Home Page Button Syllabus / Policies Button Composition Button Grammar Button Rhetoric Button Rhetoric Button Literature button poetry button classical button medieval button Renaissance Button Vocabulary Button


Timeline 1200-1300:


Click here to go to previous century.

Morocco's Muslim government grants special privileges to Jews in order to encourage trade and education.

Hunac Ceel revolts against the Maya of Chichén Itzá. He establishes a new capital at Mayapán.

c. 1200-1225 The Vulgate Romances written (expansion of Arthurian romance material in French prose)

c. 1200-1250 King Horn, Beves of Hampton (earliest version)-- English metrical romances focusing on "the Matter of Britain"

c. 1200 Walter Map (a court satirist) flourishes

c. 1200 Orm writes The Ormulum



Famine hits Egypt. Egypt will not recover until 1204.

The Fourth Crusade begins. Crusaders organize themselves and agree to meet in Venice. When they are unable to pay for transport, they agree to conquer outlying territories on the behalf of the Byzantine emperor.

Bishop Albert of Riga establishes the military order of the Sword Brothers.

1203 King John of England orders the murder of his nephew Arthur, Duke of Brittany.

Crusaders, irritated at treatment of the Byzantine government, capture and sack Constantinople, destroying priceless artifacts and stealing relics. They establish a Latin ruler.

King John of England loses Château Gaillard to the French. Within one year, France reclaims all English occupied territories north of the Loire River.


Layamon writes Brut


Temujin declared "Emperor within the Seas," the Khan of Khans among the steppes tribes. He unites Mongola and takes the title "Genghis Khan."

Dynasty of slave-kings rule in India until 1290.


Pope Innocent III appoints Stephen Langton archbishop. John refuses to let him take office of the Archbishopric of Canterbury, wanting to sell the church-office to his own candidate.

The Mongols invade northern China.


Antagonized by John's intervention in church affairs, Pope Innocent III places England under interdict.

Pope Innocent III calls for a crusade against the Albigensians or Cathars, a heretical sect in Langueodoc (southern France). The heresy is particularly dangerous to orthodoxy because it refutes the need for worship in churches, the sacraments, and the material wealth of the church.

Cambridge University founded..


Pope Innocent III, fed up with King John's attacks on church property, excommunicates him.

Bishop Albert of Riga has the Sword Brothers subdue the Livs and Letts in Eastern Europe before marching on Estonia.


Innocent III, on a roll, also excommunicates Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV, adding him to the list of political figures cast out of the church.

Francis of Assisi founds the Franciscan Order.

Genghis Khan invades China.

Probable date of election of Hermann von Salzae as grand master of the Teutonic Knights. The date coincided with the date of the marriage in Tyre of John of Brienne to Mary. It was also the date of John's coronation as King of Jerusalem


Alfonso II becomes king of Portugal. He rules until 1223.

Burzenland settled by the Teutonic Knights with the authority of Hungary's King Andrew II.

St. Francis reportedly landed on the Isola Maggiore, an island on Lake Trasimeno.

Christian forces destroy the Estonian stronghold of Fellin.


Frederick II recognized officially as Holy Roman Emperor. He has a long-lasting and influential reign until his death in 1250.

In early spring, 10,000 German children and later in June 20,000 French set off on the Children's Crusade. Their leader, a fourteen-year-old shepherd boy named Stephen from Cloyes-sur-le-Loire, France, has vision of Christ and delivers a letter to the King of France. Stephen confronts the pope and chastises him for his lack of action in rescuing the Holy Land. The chagrined pope grants him permission. The horde of children set off for Palestine, expecting the Mediterranean Sea to part for them as the Red Sea did for Moses in Christian belief. When this miracle fails to happen, they are "generously" given free passage across the ocean--but the sailors take them captive and sell thousands of them into slavery in Muslim slave markets of northern Africa, leading to an ignominous end to the Children's Crusade.

Alfonso VIII of Castile expanded the Reconquista. King Sancho VII of Navarre won the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Moslems were crushed in the Spanish crusade. Peter II of Aragon defeats the Moors at Las Navas de Tolosa

Adomadana given to the Teutonic Knights by King Leo of Armenia


Pope Innocent declares King John of England deposed. John mends his ways to make peace.

