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11th Century, 1001 to 1100

1001  Mahmud, an Afghani and militant Muslim, has secured his rule. He vows to take the word of Allah to the Hindu kingdoms of India every year, by sword and fire.

1002  From Greenland, Leif Ericson (Erikson) son of the Eric the Red, has led an expedition with a crew of 34 men to the coast of North America. 

1004  China's elite believes that their neighbors should be awed by China's greatness and by its favor from the heavens. They base their foreign policy ideas on this and the belief that if the Chinese nation behaves morally that neighboring kings will give China the respect it deserves.

1004  Confident of his moral superiority, China's emperor responds with pacifism to military incursions from the Khitan of Manchuria. He appeases the aggressions of the Khitan by ceding permanently to them that part of China which they occupy, including Beijing, and he agrees to pay the Khitan annual tribute (taxes).

1008  Sweden's king, Olof Skötonung, converts to Christianity, and when a king converts to Christianity, his subjects also convert.   

1010  Division has weakened India. Through the Khyber Pass, Muslims on horseback have been raiding temple towns in northwest India and carrying back to Ghazni as much booty as they can – much of its wealth stolen from temples. The raiding stops after the Indians agree to pay tribute to the Afghani ruler, Mahmud. The Indians begin sending to Ghazni annual trains of elephants laden with gifts.

1015  A 21-year-old Dane, to be known as Canute the Great (Cnut I), has invaded England with a powerful fleet.  

1017  Canute has conquered much of England. He marries the widow of the king of Wessex, Ethelred (Aethelred II) – a devout Christian. Canute converts to Christianity and proclaims his intention to rule in a Christian fashion, and he strengthens political and commercial ties between England and Normandy.  

1019  Canute's brother Harald, king of Denmark, dies, and Canute becomes king of Denmark

1020  Avicenna, (Abu Ali al-Husayn ibn Abd Allah ibn Sina) the greatest thinker and person of medicine of this and surrounding centuries, is forty years-old. He has 17 more years to live, a lifetime in which he will have composed 276 books on medicine, physics, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, economics and religion. He believes in empiricism and rationalism and thinks scientifically. He has been accused by fellow Muslims of "unbelief," to which he replies: "If I have turned from Him who is blessed by birth, there's no true Muslim left on earth."  His "Canon on Medicine" will be translated into Latin and begin influencing Europe in the 12th century – a book of 830 pages. At Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble his work will have a five-star rating.  

1022  Putting people to death for heresy has begun in Europe, fourteen said to have been burned to death at the city of Orleans on order of the French king, Robert the Pious. 

1028  Canute occupies Norway with a fleet of fifty ships from England, with the help of Norweigan nobles he drives the Norwegian king since 1016, Olaf II Haraldsson, into exile. 

1029  Olaf II Haraldsson returns to Norway and falls in battle.  

1034  The archbishop of Milan, Heribert, seizes members of a group that rejects infant baptism and has them burned to death.  

1040  The Chola dynasty, now led by Rajendra I (1014-44), ruling from southeast India, has conquered the island of Lanka. In Hindu society in general, wealth has been accumulating at the top. A few princes have thousands of servants and hangers-on. A greater percentage of agriculture is being taken from free peasants, and more of those who work the land are laborers bound to the land, locked in place by their caste – the Shudras.

1044  Rulers in China have failed to keep China strong militarily. Tangut (Tibetan) warriors have been making incursions into China.  The Tangut occupy China's ethnically diverse northwest, and China buys peace by agreeing to make tribute payments to them as well as to the Khitan of Manchuria, who are still ruling at Beijing.   

1050  In Japan, in place of a national army or local government militia, wealthy landowners, acting with some independence, have formed little armies of their own. Their armed men are called samurai (men who serve), or bushi (warriors). They are little more than opportunists of violence, but they will consider themselves a class above the common farmer who labors hard to grow the food upon which everyone depends. 

1050  The globe is warming, which is improving crop production and increasing populations. In Europe the "High Middle Ages" begins.

