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Peter the Great Defeats the Swedes 1709

In 1700, Peter the Great and his allies declared war against the King Charles XII of the Swedish Empire. Although young and inexperienced, Charles was able to successfully lead the Swedish resistance and attacks during the beginning of the war. Peter, however, gained the upper hand as the Great Northern War progressed. In 1709, Peter finally scored a brilliant victory against the Swedes when the Russian army was able to defeat them at the Battle of Poltava.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during that time.

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The Young Tsar

Unlike his brothers, Tsar Peter was healthy and towered above everyone else at a height of 6’8”. He witnessed the Moscow Uprising of 1682 first hand and often suffered from seizures after this event. These experiences, however, did not stop him from living to the fullest.

The curious and intelligent Tsar was taught by the best tutors, including Count Nikita Zotov and the Scottish refugee-turned-mercenary Patrick Gordon. Both men would play a large role in their charge’s court and military later on. The Tsar also had the gift of attracting talented commoners whom he later used in his court and on the battlefield.

Peter had long been interested in the military, and he even tagged along the guards to serve as a lowly bombardier. He turned Preobrazhenskoye into his own military camp and held mock battles with his troops as practice. He experienced his first taste of war in the Azov campaigns against the Ottoman Empire in 1695. The Tsar’s experience and artillery, however, were inadequate, so he was forced to retreat to Moscow in early 1696.

It was fortuitous for Peter that he returned home at that time, as his sickly and senile half-brother (and co-ruler) Ivan V died on February 8, 1696. With his half-siblings Sophia and Ivan out of the way, he was now free to rule Russia as its sole Tsar. He and his troops went back to Azov in spring of the same year and successfully captured the area from the Ottomans. He established Taganrog as Russia’s first naval base and promoted his advisers Gordon and Franz Lefort as generals. After fortifying the area, Peter and his troops went home to Moscow as victors.

The Great Northern War

Ever curious, Peter went on a European tour between 1697 and 1698. He briefly stayed in the Netherlands where he  trained (in disguise) as a shipwright. He learned whatever he could in Western Europe, and used these ideas to modernize the Russian government and military when he came back. It was also during his European tour that the idea of breaking the dominance of the Swedish Empire (and exact revenge for the Troubles) first took root.

Russia, together with its allies Poland and Denmark, launched their first attack against Sweden on August 19, 1700. The 18-year old Swedish king Charles XII was inexperienced, but he was able to defeat the Polish and Danish armies. Charles then led his army to Narva which was also besieged by Russian troops.

Despite being outnumbered and less experienced, Charles was able to relieve Narva and destroy the Russian camp stationed there. The Swedish king also captured Peter’s French commander and 145 Russian cannons as booty. The Tsar did not consider this a major defeat, but he learned from his mistakes and decided to lead some of his troops himself. He also appointed Boris Sheremetev as commander-in-chief of the Russian army.

After whipping the Russian army at Narva, Charles marched his troops to Poland to depose King Augustus II. He then elevated a puppet to the Polish throne but experienced a setback when the Swedish troops stationed in the Baltic were defeated by the Russians in December 1701. One by one, Swedish strongholds in Livonia soon fell to the Russians. By late 1702, Swedish Nöteborg was firmly in Russian hands. Peter renamed it Shlisselburg and fortified it as a crucial entrance to Lake Ladoga.    

The Foundation of St. Petersburg and the Battle of Lesnaya

Peter, with the help of General Alexander Menshikov, then captured the fortress of Nyenskans from the Swedes on May 1, 1703. The Russians started the construction of the Peter and Paul fortress on Zayachy (Hare) Island more than two weeks later to secure the entrance of the Neva River. The Tsar stayed in the area for some time and oversaw the building of a shipyard and the expansion of the Russian navy himself. The area was later renamed St. Petersburg.

The Tsar led his troops back to Swedish-occupied Narva and captured it on August 9, 1704. Charles XII and around 44,000 Swedish troops took Peter by surprise when they matched through the northwestern Russia in January 1708. But Peter’s troops (under the leadership of Menshikov, Sheremetev, and the Cossack hetman Ivan Mazepa) were able to harass the Swedish army as they marched south.

The Russian army scored a crucial victory against the Swedes at the Battle of Lesnaya in September 1708. In this battle, the Russians were able to halve General Lewenhaupt’s troops who were supposed to bring supplies to Charles’s army. This victory was overshadowed when Peter received news that Ivan Mazepa had abandoned him and sided with Charles instead. The hetman had feared the Tsar’s interference and he had a feeling that his territory would be given away to Peter’s favorite, Alexander Menshikov. The enraged Tsar quickly dispatched Menshikov to Mazepa’s capital of Baturyn and had around 10,000 to 20,000 of its inhabitants massacred in retaliation.

The Battle of Poltava

Peter I of Russia, pictured here in the Battle of Poltova.

In spring of 1709, Charles and the ill-equipped and reduced Swedish troops attacked the town of Poltava. Peter, who was expanding his navy in Azov, saw this as a provocation and immediately sent Sheremetev, Menshikov, and the Russian troops to Poltava. He and his wife, the Tsarina Catherine, joined them on June 4, 1709.

Peter, by then, had the upper hand. His troops were well-supplied and well-equipped, while Charles’s troops had been halved and were low on provisions and equipment. The Russians had set up camp near Poltava and fortified it with redoubts and ramparts. A wounded Charles, meanwhile, watched the Russians build fortifications from the Swedish camp. He summoned a war council, and despite the disadvantages, Charles’s generals decided to launch a stealth attack on the Russian camp.

 The Swedish troops launched an attack on the Russian camp during the early morning hours of June 27, 1709. The Swedish troops were divided between General Lewenhaupt and Field Marshal Rehnskiöld, whose planned to hem in and trap the Russian troops inside the camp. Their troops would later rendezvous with Charles’s who, despite being unable to walk because of his wounded foot, insisted on supervising the army on the battlefield.

It was supposed to be a stealth attack, but it did not turn out as Charles expected. The Russians prepared for the attack, and they quickly decimated a great number of Swedish troops when they tried to storm the redoubts. Some Swedish soldiers got lost along the way and did not even arrive as their comrades were being slaughtered.

