1260 The Mongol Yüan dynasty is established in China under Kublai Khan. 1215–94, Mongol emperor, founder of the Yüan dynasty of China. From 1251 to 1259 he led military campaigns in S China. He succeeded (1260) his brother Mongke (Mangu) as khan of the empire that their grandfather Jenghiz Khan had founded. The empire reached its greatest territorial extent with Kublai’s final defeat (1279) of the Sung dynasty of China. Kublai encouraged foreign commerce, and his magnificent capital at Cambuluc (now Beijing) was visited by several Europeans, notably the Venetian Marco Polo, who described it. It was long thought to be the city Xanadu, featured in Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan.

1320-5 Simone Martine of Sienna painted Ste. Catherine of Alexandria.

1453 “Although the Crusades achieved no lasting results in terms of military conquest, they were important in the development of trade, and their long-range effects on Western society – on everything from feudalism to fashion – are inestimable. Ironically, they also put an end to the centuries-old rivalry between the Arabs and Byzantines. By occupying Constantinople, the capital of their Christian allies, in the Fourth Crusade, the Crusaders achieved what the Arabs had been trying to do from the early days of Islam. Although the Byzantine Empire continued until 1453, when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks, it never recovered its former power after the Fourth Crusade, and subsisted only in the half-light of history during its remaining years.” For the West, however, the Crusaders’ greatest achievement was the opening of the eastern Mediterranean to European shipping. The Venetians and Genoese established trading colonies in Egypt, and luxury goods of the East found their way to European markets. In the history of the Middle Ages, this was far more important than ephemeral conquests. Control of the Eastern trade became a constantly recurring theme in later relations between the European countries and the East, and in the nineteenth century was to lead to widespread Western intervention.”

Glass beads from Murano, Italy near Venice were used as trade in African and North America (Eber 2004).

1480s? Filippino Lippi painted the two panels of Esther and Mardochee, a favourite theme of the Renaissance.

1512 Michaelangelo completed Sistine frescoes

1517 Martin Luther (1483-1546)

1516-1555: Charles I ruled Spain and then the Holy Roman Emperor as Charles V during the Renaissance. Charles I or Charles V became a pivotal ally of the Catholic Counter Reformation.

1530s onward Seamen from western Europe harried Spanish galleons laden with precious metals from Africa and America.

1531 Portrait of German prince de Baviere by Barthel Beham. It was in these Germanic provinces that the Protestant reformation was born when Martin Luther denouned the Catholic Church. Was he one of the Protestant princes attacked by the forces of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V inspired by the Catholic Counter Revolution fifteen years after this portrait was painted or was he one of his Catholic supporters?

A confederacy of nations was formed in North American called The League of Iroquois composed of Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida and Cayuga. The governing council of the confederacy made decisions on issues that affected all tribes and acted as arbitrator for inter-tribal affairs. Each tribe dealt with their domestic affairs without interference from the other confederate members (Daugherty 1982).

1545-63 Dark Ages in Europe with the Roman Catholic Church in control.

Charles V (1519-1558) Holy Roman Emperor, inspired by the Catholic Counter Reformation attacked the Protestant Princes.

1555-1598 Philip II married Mary I of England Philip II. This is the period studied by Fernand Braudel.

1557 France in 1557 passed the death penalty for importing forbidden books: “experience has shown the king of France how prejudicial to the state is the liberty of the press (Medialaw 2001).”

1558-1603 Elizabeth I ruled England. In the 1580s the early coaches used by Elizabeth I had a strap suspension and a pivoted front axel. See history of structuralism using metaphor of shift in authomobile chassis representing the societal structure. It was during the reign of Elizabeth I that England became a militarized nation motivated by a spirit of mercantilism and expansion.

1560 English sea dogs like Sir John Hawkins operated out of Plymouth, England attacked and plundered Spanish galleons laden with precious American and African bullion. Drake and Hawkins sought to cut off Spanish King Phillip II’s supply of American revenue.

