The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 8 - The Later Renaissance: From Gutenberg To The Reformation
by Editor-in-Chief: Rossiter Johnson
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Quintana, whose account follows, is the favorite historian of this expedition. His Lives of Celebrated Spaniards is regarded as one of the classics of Spanish prose literature.

Ponca, not daring to await the coming of the allies, took refuge in the mountains, abandoning his land to the ravage and ruin prepared for it by the Indians and Spaniards. Balboa, however, did not pursue his success further at present; leaving to the future the conquest, or, as he termed it, the "pacification" of the interior, he returned to the coast, where it was more for the advantage, security, and subsistence of the colony to have his friends or his vassals stationed.

Careta had for a neighbor a cacique called by some Comogre, by others Panquiaco, chief of about ten thousand Indians, among whom were three thousand warriors. Having heard of the valor and enterprise of the Castilians, this chief desired to enter into treaty and friendship with them; and a principal Indian, a dependent of Careta, having presented himself as the agent in this friendly overture, Vasco Nunez, anxious to profit by the opportunity of securing such an ally, went with his followers to visit Comogre. No sooner was the cacique apprised of this visit than he sailed forth at the head of his principal vassals, and his seven sons, all still youths and the offspring of different wives, to receive the Spaniards. Great was the courtesy and kindness with which he treated his guests, who were lodged in different houses in the town, and provided with victuals in abundance, and with men and women to serve them. What chiefly attracted their attention was the habitation of Comogre, which, according to the memorials of the time, was an edifice of a hundred and fifty paces in length and fourscore in breadth, built on thick posts, surrounded by a lofty stone wall, and on the roof an attic story, of beautifully and skilfully interwoven wood. It was divided into several compartments, and contained its markets, its shops, and its pantheon for the dead; for it was in the corpses of the cacique's ancestors that the Spaniards first beheld these ghastly remains, dried and arranged as above described.

The honors of the hospitality were confided to the eldest son of Comogre, a youth of more sagacity and intelligence than his brothers; he one day presented to Vasco Nunez and to Colmenares, whom, from their manner and appearance, he recognized as chiefs of the party, sixty slaves, and four thousand pieces of gold of different weight. They immediately melted the gold, and, having separated a fifth for the King, began to divide it among themselves; this division begat a dispute that gave occasion to threats and violence, which being observed by the Indian, he suddenly overthrew the scales in which they were weighing the precious metal, exclaiming: "Why quarrel for such a trifle? If such is your thirst for gold that for its sake you forsake your own country and come to trouble those of strangers, I will show you a province where you may gather by the handful the object of your desire; but to succeed, you ought to be more numerous than you are, as you will have to contend with powerful kings, who will vigorously defend their dominions. You will first find a cacique who is very rich in gold, who resides at the distance of six suns from hence; soon you will behold the sea, which lies to that part," and he pointed toward the south; "there you will meet with people who navigate in barks with sails and oars, not much less than your own, and who are so rich that they eat and drink from vessels made of the metal which ye so much covet."

These celebrated words, preserved in all the records of the times, and repeated by all historians, were the first indications the Spaniards had of Peru. They were much excited on hearing them, and endeavored to extract from the youth further information of the country he had mentioned; he insisted on the necessity of having at least a thousand men, to give them a chance of success in its subjugation, offered to serve them himself as their guide, to aid them with his father's men, and to put his life in pledge for the veracity of his words.

Balboa was transported by the prospect of glory and fortune which opened before him; he believed himself already at the gates of the East Indies, which was the desired object of the government and the discoverers of that period; he resolved to return in the first place to the Darien to raise the spirits of his companions with these brilliant hopes, and to make all possible preparations for realizing them. He remained, nevertheless, yet a few days with the caciques; and so strict was the friendship he had contracted with them that they and their families were baptized, Careta taking in baptism the name of Fernando, and Comogre that of Carlos. Balboa then returned to the Darien, rich in the spoils of Ponca, rich in the presents of his friends, and still richer in the golden hopes which the future offered him.