As the day wore on, Peter decided to open the gates and face the Swedish troops head on. He and the trusty Sheremetev led the soldiers into battle. The Russians outnumbered the enemy, so the Swedes were easily decimated. Charles himself suffered another wound and had to flee on horseback south to the Ottoman Empire for safety.

Nearly 7,000 Swedish troops were slaughtered that day, while the remaining 2,700 were taken as prisoners. Rehnskiöld, Lewenhaupt, and Charles’s minister Carl Piper were among the prisoners of war who were taken to Moscow. Fresh from his victory at Poltava, Peter then traveled to Poland and restored his ally, Augustus II, to the throne.

References:

Picture by: Serge Lachinov (обработка для wiki) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Lieven, Dominic, ed. The Cambridge History of Russia: Imperial Russia, 1689-1917. Vol. II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Montefiore, Simon Sebag. The Romanovs: 1613-1918. New York, Vintage Books, 2017.

Oliva, L. Jay. Peter the Great. Englewood-Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970.

 

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Venetians Driven From Morea

Venice was one of the wealthiest and most powerful maritime republics of Medieval and Renaissance periods. The republic’s merchant ships dominated the Black Sea and Mediterranean where they established numerous trading ports. The Venetians also established trading ports in Morea (Peloponnese) when they participated in the Fourth Crusade. They would lose these Greek colonies three hundred years later to the Ottoman Empire when the Venetians were driven from Morea in 1500.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during that time.

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Morea: From Greek Rule to Ottoman Domination

Instead of campaigning in the Holy Land, the participants of the Fourth Crusade rampaged throughout the Byzantine territories in Greece and Anatolia in 1204. What was supposed to be a holy crusade became a bloody free-for-all. Two Frankish knights, Geoffrey of Villehardouin and William of Champlitte, decided to leave Constantinople for the other Latins to rule. They then led their followers from mainland Greece to Morea (the Peloponnese peninsula) in 1205. The Franks besieged the peninsula for many months until they finally dominated a large part of it in 1207.

Since the Venetians were the Latins’ partners in the Fourth Crusades, they received a great portion of Morea in the Partitio Romaniae of 1204. However, the two Frankish knights and their followers occupied the peninsula first, so it was not until 1207 that the Venetians were able to occupy the Morean port cities of Methoni (Modon) and Koroni (Coron). The Latin Empire was dissolved in 1261, but the Venetians still maintained a presence in Morea in the years that followed. The Republic of Venice later bought the Morean cities of Argos and Nafplio (Nauplia) in 1388. The Byzantine Empire and the Ottomans also claimed large portions of Greece.

By 1446, the Ottomans under Sultan Murad II managed to wrest a great part of Greece from the Byzantines. The Byzantine Empire completely crumbled in 1453 under the force of the Ottomans led by Murad’s successor, Mehmed II. By 1460, the Palaiologos brothers who governed Morea surrendered the peninsula to Mehmed II. The Venetians, however, continued to occupy Nauplia, Argos, Modon, and Coron. Because of its strong navy, the Republic of Venice remained one of the masters of the Mediterranean trade. Unfortunately for Venice, this domination would not last.

First Ottoman-Venetian War

The Morea in its international context, ca.1265.

Trade was something that Venice and the Ottoman Empire had in common, so they found it beneficial to maintain warm relations at first. But the Venetians became nervous when they saw that the Ottoman Empire had strengthened its navy to control the Black Sea. They knew that it was only a matter of time before the Ottomans would try to obtain their Morean colonies in order to dominate the Mediterranean.

The capture of Bosnia in 1463 and the attack on Lepanto (Nafpaktos) put Venice’s Adriatic and Aegean coast colonies in danger. The Republic declared war against the Ottomans in the same year. Venice gained a large part of the Peloponnese peninsula in the first few years of the war. It was generally successful for the Republic especially with their alliance with King Matthias of Hungary and the Albanian military leader, Skanderbeg.

The Venetian campaign against the Ottomans started to suffer from setbacks as the Turks were just too strong. The Venetians still possessed some of their Adriatic territories, but the death of Skanderbeg in 1468 left Venice without a charismatic ally in Albania. The First Ottoman-Venetian War dragged on for many years, but the scales tipped heavily in favor of the Ottomans. In 1475, the Ottoman navy (which improved considerably over the years) sailed deeper into the Black Sea. There the Turks annexed the Black Sea holdings of Genoa, as well as the port of Tana which was then held by Venice. The Genoans and Venetians could only watch helplessly as many Crimean ports became colonies of the Ottomans in the years that followed.

The years 1478 and 1479 were difficult for the Republic of Venice and its allies. The Albanian strongholds of Kruje and Shkoder (which served as buffers between the Turk-dominated region and Venice) fell to the Ottomans. The fall of the Albanian strongholds allowed the Turkish army to raid even as far as the Friuli region of Italy. Fearful that the Turks would raid into the city itself, Venice had no choice but to sue for peace in 1479.

Second Ottoman-Venetian War

Sultan Mehmed (the Conqueror) died in 1482, and a fight for the throne between his sons briefly put their plans for expansion on hold. The victor, Sultan Bayezid II, proved to be just as determined as his father in removing Venetian domination in the Aegean and Adriatic. In summer of 1499, the Ottomans under Bayezid II seized and occupied the port of Nafpaktos (Lepanto). The Turks were now dangerously close to Venice’s colonies in Morea. It allowed them to launch raids which later turned to full-scale naval attacks on Venetian ports of Modon, Coron, and Pylos.

Venice had no choice but to seek the help of the Republic’s usual allies: the Pope and the kingdom of Hungary. The alliance was ineffective as the Ottomans were able to seize Modon and Coron in 1500. In the same year, the Turks successfully drove out the Venetians from Morea. Cyprus, Crete, and Corfu remained in Venetian hands. Venice was not totally defeated by the Turks, but the Republic’s remaining colonies in the Mediterranean were still in danger. In 1503, Venice was once again forced to sue for peace with the Ottomans.

References:

Picture by: William Robert Shepherd – The Historical Atlas, William R. Shepherd, 1911., Public Domain, Link

Arsdall, Anne Van, and Helen Moody. The Old French Chronicle of Morea: An Account of Frankish Greece After the Fourth Crusade. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2015.

Dana, Charles Anderson., and George Ripley. New American Cyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge, volume 16. D. Appleton, 1863.

Finkel, Caroline. Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. NY, NY: Basic Books, 2007.

