It was an age reaping the benefits of events of the 1450’s—when Constantiople’s fall to the Turks threatened all of Europe and Gutenberg’s innovation of movable type gave more than a select few the privelege of coming to their own conclusions. In Zwingli’s lifetime—a mere fifty years—scholars of the church questioned the faith as Rome had tought it, and courageous explorers thrust through ancient myths and fears to discover new horizons. It was a world encountering a new kind of trade, including tasty foods from exotic lands. It was a world becoming stronger—in England, France, and Spain. It was a world equipping itself with giants—moneyed families such as the Medici and the Fuggers, geniuses of form such as Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, and Raphael, singleminded leaders such as Columbus, Henry VIII, Ferdinand and Isabella, and Luther. It was an age to give people hope in princely powers as well as in personal ideals. It was an age beginning to change at a faster pace, yet it was an age when one could still burn as a heretic.

1477 Swiss pikemen distinguish themselves at Battle of Nancy, making them much sought after as mercenaries

1480 Ferdinand and Isabella appoint Inquisition against heresy among converted Jews

1480 Ivan III styles himself Czar of the Russians

1482 Portuguese explorers discover bananas on west coast of Africa

1483 Martin Luther born

1484 “At Hammel in Saxony, on the 20th of June, 1484, the Devil, in the likeness of a pied piper, carried away 130 children, that were never after seen.” 

1484 Japan’s shogun Yoshimasa introduces the tea ceremony

1484 Huldrych Zwingli born at Wildhaus (Toggenburg) in Canton of St. Gall

1485 Battle of Bosworth on August 22 ends England’s 15-year Wars of the Roses; Henry VII crowned first king of 117-year Tudor dynasty

1489 Symbols + and – come into use

1490 Beginnings of ballet at Italian courts

1492 Christopher Columbus, with three ships and 78 men set sail on September 6 after first attempt aborted; arrives in the Bahamas, thinking he has reached the East Indies 

1492 Isabella and Ferdinand take Granada from the Moors and expel 200,000 Jews
1492 Lorenzo de’ Medici dies
1492 Christopher Columbus introduces Europeans to the pineapple, parrots, Indians, peppers, allspice, maize, and sweet potatoes
1492 Nuremberg geographer Behaim constructs first terrestrial globe
1492 Leonardo da Vinci draws a flying machine
1492 Profession of publisher emerges, consisting of typefounder, printer, and bookseller

1493 Maximilian I becomes Holy Roman Emperor

1494 First moblie artillery firing iron cannon balls, used by Charles VIII in Italy

1495 First recorded outbreak of syphilis; infects army of Charles VIII at Naples 

1495 Merchant-investor Jakob Fugger ensures powerful political power through leasing of copper and siver mines 

1495 The Imperial Diet of Worms attempts to modernize the Holy Roman Empire; proclaims Perpetual Peace, and imposes common penny as general tax

1498 Vasco de Cama establishes sea route between Portugal and India 

1498 Savonarola burned at the stake for heresy in Florence

1499 War between Swabian League and Swiss Cantons. Swiss victory forces Treaty of Basel granting Swiss independance 

1499 Granada’s Moors revolt as Inquisitor de Cisneros introduces forced wholesale Christian conversion

1500 Pope Alexander VI proclaims a Year of Jubilee; imposes a tithe for crusade against Turks
1500 First human Caesarian operation performed by Swiss pig gelder Jakob Nufer
1500 Postal service between Vienna and Brussels established

