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Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was one of the most influential scientists to ever live. He was both a philosopher and a craftsman. He could both build a telescope after having it described to him and then use it. Tales of a new eyeglass were brought to him from Flanders and the Venetians asked him to try to build one. He succeeded, but then he did something no one had ever done before. He took his new eyeglass out into the garden of his home in Padua and turned it up into the night sky and saw things no human being had ever seen.



1502 Columbus sails on fourth & last voyage to Honduras and Panama. Amerigo Vespucci second voyage to South America, proclaims it is not India but "a new world."
1503 Prince Henry of England marries Princess Catherine of Aragon. Death of Pope Alexander VI (Borgia); Election of Giuliano della Rovere as Pope Julius II. Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa.
1504 Death of Queen Isabella of Castile, Ferdinand now has difficult situation in the control of Spain since he is not the legal heir to Isabella but instead the heiress is their daughter Juana. Raphael paints The Marriage of the Virgin (now in Brera, Milan).
1505 Foundation of Christ's College, Cambridge, by Margaret Countess of Richmond, beginning of the great days of Cambridge with generous royal patronage.
1506 Death of Christopher Columbus.(b. 1451)
1507 Ordination to the priesthood of Martin Luther. Map maker Martin Waldseemuller proposes the new world on maps be named "America" after Amerigo Vespucci of Florence.
1508 Michelangelo in Rome: paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
1509 Henry VIII becomes King of England. (d. 1547)
1510 Martin Luther in Rome as delegate of his monastic order. Death of Botticelli. Passing of the Florentine artistic Renaissance.
1511 Erasmus nominated professor of Greek at Cambridge.
1512 Michelangelo finishes the Sistine Ceiling and Raphael finishes the frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura (School of Athens) next door to the Sistine.
1513 Death of Pope Julius II. Election of Michelangelo's childhood friend from the Medici palace, Giovanni de'Medici as Pope Leo X. Michelangelo finishes Moses for tomb of Pope Julius II.
1515 Death of the King of France Louis XII. succeeded by his nephew Francis I (to 1547). Now begins life long duel between two young kings: Hen VIII and Francis I.
1516 Death of Ferdinand of Spain, his grandson Charles age 16 succeeds to throne of Spain. (His mother Junana supposedly insane is locked up in a monastery for decades to keep her off the throne.)
1517 (Oct 31) Martin Luther, 95 Theses, Begin of Reformation. Luther protests the sale of Indulgences by the church.Coffee arrives in Europe for the first time.
1518 Diet of Augsburg. Luther called before Diet by Cardinal Cajetan. Luther refuses to recant. Raphael paints portrait of Pope Leo with Cardinals (Uffizi). Foundation of the Royal College of Physicians in London. The beginning of modern scientific medicine.
1519 Charles, King of Spain, also elected Holy Roman Emperor at the death of his grandfather Maximilian. Now unites all of Spain, the Low Countries, Ger. and all of new lands of America in one empire. Martin Luther, in Leipzig Disputation: questions infallibility of the Pope. Death of Leonardo da Vinci.Cortes enters Tenochtitlan, capital of Aztec empire, meets Montezuma.
1520 Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther and declares him a heretic. Luther publicly burns the Papal Bull. Reformation is under way. (April 6)Death of Raphael, Rome mourns passing of an age.Magellan on his circumnavigation of globe passes through the Straits of Magellan heads into the Pacific.
1521 Death of Pope Leo X. Magellan killed in the Philippines but the expedition continues and finally reaches Portugal completing first round the world navigation.
1522 Luther finishes his translation into German of the New Testament, Wittenberg printer Hans Lufft begins to print what will be 100,000 copies over the years. Other vernacular translations follow.
1523 Elect Giulio de' Medici: Pope Clement VII (to 1534).
1524 Zurich: Zwingli abolishes the Roman Catholic Mass.
1525 Battle of Pavia. Disaster for France. King Francis I is captured. Spain now in complete control of Italy.
1527 May 5: Sack of Rome. Imperial troops loyal to King of Spain Charles (and Holy Roman Emperor) go crazy and loot the Holy City and kill more than 4,000 inhabitants and steal all the art treasures. The Pope hides in Castel Sant Angelo. Usually cited as the End of the Renaissance.
