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From 1500-1600

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Circa 1601: France: With all these distractions the King did not neglect his cares of state. He and Sully laboured to increase the Royal revenues. It is impossible to exaggerate the nightmare complexity of the Ancien Regime taxation system with its crazy mosaic of regional and social variations in assessment and imposition, its host of levies, dues and tariffs, ordinary and extraordinary, direct and indirect, sometimes nominal, sometimes crushing and frequently self-defeating, and its hydra-headed multitude of exemptions, the whole administered by a battening host of greedy officials; Dallington shuddered at 'the infinite number in all France, upon why they lie, as thick as the Grasshoppers in Egypt'. Why this chaotic system could not be simplified was of course a question of fundamental law; the rights of those who levied taxes had to be protected no less than the rights of those who were exempt from them, official posts being sacrosanct. All that Henri and Sully could hope to do was try to work this fantastically cumbersome and antiquated engine: it was a question of oil rather than spare parts, let alone new machinery.
They had first to combat the now almost traditional practices of embezzlement and plain theft which devoured the greater part of the revenue, and to force those who collected monies due to the King to pay them into his treasury. Much of the Royal income from indirect taxes reached him through the agency of 'farmers' whom the impossible system made indispensable; at least they had an incentive to extract the maximum from the unfortunate taxpayer. By cutting their percentage Sully made an immediate profit without impairing the tax farmers' greedy industry. Unlawful exemptions were set aside and corrupt assessments readjusted."
...Sir George Carew (the English ambassador) wrote: "When Sully first came to the managing of the revenues, he found... all things out of order, full of robbery, of officers full of confusion, no treasure, no munition, no furniture for the king's houses and the crown indebted three hundred million (that is, three hundred million pounds sterling). Since that time, in February 1608, he had acquitted one hundred and thirty millions of that debt, redeeming the most part of the revenues of the crown that were mortgaged; that he had brought good store of treasure into the Bastille, filled most of the arsenals with munition, ... but only by reducing that to the king's coffers which was embezzled by under-officers."
From Desmond Seward, The First Bourbon: Henri IV, King of France and Navarre. London, Constable, 1971., p. 143.

Pre-1600?: The little-known Englishman and vicar, armchair navigator, Samuel Purchas, publishes his book, Purchas, His Pilgrimes, which is to inspire London's merchant adventurers, somewhat based on reports of Magellan's voyages.
(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

800AD-1600AD: Unexpected in the Amazon region: Researchers are surprised to find evidence of "civilization" in the Amazon Rainforest region, spread about a 39sq/km area at the headwaters of the Xingu River, a 1000-year-old network of towns and villages, evidence of a complex, sophisticated society aware of "mathematics, astronomy and other sciences", The area was occupied 800AD-1600AD. There were about 19 villages each housing about 2500-5000 people, spaced 2.5-3.5 km apart, and connected by straight roadways up to 45 metres wide. The people utilised ditches, bridges, irrigation, ponds, causeways, canals. One view about the findings is, "not earth-shattering, but not expected in the Amazon". Researchers involved include Robert Carneiro of American Museum of Natural History, lead archaeologist Michael Heckenberger, of University of Florida and Jim Petersen, archaeologist of University of Vermont. See from this date a forthcoming issue of journal Science (Reported Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 2003)

1600: C16th generally: Roland Fletcher, Assoc. Professor of Archaeology, Sydney University, thinks that one million people lived around Angkor Wat in the C16th. Similar-size populations lived in Edo (now Tokyo), Beijing, Sian (now Xi'an), Sukhothai in Thailand, and Pagan in what is now Burma.

17 February, 1600: Freethinker and heretic Giordano Bruno, naked, with a nail through his tongue to prevent further heresies being uttered, is burned at stake in Campo de Fiori, Rome.

1598: France, Promulgation of Edict of Nantes re Protestantism.

1598: One date for first documented minutes of a Masonic Lodge in the British Isles.

Ye Olde Wives Tales from Olde England

Life in the 1500s: some interesting things to ponder... submitted "from the Net"

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."

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England is old and small, and they started running out of places to bury people. So, they would dig up coffins and would take their bones to a house and reuse the grave. In reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell. Hence on the "graveyard shift" they would know that someone was "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer."

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Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and were still smelling pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the b.o.

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Baths equaled a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

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Houses had thatched roofs. Thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the pets... dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugs lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."

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There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. So, they found if they made beds with big posts and hung a sheet over the top, it addressed that problem. Hence those beautiful big four-poster beds with canopies. I wonder if this is where we get the saying "Good night and don't let the bed bugs bite..."

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The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors which would get slippery in the winter when wet. So they spread thresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed at the entry way, hence a "thresh hold."

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They cooked in the kitchen in a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They mostly ate vegetables and didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been in there for a month. Hence the rhyme: peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

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Sometimes they could obtain pork and would feel really special when that happened. When company came over, they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it off. It was a sign of wealth and that a man "could really bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

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Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food. This happened most often with tomatoes, so they stopped eating tomatoes... for 400 years.

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Most people didn't have pewter plates, but had trenchers - a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Trenchers were never washed and a lot of times worms got into the wood. After eating off wormy trenchers, folk would get "trench mouth."

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Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust".

More olde wive's tales from the Net - Where some expressions came from

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's."

Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle," is the phrase inspired by this practice.

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes...when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. That's where the phrase, "good night, sleep tight" came from.

The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

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1593: London: Playwright Christopher Marlowe, also a spy, is killed in "a sordid pub brawl".

1592-1598AD: Korea succeeds in beating off Japanese invasions.

1590, Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, outdoes the Spanish city of Seville in splendour, with temples and palaces, busy marketplaces, drugstores, canals with bridges, floating market gardens, courts for ball games, zoological and botanical collections. 200,000 people lived in a city-suburbs of five square miles, when the population of Seville was 45,000. Conquistador Bernal Diaz thought all this a dream.

