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1142 Geza I became king of Hungary. During his 20-year reign, he invited Saxon immigrants to settle in Siebenbürgen (Transylvania). King Géza also initiated the Magyar expansion into Byzantine territory.

1143 Manuel I Comnenus became Byzantine emperor, reigning until 1180.

1144 Geoffrey of Anjou became count of Normandy.~~~ In Rome, Arnaldo da Brescia founded "the commune," a republican government.

1145 Just after having been elected pope, Eugene III called upon the Western Christians to participate in a crusade against the Muslims in the Holy Land. The pope hoped to bring back the shrines of Christendom under Christian control.

1146 The Aragonese and Castilians conquered Almería. King Alfonso VII of Castile conquered Córdoba.

1147 Heeding Pope Eugene III's appeal for a Crusade, the Cistercian monk Bernard of Clairvaux took the initiative in organizing the Second Crusade. The first objective was the reconquest from Muslim occupation of the strategic city of Edessa (present-day Urfa in southeastern Turkey). At the same time that Western Europeans joined an expedition against the Muslims in the Middle East, the struggle against the Moors in Spain continued with renewed vigor and campaigns were mounted against the Wends in Pomerania and Lusatia. The latter venture was considered a crusade in its own right.

1148 The Kingdom of Aragon under its king Ramón Berengar IV began the reconquest of the lower Ebro valley. The city of Tortosa fell into Aragonese hands. ~~~ Aided by ships and soldiers from England, Flanders, Holland and Zealand, the Portuguese liberated Lisbon from the Moors.

1149 Ramón Berengar IV of Catalonia and Aragon conquered the city of Lérida (Lleida). ~~~ After signing a treaty with the Sicilian Norman ruler Roger II, King Louis VII returned to France. ~~~ The German king, Conrad III also returned from the crusade in which he had been taking part. The Sicilian Norman attack on the Byzantine Empire failed. As a result, the Normans lost the island of Corfu, which they had only recently wrested from Byzantine control.

1150 Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, invaded Bavaria and proclaimed himself successor to its ducal throne. Albert the Bear inherited Brandenburg. ~~~ The Almohads, a Shiite sect of Islam (the word Almohads is a derivation of "al Muwahiddun," meaning "believers of the only God") began the conquest of the Muslim states in Spain, eventually establishing a Caliphate (Caliph was the title of the highest religious and worldly authority in the Islamic world). The conquest was completed in 1172. Sancho VI became king of Navarre, the Christian kingdom in Northern Spain, reigning until 1194. ~~~ Saint Eric became king of Sweden.

1151 Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus proclaimed Serbia a Byzantine vassal state (protectorate). Byzantine troops were ordered to occupy the Adriatic port city of Ancona (Italy).

1152 Eleanor of Aquitaine, hereditary princess of Poitou (a rich region of France) divorced Louis VII, King of France. Eleanor then married Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Anjou. Thanks to his wife's dowry, Henry became one of the most powerful princes of France. ~~~ Frederick of Hohenstaufen, nicknamed "Barbarossa" (Redbeard) was elected king of Germany. Through his kinship with the other leading dynasty in Germany (his cousin Henry the Lion was the leader of the Guelfs), Barbarossa could put an end to the protracted civil war in Germany and in those portions of Italy under German rule. (In Italy the parties were known as Guelfs and Ghibellines, the latter word a derivation of the original German "Waiblinger."). ~~~ The Churches of Scandinavia were made independent of the archbishop of Hamburg under whom they had hitherto belonged. In Norway, the English cardinal Nicholas Breakespear reorganized the Church. ~~~ Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus led a campaign against the Magyars (Hungarians).

1153 Henry Plantagenet inherited the throne of England and became king as Henry II. The new royal dynasty of Plantagenet-Anjou ruled not only over England, but also over parts of Ireland and the greater part of Western and Southwestern France. ~~~ King David of Scotland was succeeded by his son Malcolm IV, who ruled until 1165. ~~~ Frederick I Barbarossa, king of Germany, and Pope Eugene III signed the Treaty of Constance, directed against King Roger II of Sicily and his ally Arnaldo da Brescia, leader of the republican government in Rome. ~~~ The Norwegian Vikings organized a raid in Scotland, but it was to be their very last.

1154 King Frederick I Barbarossa made his first visit to Italy, calling upon his vassals and the representatives of the towns of Northern Italy to convene at Roncaglia. The King threatened the towns with severe punishment should they fail to obey him. ~~~ King Roger II of Sicily conquered the cities of Bone (Annaba) in Algeria and Tunis. Shortly after his unexpected death, Sicily fell prey to anarchy. William I (until 1166) succeeded Roger. ~~~ Nicholas Breakespear was elected pope and took the name Adrian IV. Breakespear was the first and only English pontiff.