1576 Martin Frobisher, attempted to find the Northwest Passage. He encountered Inuit on Resolution Island. Five sailors jumped ship and became part of Inuit mythology. The homesick sailors tired of their adventure attempted to leave in a small vessel and vanished. Frobisher brought an unwilling Inuk to England.

1577 One of these sea dogs was Francis Drake who set out from England in 1577 with secret backing from Queen Elizabeth. He sailed through the Strait of Magellan in 1578 and up the west coast of North America, plundering Spanish settlements on the way. Not finding a Northwest Passage, he struck out across the Pacific, sailed to the Spice Islands, around the Cape of Good Hope, and back to England, where Elizabeth dubbed him Sir Francis Drake. The treasure he brought back netted 263,000 pounds sterling to the queen, and a profit of over four thousand percent to other investors. Drake and Hawkins sought to cut off Spanish King Phillip II’s supply of American revenue.

1588 Spanish King Phillip II completed his fleet called the Spanish Armada who were to protect Spanish galleons filled with American and African bullion from being plundered by British sea dogs like John Hawkins and Frances Drake.

Legends claim that Prague’s Rabbi Judah Loew (1520-1609), one of the most respected and beloved sages in Eastern Europe built Golem a man of clay, to protect the persecuted members of the Jewish community of Prague.

John Davis voyaged up Davis Strait.

States of western Europe were heavily influenced by a policy known as mercantilism, which is roughly defined as a set of priniciples and policies intended to maintain the wealth of a nation through economic regulation. Mercantilism thrived in the reign of Elizabeth I who controlled a powerful merchant fleet. The wealth of nations under mercantilism was based on bullionism or the belief that hard money in the form of precious metal, gold, or silver assured prestige, power and wealth. Since 1600 the influx of bullion from the Americas supported the theoretical framework upon which mercantilism depended. Bullionism intends import/export trade by which hard money is exchanged for goods and services.

Henry Hudson traveled to the whaling grounds of Spitsbergen which became a source of great wealth to the British.

1604-6 Mattieu da Costa travels with the Champlain expedition to Port Royal. He serves as an interpreter between the French and the Migmak
Indians of the area.

1618 Van Dyck painted “let the children come onto me” in which the figure of Christ resembles Van Dyck’s mentor Rubens. The other figures resemble Rubens’ family.

1618 The Thirty Years War (1618-48) began. It would end with the Peace of Westphalia which marks the beginning of the modern concept of state. The German and Austrian regions were devastated. Counter Reformation measures put pressure on Protestants who were persecuted. Rubens became an ambassadoro of peace during this war of religions.

1620 Johanne Kepler, a Protestant in the Upper Austrian Province defended his mother who was accused of being a witch during the witch hunts of 1615-6.

1632-3 Rembrandt painted Heroine of the Old Testament depicting either Esther or Bathsheba. She is shown preparing for her meeting with King Xerxes II.

1628 Olivier Le Jeune, an 8-year-old boy from Madagascar, arrives in Quebec. He is the first recorded slave purchase in New France. Le Jeune is probably the first person of African origin to live most of his life in Canada. He was educated by a Jesuit priest called Le Jeune.

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1652), daughter of painter Orazio Gentilischi (1563 – 1639 ) painted her self-portrait which was in the collection of Charles I. Artemesia also painted her version of Susanna and the Elders . Her choice of violent subject matter (Judith with the head of Holifernes?) stems from the impact on her work of Caravaggio but also of her personal story of rape by the painter Agostino Tassi resulting in a minor punishment for him and a lifelong questioning of her own virtue by others. Her Susannah then reflects and underlying tension. There is a painting by Orazio Gentilischi Job and His Daughters in the NGC’s Baroque room.

