-sandwich

British Isles

1272 - 1307

Edward I

This king from the House of Plantagenet continues to separate historiographical discussion dependent on one's perspective. As English king, he is admired for his legal and administrative reforms, however, in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, he is condemned for his foreign politics. His claim of suzerainty over Scotland is one of the many reasons for the century-long fight between these two realms.

British Isles

1455 - 1485

Wars of the Roses

After the Hundred Years' War, the longlasting conflict between two lines of Edward III (1312-1377) continued to rage throughout England, mostly costing noble life. In the end, the new Tudor dynasty was established, and most noble houses severly damaged or extinct. This conflict marks also the end of the English middle ages, and the begin of Renaissance monarchy under Henry VII and Henry VIII.

British Isles

1509 - 1547

Henry VIII

King from the house of Tudor who is mostly known for his six wives, insecure succession, and separating the English church from Rome thereby establishing the later Anglican church.

British Isles

1558 - 1603

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I (1533-1603), queen of England (1558-1603), daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth, who remained unmarried and without children, was the last monarch of the Tudor monarchy, inheriting the English throne from her half-sister, Mary I. Her reign was characterised by the establishment of the English reformation church, the conflict with Catholic Spain (Spanish Armada, 1588), the conflict with Mary, Queen of Scots, the question of her marriage and succession, the beginning of English colonisation (Virginia), and a cultural Renaissance (Shakespeare, “Golden Age”). Elizabeth I and her reign has inspired prolific historical research, especially in the fields of gender history, women studies, political history, literature and art history, parliamentary history and religious history. International relations and economic history are, however, a bit less discussed.
Further reading: Doran, Susan; Jones, Norman (eds.): The Elizabethan World. London, New York 2011. Collinson, Patrick: Elizabeth I (1533-1603). In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, www.oxforddnb.com/index/8/101008636/

British Isles

1603 - 1714

Stuart Dynasty

Rule of the Scottish Stuart dynasty over England, leading to a personal union between these two realms.

British Isles

1649 - 1660

Commonwealth of England

Republic which first united all realms on the British Isles: England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The Republic followed a period of British Civil Wars which included the execution and deposition of king Charles I, and in this context also the abolishing of monarchy. Oliver Cromwell became the leader of the Commonwealth, and after his death in 1658, the Republic soon dissolved due to royalist sentiments. In 1660, Charles II restored Stuart monarchy on the British thrones.

British Isles

1714 - 1901

House of Hanover

Due to the exclusion of Catholic members of the Royal family in the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701), the German dynasty of the house of Hanover (a branch of the Welfs) inherited the British thrones

British Isles

1800 - 1801

Acts of Union

The Acts of Union megred the Kingdom of Great Britain (England with Wales, and Scotland since 1707) with Ireland (until 1922, afterwards with Northern Ireland) to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and (Northern) Ireland.

British Isles

1837 - 1901

Queen Victoria

Victoria from the House of Hanover was the last reigning monarch of this dynasty. Her successors are like her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, from this branch of the House of Wettin, until the British royal family was renamed as House of Windsor in 1917. Victoria's reign is known as the Victorian period, and is characterised by a slow transition to a parliamentary monarchy in which the monarch was more of a representative figure than actual ruler.

British Isles

1894 - 1972

Edward VIII

Edward VIII (1894-1972), King of the United Kingdom and the empire Dominions, and Emperor of India (1936), was the son of King George V and Queen Mary. After less than a year on the throne, he abdicated in order to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson and the succession passed to his younger brother, King George VI. His public life, mainly as the Prince of Wales (1911-1936), was underpinned by the rise of the popular press and the development of broadcasting technologies that recast the British monarchy as a democratic institution. Historical research has firmly identified Edward as a leading figure of interwar celebrity culture. As Duke of Windsor, his later reputation would be marred by an alleged sympathy with fascism. Recent interpretations argue for his public life as a complex and sometimes contradictory product of contemporary discourses of modernity and imperial politics.
Further reading: Brendon, Piers, Edward VIII: The Uncrowned King (Penguin: UK, 2016). Ziegler, Philip, King Edward VIII: the official biography (London: Collins, 1990).

British Isles

1865 - 1936

George V

George V (1865-1936), King of the United Kingdom and the empire Dominions, and Emperor of India (1910-1936) was the second son of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. He married Mary of Teck in 1893, with whom he had six children including King Edward VIII and King George VI. George V was a conservative monarch well-regarded for his leadership of the British Empire throughout the First World War and during the interwar period of rising radical politics, social and economic discontent, and dominion independence. During his reign he distanced the royal family from its Germanic origins with the successful establishment of the House of Windsor as a focal point for imperial loyalty, and so has inspired broad-ranging research within cultural, social and political spheres.
Further reading: Cannadine, David, George V: The unexpected King (Penguin: UK, 2014). Rose, Kenneth, King George V (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983).

British Isles

1952 -

Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II is the longest ruling British monarch, and queen for not only the United Kingdom but also serves as head of several Commonwealth states like Australia, Canada, or New Zealand, among others.

British Isles

1542 - 1800

Kingdom of Ireland

The Gaelic Irish kingdoms fought with the English (or the Anglo-Normans) since the early 12th century, and among each other. In 1542, the kingdom of Ireland under the English king Henry VIII was founded and ruled in personal union with the kingdom of England. In the Acts of Union, this personal union was turned into a real union.

British Isles

843 - 1707

Kingdom of Scotland

The Scottish kingdom was mythically founded in 843 as union between the Gaelic and Pictish kingdoms against Viking raids.

British Isles

1124 - 1153

David I

Scottish king who spend part of his childhood in England at the court of Henry I, and later implemented governmental, administrative and legal reforms in Scotland.

British Isles

1306 - 1329

Robert the Bruce

King of Scotland as Robert I, and one of the national heroes of Scotland for his fight against England.

British Isles

1371 - 1714

Stewart / Stuart Dynasty

Starting with Robert II, a grandson of Robert the Bruce in the female line, the Stewart dynasty (since the later 16th century as Stuart) ruled over Scotland. Under James VI, a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, the Stuarts inherited the English throne which formed the basis for the personal union, and later real union, between the two kingdoms.

British Isles

1542 - 1587

Mary I Stuart

Mary I from the house of Stewart succeeded to the Scottish throne barely a week old in 1542. Furthermore, as great-grand-daughter of Henry VII, Mary had a claim to the English throne, and since 1558 married to the dauphin of France, Francis (II), became queen consort of France 1559-1560. As queen regnant of Scotland since 1560, Mary managed mostly to navigate Scottish politics, but behaved unqueenly in the aftermath of her second husband’s murder (February 1567) and was forced to abdicate by a radical minority of Scottish lords. After escaping from Scottish prison and losing a battle in the ensuing civil war between the „king’s men“ and the „queen’s men“, Mary fled to England where she spent the rest of her life imprisoned. In 1586, she was accused of being involved in conspiracies and treason against the English queen, Elizabeth I. Mary was put on trial, convicted, and executed in February 1587. Further Readings: Fraser, Antonia: Mary Queen of Scots. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1969; Wormald, Jenny: Mary, Queen of Scots. A Study in Failure. London: George Philip 1988.

Iberian Peninsula

711 - 718

Umayyad conquest of Iberian Peninsula

Umayyad forces defeat the last of the Visigothic kingdom, and establishes Umayyad rule in large parts of Iberia. Muslim territories on the Iberian Peninsula were known as Al-Andalus. Since attempts to reconquer (Reconquista) the peninsula never really stopped (and had a first success with the Battle of Tours in 732), Al-Andalus was continually changing until 1492 when the last Muslim stronghold, Granada, fell.

Iberian Peninsula; France

732 - 732

Battle of Tours

also called: Battle of Poitiers, or Battle of the Palace of the Martyrs; Charles Martel leads Frankish and Burgundian forces against the Umayyad Caliphate. His victory stops the further expansion of the Umayyads into France, and restricts them to the Iberian Peninsula.

Iberian Peninsula

711 - 750

Umayyad Caliphate

The Umayyad Caliphate was the seond caliphate after the death of Muhammad, and named after the ruling dynasty. The rule was extended throughout the Arabian peninsula, North Africa, Persia, and finally also to the Iberian Peninsula beginning in 711. The dynasty of the Umayyads were, however, overthrown by the Abbasids in 750. Nonetheless, the new ruling dynasty never established their rule in Al-Andalus, and the Umayyad continued to rule over the Iberian peninsula with Cordoba as their capital.

Iberian Peninsula

756 - 1031

Emirate of Córdoba and Caliphate of Córdoba

Independent Emirate, separated from the ruling Abbasid Caliphate and still under the rule of the Umayyad dynasty until 929. In 929, the emir Abd ar-Rahman III claimed the title of Caliph against a rival from North Africa. During the 10th century, the Caliphate of Córdoba had a economic, diplomatic and cultural peak in al-Andalus which ended due to several minorities of caliphs and loss of power to their regents, and finally civil war (Fitna of al-Andalus). In 1031, the caliphate split into several taifas (emirates and one oligarchy) based on the former administrative order of the caliphate. This period of political unrest in the Muslim part of the Iberian peninsula was supported by the North Iberian Christian kingdoms, lending money and soldiers to the fighting parties, and simultaneously pushing the reconquista.

Iberian Peninsula

1053 - 1147

Almoravid Dynasty

This Berber dynasty spread their reign over most of todays Morocco since 1053, and finally reached out to the Iberian Peninsula in 1086. The Almoravids entered into the conflict between the taifas and the on-going Reconquista. They conquered most of the taifas, re-conquered Valencia, and stopped the advancing reconquista. Since the mid of the 12th century, the kingdom of Aragon managed with French help to push back against the Almoravid dynasty, and in Northern Africa, they lost to the rising Almohad dynasty.

Iberian Peninsula

1172 - 1212

Almohad Caliphate

The Almohad Caliphate had its origin in a Berber realm in Southern Morroco, and extended its rule over the Muslim African and al-Andalus territories in the late 12th century. However, due to the progressing Reconquista and rivals in North Africa, the Almohad Caliphate did not manage to establish a longer lasting rule over the Iberian Peninsula.The end of this rule started with the loss against Castile, Aragon, Navarre and Portugal in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212.

Iberian Peninsula

1230 - 1492

Emirate of Granada

Emirate on the Iberian Peninsula under the rule of the Nasrid dynasty which was the last Muslim monarchy in the late middle ages in al-Andalus. In 1246, the Emirate became a tributary state to the Crown of Castile. However, due to domestic pressure, Castile and Aragon finally conquered all of Granada in the Granada War, 1482-1492, which ended with the fall of Granada and the end of Muslim rule on the peninsula.

Iberian Peninsula

718 - 910

Kingdom of Asturias

This kingdom was the first Christian kingdom established after the Umayyad conquest, and it is considered the beginning (and base for) of the Reconquista. The Kingdom of Asturias was situated in the North of the peninsula, and first mostly a small, but independent, territory in the mountains which draw Christian refugees from the South, and became a base of operations for fights against the Umayyad rule. In 910, the Asturian king, Alfonso III, was forced to abdicate, and his three sons split the realm into the kingdom of León, of Galicia, and of Asturias.

Iberian Peninsula

910 - 1230

Kingdom of León

The kingdom of León took over most of Asturian territory, and continued to expand its rule during the Reconquista to the East and the South of the peninsula. During its peak in the late 11th century, it covered almost half of the peninsula. In 1065, the realm was split into the kingdom of León and the kingdom of Castile, the latter incorporating the former by a personal union in 1230. Since the union was in large parts not accepted (including intense civil wars during the 13th century), the kingdom of León remained a largely independent realm but as part of the Crown of Castile.

Iberian Peninsula

1139 - 1910

Kingdom of Portugal

The kingdom of Portugal grew from a county in the Kingdom of Asturias, and later the Kingdom of Léon during the Reconquista of the Iberian peninsula. Afonso I of Portugal was proclaimed as king of Portugal after an important victory against the Moors in 1139. Under his rule, the new declared kingdom slowly gained the acceptance of the other Christian kingdoms and especially the papacy. His dynasty ruled until the 1380s when domestic and foreign conflicts, dynastic insecurity, and finally an interregnum led to the changing of ruling dynasties to the House of Aviz under John I. In the 15th century, the kingdom of Portugal build a colonial empire, starting with Atlantic archipelagos like the Azores or Madeira, and exploring the African coast. The fourth son of John I, Henry the Navigator (1394-1460), became a driving power behind these endeavours.The kingdom of Portugal became one of the most influential colonial powers in South America, Africa, and later South Asia, esp. India. Nonetheless, a dynastic succession crisis led to a personal union with Habsburg Spain in 1578-81, which was dissolved by the claim of the House of Braganza in 1640. During the personal union with Spain, Portugal lost most of its huge overseas empire, mostly the possessions in the Indian Ocean and Africa. Brazil, however, remained a Portuguese colony. In 1755, the earthquake of Lisbon occured, being the most severe natural phenomenon of the 18th century, and destroying most of Lisbon and surrounding areas. The royal family had left the city just a few hours before the earthquake. The national movements of the 19th century influenced also Brazil which was given the status of kingdom in 1815 (in a personal union with Portugal), but declared itself nonetheless an independent empire in 1822. Despite several reforms and changes to a constitutional monarchy in the 19th century, a republican revolution ends the monarchy of Portugal in 1910, establishing the First Portuguese Republic.

Iberian Peninsula

1065 - 1230

Kingdom of Castile

The County of Castile was a part of the Kingdom of León, named for its many castles. During the rule of Ferdinand I, a political conflict with rivaling claims led to the first acclamation of Castile as a kingdom. After Ferdinand's death in 1065, the realm was divided and the kingdom of Castile became a more independent realm.

Iberian Peninsula

1230 - 1516

Crown of Castile

The union between the two kingdoms of León and Castile under Ferdinand III is called the Crown of Castile. The inheritance of both kingdoms by Ferdinand III led to the merge of both courts, and fell together with a period of political instability in al-Andalus, enabling Ferdinand and his heirs to expand their territories by conquest, subjugation, and personal unions, among them the kingdom of Aragon.

Iberian Peninsula

1162 - 1469

Crown of Aragon

The kingdom of Aragon formed part of the kingdom of Navarre which was divided into three parts in 1035. One of the parts was Aragon which was first still close to Navarre because of a personal union. After the childless death of Alfonso the Battler in 1135, this personal union ceased to exist, and Aragon entered an union with the county of Barcelona, sealed by the marriage between Petronilla of Aragon and Raymond Berenguer IV of Barcelona. Their son, Alfonso II of Aragon, eventually became the first king to the composite monarchy of the Crown of Aragon. In the 14th and 15th century, this composite monarchy contained large parts of Eastern Spain, territories in Southern France, several islands in the Mediterranean Sea including the Baleares, Sicily, Corsica, and Malta, parts of Southern Italy and even parts of Greece. In 1469, the dynastic union between the crown of Aragon (Ferdinand II of Aragon) and the crown of Castile (Isabella of Castile) combined the territories of these huge Iberian monarchies, and formed "the Spains"

Iberian Peninsula, France

905 - 1512

Kingdom of Navarre

During the Umayyad conquest of the peninsula, the region around Pamplona became a tribute realm to the caliphate, and later under Charlemagne part of the Frankish realm. Navarre, known early on as the Kingdom of Pamplona, was able to shake off both Frankish and Muslim domination to establish itself as an independent realm c.824 under its first king, Iñigo Arista. During the reign of Sancho III el Mayor ‘the Great’ (r.1004-1035), Navarre was the hegemon of all the Christian kingdoms of Iberia but in later years it was not able to match the territorial gains of its neighbours, León-Castile and Aragon, in the ‘Reconquista’. In 1234, the kingdom of Navarre passed to the house of Blois (counts of Champagne) through the claim of its Countess Blanca, when her brother Sancho VII el Fuerte died without issue. After the marriage of the first regnant queen of Navarre, Juana I (r.1274-1305) to Philip IV of France (r.1285-1314), Navarre was in a personal union with France until the death of the last of their sons, Charles IV of France (Carlos I of Navarre), in 1328. At this point, Navarre was ruled by Juana II (r.1328-1349), whose claim to the throne of France as the only surviving child of Louis X was passed over. The kingdom remained independent until 1512, when it was annexed by Castile during the rule of another of Navarre’s regnant queens, Catalina I. Catalina and her successors retained the territory that they held north of the Pyrenees and continued to use the Navarrese title, even though they no longer controlled the Iberian kingdom. As French Princes of the Blood, through their long term intermarriage with the Capetians and Valois dynasties, Enrique III of Navarre eventually was able to claim the French throne after the death of the last Valois ruler in 1589, becoming Henri IV of France. This reunited the French and Navarrese titles and started the Bourbon dynasty, which ironically later ruled in Spain (including the original Iberian kingdom of Navarre) after Felipe V was victorious in the War of the Spanish Succession in the early eighteenth century.

Iberian Peninsula

1516 - 1931

Kingdom of Spain

The kingdom of Spain was formed from the territories in the Crown of Aragon and in the Crown of Castile. Both crowns were united in a dynastic union with the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469. The union of the crown remained, however, only a personal union with each of the territories keeping their own constitutions, laws, traditions, and so on.Due to the marriage of Juana, daughter and heir of Isabella and Ferdinand, with Philip the Fair, son of Habsburg emperor Maximilian I, the Habsburg territories and the Spanish crowns were united in a personal union as well. Juana and Philip's son, emperor Charles V (Carlos I in Spain), inherited the Spanish crowns including their overseas colonies and the Habsburg territories, and became emperor of the German Holy Roman Empire. However, due to his abdication of the Spanish crowns in 1556 - which then went to his son Philip II, this huge personal union was soon resolved. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the German Habsburgs and the Spanish Habsburgs each ruled their territories separate from each other, although they remained close allies. After the death of the last Spanish Habsburg, Carlos II, the Bourbon won the War of the Spanish Succession, and took over the rule over the crowns. The 19th century was characterised by the loss of most of the Spanish colonies, and the changing of monarchical rule to a more constitutional monarchy. Nonetheless, after the first World War, the Spanish monarchy was overthrown first by a center-left Republican party, and finally a right-wing nationalist party under Francisco Franco was established in 1936, and lasted until his death in 1975.