1155 After subjecting and destroying some Northern Italian towns (Tortona, Chieti, and Asti) and after he had himself crowned King of Italy at Pavia, the authority of King Frederick I Barbarossa seemed firmly established. Barbarossa further increased his power by delivering Arnaldo da Brescia to the pope. Arnaldo had been a major ally of the rebellious Northern Italian towns. An ecclesiastical court convicted Arnaldo of heresy and had him burned at the stake. Shortly afterward, Pope Adrian IV crowned Barbarossa Roman Emperor. ~~~ Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus ordered an attack against the Normans in Southern Italy.

1156 The Byzantine troops who were trying to conquer Apulia were defeated near Brindisi by William I, the Norman king of Sicily. This victory made the pope more conciliatory towards King William and they both signed a peace treaty at Benevento. ~~~ Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa had to face a resurgence of the civil strife in Germany between Guelfs and Staufens. In an effort to placate the Guelf party, Frederick recognized his cousin Henry the Lion as duke of Bavaria, a title he had sought since 1150. Frederick appointed Reinhold von Dassel Imperial Chancellor, an office comparable to that of prime minister. ~~~ King Henry II of England quelled the rebellions in Anjou and Touraine led by his own brother Geoffrey. ~~~ The military order of Alcántara was created in Castile. ~~~ In the Holy Land, the religious order of the Carmelites was founded. ~~~ King Eric of Sweden (Saint Eric) organized a crusade against the Finns, who were still pagans.

1157 Waldemar I became King of Denmark (until 1182). ~~~ In Russia, Andrej Bogolyubski became prince of Suzdal (until 1174). ~~~ The death of King Alfonso VII of Castile ended the personal union between Castile and León. The leading vassals of the Kingdom of León refused to recognize his successor and chose a separate prince. The Almohads reconquered Almería. ~~~ King Henry II of England led a campaign against Scotland and conquered Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmoreland. The king also ordered a campaign against Wales.

1158 During his second visit to Italy, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa punished Milan for resisting his authority and again convened a Diet in Roncaglia. The Emperor made it understood that all of Northern Italy was a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and that its inhabitants were his subjects and as such had to obey him. This proclamation is known as the "constitutio de regalibus," the establishment of royal prerogatives. ~~~ In Castile the military order of Calatrava was founded. ~~~ The Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus made peace with King William I of Sicily and then turned his attention to conquering Cilicia, a region in Asia Minor, present-day Turkey. ~~~ King Henry II of England led a second campaign against Wales, securing the feudal rights of Deheubarth and Gwynedd. After the death of his brother Geoffrey, Henry also acquired the lordship over Brittany. ~~~ In Denmark, the new bishop of Roskilde, Absalom initiated a series of crusades in Pomerania.

1159 After a long war against the Byzantine Empire Stephen I Nemanya founded a Serb kingdom. ~~~ Upon the death of Pope Adrian IV, Rolando Bandinelli was elected pope and adopted the name of Alexander III. Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa was quite dismayed at the election of the new pope, regarding it as a victory for the rebellious towns of Northern Italy, and engineered the election of a counter pope, Victor IV. Milan again rose in rebellion and the emperor began the siege of another rebellious town, Crema. ~~~ Emperor Manuel I Comnenus conquered Phrygia, a region in Asia Minor, present-day Turkey.

1160 The towns of Northern Italy openly rose in rebellion against the rule of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. The emperor now directed his full attention to quelling the uprising and organized a punitive expedition against a number of towns. Crema was conquered and razed and Milan was besieged. ~~~ Emperor Manuel I Comnenus tried to influence the election of a new king in Hungary. ~~~ King Malcolm IV of Scotland conquered Galloway. ~~~ The Normans of Sicily were evicted from the towns they had conquered in Northern Africa.

1161 Under the supreme protection of duke Henry the Lion, a Hansa (a community of German merchants) was founded in Visby, on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

1162 In March the city of Milan surrendered to the besieging army under the personal command of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. However, surrender did not spare the city from being plundered and razed. ~~~ In Hungary, King Stephen (István) III ascended the throne, succeeding King Géza II. Emperor Manuel I Comnenus of Byzantium supported other candidates for the throne, Ladislas II and Stephen IV, both of whom tried to topple the new monarch. This political conflict lasted until 1172.

1163 During Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa's third visit to Italy, a number of Northern Italian towns formed a military alliance to resist his authority. The "League of Verona" comprised, besides the namesake city of Verona, other important towns such as Padua, Venice, Vicenza and Treviso. The League enjoyed the support of Pope Alexander III, who needed allies in his ongoing conflict with Barbarossa.