At this time, and after an absence of six months, arrived the magistrate Valdivia, with a vessel laden with different stores; he brought likewise great promises of abundant aid in provisions and men. The succors, however, which Valdivia brought were speedily consumed; their seed, destroyed in the ground by storms and floods, promised them no resource whatever; and they returned to their usual necessitous state. Balboa then consented to their extending their incursions to more distant lands, as they had already wasted and ruined the immediate environs of Antigua, and he sent Valdivia to Spain to apprise the admiral of the clew he had gained to the South Sea, and the reported wealth of those regions. Valdivia took with him fifteen thousand pieces of gold, which belonged to the King as his fifth, and a charge to petition for the thousand men which were necessary to the expedition, and to prevent the adventurers being compelled to exterminate the tribes and caciques of the Indians, for otherwise, being so few in number, they would be driven, to avoid their own destruction, to the slaughter of all who would not submit themselves. This commission, however, together with the rich presents in gold sent by the chiefs of the Darien to their friends, and Valdivia, with all his crew, were no doubt swallowed by the sea, as no trace of them was ever afterward discovered.

To the departure of Valdivia succeeded immediately the expedition to the gulf and the examination of the lands situated at its inner extremity. There lay the dominions of Dabaibe, of whose riches prodigious reports were spread, especially of an idol and a temple represented to be made entirely of gold. There Cemaco, and the Indians who followed him, had taken refuge, and had never lost either the wish or the hope of driving away the invading horde who had usurped their country.

Balboa marched against them by land with sixty men, and Colmenares went by water with as many more to take the enemy by surprise. The former did not find Cemaco; but Colmenares was more fortunate, for he surprised the savages in Tichiri. He commanded the general to be shot with arrows in his presence, and sentenced the lords to be hanged. And so terrified were the Indians by this example that they never durst in future elevate their thoughts to independence.

It was now deliberated to send new deputies to Spain to acquaint the King with the state of the colony, and on the road to touch at Espanola to entreat for necessary aid in case Valdivia might have perished on the voyage, which event had no doubt taken place. It is said that Balboa required this commission for himself, either ambitious of gaining favor at court or apprehensive that the colony at Darien might inflict upon him punishment due to usurpation; but his companions would not consent to his quitting them, alleging that, in losing him, they should feel deserted and without a guide or governor; he only was respected, and followed willingly by the soldiers; and he only was feared by the Indians. They suspected that, if they permitted of his departure, he would never return to share those labors and troubles which were from time to time accumulating upon them, as had already happened with others. They elected Juan de Caicedo, the inspector, who had belonged to the armament of Nicuesa, and Rodrigo Enriquez de Colmenares, both men of weight and expert in negotiation and held in general esteem. They believed that these would execute their charge satisfactorily, and that both would return, because Caicedo would leave his wife behind him; and Colmenares had realized much property, and a farm in the Darien, pledges of confidence in and adhesion to the country. It being thus impossible for Balboa to proceed to Spain, in protection of his own interests he manoeuvred for gaining at least the good graces of the treasurer, Pasamonte; and probably it was on this occasion that he sent him the rich present of slaves, pieces of gold, and other valuable articles, of which the licentiate Zuazo speaks in his letter to the Senor de Chieves. At the same time the new procurators took with them the fifth which belonged to the King, together with a donative made him by the colony; and, happier than their predecessors, they left the Darien in the end of October, and reached Spain the end of May in the year following.

Soon after this departure, a slight disturbance happened, which, though at first it threatened to destroy the authority of Vasco Nunez, served in fact to strengthen it. Under pretence that Bartolome Hurtado abused the particular favor of the Governor, Alonzo Perez de la Rua, and other unquiet spirits, raised a seditious tumult; their object was to seize ten thousand pieces which yet remained entire, and divide them at their pleasure. After some contests, in which there were many arrests and a great display of animosity, the malcontents plotted to surprise Vasco Nunez and throw him into prison. He knew it, and quitted the town as if going to the chase, foreseeing that, when these turbulent men had obtained possession of the authority and the gold, they would so abuse the one and the other that all the rational part of the community would be in haste to recall him. And thus it was; masters of the treasure, Rua and his friends showed so little decency in the partition that the principal colonists, ashamed and disgusted, perceiving the immense distance that existed between Vasco Nunez and these people, seized the heads of the sedition, secured them, and called back Balboa, whose authority and government they were anxious again to recognize.

In the interim, two vessels, laden with provisions and carrying two hundred men, one hundred fifty of whom were soldiers commanded by Cristoval Serrano, arrived from Santo Domingo. They were all sent by the admiral, and Balboa received from the treasurer Pasamonte the title of governor of that land; that functionary conceiving himself authorized to confer such a power, and having become as favorable as he had formerly been the reverse. Exulting in his title and his opportune success, and secure of the obedience of his people, Vasco Nunez liberated his prisoners, and resolved to sally forth into the environs and to occupy his men in expeditions and discoveries; but, while engaged in making his preparations, he received, to embitter his satisfaction, a letter from his friend Zamudio, informing him of the indignation which the charges of Encisco, and the first information of the treasurer, had kindled against him at court. Instead of his services being appreciated, he was accused as a usurper and intruder; he was made responsible for the injuries and prejudices of which his accuser loudly complained; and the founder and pacificator of the Darien was to be prosecuted for the criminal charges brought against him.

