Medieval History For Dummies
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Famine, plague and public execution – the medieval period wasn’t the best time for some, but heroic rulers like Charlemagne, William the Conqueror and Henry V made sure that it was full of action. Here are the key dates for the big events of the medieval period.

Date in Middle Ages What Happened in Medieval History
c. AD 450 The first Anglo-Saxons arrive in England.
476 Romulus Augustulus is deposed; the Western Roman Empire ends.
496 Clovis the Frank converts to Christianity.
597 Augustine of Canterbury begins to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity.
638 Jerusalem falls to Islamic forces.
711 Tarik-Ibn-Ziyad begins the Muslim conquest of Spain.
751 Pippin III becomes the first Carolingian king.
c. 790 The Vikings begin raiding Ireland.
800 Charlemagne is crowned as the first Holy Roman Emperor.
827 Islamic forces invade Sicily.
843 The Treaty of Verdun splits the Frankish kingdom into three parts, creating modern France and Germany along the way.
863 The Eastern Church and the papacy in Rome split in the First Great Schism.
c. 870 The Vikings discover Iceland.
871 Alfred becomes the king of Wessex.
909 Charles the Simple grants lands around Rouen to Viking settlers, beginning the Norman civilisation in France.
987 Louis V, the last Carolingian king, dies. Hugh Capet begins the Capetian line of French kings.
1016 Cnut of Denmark becomes king of England.
1066 William of Normandy invades England; the Battle of Hastings takes place.
1095 Pope Urban II preaches the First Crusade.
1097 The First Crusade arrives at Constantinople.
1099 The First Crusade recaptures Jerusalem and establishes the kingdom of Outremer.
1147–48 The Second Crusade fails to make any gains and is forced to retreat from Damascus.
1189 The Crusade of Frederick Barbarossa ends in failure when he drowns in Asia Minor.
1190–91 The Third Crusade pits Richard I against Saladin.
1204 The Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople.
1215 King John agrees to the Magna Carta, weakening the authority of the English crown.
1291 The city of Acre falls, and the kingdom of Outremer ends.
1324 Marsilius of Padua criticises the papacy in the Defensor pacis.
1337 The Hundred Years’ War begins.
1346 The Battle of Crecy is fought during the Hundred Years’ War.
1348 The Black Death hits Europe.
1381 The Peasants’ Revolt happens in England.
1415 The Battle of Agincourt is fought during the Hundred Years’ War.
1431 Joan of Arc is executed by the English after leading the French recovery during the Hundred Years’ War.
1453 The French recover Gascony; the Hundred Years’ War ends.
The Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople; the Byzantine Empire ends.
1470 Leonardo da Vinci begins work as a professional artist in Florence as the Italian Renaissance gathers pace.
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers America.

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Stephen Batchelor is Head of School for Creative and Visual Arts at MidKent College and has taught ancient history and classical studies for many years. Stephen has written book reviews for Current Archaeology and History Today, and is the author of The Ancient Greeks For Dummies.

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