Iberian Peninsula

1975 -

Modern Kingdom of Spain

The modern kingdom of Spain was established after the death of the dictator, Francisco Franco in 1975. Franco had appointed Juan Carlos I of the Bourbon dynasty as his successor, and after Franco's death, the new king oversaw several reforms to develop Spain in the modern constitutional monarchy it is today.

Central Europe

843 - 900

Middle Francia and Kingdom of Lotharingia

After the Treaty of Verdun (843) between the three sons of Louis the Pious, Middle Francia was created between East Francia (later German territories) and West Francia (later France). Middle Francia was inherited by Lothair I, the eldest son of Louis who also gave this region his name. Lothair I again divided Middle Francia between his three sons, further contributing to a long, complicated history of inheritance and the question of possessions of territories situated between clearly German and clearly French territories. The Kingdom of Lotharingia (officially 855-900) was one of those territories and comprised todays Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Lorraine. These territories remained a cause for war between German and French rulers until the middle of the 20th century when todays borders were drawn. After the realm of Middle Francia and the kingdom of Lotharingia, the region became a duchy in 900 due to a noble rebellion.

Russia

882 - 1240

Kievan Rus'

Loose federation under rule of Rurik dynasty with centre in Kiev. First unification of territories in large parts of later Russia, however, local rule (under the overlordship of the Ruriks) remained strong. After the realm disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongols, several successor realms were established, e.g. the Republic of Novgorod, or the later Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Russia

1283 - 1547

Grand Duchy of Moscow

Tributary vassal to the Mongolian Golden Horde until 1480

Russia

1440 - 1505

Ivan III Vasilyevich, called the Great

Grand Prince of Moscow from 1462 until his death; Rurik dynasty; known for his politics of "gathering Russian lands"; expands Moscow's dominion over North-Eastern Russian region; in 1476, Ivan refused to pay tribute to the grand Khan Ahmed and backed this decision with military campaigns in the 1480s battles against the Tatars; also extends Moscow's reach to the West with treaties with Denmark, and on-going border disputes with Sweden; under his role, Moscow begins the narrative of being the Third Rome (after the fall of Rome and Constantinople), and the title "Tsar and Autocrat" are established

Russia

1547 - 1721

Tsardom of Russia

Ivan IV assumes the title of Tsar, thereby making the Grand Duchy of Moscow to the Tsardom of Russia, in 1721, Peter the Great founds on this basis the Russian Empire. Shortly after the death of Ivan IV in 1584, the so-called "Times of Trouble" (Smuta) marked the transition from the Rurik dynasty to the Romanovs due to male childlessness of the Ruriks, domestic fights among Russian nobility for the succession (including several pretenders), and economic suffering due to poor harvests, civil war, and war with Poland-Lithuania (incl. some occupied territories). Russia expands further to the East (conquest of Siberia, peace treaty with China in 1689) and to the Southwest (Ukraine).

Russia

1530 - 1584

Ivan IV Vasileyevich, called the Terrible or the Fearsome

Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 until 1547, then Tsar to all Rus until his death; Rurik dynasty; Ivan IV expanded the Russian Tsardom and is known for extensive reforms as well as his brutal rule, especially in his later years. His first wife came from the Romanov dynasty which later ruled Russia until the 20th century.

Russia

1721 - 1917

Russian Empire

Founded under the rule of Peter the Great, and lasting until the February Revolution in 1917. Ruled by the house of Romanov and, since 1762, its side branch, Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov (a cadet branch of the house of Oldenburg). The territory of the Empire (third largest in history after the British and the Mongolian empires), stretched from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, spanning Northern Asia as well as large parts of East Europe, reaching from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean and even to the American continent (Alaska until 1867). The Russian Empire was overthrown in the February Revolution of 1917.

Russia

1672 - 1725

Peter I, the Great

Ruler of the Tsardom of Russia from 1682 until 1721 (until 1696 with his brother Ivan V as co-ruler), later Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias since 1721 until his death, from the Romanov dynasty. Brought Russia into European politics as well as European ideas and reforms into Russia. Peter and his allies defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War (1700-1721), thereby ending Sweden's Dominium Maris Baltici. Peter was succeeded by his second wife, Catherine (I).

Russia

1729 - 1796

Catherine II, the Great

Empress of Russia from 1762 until her death. Through a coup d`état, Catherine overthrew her husband, Peter III, and reigned instead. She is Russia's longest female ruler, and followed the rule of several other female rulers in the 18th century. Her reign is deemed as a "Golden Age" of Russia with great expansions as well as cultural and intellectual developments (Russian Enlightenment).

Russia

1918 - 1918

Execution of the Romanov Family

16-17 July, 1918 in Yekaterinburg: execution of the last tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his family by Bolshevik troops under the new Communist government.

Scandinavia

793 - 1066

Viking Age

Historiographical name of the period in which Vikings from Northern Europe dominated Northern Europe seas and rivers with their trade, raids, and settlements. It is commonly framed by the raid on Lindisfarne in 793, and the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 (shortly before the Battle of Hastings) in which the English defeated a great invading army from Norway. Trade, raids, conquests, and settlements from Scandinavia on the British Isles, in Iceland, on the other North Atlantic islands, and in Northern Continental Europe, however, did not begin and end with these dates, but did not appear as dominating anymore.

Scandinavia

965 -

Kingdom of Denmark

Earlier kingdoms in todays Denmark date back to around 800, but 965 marks the Christianisation and unification of Danish realms into the kingdom it still is today.

Scandinavia

872 -

Kingdom of Norway

Harald Fairhair (c. 872-930) is usually credited (in the sagas) as being the first king of Norway, whereas smaller kingdoms and territories were under his rule unified. Even though, Norway adopted several different constitutional forms, it remains a monarchy until today.

Scandinavia

970 -

Kingdom of Sweden

The list of Swedish monarchs is usually started with Eric the Victorious who united the two territories of Svealand and Götaland, forming the later kingdom of Sweden. Sweden has a turbulent history of its monarchy, especially compared to the other two Scandinavian kingdoms. Nonetheless, it can be traced from the 10th century until today. Since the 12th/13th century, Finland was part of the Swedish realm until 1809 when Russia conquered Finland and declared it a Grand Duchy of Russia (until 1917).

Scandinavia

1130 - 1240

Civil War in Norway

After the death of king Sigurd the Crusader, conflicts broke out over his succession (which was not formalized). Several parties formed supporting rival kings, and later, two parties - the Birkebeiner and the Bagler - emerged as two opposing parties. During the civil wars, a more formalized monarchy was established, securing the position of the monarch. In 1260, Norway became a hereditary monarchy.

Scandinavia

1397 - 1523

Kalmar Union

All three Scandinavian kingdoms, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (with Finland) were closely connected by connubium between the royal families as well as the aristocracy. Furthermore, families often possessed territories in more than one realm, and family connection stretched across all kingdoms. Since the 14th century, several personal unions between two of the Scandinavian kingdoms were the result of this (and added to by the possibility to elect a monarch in Denmark and Sweden). In 1397, the Kalmar Union under Erik of Pomerania as crowned king in all three kingdoms, and Margaret of Denmark as ruler in all three kingdoms was established, uniting all three crowns under one rule. Until the definite end of the Kalmar Union under Christian II in 1523, the union was often disputed, and especially Sweden elected regularly rival kings to the union king, or just regents. Of the 126 years of the formal Kalmar Union, only 60 years were actually under one ruler in all three kingdoms.

Scandinavia

1523 - 1654

Vasa Dynasty

The Vasa Dynasty, a noble Swedish family, established the modern kingdom of Sweden in the 16th century. After Gustav I, ruled 3 of his 4 sons: Erik XIV, deposed and succeeded by John III, and finally Charles IX who deposed his nephew Sigismund, John III's son. The dynasty and Sweden reached most prominence under Gustav I's grandson, Gustav II Adolphus who (together with his prime minister, Axel Oxenstierna) implemented reforms and build the strongest army of his time in Europe. In 1630, Gustav II Adolphus and his Swedish kingdom joined into the Thirty Years' War, during which the king fell in Battle (1632). His daughter, Christina, became the last Vasa-monarch when she abdicated in 1654.

Scandinavia

1448 - 1863

Oldenburg Dynasty

The first Oldenburg on the Danish throne was Christian I who followed the heirless Christopher of Bavaria to the throne. The main branch of the Oldenburg dynasty remained on the throne until Frederick VII died without issue in 1863, and the throne went to the junior line of the house, the Glücksburgs who still are on the Danish throne today.

Scandinavia

1660 - 1849

Danish Absolutism (Enevælden)

In 1660, Denmark became a hereditary monarchy, and in 1665 an absolutist constitution was enacted which formally lasted until 1849 when Denmark became a constitutional monarchy.

Scandinavia

1536 - 1814

Denmark-Norway

After the end of the Kalmar Union, Denmark and Norway remained in a personal union which was formalized in 1536, and lasted until 1814 when Norway (after the Napoleonic Wars) was part of a personal union with Sweden as compensation for Sweden's loss of Finland to Russia.

Scandinavia

1905 -

Modern Kingdom of Norway

In 1905, den Norwegian parliament dissolved the union with Sweden, declaring de facto their independence. The Danish prince, Carl of Denmark, was offered the crown and became the first monarch of modern Norway as Haakon VII.


Monarchs, Places and Events

The content in this section is still a work in progress and will be updated in due course


Category: Monarch

Continent: Europe, British Commonwealth

Time period: Modernity, 1894-1972

Edward VIII

Edward VIII (1894-1972), King of the United Kingdom and the empire Dominions, and Emperor of India (1936), was the son of King George V and Queen Mary. After less than a year on the throne, he abdicated in order to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson and the succession passed to his younger brother, King George VI. His public life, mainly as the Prince of Wales (1911-1936), was underpinned by the rise of the popular press and the development of broadcasting technologies that recast the British monarchy as a democratic institution. Historical research has firmly identified Edward as a leading figure of interwar celebrity culture. As Duke of Windsor, his later reputation would be marred by an alleged sympathy with fascism. Recent interpretations argue for his public life as a complex and sometimes contradictory product of contemporary discourses of modernity and imperial politics.
Further reading: Brendon, Piers, Edward VIII: The Uncrowned King (Penguin: UK, 2016). Ziegler, Philip, King Edward VIII: the official biography (London: Collins, 1990).

Laura Cook

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: Early Modern Period Mary I Stuart

Mary I from the house of Stewart succeeded to the Scottish throne barely a week old in 1542. Furthermore, as great-grand-daughter of Henry VII, Mary had a claim to the English throne, and since 1558 married to the dauphin of France, Francis (II), became queen consort of France 1559-1560. As queen regnant of Scotland since 1560, Mary managed mostly to navigate Scottish politics, but behaved unqueenly in the aftermath of her second husband’s murder (February 1567) and was forced to abdicate by a radical minority of Scottish lords. After escaping from Scottish prison and losing a battle in the ensuing civil war between the „king’s men“ and the „queen’s men“, Mary fled to England where she spent the rest of her life imprisoned. In 1586, she was accused of being involved in conspiracies and treason against the English queen, Elizabeth I. Mary was put on trial, convicted, and executed in February 1587. Further Readings: Fraser, Antonia: Mary Queen of Scots. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1969; Wormald, Jenny: Mary, Queen of Scots. A Study in Failure. London: George Philip 1988.

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: Early Modern Period Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria (1601-1666) is known as one of the most successful queen regents in French history. The eldest daughter of King Philip III of Spain and Queen Margarita of Austria, the Infanta Ana was married at 14 to the King of France, Louis XIII. Their failure to have a child and her suspected pro-Spanish sympathies led to Anne’s alienation, and even accusations of spying and treason after France and Spain went to war in the 1630s. Finally, twenty years into their marriage, the birth of an heir, the future Louis XIV (1638), and a spare, Philippe, duke of Orléans (1640), restored Anne to favour, and she governed France as regent for her young son in 1643 on the death of her husband. Anne surprised everyone by remaining loyal to French war aims and not immediately making peace with her brother, the King of Spain. Her regency, in partnership with her chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin, successfully weathered the subsequent turbulent storms of the French civil wars known as the Fronde (1648-53), preserving, and indeed strengthening the monarchy she passed on to her son. Anne of Austria is also known as a patron of the arts, notably in the convent of Val-de-Grâce in Paris, where she retired in the 1660s once her son assumed the full reins of power.
Further reading: Ruth Kleinman, Anne of Austria: Queen of France (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1985) Katherine Crawford, Perilous Performances: Gender and Regency in Early Modern France (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004). Jennifer G. Germann, “The Val-de-Grâce as a Portrait of Anne of Austria: Queen, Queen Regent, Queen Mother”, in Helen Hills, ed., Architecture and the Politics of Gender in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), pp. 47-63.

Jonathan Spangler

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: Early Modern Period Louis XIV

Louis XIV (1638-1715) is one of the most well-known monarchs in the history of Europe, and usually seen as the archetype of an absolute monarch. He was king of both France and Navarre from the age of 5 (1643), and reigned for 72 years, the longest in European history. As a child, he was governed by his mother, Anne of Austria, then her first minister, Cardinal Mazarin, until he assumed power himself in 1661. His reign is marked as a high point in royal patronage of the arts and sciences, culminating in the creation of the marvels of the palace and gardens at Versailles. This endeavour, however, as well as a series of costly wars covering nearly half the reign, brought France to the brink of financial ruin towards the end of his life. Nevertheless, Louis XIV is remembered as a symbol of French power, recalled by his familiar nickname, ‘The Sun King’.
Further reading: François Bluche, Louis XIV (trans. by Mark Greengrass) (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990). Peter Burke, The Fabrication of Louis XIV (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1992). Wolf Burchard, The Sovereign Artist: Charles Le Brun and the image of Louis XIV (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2016). Georgia J. Cowart, The Triumph of Pleasure: Louis XIV and the Politics of Spectacle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008)

Jonathan Spangler

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe, British Commonwealth

Time period: Modernity, 1865-1936 George V

George V (1865-1936), King of the United Kingdom and the empire Dominions, and Emperor of India (1910-1936) was the second son of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. He married Mary of Teck in 1893, with whom he had six children including King Edward VIII and King George VI. George V was a conservative monarch well-regarded for his leadership of the British Empire throughout the First World War and during the interwar period of rising radical politics, social and economic discontent, and dominion independence. During his reign he distanced the royal family from its Germanic origins with the successful establishment of the House of Windsor as a focal point for imperial loyalty, and so has inspired broad-ranging research within cultural, social and political spheres.
Further reading: Cannadine, David, George V: The unexpected King (Penguin: UK, 2014). Rose, Kenneth, King George V (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983).

Laura Cook

Map: England

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1533-1603 Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I (1533-1603), queen of England (1558-1603), daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth, who remained unmarried and without children, was the last monarch of the Tudor monarchy, inheriting the English throne from her half-sister, Mary I. Her reign was characterised by the establishment of the English reformation church, the conflict with Catholic Spain (Spanish Armada, 1588), the conflict with Mary, Queen of Scots, the question of her marriage and succession, the beginning of English colonisation (Virginia), and a cultural Renaissance (Shakespeare, “Golden Age”). Elizabeth I and her reign has inspired prolific historical research, especially in the fields of gender history, women studies, political history, literature and art history, parliamentary history and religious history. International relations and economic history are, however, a bit less discussed.
Further reading: Doran, Susan; Jones, Norman (eds.): The Elizabethan World. London, New York 2011. Collinson, Patrick: Elizabeth I (1533-1603). In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, www.oxforddnb.com/index/8/101008636/

Cathleen Sarti

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1024-1077 Empress Agnes of Poitou

Agnes of Poitou was the daughter of Agnes of Burgundy and Duke William of Aquitaine and Poitou. She married the German king Henry III in 1043. When Henry III died on 5 October 1056, he left his eldest son and heir, Henry IV, and the German kingdom in Agnes’s hands. Agnes travelled throughout the kingdom with her son, wrote letters to secure support for him, and acted as intervener and mediator in royal documents and judicial affairs. In 1062, in an event commonly called the ‘Kaiserswerth Coup’, Agnes was removed from her position as guardian of king and kingdom. Following her removal, she stayed in her son’s kingdom until his knighting and coming of age in 1065, after which she travelled to Rome. Agnes continued to be involved in high-level political dealings for the rest of her life, regularly acting as mediator between her son and the pope.
Further reading: ‘Agnes of Poitiers, Empress’, Epistolae: Medieval Women’s Latin Letters https://epistolae.ctl.columbia.edu/woman/23.html; Emily Joan Ward, ‘Agnes of Poitou (c.1025-1077) and ‘Medieval’ Attitudes to Women in Power?’, Doing History in Public Blog https://doinghistoryinpublic.org/2014/01/15/agnes-of-poitou-c-1025-1077-and-medieval-attitudes-to-women-in-power/

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1024-1075 Anne of Kiev, Queen of France

Anne of Kiev (also called Anna Iaroslavna) came from Kieven Rus’ to France in 1050 to marry the French king Henry I. She was the daughter of Iaroslav I of Kiev and Ingegerd of Sweden. The marriage, and Anne’s coronation, took place at Reims cathedral on 19 May 1051. Anne quickly gave birth to their first son, Philip, in 1052, and two more sons followed, Robert and Hugh. Anne’s husband died in August 1060, leaving their eight-year-old son as sole ruler of the French kingdom. For the first couple of years of Philip’s reign, Anne appeared prominently alongside him, sharing in royal rule, governing the kingdom on his behalf, and directing the court itinerary. In 1062, Anne remarried Raoul, count of Crépy and Valois, and she appeared with her new husband witnessing royal documents later in Philip’s reign. Anne founded the monastery of Saint-Vincent at Senlis.
Further reading: Emily Joan Ward, ‘Anne of Kiev (c.1024 – c.1075) and a Reassessment of Maternal Power in the Minority Kingship of Philip I of France’, Historical Research 89 (2016), 435-53.; ‘Anna Iaroslavna’, Rusian Genealogy, Christian Raffensperger and David J. Birnbaum http://genealogy.obdurodon.org/findPerson.php?person=anna2#text_1; Talia Zajac, ‘Gloriosa Regina or “Alien Queen”?: Some Reconsiderations on Anna Yaroslavna’s Queenship (r. 1050-1075)’, Royal Studies Journal 3 (2016), 28-70.