This alloy, however, instead of subduing his spirit, animated him to new daring and impelled him to higher enterprises. Should he permit another to profit by his toils, to discover the South Sea, and to ravish from him the wealth and glory which were almost within his grasp? He did, indeed, still want the thousand men who were necessary to the projected expedition, but his enterprise, his experience, and his constancy impelled him to undertake it even without them. He would, by so signal a service, blot out the crime of his primary usurpation, and, if death should overtake him in the midst of his exertions, he should die laboring for the prosperity and glory of his country, and free from the persecution which threatened him. Full of these thoughts and resolved on following them, he discoursed with and animated his companions, selected one hundred ninety of the best armed and disposed, and, with a thousand Indians of labor, a few bloodhounds, and sufficient provisions, he set sail in a brigantine with ten canoes.

He ascended first to the port and territory of Careta, where he was received with demonstrations of regard and welcome suitable to his relations with that cacique, and, leaving his squadron there, took his way by the sierras toward the dominion of Ponca. That chief had fled, as at the first time, but Vasco Nunez, who had adopted the policy most convenient to him, desired to bring him to an amicable agreement, and, to that end, despatched after him some Indians of peace, who advised him to return to his capital and to fear nothing from the Spaniards. He was persuaded, and met with a kind reception; he presented some gold, and received in return some glass beads and other toys and trifles. The Spanish captains then solicited guides and men of labor for his journey over the sierras, which the cacique bestowed willingly, adding provisions in great abundance, and they parted friends.

His passage into the domain of Quarequa was less pacific; whose chief, Torecha, jealous of this invasion and terrified by the events which had occurred to his neighbors, was disposed and prepared to receive the Castilians with a warlike aspect. A swarm of ferocious Indians, armed in their usual manner, rushed into the road and began a wordy attack upon the strangers, asking them what brought them there, what they sought for, and threatening him with perdition if they advanced. The Spaniards, reckless of their bravadoes, proceeded, nevertheless, and then the chief placed himself in front of his tribe, dressed in a cotton mantle and followed by the principal lords, and, with more intrepidity than fortune, gave the signal for combat. The Indians commenced the assault with loud cries and great impetuosity, but, soon terrified by the explosions of the crossbows and muskets, they were easily destroyed or put to flight by the men and bloodhounds who rushed upon them. The chief and six hundred men were left dead on the spot, and the Spaniards, having smoothed away that obstacle, entered the town, which they spoiled of all the gold and valuables it possessed. Here also they found a brother of the cacique and other Indians, who were dedicated to the abominations before glanced at; fifty of these wretches were torn to pieces by the dogs, and not without the consent and approbation of the Indians. The district was, by these examples, rendered so pacific and so submissive that Balboa left all his sick there, dismissed the guides given him by Ponca, and, taking fresh ones, pursued his road over the heights.

The tongue of land which divides the two Americas is not, at its utmost width, above eighteen leagues, and in some parts becomes narrowed a little more than seven. And, although from the port of Careta to the point toward which the course of the Spaniards was directed was only altogether six days' journey, yet they consumed upon it twenty; nor is this extraordinary. The great cordillera of sierras which from north to south crosses the new continent, a bulwark against the impetuous assaults of the Pacific Ocean, crosses also the Isthmus of Darien, or, as may be more properly said, composes it wholly, from the wrecks of the rocky summits which have been detached from the adjacent lands; and the discoverers, therefore, were obliged to open their way through difficulties and dangers, which men of iron alone could have fronted and overcome. Sometimes they had to penetrate through thick entangled woods, sometimes to cross lakes, where men and burdens perished miserably; then a rugged hill presented itself before them; and next, perhaps, a deep and yawning precipice to descend; while, at every step, they were opposed by deep and rapid rivers, passable only by means of frail barks, or slight and trembling bridges; from time to time they had to make their way through opposing Indians, who, though always conquered, were always to be dreaded; and, above all, came the failure of provisions—which formed an aggregate, with toil, anxiety, and danger, such as was sufficient to break down bodily strength and depress the mind.

