1450 - 1469 A.D.

Welcome to the second half.

The second half of the fifteenth century marks the ending and beginning of many things. For instance, you know how England and France have been at war forever? That ends here. In fact, they call it "The Hundred Years' War" because it literally took that long to come to a conclusion. Then there's the ancient Byzantine Empire, that ends here too. But other things begin, like the unification of Spain's largest kingdoms, and the beginning of yet another series of wars: The Wars of the Roses. Then there's of course the beginning of the exploration of the Americas and the publication of printed books. It's all here in these 50 years. Are you ready? Let's get to it.

Listen to the era! Here is Ink & Arrow's YouTube playlist to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Renaissance.

(Feature Photo: Galeazzo Maria Sforza Visiting Lorenzo de' Medici by the artist Amos Cassioli in the 19th century; Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

1450

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England / Margaret of Anjou is queen – No Holy Roman Emperor – Juan II is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Nicholas V is the 209th pope/bishop of Rome

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Books! Books! Books!

The Gutenberg printing press is invented by Johannes Gutenberg (1400 - 1468) in Germany; Moveable type is used for the first time and book production increases greatly, which in turn improves communication throughout Europe; According to the Encyclopedia Britannica...

"Before the invention of printing, the number of manuscript books in Europe could be counted in thousands. By 1500, after only 50 years of printing, there were more than...

...9,000,000 books."


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The Inca are flourishing and in the middle of building Machu Picchu, an Incan citadel in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru; They are advanced in building, architecture and agriculture, but do not have a written language (Photo: Machu Picchu in 2007, Credit: Pedro Szekely, Wikimedia Commons)

The Catalan World Map is drawn (Picture of it in FPOW 190)

 

1451

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England / Margaret of Anjou is queen – No Holy Roman Emperor – Juan II is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Nicholas V is the 209th pope/bishop of Rome

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Keep an Eye on These Two

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile and León, Spain, is born at the Madrigal de las Atlas Torres

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, is born in Genoa, the Republic of Genoa, Italy

Born only months apart, these two will one day become a dynamic duo

 

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1452

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England / Margaret of Anjou is queen – Fredrich III becomes Holy Roman Emperor – Juan II is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Nicholas V is the 209th pope/bishop of Rome

March 19, Pope Nicholas V crowns Fredrich III as Holy Roman Emperor in Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, is born in Anchiano, Vinci, Republic of Florence, Italy to Ser Piero da Vinci and a peasant girl named Caterina; Ser Piero da Vinci either cannot, or will not marry her, most likely because she is lower-class, but a more pressing reason would be that he is already betrothed; For within eight months of Leonardo's birth, Ser Piero marries a rich Florentine's notary's daughter, Albiera, who is 16 years old (Leonardo da Vinci, Pg. 26) (Photo: The town of Vinci in 2013, Credit: Sailko, Wikimedia Commons)

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain, turns 1

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 1

 

1453

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England / Margaret of Anjou is queen – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Juan II is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Nicholas V is the 209th pope/bishop of Rome

The Portuguese court historian, Gomes Eannes de Azurara, writes The Chronicle of Discovery and Conquest of Guinea, which is the main source of information we have for the voyages that Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal sponsored to explore the western coast of Africa

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 1; He is living in the town of Vinci with his father and 17 year-old step mother, Albiera

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile and León, Spain, turns 2

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The End of the Byzantine Empire

In May, Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks and the Hagia Sophia goes from being a Byzantine Christian Cathedral to a Mosque (and it remains so until 1931 when it becomes a museum, then in 2020 it becomes a Mosque again); The fall of Constantinople marks the end of the Byzantine Empire, which has been in existence since 286

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June 12, The papal legate Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini writes to Pope Nicholas V, “We have been defeated and thrown down in Europe.” (Germany, A Nation in its Time, Pg. 7)

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Finally...The End of the Hundred Years' War

July 17, The Battle of Castillon takes place between French and English forces, the outcome of which is a decisive French victory, marking the end of the Hundred Years' War between the two kingdoms; This also ends the Duchy of Aquitaine in France, which had been under English control for some time; Aquitaine is now a possession of the kings of France; The French have also taken back Bordeaux from the English; The only real hold in France the English still have is the city of Calle

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August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 2

 

1454

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Juan II king of Castile and León, Spain, dies and his son, Enrique IV becomes king – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Nicholas V is the 209th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 2; He is living in the town of Vinci with his father and 18 year-old step mother, Albiera

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 3

July 20, King Juan II of Castile and León (future Queen Isabella I's dad), dies, aged 49, in Valladolid, and her 26 year-old brother Enrique IV is crowned king  

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 3

Hohenzollern Castle in the Swabian Alps, Germany, is constructed again, this time bigger and even more fortified than before

Germany begins to take shape as a nation (right now it is part of the Holy Roman Empire, later called the German Empire); At the Frankfurt Reichstag, or Frankfurt Oration, the papal legate Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini appeals to “you, Germans” (Vos, Germani) to help fight the Turks, as “never before was so much Christian blood spilt” and “our religion so desperately shaken.” (Germany, A Nation in its Time, Pg. 7),

