The label "Renaissance" (French: "rebirth") is usually applied to a period in the history of Western Europe stretching from the early 14th century to the mid to late 16th century. It was a movement -- the new spirit of rebirth in art and literature. It was first applied to the revived study of classical learning, popularized by the Italian poet and Latin scholar Petrarch (1304-74), who rejected the Middle Ages as a period of "darkness;" later Erasmus of Rotterdam (c.1469-1536) welcomed new translations of ancient texts and a "purer literature." The idea of rebirth in art was developed by the Florentine art historian Giorgio Vasari (1511-74). He claimed, that art had been reborn in Italy in about 1250 and had progressed through "childhood" and "youth" to its 16th-century maturity.
Technology - Development of military technology: Conrad Kyeser's Bellifortis; development of navigational techniques and vessels; moveable type applied by Gutenberg (1417). In the Americas there was a high degree of development of engineering and architectural skills among the Aztecs, Mayas and Incas; era of Inca road building.
With the exception of the Viking excursions and the energetic seafaring trade of the Arabs, most discoveries up to the 13th century had been overland. But now that the Moslem Empire stood between East and West, European traders were determined to find a sea route to the Orient.
1400 - Jerusalem - Jews are heavily taxed under the Mamluks
1416- Prince Henry of Portugal established a school of navigation at Sagres, near Cap St. Vincent. He studied the art of cartography, planned voyages and equipped expeditions which were to be of worldwide importance.
1415 - Capture of Ceuta, Morocco, by Portuguese.
1414-18 - Council of Constance
1427 - Prince Henry's captains discovered the Azores, an archipelago of islands in the middle of the Atlantic, after a journey of 800 miles with no coast line to guide them. They had to rely for the first time the their primitive compass. The islands were colonized and, had the Portuguese known anything of the Norsemen's adventures, the Azores might well have become a starting point for the rediscovery of America.
1429 - Joan of Arc leads French to break English siege of Orleans.
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)
1453 - Constantinople falls to the Turks
1455 - Gutenberg Bible printed
1455-85 - War of the Roses, England.
1478 - Spanish Inquisition persecutes Jews, Muslims, and heretics.
1482 - Discovery of Congo estuary by Diego Cam.
1483 - Martin Luther born.
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
1492 - Christopher Columbus is the 1st European to set foot on the New World (in what
is now the Dominican Republic).
1497 - Amerigo Vespucci claims to have discovered the coast of the Gulf of Mexico from the Bay of Campeche to part of the east coast of the US.
- John Cabot, sailing for the English lands on Cape BretonIsland, south Labrador (or Newfoundland).
1497-99 - Vasco Da Gama sailed from Lisbon to Cape Verde and then went west to within 600 miles of the South American mainland. Then touched the African coast and continued to the port of Calicut.
1498 - Cabot rediscovers south Greenland then sailed southward along the coast to Chesapeake Bay.
1499 - Vespucci sailed in the service of Spain to the Brazilian coast and sailed northwest to the Amazon and a little way up the river.
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