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1188-1252 Blanche of Castile, Queen of France

As a twelve-year-old girl, Blanche, daughter of Alfonso of Castile and Eleanor of England, had been escorted by her grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, from her home in Castile to France to marry Louis, son of the French king. Over the two decades of their marriage, Blanche and Louis had at least twelve children. Blanche was crowned alongside her husband when he succeeded as Louis VIII in 1223. Her role as queen consort only lasted three years, however, since Louis died in November 1226, leaving his wife in charge of the custody of their children and the governance of the kingdom. Their eldest son, Louis IX, succeeded as king at the age of twelve. Blanche was a prominent figure throughout Louis IX’s minority, continuing her involvement in royal rule even after he had turned twenty-one. When Louis went on crusade in 1248, he left his young son and the kingdom in his mother’s hands. Blanche died whilst Louis was absent from the kingdom.
Further reading: Lindy Grant, Blanche of Castile, Queen of France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016); Lindy Grant, ‘Like Grandmother, Like Granddaughter: Eleanor Of Aquitaine and Blanche Of Castile’, Yale Books Blog, 11 November 2016 http://yalebooksblog.co.uk/2016/11/11/eleanor-of-aquitaine-and-blanche-of-castile/; ‘Blanche of Castile’, Epistolae: Medieval Women’s Latin Letters https://epistolae.ctl.columbia.edu/woman/77.html

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1008-1060 Henri I of France

The second son of King Robert II of France and Constance of Arles, Henry I was born in 1008. He was crowned king during his father’s lifetime, on 14 May 1027, following the death of his elder brother, Hugh. Henry became sole ruler when Robert died in 1031, although he faced opposition from his mother for a short while after his succession. His first wife, Matilda, died in 1044, and it was several years before Henry remarried Anne, daughter of Iaroslav I of Kiev, in 1051. Anne and Henry had three sons – Philip, Robert, and Hugh – before Henry died on 4 August 1060.
Further reading: Constance Bouchard, ‘The Kingdom of the Franks to 1108’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History. Volume 4: c.1025-c.1198, Part 2, eds David Luscombe and Jonathan Riley-Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 120-53; Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: Kings of France, 987–1328 (London: Continuum, 2007)

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1017-1056 Emperor Heinrich III

As was often the tradition in the German kingdom, Henry had been designated as king during his father’s lifetime. As the eldest son of Conrad II and Gisela of Swabia, Henry became Duke of Bavaria in 1026, at the age of nine, and was then crowned on Easter Day 1028. Henry initially married Gunhild, daughter of Cnut, king of Denmark and England, in 1036 but she died two years later after bearing him a daughter. After Conrad’s death on 4 June 1039, Henry ruled as sole German king. In 1043, he remarried, taking Agnes of Poitou as his second wife and, in 1046, the royal couple set out for Rome where they were crowned emperor and empress by Pope Clement II. Emperor Henry III died on 5 October 1056, at the age of thirty-nine.
Further reading: Hanna Vollrath, ‘The Western Empire Under the Salians‘, in The New Cambridge Medieval History. Volume 4: c.1025-c.1198, Part 2, eds David Luscombe and Jonathan Riley-Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 38-71; Peter Munz, ‘The Emperor Henry III’, History Today 17 (1967) http://www.historytoday.com/peter-munz/emperor-henry-iii;

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1207-1272 Henry III of England

Born on 1 October 1207, Henry III was the first child king of the English for over two centuries, since Æthelred II (d.1016). Henry’s father, John, had been king of England since 1199, and his mother was John’s second wife, Isabella of Angoulême. When John died on 19 October 1216, Henry was nine years old and faced an adult rival for the kingship in Louis, eldest son of the French king, Philip Augustus. The papal legate, Guala Bicchieri, crowned Henry at Gloucester and William Marshal secured the position of ‘guardian of king and kingdom’. Victories at the battle of Lincoln and the naval battle of Sandwich in 1217 turned the tide in Henry’s favour and peace was settled. Henry did not marry until he was twenty-eight. In 1236 he took Eleanor of Provence, the sister of Louis IX’s queen, as his wife and they had five children together.
Further reading: D. A. Carpenter, The Minority of Henry III (London: Metheun, 1990); ‘Introduction to Reign’, Henry III Fine Rolls Project http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/commentary/reign_intro.html; ‘The Siege of Lincoln Castle and Battle of Sandwich’, British Library – Collection Items https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/the-siege-of-lincoln-castle-and-battle-of-sandwich

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1050-1106 Emperor Heinrich IV

Henry was born on 11 November 1050 and received an oath of fidelity from the German princes when he was barely six weeks old. In July 1054, Henry was co-crowned at Aachen. When his father, Emperor Henry III, died on 5 October 1056, Henry IV succeeded as sole ruler. Initially Henry’s mother, Agnes of Poitou, was responsible for his care and for governing his kingdom. But, in 1062, Henry was kidnapped from the palace of Kaiserswerth by Archbishop Anno of Cologne, who replaced Agnes as the king’s guardian. Later, another archbishop, Adalbert of Hamburg-Bremen, became very close to the king and accompanied him on his first military campaign to Hungary. Henry was knighted at Easter 1065 and he married Bertha of Savoy-Turin the same year. As an adult ruler, he became infamous for his disputes with Pope Gregory VII over the question of lay investiture (also referred to as the ‘investiture controversy’), which led the pope to excommunicated Henry.
Further reading: I. S. Robinson, Henry IV of Germany, 1056-1106 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Levi Roach, ‘Henry IV of Germany: a ‘Bad King’?’, History Today, 20 February 2017 http://www.historytoday.com/levi-roach/henry-iv-germany-%E2%80%98bad-king%E2%80%99

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1188-1246 Isabella of Angouleme, Queen of England

Isabella was the heiress to Angoulême through her father, Audemar. Born c.1188 she was possibly as young as twelve years old when she married King John and was crowned queen of England in 1200. Together, Isabella and John had five children. After John’s death in October 1216, Isabella remained in England until peace negotiations had been settled between her eldest son, Henry III, and the French prince, Louis. Then she travelled to France and returned to Angoulême to take an active role in governing the county which was her inheritance. Her relationship with her son’s counsellors and guardians was never straightforward, especially after her remarriage in 1220 to Hugh X of Lusignan, count of La Marche. She bore Hugh several children and, when she died in 1246, she was buried in Fontevrault.
Further reading: ‘Isabel of Angoulême’, Epistolae: Medieval Women’s Latin Letters https://epistolae.ctl.columbia.edu/woman/71.html; Nicholas Vincent, ‘Isabella of Angoulême: John’s Jezebel’, in King John: New Interpretations, ed. S. D. Church (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1999), 165-219; Louise Wilkinson, ‘The Dower of Isabella of Angoulême’, Fine of the Month: May 2006 http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/month/fm-05-2006.html

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1167-1216 King John of England

When he was born in 1167, John was the youngest of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine’s four sons and thus unlikely to succeed as king. Yet, when Richard I died childless in 1199, it was John who succeeded to the throne over the claims of his young nephew Arthur. John cast aside his first wife, Isabella of Gloucester, and married Isabella of Angoulême in 1200. His reputation as a king is overwhelmingly negative. His reign saw the loss of Normandy in 1204, the baronial rebellion which led to the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, and then the invasion of a French prince in 1216 at the request of the English barons. John died of dysentery at Newark on 19 October 1216, calling on the pope to help secure his perpetual hereditary succession and support his nine-year-old son and heir, Henry.
Further reading: David Carpenter, Stephen Church, and Marc Morris, ‘The Life and Death of King John (Audio)’, The National Archives – Media, 29 November 2016 http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/life-death-king-john/; Stephen Church, ‘King John’s Testament and the Last Days of his Reign’, English Historical Review 125 (2010), 505-28; Jessica Nelson, ‘King John and Recordkeeping’, The National Archives – Blog, 18 October 2016 http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/king-john-recordkeeping/

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1187-1226 Louis VIII of France

Louis was born on 5 September 1187, son of Philip II and Isabella of Hainault. In May 1200, aged twelve, Louis married Blanche of Castile. In 1216, English barons who were discontent with the rule of King John invited Louis into England and offered him the throne. Louis was unable to secure coronation, however, and peace was concluded with John’s son, the young Henry III, in 1217. Louis VIII succeeded his father as king of France in 1223 but reigned for only three years. He left on the Albigensian crusade in June 1225 but was struck down by an attack of dysentery at Montpensier in October 1226. Fearing his death was near, Louis called twenty-six barons and ecclesiastical magnates to a council on 3 November. Louis VIII designated his wife, Blanche, to act as guardian for their son and the kingdom before his death on 8 November 1226.
Further reading: Catherine Hanley, ‘The Forgotten King of England: Louis VIII’, Yale Books Blog, 2 June 2016 www.yalebooksblog.co.uk/2016/06/02/forgotten-king-england-louis-viii/; Katherine Har, ‘When the French Invaded England’, British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog, 23 May 2015 www.blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2015/05/when-the-french-invaded-england.html

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1214-1270 Louis IX of France

Louis, born on 25 April 1214, was the second son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile. His elder brother, Philip, died in 1218, leaving Louis as the eldest son and his father’s heir. When Louis VIII died on 8 November 1226, Louis IX was taken to Reims for coronation and his knighting took place en route. Blanche, Louis’s mother, became guardian for her son and the kingdom. During Louis’s minority, there was an attempt to kidnap him from his mother, although this plot was unsuccessful. It is unclear when precisely Louis was seen to have come of age, but it was probably during his twenty-first year when he married Margaret of Provence and she was crowned alongside him. Louis IX died in 1270. He was sanctified two decades after his death by Pope Boniface VIII and, for this reason, is often called ‘Saint Louis’.
Further reading: Louisa Woodville, Saint Louis Bible (Moralized Bible), Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonial-americas/medieval-europe-islamic-world/a/blanche-of-castile-and-king-louis-ix-of-france); Jacques Le Goff, Saint Louis (Paris: Gallimard, 1996). Translated into English by Gareth E. Gollrad as Saint Louis (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009).

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1052-1108 Philip I of France

The eldest son of Henry I and Anne of Kiev, Philip was crowned at Reims on his seventh birthday, 24 May 1059, during his father’s lifetime. Henry died just over a year later, on 4 August 1060, and the eight-year-old Philip initially had support from his mother in governing the kingdom. When she remarried in 1062, Baldwin V, count of Flanders, assumed sole charge of the king and kingdom (Baldwin was married to Philip’s paternal aunt, Adela). The Flemish count administered the French kingdom until 1066, the year Philip turned fourteen. Philip married Bertha, daughter of the count of Holland, several years later, in 1072. His later marital history attracted ecclesiastical censure when he put aside his first wife for Bertrada de Montfort.
Further reading: Jean Dunbabin, ‘What’s in a Name? Philip, King of France‘, Speculum 68 (1993), 949-68; Capetian France, 987-1328, eds Elizabeth M. Hallam and Judith Everard, 2nd edn (Harlow: Longman, 2001); ‘Philip I of France and Bertrada’, in Dissolving Royal Marriages: A Documentary History, 860–1600, ed. David d’Avray (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 47-9

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: Europe

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1165-1223 Philip II 'Augustus' of France

From the moment of Philip’s birth in 1165, he was portrayed as a child given by God (a Deo datus). Louis VII had been waiting for a male heir for twenty-eight years of marriage. Only his third wife, Adela of Champagne, provided the much-longed-for son. Louis waited until his son was fourteen before organising his coronation at Reims on 1 November 1179. That same year, Philip’s father fell seriously ill, and the newly-crowned boy king took control of royal government. Louis VII eventually died on 19 September 1180. Although Philip ruled alone, the count of Flanders took a prominent role in supporting the new king and negotiated Philip’s marriage to Isabella of Hainault in April 1180. The count’s involvement alienated the queen mother, Adela, and brought the king into direct conflict with his maternal family. Philip’s later achievements in extending the lands of the French kings gained him the title ‘Augustus’ from his biographer Rigord.
Further reading: Jim Bradbury, Philip Augustus: King of France, 1180-1223 (London, 1998); Jordan, William Chester, ‘Quando fuit natus: Interpreting the Birth of Philip Augustus’, Ideology and Royal Power in Medieval France: Kingship, Crusades and the Jews, William Chester Jordan (Aldershot:, 2001), 171-188; Rigord, Deeds of Phillip Augustus (for the years 1179-1189), translated by Paul Hyams www.usna.edu/Users/history/abels/hh315/rigord_deeds_1179-1189.htm

Emily Joan Ward

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Fulk V of Anjou

As the count of Anjou, Fulk was one of the leading magnates of western-Europe and one of the most prominent vassals of the king of France. Fulk travelled to the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem in 1119, and soon became a patron to the nascent order of the Knights Templar. Fulk received an embassy from King Baldwin II of Jerusalem in 1128 to marry the heiress Melisende. Having passed possession of Anjou to his son Geoffrey, Fulk departed for the Latin East. Fulk quickly assumed a prominent role in Baldwin II’s court, and jointly inherited the crown with Melisende in 1131. Fulk tried to assume full control of the kingdom, excluding Melisende, but faced rebellion by the native baronage. Eventually reconciled with his wife, Fulk expanded the borders of the Latin kingdom and acted as regent of the principality of Antioch. Fulk died while hunting in 1143. For further information, see: Hans Mayer, “Studies in the History of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 26 (1972): 92-182. Hans Mayer, “The Succession to Baldwin II of Jerusalem: English Impact on the East,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 39 (1985): 139-47.

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Melisende of Jerusalem

Melisende was the eldest of four daughters born to King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. Consequently, she was always destined for a foreign husband to join her in ruling the kingdom. In 1129 she was married to Count Fulk V of Anjou, and, following Baldwin II’s death in 1131, was crowned together with him in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. However, despite Baldwin’s wishes that Fulk and Melisende jointly rule the kingdom, Fulk soon tried to exclude her from power. This caused a rebellion against Fulk’s rule and he was soon forced to accept Melisende’s role in ruling the kingdom. Fulk and Melisende ruled jointly until his death in 1143, whereupon Melisende ruled as regent for her son Baldwin III. Melisende continued to dominate the politics of the realm until 1152, when Baldwin III successfully challenged her for power and exerted his dominance as king. For further information, see: Hans Mayer, “Studies in the History of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 26 (1972): 92-182. Hans Mayer, “The Succession to Baldwin II of Jerusalem: English Impact on the East,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 39 (1985): 139-47.

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Raymond of Poitiers

Raymond of Poitiers was a younger son of Duke William IX of Aquitaine who was chosen to marry Constance, the child heiress to the principality of Antioch. Raymond arrived in the Latin East in 1136 and quickly took control of Antioch. The years of his early reign were dominated by negotiations and conflicts with the Byzantine Empire which was attempting to assert its authority over Antioch, the expanding power of the neighbouring kingdom of Cilician-Armenia, the growing threat of regional Muslim princes, and his quarrels with Antioch’s Latin Patriarch. Raymond hosted King Louis VII of France as he travelled through Antioch as part of the Second Crusade (1147 – 1149), but was killed at the battle of Inab in 1149. Constance, as regent for Raymond’s young son Bohemond III, soon married a participant of the Second Crusade, Reynald de Châtillon. For further information, see: Andrew Buck, The Principality of Antioch and its Frontiers in the Twelfth Century (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2017).

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Reynald de Chatillon

Reynald was a younger son of a Burgundian noble family and a participant of the Second Crusade (1147 – 1149). Remaining in the Latin East after the end of the crusade, Reynald took up service under King Baldwin III of Jerusalem and eventually settled in in the principality of Antioch. In 1153 he married Antioch’s widowed heiress Constance. In 1156 Reynald raided the Byzantine ruled island of Cyprus in retaliation for the emperor’s failure to pay him a promised sum of money. In 1161 he was captured while raiding Muslim territory and imprisoned in Aleppo until 1176. During his captivity Bohemond III became Prince of Antioch, and Reynald travelled to the kingdom of Jerusalem where he soon rose to become an important member of the royal court. Reynald was captured and executed after the battle of Hattin in 1187, at the command of the Sultan, Saladin, whose enmity he had earned. For further information, see: Andrew Buck, The Principality of Antioch and its Frontiers in the Twelfth Century (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2017).

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Guy de Lusignan

Guy de Lusignan was a younger son of Hugh VIII, Lord of Lusignan in Poitou. In 1168 Guy, along with his brother Aimery, were responsible for killing the Earl of Salisbury and were subsequently banished. Aimery and Guy travelled to the kingdom of Jerusalem and established themselves as members of the royal court. In 1180 Guy married the heiress of the kingdom, Sibylla, sister to the leprous King Baldwin IV. Guy’s relationship to the royal house allowed him to become regent for the ailing king in 1183, but weak leadership saw him removed from the position and replaced with his political rivals. Baldwin IV died in 1185, and in 1186 Guy was crowned as king of Jerusalem as the husband of Sibylla. Guy’s reign was short though, as he was defeated and captured at the battle of Hattin in 1187, and upon his release in 1188 his reign was contested. For further information, see: Bernard Hamilton, The Leper King and his Heirs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Jonathan Riley-Smith, “The Crusading Heritage of Guy and Aimery de Lusignan,” in Cyprus and the Crusades: Papers given at the International Conference ‘Cyprus and the Crusades’, Nicosia 6th-9th September 1994, ed. Jonathan. Riley-Smith and Nicholas Coureas (Nicosia: Cyprus Research Centre, 1995), pp. 31-45.

