Timeline: 1511 to 1520

1512  Three sons of the aged Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II are fighting for his throne. Janissaries are a power behind the throne and choose the most warlike of the three: Selim. He eliminates all potential future successor claimants except his favorite son.

1512  Michelangelo finishes the Sistine Chapel.

1514  The Ottoman sultan, Selim – a Sunni – defeats the Shah of Iran, Isma'il.  Isma'il – a Shia – has been accustomed to victory, and he and his Safavid followers believed that Allah was on their side. They are bewildered by their defeat. Isma'il finds relief from depression in wine. Selim annexes Diyarbekir and Kurdistan.

1514  Portuguese traders reach what today is Indonesia, then the center of spice production.

1517  A Portuguese ship arrives at Guangzhou (Canton) in southern China.

1517  The Ottoman sultan, Selim, with superior weaponry, routes the Mamluks.  It is the end of Egypt's Mamluk sultans. The last of them is hanged. Selim appoints a viceroy to rule Egypt as pasha. Egypt will now acknowledge Ottoman suzerainty and pay annual tribute to the Ottoman sultan.

1517  An Augustinian friar and professor of theology, Martin Luther, lists his 95 theses.

1519  Gold mining in Hispaniola has dwindled. The value of gold is still relatively high among Spaniards, and a search for gold elsewhere in the New World begins. Spain's authority in the Americas sends Hernando Cortez on a mission to Mexico.

1520  Luther has refused to retract some of his protests. He has been printing pamphlets explaining his position. The papacy orders Luther's works burned.

1520  Sweden is free from the rule of Danish kings,

1520  Henry VIII of England and King Francis of France, each with army behind him, meet on June 7. They dismount and embrace in one of the world's earlier summit meetings. There will be celebrations and sermons on the virtues of peace.

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