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NB: I won't quiz students specifically over these dates unless they appear in other study questions for a specific reading. However, students will impress me if they make reference to them (accurately) as part of their mid-term or final essay examinations. It is more impressive if I can see the student understands why the date is important as a useful milestone of periodization, rather than a mere demonstration of the student's ability to regurgitate numbers.

Twelve Medieval Dates Every English Major Should Know


449: Traditional date the Anglo-Saxons invade England
597: St. Augustine the Lesser undertakes mission to Kent and begins conversion of Anglo-Saxons to Christianity
731: The Venerable Bede completes The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
793: Vikings sack Lindisfarne.
1066: Norman Conquest commences with the Battle of Hastings--marks the start of Middle English (c. 1066-1450).
1095: First Crusade preached by Pope Urban II
1170: Archbishop Thomas a Becket murdered in Canterbury Cathedral
1215: Fourth Lateran Council; Magna Carta signed by King John
1348: Black Plague strikes England
1381: Peasants' Revolt
1455: War of the Roses begins
1476: Caxton's Printing Press set up in England.

Ten Renaissance Dates Every English Major Should Know


1485: Tudor dynasty founded by Henry VII
1517: Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses nailed to church door at Wittenberg; begins Protestant Reformation
1558: Queen Elizabeth I ascends to the British throne
1564: Birth of Shakespeare
1588: Spanish Armada fails to Conquer England
1603: Death of Elizabeth I; Her cousin King James I ascends to the British throne, setting precedent for the unification of Scotland and England.
1616: Shakespeare's death
1633: Galileo forced to recant his scientific proof of Copernican theory under the Inquisition's threat of torture
1660: Restoration of Charles II to the throne after decades of Puritan-controlled "Protectorate"; Samuel Pepys starts his diary

Eight Restoration Dates Every English Major Should Know


1666: Great Fire of London destroys the city
1667: John Milton publishes Paradise Lost
1690: John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
1707: Act of Union merges Scotland and England
1711: First issue of Addison and Steele's The Spectator
1717: Pope's Rape of the Lock published
1751: British Empire seizes its first holdings in India
1755: Samuel Johnson completes his A Dictionary of the English Language.

 

 

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