Beginning in the aftermath of the Black Death this was an age of Recovery and Renaissance, at first a gradual recovery of ancient lost knowledge, and in the end a rapid flood of understanding leading at last to the first fruits of new knowledge. It was also an age of religious upheaval and conflict, with the persecution of supposed witches, and of heretics which, after the 'reformation' of the christian church and the proloferation of protestant sects even led to religious wars. The renaissance saw great advances in mathematics and the arts, of music, painting and architecture. It may be noted that the science of this period was mixed up with astrology, alchemy, magic and other occult ideas even in the minds of many of the more enlightened thinkers.
Colour coding: red = mathematics, astronomy, physics orange = materials, chemistry, geology, engineering, architecture yellow = biology, medicine, exploration, anthropology, psychology green = visual art, printing blue = literature, poetry, music mauve = history, philosophy, metaphysics, theology grey = wars, politics, events (indented)
1,347 - 1,350: The black death, bubonic plague, sweeps through Europe.
1364 - 1436 Qadi Zada, Treatise on the sine.
1368 (to 1,643): China: Ming dynasty, succeeds Mongols. Building of the Great Wall.
1371 Earliest manuscript of "The Travels of Sir John Mandeville" a mixture of fact and fiction, including the name of the author.
1377 - 1446 Filippo Brunelleschi architect of the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.
1,378: The Papal Schism. Following the Avignon popes (1,309) there were two rival claimants to the papacy, resulting in separate popes residing in Rome and Avignon (to 1,417).
c.1380 - 1441 Jan van Eyck, artist The Arnolfini Portrait.
1381 Wat Tyler and the Peasants' Revolt.
c.1380 - 1429 Ghiyath al-Kashi, Treatise on the circumference 1424 computes 2pi to sixteen decimal places using inscribed and cirumscribed polygons.
1385/90? - 1453 John Dunstable & & composer. Used major and minor thirds.
1386 - 1466 Donatello sculptor.
1393 - 1449 Ulugh Beg grandson of Timur, set up observatory at Samarkand and made accurate determinations, Zij-i Sultani 1437 catalogue of (992) stars.
1395 - 1455 Fra Giovanni aka Fra Angelico painter.
1400: N.Australia visited by Indonesian traders.
1397?/1400 - 1474 Guillaume Dufay, Gilles de Bins, aka Binchois, (c.1400 - 1460), Johannes Ockeghem (c.1410 - c.1497) and Josquin Des Prez (c.1440 - 1521) composers of songs, motets and masses, and masses, the Franco-Flemish school under patronage of Duke Philip "the Good", Burgundy.
c.1400 - 1468 Johannes Gutenberg & & & &, invention of printing with moveable type 1439, 42-line Bible & 1455.
1400-1430 perspective and drawing systems developed.
1404 - 1472 Leone Battista Alberti, De Pictura 1435 on laws of perspective.
1412 - 1431 Joan of Arc.
1412 - 1492 Piero della Francesca, De prospectiva pingendi 'On perspective for painting'.
c.1415/1420 - 1492 William Caxton & & & English merchant who who took up the new tchnology of printing and published the first printed books in English from 1473, including an edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales 1476.
1420 - 1498 Tomas de Torquemada, head of Spanish Inquisition 1483, expelled Jews from Spain 1492.
1422 oil paint, used by Van Eyck.
1432 - 1492 Giovanni Cibo, aka Pope Innocent VIII &, pope 1484, Summis desiderantes (papal bull against witchcraft) 1484, authorised Malleus Maleficarum 'The Hammer of the Witches' 1486 (by Henry Kramer 1430 – 1505 and Jakob Sprenger c. 1435 – 1495).
1433 - 1499 Marsilio Ficino, Corpus Hermeticum 1471, translated Plato's complete works into Latin 1484.
1436 - 1476 Johannes Muller von Konigsburg, aka Regiomontanus, astronomer Alphonsine Tables, Ephemerides (1475-1506) 1473.
1,438: Inca empire begins to expand.
1,445: Johannes Gutenberg invents the process of printing with moveable type. 1450 Gutenberg Textura typeface.
1445 - 1517 Luca Pacioli, Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita 1494, encyclopedic textbook explaining double-entry book-keeping and summarising the mathematics of Euclid, Boethius, Sacrobosco and Fibonacci, Divina proportione 1509, illustrated by da Vinci.
1448: Portuguese fort built at Arguin in Mauritania, beginnings of European imperialism.
1451 - 1506 Christopher Columbus, navigator, first voyage 1492-3 to Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti).
1452 - 1498 Girolamo Savonarola & theocrat.
1452 - 1519 Leonardo da Vinci & & &, artist and scientist.
1453: Byzantine empire extinguished with taking of Constantinople by Ottomans.
1455 - 1485: Wars of the Roses (York v. Lancaster) in England.
1455 - 1522 Johann Reuchlin, De Verbo Mirifico, De Arte Cabbalistica 1517.