James I (James the Conqueror) becomes King of Aragon. He rules 63 years until 1276.

1214 Philip II of France decisively defeats English coalition brought together by King John at Bouvines.

English barons force King John to sign a statement concerning the rights of the nobility, severely limiting the power of the monarchy. This "Great Charter" (Magna Carta) will form a legal model for later groups seeking to de-centralize state power.

Pope Innocent III calls the Fourth Lateran Council, one of the most important events in Church history, with 71 statements of doctrine ratified. For the first time in church history, yearly confession is required of all Christians, and transubstantiation became an official part of Catholic doctrine. Pope Innocent introduces a policy in which soldiers--if fighting non-Christian forces on crusade--could be given forgiveness of sins without penance. (This doctrine was a key element in rousing public enthusiasm for Crusading conquests in the Middle East.) Finally, the church passes a series of anti-semitic laws, requiring Jews to wear distinguishing clothing and forbidding them from holding political office over Christians.

Saint Dominic founds the Dominic Order at Toulouse. These friars take up the task of preaching orthodox beliefs to counter growing and popular heresies such as Catharism.

Frederick II crowned in France; he renews French struggle for control over the papacy.

The Mongols take the Jin capital of Zhongdu.


Henry III becomes King of England. As Henry is only nine years old, a regent-protector controls the kingdom until Henry achieves adulthood. Henry III's reign lasts 56 years, ending in 1272.

Pope Honorius III claims the Papal See, ruling the church until 1227.

1217 The Fifth Crusade begins, lasting until 1222. The crusaders set out to conquer Egypt in order that its grain supplies and troops will not be available to Muslim forces, who are becoming increasingly organized and centralized under a single ruler.
1218 Genghis Khan captures Persian empire.

The Mongols conquer Bokhora.

Genghis Khan's destruction of irrigation in Afghanistan leads to permanent deserts in the area.

The port of Damietta falls to the Crusaders.

The shoguns, or military leaders, lose their power in Japan. Power coalesces around regents.

1220 Frederick II crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

Mongols take over the Iranian empire of Khwarizm.

The Kamakura military government in Japan defeats imperial forces based in Kyoto.

1222 The Fifth Crusade ends in failure. Egypt remains in Muslim hands.

Louis VIII takes the throne of France, ruling until 1226.

The Mongols invade Russia.


France and England go to war over French territories held by England.

The Sword Brothers finally conquer Estonia with the help of Danish forces.


c. 1225 St. Thomas Aquinas born. He dies 1274.


Gregory IX assumes control of Papal See. He serves as pope until 1241.

War ends between France and England.

Henry III begins rule as an adult in England.

Genghis Khan dies on a campaign against the Tanguts. His sons divide the empire among themselves.

1228 Emperor Frederick II leads the Sixth Crusade, comparatively the most successful venture into Muslim lands since the first crusade in the late eleventh-century.

The crusaders of the Sixth Crusade surround Jerusalem. Frederick II gains Jerusalem by diplomacy.

Teutonic Knights begin a "Prussian" Crusade, conquering pagan lands in Eastern Europe.

Ogadai, son of Genghis Khan, is elected khan two years after Genghis Khan dies. He rules until 1241.

The Pope places Finland under apostolic protection. He creates a Christian trade embargo against Novgorod, Russia.


Teutonic Knights conquest complete in Eastern Europe.

c. 1230 Guillaume de Lorrris writes the first section of Roman de la Rose.


Oldest recorded use of rockets: Chinese use rockets in attempts to repel the Mongols.

A new legal code, the Joei Formulary, drawn up by military rulers in Japan.

1234 Mongols annex the Jin Empire.

Alexander Nevksi, Prince of Novgorod in Russia. He rules until 1263.

The Lithuanians at Saule all but obliterate the Sword Brothers.


Fredrick II overcomes the Lombard League at Cortenuova.

The Teutonic Knights absorb the territory of the Sword Brothers.


End of the Empire of Ghana in Africa. The Kingdom of Mali absorbs it into its own political structure.

Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod defeats Swedish forces on the banks of the Neva.


The Mongols overwhelmingly defeat a Christian army at Liegnitz in Poland; they proceed to invade Hungary, but their leader Ogadai Khan dies. The Mongols, quarreling amongst themselves without a leader, depart from Europe.


