December 9, 1608: English poet John Milton is born in London. Though most famous for his epic Paradise Lost, he also penned an exposition of Christian doctrine, a plan for Christian education, and various political writings.
December 9, 1840: Unable to go to China, David Livingstone sets sail from London as a missionary to southern Africa (see issue 56: David Livingstone).
December 9, 1843: The first Christmas cards—actually more like postcards—are created and sold for a shilling.
April 7, 1199: England's King Richard I, the "Lionhearted," dies at age 41. Richard, as one of the three leaders of the Third Crusade, negotiated Christian access to Jerusalem (see issue 40: The Crusades).
April 7, 1498: Franciscan friars arrange an "ordeal by fire" in Florence to settle the dispute between reforming preacher Jerome Savonarola and Pope Alexander VI. Alexander had excommunicated Savonarola for preaching against papal corruption; Savonarola responded by calling for the pope to step ...