1463 - 1494 Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man 1486, Disputationes adversus astrologiam divinatricem 1495.
1465 - 1526 Scipione del Ferro, first to solve cubic equations 1520.
1466 - 1536 Desiderius Erasmus & & ¶, The Praise of Folly 1509 a satirical attack on superstition, Education of a Christian Prince 1516.
c.1469 - 1525 Vasco da Gama, Portuguese navigator.
1469 - 1527 Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince 1532.
1470 Nicolas Jenson, printer, typeface designer; Cloister Old Style.
1471 - 1528 Albrecht Durer &, artist, Melencolia I 1514.
1473 - 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus, Commentariolus a brief account of his moving earth theory 1512, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium 1543.
1475 - 1564 Michelangelo.
1478 - 1535 Thomas More, Utopia 1516.
1480 - 1521 Ferdinand Magellan, navigator, whose crew were first Europeans to observe the irregular star clusters now called the Magellanic Clouds.
1483 - 1520 Raphael, artist
1483 - 1546 Martin Luther & &.
1485 - 1528 Graf, artist
1486 - 1535 Cornelius Agrippa, occultist, Philosophy of Natural Magic, De Occulta Philosophia.
1488 - 1576 Tiziano Vecellio, aka Titian artist.
c.1490 - 1545 John Taverner, composer. (c.1490 - 1562) Adrian Willaert, composer.
1,492: Christopher Columbus lands in the Bahamas and Cuba and discovers the "New World" of the American continent.
1494 - 1576 Hans Sachs, composer.
1497 - 1543 Holbein
1497 - 1560 Philipp Melanchthon theologian.
1500 - 1557 Nicolo Fontana aka Tartaglia, solved cubic equations (independent of the earlier work of del Ferro), Quesiti et Inventioni 1546.
1501 - 1576 Girolamo Cardano, physician, mathematician, gambler, Ars Magna 1545 solution of cubic and quartic equations.
1,501: Safavid dynasty founded in Persia.
c.1505 - 1568 Jacob Arcadelt, composer.
c.1505 - 1585 Thomas Tallis, composer.
1506 Aldus Manutius printer, Bembo typeface.
1509 - 1564 John Calvin & &, theologian Institutes of the Christian Religion 1536.
c.1510 - 1556 Jacobus Clemens, composer.
1510 - 1566 Antonio de Cobézon, composer.
c.1510 - 1585 Andrea Gabrieli, composer.
1511 - 1553 Michael Servetus physician (investigated circulation of blood), persecuted by Calvin, burnt at the stake for unitarian heresy.
1512 - 1594 Mercator
1514 - 1574 Georg Joachim Rheticus, Narratio Prima 1540 on Copernican system, Opus Palatinum de triangulis trigonometric tables, completed by Valentine Otho 1596.
1516 - 1565 Conrad Gesner, De Rerum Fossilium 1565, the first book about fossils.
1,517: Martin Luther publishes his 95 theses against practices of the Roman church and sets off the Protestant reformation.
1519 camera obscura.
1,521: Aztec empire conquered by Cortes.
1,522; The Magellan/Cano expedition completes the first circumnavigation of the Earth via Cape Horn, the Pacific (named by Magellan) and the Philippines.
1522 - 1565 Lodovico Ferrari, solves the quartic equation 1540.
1522 Inrice Arrighi, typeface and Italic writing.
1524 - 1580 Luis de Camoes, aka Camoens, Os Lusiadas, The Lusiads, epic poem on history and myths of Portugal.
c.1525 - 1569 Pieter Breughel the Elder.
1525 - 1594 Giovanni da Palestrina, composer of motets, masses and madrigals.
1526 - 1572 Rafael Bombelli, Algebra 1572, uses negative and complex numbers.
1526 (to 1,857); Mughal empire founded in India.
1527 - 1598 Ortelius, artist
1527 - 1609 John Dee.
1530 Garamond typeface.
1532 - 1594 Orlande di Lassus, composer of motets.
1533: Inca empire conquered by Pizarro.
1534: Henry VIII of England breaks with Rome and makes himself head of the Church of England.
c.1540 - 1596 Francis Drake & & & & &, circumnavigation 1577-1580.
1540 - 1603 William Gilbert & & & & & &, De Magnete & & & 1600.
1540 - 1610 Ludolf van Ceulen, computed pi to 35 decimal places On The Circle 1596.
1541 - 1614 El Greco painter.
1,543: Copernicus publishes his work placing the Sun at the centre of the planetary system.
1543: Vesalius publishes his book on human anatomy.
1543 - 1623 William Byrd, composer.
1546 - 1595 Thomas Digges, observed Tycho's new star of 1572, wrote on the Copernican system within an infinite universe, 1576.
1546 - 1601 Tycho Brahe &, De Nova Stella 1573 reported on a supernova seen in 1572, De Mundi Aetherei 1588 and used parallax to prove that a comet observed in 1577 was beyond the atmosphere, Astronomiae instauratae ... 1598 and 1602 described his accurate instruments and observational methods.
