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The German Empire in this century both loses and gains territory, without material change.
France is engaged in long wars with England, which, with varying success, lead finally to a great increase of the French dominion and territory.
England, after several great victories, meets with heavy losses on French soil, and towards the close of the century her possessions on the Continent are reduced to a few cities.
The Eastern Empire loses ground rapidly under the encroachment of the Turks, both in Europe and Asia, and by the close of the century holds scarcely anything but Constantinople.
Italy is still divided into independent commonwealths, which more and more fall under the power of princely families or tyrants.
In the Spanish Peninsula there are few geographical changes in this century, but Spain is steadily consolidating into a great power.
The Ottoman Turks in this century press into Europe, and take from the Eastern Empire a great part of its possessions, besides acquiring the greater part of Asia Minor.
The three kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are united toward the close of this century.
The Swiss Confederation is founded in 1308 by the union of three cantons; increased to eight cantons in 1353.
Russia. The powerful Mogul dynasty within the dominion of Russia continues.
Mogul Empire. The great Mogul power of the last century comes to an end (except in Russia), being succeeded by the Ottoman Turks (which see), and by the great dominion of Timour The Tartar (Tamerlane).
Tartar Dominion. See above, under Mogul Empire.
Turks. See above, under Ottoman Turks.
A. D. 1300 - A. D. 1400.
1307. Swiss Confederation founded.
1309. Clement V. transfers the seat of the popes to Avignon.
1320? Gunpowder (early known to the Chinese) said to have been invented by Schwartz. Cannon used for defence a little later.
1346. Battle of Crecy.
1347. Bienzi, the " Last of the Tribunes" at Rome.
1347. Great Plague in Europe.
1356. Battle of Poitiers.
1380. Wycliffo makes an English translation of the Bible, regarded as the first complete English version.
1397. Union of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden,
PROMINENT NAMES OF THE CENTURY.
Kings. — Edward I., Edward III.
John Duns Scotus, Dante, Giotto, William Occam (Invincible Doctor), Petrarch, Boccaccio, Wycliffe, Chaucer, Froissart
THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAE.
IN" the first half of this century began the long struggle between England and France, known as the Hundred Years' War. Edward III. laid claim to the throne of France on the ground of heredity, and invaded that country (then under Philip VI.) to vindicate his claim, beginning a contest between the two countries which lasted with vaiying success till the middle of the next century During this century occurred the famous English victories of Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356).
Poitiers and Cressy tell,
When most their pride did swell,
Under our swords they fell.
Witness our too much memorable shame,
When Cressy battle fatally was struck,
And all our princes captived, by the hand
Of that black name, Edward, black prince of Wales.
Feudalism, full of pride and weakness, still survived; resembling a gigantic armor which, hanging empty against the wall, yet threatens and brandishes the lance. As soon as touched, it falls to the ground, — at Cricy and at Poitiers. — Michelet.
Subsequently the greater part of Aquitaine was conquered by the French, and by the end of the century the English possessions in France were reduced to a few cities.
No war had broken out in Europe, since the fall of the Roman Empire, so memorable as that of Edward III. and his successors against France, whether we consider its duration, its object, or the magnitude and variety of its events. It was a struggle of one hundred and twenty years, interrupted but once by a regular pacification, where the most ancient and extensive dominion in the civilized world was the prize, twice lost and twice recovered in the conflict, while individual courage was wrought up to that high pitch which it can seldom display since the regularity of modern tactics has chastised its enthusiasm and levelled its distinctions. There can be no occasion to dwell upon the events of this war, which are familiar to almost every reader. — Hall Am.
The battle of Crccy is not merely a battle, the taking of Calais is not simply the taking of a town, — these two events involve a great social revolution. The entire chivalry of the most chivalrous nation in the world had been exterminated by a small band of footsoldiers. — Michelet.
See also the next century.
THE BLACK DEATH.
For at this time there prevailed throughout the world generally a disease called epidemy, which destroyed a third of its inhabitants. — Froissart.
During this century a great pestilence (deriving its name from black spots which appeared upon the body at one stage of the disease) desolated the world. It is supposed to have broken out in China, and, traversing Asia, appeared in Europe in 1348, where it prevailed until 1351. No less than 25,000,000 persons are said to have perished in Europe alone.