Isabella d’Este

with No Comments


Isabella d'Este
Portrait of Isabella d’Este by Titian, c. 1534,
now in Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

Isabella d’Este was the most extraordinary woman of the Italian Renaissance.  Born into one of the greatest families of the 15th century, the Estensi of Ferrara, she married another great family, the Gonzaga of Mantova.  Her sister Beatrice married Duke Ludovico of the Sforzas of Milan and her brother Alfonso married Lucrezia Borgia.  During her sixty-five years, she knew everybody: Titian, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelanggelo, all the Medici, all the popes, and most of the kings and queens of Europe.  Her diplomatic genius gave her much more power than was normally the lot of an Italian duchess.  And she turned Mantova into one of the greatest centers of art and culture of her day.


1474 Isabella d' Este born at Ferrara to Duke Ercole and Duchess Eleonora. Eleonora is one of the most admired women of her age and is from the royal family of Naples.
1475 Birth of a second daughter to the Duke and Duchess of Ferrara: Beatrice. The two girls only one year apart grow up extremely close and once they are both married their two political lives are closely intertwined.
1476 Birth of the future Duke of Ferrara, Isabella's younger brother Alfonso and the future husband of Lucrezia Borgia.
1478 Birth of Baldassare Castiglione at the family country estate at Casatico near Mantova. The Castiglione family is related to the ruling family of Mantova, the Gonzagas.
1488 Elisabetta Gonzaga marries the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo. Elisabetta is the sister of Francesco Gonzaga soon to be the ruler of Mantova. This marriage ties Mantova closely to Urbino. When Isabella marries Francesco Gonzaga, his sister becomes one of her closest friends and for many years the politics of Urbino will be as important at Mantova as is the politics of Ferrara and Mantova itself.
1489 Francesco Gonzaga, ruler of Mantova, is appointed to the prestigious and well-paid position as Captain-General of the Venetian armed forces. This position provides Francesco with important income to finance his small state of Mantova. But it also provides him with extremely important political power. Francesco is the classic "condottiere," the man who makes his living as a paid general, and uses his military income to finance his own small state. The political situation of Mantova will be constantly tied to the state of Francesco's military leadership position. As long as other states consider him to be a brilliant leader who is valuable, just in that degree is his own state of Mantova safe from attack. If his reputation wanes, his state is also in danger. His son Federico will repeat his father's career exactly.
1490 Isabella d' Este marries Gian Francesco Gonzaga, the Marchese of Mantova. (The title at this time was "Marchese" or "Marquis" in French. Later the Gonzaga are elevated to ducal status by the Holy Roman Emperor so you will read "Duke" and "Duchess" in many accounts of Mantova, but we should be careful here with our nomenclature so it is correct to refer to the "Marchese" and the "Marchesa" during this period of the fifteenth century. The entire Estensi family accompanied their precious, little, teenage daughter to her official reception in Mantova as the new Marchesa. The Estensi were an extremely close family, and the parents, Ercole and Eleonora, adored both of their daughters. Everyone remarked on both girls from their infancy: they were brilliant, witty, fun, and very beautiful. Isabella was probably the smarter of the two, but Beatrice took Milan by storm when she became the Duchess of Milan. They were both clever diplomats and inspired partners for their husbands.
1491 Isabella journeys to Milan with her mother to attend the wedding of her sister to Ludovico Sforza, called the Duke of Bari at the time of the wedding, but in 1494 Ludovico and Beatrice will become the Duke and Duchess of Milan, the most prestigious of all noble leadership positions in all Italy. This marriage provides the two Este sisters with an unusual power partnership in northern Italy. With their ties at home in their native Ferrara where their father Ercole is seen as the wisest senior leader in Italy along with their marriage partners, they now move to the absolute center of Italian culture and politics. The marriage also begins a long friendship between Beatrice's husband Ludovico Sforza and Isabella. They really liked each other, and when Ludovico falls on hard times, Isabella tries to help in every way possible.
1494 Invasion of the French armies of King Charles VIII. Ludovico is his primary Italian ally and therefore Beatrice is present for many of the important events in the early phase of the invasion.
