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Timeline 900-1000:


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Alfonso III begins reconquest of Spain, slowly defeating Moorish overlords.


Edward the Elder takes the title, "King of Angles and Saxons."


Magyars invade Germany.


Chinese Empire ends in civil war as T'ang Dynasty collapses. Chaos continues until 960.
Mongols begin conquest of Inner Mongolia and parts of northern China. By 1123 they will have successfully conquered the entire region.


Abbey of Cluny established in France.


The Franks are unable to dislodge the Viking chieftain Hrolf the Ganger (Rollo) from the region of Normandy.

912 King Charles the Simple of France (the Franks) reaches agreement with Rollo the Dane, granting the Northmen status as French subjects with Rollo recognized as Duke of the Region.


Edward the Elder conquers Essex from the Danelaw.


State of Korgo founded (modern day Korea)


Henry I (known as "the Fowler" for his love of hawking) becomes ruler of Germany.


The Kingdom of Ghana in Africa reaches a cultural golden age.


Aethelstan becomes king of Wessex, the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom. He becomes effectively the ruler of the unconquered sections of England.


Aethelstan annexes Northumbria. He forces the Princes of Wales, the kings of Strathclyde, and the Picts and Scots to submit to him.


King Wenceslas of Bohemia murdered.


Chinese printers adapt Wood-block printing to mass produce classical books.



The state of Koryo dominates Korea, beginning the Koryo period of history.


Otto I (often called Otto the Great) reigns over Germany until 973. His rise to power marks the beginning of the "Ottonian Renaissance."


Scots, Celts, Danes, and Vikings form alliance against Anglo-Saxon England. King Aethelstan leads Anglo-Saxons to decisive victory at the Battle of Brunanburh.He wins the title "King of all Britain."

c. 937 "Battle of Brunanburh" (heroic poem)



Series of civil wars in Japan.
Aethelstan's brother Edmund becomes king of England. He rules until 946.


Malcolm I becomes King of Scots. He rules until 953.


Scottish forces seize Cumberland and Westmorland from Anglo-Saxon control.
Saint Dunstan becomes Abbot of Glastonbury--he will later become a major monastic reformer.


Edred, younger brother of Edmund, inherits throne of England.


c. 950 Junius Manuscript written, a major source of the earlier "School of Caedmon" poems.

Otto I conquers Bohemia.

New Zealand discovered by Maori.


Monastic revival under Dunstan, Aethelwold, and Aelfric.


Otto I beats the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld.This victory stops their westward advance into Europe.

Edwy becomes king of Anglo-Saxon England.


Edwy sends Saint Dunstan into exile.


Mercians and Northumbrians rebel against Edwy.


Edgar the Peaceful becomes ruler of England. He recalls Saint Dunstan from exile and appoints him Archbishop of Canterbury.


Sung Dynasty founded in China.


Otto I undertakes Italian expedition to defend Pope John XII through the year 964. 



Saint Bernard's Hospice founded in Switzerland.

Pope John XII crowns Otto as Holy Roman Emperor.


Otto II crowned as heir presumptive to the throne. This political maneuver serves as a preemptive strike against other contenders to Otto I's throne.


Kenneth II becomes King of the Scots.

The "Blickling Homilies" written--prose texts especially interesting as a window into colloquial Anglo-Saxon.



Otto II, King and Emperor until 983.


c. 975 St. Aethelwold's Regularis Concordia written--earliest evidence of dramatic activity in England.


Edward the Martyr, son of Edgar, rules as King of England until his murder in 978.


The Chinese compile a one-thousand volume encyclopedia.

Edward the Martyr killed at Corfe Castle. His brother Fathered II inherits the throne. Fathered II is so incompetent, he is nicknamed "Fathered Unraed," or "Aethelred the Un-counseled" by his contemporaries, a name often rendered as "Aethelred the Unready" by modern historians.


Vikings from Denmark renew their raids on England, attacking Chester and Southampton. This period of invasions will continue through 1016.


Erec the Red, outlawed in Iceland, settles in a land he names Greenland. The name is designed to lure other colonists.


Sweyn Forkbeard claims the throne of Denmark. He rules the Danes until 1014.

Abbo of Fleury writes the Life of Saint Edmund.



Hugh Capet elected King of France, founding the Capetian Dynasty.

988 Eastern Orthodox religion introduced to Russian lands around Kiev.


The Battle of Maldon takes place. Aging Byrhtnoth of Essex leads band of untrained commoners to confront the Danish invaders. He and his men are slaughtered. The heroic poem "The Battle of Maldon" probably written shortly after this event.

Aethelred II pays the the Danish warlord Olaf 10,000 pounds of silver as Danegeld.


Aethelred forms truce with Duke Richard I of Normandy.


Olaf Skutkonung first Swedish king to accept Christianity.


Danes led by Sweyn and Norwegians led by Olaf Trygvesson sail up the river Thames and besiege London. King Aethelred pays them Danegeld to buy peace.


Olaf Trygvesson sails to Norway, deposes King Haakon the Great, and becomes new king.

The rule of Fujiwara Michinaga brings Japan to a literary and artistic golden age.


Richard II becomes Duke of Normandy. Robert II (Robert the Pious) becomes King of France.


Stephen I (Saint Stephen) rules as first King of Hungary.


Bagauda rules as first King of Kano (modern day Northern Nigeria).


The Viking Biarni Heriulfsson sights North America after being blown off course.

Battle of Svolder--Sweyn kills Olaf of Norway and annexes Norway to Denmark.

King Aethelred II ("the Unready" or "Poorly Counseled") ravages Cumberland and southwestern Scotland.

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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.



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Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated January 5, 2017. 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.