Circa1590-1605AD: Burma breaks up into small states.

1587-1629: Reign of Shah Abbas I (the Great) of Persia; he consolidates and expands territories.

1585: More to come

1584: Dies 1584, Timofeyevich Yermak; in 1579, he led an expedition to conquer Siberia for the Russian Empire. He fought with Kuchum, the Tatar warlord.

1582: Introduction of Gregorian Calendar in Italy.

1581: More to come

1580: Spain annexes Portugal.

1580: Crowns of Spain and Portugal are united.

1580: English merchants back a voyage into the Arctic (Kara Sea), to find any near-Russia North-East Passage to the East, perhaps by "a river near China".
(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

1579: More maritime history mystery: Fresh controversy arises over whether history should be rewritten with the case of English pirate Francis Drake, and the Golden Hind voyage: did Drake discover Alaska? A new book, The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, by Samuel Bawlf argues that Drake was forbidden from publicly reporting his discovery due to fear of the Spanish becoming aware of English moves. Working from study of maps and Drake's mention of a "frozen zone" where natives shivered in their furs and snow scarcely melted even in summer, Bawlf argues for a thorough rewrite of the history of Elizabethan discoveries. The English he said had an ambitious plan to find the North-West Passage and found an empire in the Pacific. Part of the problem is lack of information on Drake's whereabouts in the summer of 1579, a question long and hotly debated on the US' western coasts. Bawlf, a Canadian geographer, believes Drake spilled details to his personal map-maker, Abraham Ortelius, who is said to have invented the atlas. Bawlf feels that a map showing four non-existent islands off the coast of California are the shapes of actual islands further north, including Vancouver Island. Sceptics are reportedly unconvinced, and some sceptics still believe that Drake went no further north on these West American coasts than Mexico. (Reported 16 August 2003)

1578: More to come

13 December 1577: Francis Drake begins a world voyage from Plymouth, England, in Golden Hind.

1577: Francis Drake leaves England on his world voyage.

Where did English mariner Sir Francis Drake make his Pacific landfall (Nova Albion?) on North American land. Did he leave a "Drake was here" plate at Campbell Cove, Bodega Head, California in the summer of June 1579 as he repaired his ship, Golden Hind? In 1997, writer Brian Kelleher of Cupertino began asking questions about such a site. Or was the landing spot at a Marin County Bay, or on the Oregon coast? Researchers including archaeologist Dr. Kent Lightfoot, at University of California may follow up Kelleher's suggestions. Drake's five-ship expedition was the second attempt to circumnavigate the world, following up Magellan. From the western Pacific coast, Drake sailed to Indonesia, then across the Indian Ocean, around Cape of Good Hope and home to England. (Reported 10 July 1999)

1576: More to come

1575: More to come

1574: More to come

1573-1620: Reign of emperor Wan Li in China: period of great paintings and porcelain-making; imperial kilns at Jingde produce vast quantities of "china".

1620s and earlier: The Great Wall of China should be "the great walls of China" as there are many discontinuous walls. So says modern scholarship according to a TV documentary screened in Australia on 21-8-2015. The modern view is that there are 16 or more separate walls built at different times, The walls end up being about 21,000km long when it was earlier thought that there was little more than one-third of this extent actually built, say 5,000-7,000km. The walls extend from the ocean at the eastern frontiers of China to the western deserts, where old walls more than 1000 years old have recently been identified, probably built to contain the movements of invading skilled horse archers from Central Asia. The walls formed a vast system for protection and anti-invader communication systems, the walls being staffed with an army of 700,000 or more. The later-built walls of the Ming Dynasty (of kiln-fired bricks and mortar) have been very long-lasting, one reason being that the mortar is exceptional, having been made of materials including lime mixed with about 3 per cent of sticky rice to bind the brick.

1572: Mapmaker Ortelius issues his atlas, which amongst other legends speaks of King Solomon's ships sailing for (mythical) Ophir, where they gather 420 talents of gold.

1571: The Battle of Lepanto; 117 Turkish galleys taken and 80 lost, only 12 Christian vessels are lost.

1571: Foundation by Spanish of city Manila, the Philippines.

1570: Geographer and mapmaker Abraham Ortelius publishes his world map and following Mercator depicts an unknown great southern land, modifying its name from terra incognita to Terra Australis Nondum Cognita, or Southern Land Not Yet Known.
1570: Ortelius produces a world map which shows New Guinea as separate from the conjectural land south of it called Terra Australis. Cornelis de Jode's map of 1593, Speculum Orbis Terrae shows much the same re New Guinea. But in 1594, Plancius on his map shows New Guinea joined to the Great South Land.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1569: More to come

1568AD: -Circa 1600 - Period of national unification in Japan begins when feudal lord, Oda Nobunaga, captures capital, Kyoto.

1568: Spain: Muslims are forcibly converted to Catholicism in Spain.

1567: November: The viceroy of Peru permits controversial mathematician, scientist and adventurer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa to take two ships from Callao to settle "the great southern continent". Sarmiento captains one ship but has to answer also to a 26-year-old, Alvaro de Mendana, a nephew of the viceroy. Both however belief in lands of gold to the west. After 80 days sail they found an island, possibly Nui of today's Tuvalu. By early 1568 they were at the Solomon Islands, where the local people resented them, so the expedition went to today's Honiara on Guadalcanal, where it was again resented, so it went to San Cristobal. It finally returned home dismal with failure. Young Mendana however is convinced he has found outlying islands of the Great South Land. He tried again in 1595.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

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1566: Invention of the full stop as a punctuation mark, by Aldus Manutius the Younger, author of a punctuation handbook, Interpungendi ratio. He was grandson of the Venetian printer who invented "the paperback book".

1566: Maritime history: Mendana's first voyage.