1495 Once Charles has marched unmolested all the way to Naples and easily displacing the royal family of Naples ( Isabella's Neapolitan cousins) Italy organizes a new alliance to drive the French out. Francesco Gonzaga is chosen to serve as Captain of all the Italian forces. The decisive battle between the retreating French and the Italians takes place in the summer of 1495 at Fornovo near Modena. In this battle, Francesco fights bravely and is celebrated for the rest of his life as the "victor" of Fornovo, but the truth is that the Italian forces fight chaotically and fail to cut the French off in what seemed to be a can't-lose situation. The French armies survive, and are led back to France by their plucky little king to fight another day. Thus in retrospect, Francesco Gonzaga's brave generalship began to look less and less brilliant. In truth, Francesco was not a brilliant strategist. He was not as smart as he was brave and tough.
1497 In January, the ruling families of three states, Milan, Ferrara, and Mantova are plunged into terrible grief by the totally unexpected death of the young vivacious Duchess of Milan. Beatrice had been Isabella's dearest friend since they had been children in Ferrara and now life seemed suddenly dull without the fun and funny Beatrice. In Ferrara, her family went into mourning and stopped all public celebrations. Ludovico Sforza was devastated. He had fallen wildly in love with his young bride, twenty-five years his junior, and now Ludovico had a terrible premonition that her death signaled worse calamities to come for Milan. He was right. The Golden Era of the Sforza rule of the 1490's was soon to come to an end, and in future years people would look back on those years as the Golden Age for Renaissance Milan with Leonardo da Vinci, Bramante, and other great artists working for the Milanese court.
1498 Death of the young King Charles VIII of France. New king of Louis XII who has a very strong claim to Milan through his grandmother.
1499 King Louis XII comes to Italy to press his claim to Milan. Ludovico Sforza is driven out of Milan. Isabella tries to help him but she has to be careful since Louis is expecting Mantova to remain his ally.
1500 Birth of the heir to the rule of Mantova: Federico. Federico is an exact contemporary of the future Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and will become a very close friend to the Emperor in the 1520's when they are both ruling their states.After a brief return to power in Milan. Ludovico Sforza is again driven from the city and captured by French forces and packed off to a horrible imprisonment in a French dungeon. There is nothing his Italian friends can do to save him; Louis XII is implacable. One moment Ludovico is presiding over the most brilliant court in all Italy with one of the most admired young women at his side; the next moment he is languishing in a dark, damp France dungeon. If the French are one danger for all the small states in northern Italy, another one is Cesare Borgia who is angling for an alliance with the French king. He has plans to build himself his own state, thus all the older traditional ruling families – the Estensi, the Gonzaga, the Montefeltro of Urbino – are all in danger.
1501 The insatiable appetite of the Borgias for power in Italy strikes the Estensi in Ferrara: Pope Alexander asks for – demands – the hand of Alfonso, Isabella's brother, for the pope's daughter Lucrezia Borgia – very recently widowed in a somewhat suspicious incident where the young husband is strangled in his own bed in the Vatican! The ducal family of Ferrara says, "Never!" The ducal line of Ferrara is one of the oldest ruling houses in Italy. Marriage to this scandalous family seems an insulting idea. The pope perseveres. The King of France tells the Estensi to make the best deal they can. Ferrara gives in; Lucrezia comes to Ferrara as the future Duchess of Ferrara and the sister-in-law of Isabella who is there to welcome her.
1502 In June, Cesare Borgia seizes Urbino from the Duke and Duchess. Duke Guidobaldo has to run for his life. He and his Duchess go to Mantova. The pope and Cesare thunder at the Gonzaga for allowing Guidobaldo and Elisabetta to stay there.
1503 Pope Alexander died, and the whole Borgia structure collapsed overnight. Guidobaldo and Elisabetta were welcomed back into Urbino with tearful celebrations in the streets of the tiny principality. Now began the Golden Age of Urbino, the one Castiglione writes about in The Courtier, 1503-1508.November. Election of Pope Julius II (Giuliano della Rovere). For the next ten years the life of the Gonzaga family will be entwined with the fortunes of the Pope Julius. One of his chief goals was to extend papal power in the north. This brought papal armies into the Po valley menacing both Ferrara and Mantova.