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Sibylla of Jerusalem

Sibylla was the daughter of King Amalric of Jerusalem by his first wife, Agnes de Courtenay. When the leprosy of Sibylla’s brother, King Baldwin IV, became apparent, her role as an heiress grew in importance. A series of foreign matches to find a suitable husband and future king of Jerusalem were attempted throughout the 1170s, and Sibylla was briefly married to William of Montferrat in 1176. However, William soon died and left Sibylla with a posthumous son, Baldwin V. In 1180 Sibylla married the Poitevin knight, Guy de Lusignan, but despite his unpopularity at court and attempts to divorce them, Sibylla remained firmly attached to Guy. Baldwin V died in 1186, and Sibylla was crowned as Queen of Jerusalem, whereupon she conferred a crown upon Guy, making him king. Sibylla remained by Guy’s side throughout his reign, dying from disease at the siege of Acre in 1190. For further information, see: Bernard Hamilton, The Leper King and his Heirs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Bernard Hamilton, “Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem, 1100-1190,” in Medieval Women, ed. Derek Baker (Oxford: Blackwell, 1978), pp. 143-174.

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Isabella I of Jerusalem

Isabella was the daughter of King Amalric of Jerusalem by his second wife, the Byzantine princess Maria Comnena. As a half-sister to the leprous Baldwin IV her position as a potential heiress to the kingdom of Jerusalem soon became apparent. She was initially married to a Jerusalemite baron, Humphrey IV, lord of Toron in 1183. However, the accession of the unpopular Guy de Lusignan to the throne in 1186 saw her briefly considered as a rival queen by barons hostile to Guy. Following the death of her half-sister Sibylla in 1190, Isabella became the sole remaining heiress to the kingdom. Humphrey of Toron was considered an unsuitable consort and king, so Isabella was forcibly divorced from Humphrey, and remarried to Conrad of Montferrat. Following Conrad’s assassination in 1192, Isabella was remarried to two other consorts, Count Henry II of Champagne and Aimery de Lusignan, king of Cyprus. For further information, see: Bernard Hamilton, The Leper King and his Heirs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Bernard Hamilton, “Women in the Crusader States: The Queens of Jerusalem, 1100-1190,” in Medieval Women, ed. Derek Baker (Oxford: Blackwell, 1978), pp. 143-174.

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Aimery de Lusignan

Aimery de Lusignan was a younger son of Hugh VIII, Lord of Lusignan in Poitou, and an elder brother to Guy de Lusignan. Both were banished from Poitou after their involvement in the killing of the Earl of Salisbury in 1168. Aimery travelled to the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem where he soon became a prominent member of the royal court, marrying a member of the powerful baronial Ibelin family, and becoming constable of the kingdom. Aimery remained a close supporter of his brother Guy, even after defeat at the battle of Hattin in 1187, when Guy’s reign became contested. Guy was eventually ousted as king by his rivals in 1192, but acquired the lordship of the island of Cyprus. Upon his death in 1194 Cyprus passed to Aimery. In 1197 Aimery was elected to the throne of Jerusalem by the barons of the kingdom, and married its heiress Isabella I. For further information, see: Bernard Hamilton, “King Consorts of Jerusalem and their Entourages from the West from 1186 to 1250,” in Die Kreuzfahrerstaaten als multikulturelle Gesellschaft, ed. H. E. Mayer (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1997), pp. 13-24. Jonathan Riley-Smith, “The Crusading Heritage of Guy and Aimery de Lusignan,” in Cyprus and the Crusades: Papers given at the International Conference ‘Cyprus and the Crusades’, Nicosia 6th-9th September 1994, ed. Jonathan. Riley-Smith and Nicholas Coureas (Nicosia: Cyprus Research Centre, 1995), pp. 31-45. Myriam Greilsammer, Le Livre au Roi (Paris: L’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 1995).

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Conrad of Montferrat

Conrad was the second son of the marquis of Montferrat, and a cousin to the king of France, duke of Austria, and German Emperor. After a brief period as a member of the Byzantine imperial court, Conrad travelled to the kingdom of Jerusalem in the summer of 1187. Arriving just after the battle of Hattin, Conrad oversaw the successful defence of the city of Tyre and became its de facto ruler. Conrad challenged the unpopular Guy de Lusignan for leadership of the Latin kingdom, married its heiress Isabella I, and sought the recognition of his western-European relations for his position. Despite Guy’s attempts to retain the crown, Conrad was eventually recognised as the heir to the kingdom by its baronage in 1191. Conrad’s reign was brief though, as he was killed by an assassin in the spring of 1192, leaving Isabella pregnant with his posthumous daughter and heiress, Maria. For further information, see: Bernard Hamilton, “King Consorts of Jerusalem and their Entourages from the West from 1186 to 1250,” in Die Kreuzfahrerstaaten als multikulturelle Gesellschaft, ed. H. E. Mayer (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1997), pp. 13-24. David Jacoby, “Conrad Marquis of Montferrat and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1187-1192,” in Dai Feudi Monferrini e dal Piemonte ai Nuovi Mondi oltre gli Oceani, Atti del Congresso Internazionale, Alessandria, 2-6 aprile 1990, ed. L. Balleto (Alessandria, 1993), pp. 187-238.

Steve Donnachie

Continent: Europe, West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 12th c. Henry II of Champagne

Count Henry II of Champagne was one of the premier magnates of western-Europe, related to both the kings of France and England. The Christian defeat at the battle of Hattin and the subsequent loss of Jerusalem in 1187 sparked the Third Crusade (1189 – 1192), which both the king of France and the king of England participated. Henry took the cross and joined his regal relations in the Latin East, briefly overseeing command of the crusader army. Following the death of the would be king of Jerusalem, Conrad of Montferrat, in 1192, Henry was popularly acclaimed as king, and quickly married to Conrad’s widow, Isabella I of Jerusalem. Henry’s reign oversaw the recovery of Latin kingdom in the critical years after the end of the Third Crusade, but it would not be for long. Henry died unexpectedly in 1197, after falling from a palace window. For further information, see: Theodore Evergates, The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). Bernard Hamilton, “King Consorts of Jerusalem and their Entourages from the West from 1186 to 1250,” in Die Kreuzfahrerstaaten als multikulturelle Gesellschaft, ed. H. E. Mayer (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1997), pp. 13-24.

Steve Donnachie

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages John of Brienne

John of Brienne was a younger son of the Count Erard II of Brienne in Champagne. An embassy from the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem arrived in France in 1208 seeking a husband for the heiress Maria of Montferrat, daughter of Isabella I and Conrad of Montferrat. John was selected for the role, possibly with the assistance of the king of France, and travelled to the Latin kingdom in 1210 to wed Maria. However, Maria died in 1212, leaving John as regent for their daughter Isabella II. In 1217 the Fifth Crusade (1217 – 1221) arrived in the Latin kingdom, and John was chosen as its commander. In 1225 Isabella II married the German Emperor, Frederick II Hohenstaufen, who subsequently usurped John as king of Jerusalem. John would later go on to act as Emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople until his death in 1237. For further information, see: Guy Perry, John of Brienne: King of Jerusalem, Emperor of Constantinople, c.1175-1237 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Bernard Hamilton, “King Consorts of Jerusalem and their Entourages from the West from 1186 to 1250,” in Die Kreuzfahrerstaaten als multikulturelle Gesellschaft, ed. H. E. Mayer (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1997), pp. 13-24.

Steve Donnachie

Continent: Europe, West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1194-1250 Friedrich II Hohenstaufen

Frederick II was born in 1194, the son of the German Emperor Henry VI, he was orphaned by the death of both parents by 1198 and was raised under the guardianship of the Papacy. In 1212 he reclaimed the title of Holy Roman Emperor, and brought the kingdoms of Germany and Sicily under his control. He was expected to act as leader of the Fifth Crusade (1217 – 1221), but much to the Papacy’s annoyance, he repeatedly delayed in setting out, and would not finally do so until 1228 with the Sixth Crusade (1227 – 1229). In 1225 Frederick married the heiress of the kingdom of Jerusalem, Isabella II, daughter of its king, John of Brienne. Contrary to agreements made with John, Frederick usurped the Jerusalemite crown, and held a coronation in the newly recaptured city of Jerusalem in 1229. He departed soon thereafter, never to return to his Levantine kingdom. For further information, see: David Abulafia, Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor (London: Allen Lane, 1988). Ernst Kantorowicz, Frederick II 1194-1250 (London: Constable and Co. Ltd, 1931).

Steve Donnachie

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 1200s BC EFu Hao

Fu Hao was a queen and general in the late Shang dynasty. One of the wives of Wu Ding, she was one of the most powerful generals of her time. She was also a priestess, conducting rituals and sacrifices as attested by various oracle bones. Her husband valued her advice so much that he continued to consult her, via oracle bones, after her death. Her undisturbed tomb in Yinxu was discovered in the 1970s and has provided numerous artifacts and evidence of human sacrifice. https://depts.washington.edu/chinaciv/archae/2fuhmain.htm; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8FnVkk6lcs

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 1046-1043 BCE Ji Fa (King Wu)

Ji Fa (King Wu; 1046-1043 BCE): One of the heroes of China, Wu was instrumental in bring down the Shang dynasty. He set up a feudal system to rule his newly-conquered lands, but died only three years later.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 781-771 BCE You

You (781-771 BCE): The last king of the Western Zhou Dynasty, You is famed as a king who “cried wolf.” The story goes that You favored a new concubine named Bao Si, and deposed his previous queen and older son for Bao Si and her son. Bao Si was not easily entertained, so You lit the warning beacons to trick his nobles into showing up when there was nothing amiss. This amused Bao Si greatly, so You continued to do it to entertain her. When the father of You’s deposed queen attacked, no one responded when the king lit the warning beacons; You and his son by Bao Si were subsequently killed and Bao Si was captured. You was succeeded by his elder son.

Map: China

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 259-210 BCE Emperor Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang (259-210BCE), the first Emperor of China and founding monarch of the Qin dynasty. Qin Shi Huang would unite most of what would be considered modern day China (221 B.C.E). He would go on to create a centralized state with officials loyal to him administering different areas. His reign would also see writing, measures, and currency standardized. During the reign of Qin Shi Huang he would have a robust system of roads and canals built to facilitate trade and military action. However, his reign was not entirely positive as he distrusted intellectuals, which led to a massive book burning in 213 B.C.E. Qin Shi Huang also has a very extravagant tomb filled with thousands of life-sized terracotta soldiers, providing a legacy of the first emperor that can be observed today.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 256-195 BCE Emperor Gaozu

Emperor Gaozu (256BCE-195BCE) emerged victorious from the unrest following the unraveling of the Qin dynasty in China. He came from humble peasant origins yet founded the Han dynasty. Gaozu of Han would reduce taxes and oversee a period of general peace during his reign. He would depend upon officials to administer his empire that were promoted based upon merit rather than heredity.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 156-87 BCE Wudi Emperor Wu

Wudi Emperor Wu (156BCE-87BCE) was the most influential ruler of the Han dynasty. Wu would go on to make a long lasting impact on Chinese society. Emperor Wu would be a great patron of Confucianism during his rule stressing that his officials be fluent in Confucian writings. He would expand Han China to the largest historical boundaries in Chinese history. In order to finance these military campaigns Wu would take over the printing of currency. Emperor Wu would also remove nobles from their land and confiscate their assets while subsequently selling titles. During his reign the central government would also get involved in the regulation of commodities such as salt and grain in order to reduce shortages and increase income.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Early Middle Ages, 604-618 Emperor Yang

Yang (604-618 CE), second emperor of the Sui dynasty, succeeded his father, whom many historians of succeeding dynasties suspected that he murdered. Yang oversaw the completion of the Grand Canal, reconstruction of the Great Wall, and an expansion of territory. However, thousands of soldiers died of malaria during the conquest of Champa in modern Vietnam and campaigns against a Korean kingdom were unsuccessful. With the treasury bankrupt and facing revolts, Yang was strangled to death by one of his generals.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Early Middle Ages, 626-649 Emperor Taizong

The Emperor Taizong, who was named Li Shimin, was the second emperor and in many ways the co-founder of the Tang dynasty along with his father, the Gaozu emperor. Taizong was the driving force behind his father’s rebellion and push for the throne. He was an adept military commander who began commanding troops while still in his teens. The Taizong emperor was a very influential ruler who appointed wise counselors while disdaining superstition in exchange for ideas based on reason and science. During his reign Tang China would regain land, pushing their borders to near the limits of Han China. The Taizong emperor would reform the legal code of China as well as allowing the code to be amended frequently to account for changing circumstances.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Early Middle Ages, 624-705 Empress (Consort) Wu Zetian

Empress (Consort) Wu Zetian (624-705) of the Tang dynasty was an influential ruler who effectively seized control of Tang dynasty China. Wu was born of low rank but found her way into palace life as a concubine of the Taizong Emperor. She would later catch the eye of Taizong’s son Emperor Gaozong rising to the rank of Empress Consort around 655. After Gaozong suffered a debilitating illness she would consolidate almost complete control over the affairs of the state. After Gaozong died Empress Wu would use her influence to remove Gaozong’s chosen successor from power and replaced him with her youngest son who would be the Ruizong Emperor. She would effectively control all decisions made by her son. She would eventually elevate herself to the full imperial throne in 690. During her rule she would use secret police to consolidate her power; however she also had a keen eye for talented administrators. Empress Wu Zetian would help to establish and promote the examination system for officials, as well as outright removing or executing incompetent officials. She was also a great patron of Buddhism promoting it throughout China during her reign. She would also order a few successful military campaigns during her reign. Empress Wu was a ruthless and effective ruler who helped to solidify Tang dynasty China.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 960-976 Emperor Taizu

Emperor Taizu (960-976 CE) born Zhao Kuangyin was the first emperor and founder of the Song dynasty. He reunited much of China under one ruler after several decades of smaller kingdoms following the end of the Tang dynasty. Taizu expanded the imperial examination system so that the majority of bureaucrats were selected through the exams. He also founded academies and decreased the power of the military, leaving the empire in relative internal peace.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1100-1161 Emperor Qinzong

Qinzong (1100-1161 CE) born Zhao Huan ruled briefly from 1126-1127 as the final emperor of the Northern Song dynasty. He and all his family, aside from one brother who escaped and founded the Southern Song Dynasty, were captured by the Jurchen Jin Empire in 1127. Qinzong was held a prisoner (although he later received a stipend) by the Jin Empire until he died in 1161.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, r. 1127-1187 Emperor Gaozong

Gaozong (r.1127-1187) was born Zhao Gou, the younger brother of Emperor Qinzong. After his family was captured by the Jin Empire, he fled to the south where he reestablished the Song Dynasty in present-day Hangzhou. Although he fought the Jin for many years, Gaozong eventually signed a peace treaty with them, the Treaty of Shaoxing, in which the Jin kept the territory they had already conquered. Since his own son had died as a toddler and his close family was prisoners of the Jin, Gaozong adopted his sixth cousin as his son. Gaozong technically abdicated in 1162 in favor of his son, who became Emperor Xiaozong; however, he continued to rule until his death in 1187. The emperor was also an accomplished poet.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1215-1294 Khubilai

Khubilai (1215-1294) was a Mongol Khan who would go on to conquer China and establish the Yuan dynasty. Khubilai would retain many Chinese institutions as he believed that the best possible method to exploit the Chinese conquest was through the use of Chinese methods of administration and rule. He would also build a new capital in northern China that would become modern-day Beijing. During his reign he would do away with the ability to rise through social ranks via the examinations and instead established a system of hereditary occupations to help guarantee stability. Khubilai would also establish a hierarchy based upon ethnicity with Mongols occupying the top role. These systems would help to establish stability and reduce the risk of revolt from the majority Chinese population. He would also attempt an ill-fated invasion of Japan.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1402-1424 Emperor Yongle

Yongle Emperor (1402-1424 CE) born Zhu Di, he became emperor after overthrowing his nephew. Devoted to Chinese culture, he sponsored the Yongle Encyclopedia, tolerated a variety of philosophical ideas, and even built two mosques. He is also famous for further expanding the imperial examination system (after purging many scholars following his takeover) and increasing the power of the palace eunuchs. One of those eunuchs, Zheng He, was sent on exploratory voyages and brought a giraffe back to China. The Yongle Emperor also re-established Beijing as the capital city and began construction on the Forbidden City.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1572-1620 Emperor Wanli

Wanli Emperor (1572-1620 CE) was the longest-reigning Ming emperor but contributed significantly to the dynasty’s decline. After a prosperous early reign, the Wanli Emperor eventually withdrew from government. The main reason for this seems to be a dispute over the succession with his top ministers. Wanli favored his third son, while many ministers favored his eldest. Although the eldest son was eventually declared heir, and would succeed as the Taichang Emperor, Wanli stopped meeting with his ministers, attending meetings, and answering memoranda. With the emperor essentially on strike, it was difficult to govern effectively. The Ming army suffered heavy losses fighting the Manchus, who would eventually conquer China in 1644.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1654-1722 Emperor Kangxi

The Kangxi Emperor (1654-1722) of the Qing dynasty was the longest reigning Chinese Emperor at over 60 years on the throne. Kangxi came to power at fourteen and quickly worked to establish himself. He kept many political institutions from the previous Ming dynasty which helped to solidify relations with Han Chinese as they could still become officials in the Manchu Qing regime. During his reign China would go on to conquer modern day Mongolia and Tibet, establishing a presence in Central Asia. The Kangxi Emperor was a great patron of Western learning. He was personally interested in the learning of Jesuit scholars who served the imperial court. The Kangxi Emperor would have many European works translated into Chinese. He would also oversee the compilation of the Kangxi Dictionary, a great cultural achievement. Kangxi was also a great patron of Tibetan Buddhism.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1678-1735 Emperor Yinzhen

Yinzhen (1678-1735) called the Yongzheng Emperor of the Qing dynasty of China, became Emperor following his father’s death in 1723. Yongzheng was an efficient ruler who would seek to reduce corruption during his reign. He would also oversee many important financial reforms. The most important of these was ordering the preparation of biannual reports from the provincial governors. These reports would include estimates on needs for famine assistance, military garrisons, and public works. These financial reforms would help to lay the foundation for later financial success in the Qing dynasty, as well as increasing the control of the central government over the provincial administrations.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1711-1799 Emperor Qianlong

Qianlong (1711-1799 CE) Aisin Gioro Hongli, also known as the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty, was an impressive statesman and influential head of state that oversaw a period of prosperity throughout the Qing Empire. It was during his reign that Qing China would reach its territorial peak with the conquest of modern-day Xinjiang province. Qianlong was a well-known polyglot who could address visitors to the imperial court in their own languages. He was said to speak Mongolian, Uighur, Tibetan, and Tangut. Qianlong was a great patron of Tibetan Buddhism and Confucian values. The emperor was also a lover of the arts, penning thousands of poems himself and patronizing many different artists. He would abdicate in 1795 in order to have a shorter reign than his grandfather the Kangxi emperor.