1565: April: Spain tries again (after 1542), to found a colony of the Philippines. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi leaves from Acapulco in Mexico and founds colony on Cebu with three ships and 300 men. Spanish administration six years later was transferred to Cebu on Luzon Island. With this 1565 expedition was Miguel de Urdaneta, now a monk, who had been asked to help establish a useful return route home from the Philippines. Sensibly, Urdaneta wanted to go about new Guinea to establish its proximity to any Great South Land, then to possibly examine just where the Great Southland lay. This went far beyond Legazpi's brief to found a colony and establish a route home. On 1 June 1565, Urdaneta (died 1568) sailed from Cebu and went north, overshooting on the West North American coast, then south, which brought him to California, then to the port of Navidad of Mexico.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1564: Death of artist Michelangelo of Italy and birth of English playwright, William Shakespeare.
Note: Michelangelo: The received wisdom that he is a homosexual is dismissed. From a book review, September 1999. See James Beck, Three Worlds of Michelangelo. Norton, 1999.

1563: Stress of urbanisation: French parliament begs the king to prohibit vehicles from the streets of Paris.

1563: Spanish navigator Juan Fernandez amazes his associates by sailing from Callao, Peru to Valparaiso, Chile in 30 days instead of the usual 90. Then sailing west into the Pacific he discovered a number of islands which now bear his name. He was possibly trying to find any eastern coast of any Great Southland. By legend he got to New Zealand but this seem highly unlikely.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1562: Maritime history: Legazpi sails in Philippines area.

1561-1562: The French Wars of Religion: "Throughout France, members of the rival creeds (Catholic and Huguenot) attacked each other, killing, burning, raping, torturing, and looting. The atrocities were as outrageous as they were cruel. In a frenzy of Protestant iconoclasm churches were desecrated and their clergy hunted down like vermin; one Huguenot captain wore a necklace of priests' ears while the infamous Baron des Adrets made Catholic prisoners leap to their death from a high tower. Even the dead were attacked; at Orleans a Reformist mob burnt the heart of poor Francois II and threw Joan of Arc's statue into the river. The Counter-Reformation was not yet in evidence so Papist fanatics were rare but nonetheless Catholics were goaded into fury. At Tours two hundred Huguenots were drowned in the Loire while the bodies of those slaughtered at Sens came floating down to Paris. That grim old soldier Blaise de Montluc made Protestant captives jump from the battlements and remarked with satisfaction that all knew where he had passed by the trees which bore his livery - a hanged Huguenot; on one occasion he strangled a pastor with his own hands." As Pascal said a hundred years later, "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as they do from religious conviction."
From: Desmond Seward, The First Bourbon: Henri IV, King of France and Navarre. London, Constable, 1971., p. 143

1560: More to come

1559: First cultivation of tobacco starts in Spain.

1559: Queen Elizabeth I sends aid to Scottish lords to drive French from Scotland.

1558: From Brussels, Oliver Brunel advertises that he has travelled on the coasts of northern Russia, and might soon find a North-East Passage to the Indies. He would soon take a Russian ship to the spice islands. (This might reduce a year's sailing time?) This information caused great pain to London merchants, so they denounced Brunel to the Russians as a spy and he is imprisoned for 12 years.
(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

1558: Mary Queen of Scots, aged 16, marries the Dauphin of France, the future Francis II.

1557: More to come

1552: More to come

1551AD: Bayinnaung inherits the Burmese throne and overruns Thailand.

22 April, 1550: The first encounter between Europeans and South American Indians/Brazil, as recorded by Pero Vaz de Caminha, an official scribe for a Portuguese flotilla that accidentally arrived on the coast of Brazil, off-course for a voyage to India. The Indians were given a red beret, a linen hood and a black hat. In return, the Indians gave a headdress of bird feathers, a necklace of white beads. Not so long later, the Portuguese enslaved the Indians. At the time of first contact, there were about five million Indians in 1400 tribes speaking 1300 languages. In April 2000, a 500th anniversary was observed at Porto Seguro, a small coastal town. Today, DNA research reveals that about 45 million Brazilians, about a third of the population, share some indigenous DNA levels. Brazil still has about 30 pockets of Amazon jungle where so-called Stone Age tribes live, of about 100-300 people. Land rights remain a serious issue for Brazil's indigenous people.

From 1550: Islam spreads to Indonesia.

1500-1550: (From a website reviewing book on climate change by H. H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World): After a generally warmer interlude between 1500 and 1550, northern Europe turns much colder... there appears The Little Ice Age, which reached a peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, experienced temperatures that were as much as 1.5°C colder than the 20th century. Great hurricanes arose in the North Atlantic. (A gale whose winds exceeded the speeds of any modern tempest destroyed the Spanish Armada and changed history. Traces of this era of cold persisted until the mid-19th century.)

1550: Portuguese settlement of Nova Scotia. (Canada)

1549-1551AD: Mission of Jesuit St. Francis Xavier to Japan.

1548: More to come

1547: Death of Hernan/Hernando Cortes, Spanish conqueror of Mexico. He studied law, began at Hispaniola (Santo Domingo), as a farmer. In 1511 he went with Diego Velasquez on expedition to Cuba. In 1519, Cortes went to Yucatan, later to Tabasco. There he found a mistress, Dona Marina (Malintzin) who gave him a son, Martin. Cortes then founded Veracruz, then went inland at a time when nation of Tiaxcala is at war with Aztec ruler Montezuma of Mexico. Cortes entered Mexico City on 8 November 1519, and killed Montezuma. By 1521, Cortes had caused the fall of the Aztec Empire. Cortes returned to Spain and was made captain-general (of Mexico). Cortes' enemies grew, but Cortes did explore Lower California about 1535. Later he explored Honduras. Cortes again returned to Spain and died near Seville in 1547. See M. Collis, Cortes and Montezuma. 1955.
Encyclopedia Britannica item

1546-1601: Life of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who produced systematic star maps.