1164 King Henry II of England proclaimed the so-called Clarendon Constitution, stating that the English Church was subject to royal authority. ~~~ After Sweden had received permission from the pope to form its own archdiocese, at Lund, the bishop of Roskilde (Denmark) was made archbishop.

1165 The Imperial Diet at Worms resolved to persecute Pope Alexander III's supporters in the Empire. ~~~ War broke out between Hungary and the Byzantine Empire over the Byzantine meddling in the succession to the Hungarian throne. The war ended in 1168.

1166 Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa initiated his fourth visit to Italy.

1167 Following the example of the League of Verona formed four years earlier; the Lega Lombarda (League of Lombardy) was created with the "Oath of Pontida" (April 7). Directed against Imperial authority, the League was composed of four powerful cities, Milan, Cremona, Crema and Bergamo. Among its first acts was the signing of a treaty with the League of Verona (founded in 1163). Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa ordered his troops to occupy Rome and thus tried to prevent the pope from helping the Northern Italian cities.

1168 The fortified town of Alessandria was founded in the Northern Italian region of Piemonte and baptized in honor of Pope Alexander III, who supported the Northern Italian towns in their struggle against Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. The rebels' morale received a boost upon hearing that the Imperial army had been hit by a serious epidemic, killing thousands of its soldiers. The emperor was forced to return to Germany.

1169 Troops from the principality of Suzdal plundered Kiev, one of the most important trading cities of Eastern Europe and a major emporium of East-West trade. The ruler of Suzdal, known as the grand prince of Vladimir, had become one of the most powerful princes of Russia.

1170 Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Church resistance against King Henry II of England's attempts at seizing control over the Church, was murdered in his own cathedral. King Henry was responsible for the murder, inciting some of his henchmen to kill the refractory clergyman. The perfidy of the king was glaringly apparent after his public reconciliation with the archbishop shortly before the murder. King Henry began the conquest of Ireland and put an end to the rickety Norwegian Kingdom of Dublin. ~~~ War broke out between Venice and the Byzantine Empire.

1171 The Byzantine emperor withdrew all trading privileges from the Venetians and instead bestowed them upon the Genoese and the Pisans, the most important competitors of the Venetians. The Venetians conquered Ragusa (Dubrovnik) on the Dalmatian coast and the Island of Chios in the Aegean.

1172 The Almohads completed their conquest of Moorish (Muslim) Spain. All of Southern Spain (basically, Andalusia) was now in the hands of this Shiite sect. ~~~ In Hungary, King Stephen (István) died.

1173 Emperor Manuel I Comnenus of Byzantium managed to place a protégé of his on the Magyar throne: Béla III. ~~~ In England, the nobility rose in rebellion against the authority of King Henry II.

1174 Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa began his fifth expedition to Italy in his continuing struggle against the rebellious towns of Northern Italy. These towns were not fighting for any "national" cause, but merely trying to preserve their municipal liberties and privileges. ~~~ Saladin, ruler of Egypt, conquered Syria and thus formed the greatest single threat for the Christian crusader states that had been established in the Near East.

1175 Venice secured the alliance of the Sicilian Normans in its war with the Byzantine Empire.

1176 On May 29, the army of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa was defeated in the Battle at Legnano by the army of the League of Lombardy, the alliance of Northern Italian towns led by Milan. The self-sacrificing courage of the "Compagnia della Morte," the Brotherhood of Death under Alberto da Giussani, which was almost completely wiped out inspired many, both friend and foe. ~~~ The Byzantine army was defeated in the Battle of Myriocephalum (in Asia Minor) by the Rum-Seljuks. As a result, Phrygia was lost only shortly after it had been conquered and put under Byzantine rule. The Byzantines ended their war with Venice and the Sicilian Normans.

1177 At the Peace of Venice, which put an end to the war with the Northern Italian cities, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa formally acknowledged the authority of Pope Alexander III. In exchange, the pope recognized the imperial dignity of Barbarossa. ~~~ The Christian armies of Aragón conquered Muslim-held Cuenca, a strategically located town in Eastern Spain.

1178 King Henry II of England and King Louis VII of France agreed to organize a joint crusade. ~~~ King Afonso Henrique, the first king of Portugal, died and was succeeded after an interval of seven years (1185) by his son, Sancho. ~~~ In Germany, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa resumed the struggle against an old enemy: his cousin Henry the Lion.

1179 The Third Lateran Council, meeting at Rome, decided that a new pope could henceforth only be elected by a two-thirds majority of cardinals present. ~~~ Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Bavaria (leader of the Guelf party), was defeated in the civil war by his cousin, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. The war had lasted more than a year. The duke was forced to renounce all his titles and goods.

