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Christianity

  • John Paul II was the 264th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and is remembered as one of the most important figures in the shaping of 21st century Catholicism. Known in particular for the modernization of the Catholic Church and the implementation of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, John Paul led the Catholic Church during a period of great...
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  • Leif Eriksson is a crucial figure in maritime exploration: this Viking navigator is believed to have discovered the Americas at the turn of the first millennium AD, over 500 years before Christopher Columbus. Indeed, at this point in history the Vikings were far better explorers than other Europeans due to their more technologically advanced ships and excellent navigation skills, which allowed...
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  • Opus Dei is an organisation linked to the Catholic Church which was founded by Josemariá Escrivá de Balaguer. It has a relatively simple message: all Christians can contribute to the spreading of Christ’s message without having to be a member of the clergy. However, the organisation has suffered several scandals over the years, including the Matesa affair, and is notorious...
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  • The Battle of Lepanto was a struggle for control of the Mediterranean between the Holy League, bringing together the Papal States, Spain and the Republic of Venice, and the mighty Ottoman Empire. This 1571 conflict remains one of the largest naval battles of all time, and was a decisive moment in European history. The unexpected victory of the Holy League put an end to...
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  • The Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers) in 732 marked a definitive end to Muslim expansion in the West and symbolized the decline of the powerful Umayyad Caliphate, which had come to dominate much of the Mediterranean over the course of the previous century. Forces under the control of the celebrated miltary leader Charles Martel were able to...
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  • The Crusades were a religious, political and miltary conflict between the three great powers of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries: Catholic Europe, the Muslim world and the Orthodox Byzantine Empire. The birth of Islam had a profound effect on the beginning of the Crusades, as the Muslim faith began to spread to the West and Muslim troops began to invade...
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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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