Erik Lopinski

Map: India

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1542-1605Akbar I

Akbar I (1542-1605) was a Mughal Emperor who would extend the bounds of the Mughal Empire to include most of the Indian sub-continent north of the Godavari River. During his rule the Mughal Empire would also become extremely wealthy due to conquest. However he was also interested in intellectual pursuits rumored to have a library of over 20,000 volumes. He would also establish a system of law that treated all religions equally in order to help keep his large realm stable. Akbar would also abolish the tax on Hindus which would help endear to his majority Hindu subjects. Akbar would also use marriage based alliances to help solidify and secure his realm marrying women of many different faiths. Akbar I’s policies would help to increase economic activity, reform the military, as well as reforming the legal system into one based upon religious tolerance.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 324-297 BCE Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya (r.324-297 BCE) was the founder of the Mauryan Empire. He rose to power by conquering the Nanda Empire, the dominant force on the Indian subcontinent. He did this around the age of 20, laying the basis for a large empire that stretched over much of modern day India. Chandragupta would also conquer some of the eastern territories of the Seleucid Empire showing the strength of his military. He would make peace with the Seleucids, however, and marry the ruler Seleucus I Nicator’s daughter, thereby establishing a friendly relationship with the Hellenistic world. This would lead to increased exposure and transfer of ideas between the Mediterranean and India. Chandragupta would lay the groundwork for his son and grandson to further consolidate his empire.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, died 232 BCE Ashoka

Ashoka (died 232BCE) was an ancient Indian Emperor that established an Empire that would stretch over much of modern day India (aside from the extreme south of the sub-continent). He became ruler is 269 BCE but much of his life is shrouded in legend. Ashoka was considered a bloodthirsty and ruthless military commander who after pushing his empire to its furthest limits would convert to Buddhism in 273BCE. After his conversion, he was a relatively peaceful ruler who placed pillar and rock edicts supporting Buddhist teachings around his kingdom. He was also a pivotal factor in the spread of Buddhism, spreading it as far south as modern Sri Lanka. He would die in 232 after around 30 years of rule.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 335-375 Samudra Gupta

Samudra Gupta (335-375 CE) was the son of Chandra Gupta I, founder of the Gupta Dynasty. Samundra expanded the territory of the empire, bringing areas such as Kashmir and the Deccan under his command. So famed was his military prowess that a eulogy to Samudra, which celebrated his conquests, was carved into one of the Ashokan pillars in Allahabad. Samudra also revived royal patronage of the ritual of the horse sacrifice, important to the Vedic tradition.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 375-415 Chandra Gupta II Vikramaditya

Chandra Gupta II Vikramaditya (375-415 CE), son of Samundra, took over after the brief reign of his brother Ramagupta, who was defeated by the Sakas. Chandra Gupta II was also known for his military abilities. He further extended the borders of the empire to its peak size, although he ruled in a decentralized fashion.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 985-1014 Raja Raja Chola I

Raja Raja Chola I (985-1014 CE) was an important ruler of the Chola Kingdom in what is now Southern India. He ruled from 985-1014. He would establish a more centralized administration over a loose collection of nobles that made up his kingdom. He did this by instituting a system of audits that held local municipalities responsible. He would conquer much of Southern India including the northern part of Sri Lanka. Raja Raja Chola would also establish dominion over the Maldives. He had a tolerant religious policy while being a Hindu himself. He built the Brihadisvara temple dedicated to Shiva which is one of the largest temples in India. Raja Raja Chola I also constructed a large navy to help assist with military conquest and trade. Raja Raja Chola would patronize many excellent pieces of architecture many of which were temples.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1014-1044 Rajendra Chola I

Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 CE) succeeded his father Raja Raja Chola I as the ruler of the Chola Kingdom. He would rule from 1014-1044. During his reign the Chola kingdom would expand greatly to the north until it encompassed much of the eastern Indian subcontinent. He would also complete the conquest of Sri Lanka. Rajendra Chola I, who saw the importance of having a strong navy, would also make a naval expedition where he would establish tributaries through much of modern day Malaysia, and other parts of Southeast Asia. He would establish the Chola Kingdom as the largest empire in India during the time. The Chola kingdom would increase the size of its military greatly during his reign.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1483-1530 Babur (Mughal Dynasty)

Babur of the Mughal Dynasty (1483-1530) was born Zahir-ud-Din-Muhammad; he was a Central Asian Conqueror who after attempting multiple times to capture Samarkand laid the basis for the Mughal Empire in India. He would conquer Punjab in less than a month and then solidify his position with another battle. Babur accomplished these victories through skilled use of firearms as well as encirclement tactics. Babur was also a patron of the arts and music during times of relative peace. His empire was very decentralized; because he was more concerned with military matters than administration, many administrators were essentially autonomous. Babur would also support the influx of Persian and Central Asian culture into India. The chronicles of his life are an important piece of literature called the Babarnama. Babur would lay the foundation for one of the greatest empires in Indian history while also patronizing the arts.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1569-1627 Jahangir

Jahangir (1569-1627 CE): Jahangir was born in 1569 as Salim, the oldest son of Emperor Akbar. He would fight a rebellion against his father, but by the time Akbar died in 1605 they had reconciled and the Empire was passed to him. Jahangir was a great patron for the arts who preferred to eschew combat in favor of staying at his court. During this period the Mughal Empire would continue to expand through military force and political intrigue. This expansion would help to consolidate the Empire that his forefathers had painstakingly built. His wife would hold a large amount of influence over him; Mehrunissa would be consulted for most policy decisions. Jahangir personally enjoyed constructing gardens among other artistic items. Jahangir would spend much of his life as an alcohol and opium addict which would eventually lead to his death. He would leave behind a more consolidated empire with many cultural artifacts.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1577-1645 Consort Nur Jahan

Nur Jahan (1577-1645 CE): Empress Consort Nur Jahan was the final and most beloved wife of the Emperor Jahangir. Nur Jahan is believed by many to have been the real power behind the throne of her husband’s reign. She was the widow of a Persian military officer who had been under the employ of the Mughal Empire. Jahangir would meet and fall in love with her and they would marry in 1611. From 1611 to 1627 she would effectively wield imperial power, running many of the affairs of the state for opium and alcohol addicted Jahangir. Interestingly she was a physically robust woman who joined her husband on hunts. Nur Jahan would also be a driving force behind the growth of arts and culture during her period of influence. She would lose her influence after the death of her husband and the rise of his son Shah Jahan after a brief succession conflict. She would live the rest of her days confined to a palace with her daughter.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1592-1666 Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan (1592-1666 CE): Shah Jahan was born in 1592 to the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. He rose to the throne after the death of his father in 1628. An excellent administrator, he inherited a depleted treasury, but over his reign the Empire would become one of the wealthiest in the world. Shah Jahan was also not as religiously tolerant as previous Mughal Emperors, as he sought to assert the dominance of Islam over other religions such as Hinduism. Shah Jahan was also a great patron of the arts and poetry like many other Emperors of the Mughal dynasty. Shah Jahan was most famous as a patron of architecture, commanding the construction of many iconic examples of Mughal architecture including the world famous Taj Mahal, which he built in honor of his beloved wife who had died. During his reign, the administration of the Empire was increasingly centralized with an increase in tax revenue and economic growth as a result. Personally Shah Jahan tried to exude an air of perfection in public which was in contrast to earlier Mughal rulers who were more accessible.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Modern Period, c. 1630-1680 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja (1630-1680 CE) Shivaji was born sometime around 1630 and died in 1680. Shivaji would lay the foundations for the Maratha Empire. Shivaji founded his state during a rebellion against the Bijapur Sultanate. The result would be the creation of a Maratha kingdom. Shivaji was a devout Hindu who promoted the use of Marathi in his court and Sanskrit in writing. He allowed his subjects to have freedom of religion with no forced conversion to his beliefs. Shivaji made many changes that would lay the foundation for future Maratha success. A brilliant military commander, he would introduce a standing army that excelled in the use of small unit tactics. He would also establish part-time peasant soldiers that would work in the field part of the year. Shivaji would tie the populace closer to the state with people of all classes actively involved in the defense of the state. He would win many military victories against opponents such as the Mughal Empire.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 949-975 Emperor Gwanjong (of Korea)

Gwangjong (949-975 CE), born Wang So, Emperor Gwangjong was the fourth son of Taejo, founder of the dynasty. Gwangjong succeeded his brother at the age of 25. Gwangjong’s goal throughout his entire reign was to curb the power of the nobility and increase the power of the ruler. To that end, he refused to marry a noblewoman and took wives from among his own relatives. In 956, the emperor emancipated all slaves, which increased his power base while decreasing the nobles’ (they had owned most of the slaves and taxed them, but free people paid their taxes to the emperor instead). In 958, Gwangjong instituted civil service examinations based on the Chinese model: the exams covered the Confucian classics and bureaucrats would earn their places based on merit. While Gwangjong’s reforms were popular with the common people, his nobles resisted, leading to a failed rebellion. In reaction, beginning in 960, Gwangjong began to purge thousands of his opponents. Although Gwangjong managed to restructure the government, many of his reforms would be undone. Under his son and successor, the bureaucracy began to turn into a hereditary system rather than a meritocracy. Under the following emperor, the emancipation of slaves was rescinded.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1335-1408 Emperor Taejo (of Korea)

Taejo (1335-1408 CE), born Yi Seong-gye, was the founder of the Joseon dynasty of Korea. He founded the dynasty by overthrowing the previous Goryeo Dynasty. Originally a general of the preceding regime and a military commander of considerable repute, he would defeat Mongols and Japanese Pirates. Taejo would then go on to disagree with the court and turn an army meant for Manchuria back on the capital where he defeated loyalist forces. He would establish the Joseon dynasty around 1393, but he would have a relatively short reign of only a few years. He would live until 1408 though he would abdicate as his sons struggled for the throne. Taejo would also closely tie Korea to Ming Dynasty China after the collapse of the Yuan dynasty. During his reign Taejo would build the first great palace. His reign, while short-lived, was very important as it would install one of Korea’s longest lived dynasties.

Erik Lopinski

Map: Korea

Timeline: Asia

Continent: East Asia

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1397-1450 Emperor Sejong (of Korea)

Sejong (1397-1450 CE) Sejong the Great was born the third son of the preceding ruler and ascended to the throne due his father’s favor and his brother, the original heir’s, light-hearted disposition. This would be of great benefit to Korea as Sejong would institute many reforms and rule effectively. Importantly Sejong was interested in governing according to Confucian principles; this meant he believed in promoting men of talent and representing virtue and scholarship. Perhaps the most important creation credited to Sejong the Great was the creation of the Korean alphabet which allowed the Koreans to express themselves in a more simplified and efficient manner than the Chinese they wrote in during preceding periods. Sejong was also an excellent military reformer. During his reign the Koreans would wipe out Japanese pirates in Tsushima Island; he would also expand his territory to the north. He would also order the compilation of a treatise on farming that would prove of great importance to the common people and the dynasty itself. Overall King Sejong the Great is considered one of the best leaders in Korean history mainly due to his creation of the enduring Korean alphabet.

Erik Lopinski

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: High Middle Ages, 932-975 al-Mu'izz li-Dīn Allāh

The Fatimid Caliph al-Mu'izz li-Dīn Allāh (932-975) is considered the true founder of the Fatimid state. Al-Mu'izz succeeded in seizing Egypt from the Abbasid Caliphate in 969. During his era, the Fatimid state expanded in North Africa and Egypt and he entered into a military conflict with the Umayyads in Andalusia in order to secure the western borders. The Caliph contributed to the efforts of civilization in Egypt through the establishment of the city of Cairo in 969, which became the capital of the Fatimid caliphate. Also, he created Al-Azhar in 972 as a religious institution and mosque for the spread of Shiite Islam. Further Reading www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/taj_mahal/tlevel_2/t1mughal_2akbar.html www.nature.com/nature/journal/v150/n3812/abs/150600b0.html

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: High Middle Ages, 975-996 Nizar al-Aziz Billah

The Fatimid Caliph Nizar al-Aziz Billah (975-996): his era witnessed many political and cultural achievements. al-Aziz Billah entered a military conflict with the Abbasid Caliphate in Iraq in order to control Syria. Eventually, he seized many Syrian cities for Fatimid rule, such as Damascus in 979 and Aleppo in 996. The Caliph promoted economic activity in Egypt, especially with regard to the textile industry. His era also witnessed an evolution in the ceramics and glass industries. There was a spread of Shiite Islam in his era through the establishment of some Shiite observations in Egypt and the spread of those practices in Syrian cities. In the architectural realm, he created the Palace of the Pearl in Cairo in 982. Administratively, he was the first to enter the post of minister (wazir) in the Fatimid administration.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1036-1094 al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh

The Fatimid Caliph al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh (1036–1094): his era witnessed the largest expansion of the Fatimid caliphate to include North Africa, Egypt, Syria, and Hejaz. al-Mustanṣir tried to seize Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasids, through a military campaign in 1058, but failed in his plan. In his era, the position of the Fatimid Caliph was higher than the position of the Abbasid caliph because of his strength and control over large parts of the Muslim world, including Mecca and Medina. His era was characterized by administrative and economic reforms after a period of political corruption. His era is considered to be the last era of power and development of the Fatimid caliphate. After the death of al-Mustanṣir, political and military collapse began in Egypt and Syria.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Western Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1127-1146 Imad ad-Dīn Zengi

Imad ad-Dīn Zengi (1127–1146) was a founder of the Zengid dynasty in Syria and Iraq. Imad ad-Dīn annexed many Syrian cities at the beginning of the establishment of the Zengid dynasty, such as Aleppo in 1128 and Hama in 1130. Then he began his plan to defend the Islamic world in the conflict against the Crusaders through his success in retrieving Edessa in 1144. Imad ad-Dīn succeeded in establishing a new state in Syria under his leadership, completing his plan to retrieve the rest of the Syrian cities from the Crusaders. He had many architectural achievements in the construction of castles and the restoration of cities in Aleppo, Mosul, and Edessa that were built to secure the region against the Crusades. Imad ad-Dīn also supervised the construction of many Sunni schools in Damascus and Aleppo in order to spread Sunni Islam in preparation for the coming conflict with the Fatimid caliphate.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Western Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1146-1174 Nūr ad-Dīn Zengi

Nūr ad-Dīn Zengi (1146-1174): his era witnessed expansion in Syria and Egypt. Nūr ad-Dīn succeeded in seizing Damascus in 1153 and Mosul in 1170. He completed the plan of his father Imad ad-Dīn Zengi, in the struggle with the Crusaders and the annexation of Syrian cities. Moreover, Nūr ad-Dīn was able to control Egypt in 1168 after sending a military campaign to weaken the Fatimid Caliphate. Nūr ad-Dīn is considered the true founder of the Zengi army through the development of military training. The period of 1146-1174 witnessed wars of depletion between Nūr ad-Dīn and the Crusaders in Syria, which contributed to the weakening of the internal front of the Crusaders. Throughout his rule, Nūr ad-Dīn had good relations with the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad and the Seljuks in Central Asia, which helped ensure their political and military support in their wars against the Crusaders.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Western Asia, Africa

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1169-1173 Salah al-Din ibn Ayyubi

Salah al-Din ibn Ayyubi (1169–1193) was the founder of the Ayyubid state in 1169. The Sultan succeeded in uniting Egypt with Syria after overthrowing the Fatimid state. The sultan began his era in unifying the internal front in Egypt and Syria, which continued for 10 years from 1169 to 1179. After Salah al-Din strengthened the internal unity of his state, he began his wars against the Crusaders in Syria. In 1187, he defeated the Crusaders in the battle of Hittin. The Sultan succeeded in restoring many cities, such as Nablus, Haifa, Nazareth, Caesarea, Saffuriya, and Beirut in 1187. Finally, the Sultan succeeded in restoring Jerusalem. Overall, he contributed to the spread of Sunni Islam and the cultural and scientific renaissance through the construction of many schools and mosques.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: High Middle Ages, 1240-1249 As-Salih Ayyub