1180 Philip II Augustus became king of France. ~~~ Emperor Manuel I Comnenus of Byzantium died and was succeeded by Alexis II. The new emperor married princess Agnes of France. ~~~ The new king of Sweden, Sverre, created a "military monarchy" by founding his authority mainly on his army.

1181 King Béla III of Hungary affirmed his authority over the Magyar lands and in addition conquered Dalmatia, Croatia and Bosnia, wresting these regions from Byzantine control.

1182 Assassination of the Latins (the merchants from the Roman Catholic parts of Europe, mainly from Northern Italy) residing at Constantinople. ~~~ Saint Francis of Assisi was born in Italy.

1183 After he had ordered the assassination of his two little nephews, Manuel and Alexius, Andronicus Comnenus became Byzantine emperor. Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and the towns of Northern Italy signed the peace treaty of Constance, through which the Emperor recognized the right of the towns to self-government in exchange for their recognition of his imperial supreme authority. ~~~ Stephen Nemanya of Serbia initiated the conquest of Dalmatia, Herzegovina, Montenegro and a section of the Danube banks. The conquest was not completed until 1190.

1184 After attending the imperial Diet at Mainz, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation began his sixth and last visit to Italy. ~~~ After a civil war, King Sverre of Sweden succeeded in convincing the Norwegian bishops to crown him King of Norway. ~~~ Emperor Alexius of Byzantium defeated the Normans from Sicily in the Battle of Demetritsa.

1185 Saladin became the most powerful ruler in the Near East with his conquest of Upper Mesopotamia, in the north of present-day Iraq. Saladin was already master of Egypt, Syria and Palestine. ~~~ Isaac II Angelus became Byzantine Emperor after a popular revolt had deposed emperor Andronicus Comnenus. The Normans conquered the Northern Greek city of Thessaloniki and cruelly took revenge for the murder of foreigners in Constantinople two years previously. Not far from Thessaloniki, in present-day Romania and Bulgaria, the populace rose in rebellion against Byzantine rule. The brothers John and Peter Asen, both Vlachs (Romanians) played a key role as leaders of the rebellion. The movement led to the establishment of a Vlacho-Bulgarian state (also known as the Second Bulgarian Empire) under the Asen dynasty. Capital of the state was Trnovo.

1186 Henry, the son of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, was crowned king of Italy in Milan. He married Constance of Altavilla, hereditary princess of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. Thus the sovereignty over most of Italy was concentrated in the hands of King Henry.

1187 Saladin defeated a big crusader army in the Battle of Hattin, near Lake Tiberias in present-day Israel. Shortly thereafter, Saladin also conquered Jerusalem, which after almost a century of Christian rule returned to Muslim government.

1188 The Bulgarians and the Vlachs (Romanians) withdrew from Thrace, which they had recently subjected to their rule.

1189 After the death of his father, Henry II Plantagenet, Richard "Coeur de Lion" became king of England. His brother John also claimed rights to the throne. King Philip II Augustus of France supported John's claims, thus hoping to sow discord at the English Court. ~~~ The fall of Jerusalem, which Saladin had conquered two years earlier, prompted the monarchs of the West to follow a single political course and to organize a Third Crusade, which ended in 1193.

1190 Led by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and by the kings of France and England (who had signed a non-aggression pact), tens of thousands of European knights and soldiers embarked upon the Third Crusade to the Holy Land. The main purpose was the reconquest of Jerusalem. Barbarossa died in Asia Minor while crossing a river, shortly after the crusaders had taken the city of Konya. King Richard of England conquered the island of Cyprus. ~~~ The Byzantine army was defeated by the Bulgarians in the Battle of Berrhoe.

1191 Under the joint command of King Philip II Augustus of France and King Richard "Coeur de Lion" of England, the crusaders conquered the coastal city of Acre, in present-day Lebanon. German knightly pilgrims founded the Order of German Knights, devoted to the care of the wounded and the sick. However, soon after its creation, the order shifted its emphasis from its original prime duties and concentrated on purely combat tasks. ~~~ The Byzantines drove the Normans of Sicily out of Durazzo and Corfu.

1192 After King Philip II Augustus of France had returned to his kingdom, King Richard of England alone remained in command of the seriously depleted crusader forces. He saw no other alternative but to sign a treaty with Saladin, who promised to allow Christian pilgrims free access to Jerusalem.

1193 King Philip II Augustus of France began a campaign against Normandy in order to bring that region more firmly under royal control.

1194 At Palermo, Henry VI, son of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, was crowned King of Sicily and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. ~~~ Llewelyn Fawr the Great, prince of Gwynnedd, began his long rule over Wales, lasting until 1240. ~~~ Lesko V, "the White," became duke of Poland, reigning until 1227. ~~~ The Bulgarians defeated a Byzantine army in the Battle of Arcadiopolis. ~~~ King Richard "Coeur de Lion" of England began a war with King Philip II Augustus of France in an attempt to recover and secure his family's possessions (Normandy) in France. ~~~ Sancho VIII became king of Navarre after the death of his father. Sancho VIII reigned until 1234.