At length the Quarequanos, who served as guides, showed them, at a distance, the height from whose summit the desired sea might be discovered. Balboa immediately commanded his squadron to halt, and proceeded alone to the top of the mountain; on reaching it he cast an anxious glance southward, and the Austral Ocean broke upon his sight[1].

Overcome with joy and wonder, he fell on his knees, extending his arms toward the sea, and with tears of delight offered thanks to heaven for having destined him to this mighty discovery. He immediately made a sign to his companions to ascend, and, pointing to the magnificent spectacle extended before them, again prostrated himself in fervent thanksgiving to God. The rest followed his example, while the astonished Indians were extremely puzzled to understand so sudden and general an effusion of wonder and gladness. Hannibal on the summit of the Alps, pointing out to his soldiers the delicious plains of Italy, did not appear, according to the ingenious comparison of a contemporary writer, either more transported or more arrogant than the Spanish chief when, risen from the ground, he recovered the speech of which sudden joy had deprived him, and thus addressed his Castilians: "You behold before you, friends, the object of all our desires and the reward of all our labors. Before you roll the waves of the sea which has been announced to you, and which no doubt encloses the immense riches we have heard of. You are the first who have reached these shores and these waves; yours are their treasures, yours alone the glory of reducing these immense and unknown regions to the dominion of our King and to the light of the true religion. Follow me, then, faithful as hitherto, and I promise you that the world shall not hold your equals in wealth and glory."

All embraced him joyfully and all promised to follow whithersoever he should lead. They quickly cut down a great tree, and, stripping it of its branches, formed a cross from it, which they fixed in a heap of stones found on the spot from whence they first descried the sea. The names of the monarchs of Castile were engraven on the trunks of the trees, and with shouts and acclamations they descended the sierra and entered the plain.

They arrived at some bohios, which formed the population of a chief, called Chiapes, who had prepared to defend the pass with arms. The noise of the muskets and the ferocity of the war-dogs dispersed them in a moment, and they fled, leaving many captives; by these and by their Quarequano guides, the Spaniards sent to offer Chiapes secure peace and friendship if he would come to them, or otherwise the ruin and extermination of his town and his fields. Persuaded by them, the cacique came and placed himself in the hands of Balboa, who treated him with much kindness. He brought and distributed gold and received in exchange beads and toys, with which he was so diverted that he no longer thought of anything but contenting and conciliating the strangers. There Vasco Nunez sent away the Quarequanos, and ordered that the sick, who had been left in their land, should come and join him. In the mean while he sent Francisco Pizarro, Juan de Ezcarag, and Alonzo Martin to reconnoitre the environs and to discover the shortest roads by which the sea might be reached. It was the last of these who arrived first at the coast, and, entering a canoe which chanced to lie there, and pushing it into the waves, let it float a little while, and, after pleasing himself with having been the first Spaniard who entered the South Sea, returned to seek Balboa.

Balboa with twenty-six men descended to the sea, and arrived at the coast early in the evening of the 29th of that month; they all seated themselves on the shore and awaited the tide, which was at that time on the ebb. At length it returned in its violence to cover the spot where they were; then Balboa, in complete armor, lifting his sword in one hand, and in the other a banner on which was painted an image of the Virgin Mary with the arms of Castile at her feet, raised it, and began to march into the midst of the waves, which reached above his knees, saying in a loud voice: "Long live the high and mighty sovereigns of Castile! Thus in their names do I take possession of these seas and regions; and if any other prince, whether Christian or infidel, pretends any right to them, I am ready and resolved to oppose him, and to assert the just claims of my sovereigns."

The whole band replied with acclamations to the vow of their captain, and expressed themselves determined to defend, even to death, their acquisition against all the potentates in the world; they caused this act to be confirmed in writing, by the notary of the expedition, Andres de Valderrabano; the anchorage in which it was solemnized was called the Gulf of San Miguel, the event happening on that day.

[Footnote 1: Balboa had his first view of the Pacific from this "peak in Darien" September 25th.]



A.D. 1438-1516

JOHN RUDD, LL.D. A.D. 1438-1516

Events treated at length are here indicated in large type; the numerals following give volume and page.

Separate chronologies of the various nations, and of the careers of famous persons, will be found in the INDEX VOLUME, with volume and page references showing where the several events are fully treated.


1438. Gutenberg commences printing with movable type[1]. See "ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF PRINTING," viii, i.