1546AD: Tabinshwehti conquers Pegu from the Mons and assumes title of king of all Burma.

1546: The Compass improved: The Spanish improved on the Chinese invention of the compass by installing it within a set of gimbals. Gimbals invented by the Chinese about 100BC. (Source: James/Thorpe).

1545: England, Henry VIII shuts down the long use of brothels, which earlier had been officially sanctioned. Officially, brothels were never re-opened. (R. Brasch, How Did Sex Begin?)

1544: More to come

1543: Copernicus suggests the earth is not the centre of the universe and thus shocks the Catholic Church.

1542: Spanish Mexico: A fleet of six ships under Ruy Lopez de Villalobos leaves port of Navidad with orders from the King of Spain to colonise The Islands of the West, that is, the Philippines, and to seek gold, spices and other trade goods. Voyage across the Pacific took three months. Villalobos spent a year trying to found a colony about Mindanao but failed and resorted to the Moluccas where he died of fever. Spain did not try the Philippines again till 1565.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1542: Portuguese sent by the Pope protect Ethiopia from Moslems and for the first time Ethiopia is under Catholic influence within Christianity. (In 1632, Emperor Fasilidas expelled Jesuits and closed the country to foreigners.)

1542: France: Jean Rotz produces a manuscript, Boke of Idrography on hydrography and marine sciences, earliest of the major works of the Dieppe school of maps. Rotz, of Scots descent (Ross), presented his book to Francis I, but got no position at court, so he went to England to present it to Henry VIII, to be rewarded with post of Royal Hydrographer till Henry's death in 1547. Rotz had sailed to Guinea (West Africa) and Brazil in 1539. He may also have sailed with the Parmentiers to Sumatra in 1529-1530. In 1529 he seems to have been in the Western Pacific.

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1541: Dies in the Spanish New World: Francisco Pizzaro (c1471-1541). Discoverer and conqueror of Peru. He accompanied Balboa on discovery of the Pacific Ocean. In 1522 Pizzaro dreamed dreams of conquest to the south, and he sailed down the west coast of South America. He returned to Seville in Spain by 1828 and by 1829 was made governor and captain-general of New Castile. (The South American coast he had seen). Pizzaro is joined by his brother Hernando. Pizzaro in 1541 is assassinated by followers of his Spanish enemy, Diego de Almagro. Half-brother of Francisco was Gonzalo Pizzaro (C1505-1548), In 1539, an ex-miner at Potosi mines, Gonzalo becomes governor of Quito, later governor of Peru. He was executed by an enemy on 26 June 1546.

1541AD: Hungary: After the Turkish occupation of Buda in 1541, the region of the Great Plain becomes part of the great Ottoman Empire which stretches over three continents.

1540: Execution for treason of Thomas Cromwell, earlier chief adviser to King Henry VIII of England.

1540: Francisco Vasquez de Coronado takes 2000 men into the deserts north of Mexico in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola, which legendarily had palaces and temples filled with gold and silver. In the present-day New Mexico. What was found was a humble Zuni Indian settlement.

1539: Maritime history: Orellan's voyage down the Amazon River.

1538: Flemish cartographer Gerard Mercator publishes his map of the world. He adopts the view of Magellan, that about the area of Tierra del Fuego is a large land mass, a southern continent of unknown extent, terra incognita.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1537: Maritime history: Pedro Nunes discovers the Loxodrome.

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1537: Spanish Conquistadors searching for "legendary El Dorado" reach Columbia and loot the burial places of Indian priests and chiefs, also ransacking gilt-lined temples and palaces. This is in the Great Lakes region of Columbia, location of the ancient Sinu sanctuaries. Today (March 2001), a tomb-looting indigenous tribe continue the looting, the Guaqueros, their chief named Jaunito. These looters either sell artefacts, or if no buyer can be found, melt them down. There is a legal artefact-manager in the country, the Gold Museum in Bogota - which evidently cannot stamp out looting. (From an article by Francois Guenet in The Australian Magazine, 3-4 March, 2001).

1536: Spaniard Hernando de Grijalva, possibly on orders from Cortes, after going to Mexico from Peru, on returning home decides to turn his ship into the Pacific. Arises an obscure story, that his ship ran short of water and provisions, was blocked by strong northeasterly winds, his crew mutinied, killed Grijalva, and headed for the Moluccas. They were shipwrecked off New Guinea and probably killed except for a few survivors who were ransomed by some Portuguese.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1536: Further on the destruction of the Inca Empire: From about 1432, the Incas had developed an astronomical/astrological system which allowed belief also in a dire prediction about the demise of what became their empire, more or less a self-fulfilling prophecy, after five rulers had exercised power. Disasters on earth would echo disasters in the skies/heavens, in conformity with the formula, "as above- so below". The time of disaster coincided with a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. As to disaster, the Inca Empire had a population of more than five million. Within 50 years of the arrival of the Spanish from 1532, five million Incas had died. But the tragedy had been long foretold, and during the lead-up to their demise, the Incas had tried to stave off or forestall disaster by engaging in child sacrifice (every fourth year, and/or at an annual solstice,. the victims aged 7-12), in a deliberate effort to rearrange earthly patterns so that the heavenly patterns became more congenial.
The idea was that the children, carefully selected from tribes which had their origins in certain constellations, would return as messengers to their heavenly home to plead for a rearrangement of circumstances on earth. In which case, human sacrifice was a ritual-of-last-resort. As to such beliefs, the questions arise: were the Incas here exercising an old belief system shared by other civilizations? Such as might have been exercised at Sumer? A belief system spread by maritime contact? From how long ago? (Lost Worlds tends to think so - Ed)
It also seems that this belief system was the major asset enabling the Inca Empire to grow and enjoy (or coerce) the co-operation of the diverse peoples in its mountainous territories.