Rosser, John H. Historical Dictionary of Byzantium. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2012.

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Mali Empire, Decline of the 

The Mali Empire rose as a powerful force in northwest Africa in the middle of the 13th-century. Its first king was the fierce warrior-prince Sundiata Keita (1235-1255). The empire reached its peak during the 13th-century and the early years of the 14th-century. However, the Mali Empire declined during the last years of the 14th-century when the neighboring Songhai state rose to prominence.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during that time.

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From Sundiata Keita to Mansa Musa

The Mali Empire briefly declined after the death of its Lion Prince, Sundiata Keita, in AD 1255. The empire experienced a revival during the reign of Sakoura Mansa around 1285. His reign was marked by the conquests of neighboring cities, including the Gao region. He also subdued the Tuareg tribes and brought them under the direct control of the Mali Empire. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca but died on the way back home after being robbed in the Sahara.

The Mali Empire reached its height during the reign of Mansa Musa, which lasted from AD 1307 to 1337.  His successors, however, became involved in court intrigues and squandered their empire’s wealth. The royal court of Mali was also divided into rival factions. By 1374, the divided royal family became puppets for various generals. Provincial governors, meanwhile, treated their domains like their own little kingdoms.

The Rise of the Mali Empire’s Powerful Neighbors

Mali terracotta horse figurine, dating between 13th-15th centuries.

The disunity inside the Mali Empire’s played a great part in its collapse during the 1400s. Its neighbors, from the Tuaregs to the Songhai, gradually chipped away at its territories while the empire weakened. The Berbers and Tuaregs were some of the first to wrest away a large part of the empire’s territory.

During the reign of Mansa Musa, some Berber tribes submitted to the Mali Empire. These tribes took advantage of the weakening of the royal power and started to rebel. The nomadic Tuaregs also started a series of raids against the Mali Empire. In 1433, they captured the cities of Timbuktu, Walata, Nema, and Gao from the empire. They briefly dominated the area until the rise of the Songhai Empire led by Sonni ‘Ali.

The Mossi people lived south of the Niger bend during the domination of the Mali Empire. The empire never really conquered the Mossi people, so they, too, took advantage of its weakness. The well-armed Mossi were skilled horsemen. They figured that they could make a living by raiding neighboring tribes, especially those under the rule of the Mali empire. The peasants who lived under the Mali Empire were helpless in the face of invasion. The Mossi raiders, meanwhile, became wealthy because of this, and they even raided as far west as the city of Walata.

Rise of the Songhai State

The rise of the Songhai Empire during the latter years of the 14th-century also played a part in the collapse of the Mali Empire. The Songhai was made up of different peoples including the Do, the Sorko, and the Gow. The Do people worked as farmers, while the Gow people were expert hunters. The strongest of these tribes was the Sorko, and they lived along the banks of the Niger river east of Timbuktu. They worked as fishermen, but their ability to construct war canoes and navigate the Niger river became their greatest strength. Because of their skills, they dominated the Niger river area.

By the 9th century, the three tribes became united, and together they formed the Songhai kingdom. Its capital was Kukiya, and its people traded with the Berber and Egyptian merchants who lived in the city of Gao. Because of the interaction between the Songhai and the Gao, the Songhai rulers eventually converted to Islam. They also made the city of Gao the capital of the Songhai kingdom.

The Mali Empire conquered a portion of the western region of Gao during its heyday. The decline of the Mali Empire during the 1400s eventually led to the rise of the Songhai Empire. The Songhai Empire became the most powerful state in the region during the reign of the Sonni Dynasty king Sonni ‘Ali between 1464 and 1492. He led the capture of Timbuktu from the Tuaregs, as well as the cities of Jenne and the territory of the Mossi people.

References:

Picture by: Franko Khoury [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Conrad, David C. Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009.

Netton, Ian Richard. The Encyclopedia of Islamic Civilization and Religion. London: Routledge, 2008.

Niane, Djibril Tamsir, and Joseph Ki-Zerbo. Africa From the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century. University of California Press, 1997.

Shillington, Kevin. History of Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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Antipope Alexander V

The Antipope Alexander V was elected in the city of Pisa in 1409 during the height of the Great Western Schism (1378-1417). Because of his election, Alexander V became the third pope after the ones in Avignon and in Rome. His election, however, was not recognized by the Avignon and Roman popes. After ruling for ten months, Alexander V died in the city of Bologna in 1410. He was later considered as an antipope by the Roman Catholic Church.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during that time.

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Early Life

The young Pietro Philarghi (or Peter of Candia) was born in 1339 in the island of Crete. He was said to be an orphan and he begged on the streets before he was taken in by Franciscan friars. He later became a monk in a Franciscan monastery. He was sent to Padua in Italy to study, and continued his education at Oxford and in Paris. He became a prominent scholar and professor during the Great Western Schism (1378-1417).

Pietro also taught the sons of the Lord of Milan, Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti. He was promoted several times as a bishop of Piacenza (1386), Vicenza (1387), and Novara (1389). He received the dioceses because of his close association with the House of Visconti. In 1402, Pope Gregory XII appointed him as the Archbishop of Milan. He became a cardinal and papal legate to Lombardy in 1405.

The Council of Pisa and the Third Pope

Alexander V was born as Pietro Philarghi in 1339.

Cardinal Pietro Philarghi was one of the leading cardinals who pushed for a council to end the Great Western Schism. He encouraged the cardinals of Avignon and Rome to set aside their loyalties to their popes so that they could assemble a council. Pope Gregory XII became angry with Cardinal Philarghi because of this initiative and removed him as an archbishop.

The council summoned by Cardinal Philarghi pushed through in spite of the pope’s anger. The cardinals gathered in the city of Pisa on March 25, 1409, and they condemned the schism that went on from 1378. They also declared the Avignon pope Benedict XIII and the Roman pope Gregory XIII as schismatics and heretics. They announced the deposition of the two popes and elected Cardinal Philarghi as the new pope in 1409. He took the name Alexander V soon after.

Death

The Avignon and Roman popes rejected the election of the Pisan pope. Alexander V ruled for ten months until he was imprisoned in Bologna by Cardinal Cossa (the future John XXIII). His supporters suspected that Alexander was poisoned after he died in the city in 1410. He was buried in the Basilica of San Francesco in Bologna. A new pope who took the name John XXIII was elected in Pisa in the same year.