1195 After they had won a great victory over the Castilians in the Battle of Alarcos, the Almohads now began to seriously threat the key city of Toledo.

1196 Emperor-King Henry VI attempted to make the imperial dignity hereditary to his own dynasty, the Hohenstaufens. ~~~ King Stephen Nemanya of Serbia abdicated and retired to a monastery on Mount Athos in Northern Greece. He died four years later. His son Stephen Nemanya II succeeded as king of Serbia (1196-1223). ~~~ King Béla III of Hungary was succeeded by King Imre, during whose reign serious civil wars ripped the kingdom apart.

1197 Emperor-King Henry VI died when he was only 32 years old. As soon as the news spread across Germany, the civil war between the Guelfs and the Staufens flared up again, with each party supporting its own candidate for the imperial crown. The Staufen party supported Philip of Swabia, the Guelfs Otto of Brunswick. Empress Constance, the widow of Henry VI, entrusted Pope Innocent III with the authority over her son, Frederick, who was still a small child. Soon afterward, the empress herself also died. ~~~ In the war against King Philip II Augustus of France, the English regent, John (who ruled over England while his brother was absent abroad), managed to form an alliance with Baldwin, count of Flanders. The French royal army was defeated at Ypres. ~~~ Kaloyan, younger brother of John and Peter Asen, seized power in Bulgaria.

1198 In the Battle of Gisors, the Flemish and the English again defeated the French royal army, this time in a bad way. The King of France lost the regions of Saint Omer and Aire. ~~~ Przemysl I became ruler of Bohemia and established a hereditary kingdom. ~~~ King Richard "Coeur de Lion" of England sold the island of Cyprus to the crusaders. The king had conquered the island from the Byzantines in 1191. ~~~ Bishop Hartwig of Bremen launched an appeal for a crusade against Livonia, a region in present-day Latvia.

1199 After the death of his brother, Richard "Coeur de Lion", John "Lackland" became king of England.

1200 The Peace of Goulet ended the war between France and England. The war had been going on since 1194.

1201 The Venetians played a key role in organizing the Fourth Crusade, which ended in 1204. ~~~ Daniel Mstislavitch succeeded his father Roman as King of Galicia, reigning until 1264. ~~~ Peace was concluded between the Byzantines and the Bulgarians.

1202 Waldemar II, "the Victorious" became king of Denmark. His reign (until 1241) coincided with a period of unprecedented economic growth and social progress, and Denmark extended its rule over much of the Baltic, reaching as far as Estonia. ~~~ In Livonia (in present-day Latvia), bishop Albert von Appeldern founded the Order of the Knights of the Sword ("Schwertbrüderorden") to help accelerate the conquest and christianization of the Eastern Baltic lands. ~~~ Pope Innocent III appealed to the faithful of Europe to prepare for a Fourth Crusade with the purpose of wresting Jerusalem from Muslim control. ~~~ The Dalmatian port city of Zara (Zadar) was conquered by the crusaders and the Venetians and turned into Venetian colony.

1203 King John "Lackland" of England ordered the assassination of his nephew, Count Arthur of Brittany, the posthumous son of Geoffrey Plantagenet and pretender to the throne of England.

1204 The Fourth Crusade effectively ended with the conquest and occupation of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), capital of the Byzantine Empire. The city was made the capital of the "Latin Empire of the East," (until 1261), in which the French, the Italians and other Roman Catholic Europeans wielded power. On the ruins of the Byzantine Empire, several Greek speaking states were formed, most important of which was the Empire of Nicaea, ruled by King Theodore I Lascaris. Alexis I Comnenus founded the Empire of Trebizond. The important trading city of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) on the Adriatic lost its Byzantine protection and soon fell prey to Venetian imperialism. ~~~ King John "Lackland" of England was summoned to appear in court for his assassination of Arthur of Brittany. Upon his refusal, King Philip II Augustus of France confiscated all Plantagenet territories in France. King Philip conquered all of Normandy and by the treaty of Rouen declared it to be an integral and inalienable part of the Kingdom of France. ~~~ The pope recognized Kaloyan as king of the Bulgarians and the Vlachs. ~~~ Ladislas III ascended the Hungarian throne.

1205 King Philip II Augustus of France conquered Touraine and Anjou from the English. ~~~ The Dalmatian port of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) requested Venetian protection and had to recognize Venetian supremacy. A Venetian governor was appointed to the city, which also received a Venetian archbishop. ~~~ Andrew II became King of Hungary. During his reign, papal influence expanded greatly at the expense of central authority.