1506 Isabella d' Este makes her only visit to Florence to worship at the miraculous painting of the Madonna at Santissima Annunziata.
1508 Death of Guidobaldo, Duke of Urbino.  He is succeeded by his nephew, Francescomaria della Rovere, who is also the nephew of Pope Julius. The Duchess Elisabetta remains in Urbino to help with governing the state. Soon Francescomaria will marry another Gonzaga: Eleonora Gonzaga, daughter of Isabella.
1509 Francesco Gonzaga is captured by Venetian forces and carried off to a Venetian prison. Venice is mad at its former captain thinking that he has labored against the interests of Venice. Now Isabella becomes the ruler of Mantova and must use all her influence to try to get her husband out of prison. She turns to Pope Julius and other influential friends.
1510 Isabella finally succeeds in getting her husband freed from his Venetian jail. But at a huge cost. In exchange for exerting his influence on behalf of Francesco, Pope Julius asks for a hostage to guarantee that Mantova will not intervene against papal interests in the north. The hostage who the Pope demands is Isabella's beloved son and the heir to the dukedom, Federico. Isabella at first refuses, but when all else fails she gives in and in the summer of 1510, ten-year-old Federico goes off to the Vatican as a hostage to his parents' good behavior. For the next three years he will live every day in the company of Pope Julius. Federico is a very charming and engaging boy and soon the Pope is mad about him and wants him with him all the time. The picture of the old pontiff walking hand in hand with his ten-year-old friend along the halls of the Vatican is one of the enduring images of these times. It is important to note that these three years during which little Federico Gonzaga was in the Vatican, provided him with the best school for statecraft that any child might have enjoyed. Once he assumed power as the ruler of Mantova, the Vatican years with the pope were revealed as very useful to this young Duke of Mantova.
1511 Pope Julius is waging war in northern Italy endangering the hold of the Estensi on Ferrara. In January, papal forces take Mirandola, near Ferrara. Isabella in Mantova can do little to help her relatives in Ferrara since the pope has control of her son. The arrival of French allies saves Ferrara and forces the pope to withdraw to Rome.
1512 Battle of Ravenna.French forces numbering more than 30,000 men face an Italian army of comparable numbers in the bloodiest battle fought on Italian soil in the early modern period. Although the French win, the cost is so great that King Louis abandons his Italian campaign and begins a complete withdrawal.Congress of Mantova. In August, all the victorious allies gather together to plan the future of Italy. They meet in Mantova, a recognition of the continuing importance of the Gonzaga in European affairs. This is Isabella's great moment. She is the star of the Congress, juggling all the ambassadors, entertaining and charming everyone. At the congress it is decided that the Medici should be given back Florence and an international army heads south to impose the will of the congress on Florence. Sack of Prato. Spanish troops on their way to Florence stop at nearby Prato and run amuck raping and killing. Citizens who escape run to Florence and tell of the horror and the Florentine government capitulates. The democracy is finished and one of its Secretaries, Niccolo Machiavelli, will soon be in prison.
1513 Election of a new pope: Giovanni de' Medici becomes Pope Leo X.
1515 Old King Louis XII of France drops dead while making love to his new young bride, Mary Tudor, Henry's sister. New king is Francis I. Within months he is leading French troops into Italy.Mantova sends the future duke Federico to King Francis to act as ambassador. Francis adores Federico and they become lifelong friends.
1516 In a lightning strike, papal troops marching on Urbino under Pope Leo's orders, seizes Urbino and drives Duke Francescomaria della Rovere and his Gonzaga Duchess out of power. The exiles from Urbino repeat the same story of thirteen years before and come to Mantova. This is exactly what Isabella and Castiglione had been doing everything they could to prevent. But the Medici were not to be dissuaded.
1516-1519 During these three years, the ruler of Mantova, Francesco Gonzaga, is slowly dying of syphilis. At times he is violent and insane. The accounts of the dying Marchese sitting by the fire with his dogs is a heartbreaking scene. These are sad, difficult years for Isabella. But she sticks it out, stays loyal, and holds the state together.