References:

Picture by: Unknownhttp://www.araldicavaticana.com/pantalessandro5.htm, Public Domain, Link

Izbicki, Thomas M., and Joelle Rollo-Koster. Companion to the Great Western Schism (1378-1417) (Brill’s Companions to the Christian Tradition, v. 17). Brill Academic Publishers, 2009.

Locke, Clinton. The Age of the Great Western Schism. New York: Christian Literature Co., 1896.

O’Malley, John W. A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present. Lanham, MD: Sheed & Ward, 2010.

Peterson, John Bertram. “Alexander V.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 18 Jan. 2017 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01288a.htm>.

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Napoleon Annexed the Papal States 1809

Napoleon and Pope Pius VII showed a willingness to compromise early in their reigns, but all warmth between the two rulers eventually faded when the French ruler’s authoritarian streak got in the way of peace. The pope’s hopes for a lasting peace with France ended when Napoleon annexed the Papal States in 1809.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during that time.

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France and the Papal States: The Rule of the Practical Men

Napoleon Bonaparte finally overthrew the Directory in a coup d’etat on November 10, 1799. He replaced it with a Consulate and declared himself France’s supreme ruler or First Consul. Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes and Roger Ducos became Napoleon’s provisional second and third consuls.

The imprisoned Pope Pius VI died more than two months before Napoleon became France’s First Consul. With the protection of the Habsburgs, the College of Cardinals held a conclave in Venice to elect a new pope. On March 14, 1800, the College elected a Benedictine cardinal named Barnaba Chiaramonti as the new pope. He took the name Pius VII in honor of his predecessor.

After his coronation, Pope Pius VII sailed for Rome aboard a barely serviceable Austrian ship. In spite of the misgivings of some of his advisers, he soon sent an emissary to France to negotiate a conciliation with Napoleon. The First Consul readily agreed to the pope’s overtures although he did not hold the Church in high esteem. His first motivation was to bring the refractory priests back into the fold and gain their support for his rule. He also wanted the Church to renounce its claims on confiscated lands, as well as assure the people who bought them that the properties would remain in their hands.

After a series of negotiations, Napoleon and Pope Pius VII finally reached a Concordat in 1801. The Roman Catholic Church was reinstated in France and was recognized by the Consulate as the religion of the majority of the French people. In exchange, however, the Church would allow the state to nominate bishops. Once approved by the pope, the bishops were then required to swear allegiance to the government and to obey the state’s laws. The pope also agreed to recognize the claims of the buyers of lands confiscated from the Church. Napoleon agreed to recognize the Papal States but refused to return the territories of Romagna, Bologna, and Ferrara.

Napoleon was an authoritarian at heart, so he amended the Concordat without the pope’s knowledge. The First Consul added the Organic Articles and implemented the amended Concordat in 1802. With these amendments, the Catholic Church in France came under the total control of the state. All letters, decrees, and representatives had to receive the Consul’s approval before they became valid. The pope was outraged, but there was nothing he could do to reverse this.

Napoleon proclaimed himself the emperor of France in 1804. Although he had the support of the Senate and the public, he still sought the legitimacy that only Pope Pius VII could give. The pope had has misgivings, but he agreed to set them aside and allowed himself to be convinced to come to Napoleon’s coronation in Paris.

French emissaries assured the pope that he would anoint and crown the new emperor, but things did not go according to plan once they were in the Notre Dame on December 4, 1804. In a symbolic rejection of the pope’s authority, Napoleon took the crown from Pius’s hands, turned his back upon the pope to face the crowd, and proceeded to crown himself.

A Battle of Wills: Napoleon Takes the Papal Lands

The Papal States were annexed by Napoleon in 1809.

Any warmth (if ever there was any) between Napoleon and the pope gradually disappeared as the Coalition Wars raged on. In 1805, retreating French troops reoccupied Ancona. The pope immediately sent a letter to the emperor protesting the French occupation and imploring him to withdraw the troops. Napoleon replied by accusing the pope of allowing Swedish, Sardinian, Russian, and British agents to work freely in the Papal States despite the goodwill he had shown earlier to the Catholic Church. Despite their mutual hostility, both men knew that they owed a lot to each other and that they needed each other. They spent the next two years trying to browbeat each other into submission by exchanging scathing and self-aggrandizing letters.

Napoleon continued to seize lands that belonged to the pope, forcing Pius to retaliate in a passive-aggressive way. To punish the emperor, the pope refused to confirm the appointment of bishops Napoleon nominated. Napoleon responded by sending General Miollis and the French troops to Rome on February 2, 1808. He followed it up by annexing the papal lands (Urbino, Camerino, Ancona, and Macerata) into his                                                                       dominion in Italy on April 2, 1808.

Not content with his accomplishment, he then decreed the annexation of Rome to his empire on May 17, 1809. With his earthly realm gone, the pope was forced to retreat to the Quirinal Palace and become nothing more than the Catholics’ spiritual leader. In a fit of impotent rage, he issued the papal bull Quum memoranda condemning and excommunicating any person who usurped the pope’s authority. Although the pope did not write his name on the document, Napoleon took the hint and retaliated. He directed his brother-in-law and king of Naples Joachim Murat to arrest the pope in case he tried to instigate a rebellion. He also wrote a letter to General Miollis suggesting that the pope should be locked up.

Despite his master not explicitly ordering the pope’s arrest, the French general Radet and his men went ahead and kidnapped the pope during the early morning hours of July 6, 1809. The Swiss Guards stationed in the Quirinal Palace were soon overpowered by the French forces. The pope was then forced to leave his chambers and surrender to General Radet. The general rued the arrest upon seeing the pope.

Napoleon was quick to distance himself from the kidnapping when news of the events in Rome broke out. This, however, did not mean that he did not capitalize on it. The pope spent the next five years in house arrest in Savona and in Fontainebleau.

References:

Picture by: The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202.Art Renewal Centerdescription, Public Domain, Link

Breunig, Charles. The Age of Revolution and Reaction: 1789-1850. New York: Norton, 1977.

Carson, H.M., Peter Toon, and C.T. McIntire. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by J. D. Douglas and Earle E. Cairns. Grand Rapids, MI:

Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.

Hicks, Peter. “Napoleon and the Pope: from the Concordat to the Excommunication.” Napoleon.org. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://www.napoleon.org/en/history-of-the-two-empires/articles/napoleon-and-the-pope-from-the-concordat-to-the-excommunication/.

