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13th century

Related subjects: General history

Background Information

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Map of Eurasia circa 1200 A.D.
Millennium: 2nd millennium
Decades: 1200s 1210s 1220s 1230s 1240s
1250s 1260s 1270s 1280s 1290s
Categories: Births – Deaths
Establishments – Disestablishments
For the real-time tactics video game of this name, see XIII Century (series)

As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 through 1300 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Common Era. In the history of European culture, this period is considered part of the High Middle Ages, and after its conquests in Asia the Mongol Empire stretched from Eastern Asia to Eastern Europe.


The Mongols, under the leadership of Genghis Khan, overran most of Asia, thus creating the second largest empire to ever exist, surpassed only by the British Empire. They achieved this success in large part due to their amazing horse archers.



  • 1204— Fourth Crusade of 1202– 1204 captures Zara for Venice and sacks Byzantine Constantinople, creating the Latin Empire.
  • 1204—Fall of Normandy from Angevin hands to the French King, Philip Augustus, end of Norman domination of France.
  • 1205— The Battle of Adrianople occurred on April 14, 1205 between Bulgarians under Tsar Kaloyan of Bulgaria, and Crusaders under Baldwin I, (July 1172–1205), the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.


  • 1212—The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in Iberia sees the beginning of a rapid Christian reconquest of the southern half of the Iberian peninsula, mainly from 1230– 1248, with the defeat of Moorish forces.
  • 1213—France defeats the Spanish Kingdom of Aragon at the Battle of Muret.
  • 1214—France defeats English and Imperial German forces at the Battle of Bouvines.
  • 1215—King John signs Magna Carta at Runnymede.
  • 1217– 1221— Fifth Crusade captures Egyptian Ayyubid port city of Damietta, ultimately Crusaders withdraw.


  • 1221— Venice signs a trade treaty with the Mongol Empire.
  • 1222— Andrew II of Hungary signs the Golden Bull which affirms the privileges of Hungarian nobility.
  • 1223-The Signoria, of the Republic of Venice is formed and consists of the Doge, the Minor Council and the three leaders of the Quarantia.
  • 1223—The Mongol Empire defeats various Russian principalities at the Battle of the Kalka River.
  • 1228- 1229— Sixth Crusade under the excommunicated Frederick II Hohenstaufen, who returns Jerusalem to the Crusader States.
  • 1228- 1230- First clash between Gregory IX and Frederick II.
  • 1226- 1250- Dispute between the so-called second Lombard League and Frederick II.



  • 1241—Mongol Empire defeats Hungary at the Battle of Mohi and defeats Poland at the Battle of Legnica. Hungary and Poland ravaged.
  • 1242— Russians defeat the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Lake Peipus.
  • 1243– 1250—Second Holy Roman EmpirePapacy War.
  • 1244— Ayyubids and Khwarezmians defeat the Crusaders and their Arab allies at the Battle of La Forbie.
  • 1249—End of the Portuguese Reconquista against the Moors, when King Afonso III of Portugal reconquers the Algarve.
  • 1248– 1254— Seventh Crusade captures Egyptian Ayyubid port city of Damietta, Crusaders ultimately withdraw. Mamelukes overthrow Ayyubid Dynasty.


  • 1259— Treaty of Paris.


  • 1261— Byzantines under Michael VIII retake Constantinople from the Crusaders and Venice.
  • 1265-Dominican friar and theologian, Thomas Aquinas begins to write his Summa Theologiae.
  • 1268—Fall of the Crusader State of Antioch to the Mamelukes.
Portrait of the Chinese Zen Buddhist Wuzhun Shifan, painted in 1238, Song Dynasty.
Hommage of Edward I (kneeling), to the Philippe le Bel (seated). As Duke of Aquitaine, Edward was a vassal to the French king.


  • 1271—Edward I of England and Charles of Anjou arrive in Acre, starting the Ninth Crusade against Baibars.
  • 1272- 1274- Second Council of Lyon attempts to unite the Churches of the Eastern Roman Empire with the Church of Rome.


  • 1282— Aragon acquires Sicily, after the Sicilian Vespers.
  • 1284— Peterhouse, Cambridge founded by Hugo de Balsham, the Bishop of Ely.
  • 1285—Second Mongol raid against Hungary, led by Nogai Khan.
  • 1289— Crusader State of Tripoli falls to the Mamelukes.