All Europe ravaged by the plague; it is aggravated in England and France by a direful famine.

1439. Death of Albert II; Ladislaus III, King of Poland, ascends the Hungarian throne.

Pope Eugenius removes his council from Ferrara to Florence; here is signed a treaty for the ostensible union of the Latin and Greek churches.

A standing army voted by the States-General of France.

1440. Frederick III elected Emperor of Germany.


1441. Hadji Kerai separates from the Golden Horde; he establishes the independent khanate of Crim Tartary, or the Crimea.

1442. Alfonso V of Aragon takes the city of Naples; the whole kingdom submits to him; his rival, Rene of Anjou, returns to Provence.

First modern importation of negro slaves into Europe. See "DISCOVERY OF THE CANARY ISLANDS AND THE AFRICAN COAST," viii, 276.

1443. Rising of the Albanians, under Scanderbeg, against the Turks.

1444. Battle of Varna; defeat of the Hungarians by the Turks and death of Ladislaus III, King of Poland and Hungary. John Hunyady assumes the government in Hungary during the minority of Ladislaus Posthumus.

On the request of Frederick IV of Germany the Dauphin employs a part of the French army against Switzerland; battle of St. Jacob's; for ten hours 1,600 Swiss resist 30,000 veterans; the Swiss perish; 10,000 of the victors are slain.

1445. Corinth destroyed by the Turks.

1447. Election of Pope Nicholas V, founder of the Vatican Library. See "REBUILDING OF ROME," viii, 46.

Grammar-schools founded in London, England.

1448. Amurath II, or Murad, defeats Hunyady at Cassova.

1449. War between France and England renewed; Normandy conquered by the French; Rouen is surrendered.

1450. Rebellion of Jack Cade in England. He was slain and his head stuck on London bridge.

Milan surrenders to Francesco Sforza (Stormer, i. e., of cities), the natural son of a peasant who became a great condottiere. He is proclaimed duke.

1451. Guienne conquered by the French from the English. Ghent revolts against Philip, Duke of Burgundy.

1453. End of the Eastern empire. See "MAHOMET II TAKES CONSTANTINOPLE," viii, 55.

Submission of Ghent to the Duke of Burgundy after its forces had been defeated at Gaveren.

Battle of Castillon; defeat of the English; loss of all the English conquests in France, except Calais; end of the Hundred Years' War.

Emperor Frederick III creates Austria a duchy.

1454. Mental aberration of Henry VI of England; the Duke of York protector.

Publication of the first-known printing with movable type. See "ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF PRINTING," viii, i.

Venice by a treaty with Turkey secures trade privileges in Greece.

1455. Beginning of the contest for the crown of England. See "WARS OF THE ROSES," viii, 72.

1456. Battle of Belgrade; victory of Hunyady over the Turks. Athens conquered by the Turks.

1457. Church of the Unitas Fratrum organized in Bohemia. Francis Foscaro, being deposed as doge of Venice after a reign of thirty-four years, dies of grief on hearing the bells rung to celebrate the election of his successor.

At Mainz is published the Book of Psalms, the earliest work printed with its date.

1458. Pope Pius II acknowledges Ferdinand I as King of Naples, strives to restore peace, and unite all powers in resistance to the Turkish aggressions.

Genoa submits to the King of France, Charles VII.

Election of Matthias, son of Hunyady, as King of Hungary.

George Podibrad, leader of the church-reform party, chosen King of Bohemia. 1459. Silesia submits to Podibrad, King of Bohemia.

1460. James II of Scotland takes up arms against the English; he is killed, by the bursting of a cannon, at the siege of Roxburgh castle; his son, James III, succeeds.

Christian I of Denmark inherits Schleswig and Holstein.

Discovery of the Cape Verd Islands by the Portuguese; they penetrate to the coast of Guinea.

1461. Death of Charles VII of France; his son, Louis XI, involves himself in a contest with his leading nobles.

Prince Henry of Portugal, just prior to his death, sends Peter Covilham and Alfonso Paiva, overland, to explore India.

Trebizond, the last Greek capital, surrenders to the Ottoman Turks.

1462. Accession of Ivan III, Grand Prince of Moscow. See "IVAN THE GREAT UNITES RUSSIA AND BREAKS THE TARTAR YOKE," viii, 109.

1463. War between Venetians and Turks in Greece.

Conference between the kings of France and Castile; the artful policy of Louis XI prolongs discord in Spain.