1206 The Kings of France and England signed a truce in their war over territorial rights in France. ~~~ In Spain, Castile, Navarre and Aragon concluded the Treaty of Guadalajara, agreeing to coordinate their efforts in the struggle against the Muslims. ~~~ King Kaloyan of the Bulgarians and Vlachs conquered Thessaloniki. Soon afterward, the king was assassinated.

1207 Pope Innocent III and Philip of Swabia reconciled their differences.

1208 After the assassination of Philip of Swabia, the Guelf candidate for the imperial crown, Otto of Brunswick, was universally acknowledged as Emperor under the name of Otto IV. ~~~ In the Battle of Philippopolis (Plovdiv), the Bulgarians under Boril were defeated by an army of the Latin Empire at Constantinople.

1209 Pope Innocent III launched an appeal for organizing a crusade against the Albigensians (or Cathars) in Southern France. The Cathars were what the Roman Church regarded as dangerous heretics, believing there was not only a good God, but also a bad one. They were vegetarians and led sober lives. Women were regarded as equal to men, contrary to general practice in the Christian world. ~~~ Putting his signature under the Treaty of Speyer, Emperor Otto IV claimed authority over all the territory over which the pope exerted control, including the Kingdom of Sicily.

1210 Pope Innocent III excommunicated Emperor Otto IV in retaliation for his territorial claims. The Emperor was thus barred from the Church community. The pope also withdrew the imperial dignity and supported another candidate for the Imperial crown: Frederick of Hohenstaufen, grandson of Frederick I Barbarossa and already King of Sicily. ~~~ King Peter II of Aragon renewed the struggle against Islam.

1211 Pope Innocent III banned Count Raymond VI of Toulouse (for heresy) and declared King John "Lackland" of England deposed. ~~~ The Imperial Diet at Nuremberg elected Frederick of Hohenstaufen king of Germany. ~~~ King Andrew III of Hungary invited the German Knights to settle in Transylvania, but he threw out again shortly afterward.

1212 Frederick of Hohenstaufen was crowned king of Germany under the name of Frederick II. ~~~ The combined army of the Christian kingdoms of Castile, Navarre, Leon, Aragon and Portugal defeated the Almohads in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. The Muslims were forced to withdraw behind the Sierra Morena, the mountain range that separates Andalusia from the rest of Spain.

1213 King Peter II of Aragon was killed in the Battle of Muret, which his army lost. The defeat ended a long period of Catalan rule in the Languedoc region in Southern France. James (Jaime) I "The Conqueror" succeeded his father as king of Aragon, reigning until 1276. ~~~ By signing the Golden Bull at Eger, Frederick II renounced the prerogative to exert influence at the elections of bishops.

1214 Led by King Philip II Augustus, a French army of heavy cavalry (knights) defeated the English army in the Battle of Bouvines, in Northern France. King John "Lackland" of England was forced to sign the peace treaty of Chinon and surrender all the territory north of the Loire River. ~~~ The Rum Seljuks conquered Sinop, the most important port on the Southern shore of the Black Sea. The Empire of Trebizond then allied itself with the Kingdom of Georgia.

1215 The English nobility forced King John "Lackland" of England to sign the "Magna Charta Libertatum," the Great Charter of Liberties, which curtailed the absolute power of the King. This document has been regarded by many as an important step towards a more modern state.

1216 After the death of Pope Innocent III, Honorius III was elected as his successor. ~~~ King John "Lackland" of England died of dysentery at the age of 49 years. Henry III became king of England.

1217 The peace treaty of Lambeth ended the long war between France and England. ~~~ Count Raymond VII of Toulouse finished the conquest of his ancestral lands. ~~~ King Haakon IV ascended the Norwegian throne, reigning until 1263. Together with his son, Magnus, King Haakon reorganized the monarchy. ~~~ King Andrew II of Hungary took part in the Fifth Crusade and left for the Holy Land. ~~~ Stephen Nemanya was crowned king of Serbia by a papal representative.

1218 King Henry III of England and the people of Wales ended hostilities and signed a peace treaty at Worcester. ~~~ John Asen II (son of Kaloyan) became king of the Bulgarians, reigning until 1242.

1219 Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Minor Friars, or Grey Friars (Franciscans), embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. ~~~ The Danish troops who were trying to conquer Estonia, were attacked by enraged Estonians, who drove them into the sea.

1220 Pope Honorius III crowned King Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (of Germany and Sicily) emperor. Frederick had his son, Henry, crowned as king of Germany, while he himself devoted his attention to Sicily.