Walsh, John. The New Cambridge Modern History, Vol. 9: War and Peace in an Age of Upheaval, 1793-1830. Edited by C.W. Crawley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965.

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The Second Boer War 1899-1902

From 1899 to 1902, the British Empire fought the two Boer states (the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic) in what would be known as the Second Boer War. After suffering humiliating defeats at the hands of the Boer forces in late 1899, the British army came roaring back and destroyed their defenses. Brutal and relentless on the battlefield, the British commander Lord Kitchener gained notoriety by applying the “scorched earth” tactic on the Boer properties and by establishing one of the first concentration camps of the 20th century. The deliberate neglect of the concentration camps killed thousands of Boer women and children, as well as the indigenous South Africans who were forced into similar camps. These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during this time.

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The First Boer War: The Quest for Land, Diamonds, and Gold (1880-1881)

Britain completely took over Cape Colony after the Convention of London in 1814. The British occupation drove the remaining Boer settlers to leave the Cape and make the “Great Trek” into Basutoland (modern Lesotho) and the Zulu territory. Some of the Boer settlers established the Orange Free State in the early 19th century. The State’s independence was formally recognized by Britain in 1854. A separate group of settlers created the independent Transvaal (South African Republic) which later received recognition in 1856. All of this, however, was accomplished at the expense of South Africa’s indigenous people.

The British government was content to leave the Afrikaners alone until the discovery of diamond mines at Kimberley near the Orange Free State in 1867. Uitlanders (mostly British settlers) flocked to the area to try their luck in the mines. More uitlanders migrated to the Afrikaner-held areas when gold mines were discovered in Transvaal in 1872. The Afrikaners, however, disdained these new migrants. Uitlanders lived and mined alongside the Afrikaners, but it did not mean that Boer government was obligated to grant them their rights.

The abundance of diamond and gold (as well as the “plight” of the uitlanders) made British intervention in the Afrikaner states seem inevitable. The British authorities first needed a solid reason to intervene. The Afrikaner governments themselves were not only torn in internal disputes but were also involved in long-running armed conflicts with the natives. The British colonial government reasoned that the hostility between the Afrikaners and the blacks endangered its territory, so the authorities used it as a pretext to finally annex Transvaal in 1877.

The Afrikaners hated the interference, so they rebelled and declared war on Britain (First Boer War) in 1880. They managed to overpower British troops so that the Cape Colony government was forced to sue for peace in the following year. Guns were finally silenced when representatives of the Afrikaners and the British government signed the Treaty of Pretoria in 1881.

It wasn’t long until greed overrode the fragile peace that the Afrikaners and the British forged in 1881. Cecil Rhodes, owner of the De Beers Consolidated Mines at Kimberley and later Prime Minister of Cape Colony, rose to become one of the wealthiest and influential men in the region. After annexing Zimbabwe, he soon dreamed of a British trans-African railway which spanned from Cairo to the Cape.

Unfortunately for Rhodes, the presence of the Afrikaner states stood in the way of his ambitious project. He tried to undermine the Afrikaner government by fomenting unrest among the discontented (mostly British) uitlanders in Transvaal. In 1895, he sent soldiers to Transvaal to conduct the Jameson Raid. The raid was a failure, and the embarrassment led Rhodes to resign as Prime Minister. His successor, Governor Alfred Milner, continued Rhodes’ work and encouraged the uitlanders to urge the Transvaal government for the right to vote. In 1899, the frustrated uitlanders finally appealed to the British government to intervene. The Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic responded by declaring a renewed war on Britain on October 12, 1899. So began the Second Boer War.

Second Boer War (1899-1902)

Herbert Kitchener was the commander in chief of the British Army during the latter half of the Second Boer War.

Though vastly outnumbered by their enemies, the Afrikaner soldiers were adequately armed and knew the landscape well. They managed to route the British troops during the early phases of the war in 1899. Between the 10th and 17th of December (also known as the Black Week), the British troops were decimated in three separate encounters with the Boers at Colenso, Magersfontein, and Stormberg. The Boer troops also inflicted an embarrassing and heartbreaking defeat to the British at Spion Kop in January 1900.

The British government sent additional troops to South Africa after the devastating fiasco of Spion Kop. By the middle of the year, Britain had already reversed its losses. The British reinforcements finally forced the Afrikaner commander Louis Botha and his troops to surrender in September 1900. The rest of the Boer army, on the other hand, was forced to resort to guerrilla warfare. Some guerrillas became involved in sabotaging British communication lines, as well as railways that transported supplies to its troops.

The sabotage enraged Lord Kitchener, the ruthless commander-in-chief of the British troops in South Africa. To punish the Boers, he ordered his troops to blow up the houses of the farmers and burn their crops. Herds of animals owners by Boers were senselessly slaughtered. Rape was also used by British troops to further punish Boer women. After the senseless destruction, Kitchener ordered his soldiers to round up Boer elders, women, and children and herd them all together in a concentration camp.

The British authorities deliberately neglected the prisoners so that thousands of Boers interred inside the camps died of diseases and starvation in 1900. News of the dire conditions of the concentration camps trickled to the international community. Britain was later shamed into improving the condition of the camps, thereby reducing the number of deaths until the end of the war in 1902.

Black South Africans employed by Boers as farmhands or servants sometimes fought against the British during the course of the war. Their families were also put in separate concentration camps where conditions were even worse than those of the Boers. The death toll in the black concentration camps was also high.

The Boers knew that they could not conduct a war of attrition, and they were finally forced to lay down their arms in May 1902. Representatives of both sides met at Pretoria to sign the Treaty of Vereeniging on May 31, 1902. After nearly a century of resistance, the Afrikaners were finally forced to accept British sovereignty. In exchange, Britain allowed her Afrikaner subjects the right to govern themselves and create their own laws. As part of the compromise and due to  fear of provoking another Boer rebellion, the British colonial government conveniently overlooked any issues the blacks might have had during the negotiations.

References:

Picture by: Copied and digitised from an image in The Queenslander, 8 January 1910, p. 21, Public Domain, Link

Gooch, John. The Boer War: Direction, Experience and Image. London: Routledge, 2014.

Pascoe, Elaine. South Africa, Troubled Land. New York: F. Watts, 1987.