1632 Bernini sculpted marble bust of Pope Urbain VIII his patron. (MFB: Popes, Princes and Politically Correct Purchased Portraits)

1635 Champlain in North America

1640-6 English Civil War partially in response to the imposition of the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings imposed by Charles I and the Archbishop of Canterbury. English society was already individualistic, with less communal ownership and interdependency than in mainland Europe. In reaction to this state imposed system the Levelers insisted on rights that reside with individuals protected by a Lockean natural law. English common law, the Magna Carta and the Petition of Right protected individual liberty. Levelers denounced the Norman yoke which they claimed corrupted common law tradition.

1645-6 Jacob Jordaens painted The Young Sing as Chant the Old” a popular theme. MET:49; NGC

1644 Claude Lorrain painted the “Landscape with Temple of Bacchus using Grecian classical architecture (See Rubens).

1650-1750 The Enlightenment in Europe. Thomas Hobbes Leviathan 1651 (Hobbes 1651[1996]) marks the beginning of Enlightenment thinking on human nature and society

The Bourbon king of France Louis XIV married Marie Thérèse of the Spanish royal family.

1661-83 Jean Baptiste Colbert was chief minister of Louis XIV. Colbert, from a middle class background encouraged policy of mercantilism. He purchased Martinique and Guadeloupe in the West Indies, encouraged settlement in Santo Domingo, Canada, and Louisiana, and established trading “factories” (armed commercial posts) in India and Africa.

1662 Louis XIV humiliated Pope Alexander VII’s ambassador, Créqui regarding the Pope’s Corsican guard as a display of the French ruler’s power. Louis XIV called on Pope Alexander VII’s intervention against the Jansenites.

1665 Pope Alexander VII denouned Louis XIV for refusing to accept papal infallibility.

1666 Colbert attempted to limit the number of priests and monks in France.

1670 Hudson Bay Company newly formed is granted trade rights over all territory draining into Hudson Bay. The fur trade develops.

1672. Louis XIV undermined the Triple Alliance and invaded the United Provinces. The Dutch open the dikes and manage to hold the French within a day’s march of Amsterdam. William of Orange is made Captain-General of the United Provinces. The French are expelled from Dutch territory in 1673 but not before they lay waste to large areas of the countryside.

1673 King Louis XIV and Pope Alexander VII were in conflict over who could claim the moneys of deceased French bishops.

1674 artist painted Louis XIV healing the sick in a detail of the painting Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

1674 Charles le Brun painted Louis XIV Adoring the Risen Christ showing a politically correct representation of King Louis XIV, Christ and Colbert. Charles le Brun was an exemplar of the Academie francaise. This painting provides a space for mapping complex relationships. The profile of Louis XIV who is kneeling in the lower right corner could replace the figure in the painting of Esther.

Père La Chaise, the king’s confessor attempted to exert papal authority over King Louis XIV. (Is this similar to the role of a spiritual guru, therapist, life coach like Dr. Phil, Oprah?)

1678 Pope Innocent XI threatened Louis XIV with excommunication.

1680 The French clergy identified with King Louis XIV not Pope Innocent XI.

1682. Louis XIV gave ambiguous messages about his relationship to Pope Innocent XI. Rumours spread that Louis XIV would take control of Catholic Church in Avignon and Civitavecchia. Protestants and Gallicans in France in France felt rejected by Louis XIV.

1685 Hudson’s Bay Company established its first post at Churchill to trade for oil, baleen and ivory. By 1790 Inuit even from remote regions would come to trade there (Eber 2004).

1689 Locke enunciated the freedom to choose one’s belief system, “No one by nature is bound unto any particular church or sect, but everyone joins himself voluntarily to that society in which he believes he has found that profession and worship which is truly acceptable to God. The hope of salvation, as it was the only cause of his entrance into that, so it can be the only reason to stay there…A church, then, is a society of members voluntarily united to that end (Locke 1689).”