As-Salih Ayyub (1240-1249) was the last of the powerful sultans in the Ayyubid state. Ayyub establish a strong army in Egypt by importing many Mamluks from the Caucasus, especially after a period of weakness and civil wars after the death of Salah al-Din. The Sultan was able to defend Egypt and defeat the Seventh Crusade led by Louis IX from 1248-1254. The Sultan was interested in the cultural and urban renaissance through the construction of many libraries and schools in Egypt. However, the Sultan died before achieving his plan to restore Syria to the Ayyubid authority in Cairo.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Western Asia

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1260-1277 Sultan Baybars

Sultan Baybars (1260-1277) is the true founder of the Mamluk Empire. He contributed greatly to the restoration of Syria from the Mongols through his successive wars against them from 1260 to 1270. Also, he was the first sultan in the Mamluk Dynusty to fight against the Crusaders in Syria, where he succeeded in restoring Safad in 1266 and Antioch in 1268. Internally, Baybars succeeded in reviving the Abbasid Caliphate in Cairo after its fall in Baghdad in 1258. Also, he contributed to the scientific renaissance through the establishment of endowments and the restoration of libraries and schools in Syrian cities. At the diplomatic level, Baybars was the first Mamluk sultan who succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with the Mongols after the restoration of Syria, Iraq, and Persia. Furthermore, he had an important role in establishing trade relations with Venice to trade wood and slaves. During this era, Alexandria became an important port on the Mediterranean Sea.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1310-1340 al-Nasir Muhammad

al-Nasir Muhammad (1310-1340): his era witnessed a renaissance in civilization and urban development, and is characterized by stability and growth. The sultan contributed to the agricultural renaissance in the Egyptian cities through the establishment of irrigation networks in the cities of Upper Egypt in order to increase agricultural productivity. The agricultural reforms of his era increased the income of the Mamluk treasury due to the high taxes on agricultural land, which was the main income of the Mamluk treasury. There were many architectural monuments and buildings of his era as a result of financial prosperity. He built many important buildings, such as al'Albaq palace in Cairo in 1323 and Castle Mosque in 1326, which represented the greatest buildings in Cairo during the Mamluk period.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa, West Asia

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1382-1399 Sultan Barquq

Sultan Barquq (1382-1399) was the founder of the Mamluk Circassian dynasty that ruled in the period of 1382-1517. Barquq succeeded in restoring the strength of the Mamluk state again after a long period of civil wars, conflict among powerful amirs, and the rule of the young sultans in the period of 1340-1380. The Sultan contributed to the restoration of state control over the rebel forces such as the Arab tribes in Egypt and the Turkmen tribes in Syria against whom he led military campaigns in the period of 1390 to 1396. On the other hand, the Sultan contributed to the restoration of fortresses in Aleppo and Damascus and protected them against the Mongol attacks led by Tamerlane. The Sultan brought many Mamluk recruits from the Caucasus and named them al-zāhirīya (Barquq), and this faction had a major role in political and military affairs in the first half of the fifteenth century.

Abdulaziz Alqabli

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1434-1468 Zärʾa Yaʿəqob

Zärʾa Yaʿəqob (r. 1434-1468, throne name Qʷäsṭänṭinos) was a prominent member of the Solomonic Dynasty. He is well known for his extensive administrative and ecclesiastic reforms as well as his direct involvement in the theological controversies that dominated his reign. The first of these, the schism with the House of Ewosṭatewos, concerned the observance of the Qädamit Sänbät, the “First Sabbath” (i.e. Saturday). In 1450, Zärʾa Yaʿəqob presided over a council at Däbrä Məṭmaq which decided in favor of the practice and ended the schism. It was during his reign that another controversy began, that of Ǝsṭifanos, a monastic leader who, it is claimed, opposed the widespread veneration of Mary and the Cross as well as the doctrine of millenarianism, for which he and his followers were severely persecuted. Zärʾa Yaʿəqob also actively opposed magical practices, including prominent “demonic” cults, and those accused of such practices faced scourges and exile. In addition to his persecutions of dissident religious groups, he also produced a number of theological treatises, prayers, and polemics. It was also during his reign that a piece of the True Cross was brought to Amba Gəšän and a fixed capital was established at Däbrä Bərhan. Bibliography Derat, Marie-Laure. “‘Do Not Search for Another King, One Whom God Has Not Given You’: Questions on the Elevation of Zärʾä Yaʿeqob (1434-1468).” JEMH 8 (3-4): 210-228. Perruchon, Jules. Les chroniques de Zar’a Yâʿeqôb et de Ba’eda Mâryâm, rois d’Éthiopie de 1434 à 1478. Paris: Librairie Émile Bouillon, 1893. Taddesse Tamrat. Church and State in Ethiopia, 1270-1527. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.

Augustine Dickinson

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Late Middle AgesLalibäla

Lalibäla (throne name Gäbrä Mäsqäl) was a 13th-century king of the Zagʷe Dynasty. The traditional etymology of his name, an Agäw term, is “the bees obey him,” referring to a story in which he, as an infant, was surrounded by bees that did not harm him. He is best known by association with the town bearing his name, famous for the numerous monolithic churches found there and which is revered among Ethiopians as a new Jerusalem. According to the hagiographic tradition surrounding the king, Lalibäla received a vision of heaven during which he was ordered by Christ to carve ten churches out of the rock, although scholars debate the extent of the king’s role in the construction of the churches. After his death, he was buried in one of the churches and the site subsequently became the center of a cult surrounding the king and his wife, Mäsqäl Kəbra. Bibliography Derat, Marie-Laure. “The Acts of King Lalibäla: Structure, Literary Models and Dating Elements.” In PICES 15: 561-68. Gervers, Michael. “The Rehabilitation of the Zaguē Kings and the Building of the Däbrä Sina – Golgotha – Sellasie Complex in Lalibäla.” In Africana Bulletin 51: 23-49. Perruchon, Jules. Vie de Lalibala, roi d’Éthiopie. Paris: E. Leroux, 1892.

Augustine Dickinson

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Middle AgesKaleb

Kaleb (throne name Ǝllä Aṣbəḥa), who reigned as King of Aksum during the 6th century, is one of the best-known Aksumite kings. His reign is attested by a wealth of epigraphic and numismatic sources, as well as historiographic and hagiographic sources extant in multiple languages. During Kaleb’s reign, multiple efforts to assert Aksumite influence over Southern Arabia were undertaken. The final, successful military campaign, led by Kaleb against the Jewish Ḥimyarite Kingdom, was undertaken with at least the nominal support of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. This success marked the height of Aksumite influence on the Arabian Peninsula and Christian accounts tend to portray the campaign as a sort of holy war. Kaleb, in hagiographic tradition, is also closely associated with preeminent monastic saint Ṗänṭälewon, one of the Nine Saints responsible for the growth of monasticism within Ethiopia and under whose guidance Kaleb became a monk following his abdication from the throne. He is venerated as a saint not only within the Ethiopian Church but also among other churches, where he is often referred to as Elesbaan (from a Greek transliteration of his throne name). Bibliography Harmatta, Janos. “The Struggle for the Possession of South Arabia between Aksūm and the Sāsānians.” In PICES 4 (1): 95-106. Hatke, George. Africans in Arabia Felix: Aksumite relations with Himyar in the sixth century CE. 2011. Sergew Hable Selassie. Ancient and medieval Ethiopian history to 1270. Addis Ababa: United Printers, 1972.

Augustine Dickinson

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Middle AgesʿEzana

ʿEzana was a 4th-century Aksumite king, the first Ethiopian monarch to convert to Christianity, whose reign is attested in several tri-lingual inscriptions as well as from numismatic and literary sources. His conversion came as a result of the influence of Frumentius, a Christian from Tyre who arrived in Aksum as a child with his brother as part of a trade expedition and had been held hostage at the royal court. After being released as an adult, he travelled to Alexandria to petition the patriarch, Athanasius I, to appoint a bishop for Aksum. Frumentius (later known as Abba Salama) was himself appointed to be bishop and he returned to Ethiopia sometime in the first half of the 4th century. The (Semi-)Arian Emperor Constantius II sent a letter to ʿEzana with the goal of having Frumentius replaced, seemingly to no effect. ʿEzana’s monumental inscriptions witness to a transition from polytheistic formulas to Christian ones and attest to a number of successful military campaigns against neighbouring peoples. ʿEzana is venerated as a saint in Ethiopia along with his brother, named in Greek sources as Sazanas. It seems probable that they can be identified as the saint-kings Abrəha and Aṣbəḥa mentioned in Ethiopian sources. Bibliography Hatke, George. Aksum and Nubia: Warfare, Commerce, and Political Fictions in Ancient Northeast Africa. New York: NYU Press, 2013. Sergew Hable Selassie. Ancient and medieval Ethiopian history to 1270. Addis Ababa: United Printers, 1972.

Augustine Dickinson

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1270-1285 Yəkunno Amlak

Yəkunno Amlak (r. 1270-1285) is the ruler credited with overthrowing the Zagʷe Dynasty and establishing (or restoring) the Solomonic Dynasty. An important part of his success in overthrowing the previous dynasty was the cooperation of religious leaders. While the hagiographic traditions surrounding the founders of what later became the two preeminent monasteries of Ethiopia, Iyäsus Moʾa, founder of the monastery of Däbrä Ḥayq Ǝsṭifanos, and Täklä Haymanot, founder of the monastery of Däbrä Libanos, both assert their respective founder’s critical role in Yəkunno Amlak’s success, it seems likely that it was primarily Iyäsus Moʾa who aided the Emperor in his effort. Aside from this, little is known concerning his source of power or precisely how he managed to displace the reigning Zagʷe monarch. Later sources sought to establish a connection between Yəkunno Amlak and the earlier Aksumite kings (in the process depicting the intermediary Agäw Zagʷe monarchs as usurpers), as well as a connection between the Aksumite kings and the Biblical King Solomon, thereby establishing a connection between King Solomon and the dynasty established by Yəkunno Amlak. Bibliography Taddesse Tamrat. Church and State in Ethiopia, 1270-1527. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972. Taddesse Tamrat. “Problems of Royal Succession in Fifteenth Century Ethiopia: A Presentation of the Documents.” In PICES 4 (1): 501-535.

Augustine Dickinson

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1632-1667 Fasilidas

1632-1667 Fasilidas (throne name 'Alam Sagad) is best known for restoring the official status of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and banishing the Jesuits from his kingdom. He was also a noted builder, founding Gondar as the capital in 1636 and building the "Old Cathedral" of St Mary of Zion in Axum.

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modernity, 1889-1913 Menelik II

1889-1913 Menelik II modernized Ethiopia and is famous for defeating Italian attempts at imperialism. The Treaty of Wuchale (1889) had two versions, the Italian-language one essentially making Ethiopia a protectorate of Italy. When Menelik II discovered the discrepancy, he rejected the treaty, leading to the battle of Adwa (1896). That battle was a decisive victory for Ethiopia. The current Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, was founded during Menelik's reign, after the Empress first settled there.

Map: Ethiopia

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modernity, 1930-1974 Haile Sellasie

1930-1974 One of the most famous of Ethiopia's emperors, Haile Sellasie is also a messianic figure in the Rastafarian religion. Shortly after his coronation, Haile Sellasie introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution in 1931. A few years later in 1936, he and his family were driven into exile by the invading Italian army. That same year, he pleaded with the League of Nations to assist Ethiopia, but the group only imposed partial sanctions on Italy. He was, however, named Time's Man of the Year for 1936. The emperor returned to Ethiopia in 1941, when Italy was militarily defeated. In 1961, the Eritrean War for Independence began, which lasted 30 years. The emperor was also the first official chairperson for the Organization of African Unity. Despite his excellent reputation abroad, the emperor's regime committed a number of human rights' abuses, often in connecting with the war with Eritrea. In the aftermath of the Wollo Famine, a group of military offers (called the Derg) deposed Haile Sellasie in 12 September 1974. The Derg abolished the monarchy in March 1975; Haile Sellasie died in August of that same year.

Map: Mali

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Late Middle Ages, 1312-1337 Mansa Musa

Mansa Musa (c.1312-1337) is the most famous emperor of Mali and reportedly one of the richest people to have ever lived. His great generosity while on pilgrimage to Mecca was recorded by a number of Arabic-language scholars including al-Umari, Ibn Khaldun, and Ibn Battuta. According to sources, Mansa Musa gave away so much gold in Egypt that he caused inflation. He was a devout Muslim, noted for his pious acts; he brought numerous scholars back with him from his pilgrimage and set them up teaching at Sankore Madrasah (University of Sankore). By the end of his reign, Sankore Madrasah could accommodate thousands of students and had a manuscript collection estimated at one million volumes. Mansa Musa and his wealth were well-known to contemporaries; he appears holding a gold coin in the famous 1375 Catalan Atlas.

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1629-1652 Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe)

Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe) (1629-1652) was the elder son of Negomo. Since he lost the succession struggle for Kapararidze, he sought the support of the Portuguese. Mavhura signed a treaty with them (1629), by which, in exchange for military aid, he recognized himself as a vassal of the Portuguese crown. This treaty transferred a part of the territory south of the Zambezi River to the possession of the Portuguese King. Yet Mavhura accepted to be baptized by the Dominican friars, who he authorized to set up a parish in Zimbabwe. Later, the Portuguese established a military garrison in Zimbabwe to defend him from the Kapararidze attacks as well as the opposition of some other Karanga chiefs.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1652-1654 Siti Kazurukumusapa (Dom Domingos)

Siti Kazurukumusapa (Dom Domingos) (1652-1654) was a son of Mavhura. During his father’s reign he harassed the Portuguese. However, he was forced to appeal to them to ascend the throne, fearing an attack of Kapararidze. Siti was baptized by the Dominicans on August 4, the feast day of St. Dominic, with his main wife, two sons and several high ranking Karanga. This event had a great repercussion throughout Christendom and was celebrated in Rome, with an engraved bronze tablet, as well as in Lisbon.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1654-1663 Cikate (Dom João)

Cikate (Dom João) (1654-c. 1663). Portuguese sources mention the installation of a new mutapa, but do not indicate his name, which was probably Cikate, mentioned only in subsequent documents. The Portuguese conducted a war against this mutapa and probably assassinated him.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1663 Mutata Kupika (Dom Afonso)

Mutata Kupika (Dom Afonso) (c. 1663-1663) was a brother of Mavhura. Little is known about his reign, although it is documented by a letter sent to the King of Portugal, in which he requested that the military garrison be maintained. Portuguese merchants waged war on this ruler, who was later deposed by Karanga chiefs.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Late Medieval, early 1400s Nyatsimba Mutota

Nyatsimba Mutota (15th century). Son of Chikura Wadyambeu (a semi-historic figure), Mutota is considered to be the founder of the state known as Munhumutapa, Monomotapa or Mukaranga and its first mutapa. Based in Shangwe, he conquered the territories north of the Karanga plateau, Chidima and Dande, and it is supposed that shortly before his dead he subjected Guruuswa, the traditional land of the Shona.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Late Medieval, 1400s Matope Nyanhehwe Nebedza

Matope Nyanhehwe Nebedza (15th century), son of Mutota, he is remembered as one of the main mutapa, associated with important institutions: the cult of the royal spirit mhondoro and the cult of the Supreme Being Dzivaguru, of the Tawara subjects, related to rainmakers. His capital (zimbabwe) was located south of the confluence of the Zambezi and Musengezi Rivers. Matope expanded the state eastwards, up to the Zambezi and Luenya Rivers, which enabled him to control this gold route to the Indian Ocean. These territories were governed by relatives, above all by sons and brothers. The domain of the Tonga, on the right bank of the Zambezi, was transmitted by the alliance with the local chief, who married one of the daughters/sisters of the mutapa, giving rise to the Makombe dynasty which ruled Barwe.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Late Medieval, 1490 Nyahuma Mukombero

Nyahuma Mukombero (?-c. 1490), son of Matope, he concluded the conquest of Kiteve, through which passed the route connecting the Karanga plateau with the Swahili seashore of Sofala. He installed a Karanga dynasty there, whose rulers were known as sachiteve. At this juncture the state began to disintegrate owing to competition among lineages. The changamire Torwa of Guruuswa, recorded as a vassal of the mutapa, eliminated Mukombero and most of his offspring and became the mutapa himself.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Lated Medieval, 1490s Changamire

Changamire (c. 1490-93/94), the Torwa ruler of Guruuswa, who seized power in Mukaranga.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1493/4-1530 Chikuyo Chisamarengu

Chikuyo Chisamarengu (1493/4-1530), Mukombero’s son, he managed to expel the changamire and recovered control of the territory, except for Guruuswa. During his reign, Maniyka was incorporated into Munhumutapa. Kiteve became progressively autonomous, extending its influence to Danda, near the port of Sofala. Chikuyo established diplomatic and commercial relations with the Portuguese factory in Sofala founded in 1507. The mutapa was defeated in a dispute over the route connecting the plateau and the coast, in 1528, by the ruler of Danda – Nyamunda – who monopolised access to Sofala.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1530-1550 Neshangwe Munembire

Neshangwe Munembire (c. 1530-1550) continued the conflict with Nyamunda and defeated him in a war fought in 1540-1542. The mutapa then sent an embassy to the Portuguese in Sofala to pursue trade. However, the war had left the region devastated, affecting the resumption of mercantile activities. During this period the Portuguese joined the Muslim merchants who used the Zambezi route to the Karanga plateau.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1550-1560 Chivere Nyasoro

Chivere Nyasoro (c. 1550-1560) was probably a son of Chikuyo. During his reign the Portuguese began to participate in the gold fairs on the Karanga plateau, just like Swahili merchants already did. In 1560, the main fair, Massapa, had a Portuguese captain (the ‘captain of the doors’) who had jurisdiction and collected taxes (of which the most important was the kuruva) from all merchants in the name of the mutapa.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1560-1586/9 Negomo Mupunzagutu (Dom Sebastião)