1519 Francesco Gonzaga dies after a thirty-year reign. He is succeeded by his nineteen-year-old son Federico. It is important to note that Federico is the contemporary of both the King of France and the Emperor and both establish close friendships with Federico. Emperor Charles V and Federico assume power in exactly the same year and at the same age of nineteen. Charles will transform the Marchese Federico into Duke Federico.
1521 Death of Pope Leo X.
1523 Elect another Medici as pope:Pope Clement VII.
1525 Isabella in Rome. Isabella comes to Rome both for diplomatic purposes and to escape the scene in Mantova. Since the assumption of power, Federico has become enmeshed in a scandalous affair with a married woman. Isabella disapproves and when she is unable to dissuade her son from what she sees as a disreputable and corrupt lifestyle, she packs up and leaves Mantova. She will remain in Rome for several years and will be there when the sack occurs in 1527.
1527 Sack of Rome. Isabella is trapped in the Palazzo Colonna. Her son Ferrante is outside Rome, a general with the attacking forces, and makes his way to her palace to try to save her. Massive bribes are paid to various armies and eventually Ferrante gets his mother to the Tiber and into a boat on her way home.
1530 Emperor Charles V comes to Mantova, honoring the Gonzaga with this visit and showing his affection for Federico Gonzaga. Isabella presides over this august gathering.In this last decade of her life, Isabella withdraws more and more from an active role as Federico takes control of the state. They fight and make up but it is not an easy mother-son relationship. Isabella is used to being the center of attention and she yields the spotlight very reluctantly.
1539 Isabella d Este Gonzaga dies at age 65. She has become the most famous and the most honored woman of the whole of the Italian Renaissance. For almost fifty years she has been at the center of almost every single important event in Italian affairs.
1540 Federico Gonzaga, Duke of Mantova, dies at age 40.


1387 Milan conquers Verona. Milan on the march. Look out Florence!
1390 Siena and Pisa join Milan alliance. Florence increasingly isolated.
1399 Siena and Perugia formally turns gov over to Visconti of Milan. Florence being surrounded.
1400 Milan close to conquering all of northern Italy. Flo independence at risk.
1401 Competition for Bronze doors of Baptistery, Florence. Brunelleschi vs Ghiberti. Subject of Sacrifice of Isaac. Ghiberti wins.
1402 (Jun) Milan defeats Florence-Bologna army. All north Italy open for Milan. (Sep) Gian Galleazzo Visconti ruler of Milan dies. Florence independence saved.
1404 Government of Florence orders guilds to get moving. Guilds rush to complete their statues for Orsanmichele.
1408 Donatello's first major work: David (marble) now in Bargello. Birth of Alessandra Macinghi degli Strozzi (d. 1471)
1409 Brunelleschi and Donatello go to Rome, Study the Roman ruins. They make extensive drawings of Pantheon, bring home to use in Duomo.
1413 Donatello's St Mark for Orsanmichele (Flo), one of most influential works of sculpture in whole of Ren.
1413 Nanni di Banco, sculptor: Four Martyrs for Orsanmichele (Flo).
1416 Ghiberti: St John the Baptist for Orsanmichele (Flo).
1417 Donatello: St George for Orsanmichele (Flo).
1422 Alessandra Macinghi marries Matteo degli Strozzi. Matteo a member of one of the most important and powerful families in Florence.
1420 Brunelleschi appointed: architect for dome of Cathedral of Flo.
1425 Brunelleschi: first painting in West using math "perspective." Masaccio: Brancacci Chapel, Santa Carmine, Florence.
1427 Masaccio: "Trinity" painted in Santa Maria Novella (Flo).
1429 Ghiberti: Second set of doors for Baptistry ("Gates of Paradise")
1430 Medici growing domination. After 1435 Medici triumphant in Florence until 1494.
1433 Enemies of Medici become temporarily dominant in the council of gov and send the head of Medici family, Cosimo de' Medici, into exile (he goes to Venice) During this next year, 1433-1434, a furious fight breaks out within Florentine political circles, pro- and anti-Medici. In the fall of 1434, the Medici finally win.(Pope has been helping, Medici Bank very important for the papacy).
