Sweyn of Denmark conquers England, and is accepted as king, primarily because he brings millions of Lego bricks to bribe the peasants.
Canute, Sweyn's son, defeats Edmund Ironside, after Edmund makes jokes about going for a row down the river in the canute. Canute gets him back by putting him in a wheelchair. They divide the realm between them.
Edmund dies; Canute becomes sole king. A one man Canute.
Edward the Confessor, confesses, and is almost burnt at the stake for it. But instead he comes back from a holiday in Normandy to England, as king.
Eastern Orthodox Church breaks with the Church of Rome. Two months later, the South-Eastern Orthodox Church breaks away from the Eastern Orthodox Church. Barely has the dust settled when the South-Eastern-Left-Side-Of-The-Street Holy Church splits from the South-Eastern. It's only when, fourteen minutes later, the House- On-The-Corner-Of-The-Left-Side-Of-The-Street-South-Eastern Church breaks away, that people begin to realise that it was just one priest who kept getting into arguments with everyone else, that caused the whole thing in the first place.
Westminster Abbey, rebuilt by Edward the Confessor, consecrated. A tribe of nomadic Athiests are evicted. They threaten to go to the Rent Tribunal.
Edward the Confessor dies. Harold is elected king. William of Normandy decides that Harold is a complete wimp, after seeing a draft of the Bayeux Tapestry. William invades England, killing Harold at Hastings (next stop Bittern). After seeing a mysterious comet during a hail storm, he is inspired to start a Court band, called Will Haily And The Comets.
Seljuk Turks, led by "Stormin'" Abdul, seize Baghdad. They then sweep across Asia Minor and take the fortress of Niceaea, opposite Constantinople. House prices in Constantinople immediately dip.
Turks take Jerusalem and Holy Places. They take them out to the pictures, a spot of dinner, a little dancing... Once again, the Jerusalem tourist shops do a roaring trade. "Hey Mister, you wanna buy a shroud?"
Domesday Book, a survey of England, completed. Unfortunately, as printing hasn't been invented, each copy takes forty men three years to make. Because of this, and of course the enormous cost, it fails to make the best-seller list, and never makes it into paperback.
Pope Urban II summons Christian nations to the First Crusade. He sends out flyers:
For the first time, the opportunity to get your head knocked off in the name of Christianity!
Register by July 5th and get a 30% discount on the normal registration fee!
Fighting in all the best venues in and around the Middle East!
Every fifth knight free! Yes, send five knights for the cost of four!
Crusaders take Antioch. They make it sound so simple in these condensed histories, don't they?
Crusaders take Jerusalem. For at least the third time in the last thousand years, the Jerusalem tourist shops cash in. "No kidding guv', this is the actual crucifix that Jesus himself got nailed to. Honest. Look, you can still see the nails in it. Okay? Sold! Thank you sir, see you again soon! ... Ah, good afternoon sir. May I interest you in this; it's the actual crucifix that Jesus himself..."
England is plunged into civil war when Stephen, grandson of William the Conqueror, allows himself to be elected king although he had previously recognised Mathilda, Henry I's daughter, as heir to the throne. Hold on, hold on, hold on. "Elected king"?!? So when did they stop voting-in royalty? Perhaps this is something that needs to be examined further? I wonder what sort of campaigns they ran? "Vote Stephen - not just a monarch for today; a monarch for the future."
Second Crusade ends in failure. The Crusaders retreat, to revise their strategies. They decide that since most of them took part in the First Crusade, over fifty years before, that they should all retire and let some new blood do the fighting.
Stephen acknowledges Mathilda's son as his heir. There may be opportunities here for jokes about (i) heir/hair, wigs, toupees, etc, or (ii) Stephen dancing with Mathilda. Probably a waltz, ie "waltzing Mathilda". Please choose one of these, or make up a joke yourself, write it down on a piece of paper, fold into a small cigarette shape and stick up your nose.
Henry II tries a little antidisestablishmentarianism, and tries to bring the English clergy into the power of the royal courts. He has a little tiff with Thomas a Becket, his chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury, who flees to France.
Becket returns, but the quarrel breaks out afresh, and he is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. Henry claims he is deeply shocked, that it was probably killer rats that got him, and that he wasn't smirking at the funeral, honest, he was trying to fight back tears.
Saladin is proclaimed caliph; and launches a holy war of all Muslims against Christians. Why? Something to do, I suppose.
Saladin recaptures Jerusalem. The Jerusalem tourist vendors once again are delighted, having invested in "Welcome, invaders of Jerusalem" banners, which are strung across the city.
Spurred on by the brilliant success of the previous Crusades (yeah, right...), Philip Augustus of France and Richard I decide to start up a Third Crusade. It fails to retake Jerusalem, and instead the Third Crusade Steering Committee Quorum, decides that The Siege of Acre would be a good idea.
Crusaders capture Acre. What, one acre? That's not very much.
Richard concludes armistice with Saladin.