  • 1291—The Swiss Confederation of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden forms.
  • 1291— Mamluk Sultan of Egypt al-Ashraf Khalil captures Acre, thus ending the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (the final Christian landholding remaining from the Crusades).
  • 1297-Membership in the Mazor Consegio or the Great Council of Venice of the Venetian Republic is sealed and limited in the future to only those families whose names have been inscribed therein.

Significant people

Frescoes from the 13th century Boyana Church
Queen Tamar
  • Albertus Magnus, German philosopher and theologian
  • Alexander of Hales, Franciscan friar and theologian
  • Alexander Nevsky, Grand Prince of Novgorod and Vladimir
  • Alexios III Angelos, Byzantine Emperor
  • Andrea of Grosseto, Italian writer
  • Anthony of Padua, Portuguese Franciscan friar, bishop
  • Baibars, Mameluk sultan of Egypt
  • Batu Khan, Mongol ruler and the founder of the Golden Horde
  • Béla IV of Hungary rebuilder of Hungary after the devastating Mongol invasion
  • Birger Jarl, Swedish statesman, earl, and founder of Stockholm
  • Bonaventure, Franciscan theologian, bishop, and cardinal
  • Cimabue, Florentine painter
  • Dante Alighieri, Florentine writer and poet
  • Dominic Guzman, Spanish Catholic friar and founder of the Order of Preachers
  • Edward I of England, English King
  • Elisabeth of Hungary, Hungarian princess of the Kingdom of Hungary
  • Enrico Dandolo, Doge of the Republic of Venice
  • Francis of Assisi, Umbrian founder of the Franciscan order
  • Frederick II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Genghis Khan, founder of Mongol Empire
  • Gertrude the Great, German Catholic nun and spiritual writer
  • Giotto di Bondone, Italian painter
  • Gregory X, Pope
  • Haakon Haakonsson, king of Norway from 1217 to 1263. After the long civil war Norway would again prosper under his rule and come to dominate Scandinavian politics.
  • Ibn Taymiyyah, famous Hanbali, Salafi Scholar of Islam
  • Innocent III, Pope
  • Ivan Asen II, Emperor of Bulgaria
  • Kaloyan, Emperor of Bulgaria
  • Kublai Khan, Khan ruler, founder of Yuan Dynasty in China
  • Lasha Giorgi, King Giorgi IV of Georgia
  • Lembitu, Estonian ruler
  • Louis IX of France, St. Louis, French king and crusader
  • Marco Polo, Venetian trader and explorer
  • Mevlana, philosopher and poet
  • Petrus Peregrinus, scientist
  • Ottokar II of Bohemia, King of Bohemia
  • Ramon Llull, Majorcan philosopher
  • Robert Grosseteste, English statesman, theologian, and scientist
  • Roger Bacon, Franciscan friar, philosopher, and scientist
  • Rusudan, Queen Regnant of Georgia
  • Sundiata Keita semi-historical founder of the Mali Empire
  • Saadi Persian poet
  • Snorri Sturluson, historian and saga-writer
  • Tamara, ruler of Georgia
  • Thomas Aquinas, Neapolitan Catholic friar and theologian
  • William Marshal, knight and statesman.
  • William Wallace, Scottish national leader
  • Yunus Emre, Turkish poet and sufi mystic

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

  • List of 13th century inventions
  • Early 13th century - Xia Gui paints Twelve Views from a Thatched Hut. Southern Song dynasty. It is now kept at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
  • The motet form originates out of the Ars antiqua tradition of Western European music.
  • Manuscript culture develops out of this time period in cities in Europe, which denotes a shift from monasteries to cities for books.
  • Pecia system of copying books develops in Italian university-towns and was taken up by the University of Paris in the middle of the century.
  • Wooden movable type printing invented by the Chinese governmental minister Wang Zhen in 1298.
  • The earliest known rockets, landmines, and handguns are made by the Chinese for use in warfare.
  • The Chinese adopt the windmill from the Islamic world.
  • Guan ware vase is made. Southern Song dynasty. It is now kept at Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London.
  • 1280s Eyeglasses invented in Italy.
  • Late 13th century - "Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace" is made. Kamakura period. It is now kept at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  • Late 13th century - Descent of the Amida Trinity, raigo triptych, is made. Kamakura period. It is now kept at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Decades and years

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