1434 Return of Cosimo de' Medici to Florence in triumph. The Medici now have complete control of the gov instruments for the next thirty years. Those who were part of the anti-Medici circle now pay the price and are exiled. Among the exiles are the Strozzi including Matteo Strozzi who is exiled to Pesaro. Wife Alessandra and children join him. Fra Angelico: "Descent from the Cross" (San Marco).
1435 Death of Matteo Strozzi in exile in Pesaro. His widow Alessandra returns to the Strozzi home in Florence with her children. Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting.
1439 International council of church, East-West, Pope-Patriarch, held in Florence under Brunelleschi's recently completed dome. Florence at center of world of religion and culture at this moment. Greeks bring 100s of precious texts with them and all Flo pressed into service copying during the Ecumenical Council.
1444 Build huge new Palazzo Medici (via Cavour) near San Lorenzo, right in the center of old Florence, demolish many other buildings to do it, biggest private palace to that time in Florence.
1447 Pope Nicholas V, Tuscan pal of the Medici elected to St Peter's chair.
1449 Birth of Lorenzo de' Medici who will take his family and his city to its highest point of cultural and political influence. The half century of his life is Florence's Golden Age.
1450 Piero della Francesca: "Baptism of Christ" (National Gallery).
1451 Birth of Christopher Columbus (Genoa). (d. 1506)
1454 Birth of Amerigo Vespucci in Florence. (d. 1512)
1464 Death of Cosimo de' Medici on Aug 1. Death of Cosimo throws the whole Medici apparatus into confusion. The political machine had been a very personal affair and now Cosimo's son Piero is faced with a crisis for which he is not prepared. He suffers with terrible gout and is often bedridden. The anti-Medici circles organize to overthrow Medici. Death of Pope Pius II, a great friend of the Medici.
1466 March: Death of Francesco Sforza, another friend of the Medici, Sept: Plot against the Medici collapses. Piero de' Medici prevails over his enemy Luca Pitti who had led the anti-Medici movement.
1469 December: Death of Piero de' Medici. Suddenly the leadership of the Medici machine falls into the hands of Lorenzo de' Medici, age 20. Lorenzo will dominate Florentine politics and culture for the next twenty-three years and will die at age forty-three in 1492 from the same desease that had killed his father: gout.
1471 Death of Alessandra degli Strozzi. (b. 1408)
1473 Birth of Nicolaus Copernicus in Poland. (d. 1543)
1475 Birth of Michelangelo. (d. 1564)
1478 (Apr 26) Pazzi Plot in Florence. Plot to assassinate Medici brothers and bring about revolution in Florence, kill Giuliano de' Medici in Cathedral during High Mass as he kneels at altar, but Lorenzo survives. Begins intense enmity between Florence and Papacy which had been in on the plot.
1482 Botticelli: "La Primavera" "Birth of Venus" (now in Uffizi).
1483 Birth of Raphael in Urbino. (d. 1520)
1492 Death of Lorenzo de' Medici (bad news for Florence). Columbus in Caribbean (cant call it "America"-not named yet, named later after Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine).
1494 King Charles VIII of France arrives Italy. Brings largest army into Italy since Roman times. (Nov)Florence: fall of Medici and ascendancy of Savonarola. (Nov)Death of Pico della Mirandola.
1498 (May) Execute Savonarola: Piazza della Signoria (marker still there).
1503 Death of Pope Alexander (Borgia). elect Julius II (patron of Michelangelo-Sistine).
1504 Michelangelo: completion of David, install Piazza della Signoria. Michelangelo goes to Rome (Sistine, Vatican). Raphael soon on way to Rome too (Stanze, Vatican). Leonardo working in Milan. The heroic days of Florentine Renaissance are over. Both Lippi and Botticelli dead by 1510.
1512 Completion of Sistine (Michelangelo) and Stanze (Raphael). Rome new art center of Italy, eclipse of Florence.
1513 Death of Pope Julius. Elect Medici (Giovanni de' Medici, childhood friend of Michelangelo) Pope Leo X, power of Medici now moves to Rome.Florence becomes a puppet of Rome.


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.