Circa 1535:

Pizzaro an outright murderer: Australian researchers using refined new technology have examined a fragment of a letter with a beeswax seal written by a Jesuit in Inca territory, to find a date for the writing of the letter. A mystery of conquest may now be solved - Pizzaro and his few troops overwhelmed the Incas by the simple expedient of murdering their emperor and his general. (Reported in Australia 13 October 1999)
Pizarro is illiterate, but "experienced". In 1528 he sails along Inca coastlines to reconnoitre. He arrived in middle of a civil war. The Sapa Inca had been Huayna Capal, to 1525, he had two sons, Atahuallpa and Huascar, and Huascar lost the battle which broke out, Pizarro murders Atahuallpa. (Notes - the Incas were at Machu Picu.)
(Reader's Digest, The Last Two Million Years, p. 203) ... When Pizarro murders Atahuallpa, he also "eliminates" the 4000-strong leadership of the Inca Empire, from 1530. A TV documentary on Australian SBS on 29-7-2001, says that in the Spanish new world, the Pizzaros and the Orianas were two related large families who became deadly enemies in the New World over gold (?).

1534: England splits with the Church of Rome.

1533: More to come

1532: The Spanish arrive into Inca territory of South America. Within 50 years, about five million Inca have died. But mysteriously, this had been a tragedy long foretold. The Inca believed their ancestors had arrived from the stars (constellations). The stars then were their real home; the Inca supposedly were besotted by astrology. The Inca custom of child sacrifice with victims taken from various of their tribes was then a way of sending messengers "home". Views have arisen that various "cultural codings" used by the Inca were derived from older civilisations, perhaps as old as 13,000 years ago. About 1432 or so, the early Inca produced a prophecy that the Inca would fall after five rulers had been at their head, then all would fall. Disasters on earth would reflect disasters in the heavens, such as "heavenly disconnections". Such prophecies were so precise that it might well be asked: why did the Inca then bother to build an empire?
Some information/views here taken from TV documentaries various as screened in Australia after new research by archaeologists around Year 2000 or so.

1531: More to come

1530: More to come

1529: World exploration: French brothers Jean and Raoul Parmentier sail from Dieppe in ships Pensee and Sacre and reach Sumatra, where they die of fever. Their pilot Pierre Crignon returns home with charts etc. Crignon's reports may have helped inspire a 1540 French map by Jean Mallard which shows a large promontory, Terre Australle, lying south of Malacca. Another member of the Parmentier expedition was Jean Rotz who in 1542 produced a world map noting Java La Grande (a French term), with an imaginary picture of "Australia". In 1544, a French mariner distrusted in his own lifetime, Jean Fontenau, claimed to have seen La Grande Jave. He married a Portuguese woman and was also known as Jean Alfonse - and thought that La Grande Jave extended south to near the South Pole. In any case, the Parmentier voyage seems to be the key to rising notions of the existence of Java La Grande as it was depicted in a series of maps produced in Dieppe, France.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1529: Treaty of Saragossa. Bishop of Viseu is exiled.

1529AD: In 1529 Suleiman II personally leads his forces into Hungary to help Zápolyai. On the site of the battle of Mohács, Zápolyai formally planted the vassal's kiss on the Sultan's hand. From this point on, Hungary became a battleground. The Turks view Hungary as the springboard for their attack on Vienna, and the Habsburgs, for their part, attempted to maintain at least the northern and western parts of the country under their influence. In this way, Hungary becomes the locale for a great power struggle in which both sides strive for decisive power in Europe.

1529: By 1592, Spain and Portugal re the Tordesillas Line which demarcates the world for their hegemony come to a compromise. Portugal pays 350,000 ducats to Spain which then withdraws claims to the Moluccas Islands of Indonesia and agrees to a demarcation line 297.5 leagues east of those islands.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1528: More to come

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1527: Bristol merchant Robert Thorne, an English trader in Seville, Spain, writes secretly to King Henry VIII that it is possible to reach the Eastern spice islands via the North Pole.
(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

1526: Founding of the Mogul Dynasty in India.

1526: Europeans by now have sighted the northern coasts of New Guinea. Spaniard Capt. Alvaro deSaavedra Ceron who believes there exists an Island of Gold somewhere southwest of New Guinea in 1528 tries to find an eastward route (from the Malaccas?) across the Pacific (to Mexico?). Headwinds forced him back. He died at sea in 1529.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1526AD: Babur (descendant of Mongol ruler Genghis Khan and of Tamerlane), first Mogul emperor, invades India.

1526AD: Hungary: In 1526 King Louis Jagiello meets defeat and death against the Turkish army of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent at the battle of Mohacs (near Belgrade). Half of Hungary now pays homage to the Turks and the rest was absorbed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which lasted until the First World War.

1526: Hungary: Decisive attack of the Turks. After occupying two of Hungary's southern bastions, the Turkish Sultan Suleiman II (1496-1566) launched a large-scale offensive with a well-equipped army of eighty thousand in the summer of 1526. The Hungarian forces, led by Louis II, barely consisted of twenty thousand men who were poorly armed in comparison to the Turkish army. The decisive battle was fought at Mohács by the Danube river and ended with the annihilation of the Hungarian army. Fifteen thousand were killed in the battle, and the king himself died on the battlefield. This event was one of the tragic turning points in Hungarian history, and its efforts were felt for centuries to come. The territorial unity of medieval Hungary, together with its independence, were lost.