1054  In a doctrinal dispute, the Church in Rome accuses the Christians in Constantinople of allowing priests to marry, re-baptizing Roman Christians and deleting "and the Son" from the Nicene Creed." The last of these accusations was untrue. The Church in Rome excommunicates the Church in Constantinople, and the Church of Constantinople excommunicates the Church in Rome. The schism between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy has become final. 

1055  Turks have been moving westward through Transoxiana and into Persia. Islam has been fragmented and unable or unwilling to rally to defend its frontier. The Turks have conquered much of Persia and now from the Fatimid Dynasty they conquer Baghdad. 

1060  The Almoravids (al-Murabitun), puritanical Islamic reformers, have amassed a following and an army fired by religious fervor and an interest in booty, and they have moved from their base on the Mauritanian coast and they seize power in Morocco and western Algeria.

1062  The Almoravids found Marrakech.

1066  William I of Normandy ends Anglo-Saxon rule in England and becomes its first Norman king of England. Many French words are to become English words.

1073  Previously Hildebrand had thwarted attempts to make him Pope, and he had proposed what became the choosing of Popes by the College of Cardinals. Now Hildebrand becomes Pope Gregory VII.  

1075  Berbers of Morocco, fervent Muslims, declare war on the non-Muslim kingdom and empire of Ghana centered at city of Kumbi.  

1077 Pope Gregory VII is pursuing church reform and is in conflict with the "Roman Emperor" in Germanic lands, Henry IV (a descendant of Charlemagne's rule). The issue is Gregory's decree that anyone who accepts a church position offered by a layman will be deposed and any layman who gives a church position to anyone would be excommunicated. Gregory excommunicates and deposes Henry. Nobles relish power taken from Henry. And, to restore himself, Gregory crosses the Alps to Canosso, in Italy, where Gregory grants him absolution – forgiveness.

1080  Pope Gregory again excommunicates and deposes Henry. This time, Henry uses a power that a few kings have in greater amount than does the pope: Henry goes to Italy with an army and takes power in Rome.

1085  Christianity has been expanding against Muslims since Charlemagne took Barcelona in 801. The Christian king of Castile and Galicia, Alfonso VI, has been inviting Christians in Islamic Spain to his kingdom. Now he expands militarily to Toledo, in central Spain. The Christian reconquest of Spain is underway.

1085  Pope Gregory VII dies. The Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, still controls Rome.

1091  Normans were originally hired by Italian principalities as mercenaries. Then the Normans started conquering in southern Italy on their own, and they became rulers accepted by the papacy. Now they conquer Sicily, ending two centuries of Muslim rule there. Arabs are allowed to continue working in public administration. 

1094  The kingdom of Aragon expands southward to Valencia.

1095  The Seljuk Turks have been expanding against the empire centered at Constantinople. They have conquered Jerusalem. The Turks were also Muslims, however they did not allow Christians to visit their holy sites. Pope Urban II responds to a call for help from the emperor at Constantinople and organizes what was to become known as the First Crusade. Urban II announces that Christ will lead any army that goes to rescue the Holy Land.

1095  The first wave of the crusades begins, from Sweden into Finland, to convert the Finns to Christianity.

1096  Pope Urban II condemns the crossbow as "hateful to God." There are no firearms as yet, and the crossbow seems too deadly in its ability to pierce chain mail, and too impersonal, unlike the sword and lance, which can be parried up close.

1097  Well-trained knights defeat Muslims near Nicaea, and later in the year the Crusaders reach Antioch.

1099  Jerusalem falls to the Crusaders, who slaughter the city's Jewish and Muslim inhabitants.

1100  A Persian, Omar Khayyam (Ghiyath al-Din Abu'l-Fath Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami), writes his poem the Rubaiyat, including lines translated as ...

Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring Your winter-garment of repentance fling: The bird of time has but a little way To flutter-and the bird is on the wing.

Ah, Love! could you and I with Him conspire To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire, Would not we shatter it to bits, and then Remold it nearer to the heart's desire!

10th Century (901 to 1000 CE) | 12th Century (1101 to 1200 CE)

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