Batu Khan establishes a Mongol kingdom ("The Golden Horde") on the lower Volga River. The Mongols defeat the Seljuks of Rum.

Alexander Nevksy defeats the Teutonic Order on banks of Lake Peipus.


Egyptians recapture Jerusalem. The Christian occupational forces flee or are slaughtered.

Innocent IV claims the Papal See. He rules the church until 1254.

1245 Innocent IV calls the Synod of Lyon. The Synod and Pope Innocent IV declare Emperor Frederick II legally deposed.
1247 Struggle between Emperor Frederick II and and Pope Innocent IV's allies. The bitter warfare lasts until 1250 when Conrad IV becomes Emperor.
1248 Louis IX of France leads the Seventh Crusade.
1249 Louis IX takes the city of Damieta in Egypt.

Frederick II dies. Conrad IV, becomes Holy Roman Emperor. He rules until 1254, and his death triggers a nineteen-year power struggle for the crown.

Saracens capture Louis IX in Egypt and ransom him to the crusaders.

c. 1250-1300 Sir Tristrem, Floris and Blanchefleur written (romances). Approximate dates of the Latin Gesta Romanorum, and Middle English works such as The "Cuckoo Song" ("Sumer is Icumen In") and Nicholas of Guilford's The Owl and the Nightingale.

1253 Ottokar II (the Great) becomes king of Bohemia. He rules until he dies in battle in 1278.
1254 The Great Interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire. This bitter struggle for control of the Empire lasts until 1273.

Prince Llewellyn drives out English forces from Wales, securing the Welsh people from English rule until the Edwardian kings reconquer the territory.

The Augustinian order of monks established with an official proclamation of Pope Alexander IV. (The Augustinian hermits had been a traditional-but-unrecognized category of several eremitic orders since the 400s.)


Simon de Montfort forces King Henry III to agree to the Provisions of Oxford, a legal document requiring a number of governmental reforms--including a council of 15 barons. Henry abides by these rules until 1264.

Henry III begins using English as well as French in governmental proclamations, marking the gradual rehabilitation of the English language after the Norman French conquests.

1260 Kublai becomes grand Khan of the Mongols as the candidate favored bythe army at Shan-tu, in China.
1261 Urban IV becomes pope. He rules the Papal See until 1264.
1263 Norway gives up the Hebrides to the Scots.
1264 Simon de Montfort and other English barons defeat Henry III at the battle of Lewes, asserting the limits of monarchial power. The barons capture the royal heir, Prince Edward, and use him as a bargaining chip.

Simon de Montfort summons burgesses from large cities to Parliament for the first time, challenging the king's authority in a manner similar to the way the barons challenged King John with the Magna Carta in 1215.

Henry III's son, Prince Edward, defeats and kills Simon de Montfort at the battle of Evesham.

Clement IV becomes Pope. He holds the Papal See until 1268.

Birth of Dante. He dies 1321.


Muslims from Egypt capture Antioch, held by the Christians.

Clement IV dies. The papacy remains vacant for three years as no candidate can be agreed upon.


King Louis IX of France dies of plague while on Crusade. His death leads quickly to the end of the Seventh Crusade.

c. 1270 Jean de Meun finishes Guillaume de Lorris's earlier, incomplete work, Roman de la Rose.


Marco Polo sets off with his father and uncle to visit the court of Kublai Khan--it is a twenty-four year trip.

After a three-year gap without a pope, Gregory X ascends the Papal See until 1276.

1272 Edward I becomes King of England. He rules until 1307.
1273 Rudolf I becomes Holy Roman Emperor, ending a period of warfare and lawlessness that had lasted nineteen years while no individual could hold the crown. He rules until 1291.

The first Mongol invasion of Japan under Kublai Khan's rule. In spite of heavy losses among the Japanese, the Mongols fail to achieve a permanent foothold. They make plans for a second invasion, which comes about in 1281.

Saint Thomas Aquinas dies.

Pope Gregory X calls the Synod of Lyons. The pope recommends that conclaves should be kept secret to avoid corruption.

