Medeival Timeline

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The Timeline below is organized in 200-year epochs. This is done because accurate dating for many developments is simply lacking. The existence of written or pictorial evidence indicates only that the development was probably created before that time.



The heavy plow already in use in the Slavic lands by 500 AD.

Horse shoes become common.

Estimated urban population in 528 AD.

Silkworms and the accompanying technology appear in Byzantium, though silk itself has been imported for hundreds of years.

The breast strap horse harness appears in Europe.


The heavy plow is in use in Northern Italy (the Po valley) by the 8th century.

The stirrup arrives in Europe from China in the early 8th century.

Estimated urban population in 737 AD.


The heavy plow is in use in the Rhineland in the early 8th century.

The horse collar first appears in Europe.

The use of soap, a Gaulish invention, spreads through Europe.

Iron becomes common in western Europe.

Paper is introduced into the Arab world.


The first description of a rotary grindstoneoccurs in 834.


Estimated population in Europe in 1000 AD

Estimated urban population in 1000 AD.

The whippletree for the tandem hitching of horses to a wagon comes into general use in the 11th century.

1066 - William the Conqueror led the Normans of France to conquer England. They organized their cavalry into "knights". They used the stirrup, and wore chain mail armor. Short bows and current weapons cannot pierce their armor

1095 - Pope Urban II incited Europeans to begin the Crusades. The Turks massacre the initial force of commoners sent in. An organized army attacked Jerusalem and took it in 1099 and established a Latin state that stretches from modern Libya to Turkey to the Black Sea. The warrior knight class really begins. Knights earned land in exchange for battlefield heroics.

1095-1100 - Crusaders learned siege concepts from the Moslems. They begin using these techniques at home.

The use of hops in brewing beer spread between the 10th Century and the 14th.


The horizontal loom appears in Europe in the 11th century, and in mechanized form in the 12th century.

1120 - King Louis VII of Frances established the fleur de lis as the royal emblem of France. Writers begin using common languages instead of Latin

The first artesian well in Europe was dug in Artois (hence the name) in 1126.

Percussion drilling was first used in 1126 by the Carthusian monks.

1130 - The Church banned bows and crossbows as immoral weapons not to be used against Christians. Knights considered the weapons beneath them, but soldiers continued to use them.

1137 - Eleanor of Aquitaine married King Louis VII of France, who gains her lands.  

Tidal mills first appear in Europe.

1146-1148 - The second Crusade to secure the Holy Land - failed.

1152 - Eleanor of Aquitaine, who has divorced King Louis VII, marries King Henry II of England. Her lands go to the English throne

1160 - The lion appears on the English coat of arms. Cretien de Troyes popularizes the King Arthur legend, who is a composite of history, folklore, and literature.

Rat traps are seemingly well-known by the 1170's.

The first usage of glass mirrors is recorded around 1180.

1180 - The 3-lions English Coat of Arms is standardized. Eleanor of Aquitaine sponsors courtly love and literature in her hometown, which contributes to the beginning of chivalry for knights. Troubadours appear in her courts. Traders and craftsmen begin shifting money from the Land-based economy to the monetary focus due to trade with the Far East.

Windmills first recorded in 1185.

1187 - Saladin, the Islamic leader, begins to recapture the Holy Land lost to the Crusaders.

1189 - Richard I (Richard the Lion-Hearted), son of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II becomes King of England. The third Crusade begins.

1192 - The Third Crusade Ends in disaster. Richard I and Saladin negotiate visiting rights for pilgrims to come to the Holy City of Jerusalem.

1193 - Saladin dies, and the Islamic Empire is split by his descendants

1199 - Richard I dies from a crossbow during a minor siege in France. His brother, John, becomes king of England

1202 - 1204 - The Fourth Crusade begins and Crusaders take Constantinople, ending the Byzantine Empire. Crafts and textiles of Europe are traded for luxuries, spices, and gold from the Far East.

1212 - Crusaders push the Moslems out of northern Spain

1215 - King John signs the Magna Carta, outlining the rights of landowning men (nobles and knights) and restricts the king's power.

1217-1221 - The fifth crusade

1228 - 1229 - The Sixth Crusade - Frederick II reclaims Jerusalem by treaty, rather than by force.

1248 - 1254 - The Seventh Crusade is led by Louis IX (Saint Louis) of France

1270 - The Eighth Crusade ends. With little land left to give knights, nobles give work to mercenary soldiers rather than knights, since they will accept money instead of land. Knights take up a more sedentary, aristocratic lifestyle that focuses on tournaments and court life. Knight-errants, become more prevalent - they are the source of much lore and romantic literature.

Spectacles are invented in Italy in 1285.

Arabic numbers start being mentioned in manuscripts around the start of the 13th century.

Cakes of hard soap enter general use.


Paper is first mentioned in Europe in the early part of the 12th century.

Knowledge of magnets and magnetism available in Western Europe by 1140.

The compass is in use in Western Europe by the middle of the 12th century.

Estimated urban population in 1212 AD.

First illustration of a wheelbarrow in the first third of the 13th century.


Estimated population in Europe in 1300 AD

1300 - Gunpowder becomes widely used in siege machines. Castle walls become thicker

Though in use in China prior to 100 AD and in Islamic lands since the eighth century, paper usage finally spreads to western Europe in the 13th century.

Cannon first used in Europe in the first third of the 14th century.

1337 - King Edward III of England invades France, triggering the Hundred Years' War

1346 - At the Battle of Crecy, the English defeat the French. The English use longbows to pierce the French Armor at long range. Knights begin to wear plates over their chain mail to defend themselves from bows. By the end of the century, the plates over the whole bodies, but many suits are designed for tournaments, not battles.

Estimated urban population in 1346 AD.


First blast furnaces built in Sweden.


1346 - 1351 - The black death sweeps over Europe, killing roughly a third of the population.

1415 - Henry V recaptures much of France for England at the battle of Agincourt

1429 - Commoner Joan of Arc defeats the English who are sieging the city of Orleans. She is burned at the stake in 1431.

1453 - The Ottomans take Constantinople, cutting off trade routs to the Far East, causing the Portuguese and Spanish to search for new trade routes.

Estimated urban population in 1483 AD.

1492 - Christopher Columbus sets sail to find a new trade route to the East. Armor is obsolete in the face of gunpowder weapons and new military tactics. Knighthood is more decorative than martial.  

Estimated population in Europe in 1500 AD

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