1525: April: Spain: A fleet of seven ships under Garcia Jofre de Loaisa sails from La Coruna in Northern Spain. Flagship is Santa Maria de la Victoria. Sailing the Atlantic for Straits of Magellan and into the Pacific. One ship was wrecked on a shore. Another disappeared entirely. Another sailed home. Four ships got into the Pacific but never saw each other again. One ship got to the Philippines, where the crew was killed or enslaved. The flagship got to Tidore, where crew fought the Portuguese for eight years. In 1527, Charles V directed Cortes as governor of New Spain (Mexico), to send three ships to find Loaisa's ships or men. This 1527 expedition was commanded by Alvaro Saavedra de Ceron, to be lost near the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. Saavedra attempted to return home to Mexico via the north coast of New Guinea, he died, and his crew returned to Tidore.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1525: The Portuguese governor of the Moluccas sends from the Indonesian island Ternate an expedition (for gold or for diplomatic explorations) led by Diogo de Rocha and pilot Gomes de Sequeira. They possibly reached the western Caroline Islands before homing to Ternate. Sequeira later sailed the Arafura Sea and possibly sighted the islands today known as Bathurst, Melville and Croker, the Coburg Peninsula, Wessel Island and Prince of Wales Island. If so, he was the first European discoverer of North-Western Australia.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1525: Maritime history: Two voyages of Gomes de Sequeira.

1524: Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano arrives in France to report on his New World discoveries, which include (what is later seen as) New York's bay.

1524: (Reported 30 July 2002: Mexico City: A manuscript dated 23 September 1524 has been found at Mexico's National Library of Anthropology and History, detailing the takeover of Mexico by Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes.

1524: Maritime history: Junta of Badajoz. Voyages of Verrazano and Loaysia.

1523: More to come

1522: Maritime history: Voyage of Cristovao de Mendonca with three ships leaving Malacca for a voyage south from the west coast of Sumatra. He returns with one ship only. (Legends exist that one or more of ships visited some coastline of Australia.) Later he is appointed governor of island of Hormuz in Persian Gulf region.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

November, 1521, Magellan's ships reach the Indonesian spice islands, the Moluccas. This severely annoys the already-resident Portuguese on the spice islands.
(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

1521: Magellan rounds Cape Horn, on his way to the Moluccas Islands, Indonesia, which were far further west than he had imagined.

1521: Died 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, in the Philippines, where he attempted to convert local natives at gunpoint. He is killed by natives using iron-pointed bamboo spears and scimitars.
Magellan's crew once sold a cargo of 26 tons of cloves for 10,000 times its original cost - a good example of the mercantilist's hopes of buying cheap and selling dear. Magellan by now has discovered Tierra del Fuego, but it is not known for a century that the area is an island, not part of a major land mass.

1521-1522: New Zealand: Possible deposition of The Ruapuke wreck, reputed to be a New Zealand version of Australia's mahogany ship enigma at Warnambool. As referred to by K.G McIntyre in The Secret Discovery of Australia (pp. 281-284 of the original hardback edition) as possibly the second of Cristavao de Mendonca's caravels to come to grief in his venture of 1521-22. Evidence cited includes the Tamil Bell and the Wellington Helmet. Since the publication of Gavin Menzies' book 1421 on the claimed world-discovery trip of the Chinese, it is suggested that the Tamil Bell might be an artefact left by the Chinese, who were familiar with Ceylon at the time.

1521-1522: Ferdinand Magellan begins his expedition to make the first circumnavigation of the world.

1520-1618: Smallpox is introduced by the Spanish to Mexico, only three months after Cortes has laid siege to the Aztec capitol. The result is that the population is reduced from 20 million to 1.8 million. Later, South American suffers from waves of measles, typhus and influenza. The indigenous populations are reduced by up to 95 per cent according to some estimates.

1520: Portuguese governor at Goa, India, receives orders to discover "gold islands" south of Sumatra.

1520 Mexico: Hernan Cortes as he advances on Tenochtitlan is regarded as a god by the Aztecs, that is as an avatar of their supreme god, Quetzalcoatl.

1520-1566AD: Reign of Sulayman the Magnificent; Ottoman empire at its peak.

1519: Maritime history: Mariner Magellan sails from Spain. Mariner J. de Alburquerque sails from Portugal. Mendoca is sent from Lisbon as captain of a 14-ship fleet sailing from Lison to the East.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1519: Herman Cortes begins conquest of the Aztecs of Mexico. He takes their capital in 1521.

1519: Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire, has a population of 200,000.

Bernal Diaz del Castillo, lieut for Cortes, said of Aztec cities, "We were amazed and said that it was like the enchantments they tell of in the legend of Amadis, on account of the great towers and temples and buildings rising from the water, and all built of masonry. And some of our soldiers asked whether the things that we saw were not a dream."
(It is estimated that the indigenous population of Mexico shrinks from 25 million to one million in the first century of Spanish rule.)

1517: Martin Luther nails his 95 revolutionary theses to the door of Wittenberg University Church.

1516: First settlement of Timor, Indonesia, by Portuguese.

1515: More to come

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1514: Hungary: The Peasant Rebellion of 1514 and the Battle of Mohács

1514: The Diet in Hungary is convened in the autumn of 1514 and proceeds to pass a law depriving the serfs of all freedom of movement.

1513: Scottish Battle of Flodden.

1513: Maritime history: The Spaniard Balboa crosses the Isthmus of Panama. (Site roughly of present-day Panama Canal). (The area later remained vital in the views of English promoters of colonisation, since if it could be taken from the Spanish, it would provide an ideal foothold for further English activity in the Caribbean region, and against the Spanish, as happened much later.)

1512: Arrives at Malacca a former apothecary (chemist) of the Portuguese court, sent by Albuquerque (who dies 1515) to examine on the medicinal properties of spices, Tome Pires. (Estensen, Discovery, p. 45) Pires travels to Java and elsewhere in Indonesia and finally wrote Suma Orientale, (forgotten till 1937) a compendium for his King Manuel on economics and geography from Egypt east to Irian Jaya (West New Guinea). He recommended Timor for sandalwood. Pires was later sent as head of Portugal's first mission to China, where he was imprisoned. Absurd legends develop that Sumatra is "an island of gold".
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1512: Maritime history: Abreu and Serrao reach Moluccas (Malacca Straits) of Indonesia. Albuquerque in April 1512 sends to King of Portugal a locally-made pilot's map of Java, Indonesia got by Francisco Rodrigues. Later in 1512 Albuquerque sends Rodrigues under command of Antonio de Abreu with three ships and 120 men exploring further east of Melaka, to pre-empt likely Spanish moves. These Portuguese maybe got as far east as Mindanao in the Philippines. Rodrigues finally produces a book of navigational rules, tables and procedures, 26 charts of coastlines from Europe to China and 69 panoramic drawings depicting the northern Indonesia islands. (See Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land.