1501 Music printed for the first time by use of movable type 

1501 Peace of Trent between France and Emperor Maximilian I recognizes French conquests in Upper Italy 

1501 Erasmus’ Enchiridion promotes a Christianity based on the Sermon of the Mount 

1501 Michaelangelo completes Pieta

1502 University of Wittenberg established by Frederick, Elector of Saxony

1503 Canterbury Cathedral completed after 436 years of construction 

1503 Da Vinci paints “Mona Lisa” 

1503 Pocket handkerchief comes into use

1504 Venice sends ambassadors to Sultan of Turkey, proposing construction of a Suez Canal

1506 Completes Master of Arts at University of Basel 

1506 Becomes parish priest at Glarus

1507 New geography by Waldseemüller proposes the New World be called “America” after Amerigo Vespucci 

1507 League of Cambrai formed by Margaret of Austria, the Cardinal of Rouen, and Ferdinand of Aragon to despoil Venice 

1507 Diet of Constance recognizes unity of Holy Roman Empire 

1507 Martin Luther ordained

1509 Erasmus writes Praise of Folly at Thomas More’s home

1510 African slaves cross the Atlantic to work in Portuguese sugar plantations in Brazil 

1510 Jakob Fugger lends Maximilian 170,000 ducats to finance war against Venice

1511 Pope Julius forms Holy League with Venice and Aragon to drive French out of city; Henry VIII joins Holy League 

1511 Servetus, Spanish theologian and physician executed in Geneva as a heretic

1512 Forces of the holy League meet defeat at Ravenna; coalition of Swiss, papal, and imperial forces drive French and their German mercenaries out of Milan

1513 Giovanni de Medici becomes Pope Leo X —“one of most severe trials to which God ever subjected his church” 

1513 Peasant and labor rebellions spread eastward from Switzerland

1515 French decisive victory over Swiss and Venetians at Battle of Marignano; Swiss retain Alpine passes and French gain right to enlist Swiss mercenaries 

1515 Lateran Council forbids printing of books without permission of Roman Catholic authorities 

1515 Witnesses Swiss routed in “Battle of Giants” at Marignano 

1515 Writes satire of mercenary war, The Labyrinth, calling for Christian love and brotherhood and end to violence 

1515 Meets Erasmus, Dutch humanist

1516 Out of step with Glarus’s French leanings, moves to Einsiedeln; affar with local barber’s daughter

1516–17 Reads Erasmus’s translation of the New Testament, Novum Instrumentum 

1512-1517 Pope Julius II convenes the Lateran Council to undertake reforms in abuses of Church in Rome

1517 Martin Luther posts 95 Theses in protest of sale of indulgences

1518 Appointed Leutpriester at Zurich Grossmünster

1519 Begins New Testament sermon series, signalling new era of Biblical preaching 

1519 Ministers to Zurich’s plague victims, ill himself 3 months with plague 

1519 Leads Zurch to withdraw from alliance with Catholic France; Zurch mercenaries forbidden to hire out to France

1521 Diet of Worms; Luther refuses to recant; gets backing of German princes; begins German translation of Bible

1522 Attends printer Christopher Froschauer’s party where Lenten rules are broken; writes “Freedom of Choice in Eating” to oppose fasting 

1522 Secretly marries widow Anna Reinhart; signs memorial with 10 other ministers asking the Bishop of Constance for sanction to marry 

1522 Develops circle of young clergy and humanists—Grebel, Manz, Reublin, Brotli, Stumpf 

1522 Writes Apologeticus Archeteles, his testemony of faith 

1522 Resigns priesthood; re-employed by City Council as evangelical pastor in same post

1523 Under auspices of Zurich Council, invites Christian Europe to public disputation of 67 theses; authorized by Council to continue preaching the Gospel 

1523 Writes “Of divine and human justice” to defend Council’s refusal to modify tithes legislation 

1523 Holds second public debate on images and mass; recommends that Council authorize removal of images

1524 Publicly marries his wife

1525 Public disputation on infant baptism; draws the battle line for former followers, Grebel and others 

1525 Writes two anti-Anabaptist pamphlets, “On baptism” and “On the preaching office”

1526 Convinces council in March to issue edict authorizing execution of Anabaptists 

1526 Decides that Swiss unity must be maintained even with force after Swiss-Catholic assembly at Baden

1528 Accepts Berne’s invitation to a public debate, resulting in elimination of the mass, images, and alters there

1529 Accompanies Zurich forces to First Kappel War 

1529 Meets Luther in Marburg in October for four days of discussion called by Philip, Landgrave of Hesse

1531 Angles for French support for the Reformation by allowing Swiss mercenaries to be hired 

1531 Dressed in battle armor, joins the forces on October 11 and is killed

1532 Calvin starts Protestant movement in France

1534 Act of Supremacy; Henry VIII declared supreme head of Church of England 

1534 Ignatius Loyola founds Society of Jesus to spread Counter Reformation