Negomo Mupunzagutu (Dom Sebastião) (1560-1586/9), a son of Chikuyo, became the mutapa in a procedure contested by the ruler of Kiteve. Negomo received the first Christian mission in Mukaranga, headed by the Jesuit Dom Gonçalo da Silveira (1561), and he was baptised as Dom Sebastião, the name of the Portuguese king. He later ordered the missionary’s execution. The Portuguese warned the mutapa to expect a divine punishment for the death of Silveira and he then ordered the execution of the people who had advised him to kill the Jesuit. Negomo had to contend with a military expedition dispatched from Lisbon to avenge Silveira’s execution and to conquer Munhumutapa (1572-1575). The mutapa agreed to the Portuguese demands (freedom to trade, handing over the mines and freedom for missionary activities) but this did not change the situation on the ground.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1586/9-1623 Gatsi Rusere

Gatsi Rusere (1586/9-1623) was a son of the mukomohasha (captain-general of the armies) Nyandoro. During his reign the kuruva began to be paid by the Portuguese captain of Mozambique Island. From 1597 onward, Maravi groups from the area north of the Zambezi River invaded Mukaranga, while internal revolts resulted in a civil war. In 1606, one of the rebels – Matuzvianye – declared himself to be the mutapa. Gatsi Rusere demanded help from the Portuguese merchants, signing a treaty with their leader (1607). He granted the Karanga mines to the Portuguese in exchange for military assistance. Meanwhile, he decided to attack Barwe, which had failed to pay its tributes. Gatsi Rusere regained control over Mukaranga only in 1609. The unfruitful attempts by the Portuguese to discover silver in the Chikova region resulted in innumerable military clashes. At this time Barwe and Maniyka probably ceased to recognise the suzerainty of the mutapa.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1623-1629 Nyambo Kapararidze

Nyambo Kapararidze (1623-1629) was a son of Gatsi Rusere. He won the struggle for power against Mavhura Mhande, his father’s brother. After receiving the kuruva, the mutapa launched an attack against the Portuguese, possibly due to a breach of protocol. He was deposed in 1629 after Mavhura and the Portuguese formed an alliance.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1629-1631 Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe)

Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe) (1629-1631), the eldest son of Negomo Mupunzagutu, he sought military support from the Portuguese. He signed a treaty with them (1629), in which he declared himself to be a vassal of the Portuguese crown and granted it part of the territory south of the Zambezi. Mavhura was baptised by Dominican missionaries and gave them permission to establish a parish in his capital. The Portuguese gained unfettered access to the mines and the fairs on the Karanga plateau and extended their dominions in the territory south of the Zambezi, where they created the prazos (land grants).

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1631-1632 Nyambo Kapararidze

Nyambo Kapararidze (1631-1632). At the end of 1631, Kapararidze managed to obtain the assistance of various chiefs to attack the Portuguese and Mavhura and regained control of Mukaranga. He was especially cruel to the Dominicans, who had been Mavhura’s main supporters, and ordered their execution. However, he was defeated by the Portuguese army in the following year. Kapararidze continued to fight to recover the power.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1632-1652 Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe)

Mavhura Mhande (Dom Filipe) (1632-1652) regained power with the support of his Portuguese allies, who maintained a military garrison in his capital, to defend him against attacks by Kapararidze and opponent factions among the Karanga elite. By means of the 1629 treaty he lost the ability to collect taxes from merchants and, instead of the kuruva tribute, the Portuguese administration in Mozambique would send him a saguate (gift), which, although of an equivalent value, underscored his status as a vassal. Mavhura’s government is considered to be the beginning of a set of puppet mutapa rulers controlled by the Portuguese. Nevertheless, he continued to have significant autonomy and maintained Karanga institutions.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1652-1654 Siti Kazurukumusapa (Dom Domingos)

Siti Kazurukumusapa (Dom Domingos) (1652-1654) was a son of Mavhura. During his father’s reign, Siti was hostile towards the Portuguese but was forced to resort to their help to accede to power, fearing an offensive by Kapararidze. His baptism (on August 4, 1652, St. Dominic’s day), as well as the baptism of his main wife, two sons and various Karanga dignitaries, made a great impact in Rome as well as in Lisbon. Siti died shortly after he became the mutapa.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1663-1693 Kamharapasu Mukombwe (Dom Filipe)

Kamharapasu Mukombwe (Dom Filipe) (c. 1663-1692) was a son of Mavhura. He became the mutapa backed by the Portuguese but then later dared to turn against them. In 1673, when the Portuguese again sought silver in Chikova, Mukombwe declared war against them with Maniyka’s support. In the 1680s, the mutapa regained some territories dominated by the Portuguese merchants in the plateau, in exchange for allowing them to mine and trade there. By making grants of land from the territories recovered from the Portuguese and those confiscated from his adversaries, Mukombwe promoted the formation of powerful houses. He also tried to contain the expansion of changamire Dombo of Butwa, attacking his army immediately after it had defeated the Portuguese army at Maungwe (1684). However, he was beaten and had to ally with the Portuguese. Mukombwe is remembered as one of the most important mutapa due to the role he played in the resurgence of Munhumutapa.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1692-1694 Nyakunembire

Nyakunembire (1692-1694), a son of Mavhura, became mutapa, probably sustained by the changamire. In 1693, Nyakunembire appealed to the changamire to attack the Portuguese fair in Dambarare. About 60 people were killed during this assault, including Portuguese, Goans and Africans, and the Portuguese consequently abandoned the other fairs on the plateau. Nyamaende Mhande and Chirimbe, both of whom were sons of Mukombwe and had been exiled in Maniyka, took advantage of this situation. Mhande demanded the support of the Portuguese against Nyakunembire, having also mobilised important Karanga chiefs. The mutapa offered no resistance and sought refuge with the changamire. Some authors suggest that Nyakunembire began a new dynasty in Maniyka.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1694-1698 Nyamaende Mhande (Dom Pedro)

Nyamaende Mhande (Dom Pedro) (1694-c. 1698), son of Mukombwe, he was educated and baptised at the house of Dona Vicência João, a mixed-blood lady who controlled the Inhambanzo lands. The Portuguese initially refused to hold Mhande, but Dona Vicência managed to mobilise support to enlarge her protégé’s army. In 1694, Mhande was recognised as the mutapa by high rank chiefs and the Portuguese thus sent him a garrison. In the context of new discoveries of silver in Chikova, in 1696, the mutapa signed a treaty allowing the Portuguese Crown to explore these mines. However, as in the past, the Portuguese faced the opposition of the local chief and failed to locate the mines. Mhande died in c. 1698.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1698-1702 Chirimbi (Dom Manuel)

Chirimbi (Dom Manuel) (c. 1698-c.1702) was a son of Mukombwe. The Portuguese preferred Mapeze, a son of Mhande, as the mutapa, but they nonetheless sent Chirimbi a garrison to contain the hostility of some Karanga chiefs. Mapeze, in his turn, was baptised in 1699 and went to Goa, where he joined the Dominican order as Friar Dom Constantino do Rosário, as did his brother, Friar Dom João, shortly afterwards. In 1720, both these friars set sail on a journey to Lisbon but one died at the start of the voyage and the other died in São Salvador da Baía, in Brazil.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1702 Boroma Dangwarangwa (Dom João)

Boroma Dangwarangwa (Dom João) (c. 1702). His reign is documented in 1702. Dangwarangwa was supported by the Portuguese merchants, which was probably the reason why the changamire invaded Munhumutapa and attacked the zimbabwe. Dangwarangwa sought refuge in the Portuguese settlement at Tete, near the Zambezi River. However, the Portuguese decided to confront the changamire and sent the few military forces they had available to join those of the mutapa. The ensuing battle resulted in the defeat of the allies and high casualties among their armies, including the life of the mutapa.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1702-1706 Samutumbu Nyamhandu

Samutumbu Nyamhandu (c. 1702-1706) was probably a son of Mukombwe. Having been educated by the Jesuits, Nyamhandu spoke Portuguese fluently. He came to power holded by the changamire, with whom he signed a treaty that made him a vassal of Butwa. Samutumbu was also not invested according to Karanga ceremonies, which resulted in opposition from the Karanga elite. In this context, the mutapa sought the support of the Portuguese, who were suspicious of his intentions. Taking advantage of the civil war that broke out in Butwa after the changamire died, the Portuguese allied with Barwe and Maravi Kalonga (north of the Zambezi) in 1706 and attacked Mukaranga to install another mutapa in power, probably Gende. Although he won the battle, Nyamhandu died shortly afterwards. Little is known about the subsequent period, which was marked by a civil war among various houses, some of which had emerged as a result of the territorial grants by mutapa Mukombwe (e.g. Kasekete, Gupo, Kandewa and Changara), and by the secession of chiefdoms on the plateau. Portuguese sources allude to a mutapa Semotane, in 1709, and a mutapa Gende (Zenda, Ginde or Nyenyedzi), placed on the throne by the Portuguese in 1710, while some authors also mention mutapa Gupo, Mupunzagutu and Sakapio.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1710-1740 Nyamhandu (Dom João)

Nyamhandu (Dom João) (c. 1710-c. 1740) fought for power during a civil war that extended over several years. In order to obtain external legitimacy, in 1710 Nyamhandu demanded Portuguese assistance. The Portuguese were divided and refused to support him but in 1711 they sent him a garrison for a while. However, the civil war continued and in 1715 a faction among the Portuguese supported Gende as the mutapa. Nyamhandu managed to regain power and, in 1718, after the death of his main adversary, Kamota Kasekete, the Portuguese recognised him as the mutapa, baptising him and providing him a military garrison. Nyamhandu was not able to extend his rule to the plateau, establishing his capital in the lowlands near the Zambezi River, in the territory of present-day Mozambique, where his successors remained. In the meanwhile, the Portuguese established a fair in Zumbo, on the east bank of the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi Rivers.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1743-1750 Debwe

Debwe (c. 1743-1750) was a son of Nyamhandu. He began by waging war against the Portuguese, who had supported the previous mutapa. In 1745, he attacked the lands of the Portuguese Crown in the area of Tete, which obliged the Portuguese to ask the changamire for help, having formed an alliance with him in the meanwhile.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1750-1760Mupunzagutu

Mupunzagutu (c. 1750-c. 1760), son of Nyamhandu, he succeeded after the death of his brother. The Portuguese provided him a garrison and the habitual gifts. His authority over his subjects was weak, allegedly because he consumed large amounts of cannabis. In 1760, during a new civil war, Mupunzagutu was assassinated by his brother Zindave.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1760 Zindave

Zindave (c. 1760), son of Nyamhandu, he assassinated Mupunzagutu and declared himself to be mutapa. He persecuted his brother Kamota, fearing his opposition.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1760-1761Kamota

Kamota (c. 1760-1761), son of Nyamhandu, he defeated Zindave, who fled to Dande, where he was killed by Derere. At this time the mutapa state split into two: the western region, Dande, was governed by Derere; the eastern part, Chidima, continued to be called Mukaranga and its rulers mutapa.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1761-1762 Mutanyikwa

Mutanyikwa (1761-1762), son of Karidza, he commanded an army which eliminated Kamota. He ruled for about a year and, when faced with the threat of Zeze’s army, sought refuge in Maravi territory north of the Zambezi.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern period, 1762-1767 Zeze

Zeze (c. 1762-c. 1767), son of Nyamhandu, and supporter of his brother Kamota, he managed to muster an army that was powerful enough to be able to be declared the mutapa.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1767-1769 Ganyambadzi

Ganyambadzi (c. 1767-1769) was a son of Chikoka. During a new civil war he expelled Zeze from the Zimbabwe and became the mutapa. Ganyambadzi and his vassals attacked Portuguese prazos and often obstructed the route to the Zumbo fair. In 1769, Ganyambadzi was defeated by Changara and sought refuge in Maravi territory, in the lands of chief Bive. The Portuguese feared an alliance of the two chiefs, which would be contrary to their interests, and managed to ensure that the former mutapa left Bive’s territory. In 1772, he besieged the Zumbo fair and the Portuguese had to ask for help from the changamire to defeat him. Ganyambadzi withdrew to Barwe, where he installed a new ruler.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1769-1779 Changara

Changara (1769-c. 1779) defeated Ganyambadzi in 1769. The new mutapa signed a treaty with the Portuguese administration in which he promised to provide free passage to merchants and to allow the Dambarare fair to reopen. However, the plan to resume the old fairs on the plateau was no longer of interest to merchants from the Portuguese colony and was never implemented. Since Changara’s subjects were attacking Portuguese lands, the Portuguese governor of the Zambezi Valley region prohibited trade with the Karanga in 1770 and threatened to wage war against the mutapa. Relations between the two powers were re-established in the same year and the Portuguese send a garrison with gifts. Clashes between Changara and Ganyambadzi intensified from 1776 onward.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1779-1785 Ganyambadzi

Ganyambadzi (c. 1779-1785). In c. 1779, Ganyambadzi’s army defeated Changara, who sought refuge near the Zumbo fair. In Barwe, Ganyambadzi demanded that the Portuguese recognise him as the mutapa, which they delayed doing since the political and military situation was still very uncertain and Ganyambadzi was not in Chidima. Finally, in 1780, the Portuguese sent a garrison with the customary gifts. The mutapa signed two treaties with the Portuguese, in 1781 and in 1783, relating to trade, diplomacy, control of lands and jurisdiction over conflicts between Karanga and Portuguese subjects. Ganyambadzi died in 1785.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Early Modern Period, 1785-1794 Bangoma

Bangoma (1785-1794), a son of Mupunzagutu, maintained amicable relations with the Portuguese. However, his subjects continuously attacked merchants at the Zumbo fair, while the former mutapa Changara sent regular embassies to the fair demanding gifts. In this context, the Portuguese shifted the settlement at Zumbo to the Mukariva Peninsula, on the western shore of the Luangwa River, in 1788. Trade at the fair was already diminishing by this time.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern Period, 1794-1806 Changara

Changara (1794-c. 1806), the former mutapa, regained power in 1794. His reign was marked by a serious drought in the Zambezi Valley, which impoverished the region. The chiefs who were established along the river increased taxes on the Zumbo merchants. In 1804, Mburuma chief, of the Luenge people north of the Zambezi River, attacked the fair and the Portuguese merchants abandoned it for some time. As a result, the mutapa and other Karanga chiefs lost revenues derived from taxation.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern Period, 1806 Mutua

Mutua (c. 1806), a descendant of a former mutapa, deposed Changara and became the mutapa himself.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern Period, 1806-1810 Choofombo

Choofombo (c. 1806-1810) was a son of Changara. In 1807, the Portuguese governor of the Zambezi Valley, António Vilas Boas Truão, issued orders to burn the sacred graves (matsanza) of former mutapa rulers located in the Chikova region. After various clashes, Chifombo defeated the Portuguese army and imprisoned the survivors, including the governor. The mutapa, supported by his advisors, issued orders to execute all the Portuguese, except for two brothers from the mixed-blood Cruz family, one of whom –António José da Cruz (Bereco) – was the brother-in-law of the mutapa. The hostilities continued during subsequent years. The Portuguese stopped sending the usual gifts (saguate) to the mutapa and, in 1811, they abandoned the Zumbo fair. Very little is known about the subsequent period.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern Period, 1821-1830 Kandeya I

Kandeya I (1821?-c. 1830). A mutapa from the Kandeya house, identified by scholars as Kandeya I, he resumed relations with the Portuguese administration, claiming his saguate in 1823. The gift was dispatched in 1826, but it is not known whether the Portuguese continued to send saguates in subsequent years. This period was marked by a severe famine. Additionally, a prince – Dzeka – attacked Chidima and the mutapa was forced to abandon the zimbabwe and seek refuge in the bush. These wars affected trade routes and reduced the revenues from the tributes that the mutapa collected from merchants.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern period, 1830-1843 Dzeka

Dzeka (c. 1830-c. 1843). His reign witnessed the invasions by the Nguni from southern Africa. In 1835-36, the Nguni carried out military raids in Chidima. Even though they were defeated these attacks disrupted the trade networks.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern Period, 1843-1867 Kataruza

Kataruza (c. 1843-c. 1867), also from the Kandeya house, he became the chief of a small territory, according to David Livingstone. However, the mutapa continued to collect taxes from the trade routes. In 1861-1862, the Portuguese officially reoccupied the Zumbo fair. In the meanwhile, several ivory merchants settled near the fair, obtaining lands from the local chiefs.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern Period, 1867-1876 Kandeya I

Kandeya II (c. 1867-c. 1876), son of Kataruza, the second mutapa known as Kandeya seized power with the support of the Cruz family, which controlled the Massangano prazo, on the south bank of the Zambezi River. The matrimonial alliance between the mutapa and the Cruz family, supported by the mhondoro (royal spirit medium) Nebeza, alarmed the Portuguese, and, particularly, those who were seizing control of lands on the southern shores of the Zambezi River. The Portuguese army defeated the mutapa at the Kangure River, a tributary of the Mazowe River, and occupied part of the territory.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern Period, 1876-1890 Dzuda

Dzuda (c. 1876-c. 1890) was a son of Dzeka. In c. 1881, he mustered an army to make an unsuccessful bid to reoccupy lands dominated by the Portuguese. On the contrary, in the context of the Scramble for Africa and the rivalry with the British, the Portuguese administration encouraged the lords of lands in the Zambezi Valley to expand their territory. In 1885, the Portuguese occupied what remained of Mukaranga state and the mutapa went into exile. Dzuda tried to organize a war against the Portuguese but, in c. 1890, he was defeated by Chioko Dambamupute.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Modern Period, 1890-1902 Chioko Dambamupute

Chioko Dambamupute (c. 1890-1902), son of Kataruza, he tried in vain to recreate the mutapa state, while the British and Portuguese battled over the borders of their empires in the region. In 1897, Chioko managed to obtain the support of some chiefs and important mhondoro. Three years later, the makombe of Barwe and the Cruz family in Massangano joined his rebellion. Chioko was killed in 1902 when he participated in the Barwe ruler battle against the Portuguese.