1464. Queen Margaret invades England; her adherents are defeated at Hexham. See "WARS OF THE ROSES," viii, 72.

Pope Pius II attempts the organization of a crusade against the Turks; he dies at Ancona; Paul II elected.

Sforza, Duke of Milan, makes himself master of Milan.

1465. Henry VI of England is imprisoned in the Tower of London.

War between the League of the Public Good and Louis XI of France; treaty of Conflans; the King makes many promises, few of which he performs.

King Matthias invites learned men from Italy to Hungary; he founds the University and Library of Budapest.

Athens captured and pillaged by the Venetians, under Victor Capello.

1466. Worn out by constant warfare the Teutonic Knights, by the treaty of Thorn, cede West Prussia to Casimir IV of Poland; they retain East Prussia as a fief of Poland.

1467. Charles the Bold succeeds to the Duchy of Burgundy.

A crusade against George Podibrad, King of Bohemia, proclaimed by Pope Paul II.

1468. Visit of Louis XI to Charles the Bold at Peronne. See "CULMINATION OF THE POWER OF BURGUNDY," viii, 125.

Founding of the Library of Venice.

Ivan III repels an invasion of the Golden Horde and prepares the independence of Russia.

1469. Marriage of Princess Isabella of Castile to Ferdinand of Aragon.

Beginning of the reign of Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence. See "LORENZO DE' MEDICI RULES IN FLORENCE," viii, 134.

About this time Peter Covilham (see 1461), his companion having died in India, penetrates into Abyssinia and is there detained. 1470. Restoration of Henry VI, by Earl Warwick, to the throne of England.

Siege and capture of Negropont (Euboea) by the Turks; massacre of the inhabitants.

Pomponius Laetus collects a society to study the antiquities of Rome; he is imprisoned and persecuted for his unguarded enthusiasm.

1471. Edward IV reenters England; defeat of the Lancastrians at Barnet; Warwick—the King Maker—slain. See "WARS OF THE ROSES," viii, 72.

Translation by Caxton of Recueil des Histoires des Troyes. See "ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF PRINTING" (also plate), viii, 24.

1472. Normandy ravaged by Charles the Bold.

Philippe de Comines, the chronicler, enters into the service of Louis XI.

1473. Resumption of the commotions in France; the Count of Armagnac assassinated; the Duke of Alencon arrested.

1474. Ferdinand and Isabella commence their joint reign in Castile. Caxton publishes his first book, The Game and Playe of the Chesse.

1475. Emperor Frederick IV refuses to give Charles, Duke of Burgundy, the title of king; war ensues; Charles conquers Lorraine.

1476. Switzerland unsuccessfully invaded by the Duke of Burgundy. Assassination of Sforza, Duke of Milan; his son Gian Galeazzo Maria succeeds, under the regency of his mother, Bona.

Sten Sture, Protector of Sweden, founds the University of Upsal; he checks the nobility and priesthood by summoning deputies of the towns and peasantry to attend the national Diet.

1477. Maximilian, son of Emperor Frederick III, marries Mary of Burgundy.

Italy invaded by the Turks; they advance to within sight of Venice.

Publication of the first book printed in England, Caxton's Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophers.

Rene of Lorraine and his Swiss mercenaries overwhelm Charles the Bold at Nancy; he is slain.

Burgundy is seized by Louis XI. See "DEATH OF CHARLES THE BOLD," viii, 155.

Grant of the Great Privilege of Holland and Zealand, by Mary, Duchess of Burgundy. The Groot Privilegie was a recapitulation and recognition of ancient rights. Although afterward violated, and indeed abolished, it became the foundation of the republic.

1478. Condemnation and death of the Duke of Clarence. He is said to have chosen to die by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey, a wine of which he had been inordinately fond.

Conspiracy of the Pazzi, a powerful family of Florence, against the Medici; most of the conspirators massacred by the people; the others judicially punished.

Sultan Mahomet II, of the Ottoman Empire, completes the subjugation of Albania.

Novgorod taken by Ivan III, of Russia, who puts an end to its republic.

1479. Battle of Guinegate; Maximilian defeats the French. Ferdinand the Catholic succeeds to the throne in Aragon; union of Castile and Aragon.

1480. Founding of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Spain, by Cardinal Mendozas. See "INQUISITION ESTABLISHED IN SPAIN," viii, 166.

1481. Maine and Provence united to France.

Battle of Bielawesch; the Nogay Tartars crush the Golden Horde and secure the independence of Russia.