1221 Emperor Frederick II of Germany initiated the pacification of the Kingdom of Sicily

1222 King Andrew II of Hungary issued the "Golden Bull" recognizing the rights and privileges of the nobility and the Church. ~~~ Stephen Nemanya of Serbia was crowned by his brother, St. Sava, in a Byzantine coronation ceremony, thus underscoring that Serbia was a part of the Eastern Orthodox world.

1223 The Empire of Epirus, a Byzantine successor state, conquered Thessaloniki, wresting it from the control of the Latin Empire of the East, the Roman Catholic state created after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. ~~~ Pope Honorius III formally recognized the Franciscan Order, which attempted to bring about a basic reform of the Roman Catholic Church. ~~~ Led by King Waldemar II, the Danes renewed their efforts at conquering Estonia. ~~~ Ascension of King Haakon IV of Norway (reigning until 1262).

1224 Issuing the "Privilegium Andreanum," King Andrew II of Hungary granted autonomy to the Saxon colonists whom he had invited to settle in Transylvania. ~~~ A Russian army was defeated by the Mongols under Djengis Khan in the Battle of Kalka.

1225 Emperor Frederick II called a Diet at Cremona. ~~~ After the Counts of Toulouse had failed to subdue the Albigensians (Cathars) in their lands, King Louis VIII of France decided to intervene by sending his own army to the south, beginning a campaign of systematic extermination that would last until 1271. ~~~ Emperor Frederick II married Princess Yolanthe, daughter of the king of Jerusalem, partly in an effort to show his commitment to the Christian cause in the Holy Land.

1226 In his crusade against the Albigensians (Cathars) in Southern France, King Louis VIII of France conquered and incorporated the County of Toulouse. However, he died shortly afterward. His widow, Blanche of Castile acted as regent for their minor son, who technically reigned under the name of Louis IX.

1227 The Knights of the Sword conquered Estonia and Latvia from Denmark, thus ending the Danish supremacy in the Eastern Baltic. ~~~ Emperor Frederick dispatched his fleet from Brindisi to the Holy Land, in partial fulfillment of his promise to the pope of organizing a crusade. When illness prevented the Emperor to follow his men to the Holy Land, Pope Gregory IX became so incensed that he excommunicated the emperor.

1228 Emperor Frederick II of Germany left for the Holy Land on a crusade, signed a cease-fire treaty with Sultan Al Kamil and became king of Jerusalem. Frederick's opponents in Italy, fearing the spread of centralized government as practiced in Frederick's domains in Sicily, formed the party of the Guelfs (Guelfi).

1229 King Louis IX of France ended the crusade against the Albigensians (Cathars) that had made tens of thousands of victims and brought widespread destruction to Southwestern France, mainly near Albi and Carcassonne. Heresy, however, had almost totally been wiped out. In order to supervise the observance of the true faith as decreed by Rome, Pope Gregory IX created the Inquisition, a kind of ecclesiastical secret police that was charged with the fight against all forms of heresy. ~~~ King James I "The Conqueror" of Aragon began the conquest of the Balearic Islands.

1230 King Ferdinand III of Castile was also made king of Leon, thus uniting these two important Christian states. ~~~ In the Battle of Klokotnitsa, the Bulgarians under King John Asen II defeated the Greeks under Theodore of Epirus. Thus they destroyed the Greek state of Thessaloniki and formed an alliance with Serbia. The Bulgarians conquered Western Thrace, Macedonia and part of Albania. ~~~ In the Baltic, the Hansa was created, the trading alliance of German merchants residing in many different port cities along the Baltic and North Sea coasts. The cities of Stralsund and Danzig were founded, both soon developed into key emporiums in the Baltic trade.

1231 Pope Gregory IX charged the mendicant orders, especially the Dominicans (founded in 1221) with carrying out the tasks of the Inquisition. ~~~ King Andrew II of Hungary reissued the "Golden Bull," giving more power to the Roman Catholic Church.

1232 Rebellion of King Henry VII of Germany against the authority of his father, Emperor Frederick II.

1233 Revolt broke out in England against the advisers of King Henry III. ~~~ King James I of Aragon led a campaign against the Muslim Kingdom of Valencia.

1234 King Henry VII of Germany formed an alliance with the League of Lombardy, the most important opponent of imperial power in Italy.

1235 King James I of Aragon conquered the Balearics and thus completed the first stage of Aragonese overseas expansion in the Mediterranean. ~~~ King John Asen II of the Bulgarians and Vlachs laid the siege for Constantinople, capital of the Latin Empire of the East. King John Asen was partly motivated by religious reasons, since like most others in the Balkans who were Orthodox Christians like himself, he regarded the Latin Empire as a threat to his religion and way of life. ~~~ Béla IV succeeded Andrew II as King of Hungary. King Béla's reign lasted until 1270. ~~~ Emperor Frederick II ordered his son, King Henry VII of Germany to be taken prisoner.