“Historians often overlook Piccolomini’s contribution to the idea of a German nation. A seasoned envoy, bishop, and eventually Pope Pius II, Piccolomini was, after all, an Italian, not a German. Writing in Latin and serving the interests of Rome, Piccolomini hoped to raise the fund necessary to fight the Ottoman Turks by no more than the dint of flattery. Yet his Germania represented the first time in the postclassical era that an author actually explicated Germany as a space and described the cities within it—and the description neither followed nor served as an itinerary. Moreover, it was around this time that Piccolomini’s humanist friend Nicolaus Cusanus, plotted, or arranged to have plotted the coordinates of central European cities. One of the most influential philosophers of the late medieval era, Cusanus had responded to the fall of Constantinople not with a cry for war but with a plea for peace.”

(Germany, A Nation in its Time, Pg. 9)

 

1455

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Nicholas V, the 209th pope/bishop of Rome, dies and Callixtus becomes the 210th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 3; He is living in the town of Vinci with his father and 19 year-old step mother, Albiera

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 4

March 24, Pope Nicholas V dies, aged 57, and Callixtus becomes the first Spanish (Venetian) pope/bishop of Rome; His real name is Alfonso de Borgia, and to date, he's been a professor of Law at the University of Lleida, a diplomat for the kings of Aragon, Spain, and been the bishop of Valencia

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 4

The first Bibles are printed on the Gutenberg printing press in Mainz, Germany, only 38 copies have survived (two of them are held by the British Library in London and one is held at the Huntington Library in California), they were printed in Latin

 

1456

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Callixtus is the 210th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 4 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 5

July 4-22, The Siege of Belgrade takes place; The Ottoman Turks, led by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, advance on the Kingdom of Hungary (remember, just two years ago, the Ottomans had taken Constantinople); They lay siege to the Hungarian town of Belgrade, but they ultimately lose and the Kingdom of Hungary is able to delay the advance of the Ottoman Empire into Europe (to this day, July 22 is celebrated as a memorial day in Hungary)

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 5

Another Portuguese sailing expedition reaches further down the western coast of Sahara Africa in Gambia (Gomes is the explorer); The expedition is sponsored by Prince Henry the Navigator (Encyclopedia Britannica)

 

1457

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Callixtus is  the 210th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 5 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 6

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 6

The papal legate, Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, begins to write his extremely influential and widespread epistolary treatise titled Germania (he finishes it next year, and it is published in 1496)

 

1458

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Callixtus, the 210th pope/bishop of Rome, dies and Pius II becomes the 211th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 6 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 7

August 6, Callixtus, pope/bishop of Rome, dies, aged 79, in Rome, and Pius II becomes pope/bishop of Rome

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 7

 

1459

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Pius II is the 211th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 7 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 8

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 8

 

1460

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Pius II is the 211th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 8 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 9

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 9

James II of Scotland dies and is buried at Holyrood Abbey, James III is crowned king of Scotland at Kelso Abbey

November 13, Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal dies at the Vila do Infante, near Sagres (he had sponsored many sailing expeditions to Sahara Africa’s western coasts and Madeira Islands) (EB)

 

1461

RULERS & ROYALTY: Henry VI (House of Lancaster) is king of England until March 4 when Edward IV (House of York) takes over as king – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Charles VII is king of France until he dies in August and Louis XI becomes king – Vasily II "The Dark" is Grand Prince of Moscow – Pius II is the 211th pope/bishop of Rome

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Wars of the Roses Begins

February 2, The Battle of Mortimer's Cross is fought near Kingsland, Herefordshire, England; On one side, is King Henry VI of the House of Lancaster, and on the other is Edward IV of the House of York; The victory goes to Edward, and although Henry is at large for a year, he is then caught and put in prison in the Tower of London

March 4, Edward IV is proclaimed king of England by those loyal to him 

March 29, The Battle of Towton is fought near Towton, North Yorkshire, England; Again, it is a battle between those loyal to Henry VI and those loyal to Edward IV of England; It is considered one of the bloodiest battles to ever be fought on English soil; It was fought between an estimated 50,000 soldiers for 10 hours in a snow storm on Palm Sunday; The victory again went to Edward IV, he will be crowned king in June

Needless to say, Henry VI and Edward IV do not like each other. 