Ummm.. by this they mean that the representatives of thousands of holy warriors, who truly believe that God is on their side... who would willingly destroy the unbelievers... these two great beliefs who have vowed that theirs is the one true faith... called a truce? "Sorry Saladin mate, just a little misunderstanding"? "All right Richie dude, why don't youse and us go on down the pub"? "Okay lads, no more fighting now, we've agreed to disagree"??!?
Fourth Crusade; collect the set. Constantinople captured, but released on bail pending a court appearance.
Mogul empire founded in India. Well, why not?
King John is forced at Runnymede to accept Magna Carta, which lays it down that no freeman may be imprisoned or punished except by the law of the land. John was actually planning instead to sign Magna Psychopath, which gave the King's guard total power to rob, pillage, plunder, and chop people into little bits whenever they felt like it.
The Fifth Crusade captures Damietta, in Egypt, but loses it again. Very careless. They should have tried the lost property office.
Sixth Crusade recovers Jerusalem by negotiation. So, there were some things they could do in the 13th century that can't be done now, eh? And blimey, these Crusade things certainly came at regular intervals. Actually, it's a little known fact that between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, there were more Crusades than number 251 buses.
Another Crusade is proposed, but in the 31 years since the previous one, no-one can remember what number they're up to. Despite suggestions to call it the Seventh Or Eighth Crusade, or even the Next Crusade, it's called off.
Henry III, whose misrule has caused the barons to revolt, is taken prisoner at Lewes by Simon de Montfort. Henry III is not too pleased about this, which is quite understandable in the circumstances.
De Montfort summons first Parliament in which towns are represented; but is defeated and killed at Evesham. But of a bummer that. Well, at least for de Montfort.
Rudolf of Hapsburg, founder of the dynasty that is to reign in Austria until 1918, is elected Holy Roman Emperor. After that he sort of vanishes into obscurity, at least in this wildly estimated and very summarised history.
Kublai Khan emperor of China; encourages trade and teaches religious tolerance. Just another example of the barbarianism rife during the 13th century. Marco Polo visits, and is allowed to take back the recipe for all the pasta dishes.
Edward I completes conquest of Wales. The final battle involves three thousand brave English soldiers mercilessly defeating several hundred sheep. Edward celebrates with a pot roast.
Acre, last Christian stronghold in Syria, is lost. Gee, I wonder what perspective this particular history that I'm copying from is written? "Last Christian stronghold lost". Depends on how you look at it, doesn't it. I guess from the other side they'd be saying something like "Those wimpy Christians give up their last stronghold."
Edward I summons Model Parliament, but then decides to summon a real one instead when he realises the risk of the Model Parliament getting squashed under someone's foot.
Edward decides to attempt to annex Scotland. The Scots decide to laugh themselves silly at this prospect.
Sir William Wallace defeats Edward at Stirling. In fact, Edward's forces are pounded into the ground, an act later to be remembered during creation of the new English currency, Pounds Stirling.
Edward defeats Wallace at Falkirk. After two years, the Scots finally stop laughing.
Edward makes his son Prince of Wales, and charges him to roam throughout the kingdom, painting watercolours and criticising architecture.
Wallace captured and executed, but Robert Bruce raises another revolt against Edward. He demands the Scotland retain it's freedom, it's rolling blue hills, and that the English make their own damn alcohol.
Robert Bruce crowned king of Scotland. He proclaims that he is king, that the English are vanquished from Scotland, and that he's wearing nothing underneath his kilt, despite the bitterly cold weather.
Papacy falls into French control. The residence of the Popes is moved to Avignon in an effort to escape the debt-collectors who are trying to collect 700 years of rent.
Edward II defeated at Bannockburn by Robert Bruce. Edward wisely decides that he didn't really want Bannockburn and the rest of Scotland anyway. It had nothing to do with the defeat of his army, of course. It just that, well, Scotland is a pretty dark and cold place, and perhaps better left to the Scots...
Robert Bruce recognised by England as king of Scotland. Not a bad response, fourteen years after being defeated by him.
Outbreak of 'Hundred Years' War' between England and France. It is caused by a conflict of commercial interests, and Edward III's claim to the French throne. Oh sure. The King of England decides "sod the French monarchy, I reckon I should be King of France!" No wonder he was known as Edward The Arrogant Bastard.
Various English defeats over the French at Sluys, Crecy and Calais. Edward crows to all about how great he is, and continues to do so until he sees the Black Death coming over the horizon, whereupon he cowers and hides somewhere for a little while.
Black Death, the bubonic plague, reaches England, killing nearly one half of the population, and causing acute shortage of labour and social unrest. Hmm. Bit of a bummer, really.
Edward, the Black Prince defeats the French at Poitiers. He says later he was stirred into battle by what they said about his pet terrapin.
French renew the war; they reconquer province after province. The English try to retreat, and wish they had a high-speed train that would carry them back across the Channel. Of course, the full name of the Channel is the English Channel, except in French-speaking countries where it's known as the French Chanel.