1482. Death of Mary of Burgundy; her infant son, Philip, succeeds to the sovereignty of the Netherlands.

Ferdinand and Isabella begin a war for the conquest of Granada.

1483. Usurpation of Richard III; murder of the princes. See "MURDER OF THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER," viii, 192.

Death of Louis XI; Charles VII, his son, succeeds to the French throne.

Renewal of the Union of Kalmar; Sweden and Norway acknowledge John I, but Sweden retains Sten Stur as Protector.

Birth of Rabelais and Luther.

1485. Landing of the Earl of Richmond in England; Battle of Bosworth; Richard III is slain; end of the Wars of the Roses and of the Plantagenet dynasty; Henry VII (Richmond) inaugurates the Tudor dynasty. See "WARS OF THE ROSES," viii, 72.

Matthias of Hungary captures Vienna; Emperor Frederick III expelled from his hereditary dominions.

1486. Excited to revolt by the severities of the Inquisition, the Aragonese put to death the chief inquisitor, Pedro Arbues.

Unconscious doubling of the southern extremity of Africa by Bartholomew Diaz; he gives it the name of Cabo Tormentoso (Cape Stormy), afterward called the Cape of Good Hope. See "THE SEA ROUTE TO INDIA," viii, 299.

1488. Battle of Sauchie Burn; James III of Scotland defeated and slain by his rebellious nobles.

Citizens of Bruges capture and imprison, for four months, Maximilian, King of the Romans.

1489. Bartholomew, brother of Christopher Columbus, tries to arouse maritime enterprise in England.

1490. Ferdinand and Isabella conquer Granada. See "CONQUEST OF GRANADA," viii, 202.

Death of Matthias Corvinus; Ladislaus II, King of Bohemia, is elected king of the Hungarians.

1491. Charles VIII of France sends back to her father his affianced bride, Margaret; compels Anne of Brittany to break her engagement to Maximilian and marries her himself, thus uniting Brittany and France.

1492. Imposture of Perkin Warbeck in England. See "CONSPIRACY, REBELLION, AND EXECUTION OF PERKIN WARBECK," viii, 250. Expulsion of Jews from the Spanish dominions; this great exodus, hundreds of thousands in all, of a commercial hard-working race caused enormous injury to the land so depopulated.

Columbus discovers the Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti. See "COLUMBUS DISCOVERS AMERICA," viii, 224.

1493. Death of Emperor Frederick IV; his son, Maximilian succeeds, the first to take the title Emperor of Germany without being crowned at Rome.

Leaving a garrison in Espanola, Columbus returns to Spain. He starts on his second voyage; discovers Porto Rico.

A papal bull grants to Spain the new world discovered by Columbus, and defines the rights of Spain and Portugal.

1494. A treaty, that of Tordesillas, partitions the ocean between Spain and Portugal.

Formation of the Christian Commonwealth at Florence. See "SAVONAROLA'S REFORMS AND DEATH," viii, 265.

Sir Edward Poynings, Governor of Ireland, induces the parliament of that country to pass the act bearing his name, which gives full power to all the laws of England.

1495. Conquest of Naples by Charles VIII of France; he retreats to France. Ferdinand II is restored to the throne of Naples.

Maximilian establishes the Imperial Chamber.

Extinction of the right of private warfare in Germany.

1496. Encouraged by the success of Columbus, Henry VII of England sends out John Cabot and his son, Sebastian, on a voyage of discovery.

Emanuel of Portugal fits out an expedition under Vasco da Gama to explore the eastern seas.


Sten Sture offends the Swedish nobility, is defeated and stripped of his protectorate by John II, who enforces the Union of Kalmar; he is crowned at Stockholm.

Pinzon and Vespucci discover Central America.

1498. Vasco da Gama rounds the Cape of Good Hope and reaches India. See "THE SEA ROUTE TO INDIA," viii, 299.

Columbus makes his third voyage across the Western Ocean; he discovers South America; is arrested and returned to Spain in irons. See "COLUMBUS DISCOVERS SOUTH AMERICA," viii, 323.

Arrest and execution of Savonarola at Florence. See "SAVONAROLA'S REFORMS AND DEATH," viii, 265.

1499. Conquest of the duchy of Milan by the French. Unsuccessful war of Maximilian against the Swiss. See "ESTABLISHMENT OF Swiss INDEPENDENCE," viii, 336.

Venezuela reached by Ojeda and Vespucci. See "AMERIGO VESPUCCI IN AMERICA," viii, 346.

