Here we place the events of Comenius’s life in chronological context with the horrid Thirty Years War on one side and, on the other, the exciting lives and achievements of his contemporaries.

Comenius was a true world Christian. As the selected events listed indicate, he was widely traveled, but not always by his choice. He lived many lives in his 78 years—Bishop, Educator, Refugee, Peacemaker, Author, Futurist.

His life intersected the lives of many notable Europeans. Many pioneers in science, art, philosophy, literature and politics were contemporary with him. It was a time of great cultural and intellectual ferment and Comenius was active in the thick of it all.


1592 Born in Eastern Moravia

1604 Orphaned by death of parents at Uhersky Brod

1614 Attends Prerov Latin Schol, Herborn Gymnasium, University of Heidelberg

1616 Ordained a minister in the Unity of the Brethren curch at Zeravice

1618 Appointed pastor at Fulnek

1620–1627 Lives in hiding in Bohemia after Hapsburg victory at White Mountain. Writes The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart

1628 Flees Bohemia for Leszno, Poland

1632 Consecrated as bishop in the Unitiy of the Brethren. Publishes Janua Linguarum Reserata for language study

1641 Visits England to set up pansophic college. Publishes The Way of Light, a plan for universal education and peace

1642 Forced to leave England due to civil war there, begins work with Sweden. Moves to Elbing, Prussia

1648 Returns to Leszno, where his second wife dies. Becomes senior bishop of the Unity

1650 Moves to Saros-Patak, Hungary, to head Bretheren schools there. Publishes Lux in Tenebris on prophetic visions

1655–1656 Returns to Leszno, but is forced to flee; most of his pansophic work is burned; Settles in Amsterdam with De Geer as patron

1657 Complete educations works (Opera Didactica) published in Holland

1658 Publishes Orbis Pictus, first illustrated textbook

1670 Dies in Amsterdam; buried at Naarden, Holland

Other Personalities

1605 William Shakespeare (1564–1616) writes Macbeth

1609 Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) builds first refracting telescope

1611 King James I of England (1566–1625) publishes King James Bible

1620 Francis Bacon (1561–1626) writes Novum Organum, analysis of knowledge

1621 William Bradford (1590–1657) becomes governor of Plymouth Colony

1623 Jakob Boehme, German mystic (1575–1624) publishes Mysterium Magnum

1629 Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642) appointed prime minister of France

1631 Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) settles in Amsterdam as painter-teacher

1637 Rene Descartes (1596–1650) publishes Discourse a la Methode

1647 George Fox (1624–1691) founds Society of Friends (Quakers)

1653 Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658) delcared Lord Protector of England

1665 Isaac Newton (1642–1727) invents differential calculus

1667 John Locke (1632–1704) publishes An Essay Concerning Toleration

1667 John Milton (1608–1674) publishes Paradise Lost

1678 John Bunyan (1628–1688) publishes Pilgrim's Progress

The Thirty Years War (1618-1648)

For three decades this horrible war spread destruction across Europe and was the backdrop that influenced many of the turns in Comenius’s life.

1618 War begins with revolt in Prague

1620 Ferdinand defeats Bohemian Protestants at White Mountain

1625 King Christian IV of Denmark enters war against Hapsburgs

1630 King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden enters war

1632 Gustavus dies in battle

1643 France officially enters war

1648 Treaty of Westphalia ends the war