The English fleet is destroyed at Pearl Harbour. England loses all her French possessions except Bordeaux, Calais, a large box of croissants and half a dozen snails.
Rival Popes elected in Rome and Avignon. In the end, they meet in the ring to fight 15 rounds for the Papacy.
Heavily taxed, tied to the land as serfs (how very awkward... I wonder what kind of rope they used?), the peasants revolt under Twat Tyler. Oops, sorry, WAT Tyler. Tyler is murdered and the rising crushed, but from this time serfdom gradually declines until the 1950-60s, when it is revived, and serf culture spreads widely, particularly on the American west coast.
Death of John Wycliffe, who has attacked abuses in the Church of Rome, and ordered a translation of the Bible into English. Oh... my... God! The nerve of the man! Wanting people to know what they're praying about! Wycliffe particularly opposed the priests who abused the Latin sermons, and included sections that requested that they receive copious amounts of gold, silver, jewels, and oral sex.
Scots invade England; Richard II takes Edinburgh. Ever noticed how much bloody British history there is in this thing? It's because I'm copying ummm, err, I mean adapting from an English history. All the same, I might chop it down a little. Anyway, the Scots are victorious at Otterburn. Okay, who the hell named this town Otterburn? That's really not very nice. They couldn't name it after the rolling hills, or the deep forest. Oh no, that had to name it after cute aquatic fish-eating carnivores on fire. Yuck.
English Parliament deposes Richard II, and accepts the Duke of Bereford as King Henry IV. Oh wow guys, like People's Revolt, you know. Down with the king! Yeah! Power to the common man! Yeah! Let's throw out the bloodsucker, and put someone else in charge! A real person! Someone who understands the plight of us working people! A commoner! A starving, poor bastard trying to make a living from the soil! Yeah! Ummm... how about... umm... the Duke of Bereford?
Henry V (the next Henry, the one after the previous one) is bored one Saturday afternoon, and decides to renew the war against France. He gets as far as Harfleur and Agincourt before telling everyone it was only a joke. Nobody believes him by this point, and by 1420 the French recognise him as the next king, and give him a spare princess to stop him getting bored on future Saturday afternoons. He dies in 1422, and the war continues.
The English overcome all French resistance except in Orleans. That'll be Old Orleans, as opposed to New Orleans. There they are driven off by Joan of Arc, and a few friends. They capture her later and burn a steak for her. Oh, sorry, burn her at the stake.
Johann Gutenberg perfects a device that will be used in future centuries to bring people all the latest racing results and bingo competitions: the printing press. He sets up his printing business in Mainz. The United Scribe And Hieroglyphists Union set up a picket outside, but to no avail.
The Eastern empire ends, as Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks, who sweep into Greece and across to the Danube, bringing their blue toilet ducks with them. (Da da da da... da... dum dum, dum dum...)
A late end to the Hundred Years' War (which started in 1337), which is disastrous for England, who are charged 18 years overdue fines on all the weapons and armour they borrowed. Just when they thought there'd be an outbreak of peace, the Duke Of York and Henry VI get into an argument at the Chelsea Flower Show, and so begins the Wars Of The Roses.
Caxton buys the first printing franchise off Gutenburg, and sets up his own printing business in England. He advertises heavily that he's the "only printer in the country. Caxton, for all your printing needs." Unfortunately, few of the population can read, let alone want business cards printed.
Inquisition begins in Spain.
No. Not a word.
No. No mention will be made of whether it was expected or not. Can we move on to the next item please?
Major arguments, many of them involving proclamations, huge feasts, murdering people in towers, etc, between Edward IV, Edward V (and sibling), Richard III, Henry Tudor, etc, etc. Why can't these people all just get along in peace and harmony?
Bartholomew Diaz, Portugal, rounds the Cape of Good Hope, which was originally called the Cape of Oh Shit Look At The Size Of Those Waves Man The Lifeboats Dear God You Know I've Always Looked Up To You Hey Where Did We Put The Bailing Buckets.
Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, whose marriage unites Spain, finally free the country from the Moors by capturing Granada. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes them 503 years later when I am unable to think of anything funny to say about them.
Christopher Columbus, an Italian in Spanish service, is busy in central America, discovering places. He also discovers he should have taken more than five changes of underwear, because it's a long way between laundromats.
Amerigo Vespucci explores Mexico, part of the East coast of America, and the South American coast, making a note of all the really good coffee shops. At one stage Amerigo and two crew mates put on big hats and ride around calling themselves "The Three Amerigos", but it's only a passing phase.
Vasco de Gama discovers a sea-route from Europe to India. During voyages below deck, he also discovers what are later mispelt as Gamma Rays. Unfortunately, he has no idea what they do, what they look like or what they are, so the discovery remains untold.
Columbus lands on the mainland of South America. He immediately finds a native village and demands to be taken to a dry-cleaner, having not changed his underwear for six years.
|Previous: 500-999||Next: 1500-1900|
- Copyright© 1994-2003 Daniel Bowen. Feedback: e-mail to dbowen at custard dot net dot au or sign the guestbook