In Persia the Shiah sect of Mahometans gain the ascendency which they have since retained. 1500. Voyage to and exploration of Labrador and Newfoundland by Caspar Cortereal, a Portuguese navigator.

Brazil discovered by Pedro Alvarez Cabral, or Cabera; he takes possession of the country for the King of Portugal.

1501. Emperor Maximilian creates the Aulic Council, a court of appeal on decisions by other German courts.

Joint conquest and partition of Naples by Ferdinand of Aragon and Louis XII of France.

Sten Sture regains ascendency in Sweden.

Caesar Borgia makes himself master of Pesaro, Rimini, and Faenza; he is guilty of numerous atrocities.

1502. Columbus on his fourth and last voyage reaches the isthmus of Panama.

Caesar Borgia fails in his evil course. See "RISE AND FALL OF THE BORGIAS," viii, 360.

Montezuma elected to the military leadership of the Aztecs.

In Naples the French and Spanish quarrel and commence hostilities.

1503. Marriage of James IV of Scotland with Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England; this brought the Stuarts to the throne of England.

Battle of Cerignola and Garigliano; the Spaniards defeat the French and become masters of Naples.

Death of Sten Sture; the Swedish people support Svante Sture in opposition to the crown, the nobility, and priesthood.

1504. Death of Isabella, Queen of Spain; the throne of Castile passes to her daughter, Joanna, and the latter's husband, Philip.

Jealous of the new Indian trade of the Portuguese, the Venetians incite the mamelukes of Egypt and the sovereign of Calicut to begin hostilities against them.

Citizens of Naples resist by violence the introduction of the Inquisition.

Suppression of the Lordship of the Isles by James IV of Scotland.

1505. Death of Ivan the Great; he is succeeded on the Russian throne by his son, Basil (Vasili IV).

1506. Expulsion by the Genoese of their nobles and the French.

Madagascar discovered by the Portuguese.

Building of the Great Harry, the first ship of the royal navy of England.

Beginning of the erection of St. Peter's, at Rome, by Bramante d'Urbino; Pope Julius II lays the first stone.

1507. Louis XII goes to crush the revolt in Genoa; he succeeds.

1508. Michelangelo begins the decoration of the Sistine chapel. See "PAINTING OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL," viii, 369.

1509. Death of Henry VII; his son, Henry VIII, succeeds to the English throne; he marries Catherine of Aragon.

Campaign of Cardinal Ximenes in Africa; Oran taken by the Spaniards.

Diego Columbus, son of the discoverer, made governor of Spanish America, which is first settled this year.

Subjugation of Porto Rico by Ponce de Leon; he later becomes governor of that island.

1510. Occupation of Goa by the Portuguese under Albuquerque, Governor of the Indies.

1511. Subjugation of Cuba by the Spaniards under Velasquez.

Malacca taken by the Portuguese; it becomes the centre of their trade in the East.

1512. War declared against France by Henry VIII of England.

Battle of Ravenna; victory of the French; their general, Gaston de Foix, falls on the field; the revolted cities of Italy submit. Lombardy evacuated by the French; restoration of the Sforza dynasty, and of the Medici in Florence.

1513. From the Isthmus of Panama Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean. See "BALBOA DISCOVERS THE PACIFIC," viii, 381.

Invasion of France by Henry VIII; defeat of the French at Guinegate, "Battle of the Spurs"; Terouanne and Tournai taken by the English.

Battle of Flodden Field; the Scots, under James IV, having invaded England, are overwhelmed and their king slain.

Expulsion of the French from Italy.

Juan Ponce de Leon lands in Florida, in his search for the "Fountain of Eternal Youth."

1514. Peace concluded with France and Scotland by Henry VIII of England.

Smolensko renounces its subjection to Poland and becomes part of Russia.

Ambassadors from Portugal present to Pope Leo X an elephant, a panther, with other animals and products of their new territories in the East.

1515. Wolsey created cardinal, papal legate, and lord chancellor.

Invasion of Italy by Francis I, who this year succeeded Louis XII as King of France; he recovers Genoa and Milan.

1516. Death of Ferdinand the Catholic; Charles, his eldest grandson, succeeds to the throne of Spain.

Publication of the Greek Testament, with a Latin translation, by Erasmus.

Conclusion of the treaty of "Perpetual Peace" between France and Switzerland.

Rise of the piratical power of the Barbarossas in Algiers.

[Footnote:1 Date uncertain.]


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