English Bill of Rights (Commons 1689 [2002])

1691-1700 Pope Innocent XII

1702-13 The War of Spanish Succession threatened relationship between the papacy and King Louis XIV. Pope Clement XI recognised Charles III son of deceased king Charles II of Spain as the Spanish successor. King Louis XIV recognised the claims of his grandson Philip V as the legitimate successor.

1701 Frederick I became King of Prussia.

1709 In New France, slavery was legalized.

1715 Louis XIV died after reigning for 75 years. Under Louis XIV France became the pre-eminent power in Europe. His great-grandson Louis XV inherited the throne at the age of five. 1715-1723 The duc d’Orléans governed France and the colonies as regent. The duc d’Orléans rejected the piety of Louis XIV and adopted more erotic, intimate, decorative, pleasurable and personal pursuits.

1717 Jean-Antoine Watteau’s (1684-1721) painting Embarkation for Cythera embodied the concerns of the Baroque age. It depicts lovers on a piligrimage to the shrine of Venus on the island of Cythera.

1723 Louis XV came of age to assume the throne.

1734 A Montreal slave named Marie-Joseph Angelique learns that she is to be sold to someone else. In an attempt to escape, she sets a fire in her mistress’s house. The fire can not be contained, causing damage to half of Montreal. She is caught, tortured and hanged, bringing attention to the conditions of the slaves.

1735 Francois Boucher (1703-70) received his first commission for the Palace of Versailles under the patronage of Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s powerful mistress. Madame de Pompadour influenced French art in the period of Louis XIV 1740s and 1750s. In his productive career Boucher produced over a thousand paintings including twenty portraits. For the next two decades Boucher worked on all decorative projects in Versailles. In 1765 he was appointed First Painter to the King. While admired by Pompadour, the French Enlightenment encyclopedist Denis Diderot rejected the work of Boucher and Watteau which he described as feminine in sensibility, frivolous, pastoral, fragile, luminously coloured, dreamy, immoral, sensual, erotic, fluff as opposed to good, high art, academy art such as that of Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin (1699 – 1779) which is masculine, rational, sturdy and moral. Diderot argued that Chardin’s scenes of everyday life described perfectly the substance of things. Chardin’s work represented the middle class as pious, virtuous and vital. Like other academicians aesthetics and ethics were considered to be inseparable. Reynolds and Diderot believed that adherence to rational principles would result in the development of a code of ethical conduct.

1737 The first annual French Royal Academy Salons was initiated. Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) exhibited his paintings which embodied the sensual, erotic and passionate qualities of the rococo. This was in sharp contrast with enlightenment philosophers who promoted rational thought.

c. 1749 Trade of small stone carvings. The HBC began trading glass beads to the Caribou Inuit in the 18th century. Women used them to decorate parkas. Ivory cribbage boards with skrimshaw engravings (like the whalers)were the most popular. (Hessel 1998:24)

1758 British conquered Louis XIV’s French forces at Louisbourg. The expulsion of the Acadians followed. Fort la Joie was taken by the British and the Acadian settlers were forcibly removed.

1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the The Social Contract.

1763 The Royal Proclamation directed that all lands for future settlement and development in British America must first be cleared of the “Indian” title by Crown purchase. The proclamation reaffirms First Nations’ rights to the land and resources, however, conditions are placed on the rights to hunt.” The Royal Proclamation was the defining document in the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in North America (1763).

1768 British Royal Academy formed based on French model. Joshua Reynolds painted portrait of Sir Jeffrey Amherst. Fort Amherst is named after Jeffrey Amherst.

1783 More than 5,000 Blacks leave the United States to live in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario. Having sided with the British during the American War of Independence, they come to Canada as United Empire Loyalists, some as free men and some as slaves. Although promised land by the British, they receive only varying amounts of poor-quality land, and, in fact, some receive none at all.

2 Responses to “Timeline for digitage on Racine, Esther”

  1. bvb Says:

    This page has been a wonderful review of European history!

  2. George Says:


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