1528 King Henry VIII begins his proceedings: Requests "divorce" (annulment) from Catherine of Aragon.
1530 In Germany, write the Confession of Augsburg, to unite all of Protestant Germany. Sign the Schmalkaldic League, alliance of all Prot Ger against the Roman Catholic Emperor Charles. Germany at war.
1531 King Henry VIII recognized: Supreme Head of the church in England.
1532 John Calvin: leading the Reformation in France.
1533 ENGLAND: Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury. He proclaims marriage of Hen and Cath void and proclaims marriage of Hen and Anne Boleyn lawful. Pope excommunicates Henry. Anne crowned as Queen of England. Birth of daughter Elizabeth to Henry and Anne. FRANCE: Pope Clement VII (Medici) marries his relative Catherina de' Medici to the future King of France, Henry Valois.
1534 King Henry of England makes a final break with Rome and proclaims himself head of his own English Reformed church (Anglican international church=Episcoal in USA). Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury. Death of Pope Clement VII, elect Alessandro Farnese as Pope Paul III.
1540 First publish versions of Copernicus' heliocentric theory. Establish the new order of the Jesuits as new troops in the Roman Catholic war with the Protestants.
1543 Publish Copernicus' De Revolutionibus: proposes the sun at the center of the universe.
1545 Convene the Council of Trent as the Roman Catholic Church tries to organize to fight the spreading Reformation (this effort to be known as the Counter Reformation).
1546 Death of Martin Luther. Michelangelo designing the dome of Saint Peter's. Titian paints his portrait of Pope Paul III and his nephews.
1547 Death of Henry VIII: succeeded by his son Edward VI (1537-1553). Death of Francis I of France. succeeded by his son Henry II(1519-1559). Birth of Cervantes(1547-1616).
1549 English church publishes the new Book of Common Prayer (much of which is written by Thomas Cranmer).
1550 Publish Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists. Marks new attitude to artists: artists are special, almost divine.
1553 Death of King Edward VI of England: succeeded by his Roman Catholic half-sister Mary.
1554 Queen Mary: marries Philip of Spain, future king.
1555 Elect Giovanni Pietro Caraffa: Pope Paul IV.
1556 Charles V abdicates giving Spain to his son Philip and the Empire to his brother Ferdinand I and retires to a monastery. Queen Mary burns the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer at the stake when he refuses to recant his Protestantism.
1558 Mary Queen of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth as Queen Elizabeth I. Protestant Church of England re-instated. Death of Charles V former King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor.
1564 (Feb)Death of Michelangelo.(b. 1575)
1564 (Feb 15) Birth of Galileo. (d. 1642)
1564 (April 23) Birth of William Shakespeare. (d. 1616)
1568 Revolt of the Protestant Netherlands from control of Spain. Birth of new Protestant Republic of Netherlands and birth of new alliance between the two Protestant countries of Eng and Neth.
1572 Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, Paris: kill thousands of Protestants.
1573 Birth of Caravaggio. (d. 1609)
1585 Shakespeare comes to London.
1586 Unveil the plot to kill Queen Eliz and put Mary Queen of Scots on throne. Mary sentenced to death (executed 1587).
1588 Spanish Armada, Spain's attempt to destroy Protestant England with the cooperation of the Papacy fails. This final blow to idea of reuniting all of Europe under renewed Roman Catholic Papacy. Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
1589 Henry of Navarre becomes King of France as Hen IV. Galileo professor of mathematics at University of Pisa.
1593 King Hen IV converts to Rom Catholicism ("Paris is well worth a mass.")
1594 Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet.
1595 Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream.
1596 Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice. Birth of Descartes.
1598 Shakespeare: Henry V.
1599 Shakespeare: Julius Caesar.
1600 Burn Giordano Bruno on the Campo de'Fiori in Rome for heresy. King Henry IV of France marries Marie de' Medici. Shakespeare: Hamlet.
1603 Death of Queen Elizabeth of England. She is succeeded by her cousin James (Stuart) in Scotland.
1610 Galileo, The Starry Messenger, published in Venice. One of the most shocking and exciting works of scientific advance ever experienced in modern Europe. Galileo becomes an overnight sensation, a scientific rock star. Letters pour into Padua from all over Europe.


1600 (Feb) Giordano Bruno burned as heretic: Campo dei Fiori-Rome. Shakespeare's Hamlet. Tycho Brahe and Johanes Kepler working together in Prague.