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April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 9 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 10

June 28, Edward IV is crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey

July 22, King Charles VII of France dies, aged 58, and Louis XI becomes king 

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 10

 

1462

RULERS & ROYALTY: Edward IV is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Louis XI is king of France – Vasily II "The Dark" is tsar of Russia until March, when he dies, and Ivan III "The Great" becomes tsar – Pius II is the 211th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 10 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 11

March 27, Vasily II, the tsar of Russia, dies, and Ivan III "The Great" becomes tsar

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 11

The seal matrix of Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III) as Admiral of England for Dorset and Somerset, the matrix is engraved with a single masted ship, the mainsail bearing the Duke’s arms, now housed in the British museum (Collections of the British Museum, Pg. 137)

 

1463

RULERS & ROYALTY: Edward IV is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Louis XI is king of France – Pius II is the 211th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 11 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 12

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 12

 

1464

RULERS & ROYALTY: Edward IV is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Louis XI is king of France – Pius II, the 211th pope/bishop of Rome, dies and Paul II becomes 212th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 12 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 13

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A Secret Marriage

May 1, King Edward IV of England marries (in utmost secrecy) Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of a Lancastrian nobleman who had been killed in the Battle of St. Albans; It is said that he met her at a castle while on a hunting trip and fell madly in-love with her; They will go on to have 10 children together

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In May, After finding out that King Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick "the Kingmaker," (the king's great noble ally) is angered, especially since he had been in secret talks with King Louis of France in which he had promised the king's hand in marriage to a French princess, now these talks have come to nothing (Royal Britain, Pg. 90-91)

August 14, Pope Pius II dies, aged 58, and Paul II becomes the pope/bishop of Rome

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 13

 

1465

RULERS & ROYALTY: Edward IV is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Louis XI is king of France – Paul II is 212th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 13; Sometime during the mid 1460s, Leonardo's parents move with him to the city of Florence, Italy 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 14

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 14

Lustred pottery vase is made in Valencia, Spain, about 1465-75, it bears the arms of the Medici family and was probably made for Piero ‘the Gouty’ or his son Lorenzo the Magnificent, successive rulers of Spain, Now housed in the British Museum (Collections of the British Museum, 139)

 

1466

RULERS & ROYALTY: Edward IV is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Louis XI is king of France – Paul II is 212th pope/bishop of Rome

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The Kid's Got Talent

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 14; He is currently living in the city of Florence, Italy; Around this year his father arranges for him to be an apprentice to the sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio; "According to Vasari, who is our only source on the subject...

'One day Ser Piero took some of Leonardo's drawings along to Andrea del Verrocchio, who was a good friend of his, and asked if he thought it would be profitable for the boy to study drawing. Andrea was amazed to see what extraordinary beginnings Leonardo had made, and urged Piero to make him study the subject. So Piero arranged for Leonardo to enter Andrea's workshop. The boy was delighted with the decision.' 

(Leonardo Da Vinci, Pg. 61)

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 April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 15

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 15

October 28, Erasmus of Rotterdam is born, the Dutch philosopher, who also becomes a Catholic theologian and priest, and will be considered one of the greatest scholars of the northern Renaissance and will also gain the sobriquet “Prince of the Humanists” as he used “humanist techniques” to translate new editions of the New Testament into Latin and Greek (d. 1536)

 

1467

RULERS & ROYALTY: Edward IV is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Louis XI is king of France – Paul II is 212th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian artist, turns 15; He is currently living in the city of Florence, Italy, and is an apprentice to the sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 16

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 16

 

1468

RULERS & ROYALTY: Edward IV is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Louis XI is king of France – Paul II is 212th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian artist, turns 16; He is currently living in the city of Florence, Italy and is an apprentice to the sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 17

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 17

 

1469

RULERS & ROYALTY: Edward IV is king of England – Fredrich III is Holy Roman Emperor – Enrique IV is king of Castile and León, Spain – Louis XI is king of France – Lorenzo di' Medici becomes de facto ruler of the Republic of Florence, Italy – Paul II is 212th pope/bishop of Rome

April 15, Leonardo da Vinci, the future Italian artist, turns 17; He is currently living in the city of Florence, in the Republic of Florence, Italy 

April 22, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain turns 18

May 3, Niccoló Machiavelli, who will become a well known Italian philosopher, author, and diplomat, is born in Florence in the Republic of Florence 

August 25 (approx.), Future Italian explorer, navigator, and 1st governor of the Indies, Christopher Columbus, turns 18

October 19, Isabella I, future Queen of Castile, Spain, marries Ferdinand, future king of Aragon, Spain (Photo: Isabella and Ferdinand's wedding portrait, Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Note: Spain is not united at this point; It isn't until Isabella and Ferdinand both inherit their kingdoms and begin ruling them jointly that the process of uniting Spain begins; (But it won't be until their grandson, Charles V, becomes king that they officially unite); Also of note, their daughter, Catherine of Aragon, will marry Henry VIII of England--though he divorces her after she doesn't bear him a son, she only gives him one daughter, Mary Tudor, who rules England from 1553 - 1558

James III of Scotland marries Margaret Tudor (Henry VII’s daughter) at Holyrood Abbey

December 2, Piero di Cosimo de' Medici dies (b. 1416), and his son Lorenzo "the Magnificent" di' Medici (b. 1449) becomes the de facto ruler of the Republic of Florence; He is the most powerful and enthusiastic patron of Renaissance culture in Italy, and is a banker, politician and diplomat like his father; Lorenzo is known for his sponsorship of artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo (Photo: Lorenzo di' Medici painted between 1555-1556; Credit: Wikimedia Commons)