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15th century

  • In 1492, three ships captained by the Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World. Although the Viking explorer Leif Eriksson had first discovered the Americas almost 500 years earlier, Columbus and his men were the first to establish sustained contact with the continent's indigenous populations. While his expedition brought immense wealth to the Spanish Crown and made it...
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  • Joan of Arc was a heroine of France who played a significant role in the Hundred Years’ War. She claimed to be carrying a divine message, according to which she was destined to liberate France. She proved a highly effective military leader, recapturing Orléans in May 1429 before being seized, sold to the English and burned at the stake. In just...
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  • The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 was a major turning point in European history: a fierce battle in this crucial trading city ended with the demise of the Byzantine Empire and the ascendency of the Ottoman Empire, which dominated the region in the following centuries. This transfer of power is essential for understanding the modern era in Western Europe, and is seen by...
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  • The Hundred Years’ War was one of the most significant conflicts of the Middle Ages and spanned several generations. Known in particular for its scale (it involved many different factions and five generations of kings), the war marked the height and the decline of chivalry. It had a considerable impact on Europe, bringing European monarchies into the age of modernity...
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  • Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer who, along with Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan, was one of the most famous European explorers of his time. Known in particular for being the first person to open up a direct maritime route between Europe and Asia, da Gama sailed around Africa to reach the Western coast of India in the late...
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