1236 The Kingdom of Castile conquered Southern Spain North of Córdoba. The Muslims were now thrown back on Grenada, their last stronghold on the Iberian Peninsula.

1237 In the Battle of Cortenuova, Emperor Frederick II defeated the army of League of Lombardy. The Emperor had his son Conrad elected king of Germany (Conrad IV) instead of his other, rebellious, son Henry, who he had thrown in jail. ~~~ The Knights of the Sword merged with the German Knights, both organizations having become specialized in conquering and christianizing the pagan populations of the Eastern Baltic. ~~~ The Mongols (also known regionally as Tartars), destroyed the Empire of the Bulgarians along the Volga River.

1238 The Mongols invaded Russia and pillaged Vladimir, capital of the principality of Suzdal. Thus ended the importance of this Russian state. Other places, such as Moscow and Tver' now gained importance.

1239 Pope Gregory IX excommunicated Emperor Frederick II and deposed him. Like his predecessors, the pope then allied himself with the powerful cities of Northern Italy, such as Milan and Piacenza. Frederick did not succeed in bringing Milan to reason. ~~~ The Sixth Crusade, organized at the behest of Pope Gregory IX, reached the Holy Land but the crusaders were defeated by the Muslims at Gaza.

1240 The D'Este dynasty took hold of the administration of the city of Ferrara. ~~~ Led by their Great Khan Ögödey, the Mongols conquered the city of Kiev in the Ukraine. ~~~ Alexander Nevski, Prince of Novgorod in Northern Russia, defeated the Swedes.

1241 Near the island of Giglio (Montechristo), and with the assistance of the city government of Pisa, Emperor Frederick II arrested a number of cardinals who were on their way to Rome for a council. ~~~ The Mongols conquered Hungary and invaded Poland. Galicia and Krakow were destroyed and pillaged. The Polish army was massacred in the Battle of Legnica (Liegnitz) in Silesia. The rest of Europe was saved from Mongol incursion when the Great Khan Ögödey suddenly died, prompting the Mongols to retreat. ~~~ After the death of King John Asen II of the Bulgarians and Vlachs, the kingdom fell prey to anarchy.

1242 On the frozen surfaces of Lake Peipus, in present-day Estonia, an army led by Alexander Nevski, Prince of Novgorod, crushed the Teutonic, or German, Knights. The German knights were thus prevented from further expansion into Russia. ~~~ Urus Nemanya ascended the throne of Serbia.

1243 The Council of Cardinals elected Innocent IV to be the new pope. He was an enthusiastic supporter of papal supreme authority in non-religious matters.

1244 The Muslims reconquered Jerusalem.

1245 In his struggle with Emperor Frederick II, Pope Innocent IV had to flee Rome, finding a hospitable haven in France. The 13th Ecumenical Council the pope convened at Lyons declared the Emperor deposed from the throne.

1246 King Ferdinand III of Castile forced an alliance upon the Muslim Kingdom of Grenada. ~~~ Henry Raspe was proclaimed King of Germany by a Diet hostile to Emperor Frederick II. In the Battle of Frankfurt, Henry defeated troops loyal to the Hohenstaufen dynasty (Frederick and Conrad IV). ~~~ Alexander Nevski, Prince of Novgorod, Vladimir and Suzdal, consolidated his authority and was generally acknowledged as a Great prince throughout the Russias.

1247 Emperor Frederick II was put under increasing pressure in his struggle with Pope Innocent IV. The Emperor saw no other solution to the situation but to attack the pope in his exile in Lyons. After the unexpected death of Henry Raspe, Count William II of Holland and Zealand was elected king of Germany at the age of barely 20. King Ottokar of Bohemia established his authority over Styria and Austria.

1248 Emperor Frederick II was defeated in the Battle of Parma and thus lost the Romagna region and the city of Spoleto as well. After having occupied the city of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), still loyal to Emperor Frederick, Count William of Holland and Zealand was crowned Emperor. ~~~ The Castilians conquered Seville, the chief port city of Southern Spain. With it, Castile acquired a "window" on the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic. Afonso III became King of Portugal. Portugal became the first Iberian state to complete the "Reconquest," and to fully rid itself from Muslim rule. ~~~ The Latin Empire of the East (Constantinople) occupied the fortress of Monemvasia in the Southeast of the Peloponnese, also known as "the Eastern Gibraltar," one of the most important bases still loyal to the extinct Byzantine Empire. ~~~ The Scandinavian settlers on Iceland accepted the supreme authority of King Haakon IV of Norway. The Swedish Church was drastically reorganized.

1249 Emperor Frederick II withdrew to his native Sicily.