Thompson, Leonard. A History of South Africa. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.



    

 

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Zulus Rose to Prominence During the Reign of King Shaka

The Zulus rose to prominence during the reign of King Shaka (1818-1828). He lived his early years in exile but became strong enough to wrest the crown from his half-brother. After organizing the Zulu government, he transformed the Zulu army and led it into battle against neighboring tribes. Although he later became a tyrant, Shaka is still revered in present-day South Africa as one of its greatest heroes.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during that time period.

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Early Life

The great Zulu king Shaka was born between 1781 and 1787 in present-day KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He was the son of the Nguni chief Senzangakhona. His mother was Nandi, a girl from the Langeni tribe. Shaka’s grandmother and the Langeni tribe attempted to conceal Nandi’s pregnancy and childbirth from Senzangakhona by telling him that she suffered from an intestinal bug or “itshati.” (The name evolved to “shaka” which also meant “early pregnancy” or “ax.”) Eventually, Senzangakhona heard of Shaka’s existence, so he immediately set out to kill the child. A Zulu man named Mudli took the child and his mother out of the chieftain’s reach and sent them into exile to save their lives.

In another version, Nandi was Senzangakhona’s secondary wife. It was rumored that she possessed a fiery temper which displeased the Zulu royal court. She and her son were driven out of Zulu land and was forced to live with the Langeni. Mother and son, however, were considered outsiders by their own people. Despite being a prince, the children of the Langeni bullied him. This only gave Shaka the motivation to work hard and become more powerful.

In his youth, he served in the army of Dingiswayo, the powerful chief of the Mthethwa state. He found favor with Dingiswayo for his strength and heroism on the battlefield. Senzangakhona died in 1816, and his son, Sigujana, acceded the throne. Shaka now saw his chance to take the Zulu throne. With the support of his half-brother Ngwadi and his overlord Dingiswayo, he assassinated Sigujana and crowned himself the new chieftain of the Zulu in 1816.

As King of the Zulu

An 1824 impression of King Shaka by a European artist.

Shaka immediately overhauled the Zulu army when he gained the throne. During his service in Dingiswayo’s army, he saw how ineffective the assegais (long throwing spears) were in combats with large armies. He replaced the weapon with a shorter stabbing spear and retained the use of the large Nguni shields.

Shaka also maintained a large standing army by requiring his vassals to send their men to his royal household. These soldiers would stay in barracks and could be quickly summoned whenever an enemy threatened the Zulu. With their troops under his command, Shaka ensured his rivals would not be able to launch rebellions and coups.

He also realized that the way the Zulu army engaged in combat was disorderly, so he introduced a new tactical formation called the “buffalo horns.” He placed the majority of the army at the center or the “chest.” Two separate columns then flanked the chest in a formation that resembled a cow’s horns. The “horns” would close in on the enemy until the “tips” meet in a circle. This was the signal for the “chest” to attack the enemy. The men assigned to be the army’s “loins” would sit with their backs to the battlefield, and would only be summoned as reinforcements to the tired men who made up the “chest” and “horns.”

Shaka, the Empire Builder

In 1817, his mentor Dingiswayo died in a battle against Zwide, the chieftain of Ndwandwe. Shaka saw this as an opportunity to bring the Mthethwa people under his wings and absorb the tribe’s troops into his army. He and the Zulu army fought Zwide and Ndwandwe troops in the Battle of Gqokli Hill in 1818. The Zulu troops routed Zwide’s army, but the fight was not yet over. Zwide assembled a bigger army and prepared to fight Shaka once again.

Shaka knew that his army was no match for Zwide larger one. He waged a war with the Qwabe tribe with the intention of bringing them into his fold. After successfully routing them, he added their remaining troops to the Zulu ranks.

In February 1818, the Zulu troops faced the more formidable Ndwandwe army once again. This time the Zulu’s discipline and tactics proved much superior to those of the Ndwandwe, and they proceeded to decimate the enemy. Zwide barely escaped with his life, and his people were forced to flee to Mozambique after their defeat. The refugees joined the former Ndwandwe General Soshangane to form the Gaza Empire later on.

Other Conquests and Trade with the Portuguese and English

From 1818 onwards, the Zulu people continued their conquests of neighboring tribes until the Zulu state became an empire. Weaker tribes who could not afford to go to war would often declare him as their sovereign. By the 1820s, the Zulu Empire had managed to conquer the Sotho, Swazi, and Tsonga peoples.

The Zulu people under Shaka traded with the Portuguese at Maputo (Lourenco Marques) in present-day Mozambique. They also acquired guns from English traders at Durban (Port Natal) and allowed English traders to visit the Zulu royal court.

Shaka’s Deterioration and Death

Shaka’s empire was built at the expense of the neighboring tribes, so it was only natural that his enemies would want to have him killed in revenge. In 1824, Ndwandwe men traveled to Shaka’s court and stabbed him. The king was saved after his guest, the English trader Henry Francis Fynn, dressed his wound.

Zwide, Shaka’s mortal enemy, died in 1825. He was succeeded by Sikhunyana who then tried to rally the remnants of the Ndwandwe army to attack the Zulu. The revamped Ndwandwe army, however, was defeated despite its adoption of Zulu strategies.

Shaka’s mother Nandi died in 1828, and he soon became a tyrant to his people because of his grief. His mental state deteriorated further after a failed embassy to the British governor of Cape Colony. He then launched another campaign against General Soshagane’s people, but stayed behind and allowed his troops to push the refugees further north without him at the helm. The Zulus won the battle but made no substantial gains.

It was during this time that his half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana, started to plot against him. While the army was busy decimating Soshagane’s people, Shaka’s brothers stabbed him to death. Dingane then killed Mhlangana so he alone could rule the powerful Zulu Empire.

References:

Picture by: James King – https://books.google.com/books?id=M8VjAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&pg=PA57-IA2, Public Domain, Link

Fage, J.D. A History of Africa. London: Routledge, 1998.

Omer-Cooper, J.D. The Cambridge History of Africa: from c. 1790 to 1870. Edited by John E. Flint. Vol. 5. London: Cambridge University Press, 1976.

Oliver, Roland Anthony, and John Donnelly Fage. A Short History of Africa. Sixth ed. London: Penguin Books, 1988.