1275 Marco Polo enters the service of Kublai Khan.
1276 Rapid succession of short-lived popes claim the Papal See. Innocent V rules five months. Adrian V rules five weeks. Pope John XXI rules eight months. In each case, the pope dies shortly after taking office.
1277 English Franciscan monk and philosopher Roger Bacon exiled for heresy.
1278 Rudolf I defeats and kills Ottokar of Bohemia at the battle of Marchfeld.
1279 Rudolf I surrenders his long-lasting claims to Sicily and the Papal States.
1280 Death of Albertus Magnus, German alchemist and philosopher.

A second Mongol invasion ends in naval disaster when a hurricane hits the fleet en route to Japan. The Japanese refer to this storm as Kami Kazi ("divine wind").

Martin IV becomes pope, ruling the papal see until 1285.

1283 Edward I defeats and kills Llewellyn Pen Cymru, prince of Wales, and he executes Llewellyn's brother Dyfed (David). His conquest of Wales is complete.

Philip IV, known as Il Bel ("the Fair"), becomes King of France. He rules until 1314.

Pope Honorius IX rules the papal see until 1287.

1286 Alexander III, king of Scotland dies. The throne descends to his infant granddaughter, Margaret, the Maid of Norway.
1288 Pope Nicholas IV ascends the papal see.
1289 Friar John of Montecorvino (Mount Crow) becomes the first archbishop of Beijing.

Margaret, the Maid of Norway, queen of Scotland, dies. 13 Scottish warlords each attempt to claim the throne, leading to violent struggles.

Turkish leader Firuz in Delhi founds the Khalji Dynasty.

1291 Muslim armies capture Acre, the last Christian holdings in Palestine. This marks the end of successful crusades. Scots acknowledge English king as suzerain (Edward I). He oversees process of succession to the Scottish throne.

John Balliol becomes Edward I's puppet-king, ruling Scotland and collaborating with England..

Adolf, Count of Nassau, becomes Holy Roman Emperor. He rules until 1298.

Roger Bacon's sentence of exile revoked.


Boniface VIII becomes the next pope--famous for his skill as a lawyer, diplomat, and a sorcerer in medieval legend. He sits on the papal see until 1303.

Dante writes the Vita Nuova.


"Model Parliament" of Edward I: knights and burgesses from English shires and towns summoned to participate in government decisions. It is the first representative parliament--or at least the first to acknowledge male bourgeois citizens and give them some official say in their government.

Ch'eng Tsung, grandson of Kublai Khan, rules as Emperor of China until 1307.


Edward I of England deposes John Balliol from the Scottish throne.

Interregnum in Scotland until 1306

1297 Scottish rebel William Wallace leads ragtag band of Scottish clans to victory against the English at the Battle of Cambuskenneth, temporarily establishing independence of Scotland.

Edward I defeats William Wallace at the battle of Falkirk. He proceeds to (re)conquer Scotland for English rule.

Albert I ascends throne of the Holy Roman Empire after the death of Holy Roman Emperor Adolf at the battle of Göllheim.


King Wenceslas II ascends the throne in Poland.

Click here to go to next century.

These timelines are intended as a rough guide for students seeking historical context rather than an authoritative research source. I consulted the following works while preparing this list. When sources differed on estimated dates, I used my best judgment to select an accurate date, but I will bow to the correction of professional historians.


  • Baugh, A. C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 3rd edition. NJ: Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978. [Now superseded by a sixth edition]
  • Cooke, Jean et al. History's Timeline: A 40,000 Year Chronology of Civilization. Ed. Fay Franklin. NY: Barnes and Noble, 1981. Updated 1996.
  • Crow, Martin and Virginia E. Leland. "A Chronology of Chaucer's Life and Times." As condensed and reproduced in Larry Benson's The Canterbury Tales, Complete. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. xxiii-xxv.
  • Englebert, Omer. The Lives of the Saints. Trans. Christopher and Anne Fremantle. NY: Barnes and Noble, 1994.
  • Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. London: Penguin Books, 1995.
  • Lau, D. C., ed. "Chronological Table." Tao Te Ching. London: Penguin Books, 1963.
  • McEvedy, Colin. The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History. London: Penguin Books, n. d.
  • Schafer, Edward H. Ancient China. Ed. Russelll Bourne, et al. Great Ages of Man Series. NY: Time-Life Books, 1967. Reprint 1976.
  • Urban, Linwood. A Short History of Christian Thought. Revised edition. NY: Oxford University Press, 1995.




To Home Page
Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated January 11, 2018. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.