1601 Earl of Essex leads revolt against Eliz; is tried and executed. Queen Eliz delivers her "Golden Speech" surveying 43 year reign. Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci admitted to Peking.
1603 Death of Queen Elizabeth of England. Cousin James of Scotland succeeds as James I.
1605 Cervantes' Don Quixote Part I, published. Shakespeare's King Lear and Macbeth. Sir Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning. In London, Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.
1606 Birth of Rembrandt. (d. 1669)
1607 Foundation of colony of Jamestown, Virginia. first English settlement in America.
1608 Birth of John Milton. Dutchman John Lippershey invents telescope. First "checks" (Cash letters) in use in Netherlands.
1609 Dutch East India Co ships first tea to Europe from China.
1610 Galileo, The Starry Messenger, published in Venice. Assassination of King Henry IV of France. succeeded by his son Louis XIII at age 9. mother Marie de' Medici as Regent.Death of Caravaggio. Henry Hudson sails into Hudson's Straits and discovers Hudson's Bay.
1611 John Donne: Anatomy of the World.
1612 Dutch on Manhattan Island. Begin building very tall buildings.
1614 Sir Walter Raleigh writes The History of the World. Death of El Greco.
1616 Death of Shakespeare. Death of Cervantes.
1618 Thirty Years War. all Europe drawn in (Prot vs Cath).
1619 Wm Harvey announces discovery of circulation of blood. (London).
1620 Pilgrims leave Plymouth, England in Mayflower, seek religious liberty (Puritans).
1621 Philip IV, King of Spain (to 1665), Velasquez paints the king.
1621 Protestant rebellion in France. War between Holland and Spain.
1622 Weekeley Newes issued in London for first time. Beginning of modern newspapers, London ahead of all cities.
1623 Publish the First Folio edition of Mr William Shakespeare's "Comedies, Histories and Tragedies Published According to the True Originall Copies."
1625 Death of King James I. succeeded by son Charles I.
1626 Death of Francis Bacon. (b. 1561)
1630 John Winthrop (1587-1649) sails with Plymouth Company expedition, April arrives Mass. with 1000 settlers, founds Boston in Sept, becomes first governor of the state, 16,000 more settlers follow.
1632 (Feb.21) Galileo: Dialogue on Two Chief World Systems (pub in Flo). First coffee shop opens in London(Newspapers and coffee houses).Birth of John Locke. Rembrandt: Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp(Science in art).
1633 (Jun) Galileo in before Inquisition: abjures the Dialogue in Rome.
1636 Foundation of Harvard. Tea appears in Paris for first time.
1638 Nicolas Poussin paints "Et in Arcadia Ego" appearance of central myth of 18th century Romanticism, run off to country, be a shepherd which all French aristocracy will soon enjoy: playing at Arcadia in the woods near their castles.
1640 Short Parliament & Long Parliament(to 1653).Begin of war between King of England and the Parliament.
1642 Begin hostilities of the English Civil War. All theaters closed in England: by order of the Puritans now in control of Parliament. (till 1660). Rembrandt's The Night Watch.Death of Galileo.
1643 King Louis XIV becomes King of France (to 1715) the most powerful monarch of the 17th century. Moliere founds the Illustre Theatre in Paris, later Comedie Francaise.
1644 Descartes: Principia philosophicae ("Cogito ergo sum"). John Milton: Areopagitica argues for the freedom of the press, radical idea and part of the growing democratic spirit of both England and the new colonies.
1647 King Charles of England captured, taken prisoner.
1648 End of 30 Yrs War, pop of Germany down to 8 mil from 17 mil(1618).
1649 (Jan 19)Trial of King of England before court of Parliament. (Jan. 30)Execution of the King of England by Parliament.
1660 Parliament invites Charles II: Come back into England.
1665 First issue of London Gazette: one of first newspapers.
1667 John Milton: Paradise Lost.
1669 Death of Rembrandt. (b. 1606)
1675 Death of Vermeer. (b. 1632)
1685 Death of King Charles II of England, succeeded by James II.
1688 Expel James II, invite in Protestant William and Mary from Holland.
1689 Parliament confirms "abdication" of James, accession of Wm & Mary. Proclamation of a Declaration of Rights in England (freedom of speech, press).
1690 John Locke: Essay Concerning Human Understanding.