Wylie, Dan. Shaka: A Jacana Pocket Biography. Auckland Park, South Africa: Jacana Media, 2011.











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Jews Driven from Spain and Sicily

Just like France, medieval Spain had a long history of hosting Jewish migrants. Many of them came to the Roman province after the Jewish revolt and the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70. Although the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by the Muslims, Jews continued to live there in peace for more than 1,000 years. It was not until 1491-1492 that the Jews were driven from Spain and Sicily. Many of them converted to Christianity, while others left the peninsula for parts of Europe, North Africa, and the Ottoman Empire.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during that time.

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The Spanish Inquisition

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

In 1474, Henry IV’s half-sister Isabella became queen of Castile. She married Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469, which made them joint rulers of a strong Spanish realm. Their reign was marked with civil war with Isabella’s niece and rival to the throne Juana de Beltraneja. Juana was later defeated and was forced to enter a convent in Coimbra.

Between 1482 and 1492, Isabella and Ferdinand were occupied with the reconquest of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in the peninsula. The Catholic monarchs’ zeal to keep Spain in Christian hands spilled over to the Spanish Jews. The conflict started because of the presence of the conversos or Jews who recently converted to Christianity. These new converts were viewed with suspicion by the “old Christians.”

Strangely, their downfall was brought about by Tomas de Torquemanda, a Dominican friar who himself was a grandson of a converso. He was appointed General Inquisitor, and he accused the Jews of corrupting “old Christians” to the king and queen. In 1483, the Jews were driven out of Andalucia and Seville. The Jews of Zaragoza in Aragon were also expelled three years later. The king and queen of Spain still continued to hire Jews as government officials despite the expulsions in some areas. It was also business-as-usual between ordinary Christians and Jews.

In 1491, the Spaniards captured Granada. A treaty signed by both parties assured the people—whether Jew, Christian, or Muslim—that they could freely practice their religion in Spain. This was overturned by the Alhambra Decree issued in March 13, 1492, and the Jews were ordered to leave Spain. The decree was announced in major cities in May, 1492, and they were allowed to stay for three months to prepare. The expulsion was extended to Spanish territories of Sicily, Sardinia, Menorca, and Mallorca.

The leaders of the Jewish communities tried to appeal to the king and queen, but to no avail. Many gave up, and 120,000 Jews went to Portugal but they were expelled there too. Thousands of those who remained in Spain converted to Christianity so that they would not be expelled. Others fled to North Africa, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire. The Jews who fled to North Africa were later called Sephardim which came from the word “Sepharad” which was the Hebrew word for Spain.

References:

Public Domain, Link

Halsall, Paul. “Jewish History Sourcebook: The Expulsion from Spain, 1492 CE.” Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Accessed January 11, 2017. http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/jewish/1492-jews-spain1.asp.

Mackay, Angus. The New Cambridge Medieval History: 1415-1500. Edited by Christopher Allmand. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Roth, Norman. Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia. S.l.: Routledge Member of the Taylor and Francis Group, 2002.

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Pope Becomes a Dependent of France

Pope Boniface VIII had issued a papal bull that deposed and excommunicated King Philip IV of France in 1303. The pope died in the same year, but his successor Clement V nullified Boniface’s papal bull. Clement V became a dependent of France in 1309 after he transferred the papal seat from Rome to Avignon.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History at that time.

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Background

King Edward I of England owned the Duchy of Aquitaine in France after he inherited it from his grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. When a conflict broke out between him and Philip IV of France, the French king immediately seized and occupied the duchy. This act angered Edward, so war flared out between them in 1294. The Count of Flanders and the Duke of Brittany became allies of Edward. Meanwhile, the king of Scotland, John Balliol, sided with King Philip of France.

This war was expensive for Philip IV, so he made peace with Edward I. To pay off his debts, he first imposed a heavy tax on the Jews and the Catholic Church. It was Pope Boniface VIII’s turn to be angry as he thought the tax was unreasonable. Meanwhile, Philip was also engaged in another costly war with the Count of Flanders which meant that he would continue to collect the special taxes.

Pope Boniface sent a couple of letters to Philip warning him to stop the collection of special taxes from the churches in France. Philip, however, refused to heed the pope’s stern warnings. Finally, in 1303, Boniface issued a papal bull that excommunicated and deposed the French king. Before the papal bull could be issued publicly, Philip had the pope kidnapped. The pope was rescued later by his own men, but he died in the same year. Boniface was succeeded briefly by Benedict XI before he, too, died in 1304.

Clement and the Avignon Papacy

Palais des Papes, or Palace of the Popes, located in Avignon France.

The papal seat stayed vacant for several months until Philip nominated a French archbishop named Bertrand de Got. He served in Lyon for several years until the French and Italian cardinals elected him as pope in 1305. He preferred France instead of Rome as Italy, at that time, was a hotbed of violence between the rival parties of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Since he owed the king, Clement immediately removed Pope Boniface’s papal bull that excommunicated and deposed Philip.

From the start until the end of his reign, Clement was a puppet of King Philip IV. He removed the papal protection of the wealthy Knights Templar so that they became victims of Philip’s greed. The Knights served as bankers to Europe’s wealthiest, so the king was eager to seize their wealth as his own. Clement allowed many Knights to be arrested and imprisoned by the king’s men after Philip falsely accused them of heresy. Their Grand Master was also captured and tortured until he confessed to trumped-up charges of heresy.

In 1309, Clement traveled to the city of Avignon in Provence (southern France). He stayed in a Dominican convent and decided to remain there permanently. The partisan violence in Italy had not died down, so he found the quiet little Provencal town the perfect place for the papal seat. It was also near a papal property in Comtat-Venaissin. Plus, Provence itself was owned by the king of Naples (Sicily) who was a vassal of the pope.

Clement was dependent on France’s King Philip IV for much of his reign as pope. He did nothing when Philip ordered the execution of the Knights Templar between 1307 and 1314. Philip seized the Knights’ wealth and used the money to pay his war debts. Both Clement and Philip died in 1314—only months after the death of the last Knights Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay.

Although Clement and Philip died in 1314, the papal seat stayed in Avignon, France for the next seventy years. The six popes who succeeded Clement also ruled the Catholic Church from southern France. Finally, in 1376, Pope Gregory XI left France for good and returned the papacy to Rome.