1511: Portuguese become first Europeans to set foot on (Indonesian archipelago) Banda Islands, spice islands, They do not return until 1529 when Portuguese trader, Capt. Garcia, lands troops on the Banda Island, principal island named Neira. The islands are so small they are in gunshot of each other, except for Run. There are stories of cannibalism and head-hunters. Previously, spices had reached the west from Venice, and before that, Constantinople, and before that, Arab mariners in the Indian Ocean. Now, the Venetian monopoly on the European spice market is broken.
(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

1511: Maritime history: Albuquerque captures Malacca/Malacca Straits. That is, Melaka in what is now Malaysia.

1510: May: Albuquerque is ejected by Moslems from his fort at Goa, India. He retakes it later in 1510, and then has ambition to take the Straits of Malacca (actions of 1511). As a conqueror he is "soaringly imaginative".
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1510: Invention of the watch in Nuremberg.

1510: Hungary: A contradictory and ominous political figure at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Tamás Bakócz, has been, in the course of his career, royal secretary and Bishop of Gy?r under King Matthias's reign. Under the reign of Matthias's successor, Wladislas II, he was royal chancellor, Archbishop of Esztergom, and later a cardinal. A master of Machiavellian intrigue and a remarkable political strategist, trusted by Venice and mediator between Milanese and Florentine bankers and Buda, he rose in the course of a few decades from the son of a wheelmaking serf to the rank of the richest and most powerful men in the country. In 1510, Bakócz set himself the greatest objective of his life, the attainment of the vacant papal throne. He arrived in Rome at the head of a magnificent delegation, and for months he attempted to dazzle the Eternal City with sumptuous festivities on which he spent enormous sums of money. As far as his ambitions for papal throne was concerned, the conclave elected young Giovanni Medici as the head of the Church.

1509: More to come

1508: Michelangelo begins painting The Sistine Chapel. Completed by 1512.

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1508: Maritime history: Voyages of Pinson and de Solis.

1507 (and 1516): A world map - Carta Marear - A Portuguese Navigational Sea-chart of the Known Earth and Oceans - is drawn by German-born cosmographer Martin Waldeseemuller (c.1470-1518), the first ever to call a continent "America", and the first to chart latitude and longitude "with precision". The map is first owned by Nuremburg astronomer and geographer Johannes Schoner (1477-1547), later thought lost, but is found in 1901 in Castle of Wolfegg in Southern Germany. It remained there in obscurity till 2001, when US Library of Congress bought it from Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg for $10 million. The map clearly shows the west coast of North America from modern Canada (near Vancouver Island) to the equator (Ecuador). This map's depiction of Florida and Caribbean seems to have been influenced by two earlier charts, the Cantino of 1502 (Alberto Cantino is agent of Duke Ercoli d'Este of Ferrara) and the Caviero Map on 1505. These maps also show the Great Bahamas Bank, but the Caviero also shows the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, which is not on the Cantino. Menzies in 1421 thinks all these maps were influenced by an even earlier map - Chinese in origin.
(Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1506: Establishment as a mercenary operation of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican, as they are asked in to help save the Vatican from godless infidels by Pope Julius II.

1505: European Ludovico Varthema sails in the East.

On the Order of Christ in Portugal:
An early master of the Order of Christ was Henry the Navigator (died 1460). Later, the heir of the King of Portugal, John II Capet, The Perfect (died 1495) was his wife's brother, also his cousin, Manuel Duke Beja, who was Master of the Order of Christ at the time. The (otherwise unexplained ) revenues of the Order of Christ at this time funded the Portuguese explorations of Africa. The Portuguese from 1505 via the Order of Christ explored the western coasts of Africa. At the same time, Almeida went to Cochin to invade Moslem trading areas, after earlier Portuguese voyages to the east of 1500.

1505: Portugal after 1492 - when Columbus had discovered the Caribbean - by about 1510 - begins to develop aspirations of breaking the monopoly of Moslem traders on the spice trade to Europe. (The legend exists that by 1536, Portuguese mariners had discovered Botany Bay at what is now, Sydney, Australia - see Kenneth McIntyre, The Secret Discovery of Australia, a discovery which was lost to history.)
(By 1505, geopolitically, an important strategic hot spot was the entrance to the Red Sea - Aden - where Moslem trading ships sailed, human traffic re the pilgrimage to Mecca not unrelated. The entrance to the Red Sea was also important to Moslems, since Indian Moslems sailed from Western Indian ports into the Red Sea and up to ports from where they travelled to Mecca, and returned. So the entrance to the Red Sea was important to Moslems for both religious and commercial reasons.

Meanwhile, as part of the operation of the Spice Trade, Moslem mariners had sailed as far south-east as the Spice Islands, also to the Maldive Islands, or, to the Malacca Straits, from where they could also deal with mariners from China (Canton).)

1505: Portugal: Francisco de Almeida is made viceroy of Portuguese territory in India and sails with fleet of 21 ships to enlarge Portugal's chain of forts on Indian soil. Almeida's son Lourenco leads an expedition to the Maldives and Ceylon/Sri Lanka, a move which brings retaliation from the sultanate of Egypt and other Moslem states. In 1508, Lourenco's ships are trapped by an Egyptian fleet off Chaul on the central Western Indian coast. Lourencos is killed. His father in revenge destroys an Egyptian fleet and its local allies off Diu of Northwestern India. Later Almeida is then (in 1509) replaced in India by Afonso de Albuquerque. Almeida ends killed by South Africans near Table Mountain.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1501-1504: Michelangelo Buonarroti sculpts his statue of David.

