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FIFTEENTH CENTURY.

(1400-1500.)

The Eastern Empire cornes to an end in 1453, Constantinople being taken by the Turks.

The German Empire is continually growing weaker, the imperial dignity being kept up by the princes of the House of Austria (an archduchy in the southeastern part of the empire), who are exclusively chosen emperors.

France in the early part of the century is invaded by the English, and loses a large portion of its possessions; but in the latter half of the century these are nearly all recovered, while its power is greatly increased in the east and south by the annexation of the Duchy of Burgundy and Provence.

England loses its possessions in France in the latter part of this century, with the single exception of Calais.

In Spain, the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon are united in 1479, and the Mahometan rule in the Peninsula ceases with the fall of Granada in 1492.

In Italy, the republic of Florence is at the height of its splendor under the Medici.

The Turks seize Constantinople and put an end to the Eastern Empire.

Mogul, or Tartar, Empire. The empire of Tamerlane (Timour the Tartar) comes to an end after his death in 1405.

Russia frees herself from the Mogul rule in 1477, but takes no part as vet in European politics.

The Swiss Confederation becomes of importance.

Poland has risen to be an important power.

America is discovered by Columbus in 1492. The Cape of Good Hope is discovered in 1487, and rounded by Vasco da Gama in 1497.

[table]

ILLUSTRATIONS.

THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR {continued).

THIS long struggle, begun in the last century (see page 307), continued through the first half of this century. In 1415 took place- the English victory of Agincourt.

Upon St. Crispin's day
Fought was this noble fray,
Which fame did not delay

To England to carry;
Oh, when shall Englishmen
With such acts fill a pen,
Or England breed again

Such a King Harry?

Michael Drayton.

But, later, the French, inspired by Joan of Arc (the Maid of Orleans1), one of the most illustrious heroines of history, won victories over the English forces, and step by step the latter were driven from all their conquests in Prance, and in 1453 held only Calais. This was the end of the Hundred Years' War.

1 So called from her heroic defence of the city of Orleans. Having been taken captive by the English, she suffered martyrdom, being burned alive by order of the Earl of Warwick, on the 24th of May, 1431.

The only war which has profoundly affected English society and English government is the Hundred Years' War with France, and of that war the results were simply evil. — J. R. Green.

The war of wars, the battle of battles, is that between England and France; all others are episodical. The names dear to France are those of the men who have greatly dared against England. France has only one saint, the Pucelle [Joan of Arc]. — Michelet.

One of the most marvellous revolutions in history. A country girl overthrew the power of England. We cannot pretend to explain the surprising story of the Maid of Orleans ; for, however easy it may be to suppose that a heated and enthusiastic imagination produced her own visions, it is a much greater problem to account for the credit they obtained, and for the success that attended her. —Hallam.

If we had nothing but the story of Joan of Arc to show the popular spirit of the time, it alone would suffice for that purpose. — Guizot.

The eyes of all Europe were turned toward this scene [Joan of Arc's victory over the English at Orleans, 1429], where it was reasonably supposed the French were to make their last stand for maintaining the independence of their monarchy and the rights of their sovereign. — Hume.

The savior of France could be no other than a woman.— Michelet.

Neither French nor any other history offers a like example of a modest little soul [Joan of Arc], with a faith so pure and efficacious, resting on divine inspiration and patriotic hope. — Guizot.

Dauphin, I am by birth a shepherd's daughter,

My wit untrained in any kind of art.

Heaven and our Lady gracious hath it pleased

To shine on my contemptible estate:

Lo! whilst I waited on my tender lambs,

And to sun's parching heat displayed my cheeks,

God's mother deigned to appear to me;

And, in a vision full of majesty,

Willed me to leave my base vocation,

And free my country from calamity.

Her aid she promised, and assured success:

In complete glory she revealed herself;

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