1547 - 1616 Miguel de Cervantes & & &, writer, Don Quixote & 1605, 1615.
1548 - 1611 Tomas Luis de Victoria, composer.
1548 - 1600 Giordano Bruno & & & & & &, De Umbris Idearum 'The Shadow of Ideas' 1582 and other works, De l'Infinito, Universo e Mondi 'On the Infinite Universe and Worlds' 1584, burnt at the stake for heresy on the orders of the Catholic Inquisition.
1550 - 1617 John Napier, natural logarithms Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio 1614.
1552 - 1616 Richard Hakluyt & &, historian, geographer, Divers Voyages 1582, Principal Navigations 1599.
c.1555 - 1612 Giovanni Gabrieli, composer.
1557 - 1602 Carracci, artist
c.1557 - 1602 Thomas Morley, composer.
1,557; China allows Portuguese settlement in Macao.
1558 - 1617 Hendrick Goltzius artist.
c.1560 - 1613 Don Carlo Gesualdo, composer.
1560 - 1621 Thomas Harriot.
1561 - 1633 Jacopo Peri, composer.
1561 - 1626 Francis Bacon & & & &, lawyer, philosopher, Novum Organum & 1620.
1561 - 1626 Henry Briggs, decimal logarithms Logarithmorum Chilias Prima 1617.
1,562 - 1,598: French Wars if religion.
1562 - 1621 Jan Sweelinck, composer.
c.1562 - 1628 John Bull, composer.
1563 - 1626 John Dowland, composer, lute.
1564 - 1616 William Shakespeare &, dramatist and poet, Complete Works.
c.1564 - 1638 Pieter Breughel the Younger, painter.
1564 - 1642 Galileo Galilei, Sidereus Nuncius 'Starry Messenger' 1610, reported the first telescopic discoveries, including moons of Jupiter, Two World Systems 1632, Two New Sciences 1640.
1565 - 1604 Filippino Lippi painter.
1567 - 1643 Monteverdi composer, opera.
1,571: Battle of Lepanto
1571 - 1610 Caravaggio painter.
1571 - 1630 Johannes Kepler & & & & & &, Mysterium Cosmographicum 1596, Astronomia Pars Optica 1604, De Stella Nova 1606, Astronomia Nova gave the first two laws of planetary motion 1609, Dioptrice 1611, Nova Stereometria Dolorium 1615 uses primitive calculus to estimate volumes of revolution of wine barrels, Harmonice Mundi includes work on polyhedra, and the third law of planetary motion relating size and period of orbits 1619, Epitome Astronomiae 1621 influential textbook, Rudolphine Tables accurate astronomical data 1627.
1571 - 1638 Blaeu, artist
1,572: St Bartholomew Day Massacre (24 August) of French Huguenots (Calvinist Protestants) in Paris.
1574 - 1660 William Oughtred, Clavis Mathematicae 1631, slide rule.
1576 - 1623 Thomas Weelkes, composer.
1577 - 1640 Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy 1621, literary psychology.
1577 - 1640 Peter Paul Rubens & &, painter.
1,578: Moroccans overcome Portuguese in NW Arica.
1578 - 1657 William Harvey & & & & &, On the Motion of the Heart, On Generation.
1579 - 1644 Jan Baptista van Helmont & & chemistry and alchemy.
1581 - 1638 Claude Gaspar Bachet Sieur de Meziriac, Problèmes plaisans et delectables 1612. Also published an Edition of Diophantus used by Fermat.
1581 - 1656 James Ussher & & &, biblical scholar and chronogist dated creation at −4004.
1582 - 1652 Gregorio Allegri, composer.
1583 - 1625 Orlando Gibbons, composer.
1583 - 1643 Girolamo Frescobaldi, composer.
1585 - 1672 Heinrich Schütz, composer.
1,588: Defeat of Spanish Armada.
1588 - 1679 Thomas Hobbes & & & & &, materialist philosopher, Leviathan & 1651, political philosophy.
1588 - 1648 Marin Mersenne & & & & & Minim Friar, mathematician and organiser of scientific meetings and correspondence with many scholars, L'harmonie universelle on music and physics of sound 1627, studied prime Mersenne numbers of the form 2^n - 1 with n prime.
1590 marbled papers first used
1592 - 1635 Callot, artist
1592 - 1655 Pierre Gassendi & & & & & & &, observed transit of Mercury 1831 predicted by Kepler, wrote on inertia De Motu 1642, advocated vegetarianism Letter to Van Helmont, revived Epicurean atomism and favoured empiricism Syntagma Philosophicum 1656.
1596 - 1650 Rene Descartes & & & & &, philosopher, mathematician, Discourse on Method & &.
1598 - 1647 Bonaventura Cavalieri, Geometria indivisibilibus 1635.
1600: the Ottoman Empire controlled almost all the Middle East, the Ming Dynasty ruled China, and the Mughal Empire held sway over India. By contrast, Europe was divided into a number of warring states.