References:

Picture by: Jean-Marc Rosier from http://www.rosier.pro, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Menache, Sophia. Clement V. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Nicholson, Helen J. On The Margins of Crusading: the military orders, the Papacy and the Christian world. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2011.

Ralls, Karen. Knights Templar Encyclopedia: The Essential Guide to the People, Places, Events, and Symbols of the Order of the Temple. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books, 2007.

Toon, Peter. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by J. D. Douglas. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. Co., 1978.

Zutshi, P.N.R. The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 6, C.1300-c.1415. Edited by Michael Jones. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000.

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Slave Trade Begins, European

The European slave trade began after Jean de Bethencourt’s discovery of the Canary Islands for Spain in 1402. He and some of his men captured the native Guanches and took them from their home to become slaves in Europe. Eager to get a colony of their own, the Portuguese, too, ventured to Africa for slave raids. They captured West Africans and sold them in Europe during the mid-1400s.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline with World History during that time.

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The Canaries: Forgotten Islands

The Canaries are a group of islands located around 62 miles off the coast of Morocco. The Greek geographer Strabo mentioned the islands in his Geography as the “Islands of the Blest.” The Carthaginian sailors visited the islands when they dominated Africa, while Lusitanian sea captains visited the Lanzarote and Fuerteventura islands during the Roman times.

The Numidian king Juba II also sent explorers to the island. After their voyage, they reported to the king that the “Fortunate Islands” were uninhabited but abundant in sugarcane. They also found a stone temple on the island, while explorers of the Canaria reported seeing large dogs. They later brought these dogs back to their king. The island they visited was also abundant in apples, pine nuts, dates, papyrus, and honey.

The Muslim sailors and explorers from Al-Andalus named the islands “Khaledat.” Apart from accidental landings made by sailors and pirates, the Canary Islands were largely forgotten. In 1341, King Alfonso IV of Portugal allowed the Genoese navigator Nicoloso de Recco to explore the Canary Islands. He reported that he saw a lot of goats and other animals in the Canary Islands when he returned to Europe.

He also reported seeing the first inhabitants of the Canary Islands and they would later be called as the Guanches. The Guanches were related to the Berbers of North Africa, and they were ruled by a “prince.” Some of them were friendly and dared to swim out to the ships, but the few brave souls were carried off to Europe by de Recco’s men. They also saw a stone statue which they removed from its place and carried it off to Lisbon.

The Castilian captain Francisco Lopez landed in the Canary Islands after rough seas brought his ship there. He and his men befriended some natives, and they stayed there for seven years. For some reason, the natives turned on them and killed some of the captain’s men. The occasional merchants and pirates were the only ones who ventured into the islands since.

Jean de Bethencourt and the Start of the Slave Trade

Jean de Bethencourt explored the Canary Islands in 1402.

In 1402, the French nobleman Jean de Bethencourt assembled a group of men to explore the Canary Islands. He and his men left La Rochelle in France on May 1, 1402, and sailed to Corunna. From there they sailed to Cadiz, then to Graciosa in the Azores, and finally to the island of Lanzarote where they built the Rubicon fortress. They ran out of provisions and de Bethencourt’s men started to rebel, so their leader decided to leave and return to the continent for provisions. De Bethencourt left one of his men as temporary leader of the crew in Lanzarote.

De Bethencourt traveled to the court of King Henry III of Castile with the Guanches that he captured upon his return to Spain. He also asked to be recognized as the “king” of the Canary Islands, and in return, he would acknowledge the Spanish king as his overlord. Pleased with de Bethencourt’s discovery of the islands, King Henry III agreed to his offer.

The king commanded de Bethencourt to return to the islands and convert the native Guanches to Christianity. De Bethencourt also established colonies in the islands of Ferro and Palma in the years that followed. He returned to Spain where he was given a letter of commendation by the king. He traveled to Rome where the pope received him warmly. He returned to France after his trip to Rome and lived there until his death in 1422 or 1425.

The lucrative Spanish slave trade stopped briefly when Pope Eugene IV issued a papal bull which forbade the capture and enslavement of the Guanches. The papal bull also commanded that the Guanches should be freed and returned to their homes. Anyone who defied the bull would be punished with excommunication.

The Portuguese, too, took part in the European slave trade in the early 15th century. To even up the score, the ambitious Portuguese started their own African campaign by conquering the Marinid-held stronghold of Ceuta in 1415. It was in Ceuta that the Portuguese first heard of the trans-Saharan gold and slave trade. The Portuguese prince Henry (later called the Navigator) became curious. He told his men to go to the Western African trade centers, but crossing the Sahara desert was a big challenge. He then decided that his men should travel by sea. Portuguese ships sailed closely along the northwest coast of Africa in search of these trade centers. The explorers found miles and miles of uninhabited coast until they finally met native Africans.

Motivated by profit, Henry’s sailors captured hundreds of West Africans and brought them to Portugal to be sold as slaves. This practice continued for many years. The slave trade even prospered after Pope Eugene IV granted Prince Henry of Portugal the right to raid non-Christians of West Africa on the pretext of a holy crusade. Muslims and pagans were fair game, and they were all sold as slaves in Europe. By 1444, hundreds of West African men, women, and children landed in Lagos in Portugal after they were captured by the Portuguese and sold into the European slave trade.

References:

Picture by: Baltasar Moncornet (16??-1668), Public Domain, Link

Bontier, Pierre, Jean Le Verrier, and Richard Henry Major. The Canarian: or, Book of the Conquest and Conversion of the Canarians in the Year 1402 by Messire Jean de Bethencourt, Kt. London: Printed for the Hakluyt Society, 1872.

De, Abreu De Galindo Juan, George Glas, James Dodsley, Robert Dodsley, and Thomas Durham. The History of the Discovery and Conquest of the Canary Islands: Translated from a Spanish Manuscript Lately Found in the island of Palma: With an Enquiry into the Origin of the Ancient Inhabitants: to Which is Added, a Description of the Canary Islands, Including the Modern History of the Inhabitants, and an Account of their Manners, Customs, & Trade. London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley in Pall-mall, and T. Durham in the Strand, 1764.

Gambier, J. W. The Guanches: The Ancient Inhabitants of Canary. 1896.

Saunders, A. C. de C. M, A. A Social History of Black Slaves and Freedmen in Portugal, 1441-1555. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Thomas, Hugh. The Slave trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1997.