Eugénia Rodrigues

Map: Babylon

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 1792-1750 BCE Hammurabi

Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE), an early king of Babylonia, is famous for his law code, the Code of Hammurabi. Although his code is not the oldest, it was one of the most influential. In his code, Hammurabi focused on physically punishing perpetrators and limiting what victims could exact in retribution. His code focuses on retributory justice, exemplified by “eye for an eye” type punishments. The stele on which the laws were carved and displayed is now at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, c. 550-530 BCE Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great (c.550-530 BCE), founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, conquered numerous kingdoms to create his empire. This is reflected in his series of titles, which include: King of Persia, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkan, King of Anshan, and King of the Four Corners of the World. Cyrus is noted for his establishment of a centralized government in which provinces were ruled by satraps (governors) and his acceptance of the religions and customs of the various peoples he conquered. He has been hailed as an early promoter of human rights, partially based on the text of the Cyrus Cylinder, although historians debate this. Cyrus is spoken of positively in the Jewish Bible and has a wide reputation as a wise and competent ruler – one who deserves to be called great.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 522-486 BCE Darius I

Darius I (522-486 BCE) ruled the Achaemenid Empire at its largest extent. He is perhaps most famous for his attempt to crush Athens after they supported his enemies in the Ionian Revolt; Darius was defeated at Marathon, but he reclaimed Thrace and extended his conquests into Macedon. Within the empire, Darius worked to increase centralization, standardizing weights and measures and making Aramaic the official language of the empire. The king also introduced a new standardized currency, the daric, which came in both gold and silver. An ardent Zoroastrian, Darius nevertheless permitted conquered people to maintain their previous religious traditions.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 486-465 BCE Xerxes I

Xerxes I (486-465 BCE), son of Darius I, also ruled the Achaemenid Empire at its height. Early in his reign, Xerxes crushed rebellions in Egypt and Babylon and continued his father’s war against Greece. Xerxes was victorious at the Battle of Thermopylae and later captured and burned Athens. However, the king had to leave Greece to attend to a rebellion in Babylon; the force he left in Greece was later defeated. Xerxes was murdered by a royal official with the help of a eunuch in what was probably an attempt to dethrone the Achaemenids. However, Xerxes’ son Artaxerxes succeeded him. Xerxes, referred to as Ahasuerus, also features in the Book of Esther.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 240/242-270/272 Shapur I

Shapur I (240/42 – 270/72 CE): Son of Ardashir, founder of the Sasanian dynasty, Shapur I is noted for his success in battle against the Roman Empire. In 260, Shapur captured Valerian and his army at the Battle of Edessa; the Romans were subsequently taken deeper into the Sasanian empire. This victory is commemorated with a rock relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, which shows a kneeling Valerian supplicating a mounted Shapur.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Antiquity, 309-379 Shapur II

Shapur II (309-379 CE): Shapur II, the longest-reigning Sasanian ruler, is noted for his expansion of the empire. Through a series of wars with the Romans, Shapur II gained control of Georgia and Armenia, and left the kingdom larger and militarily stronger than what he had inherited. Shapur II’s reign saw the completion of the Avesta, the written texts of Zoroastrianism. Shapur II is also noted for his poor relations with his Christian subjects. After Constantine the Great’s conversion to the religion, Shapur II feared his Christian subjects might become foreign agents. He imposed increased taxes on Christians, attempted to force some of the clergy to convert to Zoroastrianism, and ultimately executed a number of them.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Middle Ages, 531-579 Khusro I

Khusro I (531-579 CE): Khusro I is one of the most celebrated Sasanid emperors, renowned for his administrative acumen and cultural patronage. He regularized the tax system; all land was taxed under a single program and noble families were no longer exempt. This stabilized government finances. Khusro also created a new social class, the deghans. These small landowners were lower nobility and were used extensively as bureaucrats in local and provincial government. The king reformed military recruitment and training, leading to some success against the eastern Roman empire. Finally, Khusro has a reputation as a philosopher king because of his promotion of the study of and translation of works of philosophy, medicine, and mathematics. He also expanded the Academy of Gondishapur and introduced chess into Persia.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Middle Ages, 661-680 Mu'awiya

Mu‘awiya (661-680 CE) was the founder of the Umayyad dynasty. Prior to becoming caliph, Mu‘awiya had been governor of Syria, which was his base of power; he moved the capital of the caliphate to Damascus. Mu‘awiya became caliph after the assassination of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the nephew of Muhammad and the fourth of the “rightly-guided caliphs.” Mu‘awiya fought against Ali at the battle of Siffin in 657 because he did not think Ali had done enough to punish the assassins of his relative and the previous caliph, Uthman. After Ali’s death, Mu‘awiya was the most powerful figure in the community, enabling him to take the reins of power. During his reign, Mu‘awiya allowed non-Muslims to freely practice their religions; he also used many Christians in his growing bureaucracies. Mu‘awiya appointed his son Yazid as his successor, a controversial move since the caliphate had not descended by hereditary succession, but Yazid ultimately succeeded his father and the position of caliph started to be passed down in the dynasty.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Middle Ages, 685-705 Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan

‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (685-705 CE) oversaw the expansion of the caliphate in North Africa and instituted a number of reforms. ‘Abd al-Malik made Arabic the official language of the government, which helped to streamline the administration. He also reorganized the postal service and minted a uniform currency for the entire caliphate. Finally, he built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Middle Ages, 754-775 Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur

Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (754-775 CE), generally known as al-Mansur, was the second Abbasid caliphate but is generally considered the true founder of the dynasty. In response to unrest in the region of modern-day Iraq, al-Mansur founded a new royal city and palace, which became the core of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid dynasty. The Abbasid caliphs expanded the royal bureaucracy, generally modeling it along Persian practices. Under al-Mansur, the famous translation movement began; it started with a group of Syriac Christians gathering manuscripts of Greek works, collating them, and finally translating them into Arabic. With this background, arts, letters, sciences, and jurisprudence would flourish under the Abbasid rulers. Despite his support of translation, al-Mansur also persecuted some legal scholars (namely Abu Hanifa).

Map: Persia

Timeline: Asia

Continent: Asia

Time period: Early Middle Ages, 786-809 Harun al-Rashid

Harun al-Rashid (786-809 BCE) is probably the most famous of the Abbasid caliphs, appearing as a character in a number of stories in The Book of 1001 Nights. Despite his fame as a character, Harun al-Rashid severely harmed the caliphate by partitioning it between his sons on his death, which led to civil war. During his reign, though, the caliph founded the library Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) where translation and scholarship flourished. Harun al-Rashid had far-flung diplomatic contacts: he sent an embassy to Tang China and had multiple interactions with the envoys of Charlemagne. The caliph’s court was noted for its luxury and magnificence, and according to Carolingian records his gifts to Charlemagne even included an elephant.

Map: Egypt

Timeline: Africa

Continent: Africa

Time period: Antiquity Egypt

Between the uniting of Upper and Lower Egypt by Narmer in c.3000 BCE, and the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 30 BCE, Egypt was ruled by hundreds of pharaohs.[All dates are BCE, and follow the chronology given in The Egyptian World, ed. Toby Wilkinson (London: Routledge, 2007), xvii–xxiv.] The reconstructed list of Egyptian pharaohs is based on kinglists kept by the ancient Egyptians themselves. These kinglists, which are all fragmentary, include the Palermo Stone (which covers the period from the earliest dynasties to the middle of Dynasty 5), the Abydos Kinglist (which Seti I had carved on his temple at Abydos), and the Turin Canon (a papyrus that covers the period from the earliest dynasties to the reign of Ramesses II). In addition, Manetho, a priest in the temple at Heliopolis, wrote a History of Egypt in the third century BCE. Manetho had access to many sources that no longer survive, and it was he who divided the kings into the thirty dynasties we use today. These dynasties are generally divided up into eleven ‘periods’. Below is a chronology of these eleven periods, with a brief summary of major events and famous pharaohs. Points of context that will enhance my chapter on the four female pharaohs of ancient Egypt have been included.

Map: Antioch

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages Principality of Antioch

The principality of Antioch was one of the first Latin Christian States founded in the Levant by the First Crusade, following its capture in 1098. The princes of Antioch quickly established themselves as powerful regional rulers whose influence could be felt over much of northern-Syria. However, relations with their Byzantine and Cilician-Armenian neighbours could often be problematic. Despite being fellow Christians, the former claimed the over-lordship of the principality as part of the Byzantine Empire, while the latter were also a rapidly expanding power that vied for control of the same region. Much like the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, Antioch suffered territorial losses and setbacks in the later-twelfth century, and was significantly reduced in size throughout the thirteenth. A series of civil wars over succession to the principality dominated its early-thirteenth century history, and it was eventually captured by the Egyptian Sultan in 1268. For further information, see: Thomas Asbridge, The Creation of the Principality of Antioch, 1098-1130 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2000). Andrew Buck, The Principality of Antioch and its Frontiers in the Twelfth Century (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2017).

Steve Donnachie

Map: Jerusalem

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle Ages Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

The Latin kingdom of Jerusalem was the largest, most prominent, and prestigious of the European states founded in the Levant. The holy city of Jerusalem, which was the centre of the medieval Christian world, was captured by the First Crusade in 1099, and remained as the religious and political capital of the kingdom until it was recaptured by the armies of Islam in 1187. Except for a brief period in the thirteenth century (1229 – 1244), Jerusalem would remain under Muslim control. The kingdom of Jerusalem expanded rapidly in the early-twelfth century and even threatened to conquer neighbouring Egypt in the mid-twelfth century. But after 1187 it was severely reduced in size and remained a shadow of its former self until 1291, when its few remaining territories were conquered by the forces of the Egyptian Sultan. For further information, see: Jean Richard, The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, trans. by Janet Shirley (Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing, 1979). Andrew Jotischky, Crusading and the Crusader States (Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd., 2004).

Steve Donnachie

Map: Versailles

Continent: Europe

Time period: Versailles

One of the grandest royal residences in Europe, the Château of Versailles began its life as a modest hunting lodge built by Louis XIII of France, then was transformed into the embodiment of absolute monarchy by his son Louis XIV (r. 1643-1715). Renovations began in the 1660s, as a means of escaping from the physical and political claustrophobia of the city of Paris, and continued until 1682, when Louis formally transferred the seat of his royal government from Paris to Versailles. Building projects did not stop, however, and the King later added a grandiose royal chapel and other satellite palaces (such as the Grand Trianon); later kings added further to the Palace, notably an opera house and the Petit Trianon, both built in the reign of Louis XV. Versailles was intended from the start to be more than just a royal residence, a showpiece of French power and artistic taste: Louis XIV employed the finest artists of the day—garden designers, architects, interior designers, sculptors—culminating in the creation of the astounding ‘Hall of Mirrors’ in 1678. It was also designed to be a residence for much of the high aristocracy of the Kingdom, with hundreds of apartments for courtiers, politicians and visiting dignitaries. The Palace of Versailles remained formally the seat of the monarchy until the fall of the Ancien Régime, and was also the site of several important international peace treaties bearing its name: ending the American War of Independence in 1783, the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, and World War I 1919. It remains one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
Further reading: Tony Spawforth, Versailles: A Biography of a Palace (New York: St. Martin’s, 2008). Robert W. Berger, In the Garden of the Sun King: Studies on the Park of Versailles Under Louis XIV (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, 1985). Claire Constants and Jean Mounicq, Versailles: Absolutism and Harmony (New York: Vendome Press, 1998).

Jonathan Spangler

Map: Bamberg

Continent: Europe

Time period: Bamberg

A town in southern Germany in the administrative region of Upper Franconia, situated on the Regnitz river, close to Nuremberg and Würzberg. The town’s episcopal see was founded by Emperor Henry II, who gained permission from the pope to create a new diocese and ordered the building of a new cathedral. The cathedral was consecrated in 1012 and is where Henry and the Empress Kunigunde are buried. During Henry IV’s minority, the Bamberg canons disputed with Empress Agnes of Poitou over some property she had returned to a local abbess. Consequently, several letters from the canons and the cathedral schoolmaster Meinhard negatively comment on Agnes’s suitability for royal rule. The Bamberg State Library has an impressive collection of medieval manuscripts which are fully digitised.
Further reading: Town of Bamberg, UNESCO http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/624; Staatsbibliothek Bamberg www.staatsbibliothek-bamberg.de; Giulio Menna, ‘The Bamberg State Library’s Digital Collection’, Sexy Codicology, 30 March 2015 https://sexycodicology.net/blog/digital-collection-bamberg-state-library/

Emily Joan Ward

Map: Kaiserswerth

Continent: Europe

Time period: Kaiserswerth

Kaiserswerth is a town slightly north of Düsseldorf in the German region of North Rhine-Westphalia. The town lies on the east bank of the Rhine and was a strategic location for crossing the river. Early in the eleventh century, an imperial palace (‘Kaiserpfalz’) was built at Kaiserswerth. This was the palace from which Henry IV was kidnapped in April 1062 by Anno, archbishop of Cologne. The story of the kidnapping is told by the contemporary chronicler Lampert of Hersfeld, who claimed that Anno lured the young Henry away from his mother, Agnes of Poitou, by showing him a boat on the river Rhine. Once Henry was aboard, the boat was cast off and taken up river to Cologne. As a result, Anno acquired responsibility for the care of king and the government of the kingdom.
Further reading: I. S. Robinson (trans.), The Annals of Lampert of Hersfeld (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015); ‘Kaiserswerth’ www.fortified-places.com/kaiserswerth/

Emily Joan Ward

Map: Lincoln, UK

Continent: Europe

Time period: Lincoln

Lincoln is a city in the English county of Lincolnshire. In 1068, William the Conqueror ordered a castle to be built in Lincoln since the city was of great strategical importance. A few decades later, in 1092, the Norman cathedral was also completed. One of the four surviving copies of 1215 Magna Carta is kept at Lincoln Castle and Lincoln cathedral has one of two copies of the 1217 Charter of the Forest. The city is also famous as the site of the 1217 Battle of Lincoln. Shortly after the succession of the boy king Henry III, his forces met those of the French prince, Louis, in battle in the city on 20 May 1217. The female castellan, Nicola de la Haye, was responsible for defending the city against a siege attack from Louis’s troops. Men loyal to Henry, such as William Marshal, helped to relieve the siege, causing Louis’s supporters to surrender.
Further reading: Jessica Nelson, ‘The Battle of Lincoln‘, The National Archives Blog, 19 May 2017 http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/battle-lincoln/; ‘The Battle of Lincoln 1217 (Audio)’, In Our Time http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08njv60; Claire Breay and Julian Harrison, ‘Magna Carta: An Introduction’, British Library https://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-an-introduction

Emily Joan Ward

Map: Reims

Continent: Europe

Time period: Reims

The city of Reims lies to the northeast of Paris. It is perhaps most famous for its cathedral, which was the traditional coronation city of the kings of France. The first church on the site was probably built in the early fifth century. This was where, according to Gregory of Tours, Clovis, king of the Franks, was baptised on Christmas Day 496. A white dove supposedly brought an ampule with the chrism with which Clovis was anointed. From the eleventh century, the abbey of Saint-Remi in Reims kept this holy relic. The archbishops of Reims held the privilege of anointing the kings of France. Archbishop Gervais anointed Philip I in 1059 and Archbishop William ‘of the White Hands’ anointed Philip II in 1179. Anne of Kiev, Henry I’s wife and mother of Philip I, was the first queen of France to be anointed and crowned in Reims cathedral.
Further reading: ‘The Coronation Ceremony of the Kings of France: An Ancient Ritual in Continual Evolution’, Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims http://www.reims-cathedral.culture.fr/ceremony.html; Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, ‘Reims Cathedral (Video)’, Khan Academy https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/latin-western-europe/gothic1/v/reims-cathedral; Joanna Fronska, ‘“Documentary” of a Royal Coronation’, British Library – Medieval Manuscripts Blog, 5 June 2012 http://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2012/06/documentary-of-a-royal-coronation.html

Emily Joan Ward

Timeline: Europe

Continent: West Asia

Time period: High Middle AgesCrusades

The crusades were a series of military campaigns launched to recover and defend Christian territory in the Holy Land that had been conquered by Islam. These campaigns merged medieval notions of pilgrimage, penitence, and warfare as a means to achieve salvation. The First Crusade began in 1095, after Pope Urban II called upon the magnates and prelates of western-Europe to provide military aid to the Byzantine Empire. The First Crusade saw the establishment of a series of European polities in the Levant, often referred to as the Crusader States. These were the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and the County of Edessa. Over the twelfth and thirteenth centuries numerous other crusades were launched in response to different crises and events in the Holy Land, and crusading ideology evolved to include other geographic regions and opponents as legitimate targets for military action. For further information, see: Carole Hillenrband, The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999). Christopher Tyerman, God’s War: A New History of the Crusades (London: Allen Lanes, 2006).

Steve Donnachie


Maps


Maps

Map of the world's current Monarchies

Map 1 - Current Monarchies.

Map 2 Current Monarchies in Africa

Map 2 - Current Monarchies in Africa

Map 3 - Current Monarchies in the Americas

Map 3 - Current Monarchies in the Americas

Map 4 - Current Monarchies in Asia

Map 4 - Current Monarchies in Asia

Map 5 - Current Monarchies in Asia

Map 5 - Current Monarchies in Europe

Map 6 - Current Monarchies in Asia

Map 6 - Current Monarchies in Oceania