1504 India: Kabul invaded, taken for 22 years; Berar has a peaceful succession.

1503: Birth in Provence of prophet Nostradamus (Michel de Notre Dame). He publishes his prophecies in 1555 and 1558. See James Randi's book, The Mask of Nostradamus. 1990.

In the first part of the 1500s Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoheheim, otherwise known as Paracelsus created the famous opiated potion, laudanum. Laudanum has come to be a generic term for a variety of oral opiate preparations. When laudanum is made to Paracelsus' original recipe using orange and lemon juice, one gets a primitive form of heroin. Laudanum-named preparations were a staple medicine used by medical doctors up through the early decades of the twentieth century. Although a tussle between herbalists and medical practitioners continued, the medical establishment embraced laudanum and other opiate preparations for pain relief and their effect of masking the symptoms of disease.

From website The Boodle Boys - by R. A. Kris Millegan 2000. his mailto: roadsend@aol.com

1503-1505: World exploration: Little-known voyage by French mariner inspired by Da Gama's voyage, backed by local merchants and shippers, Jean Binot Paulmier de Gonneville, from Honfleur in Normandy for the East. He got to an unknown tropical land and brought back a son, Essomericq, of the local king, who had a son who remained in France. The facts remain unknown. One possible destination named is Madagascar.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1503 India: First European fortress in India is Turumumpara, for Albuquerque.

1503: Portuguese sailors first reach Table Bay, South Africa, and later use it as a refreshment base.
(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

1503 India: Sikander transfers the capital of Empire from Delhi to Agra; battles of succession in Kandesh.

1502: Portugal: Cartographers produce a fine map of the world (now known as The Canino Map) which becomes prized by the Duke of Ferrara in Italy, who is a map collector and fascinated by the discovery work of the Spanish and Portuguese. The Duke employs Alberto Cantino as an agent to find a copy of this map from Lisbon. The map shows part of the coast of South America, including Brazil which was discovered only in 1500 by Cabral, plus the West Indies islands, known as "The Antilles of the King of Spain", and northwest of them, the Florida peninsula, which was not "discovered" by Spain till 1513 (?).
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1502 Europe-India: Papal Bull views Portugal's king as a "lord of trade" to India, Persia, Bijapur. Da Gama begins his third voyage of trade/discovery.

1501-1524AD: Reign of Ismail, first Safavid Shah of Persia.

1500-1502: World exploration: The Portuguese Corte-Real brothers sail about Labrador and Newfoundland. Did they are even earlier-working Portuguese survey other areas of the eastern North American coast?
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

Circa 1500: India: Nanak founds the Sikh sect to promote Hindu-Moslem reconciliation.

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Now return to the Lost Worlds Index
For more, see a timeline website at: http://mirrorh.com/timeline.html/

Stop Press: For late entries

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Elizabethan "entrepreneur Edward Kelley, associate of mystic John Dee, once made a fortune by selling a 200-page book of strange figures, symbols and "encrypted" writing to Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia. No one could decipher it. It disappeared for hundreds of years till found in Italy by a Russian antiquarian Wilfred Voynich, and so it became known as the Voynich Manuscript. It still defied attempts to decrypt it, till now, when a computer expert had found that the book is entirely - gibberish. Precisely the reason no one has ever been able to decipher what Kelley had sold to an Emperor. (Item, The Observer, before 21 January 2004)

1838: British explorer George Grey in North-Western Australia discovers Aboriginal cave paintings showing clothed human figures, possibly of an Asian origin? (Or, possibly of spirit beings known as Wandjina?)

1572: France: 3000 Protestants are killed in St Bartholomew's Day Massacre in Paris, one of the bloodiest incidents of a series of religious wars.

1305: Sir William Wallace, champion of Scots independence, is captured by English and later executed as a traitor.

1583: Sir Humphrey Gilbert founds first English colony in North America at St John's, Newfoundland.

1279: Kublai Khan grandson of Genghis Kahn conquers and then rules China. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1583 or later: A book published by French Protestant, titled L'ABC des Chrestiens is hidden away behind oak panelling in Hardwick Hall in central England . It is not found till 2003, by a carpenter doing restoration work. It is a French-language catechism, published in London by Thomas Vautroller, 11cm, leather bound, with green silk ties. otherwise unknown to scholarship. The publication date predates the building of Hardwick Hall, built near Chesterfield by “Building Bess” Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury 1590-1597. (Reported 18 October 2003)

165AD-180AD: Antonine Smallpox Plague kills five million people in the Roman Empire, about one quarter of the population. It then spreads to China, where it halves the northern population during the next two centuries.

2000BC: A short history of medicine
I have a headache...
2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D. - That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

24,000 years ago: Earliest date for human occupation of North-Western Arnhemland, Australia, whereas a date for the same in Southern Australia is about 45,000 years ago. The indication may be that a first wave of migration came south from New Guinea down the Australian eastern seaboard.

250AD: One date given for early Chinese trade with South-East Asia (generally).

1150AD: By now, Chinese junks sail for trade possibly as far as Quilon on the Malabar Coast of India.

1049-1053AD: Surviving import statistics indicate that China imports from South East Asia, elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, pearls, aromatics, incense and spices. Similar to 1175AD.

1225AD: Chinese gazeteer writer "Chau Ju-Kua" in his book, Chu-fan-chi refers to Chinese-Arab trade of C12th and C13th, and for example to Timor of Indonesia. The Chinese seem by now to have knowledge of Indonesian islands east of Sulawesi. (Marco Polo in 1292 sailed to the Persian Gulf in a large sea-going junk.)

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